Tech Time Warp of the Week: Watch Apple’s Awkwardly Wrong Prediction of the Future From 1987

Wired News - 12 min 53 sec ago
Apple has a long history of weird, self-serving company videos that elevate its computer-and-gadget operation to nothing short of a global superpower. But this is something else. In 1987, two years after founder Steve Jobs was run out of the company, Apple produced a video that predicted a phantasmagorically glorious future for the maker of […]






Categories: Science

The Credit Card That’ll Replace All Your Plastic Is Finally Here (Kind Of)

Wired News - 43 min 36 sec ago
When Coin released the first video of its über credit card, the response was enormous. After 40 minutes, even though it was still just a prototype, 1,000 people had evidently forked over $50 for the super-slim electronic device that stores multiple credit card numbers and lets you use any of them with the mere push […]






Categories: Science

What's After Big Data?

Slashdot - 58 min 35 sec ago
gthuang88 writes: As the marketing hype around "big data" subsides, a recent wave of startups is solving a new class of data-related problems and showing where the field is headed. Niche analytics companies like RStudio, Vast, and FarmLink are trying to provide insights for specific industries such as finance, real estate, and agriculture. Data-wrangling software from startups like Tamr and Trifacta is targeting enterprises looking to find and prep corporate data. And heavily funded startups such as Actifio and DataGravity are trying to make data-storage systems smarter. Together, these efforts highlight where emerging data technologies might actually be used in the business world.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Researchers Made a Fake Social Network To Infiltrate China's Internet Censors

Slashdot - 1 hour 45 min ago
Jason Koebler writes: In order to get inside China's notorious internet filter, Harvard researcher Gary King created his own fake social network to gain access to the programs used to censor content, so he could reverse-engineer the system. "From inside China, we created our own social media website, purchased a URL, rented server space, contracted with one of the most popular software platforms in China used to create these sites, submitted, automatically reviewed, posted, and censored our own submissions," King wrote in a study published in Science. "We had complete access to the software; we were even able to get their recommendations on how to conduct censorship on our own site in compliance with government standards."

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Categories: Science

Remarkable 'Traveling' Flame Sparked In Space Station Experiment | Video

Space.com - 1 hour 48 min ago
The Flame Extinguishment - 2 (FLEX-2) experiment studies the burning of fuel droplets in space. In a recent test, iso-octane and heptane were the fuel sources in an oxygen (21%) and nitrogen (79%) environment. 
Categories: Science

The Data Scientist on a Quest to Turn Computers Into Doctors

Wired News - 2 hours 1 min ago
Some of the world’s most brilliant minds are working as data scientists at places like Google, Facebook, and Twitter—analyzing the enormous troves of online information generated by these tech giants—and for hacker and entrepreneur Jeremy Howard, that’s a bit depressing. Howard, a data scientist himself, spent a few years as the president of the Kaggle, […]






Categories: Science

33 Months In Prison For Recording a Movie In a Theater

Slashdot - 2 hours 27 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Philip Danks used a camcorder to record Fast & Furious 6 in a U.K. cinema. Later, he shared it via bittorrent and allegedly sold physical copies. Now, he's been sentenced to 33 months in prison for his actions. "In Court it was claimed that Danks' uploading of Fast 6 resulted in more than 700,000 downloads, costing Universal Pictures and the wider industry millions of pounds in losses." Danks was originally told police weren't going to take any action against him, but he unwisely continued to share the movie files after his initial detainment with authorities.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Space Does Weird Things to Astronaut Immune Systems

Space.com - 2 hours 28 min ago
New research led by NASA shows that spaceflight confuses the immune system.
Categories: Science

Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

Slashdot - 3 hours 9 min ago
theodp writes Following up on news that the White House met with big biz on immigration earlier this month, Bloomberg sat down with Joe Green, the head of Mark Zuckerberg's Fwd.US PAC, to discuss possible executive actions President Obama might take on high tech immigration (video) in September. "Hey, Joe," asked interviewer Alix Steel. "All we keep hearing about this earnings season though from big tech is how they're actually cutting jobs. If you look at Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, why do the tech companies then need more tech visas?" Green explained why tech may not want to settle for laid-off U.S. talent when the world is its oyster. "The difference between someone who's truly great and just sort of okay is really huge," Green said. "Culture in tech is a very meritocratic culture," he added. "The vast, vast majority of tech engineers that I talked to who are from the United States are very supportive of bringing in people from other countries because they want to work with the very best."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Tech Looks To Obama To Save Them From 'Just Sort of OK' US Workers

Slashdot - 3 hours 9 min ago
theodp writes Following up on news that the White House met with big biz on immigration earlier this month, Bloomberg sat down with Joe Green, the head of Mark Zuckerberg's Fwd.US PAC, to discuss possible executive actions President Obama might take on high tech immigration (video) in September. "Hey, Joe," asked interviewer Alix Steel. "All we keep hearing about this earnings season though from big tech is how they're actually cutting jobs. If you look at Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, why do the tech companies then need more tech visas?" Green explained why tech may not want to settle for laid-off U.S. talent when the world is its oyster. "The difference between someone who's truly great and just sort of okay is really huge," Green said. "Culture in tech is a very meritocratic culture," he added. "The vast, vast majority of tech engineers that I talked to who are from the United States are very supportive of bringing in people from other countries because they want to work with the very best."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

A Gadget Designed to Finally Make Doctors Wash Their Hands Enough

Wired News - 3 hours 49 min ago
75,000 patients died last year from healthcare-associated infections (HAI) in the United States. The culprit is usually unwashed hands.






Categories: Science

NSA Agents Leak Tor Bugs To Developers

Slashdot - 3 hours 52 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: We've known for a while that NSA specifically targets Tor, because they want to disrupt one of the last remaining communication methods they aren't able to tap or demand access to. However, not everybody at the NSA is on board with this strategy. Tor developer Andrew Lewman says even as flaws in Tor are rooted out by the NSA and British counterpart GCHQ, other agents from the two organizations leak those flaws directly to the developers, so they can be fixed quickly. He said, "You have to think about the type of people who would be able to do this and have the expertise and time to read Tor source code from scratch for hours, for weeks, for months, and find and elucidate these super-subtle bugs or other things that they probably don't get to see in most commercial software." Lewman estimates the Tor Project receives these reports on a monthly basis. He also spoke about how a growing amount of users will affect Tor. He suggests a massive company like Google or Facebook will eventually have to take up the task of making Tor scale up to millions of users.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

It's Easy To Hack Traffic Lights

Slashdot - 4 hours 34 min ago
An anonymous reader notes coverage of research from the University of Michigan into the ease with which attackers can hack traffic lights. From the article: As is typical in large urban areas, the traffic lights in the subject city are networked in a tree-type topology, allowing them to pass information to and receive instruction from a central management point. The network is IP-based, with all the nodes (intersections and management computers) on a single subnet. In order to save on installation costs and increase flexibility, the traffic light system uses wireless radios rather than dedicated physical networking links for its communication infrastructure—and that’s the hole the research team exploited. ... The 5.8GHz network has no password and uses no encryption; with a proper radio in hand, joining is trivial. ... The research team quickly discovered that the debug port was open on the live controllers and could directly "read and write arbitrary memory locations, kill tasks, and even reboot the device (PDF)." Debug access to the system also let the researchers look at how the controller communicates to its attached devices—the traffic lights and intersection cameras. They quickly discovered that the control system’s communication was totally non-obfuscated and easy to understand—and easy to subvert.

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Categories: Science

A University Can Pick Two of These Three Things

Wired News - 4 hours 35 min ago
A recent trend seems to be the evaluation of higher education institutions. I’m not sure about other states, but in Louisiana the state funding each university receives is partly based on “performance metrics”. Personally, I think all of these things are just silly. At one point or another, I have heard administrators and politicians saying […]






Categories: Science

A low-cost water splitter that runs on an ordinary AAA battery

Kurzweil AI - 4 hours 59 min ago

Stanford scientists have developed a low-cost device that uses an ordinary AAA battery (or a solar cell) to split water into oxygen and hydrogen gas. Gas bubbles are produced by electrodes made of inexpensive nickel and iron. (Credit: Mark Shwartz/Stanford University)

A cheap, emissions-free device that uses a 1.5-volt AAA battery to split water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis has been developed by scientists at Stanford University.

Unlike other water splitters that use precious-metal catalysts, the electrodes in the Stanford device are made of inexpensive, abundant nickel and iron.

“This is the first time anyone has used non-precious metal catalysts to split water at a voltage that low,” said Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford. “It’s quite remarkable, because normally you need expensive metals, like platinum or iridium, to achieve that voltage.”

He and his colleagues describe the new device in a study published in the Aug. 22 issue of the journal Nature Communications.

The promise of hydrogen

Model of a nanoscale nickel oxide/nickel heterostructure formed on a carbon nanotube, creating a non-precious-metal hydrogen-evolution catalyst (credit: Ming Gong and Hongjie Dai, Stanford University)

Fuel cell technology is essentially water splitting in reverse. A fuel cell combines stored hydrogen gas with oxygen from the air to produce electricity, which powers the car.

The only byproduct is water — unlike gasoline combustion, which emits carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

In 2015, American consumers will finally be able to purchase fuel cell cars from Toyota and other manufacturers. Although touted as zero-emissions vehicles, most of the cars will run on hydrogen made from natural gas, a fossil fuel that contributes to global warming.

Most of these vehicles will run on fuel manufactured at large industrial plants that produce hydrogen by combining very hot steam and natural gas, an energy-intensive process that releases carbon dioxide as a byproduct.

Splitting water to make hydrogen requires no fossil fuels* and emits no greenhouse gases. But scientists have yet to develop an affordable, active water splitter with catalysts capable of working at industrial scales.

Saving energy and money

The discovery was made by Stanford graduate student Ming Gong, co-lead author of the study. “Ming discovered a nickel-metal/nickel-oxide structure that turns out to be more active than pure nickel metal or pure nickel oxide alone,” Dai said.  “This novel structure favors hydrogen electrocatalysis, but we still don’t fully understand the science behind it.”

The nickel/nickel-oxide catalyst significantly lowers the voltage required to split water, which could eventually save hydrogen producers billions of dollars in electricity costs, according to Gong. His next goal is to improve the durability of the device.

“The electrodes are fairly stable, but they do slowly decay over time,” he said. “The current device would probably run for days, but weeks or months would be preferable. That goal is achievable based on my most recent results.”

The researchers also plan to develop a water splitter than runs on electricity produced by solar energy.

“Hydrogen is an ideal fuel for powering vehicles, buildings and storing renewable energy on the grid,” said Dai. “This shows that through nanoscale engineering of materials we can really make a difference in how we make fuels and consume energy.”

“Another major use of the nickel oxide/nickel hydrogen evolution catalyst is the cathode for the chloroalkali industry [to produce chlorine and sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), which are commodity chemicals required by industry],” Dai told KurzweilAI in an email interview. “The improved activity by the catalyst might potentially save the electricity cost of the chloroalkali industry by 10–20 %, which is on the scale of billions of dollars, as the U.S. uses about 8–10% of its electrical energy on chloroalkali electrolysis.”

So when can we expect this innovation to be available commercially? “The catalysts can be produced at very large scale for industrial purposes,” he said. “Currently, the device could work for days, but we are still working on improving the stability of the catalysts. Once the stability is further improved to more than weeks, the device can be easily produced for commercialization, which may take several years.”

Other authors of the study include scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, and University of Tennessee. Principal funding was provided by the Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP), the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford, and the U.S. Department of Energy.


Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy | Stanford University Professor Hongjie Dai has developed an emissions-free electrolytic device that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen at room temperature.

* Except for the relatively small amount of fuel used in providing a voltage source.

Categories: Science

UPS: We've Been Hacked

Slashdot - 5 hours 16 min ago
paysonwelch writes The United Parcel Service announced that customers' credit and debit card information at 51 franchises in 24 states may have been compromised. There are 4,470 franchised center locations throughout the U.S., according to UPS. The malware began to infiltrate the system as early as January 20, but the majority of the attacks began after March 26. UPS says the threat was eliminated as of August 11 and that customers can shop safely at all locations.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

NASA Unveils Best Map Ever of Neptune's Moon Triton (Images, Video)

Space.com - 6 hours 32 min ago
The new map, made using photos taken by NASA's Voyager 2 probe in 1989, has also been turned into a movie reconstructing the spacecraft's historic Triton encounter — the only time a spacecraft has ever visited the Neptune system.
Categories: Science

OS X Yosemite: How to Use the New, More Powerful Spotlight Search

Wired News - 6 hours 38 min ago
For those who’ve just started using the beta, or are just anticipating its launch later this year, we’ve got some tips on how to best take advantage of the redesigned OS and its many new features. In this edition, we take on Apple’s systemwide search, Spotlight.






Categories: Science

The Legendary Photographer Who Captured the Softer Side of NYC

Wired News - 6 hours 38 min ago
Saul Leiter, a New York photographer who died last November, has always been recognized as one of the most important street shooters of his time by those in the art world. But it wasn't until recently that his work came to be known, and loved, by the general public.






Categories: Science

How to Solve Google’s Crazy Open-Ended Interview Questions

Wired News - 6 hours 38 min ago
Consider the following question that has been asked at actual Google job interviews: How much does the Empire State Building weigh? Now, there is no correct answer to this question in any practical sense because no one knows the answer. Google isn’t interested in the answer, though; they’re interested in the process.






Categories: Science