While You Were Offline: Don’t Let Robots Guess Your Age

Wired News - Sat, 02/05/2015 - 11:00am

Despite being a tough week, small victories still occurred, whether it's with emojis or against age-guessing robots.

The post While You Were Offline: Don’t Let Robots Guess Your Age appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Here’s How to Stream the Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight

Wired News - Sat, 02/05/2015 - 11:00am

HBO and Showtime are trying to make it impossible to watch the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight online. But where there’s an Internet, there’s a way---even if it’s convoluted.

The post Here’s How to Stream the Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Nothing Beats an Old, Crappy Car

Wired News - Sat, 02/05/2015 - 11:00am

I have driven every new car on the American market and more supercars than I care to remember, but it's the heaps of junk in my garage I love best.

The post Nothing Beats an Old, Crappy Car appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Tired of Steampunk? Try Silkpunk on for Size

Wired News - Sat, 02/05/2015 - 11:00am

In the latest episode of Geek's Guide to the Galaxy, author Ken Liu talks about his "silkpunk" style.

The post Tired of Steampunk? Try Silkpunk on for Size appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Square Enix Witch Chapter Real-Time CG DX12 Demo Impresses At Microsoft BUILD

Slashdot - Sat, 02/05/2015 - 10:44am
MojoKid writes: Computer generated graphics have come a long way in the past several years and are starting to blur the line between animation and real actors. One of the more difficult tasks for CG artists is to recreate human emotions, especially crying, though you wouldn't know it after watching a tech demo that Square Enix showed off at the Microsoft BUILD Developer Conference. The real-time tech demo is called Witch Chapter 0 [cry] and is part of a research project that studies various next generation technologies. For this particular demo, Square Enix put a lot of research into real-time CG technology utilizing DirectX 12 in collaboration with Microsoft and NVIDIA, the company said. It's an ongoing project that will help form Square Enix's Luminous Studio engine for future games. The short demo shows some pretty impressive graphics, with an amazing level of detail. As the camera zooms in, you can clearly see imperfections in the skin, along with glistening effects from areas where the face is wet with either tears or water

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Unnoticed For Years, Malware Turned Linux Servers Into Spamming Machines

Slashdot - Sat, 02/05/2015 - 7:42am
An anonymous reader writes: For over 5 years, and perhaps even longer, servers around the world running Linux and FreeBSD operating systems have been targeted by an individual or group that compromised them via a backdoor Trojan, then made them send out spam, ESET researchers have found. What's more, it seems that the spammers are connected with a software company called Yellsoft, which sells DirectMailer, a "system for automated e-mail distribution" that allows users to send out anonymous email in bulk. Here's the white paper in which the researchers explain the exploit.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Rockets: A History

Space.com - Sat, 02/05/2015 - 7:04am
The principles of rockets go back thousands of years, from powering whimsical toys to lifting humans into space.
Categories: Science

Seafloor Sensors Record Possible Eruption of Underwater Volcano

Slashdot - Sat, 02/05/2015 - 4:50am
vinces99 writes: Thanks to high-tech instruments installed last summer by the University of Washington to bring the deep sea online, what appears to be an eruption of Axial Volcano on April 23 was observed in real time by scientists on shore. "It was an astonishing experience to see the changes taking place 300 miles away with no one anywhere nearby, and the data flowed back to land at the speed of light through the fiber-optic cable ... in milliseconds," said John Delaney, a UW professor of oceanography who led the installation of the instruments as part of a larger effort sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Delaney organized a workshop on campus in mid-April at which marine scientists discussed how this high-tech observatory would support their science. Then, just before midnight on April 23 until about noon the next day, the seismic activity went off the charts. The gradually increasing rumblings of the mountain were documented over recent weeks by William Wilcock, a UW marine geophysicist who studies such systems. During last week's event, the earthquakes increased from hundreds per day to thousands, and the center of the volcanic crater dropped by about 6 feet in 12 hours. "The only way that could have happened was to have the magma move from beneath the caldera to some other location," Delaney said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Printing silicon on paper with lasers

Kurzweil AI - Sat, 02/05/2015 - 3:47am

Silicon printed on paper (credit: M. Trifunovic et al./Applied Physics Letters)

Researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have pioneered a method that allows silicon, in the polycrystalline form used in circuitry, to be produced directly on a substrate from liquid silicon ink with a single laser pulse.

The capacity for printing silicon ink onto substrates has existed for some time, but necessitated a 350° C thermal annealing step — far too hot for paper and other common surfaces. The researcher’s new method bypasses this step, transforming the liquid silicon directly into polysilicon.

They discuss their research in Applied Physics Letters.

“We coated liquid polysilane directly on paper by doctor-blading, or skimming it by a blade directly in oxygen-free environment,” said Ryoichi Ishihara, the professor who led the research team at Delft University of Technology, with collaborators at the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Ishikawa, Japan. “Then we annealed the layer with an excimer-laser [a conventional tool used for manufacturing smartphone displays]. And it worked,” Ishihara said.

The laser blast only lasted a few tens of nanoseconds, leaving the paper completely intact. In testing its conductive performance, Ishihara and his colleagues found that thin-film transistors using the laser-printed layer exhibited mobilities as high as those of conventional poly-silicon conductors.

The most immediate application of this printing capacity is in wearable electronics, as it allows for the production of fast, low-power and flexible transistors at a remarkably low cost. Ishihara believes the future of the project, which involves improving the production process of the thin-film transistors to include additional non-silicon layers, will have applications in biomedical sensors, solar cells, and stretchable electronics.

Abstract of Solution-processed polycrystalline silicon on paper

Printing electronics has led to application areas formerly which were impossible with conventional electronic processes. Solutions are used as inks on top of large areas at room temperatures, allowing the production of fully flexible circuitry. Commonly, research in these inks have focused on organic and metal-oxide ink materials due to their printability, while these materials lack in the electronic performance when compared to silicon electronics. Silicon electronics, on the other hand, only recently has found their way in solution processes. Printing of cyclopentasilane as the silicon ink has been conducted and devices with far superior electric performance have been made  when compared to other ink materials. A thermal annealing step of this material, however, was necessary, which prevented its usage on inexpensive substrates with a limited thermal budget. In this  work, we introduce a method that allows polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) production directly from  the same liquid silicon ink using excimer laser irradiation. In this way, poly-Si could be formed  directly on top of paper even with a single laser pulse. Using this method, poly-Si transistors were  created at a maximum temperature of only 150 °C. This method allows silicon device formation on  inexpensive, temperature sensitive substrates such as polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene  naphthalate or paper, which leads to applications that require low-cost but high-speed electronics.

Categories: Science

A whiteboard of the future

Kurzweil AI - Sat, 02/05/2015 - 3:36am

The black side of the microparticles contains magnetic nanoparticles that make it possible to write on the screen. A magnet pulled across the surface of the white display attracts the black side and the balls flip to face the magnet. (credit: Yusuke Komazaki/University of Tokyo)

Researchers from the University of Tokyo have developed an inexpensive handwriting-enabled e-paper suited to large displays like whiteboards.

The display is made from black-and-white microparticles about 0.1 millimeter in diameter. One hemisphere of each particle is black and carries a negative charge, while the other is white and carries a positive charge. The particles are sandwiched between two electrodes. By switching the direction of the voltage across the electrodes the background display can be switched between black and white.

Handwriting with a magnet is demonstrated on a prototype of the new e-paper (credit: Yusuke Komazaki/University of Tokyo)

Such “twisting ball” displays are not new, but the researchers have integrated a magnetic field control component with the original electric control. The black side of the microparticles also contains magnetic nanoparticles that make it possible to write on the screen.

A magnet pulled across the surface of the white display attracts the black side and the balls flip to face the magnet. In this way images and lines can be drawn on the display. A magnet with about the strength of a refrigerator magnet will work for this task.

Applying a voltage will immediately erase the drawings. In the absence of a voltage or magnetic field, the image is maintained without using any energy.

“Toughness, cost, size and color are the advantages of our e-paper display,” said Yusuke Komazaki, a researcher in the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences at the University of Tokyo and lead author of a paper published in the Journal of Applied Physics.

The display is made from materials like acrylic polymer, silicone elastomer, and silicone oil that are relatively inexpensive and hold up well under UV light. Because of the e-paper’s simple structure, large displays can be easily fabricated, Komazaki said. The researchers could easily change the color combinations by substituting different microparticle pigments, he suggested.

“Conventional electronic whiteboards are equipped with large LCDs or projectors and are very expensive, less visible in bright light conditions, heavy, and energy consuming,” Komazaki said. “If we fabricate super-large displays, it might even be possible to replace traditional blackboards in classrooms.”

The team is working to improve the contrast of the display, which they believe can be achieved by increasing the amount of black and white pigment in the microparticles. The researchers believe their work could one day contribute to a world less dependent on traditional paper.

Abstract of Electrically and Magnetically Dual-driven Janus Particles for Handwriting-enabled E-paper

In this work, we describe the synthesis of novel electrically and magnetically dual-driven Janus particles for a handwriting enabled twisting ball display via the microfluidic technique. One hemisphere of the Janus particles contains a charge control agent, which allows the display color to be controlled by applying a voltage and superparamagnetic nanoparticles, which allows handwriting by applying a magnetic field to the display. We fabricated a twisting ball display utilizing these Janus particles and tested the electric color control and handwriting using a magnet. As a result, the display was capable of permitting handwriting with a small magnet in addition to conventional color control using an applied voltage (80 V). Handwriting performance was improved by increasing the concentration of superparamagnetic nanoparticles and was determined to be possible even when 80 V was applied across the electrodes for 4 wt% superparamagnetic nanoparticles in one hemisphere. This improvement was impossible when the concentration was reduced to 2 wt% superparamagnetic nanoparticles. The technology presented in our work can be applied to low-cost, lightweight, highly visible and energy saving electronic message boards and large whiteboards because the large-size display can be fabricated easily due to its simple structure.

Categories: Science

Seafloor sensors record possible eruption of underwater volcano

Science Daily - Sat, 02/05/2015 - 2:15am
If a volcano erupts at the bottom of the sea, does anybody see it? If that volcano is Axial Seamount, about 300 miles offshore and 1 mile deep, the answer is now: yes.
Categories: Science

Humans Dominating Poker Super Computer

Slashdot - Sat, 02/05/2015 - 2:10am
New submitter IoTdude writes: The Claudico super computer uses an algorithm to account for gargantuan amounts of complexity by representing the number of possible Heads-Up No-limit Texas Hold'em decisions. Claudico also updates its strategy as it goes along, but its basic approach to the game involves getting into every hand by calling bets. And it's not working out so far. Halfway through the competition, the four human pros had a cumulative lead of 626,892 chips. Though much could change in the week remaining, a lead of around 600,000 chips is considered statistically significant.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Scientists discover key driver of human aging

Kurzweil AI - Sat, 02/05/2015 - 2:06am

Salk Institute researchers discovered that a protein mutated in Werner syndrome,  premature aging disorder, plays a key role in stabilizing heterochromatin, a tightly packaged form of DNA, suggesting that heterochromatin disorganization may be a key driver of aging. This image shows normal human cells (left) and genetically modified cells developed by the Salk scientists to model Werner syndrome (right), which showed signs of aging, including their large size. (credit: Salk Institute for Biological Studies)

A study tying the aging process to the deterioration of tightly packaged bundles of cellular DNA could lead to methods of preventing and treating age-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, scientists at the Salk Institute and the Chinese Academy of Science note in a paper published Thursday, April 30 in the journal Science.

They found that the genetic mutations underlying Werner syndrome, a disorder that leads to premature aging and death, resulted in the deterioration of bundles of DNA known as heterochromatin.

The discovery, made possible through a combination of cutting-edge stem cell and gene-editing technologies, could lead to ways of countering age-related physiological declines by preventing or reversing damage to heterochromatin.

Connecting the dots

Werner syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes people to age more rapidly than normal. It affects around one in every 200,000 people in the U.S. People with the disorder suffer age-related diseases early in life, including cataracts, type 2 diabetes, hardening of the arteries, osteoporosis and cancer, and most die in their late 40s or early 50s.

The disease is caused by a mutation to the Werner syndrome RecQ helicase-like gene (the “WRN gene”), which generates the WRN protein. Previous studies showed that the normal form of the protein is an enzyme that maintains the structure and integrity of a person’s DNA. When the protein is mutated in Werner syndrome it disrupts the replication and repair of DNA and the expression of genes, which was thought to cause premature aging. However, it was unclear exactly how the mutated WRN protein disrupted these critical cellular processes.

“Our study connects the dots between Werner syndrome and heterochromatin disorganization, outlining a molecular mechanism by which a genetic mutation leads to a general disruption of cellular processes by disrupting epigenetic regulation,” says Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a senior author on the paper. “More broadly, it suggests that accumulated alterations in the structure of heterochromatin may be a major underlying cause of cellular aging. This [raises] the question of whether we can reverse these alterations — like remodeling an old house or car — to prevent, or even reverse, age-related declines and diseases.”

Belmonte added that more extensive studies will be needed to fully understand the role of heterochromatin disorganization in aging, including how it interacts with other cellular processes implicated in aging, such as shortening of the end of chromosomes, known as telomeres. In addition, the Belmonte team is developing epigenetic editing technologies to reverse epigenetic alterations with a role in human aging and disease.

Funding for the study was provided by the Glenn Foundation, the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Charitable Foundation and the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

* In their study, the Salk scientists sought to determine precisely how the mutated WRN protein causes so much cellular mayhem. To do this, they created a cellular model of Werner syndrome by using a cutting-edge gene-editing technology to delete WRN gene in human stem cells. This stem cell model of the disease gave the scientists the unprecedented ability to study rapidly aging cells in the laboratory. The resulting cells mimicked the genetic mutation seen in actual Werner syndrome patients, so the cells began to age more rapidly than normal. On closer examination, the scientists found that the deletion of the WRN gene also led to disruptions to the structure of heterochromatin, the tightly packed DNA found in a cell’s nucleus.

This bundling of DNA acts as a switchboard for controlling genes’ activity and directs a cell’s complex molecular machinery. On the outside of the heterochromatin bundles are chemical markers, known as epigenetic tags, which control the structure of the heterochromatin. For instance, alterations to these chemical switches can change the architecture of the heterochromatin, causing genes to be expressed or silenced.

The Salk researchers discovered that deletion of the WRN gene leads to heterochromatin disorganization, pointing to an important role for the WRN protein in maintaining heterochromatin. And, indeed, in further experiments, they showed that the protein interacts directly with molecular structures known to stabilize heterochromatin, revealing a kind of smoking gun that, for the first time, directly links mutated WRN protein to heterochromatin destabilization.

Salk Institute | Researchers May Have Discovered The Mechanisms Behind Aging

Abstract of A Werner syndrome stem cell model unveils heterochromatin alterations as a driver of human aging

Werner syndrome (WS) is a premature aging disorder caused by WRN protein deficiency. Here, we report on the generation of a human WS model in human embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Differentiation of WRN-null ESCs to mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) recapitulates features of premature cellular aging, a global loss of H3K9me3, and changes in heterochromatin architecture. We show that WRN associates with heterochromatin proteins SUV39H1 and HP1α and nuclear lamina-heterochromatin anchoring protein LAP2β. Targeted knock-in of catalytically inactive SUV39H1 in wild-type MSCs recapitulates accelerated cellular senescence, resembling WRN-deficient MSCs. Moreover, decrease in WRN and heterochromatin marks are detected in MSCs from older individuals. Our observations uncover a role for WRN in maintaining heterochromatin stability and highlight heterochromatin disorganization as a potential determinant of human aging.

Categories: Science

Webmonkey Podcast: How the WordPress Security Team Keeps Your Blog Secure

Wired News - Sat, 02/05/2015 - 12:11am

In the second episode of the Webmonkey podcast, we take a dive into web security.

The post Webmonkey Podcast: How the WordPress Security Team Keeps Your Blog Secure appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Want 30 Job Offers a Month? It's Not As Great As You Think

Slashdot - Sat, 02/05/2015 - 12:02am
An anonymous reader writes: Software engineers suffer from a problem that most other industries wish they had: too much demand. There's a great story at the Atlantic entitled Imagine Getting 30 Job Offers a Month (It Isn't as Awesome as You Might Think). This is a problem that many engineers deal with: place your resume on a job board and proceed to be spammed multiple times per day for jobs in places that you would never go to (URGENT REQUIREMENT IN DETROIT!!!!!, etc). Google "recruiter spam" and there are many tales of engineers being overwhelmed by this. One engineer, fed up by a lack of a recruiting spam blackhole, set up NoRecruitingSpam.com with directions on how to stop this modern tech scourge. Have you been the victim of recruiting spam?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

The HoloLens Isn’t as Great as You Think—At Least Not Yet

Wired News - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 11:39pm

With Microsoft's HoloLens headset, the reality is not what it seems, and the possibilities are narrower than you think.

The post The HoloLens Isn’t as Great as You Think—At Least Not Yet appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Android and iOS App Porting Will Not Be Available At Windows 10 Launch

Slashdot - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 11:22pm
An anonymous reader writes: Arguably the biggest news out of Microsoft's Build 2015 conference was that developers will be able to bring Web apps, Windows desktop apps (Win32), as well as Android and iOS mobile apps to the Windows Store. Yet each of these work differently, and there are a lot of nuances, so we talked to Todd Brix, general manager of Windows apps and store, to get some more detail. First and foremost, upon Windows 10's launch, developers will only be able to bring Web apps to the Windows Store. The Win32, Android, and iOS app toolkits will not be ready in time. That said, with Microsoft's Windows as a service strategy, they will arrive as part of later updates

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Game|Life Podcast: We’re on the Road to E3

Wired News - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 10:45pm

It's the month of May, and you know what that means: E3 is next month.

The post Game|Life Podcast: We’re on the Road to E3 appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Judge Tosses United Airlines Lawsuit Over 'Hidden City' Tickets

Slashdot - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 10:41pm
An anonymous reader writes: United Airlines lost a legal round in its effort to stop a website that helps people find 'hidden city' ticket pairs. The airline, along with online travel site Orbitz, sued New York-based Skiplagged.com and its founder, Aktarer Zaman, in November seeking an injunction to stop the site from sending users to Orbitz to purchase United tickets. A federal judge ruled Thursday that Illinois isn't the proper venue for the carrier's claims.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Ocean fronts improve climate and fishery production, study finds

Science Daily - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 10:21pm
Ocean fronts -- separate regions of warm and cool water as well as salt and fresh water -- act to increase production in the ocean, research has found. This research showed how fronts can be incorporated into current climate and fisheries models to account for small-scale interactions in fishery production and cycling of elements such as carbon and nitrogen in the ocean.
Categories: Science