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Always Be Curious #175: RIP Kevin Mitnick, molecular machinery, and ASML's solid quarter
This week in ABC: Kevin Mitnick is gone way too soon, adeep dive into the tech and biology of molecular machinery, and ASML posted a strong Q2 2023 driven by DUV immersion sales.
This week, the world lost Kevin Mitnick (59). Dubbed “the most dangerous hacker in America” back in the 1990s, he was a legendary blend: half hacker, half con man. An incredibly smart cookie with the wit and audacity to get anything done. When he was 12 years old, Mitnick convinced a bus driver to tell him where he could buy his own ticket puncher, and was then able to ride any bus in the greater Los Angeles area using unused transfer slips he found in a dumpster next to the bus company garage. When he was a young adult in the 80s and 90s, he got obsessed with exploring telephone and computer systems. The way he hacked was about much more than infiltrating and exploiting computer systems—he was a gifted "social engineer", someone who could con people into doing things to unwittingly compromise a system. As he honed the arts of phreaking (phone hacking), social engineering and hacking, he broke into the systems of Sun Microsystems, NEC, Motorola, Nokia, and even got access to the switch access services of Pacific Bell (which could be used to wiretap phone lines). He also got himself a prime spot on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. He was hunted down and jailed in 1995. He spent 5 years in federal custody, of which 4 in solitary confinement out of fear that he could "start a nuclear war by whistling into a pay phone”. After his release, he became a speaker, “white hat” hacker, security consultant and author.
When I was a kid coming online in the mid 90s, I vividly remember being enthralled with the FREE KEVIN campaign that was all over the early internet. The campaign was run out of the hacker mag “2600 Magazine” during Mitnick’s time in jail. It was a trigger for me to dive headfirst into the online hacker scene of the 90s and I was in awe of what I discovered. Mitnick was one of the pioneers. Later, his 2003 book “The Art of Deception” became a bible on my desk—and on the desks of an entire generation.
“To know Kevin was to be enthralled, exasperated, amazed, amused, irritated, and utterly charmed - in equal measure. He set incredibly high standards for himself and those who worked with him, and would get lost for hours in complex problems encountered in his work. Self-educated and driven by eagerness, intense drive, immense curiosity, and seemingly endless energy, he continually expanded his skills as a hacker.”
Godspeed, ninja. 🥷
Have a good week, stay safe and sound,
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👨💻The round-up in sci-tech💡
A deep dive into technical and biological bases for developing molecular machinery by reporter Anna-Sofia Lesiv. Molecular machinery is part of J. Storrs Hall (Where is My Flying Car?) vernacular, where he predicts the convergence of nuclear energy, AI and nanotechnologies. In his vision, nuclear energy provides the power needed to run nanotech mass production facilities, while AI is harnessed to control these facilities and to lead R&D of new nano technologies. That nanotech can then drive the creation of new materials, concepts and systems to solve some of the world's most challenging problems.
Scientists for the first time have witnessed pieces of metal crack, then fuse back together without any human intervention, overturning fundamental scientific theories in the process. If the newly discovered phenomenon can be harnessed, it could usher in an engineering revolution — one in which self-healing engines, bridges and airplanes could reverse damage caused by wear and tear, making them safer and longer-lasting.
💥 Trinity nuclear test’s fallout reached 46 states, Canada and Mexico, study finds (The New York Times)
This is the week that Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” debuts, so it’s always good to add some historical context to your movie experience. That’s when I came across this article in the New York Times. In July 1945, as Robert Oppenheimer and the other researchers of the Manhattan Project prepared to test their brand-new atomic bomb in a New Mexico desert, they knew relatively little about how that mega-weapon would behave. On July 16, when the plutonium-implosion device was set off atop a hundred-foot metal tower in a test code-named “Trinity”, the resultant blast was much stronger than anticipated. The irradiated mushroom cloud also went many times higher into the atmosphere than expected: some 50,000 to 70,000 feet. Where it would ultimately go was anyone’s guess. A new study, released on Thursday ahead of submission to a scientific journal for peer review, shows that the cloud and its fallout went farther than anyone in the Manhattan Project had imagined in 1945. Using state-of-the-art modeling software and recently uncovered historical weather data, the study’s authors say that radioactive fallout from the Trinity test reached 46 states, Canada and Mexico within 10 days of detonation. So now go see the movie. 👇😳
Every new technology from the internet to virtual reality has tried to upend book culture. There's a reason they've all failed—and always will.
To smooth the path of the quantum revolution, researchers and governments must predict and prepare for the traps ahead.
The creatives at Fable Simulations have produced an entire South Park episode with generative AI. 👇
Very sci-fi or not so much? New York City wants to fly highly impractical surveillance tech to let people know about emergencies and extreme weather.
🤓This week in chips⚠
💪 ASML announces Q2 2023 financial results: €6.9 billion net sales and €1.9 billion net income (ASML)
💰 ASML’s second quarter was a solid quarter. We sold more immersion systems than we anticipated. And on top of that, we started to revenue recognize the immersion fast shipments in Q2, which actually gave us some extra sales. This incremental DUV revenue drives our expected 2023 sales growth towards 30%.
📊 The macroeconomic situation has not improved, but on the end markets we see some first reports coming in that some end markets seem to be bottoming out. Still, the general view on market recovery is that is going to be later than the second half of 2023. That means that our customers are dealing with relatively high inventories, which means they reduce the wafer output. And that means that of course the utilization of our tools is also less.
🏭 For EUV, we see some shift in demand timing, largely driven by fab readiness. Fabs are not ready yet, so we will ship the tools later. That means that the original quoted growth number of 40% for EUV revenue this year will go down to about 25%.
⚙ On DUV, the demand is still higher than what we can make. We expect to ship a bit more systems than the 375 units that we mentioned before. But on top of that, we also have the revenue recognition at shipment instead of at installation at the customer site for DUV immersion systems. Where we originally anticipated that DUV would grow with 30%, it will now grow with 50%.
🔒 When you look at the export control measures, we don’t expect a significant impact on our 2023 year. But also not on the longer-term outlook.
🔮 Beyond 2024, the megatrends are not going away. It’s AI, it’s the energy transition, it’s the electrification of mobility, it’s industrial Internet Of Things. It’s everything that’s driven by sensors and actuators. We have still a very strong confidence in what we said at the end of last year, that by 2025 we will have between €30-€40 billion of sales, and by 2030, sales will be anywhere between €44-€60 billion.
“Over the past few years, Samsung Foundry lost several chip clients to TSMC due to its lower chip manufacturing yields and thermal issues. However, the South Korean firm is banking on its upcoming 3nm chip manufacturing process to win back clients from TSMC. It is being reported that Samsung’s 3nm chip manufacturing yield has surpassed that of TSMC, which is a rare feat from Samsung.”
DRAM is following NAND in going 3D, but architecture needs are unique and challenging. 3D DRAM is needed to keep up with the demands of graphics cards, portable devices, and more. Here's an idea of how to architect it.
In the quest for smaller, faster, and more power-efficient electronic devices, the evolution of semiconductor technology has been relentless. One significant milestone in this journey has been the advent of FinFETs (Fin Field-Effect Transistors). FinFETs have emerged as a ground-breaking transistor design that has revolutionized the semiconductor industry.
Upcoming versions of high-bandwidth memory are thermally challenging, but help may be on the way.
Tesla is sparing no expense to become a player in supercomputing, with Elon Musk saying the carmaker plans to invest more than $1 billion on its so-called Project Dojo by the end of 2024.
YMTC reportedly started production of 128-layer flash with Xtacking 3.0 memory.
Condor Galaxy 1 is the first supercomputer-scale cluster of AI chips from any startup, validating the market for non-GPU hardware at scale.
TSMC said production at a planned facility in Arizona will be postponed from late 2024 until 2025 because of a talent shortage, an ominous delay as Washington tries to establish a more robust chip industry.
📈By the numbers📉
❤️For the love of tech❤️
A French ad for the upcoming World Cup starts out like any other highlight reel. But then you realize you've been tricked by technology — in a good way.
Always Be Curious is the personal newsletter of Sander Hofman, Senior Creative Content Strategist at ASML. Opinions expressed in this curated newsletter are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.