DEA Hands MuckRock a $1.4 Million Estimate For Responsive Documents

Slashdot - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 8:31pm
An anonymous reader writes with news about what might be the largest Freedom of Information Act fee yet. "The EFF recently kicked off a contest for the 'most outrageous response to a Freedom of Information Act request' and we already have a frontrunner for the first inaugural 'Foilie.' MuckRock's loose confederation of FOIA rabblerousers has been hit with a $1.4 million price tag for John Dyer's request for documents related to the 'localization and capture' of Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo.'"

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Categories: Science

DEA Hands MuckRock a $1.4 Million Estimate For Responsive Documents

Slashdot - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 8:31pm
An anonymous reader writes with news about what might be the largest Freedom of Information Act fee yet. "The EFF recently kicked off a contest for the 'most outrageous response to a Freedom of Information Act request' and we already have a frontrunner for the first inaugural 'Foilie.' MuckRock's loose confederation of FOIA rabblerousers has been hit with a $1.4 million price tag for John Dyer's request for documents related to the 'localization and capture' of Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

DEA Hands MuckRock a $1.4 Million Estimate For Responsive Documents

Slashdot - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 8:31pm
An anonymous reader writes with news about what might be the largest Freedom of Information Act fee yet. "The EFF recently kicked off a contest for the 'most outrageous response to a Freedom of Information Act request' and we already have a frontrunner for the first inaugural 'Foilie.' MuckRock's loose confederation of FOIA rabblerousers has been hit with a $1.4 million price tag for John Dyer's request for documents related to the 'localization and capture' of Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

DEA Hands MuckRock a $1.4 Million Estimate For Responsive Documents

Slashdot - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 8:31pm
An anonymous reader writes with news about what might be the largest Freedom of Information Act fee yet. "The EFF recently kicked off a contest for the 'most outrageous response to a Freedom of Information Act request' and we already have a frontrunner for the first inaugural 'Foilie.' MuckRock's loose confederation of FOIA rabblerousers has been hit with a $1.4 million price tag for John Dyer's request for documents related to the 'localization and capture' of Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

DEA Hands MuckRock a $1.4 Million Estimate For Responsive Documents

Slashdot - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 8:31pm
An anonymous reader writes with news about what might be the largest Freedom of Information Act fee yet. "The EFF recently kicked off a contest for the 'most outrageous response to a Freedom of Information Act request' and we already have a frontrunner for the first inaugural 'Foilie.' MuckRock's loose confederation of FOIA rabblerousers has been hit with a $1.4 million price tag for John Dyer's request for documents related to the 'localization and capture' of Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

New Multi-Purpose Backdoor Targets Linux Servers

Slashdot - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 8:08pm
An anonymous reader writes A new multi-purpose Linux Trojan that opens a backdoor on the target machine and can make it participate in DDoS attacks has been discovered and analyzed by Dr. Web researchers, who believe that the Chinese hacker group ChinaZ might be behind it. "First, Linux.BackDoor.Xnote.1 sends information about the infected system to the server. It then goes into standby mode and awaits further instructions. If the command involves carrying out some task, the backdoor creates a separate process that establishes its own connection to the server through which it gets all the necessary configuration data and sends the results of the executed task," the researchers explained.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

European Space Cargo Ship's Fiery Demise Stars in New Video

Space.com - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 7:58pm
A stunning video shows the destruction of a robotic cargo ship re-entering Earth's atmosphere in November after delivering supplies to the International Space Station.
Categories: Science

Alleged Bitcoin Scam Leaves Millions Missing

Slashdot - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 7:47pm
First time accepted submitter OutOnARock writes Yahoo Finance is reporting on the latest Bitcoin scam, this time from Hong Kong. "Investors in a Hong Kong-based Bitcoin trading company fear they have fallen victim to a scam after it closed down, a lawmaker said Monday, adding losses could total HK$3 billion ($387 million). Leung Yiu-chung said his office recently received reports from dozens of investors in Hong Kong who paid a total of HK$40 million ($5.16 million) into the scheme run online by MyCoin, but the total loss may be vastly more. 'The number of cases is increasing. These two days I received calls about more than 30 cases. We estimate more than 3,000 people and HK$3 billion are involved,' he told AFP."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

A viral ‘Enigma machine’

Kurzweil AI - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 7:40pm

A code hidden in the arrangement of the genetic information of single-stranded RNA viruses tells the virus how to pack itself within its outer shell of proteins (credit: University of Leeds)

British researchers have cracked a code that governs infections by a major group of viruses including the common cold and polio, which could help prevent diseases.

Until now, scientists had not noticed the code, which had been hidden in plain sight in the sequence of the ribonucleic acid (RNA) that makes up this type of viral genome.

But a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Early Edition by a group from the University of Leeds and University of York unlocks its meaning and demonstrates that jamming the code can disrupt virus assembly, preventing disease.

Professor Peter Stockley, Professor of Biological Chemistry in the University of Leeds’ Faculty of Biological Sciences, who led the study, said: “If you think of this as molecular warfare, these are the encrypted signals that allow a virus to deploy itself effectively.

Single-stranded RNA viruses are the simplest type of virus and were probably one of the earliest to evolve. However, they are still among the most potent and damaging of infectious pathogens.

Rhinovirus (which causes the common cold) accounts for more infections every year than all other infectious agents put together (about 1 billion cases); emergent infections such as chikungunya and tick-borne encephalitis are from the same ancient family. Other single-stranded RNA viruses include the hepatitis C virus, HIV, and the winter vomiting bug norovirus.

“Now, for this whole class of viruses, we have found the ‘Enigma machine’—the coding system that was hiding these signals from us. We have shown that not only can we read these messages but we can jam them and stop the virus’ deployment.”

This breakthrough was the result of three stages of research:

  • In 2012, researchers at the University of Leeds published the first observations at a single-molecule level of how the core of a single-stranded RNA virus packs itself into its outer shell — a remarkable process because the core must first be correctly folded to fit into the protective viral protein coat. The viruses solve this fiendish problem in milliseconds.
  • University of York mathematicians Eric Dykeman and Professor Reidun Twarock, working with the Leeds group, then devised mathematical algorithms to crack the code governing the process and built computer-based models of the coding system.
  • In this latest study, the two groups have unlocked the code. The group used single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy to watch the codes being used by the satellite tobacco necrosis virus, a single stranded RNA plant virus.

Roman Tuma, Reader in Biophysics at the University of Leeds, said: “We have understood for decades that the RNA carries the genetic messages that create viral proteins, but we didn’t know that, hidden within the stream of letters we use to denote the genetic information, is a second code governing virus assembly. It is like finding a secret message within an ordinary news report and then being able to crack the whole coding system behind it.

“This paper goes further: it also demonstrates that we could design molecules to interfere with the code, making it uninterpretable and effectively stopping the virus in its tracks.”

The researchers say their next step will be to widen the study into animal viruses. They believe that their combination of single-molecule detection capabilities and their computational models offers a novel route for drug discovery.

The research was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Twarock’s Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship and Dykeman’s Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship also supported the work.

Abstract of Revealing the density of encoded functions in a viral RNA

We present direct experimental evidence that assembly of a single-stranded RNA virus occurs via a packaging signal-mediated mechanism. We show that the sequences of coat protein recognition motifs within multiple, dispersed, putative RNA packaging signals, as well as their relative spacing within a genomic fragment, act collectively to influence the fidelity and yield of capsid self-assembly in vitro. These experiments confirm that the selective advantages for viral yield and encapsidation specificity, predicted from previous modeling of packaging signal-mediated assembly, are found in Nature. Regions of the genome that act as packaging signals also function in translational and transcriptional enhancement, as well as directly coding for the coat protein, highlighting the density of encoded functions within the viral RNA. Assembly and gene expression are therefore direct molecular competitors for different functional folds of the same RNA sequence. The strongest packaging signal in the test fragment, encodes a region of the coat protein that undergoes a conformational change upon contact with packaging signals. A similar phenomenon occurs in other RNA viruses for which packaging signals are known. These contacts hint at an even deeper density of encoded functions in viral RNA, which if confirmed, would have profound consequences for the evolution of this class of pathogens.

Categories: Science

Swimming reptiles make their mark in the Early Triassic

Science Daily - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 7:35pm
Vertebrate tracks provide valuable information about animal behavior and environments. Swim tracks are a unique type of vertebrate track because they are produced underwater by buoyant trackmakers, and specific factors are required for their production and subsequent preservation. Early Triassic deposits contain the highest number of fossil swim track occurrences worldwide compared to other epochs, and this number becomes even greater when epoch duration and rock outcrop area are taken into account.
Categories: Science

Brain develops abnormally over lifespan of people who stutter

Science Daily - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 7:34pm
The largest-ever MRI imaging study of stuttering is the first to examine brain changes across the lifespan.
Categories: Science

Molecular Gastronomy: Understanding physical and chemical processes of cooking and eating

Science Daily - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 7:24pm
An expert in biophysics, epigenetics and food science is working to gain a deeper understanding of genome compaction within the cells in our bodies and the way it influences gene expression. "Molecular gastronomy," is dedicated to the study of the physical and chemical processes involved in cooking and eating.
Categories: Science

Netflix Now Available In Cuba

Slashdot - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 7:03pm
aBaldrich writes Streaming video service Netflix will be available to Cuban customers starting today, at the $7.99 U.S. per month rate that it offers in the U.S., the company announced today. It'll still require an international payment method for now, as well as Internet access (which still isn't ubiquitous in [Cuba]), but it's an early start that Netflix says it wanted to offer in order to have it available as Cuban Internet access expands, and debit and credit cards become more available to Cuban citizens. Until now, Cubans have had little access to this kind of American entertainment. The U.S. government maintains a floating balloon tethered to an island in the Florida Keys that broadcasts the pro-democracy TV Marti network. The Cuban government constantly jams the signal. "Cuba has great filmmakers and a robust arts culture, and one day we hope to be able to bring their work to our global audience," Reed Hastings, the company's co-founder and chief executive officer, said in the statement.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Netflix Is Now Available in Cuba

Wired News - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 6:33pm

On Monday, the streaming video company announced that its service would be available to Cuban customers for $7.99 a month.

The post Netflix Is Now Available in Cuba appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

The IPCC's Shifting Position On Nuclear Energy

Slashdot - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 6:19pm
Lasrick writes Suzanne Waldman writes about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its stand on nuclear power over the course of its five well-known climate change assessment reports. The IPCC was formed in 1988 as an expert panel to guide the drafting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, ratified in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The treaty's objective is to stabilize greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a safe level. Waldman writes: 'Over time, the organization has subtly adjusted its position on the role of nuclear power as a contributor to de-carbonization goals," and she provides a timeline of those adjustments.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Categories: Science

Combine solar thermal energy with biomass gasification for natural gas substitute

Science Daily - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 6:07pm
A new study examining the financial viability of solar-heated biomass gasification technologies that produce a natural gas substitute product concludes that combining these renewable resources can make economic sense.
Categories: Science

New evidence of global warming: Remote lakes in Ecuador not immune to climate change

Science Daily - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 6:07pm
A study of three remote lakes in Ecuador has revealed the vulnerability of tropical high mountain lakes to global climate change -- the first study of its kind to show this. The data explains how the lakes are changing due to the water warming as the result of climate change.
Categories: Science

Electricity from biomass with carbon capture could make western US carbon-negative

Science Daily - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 6:07pm
Biomass conversion to electricity combined with technologies for capturing and storing carbon, which should become viable within 35 years, could result in a carbon-negative power grid in the western US by 2050. That prediction comes from an analysis of various fuel scenarios. Bioenergy with carbon capture and sequestration may be a better use of plant feedstocks than making biofuels.
Categories: Science

Amber fossil links earliest grasses, dinosaurs and fungus used to produce LSD

Science Daily - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 6:07pm
A perfectly preserved amber fossil from Myanmar has been found that provides evidence of the earliest grass specimen ever discovered -- about 100 million years old -- and even then it was topped by a fungus similar to ergot, a hallucinogen which for eons has been intertwined with animals and humans. Among other things, it gave us the psychedelic drug LSD.
Categories: Science

Inherited gene variations tied to treatment-related hearing loss in cancer patients

Science Daily - Mon, 09/02/2015 - 6:06pm
Investigators have discovered inherited genetic variations that are associated with rapid hearing loss in young cancer patients treated with the drug cisplatin.
Categories: Science