Excess weight linked to eight more cancer types

Science Daily - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 1:22am
There's yet another reason to maintain a healthy weight as we age. An international team of researchers has identified eight additional types of cancer linked to excess weight and obesity: stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, ovary, meningioma (a type of brain tumor), thyroid cancer and the blood cancer multiple myeloma.
Categories: Science

Seismic shield: Large-scale metamaterials combat earthquakes in 3-D model

Science Daily - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 1:22am
Numerical analysis considers both surface and guided waves, accounts for soil dissipation, and provides design guidelines for implementing earthquake protection using an array of ground-based cavities.
Categories: Science

Hay fever from ragweed pollen could double due to climate change

Science Daily - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 1:22am
Climate change could cause new hay fever misery for millions of people across Europe -- according to a new report. Hay fever is a common allergic condition that is caused by an allergy to pollen -- including tree pollen (released during spring), grass pollen (released during the end of spring and beginning of summer) or weed pollen (especially released late autumn).
Categories: Science

'Legalist' Startup Automates The Lawsuit Strategy Peter Thiel Used To Bankrupt Gawker

Slashdot - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 1:10am
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Gizmodo: "Two Harvard undergraduates have created a service called Legalist that uses what they call 'data-backed litigation financing,' analyzing civil lawsuits with an algorithm to predict case outcomes and determine which civil lawsuits are worth investing in," reports Gizmodo. The process is very similar to what billionaire Peter Thiel did when he secretly funded a lawsuit from Hulk Hogan against Gawker Media. "Legalist says it uses an algorithm of 58 different variables including, as [Legalist cofounder] Eva Shang told the Silicon Valley Business Journal, who the presiding judge is and the number of cases the judge is currently working on. The algorithm has been fed cases dating back to 1989 and helps people figure out how long a case will last and the risks associated with it. In a presentation at Y Combinator's Demo Day on Tuesday [Legalist was developed as part of Y Combinator's Summer 2016 class], the founders claimed that the startup funded one lawsuit for $75,000 and expects a return of more than $1 million. Shang says the $1.40 is earned for every $1 spent in litigation financing, which can prove to be a profitable enterprise when you're spending hundreds of thousands of dollars." Shang told Business Insider in reference to the Gawker lawsuit, "That's the kind of thing we're staying away from here." The company will supposedly be focusing on commercial and small-business lawsuits, and will not be backing lawsuits by individuals.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

YouTube Plans To Bring Photos, Polls, and Text To Its Video Service

Slashdot - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 12:30am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: YouTube is developing a feature internally called Backstage where users can share photos, polls, links, text posts, and videos with their subscribers. Backstage is expected to launch by the end of the year, possibly this fall, on mobile and desktop, initially with select popular YouTube accounts and with limited features, VentureBeat has learned. Akin to a Facebook Timeline or Twitter profile, Backstage will live alongside the Home and Videos tabs within individual YouTube channels. Posts shared to Backstage will appear in reverse chronological order, and, crucially, will also appear in subscribers' feeds and notifications, making them highly visible to fans. While Backstage is expected to introduce entirely new types of content to YouTube, including tweet-like text posts and topical polls, it also presents new opportunities for video sharing. Backstage will eventually enable users to share both traditional YouTube videos and Backstage-only videos, possibly creating an opportunity for more intimate, or even ephemeral, video sharing between YouTubers and their fans.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

World's Largest Aircraft Crashes Its Second Flight

Slashdot - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 11:50pm
Not too long after it completed its first test flight, the Airlander 10 -- the world's largest aircraft -- has crashed its second test flight. Since the 300-foot long aircraft contains 38,000 cubic meters of helium inside its hull, the crash was all but sudden. You can see in a video posted to YouTube from witnesses on the ground that the aircraft slowly descended to the ground, nose first. The BBC has published some close-up photos of the cockpit, which sustained damages. There were no injuries in the crash, according to a tweet from Hybrid Air Vehicles. The company did also deny eyewitness reports of the aircraft being damaged in a collision with a telegraph pole.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Latest Windows 10 Update Breaks PowerShell

Slashdot - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 11:10pm
whoever57 writes: According to a report via InfoWorld, the latest Windows 10 update [KB 3176934] breaks Desired State Configuration (DSC) functionality in PowerShell. Some things that were broken in the prior update, such as support of many webcams and a freeze issue, don't appear to have been fixed in this update. Windows PowerShell Blog reported last night: "Due to a missing .MOF file in the build package, the update breaks DSC. All DSC operations will result in an 'Invalid Property' error. If you are using DSC from or on any Windows client, take the following steps: Uninstall the update if already installed [...]; If using WSUS, do not approve the update. Otherwise, Use Group Policy to set the 'Configure Automatic Updates' to '2 -- Notify for download and notify for install' [...] A fix for this issue will be included in the next Windows update which is due out 8/30/2016."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

The Good People of the Internet Love Leslie Jones

Wired News - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 10:37pm
This #WCW is dedicated to you. The post The Good People of the Internet Love Leslie Jones appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Self-Driving Cars Aren't Going To Be So Great Until We Make Our Maps Better

Slashdot - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 10:31pm
Uber is debuting its self-driving cars in Pittsburgh this month, a move that has many taxi drivers upset. The Verge's Nilay Patel argues that this move should change the way we think about maps and addresses. He adds that Uber is currently unable to pinpoint his home, and often ends up at the door of a "widely different address." Citing the CEO of a "large ridesharing company", Patel writes that this issue is known as the "egress problem" -- "the way we locate buildings on a map doesn't really describe how people move in and out of those buildings." Though there are workarounds and inventive ways to pinpoint your exact address, Patel argues that when we grow reliant on self-driving cars, things will get far more complicated and futile if we don't make our maps and navigation services better. He writes: Driverless cars are one of the ultimate signifiers of the future -- the real Jetsons stuff. And we're so close to making them happen: tons of cars have sophisticated adaptive cruise control that can basically keep you going on the highway, prototypes of true self-driving cars from Google and others are already on the road, and the momentum is only increasing. But maybe we shouldn't hand control of how we get somewhere to the machines until we're entirely sure the robots know where we're going.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

HP Hit With Age-Discrimination Suit Claiming Old Workers Purged

Slashdot - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 9:50pm
Hewlett-Packard started laying off workers in 2012, before it separated into HP Inc. and HP Enterprise last year. The company has continued to cut thousands of jobs since. As a result of the "restructuring," an age discrimination lawsuit has been filed by four former employees of HP alleging they were ousted amid a purge of older workers. The Mercury News reports: "The goal 'was to make the company younger,' said the complain filed Aug. 18 in U.S. District Court in San Jose. 'In order to get younger, HP intentionally discriminated against its older employees by targeting them for termination [...] and then systematically replacing them with younger employees. HP has hired a disproportionately large number of new employees under the age of 40 to replace employees aged 40 and older who were terminated.' Arun Vatturi, a 15-year Palo Alto employee at HP who was a director in process improvement until he was laid off in January at age 52, and Sidney Staton, in sales at HP in Palo Alto for 16 months until his layoff in April 2015 at age 54, have joined in the lawsuit with a former employee from Washington, removed at age 62, and one from Texas, out at age 63. The group is seeking class-action status for the court action and claims HP broke state and federal laws against age discrimination." The lawsuit also alleges that written guidelines issued by HP's human resources department mandated that 75 percent of all hires outside of the company be fresh from school or "early career" applicants.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Culture Podcast: We Indulge in Some Necessary Frank Oceanography About Blonde

Wired News - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 9:30pm
We spent a lot of time unpacking Frank Ocean's latest release(s) on this week's culture podcast. Join us, won't you? The post Culture Podcast: We Indulge in Some Necessary Frank Oceanography About Blonde appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

We are all 'wired' for addiction, says researcher

Science Daily - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 9:27pm
Drug addicts and non-addicts may have more in common than ever thought, according to a researcher who found that to some degree, everyone’s brain is “wired” to become addicted.
Categories: Science

Protein that promotes the breakdown of fat identified, potentially leading to new diabetes treatments

Science Daily - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 9:27pm
A protein often located on the surface of fat droplets within cells -- and especially abundant in the muscles of endurance athletes -- can kick-start the more efficient and healthful breakdown of fat, scientists have discovered.
Categories: Science

You want shorter ER stays? Bring in the nurses

Science Daily - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 9:17pm
Protocols allowing nurses to administer certain types of treatment in the emergency department can dramatically shorten length of stay for patients with fever, chest pain, hip fractures and vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, according to the results of a recent study.
Categories: Science

Diet, exercise, both: All work equally to protect heart health

Science Daily - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 9:17pm
For those who need to lose weight, taking off a few pounds by dieting, exercising or both is powerful protection against cardiovascular disease.
Categories: Science

Seniors with more continuity of care use the ER less

Science Daily - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 9:17pm
Seniors with traditional Medicare coverage who have more continuity of care -- defined as consistently seeing the same physician in an outpatient setting -- have lower chances of visiting an emergency department, according to the results of a recent study.
Categories: Science

Mental stress may cause reduced blood flow in hearts of young women with heart disease

Science Daily - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 9:17pm
Mental stress may cause reduced blood flow in the heart muscle of younger women with heart disease. Younger women with heart disease are more susceptible to reduced blood flow from mental stress compared to men and older patients, new research has found.
Categories: Science

Biomarkers may help better predict who will have a stroke

Science Daily - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 9:17pm
People with high levels of four biomarkers in the blood may be more likely to develop a stroke than people with low levels of the biomarkers, according to a new study.
Categories: Science

MIT Scientists Develop New Wi-Fi That's 330% Faster

Slashdot - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 9:05pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MSN: Scientists at MIT claim to have created a new wireless technology that can triple Wi-Fi data speeds while also doubling the range of the signal. Dubbed MegaMIMO 2.0, the system will shortly enter commercialization and could ease the strain on our increasingly crowded wireless networks. Multiple-input-multiple-output technology, or MIMO, helps networked devices perform better by combining multiple transmitters and receivers that work simultaneously, allowing then to send and receive more than one data signal at the same time. MIT's MegaMIMO 2.0 works by allowing several routers to work in harmony, transmitting data over the same piece of spectrum. MIT claimed that during tests, MegaMIMO 2.0 was able to increase data transfer speed of four laptops connected to the same Wi-Fi network by 330 percent. Paper co-author Rahul said the technology could also be applied to mobile phone networks to solve similar congestion issues. "In today's wireless world, you can't solve spectrum crunch by throwing more transmitters at the problem, because they will all still be interfering with one another," Ezzeldin Hamed, lead author on a paper on the topic, told MIT News. "The answer is to have all those access points work with each other simultaneously to efficiently use the available spectrum."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

The first autonomous soft robot powered only by a chemical reaction

Kurzweil AI - Wed, 24/08/2016 - 8:31pm

Harvard’s “octobot” is powered by a chemical reaction and controlled with a soft logic board. A reaction inside the bot transforms a small amount of liquid fuel (hydrogen peroxide) into a large amount of oxygen gas, which flows into the octobot’s arms and inflates them like a balloon. The team used a microfluidic logic circuit, a soft analogue of a simple electronic oscillator, to control when hydrogen peroxide decomposes to gas in the octobot. Octopi have long been a source of inspiration in soft robotics. These curious creatures can perform incredible feats of strength and dexterity with no internal skeleton. (SD card shown for scale only.) (credit: Lori Sanders)

The first autonomous, untethered, entirely soft 3-D-printed robot (powered only by a chemical reaction) has been demonstrated by a team of Harvard University researchers and described in the journal Nature.

Nicknamed “octobot,” the bot combines soft lithography, molding, and 3-D printing.

“One longstanding vision for the field of soft robotics has been to create robots that are entirely soft, but the struggle has always been in replacing rigid components like batteries and electronic controls with analogous soft systems and then putting it all together,” said Harvard professor Robert Wood. “This research demonstrates that we can easily manufacture the key components of a simple, entirely soft robot, which lays the foundation for more complex designs.”

Powered by hydrogen peroxide

Octobot structure. A system of check valves and switch valves within the soft controller regulates fluid flow into and through the system. The reaction chambers convert the hydrogen peroxide to oxygen, which then inflates the bot arms. The 500-micrometers-high “VERITAS” letters are patterned into the soft controller as an indication of scale. (credit: Michael Wehner et al./Nature)

Harvard’s octobot is pneumatic-based — powered by gas under pressure. A reaction inside the bot transforms a small amount of liquid fuel (hydrogen peroxide) into a large amount of gas, which flows into the octobot’s arms and inflates them like balloons. To control the reaction, the team used a microfluidic logic circuit based on pioneering work by co-author and chemist George Whitesides.

Octobot mechanical schematic (top) and electronic analogue (bottom). Check valves, fuel tanks, oscillator, reaction chambers, actuators and vent orifices are analogous to diodes, supply capacitors, electrical oscillator, amplifiers, capacitors and pull-down resistors, respectively. (credit: Michael Wehner at al./Nature)

The circuit, a soft analogue of a simple electronic oscillator, controls when hydrogen peroxide decomposes to gas in the octobot, triggering actuators.

The proof-of-concept octobot design could pave the way for a new generation of such machines, which could help revolutionize how humans interact with machines, the researchers suggest. They hope their approach for creating autonomous soft robots inspires roboticists, material scientists, and researchers focused on advanced manufacturing.

Next, the Harvard team hopes to design an octobot that can crawl, swim, and interact with its environment.

Robert Wood, the Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Jennifer A. Lewis, the Hansjorg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering, at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), led the research. Lewis and Wood are also core faculty members of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. George Whitesides is the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor and a core faculty member of the Wyss.

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation through the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at Harvard and by the Wyss Institute.


Harvard University | Introducing the Octobot


Harvard University | Powering the Octobot: A chemical reaction

Abstract of An integrated design and fabrication strategy for entirely soft, autonomous robots

Soft robots possess many attributes that are difficult, if not impossible, to achieve with conventional robots composed of rigid materials. Yet, despite recent advances, soft robots must still be tethered to hard robotic control systems and power sources. New strategies for creating completely soft robots, including soft analogues of these crucial components, are needed to realize their full potential. Here we report the untethered operation of a robot composed solely of soft materials. The robot is controlled with microfluidic logic that autonomously regulates fluid flow and, hence, catalytic decomposition of an on-board monopropellant fuel supply. Gas generated from the fuel decomposition inflates fluidic networks downstream of the reaction sites, resulting in actuation. The body and microfluidic logic of the robot are fabricated using moulding and soft lithography, respectively, and the pneumatic actuator networks, on-board fuel reservoirs and catalytic reaction chambers needed for movement are patterned within the body via a multi-material, embedded 3D printing technique. The fluidic and elastomeric architectures required for function span several orders of magnitude from the microscale to the macroscale. Our integrated design and rapid fabrication approach enables the programmable assembly of multiple materials within this architecture, laying the foundation for completely soft, autonomous robots.

Categories: Science