Thursday, February 1, 2024

Short Takes – 2-1-24

Crash tests indicate nation's guardrail system can't handle heavy electric vehicles. article. Pull quote: “Road safety officials and organizations say the electric vehicles themselves appear to offer superior protection to their occupants, even if they might prove dangerous to occupants of lighter vehicles. The Rivian truck tested in Nebraska showed almost no damage to the cab's interior after slamming into the concrete barrier, Stolle said. In response to the release of the test results Wednesday, Rivian Automotive Inc. noted that the truck used in the testing received a 2023 Top Safety Pick+ award, the highest tier award issued by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.”

A magnetohydrodynamic drive could lead to fuel stations on Mars. article. Pull quote: “The proposal comes from Alvaro Romero-Calvo, an assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and his colleagues from the Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC). The system employs a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) electrolytic cell, which relies on electromagnetic fields to accelerate electrically conductive fluid (in this case, water) without any moving parts. This allows the system to extract and separate oxygen and hydrogen gas in microgravity, removing the need for forced water recirculation and the associated equipment (i.e., pumps or centrifuges).”

Starlab, meet Starship: Private space station buys SpaceX launch for later this decade. article. Pull quote: “Starlab’s modules are designed to be about 26 feet in diameter, or around twice the diameter of ISS modules, limiting the number of rockets that could support launching the space station in one mission.”

For the first time NASA has asked industry about private missions to Mars. article. Pull quote: “This [commercial services] approach has the potential for NASA to both test the waters for commercial space at Mars while also providing some potential replacements for its aging fleet there. For example, the agency's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been at the red planet since 2006, providing an array of functions, including high-resolution imaging and relaying communications back to Earth from the surface. NASA is interested in whether commercial providers might replace some of this functionality.”

Executives Navigate Operational Technology Security Challenges. article. Pull quote: “All of this is encompassed by recent efforts by the U.S. government and CISA to secure industrial control systems (ICS) by developing a number of security performance goals for critical infrastructure sectors and by expanding the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC) - an agency effort to develop cyber defense plans with both public and private sector entities - to focus on ICS security by bringing in new partners. Both of these developments have put the level of risk associated with OT security on the radar of executives. Jason Nations, director of Enterprise Security at OGE Energy Corp. said that conversations around OT security are “radically different than they were four to five years ago.””

Chinese malware removed from SOHO routers after FBI issues covert commands. article. Pull quote: ““Chinese threat actors have recently been shifting their strategy from pure espionage towards establishing persistent access into critical networks in response to the changing geopolitical landscape and possibly in preparation for a conflict or for targeted attacks,” Daniel dos Santos, head of research at security firm Forescout, wrote in an email. He said upcoming events such as the Olympic games and elections in the US, India, and the European Union were all fueling the change.”

Inside Kevin McCarthy’s vengeance operation against the Republicans who fired him. article. Pull quote: “That quiet work shows McCarthy’s appetite for payback remains intense, even months after his October ouster as speaker and December departure from Congress. It also illustrates that even out of office, the former speaker and his supporters can make life miserable for his detractors — a further sign that the House GOP power struggle between burn-it-down hardliners and more establishment conservatives is alive and well.”

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