Repurposed drugs may offer improved treatments for fatal genetic disorders

Science Daily - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 7:32pm
Researchers believe they have identified a potential new means of treating some of the most severe genetic diseases of childhood, according to a new study.
Categories: Science

Large, rare diamonds offer window into inner workings of Earth's mantle

Science Daily - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 7:31pm
Breakthrough research examines diamonds of exceptional size and quality to uncover clues about Earth's geology. The researchers studied the unique properties of diamonds with similar characteristics to famous stones such as the Cullinan, Constellation and Koh-i-Noor to advance our understanding of Earth's deep mantle, hidden beneath tectonic plates and largely inaccessible for scientific observation.
Categories: Science

Road planning 'trade off' could boost food production while helping protect tropical forests

Science Daily - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 7:31pm
Scientists hope a new approach to planning road infrastructure that could increase crop yield in the Greater Mekong region while limiting environmental destruction will open dialogues between developers and the conservation community.
Categories: Science

Fitbit Won't Kill Off Pebble Services At Least Until 2018

Slashdot - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 7:30pm
Earlier this week, Fitbit announced that it was buying up the assets of smartwatch maker Pebble, and a lot of questions still exist around exactly how Pebble's existing products will work. Today a member of Pebble's developer team attempted to address some of those questions. From a report on The Next Web: In a blog post, it noted that it will keep Pebble software and services running through 2017. Jon Barlow, who was previously on Pebble's Developer Evangelist team and is now part of Fitbit's transition effort, wrote: "To be clear, no one on this freshly-formed team seeks to brick Pebble watches in active service. The Pebble SDK, CloudPebble, Timeline APIs, firmware availability, mobile apps, developer portal, and Pebble appstore are all elements of the Pebble ecosystem that will remain in service at this time. Pebble developers are welcome to keep creating and updating apps. Pebble users are free to keep enjoying their watches."

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Ceres: Water ice in eternal polar night

Science Daily - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 7:18pm
The cameras of the Dawn space probe discover water ice in Ceres' polar region. It can survive for aeons in the extreme cold traps, even though there is no atmosphere.
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Facebook Is Clamping Down On Fake News, Partners With Fact Checkers To Flag Stories

Slashdot - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 6:53pm
After weeks of criticism over its role in spreading fake news during and after the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, Facebook said today it is taking concrete steps to halt the sharing of hoaxes on its platform. From a report on Slate: The company announced on Thursday several new features designed to identify, flag, and slow the spread of false news stories on its platform, including a partnership with third-party fact-checkers such as Snopes and PolitiFact. It is also taking steps to prevent spammers and publishers from profiting from fake news. The new features are relatively cautious and somewhat experimental, which means they may not immediately have the intended effects. But they signal a new direction for a company that has been extremely reticent to take on any editorial oversight of the content posted on its platform. And they are likely to evolve over time as the company tests and refines them. First, it's trying to make it easier for users to report fake news stories. The drop-down menu at the top right of each post in your feed will now include an explicit option to report it as a "fake news story," after which you'll be prompted to choose among multiple options, which include notifying Facebook and messaging the person who shared it.

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Verizon Explores Lower Price or Even Exit From Yahoo Deal

Slashdot - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 6:11pm
Verizon is reconsidering its $4.8 billion purchase of Yahoo, according to Bloomberg. Citing a source, the publication claims that Wednesday's announcement by Yahoo -- theft of info from one billion users -- has led Verizon to consider scrapping the deal entirely. From the report: While a Verizon group led by AOL Chief Executive Officer Tim Armstrong is still focused on integration planning to get Yahoo up and running, another team, walled off from the rest, is reviewing the breach disclosures and the company's options, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. A legal team led by Verizon General Counsel Craig Silliman is assessing the damage from the breaches and is working toward either killing the deal or renegotiating the Yahoo purchase at a lower price, the person said. One of the major objectives for Verizon is negotiating a separation from any future legal fallout from the breaches. Verizon is seeking to have Yahoo assume any lasting responsibility for the hack damage, the person said.

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Facebook Finally Gets Real About Fighting Fake News

Wired News - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 6:08pm
The social network's updates to address fake news are live now. And while they won't solve the problem overnight, they're an important first step. The post Facebook Finally Gets Real About Fighting Fake News appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Technique shrinks data sets for easier analysis

Science Daily - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 5:59pm
A new coreset-generation technique has been presented by researchers that's tailored to a whole family of data analysis tools with applications in natural-language processing, computer vision, signal processing, recommendation systems, weather prediction, finance, and neuroscience, among many others.
Categories: Science

Researchers build liquid biopsy chip that detects metastatic cancer cells in blood

Science Daily - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 5:59pm
A 'liquid biopsy' chip can trap and identify metastatic cancer cells in a small amount of blood drawn from a cancer patient. The breakthrough technology uses a simple mechanical method that has been shown to be more effective in trapping cancer cells than the microfluidic approach employed in many existing devices. The device captures cancer cells with antibodies attached to carbon nanotubes.
Categories: Science

New report calls for forward-looking analysis and a review of restoration goals for the Everglades

Science Daily - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 5:59pm
To ensure the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is responsive to changing environmental conditions like climate change and sea-level rise, as well as to changes in water management, a new report calls for a re-examination of the program's original restoration goals and recommends a forward-looking, systemwide analysis of Everglades restoration outcomes across a range of scenarios.
Categories: Science

Warming could slow upslope migration of trees

Science Daily - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 5:49pm
Scientists expect trees will advance upslope as global temperatures increase, shifting the tree line—the mountain zone where trees become smaller and eventually stop growing—to higher elevations. Subalpine forests will follow their climate up the mountain, in other words. But new research suggests this may not hold true for two subalpine tree species of western North America.
Categories: Science

New gene fusions, mutations linked to gastrointestinal stromal tumors

Science Daily - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 5:49pm
In recent years, researchers have identified specific gene mutations linked to gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), which primarily occur in the stomach or small intestine, but 10 to 15 percent of adult GIST cases and most pediatric cases lack the tell-tale mutations, making identification and treatment difficult. Researchers have identified new gene fusions and mutations associated with this subset of GIST patients.
Categories: Science

Bad bosses come in two forms: Dark or dysfunctional

Science Daily - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 5:49pm
Bad bosses generally come in two forms. There are the dysfunctional ones, like Michael Scott from the TV series The Office; then there are the dark ones, like Gordon Gekko from the film Wall Street. Researchers are building a framework to better understand the behaviors of bad bosses and to reduce workplace stress.
Categories: Science

STEM Enrichment activities have no impact on exam results

Science Daily - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 5:47pm
Enrichment activities to encourage pupils to study science and technology subjects have made no difference to their performance in mathematics exams, new research shows.
Categories: Science

Understanding X-chromosome silencing in humans

Science Daily - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 5:45pm
Researchers have discovered new insights into how one of the two X-chromosomes is silenced during the development of female human embryos and also in lab-grown stem cells. X-chromosome silencing is essential for proper development and these findings are important for understanding how the activity of the X-chromosome is regulated to ensure the healthy development of human embryos.
Categories: Science

Fast track control accelerates switching of quantum bits

Science Daily - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 5:45pm
From laptops to cellphones, today’s technology advances through the ever-increasing speed at which electric charges are directed through circuits. Similarly, speeding up control over quantum states in atomic and nanoscale systems could lead to leaps for the emerging field of quantum technology.
Categories: Science

China Takes Action On Thousands Of Websites For 'Harmful', Obscene Content

Slashdot - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 5:30pm
China has shut down or "dealt with" thousands of websites for sharing "harmful" erotic or obscene content since April, the state's office for combating pornography and illegal publications announced on Thursday. From a report on Reuters: The office said 2,500 websites were prosecuted or shut down and more than 3 million "harmful" posts were deleted in eight months up to December during a drive to "purify" the internet in China and protect youth, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The government has tightening its grip on Chinese cyberspace in recent months, in particular placing new restrictions on the fast-growing live-streaming industry. The state has a zero-tolerance approach to what it considers lewd, smutty or illegal content and has in past crackdowns removed tens of thousands of websites in a single year.

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Water Ice Found On Dwarf Planet Ceres, Hidden in Permanent Shadow

Space.com - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 5:00pm
Water ice exists on the surface of Ceres, new observations have confirmed. The water ice is harbored in regions on the surface of this massive asteroid that are permanently cloaked in shadow.
Categories: Science

Uber: We Don't Need a Permit For Self-Driving Cars

Slashdot - Thu, 15/12/2016 - 4:50pm
Uber has a simple approach to business: Don't ask for permission, but be prepared to seek forgiveness. Its foray into self-driving cars in California is no different. From a report on CNET: Confirming news that CNET broke Tuesday, the ride-hailing company officially announced Wednesday that it's rolling out a fleet of self-driving cars to passengers in San Francisco, making California only the second state in which Uber offers such services. But Uber didn't run the plan past the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which requires a permit for such cars. Now, the DMV told Uber to cut it out... or else. "It is illegal for the company to operate its self-driving vehicles on public roads until it receives an autonomous vehicle testing permit," the DMV wrote in a letter to Uber on Wednesday. "Any action by Uber to continue the operation of vehicles equipped with autonomous technology on public streets in California must cease." [...] The DMV warned Uber a month ago that it needed a permit to operate self-driving cars in the state, according to Brian Soublet, the department's chief legal counsel, who held a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. Soublet said he told the company the same thing Tuesday before its launch. But Uber didn't appear to listen. "We understand that there is a debate over whether or not we need a testing permit to launch self-driving Ubers in San Francisco," Anthony Levandowski, Uber's vice president of self-driving technology, wrote in a blog post Wednesday. "We have looked at this issue carefully and we don't believe we do."

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