Curiosity Rover Decides, By Itself, What To Investigate On Mars

Slashdot - Thu, 22/06/2017 - 7:00am
sciencehabit writes: NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars in 2012, in part to analyze rocks to see whether the Red Planet was ever habitable (or inhabited). But now the robot has gone off script, picking out its own targets for analysis -- precisely as planned. Last year, NASA scientists uploaded a piece of software called Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS) adapted from the older Opportunity rover. Curiosity can now scan each new location and use artificial intelligence to find promising targets for its ChemCam. Compared with the estimated 24% success rate of random aiming at picking out outcrops -- a prime target for investigation -- the current version of AEGIS lets the rover find them 94% of the time, researchers report.

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Categories: Science

Burning Mystery of the Sun's Plasma Jets May Finally Be Solved

Space.com - Thu, 22/06/2017 - 6:08am
A new understanding of how jets of plasma explode from the surface of the sun could help scientists crack one of the biggest mysteries surrounding our nearest star.
Categories: Science

NASA Eyes Close-Up Mission to Uranus, Neptune

Space.com - Thu, 22/06/2017 - 6:00am
New NASA mission ideas would investigate the gassy environments of Uranus and Neptune, two planets on the edge of the solar system that spacecraft have visited only once.
Categories: Science

Will August's Eclipse Be Most Watched Ever? Totally

Space.com - Thu, 22/06/2017 - 5:05am
The total solar eclipse that will sweep across the U.S. on Aug. 21 may very well be the most-watched solar eclipse in history, NASA scientists said at a news briefing in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday (June 21).
Categories: Science

Microsoft Admits Disabling Anti-Virus Software For Windows 10 Users

Slashdot - Thu, 22/06/2017 - 3:30am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Microsoft has admitted that it does temporarily disable anti-virus software on Windows PCs, following an competition complaint to the European Commission by a security company. In early June, Kaspersky Lab filed the complaint against Microsoft. The security company claims the software giant is abusing its market dominance by steering users to its own anti-virus software. Microsoft says it implemented defenses to keep Windows 10 users secure. In an extensive blog post that does not directly address Kaspersky or its claims, Microsoft says it bundles the Windows Defender Antivirus with Windows 10 to ensure that every single device is protected from viruses and malware. To combat the 300,000 new malware samples being created and spread every day, Microsoft says that it works together with external anti-virus partners. The technology giant estimates that about 95% of Windows 10 PCs were using anti-virus software that was already compatible with the latest Windows 10 Creators Update. For the applications that were not compatible, Microsoft built a feature that lets users update their PCs and then reinstall a new version of the anti-virus software. "To do this, we first temporarily disabled some parts of the AV software when the update began. We did this work in partnership with the AV partner to specify which versions of their software are compatible and where to direct customers after updating," writes Rob Lefferts, a partner director of the Windows and Devices group in enterprise and security at Microsoft.

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Categories: Science

Remember When You Called Someone and Heard a Song?

Slashdot - Thu, 22/06/2017 - 2:05am
An anonymous reader shares a Motherboard article: If you were youngish in the early 2000s, you probably remember this phenomenon -- calling a friend's cell phone, and instead of hearing the the standard ring, you heard a pop song. Called ringback tones, this digital music fad allowed cell phone owners to subject callers to their own musical preference. Ringback tones were incredibly trendy in the early and mid-2000's, but have since tapered off nearly to oblivion. Though almost nobody is buying ringbacks anymore, plenty of people still have them from back in the day. [...] In the process of writing this story, I heard from several people that they or someone they knew still had a ringback tone, in large part because they have had it for years, and don't know how to get rid of it.

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eBay Will Now Price Match Amazon, Walmart and Others On Over 50,000 Items

Slashdot - Thu, 22/06/2017 - 1:25am
eBay announced today a new Price Match Guarantee for over 50,000 items across its site -- promising that it will have the best deal online, or it will match the lowest price of a competitor. While only select items are available for this offer, "the move is a significant effort on eBay's part to ensure that it doesn't lose customers to Amazon, Walmart and other online stores as the market consolidates behind the industry's major players," reports TechCrunch. From the report: In order to qualify, the item must be one of the new, unopened items sold daily through eBay Deals, for starters. Deals are eBay's selection of "trending" inventory across all its categories -- like consumer electronics, home & garden, and fashion. The deals are also generally offered at 20 percent to 90 percent off, and are sourced from over 900 of eBay's trusted sellers. These sellers include both smaller merchants looking to grow their customer base as well as major consumer brands. At any time, eBay says there are "tens of thousands" of items offered through the Deals site, with featured deals updating at least once per day, beginning at 8 AM PT.

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Categories: Science

NSA Opens GitHub Account, Lists 32 Projects Developed By the Agency

Slashdot - Thu, 22/06/2017 - 12:45am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hacker News: The National Security Agency (NSA) -- the United States intelligence agency which is known for its secrecy and working in the dark -- has finally joined GitHub and launched an official GitHub page. GitHub is an online service designed for sharing code amongst programmers and open source community, and so far, the NSA is sharing 32 different projects as part of the NSA Technology Transfer Program (TTP), while some of these are "coming soon." "The NSA Technology Transfer Program (TTP) works with agency innovators who wish to use this collaborative model for transferring their technology to the commercial marketplace," the agency wrote on the program's page. "OSS invites the cooperative development of technology, encouraging broad use and adoption. The public benefits by adopting, enhancing, adapting, or commercializing the software. The government benefits from the open source community's enhancements to the technology." Many of the projects the agency listed are years old that have been available on the Internet for some time. For example, SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) has been part of the Linux kernel for years.

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Categories: Science

Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Isolate a Network And Allow Data Transfer?

Slashdot - Thu, 22/06/2017 - 12:05am
Futurepower(R) writes: What is the best way to isolate a network from the internet and prevent intrusion of malware, while allowing carefully examined data transfer from internet-facing computers? An example of complete network isolation could be that each user would have two computers with a KVM switch and a monitor and keyboard, or two monitors and two keyboards. An internet-facing computer could run a very secure version of Linux. Any data to be transferred to that user's computer on the network would perhaps go through several Raspberry Pi computers running Linux; the computers could each use a different method of checking for malware. Windows computers on the isolated network could be updated using Autopatcher, so that there would never be a direct connection with the internet. Why not use virtualization? Virtualization does not provide enough separation; there is the possibility of vulnerabilities. Do you have any ideas about improving the example above?

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South Korea Signs On To Build Full-Scale Hyperloop System

Slashdot - Wed, 21/06/2017 - 11:25pm
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) has partnered with the South Korean government and local universities to build the world's first full-scale Hyperloop system. "The agreement was actually signed back in January but only revealed this week, and sees HTT team up with the South Korean government's department of technological innovation and infrastructure, along with the Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building (KICT) and Hanyang University," reports New Atlas. From the report: It involves the construction of a full-scale testbed, licensing of HTT's vacuum tube, levitation, propulsion and battery technologies along with the co-development of safety standards and regulations. The agreement is a multi-year partnership intended to build a new transportation system for South Korea, one which will be known as the HyperTube Express and carry passengers between Seoul and Busan in under 20 minutes, compared to the current three-hour drive. HTT may be setting out to build the world's first Hyperloop but it is no guarantee, with fellow startups Arrivo and Hyperloop One also moving full-steam ahead with their plans. The latter in particular seems to be making solid progress, recently showing off a full-scale test track in Nevada and forming agreements with Russia, Finland and Dubai to explore the feasibility of a Hyperloop in those countries. It's too early to tell who will be first out of the gate, but the competition is certainly heating up.

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Categories: Science

Identified brain circuitry bridges neural and behavioral roles in PTSD

Science Daily - Wed, 21/06/2017 - 11:00pm
Specific cerebral circuitry bridges chemical changes deep in the brain and the more outward behavioral expressions associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which could lead to more objective biomarkers for the disorder, according to a comprehensive review of rapidly changing data.
Categories: Science

First-line immunotherapy treatment can improve survival for subset of lung cancer patients

Science Daily - Wed, 21/06/2017 - 11:00pm
Findings from a phase III clinical trial for advanced lung cancer patients could help oncologists better predict which patients are likely to receive the most benefit from immunotherapy as a first-line treatment based on the unique molecular characteristics of their tumor, according to a new study.
Categories: Science

African leopards revealed: Study documents minute-to-minute behavior of elusive cats

Science Daily - Wed, 21/06/2017 - 11:00pm
The elusive behavior of the African leopard has been revealed in great detail for the first time as part of a sophisticated study that links the majestic cat's caloric demands and its drive to kill.
Categories: Science

Pollinator extinctions alter structure of ecological networks

Science Daily - Wed, 21/06/2017 - 11:00pm
The absence of a single dominant bumblebee species from an ecosystem disrupts foraging patterns among a broad range of remaining pollinators in the system -- from other bees to butterflies, beetles and more, field experiments show.
Categories: Science

Facial Recognition Is Coming To US Airports

Slashdot - Wed, 21/06/2017 - 10:45pm
Facial recognition systems will be coming to U.S. airports in the very near future. "Customs and Border Protection first started testing facial recognition systems at Dulles Airport in 2015, then expanded the tests to New York's JFK Airport last year," reports The Verge. "Now, a new project is poised to bring those same systems to every international airport in America." From the report: Called Biometric Exit, the project would use facial matching systems to identify every visa holder as they leave the country. Passengers would have their photos taken immediately before boarding, to be matched with the passport-style photos provided with the visa application. If there's no match in the system, it could be evidence that the visitor entered the country illegally. The system is currently being tested on a single flight from Atlanta to Tokyo, but after being expedited by the Trump administration, it's expected to expand to more airports this summer, eventually rolling out to every international flight and border crossing in the U.S. U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Larry Panetta, who took over the airport portion of the project in February, explained the advantages of facial recognition at the Border Security Expo last week. "Facial recognition is the path forward we're working on," Panetta said at the conference. "We currently have everyone's photo, so we don't need to do any sort of enrollment. We have access to the Department of State records so we have photos of U.S. Citizens, we have visa photos, we have photos of people when they cross into the U.S. and their biometrics are captured into [DHS biometric database] IDENT."

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Virgin Mobile Becomes World's First iPhone-Exclusive Carrier, Offers Year of Service For $1

Slashdot - Wed, 21/06/2017 - 10:05pm
BrianFagioli quotes a report via BetaNews: Goodness gracious, Virgin Mobile USA has made quite the bold moves today. The cellular service provider has become the world's first iPhone-exclusive carrier. In other words, it will no longer offer Android at all. Crazy, right? This is through a partnership with Apple, and Virgin will offer many versions of the device, including iPhone 6, 6S, 7, and SE. The craziness doesn't stop there, however, as there is even something much more exciting -- Virgin Mobile USA is offering unlimited talk, text and data for a dollar. No, that is not a typo -- a single buck will get you unlimited everything for up to a year! This is through a new scheme called "Inner Circle."

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Categories: Science

California May Restore Broadband Privacy Rules Killed By Congress and Trump

Slashdot - Wed, 21/06/2017 - 9:25pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A proposed law in California would require Internet service providers to obtain customers' permission before they use, share, or sell the customers' Web browsing history. The California Broadband Internet Privacy Act, a bill introduced by Assembly member Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park) on Monday, is very similar to an Obama-era privacy rule that was scheduled to take effect across the US until President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress eliminated it. If Chau's bill becomes law, ISPs in California would have to get subscribers' opt-in consent before using browsing history and other sensitive information in order to serve personalized advertisements. Consumers would have the right to revoke their consent at any time. The opt-in requirement in Chau's bill would apply to "Web browsing history, application usage history, content of communications, and origin and destination Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of all traffic." The requirement would also apply to geolocation data, IP addresses, financial and health information, information pertaining to minors, names and billing information, Social Security numbers, demographic information, and personal details such as physical addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers.

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Jon Ossoff Was the Congressional Candidate Social Media Built

Wired News - Wed, 21/06/2017 - 9:10pm
The Democrat's loss in Georgia's 6th District is what happens when a local political campaign goes viral.
Categories: Science

A simple solution to protect critical infrastructure

Science Daily - Wed, 21/06/2017 - 9:01pm
Experts have provided a solution for stopping flooding in subway tunnels in the form of a giant inflatable plug that will seal them off and stop water from flowing throughout the subway system into stations and other subway lines.
Categories: Science

What percentage of ALS is genetic?

Science Daily - Wed, 21/06/2017 - 8:59pm
Up to 90 percent of people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) report that they have no family history of the disease. Now, new research has found approximately 17 percent of such ALS cases may be caused by a gene mutation, according to a study.
Categories: Science