CDC urging men at risk of Zika to postpone fatherhood

Science Daily - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 7:19pm
CDC today announced updates to its interim guidance for pre-pregnancy counseling and prevention of sexual transmission of Zika based on ongoing assessment of available data, primarily extending the timeframe for men with possible Zika exposure but no Zika symptoms to wait before attempting pregnancy with their partner and extending the time for use of condoms by these men to protect against sexual transmission of Zika virus infection.
Categories: Science

NYC’s Ugliest Train Station Will Soon Look Like This

Wired News - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 7:19pm
Plans to redevelop New York City's Penn Station have loomed for decades. Now it's really happening. The post NYC’s Ugliest Train Station Will Soon Look Like This appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

How cancer's 'invisibility cloak' works

Science Daily - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 7:03pm
Researchers have discovered how cancer cells become invisible to the body's immune system, a crucial step that allows tumors to metastasize and spread throughout the body.
Categories: Science

World's tallest wood building completed: 18 storeys

Science Daily - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 6:58pm
The mass wood structure and façade has been completed for UBC's Brock Commons student residence -- the world's tallest wood building at 18 storeys (53 metres, about 174 feet) -- four months ahead of schedule, showcasing the advantages of building with wood.
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New weapon for hard-to-treat bacterial infections

Science Daily - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 6:58pm
Health workers may soon have a new weapon in the fight against abscesses -- difficult-to-treat bacterial infections that lead to millions of emergency-room visits every year. Researchers successfully prevented drug-resistant bacteria from forming abscesses, or painful pus-filled lesions, using a peptide, or mini-protein. The peptide worked by disrupting the bacteria's stress response.
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Everyone’s Going to Mars! And the Week’s Other Big News

Wired News - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 6:53pm
We're proud to bring NextDraft—the most righteous, most essential newsletter on the web—to The post Everyone's Going to Mars! And the Week's Other Big News appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

We Like to Watch

Wired News - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 6:46pm
This week, television. What we watch, what we watch it on, and what we do while we watch it. The post We Like to Watch appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Ancient global cooling gave rise to modern ecosystems

Science Daily - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 6:44pm
Sea surface temperatures dipped dramatically during a period from 7 million to 5.4 million years ago, a time of massive global ecological change, scientists have discovered.
Categories: Science

Formaldehyde damages proteins, not just DNA

Science Daily - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 6:43pm
Formaldehyde, a common toxicant and carcinogen recently subjected to new federal regulations, may be more dangerous than previously thought, a new study suggests.
Categories: Science

The Smog-Sucking Tower Has Arrived in China

Slashdot - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 6:42pm
Jamie Fullerton, reporting for Motherboard:Daan Roosegaarde reached into the pocket of his suit jacket, pulled out a plastic bag filled with black powder, and waved it around. "This is Beijing smog," Roosegaarde said, before gesturing to the seven-metre tall, gently humming metal tower we are stood next to in the Chinese capital's art district, 798. "We collected it from the tower yesterday. Incredibly disgusting." Dutch designer Roosegaarde's smog souvenir may be disgusting, but it's the byproduct of an invention that he has touted as a potential alleviator of China's pollution problems. His "smog-free tower" sucks air, filters it with ion technology, with Roosegaarde having explained: "By charging the Smog Free Tower with a small positive current, an electrode will send positive ions into the air. These ions will attach themselves to fine dust particles. A negatively charged surface -- the counter electrode -- will then draw the positive ions in, together with the fine dust particles. The fine dust "is collected together with the ions and stored inside of the tower." With the dust collected, the tower then spews out cleaner air through vents, creating a "bubble" in the area surrounding it that contains, according to Roosegaarde, up to 70 percent fewer pollution particles than the pre-cleaned air.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Earthquake Swarm at Iceland’s Katla Volcano Raises Alert Status to Yellow

Wired News - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 6:37pm
A new earthquake swarm at Iceland's Katla has become intense enough for officials to raise the alert status at the ice-capped volcano. The post Earthquake Swarm at Iceland's Katla Volcano Raises Alert Status to Yellow appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Details of mysterious Utah Zika-related death: Transmission by tears or sweat

Science Daily - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 6:30pm
The first Zika virus-related death in the continental U.S. occurred in June of this year, but even now, months later, two aspects of this case continue to puzzle health experts. First, why did this patient die? It is quite rare for a Zika infection to cause severe illness in adults, much less death. Second, how did another individual, who visited the first while in the hospital, become ill from Zika? This second patient did not do anything that was known at the time to put people at risk for contracting the virus.
Categories: Science

Hack iOS 10, Get $1.5 Million

Slashdot - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 6:03pm
Reader Trailrunner7 writes: The stakes in the vulnerability acquisition and bug bounty game have just gone up several notches, with a well-known security startup now offering $1.5 million for a remote jailbreak in iOS 10.The payout was put on the table Thursday by Zerodium, a company that buys vulnerabilities and exploits for high-value target platforms and applications. The company has a set of standing prices for the information it will buy, which includes bugs and exploits for iOS, Android, Flash, Windows, and the major browsers, and the top tier of that list has been $500,000 for an iOS jailbreak. But that all changed on Thursday when Zerodium announced that the company has tripled the standing price for iOS to $1.5 million.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Space Photos of the Week: This Binary Star Will Outshine You Twice

Wired News - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 5:35pm
Space photos of the week, September 25 — October 1, 2016. The post Space Photos of the Week: This Binary Star Will Outshine You Twice appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Chromification Continues: Firefox May Use Chrome's PDF and Flash Plugins

Slashdot - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 5:22pm
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla announced today Project Mortar, an initiative to explore the possibility of deploying alternative technologies in Firefox to replace its internal implementations. The project's first two goals are to test two Chrome plugins within the Firefox codebase. These are PDFium, the Chrome plugin for viewing PDF files, and Pepper Flash, Google's custom implementation of Adobe Flash. The decision comes as Mozilla is trying to cut down development costs, after Firefox took a nose dive in market share this year. "In order to enable stronger focus on advancing the Web and to reduce the complexity and long term maintenance cost of Firefox, and as part of our strategy to remove generic plugin support, we are launching Project Mortar," said Johnny Stenback, Senior Director Of Engineering at Mozilla Corporation. "Project Mortar seeks to reduce the time Mozilla spends on technologies that are required to provide a complete web browsing experience, but are not a core piece of the Web platform," Stenback adds. "We will be looking for opportunities to replace such technologies with other existing alternatives, including implementations by other browser vendors."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Fat cells that amplify nerve signals in response to cold also affect blood sugar metabolism, researchers report

Science Daily - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 5:05pm
When exposed to cold, clusters of cells within the body's white fat become beige -- a color change that reflects the creation of more energy-producing mitochondria, cellular components that enable cells to burn calories and give off heat. But since white fat cells have very few nerves, how do beige fat cells get the message that it’s cold outside?
Categories: Science

Author Says Going Offline For 24 Hours a Week Has Significantly Improved His Health, Sanity and Happiness

Slashdot - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 4:41pm
You don't need someone to point out to you that you probably spend too many hours on the internet. Maybe it's your job, maybe it's a growing habit, maybe it's both of them. An anonymous reader shared a link on Business Insider, in which an author named Roy Hessel shares what happened after he started to force himself to go offline for 24 hours every week. (He chose the duration between sundown on Friday to sunset on Saturday as the time for disconnect.) From the article:No emails, no calls, no Tweets, no tech, no matter what. For anyone who's struggling with finding time for self and family, I'd like to share what I've learned. For health, sanity, and happiness, I think it can make all the difference. It's not enough to carve out time in your schedule. You need to approach this blackout period with an unwavering belief in its benefit and a commitment to see it through. For me, this means abstaining from work and, in the deepest sense, simply resting. It grounds me and allows me to re-energize and focus on what's really important in my life. The key is to be unapologetic rather than aspirational about unplugging. As soon my family and I get home from our workweek, there's nothing, with the exception of a life and death situation, that would cause me to compromise that time. As far as business and my income is concerned, it can wait.We understand that not everyone wants or afford to go offline for a complete day, but do you also ensure that you are offline for a few hours everyday or every week or every month? Paul Miller, a reporter at The Verge, went offline in 2012 for a complete year and shared his experience when he got back. You might find it insightful.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

How to send secure passwords through your body instead of air

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 5:42am

Potential applications for on-body transmissions include securely sending information to door locks, glucose sensors, or other wearable medical devices. (credit: Vikram Iyer, University of Washington)

University of Washington computer scientists and electrical engineers have devised a way to send secure passwords through the human body, using benign, low-frequency transmissions already generated by fingerprint sensors and touchpads on consumer devices.

“Let’s say I want to open a door using an electronic smart lock,” said Merhdad Hessar, a UW electrical engineering doctoral student and co-lead author of a paper presented in September at the 2016 Association for Computing Machinery’s International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2016) in Germany. “I can touch the doorknob and touch the fingerprint sensor on my phone and transmit my secret credentials through my body to open the door, without leaking that personal information over the air.”

Secure on-body transmissions

These “on-body” transmissions offer a more secure way to transmit authenticating information between devices that touch parts of your body — such as a wearable medical device — and a phone or device that confirms your identity by asking you to type in a password.

The technology could also be useful for secure key transmissions to medical devices which seek to confirm someone’s identity before sending or sharing data, such as glucose monitors or insulin pumps.

The research team tested the technique on iPhone and other fingerprint sensors, as well as Lenovo laptop trackpads and the Adafruit capacitive touchpad. In tests with ten different subjects, they were able to generate usable on-body transmissions on people of different heights, weights and body types. The system also worked when subjects were in motion, including while they walked and moved their arms.

The researchers showed that it works in different postures like standing, sitting and sleeping, and they can get a strong signal throughout your body, with receivers on any part of the body.

Reverse-engineering and repurposing smartphone sensors

The research team from the UW’s Networks and Mobile Systems Lab systematically analyzed smartphone sensors to understand which of them generates low-frequency transmissions below 30 megahertz (which travel well through the human body but don’t propagate over the air).

The researchers found that fingerprint sensors and touchpads generate signals in the 2 to 10 megahertz range and employ capacitive coupling to sense where your finger is in space and to identify the ridges and valleys that form unique fingerprint patterns.

Normally, sensors use these signals to receive input about your finger. But the UW engineers devised a way to use these signals as output that corresponds to data contained in a password or access code. When entered on a smartphone, data that authenticates your identity can travel securely through your body to a receiver embedded in a device that needs to confirm who you are.

Their process employs a sequence of finger scans to encode and transmit data. Performing a finger scan correlates to a 1-bit of digital data and not performing the scan correlates to a 0-bit. The team achieved bit rates of 50 bits per second on laptop touchpads and 25 bits per second with fingerprint sensors — fast enough to send a simple password or numerical code through the body and to a receiver within seconds.

This represents only a first step, the researchers say. Data can be transmitted through the body even faster if fingerprint sensor manufacturers provide more access to their software.

The research was funded by the Intel Science and Technology Center for Pervasive Computing, a Google faculty award and the National Science Foundation.

For more information, contact the research team at

Abstract of Enabling on-body transmissions with commodity devices

We show for the first time that commodity devices can be used to generate wireless data transmissions that are confined to the human body. Specifically, we show that commodity input devices such as fingerprint sensors and touchpads can be used to transmit information to only wireless receivers that are in contact with the body. We characterize the propagation of the resulting transmissions across the whole body and run experiments with ten subjects to demonstrate that our approach generalizes across different body types and postures. We also evaluate our communication system in the presence of interference from other wearable devices such as smartwatches and nearby metallic surfaces. Finally, by modulating the operations of these input devices, we demonstrate bit rates of up to 50 bits per second over the human body.

Categories: Science

Graphene crowd-surfs on a lipid monolayer

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 30/09/2016 - 4:26am

Model of graphene on a lipid monolayer (credit: Universiteit Leiden)

“Crowd-surfing” on a smooth, supportive lipid monolayer, graphene could provide a versatile new platform for biosensors and drug delivery systems, researchers at Leiden University in The Netherlands have discovered.

Graphene is typically supported or sandwiched with other two-dimensional materials to promote higher mobility, ensure consistent electrical performance, and prevent environmental contamination. But combining graphene with soft, dynamic, molecular self-assembled lipid monolayers could provide a versatile platform for applications such as biosensors and drug delivery systems.

In research results published (open access) in a cover story in the journal Nanoscale on September 28, the authors note that the lipids (surprisingly) also improve graphene’s electrical conductivity. That could allow for measuring the electrical signals of graphene in the body for detecting acidity or the presence of certain proteins, for example. This research was funded by the European Research Council, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, and the Swiss National Science Foundation. Abstract of Graphene-stabilized lipid monolayer heterostructures: a novel biomembrane superstructure

Chemically defined and electronically benign interfaces are attractive substrates for graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Here, we introduce lipid monolayers as an alternative, structurally ordered, and chemically versatile support for graphene. Deposition of graphene on the lipids resulted in a more ordered monolayer than regions without graphene. The lipids also offered graphene a more uniform and smoother support, reducing graphene hysteresis loop and the average value of the charge neutrality point under applied voltages. Our approach promises to be effective towards measuring experimentally biochemical phenomena within lipid monolayers and bilayers.

Categories: Science