'Destination: Jupiter' Follows Journey of NASA's Juno Space Probe

Space.com - Fri, 24/06/2016 - 6:20am
A new documentary celebrates the 5-year, 1.74-billion-mile (2.8 billion kilometer) journey of NASA's Juno space probe, is available to stream online starting June 24. The film will also probe Juno's amazing science pursuits.
Categories: Science

Boston Dynamics | Introducing SpotMini

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 24/06/2016 - 6:15am

SpotMini is a new smaller version of the Spot robot, weighing 55 lbs dripping wet (65 lbs if you include its arm). SpotMini is all-electric (no hydraulics) and runs for about 90 minutes on a charge, depending on what it is doing. SpotMini is one of the quietest robots we have ever built. It has a variety of sensors, including depth cameras, a solid state gyro (IMU) and proprioception sensors in the limbs. These sensors help with navigation and mobile manipulation. SpotMini performs some tasks autonomously, but often uses a human for high-level guidance. For more information about SpotMini visit our website at www.BostonDynamics.com

— Boston Dynamics

Categories: Science

BBC: UK Votes To Leave The European Union

Slashdot - Fri, 24/06/2016 - 6:00am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: The UK has voted by 52% to 48% to leave the European Union after 43 years in a historic referendum, a BBC forecast suggests. London and Scotland voted strongly to stay in the EU but the remain vote has been undermined by poor results in the north of England. Voters in Wales and the English shires have backed Brexit in large numbers. The referendum turnout was 71.8% -- with more than 30 million people voting -- the highest turnout since 1992. London has voted to stay in the EU by around 60% to 40%. However, no other region of England has voted in favor of remaining. Britain would be the first country to leave the EU since its formation -- but a leave vote will not immediately mean Britain ceases to be a member of the 28-nation bloc. That process could take a minimum of two years, with Leave campaigners suggesting during the referendum campaign that it should not be completed until 2020 -- the date of the next scheduled general election. The prime minister will have to decide when to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would give the UK two years to negotiate its withdrawal. Once Article 50 has been triggered a country can not rejoin without the consent of all member states. British Prime Minister David Cameron is under pressure to resign as a result of the decision. UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage called on him to quit "immediately." One labor source said, "If we vote to leave, Cameron should seriously consider his position." Several pro-Leave Conservatives including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have signed a letter to Mr. Cameron urging him to stay no matter the decision. Mr. Cameron did say he would trigger Article 50 as soon as possible after a leave vote. Update 6/24 09:33 GMT: David Cameron has resigned.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

The ‘ultimate discovery tool’ for nanoparticles

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 24/06/2016 - 4:24am

A combinatorial library of polyelemental nanoparticles was developed using Dip-Pen Nanolithography, opening up a new field of nanocombinatorics for rapid screening of nanomaterials for a multitude of properties. (credit: Peng-Cheng Chen/James Hedrick)

The discovery power of the gene chip is coming to nanotechnology, as a Northwestern University research team develops a  tool to rapidly test millions — and perhaps even billions — of different nanoparticles at one time to zero in on the best nanoparticle for a specific use.

When materials are miniaturized, their properties — optical, structural, electrical, mechanical and chemical — change, offering new possibilities. But determining what nanoparticle size and composition are best for a given application, such as catalysts, biodiagnostic labels, pharmaceuticals and electronic devices, is a daunting task.

“As scientists, we’ve only just begun to investigate what materials can be made on the nanoscale,” said Northwestern’s Chad A. Mirkin, a world leader in nanotechnology research and its application, who led the study. “Screening a million potentially useful nanoparticles, for example, could take several lifetimes. Once optimized, our tool will enable researchers to pick the winner much faster than conventional methods. We have the ultimate discovery tool.”

Combinatorial libraries of nanoparticles

Using a Northwestern technique that deposits materials on a surface, Mirkin and his team figured out how to make combinatorial libraries of nanoparticles in a controlled way. (A combinatorial library is a collection of systematically varied structures encoded at specific sites on a surface.) Their study was published today (June 24) by the journal Science.

The nanoparticle libraries are much like a gene chip, Mirkin says, where thousands of different spots of DNA are used to identify the presence of a disease or toxin. Thousands of reactions can be done simultaneously, providing results in just a few hours. Similarly, Mirkin and his team’s libraries will enable scientists to rapidly make and screen millions to billions of nanoparticles of different compositions and sizes for desirable physical and chemical properties.

“The ability to make libraries of nanoparticles will open a new field of nanocombinatorics, where size — on a scale that matters — and composition become tunable parameters,” Mirkin said. “This is a powerful approach to discovery science.”

Mirkin is the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and founding director of Northwestern’s International Institute for Nanotechnology.

Using just five metallic elements — gold, silver, cobalt, copper and nickel — Mirkin and his team developed an array of unique structures by varying every elemental combination. In previous work, the researchers had shown that particle diameter also can be varied deliberately on the 1- to 100-nanometer length scale.

More than half never existed before on Earth

Synthesis of multimetallic NPs and a five-element library of unary and multimetallic NPs (credit: Peng-Cheng Chen et al./Science)

Some of the compositions can be found in nature, but more than half of them have never existed before on Earth. And when pictured using high-powered imaging techniques, the nanoparticles appear like an array of colorful Easter eggs, each compositional element contributing to the palette.

To build the combinatorial libraries, Mirkin and his team used Dip-Pen Nanolithography, a technique developed at Northwestern in 1999, to deposit onto a surface individual polymer “dots,” each loaded with different metal salts of interest. The researchers then heated the polymer dots, reducing the salts to metal atoms and forming a single nanoparticle. The size of the polymer dot can be varied to change the size of the final nanoparticle.

The researchers used the tool to systematically generate a library of 31 nanostructures using the five different metals. They then used  advanced electron microscopes to spatially map the compositional trajectories of the combinatorial nanoparticles.

The next materials to power fuel cells, efficiently harvest solar energy, or create new chips

Scientists can now begin to study these nanoparticles as well as build other useful combinatorial libraries consisting of billions of structures that subtly differ in size and composition. These structures may become the next materials that power fuel cells, efficiently harvest solar energy and convert it into useful fuels, and catalyze reactions that take low-value feedstocks from the petroleum industry and turn them into high-value products useful in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Mirkin is a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University as well as co-director of the Northwestern University Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence. He also is a professor of medicine, chemical and biological engineering, biomedical engineering and materials science at Northwestern.

The research was supported by GlaxoSmithKline, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research,and the Asian Office of Aerospace R&D.

Abstract of Polyelemental nanoparticle libraries

Multimetallic nanoparticles are useful in many fields, yet there are no effective strategies for synthesizing libraries of such structures, in which architectures can be explored in a systematic and site-specific manner. The absence of these capabilities precludes the possibility of comprehensively exploring such systems. We present systematic studies of individual polyelemental particle systems, in which composition and size can be independently controlled and structure formation (alloy versus phase-separated state) can be understood. We made libraries consisting of every combination of five metallic elements (Au, Ag, Co, Cu, and Ni) through polymer nanoreactor–mediated synthesis. Important insight into the factors that lead to alloy formation and phase segregation at the nanoscale were obtained, and routes to libraries of nanostructures that cannot be made by conventional methods were developed.

Categories: Science

Apple Discontinues Thunderbolt Display

Slashdot - Fri, 24/06/2016 - 3:30am
An anonymous reader writes: Apple has officially told several news sites that it plans to discontinue the Thunderbolt Display, which has been available online and in Apple retail stores since it was first introduced in 2011. "We're discontinuing the Apple Thunderbolt Display. It will be available through Apple.com, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers while supplies last. There are a number of great third-party options available for Mac users," said an Apple spokesperson. Rumors suggest that Apple will launch a new version of its Thunderbolt monitor later this year, featuring an upgraded 5K resolution and discrete GPU. The new Thunderbolt Display may even launch alongside next-generation Skylake Retina MacBook Pros, which too are rumored to be released later this year. fyngyrz writes: So, bought into the whole Thunderbolt monitor thing from Apple? Might want to collect a few right now, while you still can. It appears that the Thunderbolt monitor is going the way of the analog [headphone] jack over at Apple. Isn't it fun to be part of an unsuccessful experiment?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Comcast Admits It Incorrectly Debited $1,775 From Account, Tells Customer To Sort It Out With Bank

Slashdot - Fri, 24/06/2016 - 1:25am
An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Consumerist: Consumerist reader Robert is fighting with Comcast over a $1,775 early termination fee that should not have been assessed after he tried to cancel his business-tier service with the company. Comcast itself has even admitted that the money should not have been debited from Robert's bank account, but now says it's his responsibility to sort the mess out with his bank. The Consumerist reports: "In an effort to save money in 2014, Robert called to have their service level downgraded to a more affordable rate. Shortly thereafter, correctly believing that he was out of contract, he cancelled his Comcast service. That should have been the end of the story, but only weeks after closing the Comcast account, the boys from Kabletown decided that Robert was not out of contract, debiting $1,775.44 from the checking account tied to the Comcast service. Skip forward to Jan. 2015 -- two months after being told he'd get made whole; still no check. Robert says that when he called Comcast, 'the rep actually laughed when I told her I didn't get a check yet. She said it would take three months.'" Two calls later, one in June 2015 and one in Jan. 2016, Robert still didn't receive the check even after being reassured it was coming. More recently, he received an email from someone at Comcast "Executive Customer Relations," saying: "I understand you're claiming that someone advised you Comcast would send a refund check for the last payment that was debited but this is generally not the way we handle these situations. [...] For your situation, you would have to dispute the payment with your bank." Good news: The Consumerist reached out to Comcast HQ and a Comcast rep wrote back. "More information just came in," reads the email, which explains that an ETF credit was applied to his account in Dec. 2014, but "through some error the refund check never generated." Comcast is reportedly sending the check for real this time.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

The top 10 emerging technologies of 2016

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 24/06/2016 - 12:57am

(credit: WEF)

The World Economic Forum’s annual list of this year’s breakthrough technologies, published today, includes “socially aware” openAI, grid-scale energy storage, perovskite solar cells, and other technologies with the potential to “transform industries, improve lives, and safeguard the planet.” The WEF’s specific interest is to “close gaps in investment and regulation.”

“Horizon scanning for emerging technologies is crucial to staying abreast of developments that can radically transform our world, enabling timely expert analysis in preparation for these disruptors. The global community needs to come together and agree on common principles if our society is to reap the benefits and hedge the risks of these technologies,” said Bernard Meyerson, PhD, Chief Innovation Officer of IBM and Chair of the WEF’s Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies.

The list also provides an opportunity to debate human, societal, economic or environmental risks and concerns that the technologies may pose — prior to widespread adoption.

One of the criteria used by council members during their deliberations was the likelihood that 2016 represents a tipping point in the deployment of each technology. So the list includes some technologies that have been known for a number of years, but are only now reaching a level of maturity where their impact can be meaningfully felt.

The top 10 technologies that make this year’s list are:

  1. Nanosensors and the Internet of Nanothings  — With the Internet of Things expected to comprise 30 billion connected devices by 2020, one of the most exciting areas of focus today is now on nanosensors capable of circulating in the human body or being embedded in construction materials. They could use DNA and proteins to recognize specific chemical targets, store a few bits of information, and then report their status by changing color or emitting some other easily detectable signal.
  2. Next-Generation Batteries — One of the greatest obstacles holding renewable energy back is matching supply with demand, but recent advances in energy storage using sodium, aluminum, and zinc based batteries makes mini-grids feasible that can provide clean, reliable, around-the-clock energy sources to entire villages.
  3. The Blockchain — With venture investment related to the online currency Bitcoin exceeding $1 billion in 2015 alone, the economic and social impact of blockchain’s potential to fundamentally change the way markets and governments work is only now emerging.
  4. 2D Materials — Plummeting production costs mean that 2D materials like graphene are emerging in a wide range of applications, from air and water filters to new generations of wearables and batteries.
  5. Autonomous Vehicles — The potential of self-driving vehicles for saving lives, cutting pollution, boosting economies, and improving quality of life for the elderly and other segments of society has led to rapid deployment of key technology forerunners along the way to full autonomy.
  6. Organs-on-chips — Miniature models of human organs could revolutionize medical research and drug discovery by allowing researchers to see biological mechanism behaviors in ways never before possible.
  7. Perovskite Solar Cells — This new photovoltaic material offers three improvements over the classic silicon solar cell: it is easier to make, can be used virtually anywhere and, to date, keeps on generating power more efficiently.
  8. Open AI Ecosystem — Shared advances in natural language processing and social awareness algorithms, coupled with an unprecedented availability of data, will soon allow smart digital assistants to help with a vast range of tasks, from keeping track of one’s finances and health to advising on wardrobe choice.
  9. Optogenetics — Recent developments mean light can now be delivered deeper into brain tissue, something that could lead to better treatment for people with brain disorders.
  10. Systems Metabolic Engineering — Advances in synthetic biology, systems biology, and evolutionary engineering mean that the list of building block chemicals that can be manufactured better and more cheaply by using plants rather than fossil fuels is growing every year.

To compile this list, the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on Emerging Technologies, a panel of global experts, “drew on the collective expertise of the Forum’s communities to identify the most important recent technological trends. By doing so, the Meta-Council aims to raise awareness of their potential and contribute to closing gaps in investment, regulation and public understanding that so often thwart progress.”

You can read 10 expert views on these technologies here or download the series as a PDF.

Categories: Science

Clinton's Private Email Was Blocked By Spam Filters, So State IT Turned Them Off

Slashdot - Fri, 24/06/2016 - 12:45am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Documents recently obtained by the conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch show that in December 2010, then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her staff were having difficulty communicating with State Department officials by e-mail because spam filters were blocking their messages. To fix the problem, State Department IT turned the filters off -- potentially exposing State's employees to phishing attacks and other malicious e-mails. The mail problems prompted Clinton Chief of Staff Huma Abedin to suggest to Clinton (PDF), "We should talk about putting you on State e-mail or releasing your e-mail address to the department so you are not going to spam." Clinton replied, "Let's get [a] separate address or device but I don't want any risk of the personal [e-mail] being accessible." The mail filter system -- Trend Micro's ScanMail for Exchange 8 -- was apparently causing some messages from Clinton's private server (Clintonemail.com) to not be delivered (PDF). Some were "bounced;" others were accepted by the server but were quarantined and never delivered to the recipient. According to the e-mail thread published yesterday by Judicial Watch, State's IT team turned off both spam and antivirus filters on two "bridgehead" mail relay servers while waiting for a fix from Trend Micro. There was some doubt about whether Trend Micro would address the issue before State performed an upgrade to the latest version of the mail filtering software. A State Department contractor support tech confirmed that two filters needed to be shut off in order to temporarily fix the problem -- a measure that State's IT team took with some trepidation, because the filters had "blocked malicious content in the recent past." It's not clear from the thread that the issue was ever satisfactorily resolved, either with SMEX 8 or SMEX 10.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

HTML5 Ads Aren't That Safe Compared To Flash, Experts Say

Slashdot - Fri, 24/06/2016 - 12:05am
An anonymous reader writes: [Softpedia reports:] "A study from GeoEdge (PDF), an ad scanning vendor, reveals that Flash has been wrongly accused as the root cause of today's malvertising campaigns, but in reality, switching to HTML5 ads won't safeguard users from attacks because the vulnerabilities are in the ad platforms and advertising standards themselves. The company argues that for video ads, the primary root of malvertising is the VAST and VPAID advertising standards. VAST and VPAID are the rules of the game when it comes to online video advertising, defining the road an ad needs to take from the ad's creator to the user's browser. Even if the ad is Flash or HTML5, there are critical points in this ad delivery path where ad creators can alter the ad via JavaScript injections. These same critical points are also there so advertisers or ad networks can feed JavaScript code that fingerprints and tracks users." The real culprit is the ability to send JavaScript code at runtime, and not if the ad is a Flash object, an image or a block of HTML(5) code.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Song Exploder: Chvrches Bring the House Down on ‘Clearest Blue’

Wired News - Fri, 24/06/2016 - 12:00am
The Glasgow-based trio discuss how the band created rules, then broke them while writing the best song on their sophomore album. The post Song Exploder: Chvrches Bring the House Down on 'Clearest Blue' appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Internet Trolls Hack Popular YouTube Channel WatchMojo

Slashdot - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 11:20pm
An anonymous reader writes: WatchMojo, one of the most popular channels of YouTube with over 12 million subscribers, has been hacked. Subscribers of one of YouTube's most popular channels, WatchMojo, were greeted with an unusual surprise on Wednesday evening, as a couple of hackers, known only as Obnoxious and Pein, hacked the lineup of the channel's videos. The two hackers then proceeded to rename almost all of WatchMojo's videos with the title "HACKED BY OBNOXIOUS AND PEIN twitter.com/poodlecorp." Since the channel was compromised, the hackers have uploaded two new videos, "Top 5 Facts About the Yakuza," and a video about Neanderthal myths. Apart from these, however, the hackers have not touched anything else on the channel. Though, most of WatchMojo's videos still remain hacked as of writing. The popular channel announced that it is fully aware of the hack. WatchMojo further stated that it has already contacted YouTube about the incident and that it is already starting to fix the changes to its videos.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Getting to the heart of chronic fatigue syndrome

Science Daily - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 10:42pm
By better understanding daily activity levels and heart rate patterns of those who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), scientists hope to discover more about this complex illness condition.
Categories: Science

SanDisk Made an iPhone Case With Built-In Storage

Slashdot - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 10:40pm
An anonymous reader writes: SanDisk has made its iXpand Memory Case to alleviate the problem that Apple creates when they release an iPhone in 2016 with only 16GB of on-board storage. The iXpand Memory Case is an iPhone case with flash storage built directly into the case itself that connects/charges via the Lightning port. You won't need a new phone and you won't need to carry around an extra charging dongle, which is the case for many other third-party cases and accessories. Since Apple doesn't make expanding your storage with third-party devices easy, you will need to download/install the companion SanDisk iXpand Memory Case app on your iPhone, which will automatically back-up your camera roll and password-protect your photos and files. If you need some extra juice, you can spend an extra $40 to receive a 1900mAh battery pack that attaches to the case. The iXpand Memory Case is only available with the iPhone 6 and 6s and is available with 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB of extra flash storage for $59, $99, and $129, respectively. Oh, and of course there are varying color options: Red, Grey, Sky and Mint. Maybe your phone battery is running low (God-forbid it is dead) and you just so happen to be nearby a KFC in Delhi or Mumbai, KFC has you covered. They have introduced a meal box that doubles as a smartphone charger.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Federal Court: The Fourth Amendment Does Not Protect Your Home Computer

Slashdot - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 10:00pm
An anonymous reader writes: The EFF reports that a federal court in Virginia today ruled that a criminal defendant has no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in his personal computer (PDF), located inside his home. The court says the federal government does not need a warrant to hack into an individual's computer. EFF reports: "The implications for the decision, if upheld, are staggering: law enforcement would be free to remotely search and seize information from your computer, without a warrant, without probable cause, or without any suspicion at all. To say the least, the decision is bad news for privacy. But it's also incorrect as a matter of law, and we expect there is little chance it would hold up on appeal. (It also was not the central component of the judge's decision, which also diminishes the likelihood that it will become reliable precedent.) But the decision underscores a broader trend in these cases: courts across the country, faced with unfamiliar technology and unsympathetic defendants, are issuing decisions that threaten everyone's rights.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Infographic: Netflix’s New ‘N’ and the State of Logo Design

Wired News - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 9:23pm
What’s interesting is how minimal, even abstract, many of these icons have become. The post Infographic: Netflix’s New 'N' and the State of Logo Design appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Boston Dynamics' SpotMini Is All Electric, Agile, and Has A Capable Face-Arm

Slashdot - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 9:20pm
An anonymous reader writes: Boston Dynamics has shown the world their "fun-sizeified version of their Spot quadruped," the SpotMini robot. It's a quiet, all electric machine that features a googley-eyed face-arm. IEEE Spectrum notes some observations made from watching their YouTube video. First of all, the SpotMini appears to be waterproof and doesn't rely on hydraulics like the other more powerful robots of theirs. The SpotMini is likely operated by a human, and is not autonomous, though the self-righting could be an autonomous behavior. The video appears to show two separate versions of the SpotMini: an undressed and dressed variant (it's hard to tell if the "dressed" variant features differing components/abilities). There is a MultiSense S7 video camera on the front, some other camera-based vision system on the front, a butt-mounted Velodyne VLP-16 system, and what may be a small camera on the face-arm's mouth. One particularly noteworthy observation is that during much of the video, the SpotMini is traversing through a house. In other Boston Dynamics demo videos, the robots are outside. The author of the report says, "[...] it wouldn't surprise me if we're looking at an attempt to make an (relatively) affordable robot that can do practical things for people who aren't in the military."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Overweight and obesity impact on periodontitis

Science Daily - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 8:59pm
Overweight and obesity have been associated with increased periodontitis risk. However, uncertainty persists regarding the causal relationship of such conditions. In this study, participants were followed periodically since their birth. Anthropometric measures and habits were assessed during the life-course.
Categories: Science

Development of drugs for local treatment of oral conditions

Science Daily - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 8:59pm
Several medications commonly prescribed for oral mucosal administration are actually intended for transdermal application. Many conditions affecting the oral mucosa require frequent or long-term treatments and some treatments are systemically applied. Clinical resistance and patient intolerance of such treatments may develop. There is thus a constant need to address these problems through the development of less side-effect prone drugs.
Categories: Science

Researchers discover how faulty genetic instructions drive a deadly blood cancer in adults

Science Daily - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 8:59pm
A study has uncovered the genetic mechanism for how acute myeloid leukemia cells with a specific DNA mutation stay as undifferentiated cells, rather than maturing into healthy blood cells.
Categories: Science

Proteins put up with the roar of the crowd

Science Daily - Thu, 23/06/2016 - 8:59pm
Proteins that activate DNA binding sites appear to have no problems with crowded conditions, according to scientists.
Categories: Science