The Phone Dragnet That Caught the World's Top Drug Lord

Slashdot - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 4:30pm
Daniel_Stuckey writes "The contacts on Zambada-Ortiz's phone, which officials seized, would prove critical in pinpointing cartel stash houses strewn across Sinaloa state in mountainous northwest Mexico. Crucially, the episode would breathe new life into the joint US-Mexico dragnet that recently caught Chapo, who'd been at large for 13 years after famously escaping from Mexican prison in a laundry basket. Zambada-Ortiz's capture and the data scraped from his phone led to more and more Sinaloa phones until a month ago, when Mexican authorities (moving on American intelligence work) successfully carried out a number of raids that scored a cache of weapons and the arrests of a few of Chapo's senior henchmen. With each apprehension came another phone full of leads, 'a new trove of information for officials to mine,' as TIME reported. Then, sometime last week, Mexican commandos 'traced a number stored in a seized cell phone to a stash house outside the provincial capital of Culiacan, where they believed Guzman was hiding,' TIME added."

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Categories: Science

Quebec Language Police Target Store Owner's Facebook Page

Slashdot - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 4:15pm
New submitter wassomeyob writes "In Canada, the province of Quebec has their Official Language Act of 1974 (aka Bill 22) which makes French their sole official language. It has famously been used to force business owners to modify signage to give French pre-eminance over other languages. Now, the Quebec language police seem to be extending their reach to Facebook. Eva Cooper owns Delilah in the Parc — a shop in Chelsea, Quebec near the Quebec/Ontario border. She received a letter from the language office telling her to translate everything posted on her store's Facebook page into French."

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Categories: Science

Blood Test of 4 Biomarkers Predicts Death Within 5 Years

Slashdot - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 3:49pm
retroworks writes "The NHS and the Daily Telegraph report on two studies (original and repeat duplicating results) in Estonia and Finland which predict whether an apparently healthy human will likely die within 5 years. The four biomarkers that appeared to determine risk of mortality in the next five years were: alpha-1-acid glycoprotein – a protein that is raised during infection and inflammation; albumin – a protein that carries vital nutrients, hormones and proteins in the bloodstream; very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) particle size – usually known for being 'very bad' cholesterol; and citrate – a compound that is an essential part of the body's metabolism. Researchers found that people in the top 20% of the summary score range were 19 times more at risk of dying in the next five years than people in the lowest 20%." The NHS's summary of the news points out that "the implications of such a test are unclear. As this was an observational study, it can only show an association between the biomarkers and risk of death. It does not predict what the underlying cause of death would be for an individual and does not therefore provide an answer in terms of treatment."

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Categories: Science

Apple Drops Snow Leopard Security Updates, Doesn't Tell Anyone

Slashdot - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 3:28pm
Freshly Exhumed writes "As Apple issued an update for Mavericks, Mountain Lion, and Lion yesterday, Snow Leopard users have not seen a security update since September, 2013. This would not be noteworthy if Apple, like a host of other major software vendors, would clearly spell out its OS support policies and warn users of such changes, but they have not. Thus, the approximately 20% of Mac users still running Snow Leopard now find themselves in a very vulnerable state without the latest security updates."

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Categories: Science

Low birth weight reduces ability to metabolize drugs throughout life

Science Daily - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 3:11pm
Another concern related to low birth weight has been found by researchers: a difference in how the body reacts to drugs, which may last a person's entire life and further complicate treatment of illnesses or diseases that are managed with medications. The findings add to the list of health problems that are already known to correspond to low birth weight, such as a predisposition for adult-onset diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. The implication, researchers say, is that low birth weight may not only cause increased disease, but it may also lessen the effectiveness of the drugs used to treat those diseases.
Categories: Science

The pain of social exclusion: Physical pain brain circuits activated by 'social pain'

Science Daily - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 3:11pm
“Social” pain hurts physically, even when we see it in others. The distress caused by social stimuli (e.g., losing a friend, experiencing an injustice or more in general when a social bond is threatened) activates brain circuits related to physical pain: as observed in a new study. This also applies when we experience this type of pain vicariously as an empathic response (when we see somebody else experiencing it).
Categories: Science

Woman Attacked In San Francisco Bar For Wearing Google Glass

Slashdot - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 3:07pm
First time accepted submitter Martin Blank writes "Sarah Slocum, an early adopter of Google Glass, was bar hopping with friends in San Francisco when a few people in the bar took issue with the eyewear when she was demonstrating it to another patron even though she wasn't recording. When she felt threatened, she informed them that she would start recording. Two of them approached her, yelling and throwing a bar rag at her, and ultimately ripping the Glass from her face and running from the bar with it. She gave chase and eventually got the Glass back, but her purse was gone when she returned to the bar. This physical level of hostility is unusual, but discomfort with Glass is common, especially among those who don't understand how it works. Given that much more hidden spy cameras are available for far less than the $1500 cost of Glass, what will it take for general acceptance to finally take hold?"

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Categories: Science

Red and Dead | Space Wallpaper

Space.com - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 3:05pm
This cool space wallpaper shows a composite view of the giant elliptical galaxy NGC 1399. The stellar component, as observed at optical wavelengths, is shown in white at the center of the image.
Categories: Science

The Molecule That Tells You When You've Used Too Much Sriracha

Wired News - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 2:30pm
Scientists have uncovered the structure of the molecule that senses capsaicin, the chemical that gives chili peppers their heat, 15 years after the molecule was discovered.
    





Categories: Science

'Obnoxious' RSA Protests, RSA Remains Mum

Slashdot - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 2:26pm
An anonymous reader writes "By 'buying out' the most obvious lunch spot nearest the RSA conference yesterday, opponents and truth-seekers regarding RSA's alleged deal with the NSA raised awareness amongst attendees in the most brutal way possible: by taking away tacos and tequila drinks. Robert Imhoff, Vegas 2.0 co-founder, says, 'RSA could begin to fix this by going on the record with a detailed response about the accusations.'" I tried to get attendees of the conference to comment on camera — even a little bit — on what they thought of the NSA spying revelations, and not a single person I approached would do so. The pained facial expressions when they refused were interesting, though, and reflect the problem with a surveillance society in a nutshell. Especially at a conference where the NSA is surrounded by vendors who sell the hardware and software that enables your "mere" metadata to be captured and sifted, plenty of the people on the floor know that the companies they work for are or might one day be seeking contracts to do all that capturing and sifting, even if they'd rather not be subject to it personally, so their don't want their face shown saying so.

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Categories: Science

Closest, brightest supernova in decades is also a little weird

Science Daily - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 2:24pm
The closest and brightest supernova in decades, SN 2014J, brightens faster than expected for Type Ia supernovae, the exploding stars used to measure cosmic distances, according to astronomers. Another recent supernova also brightened faster than expected, suggesting that there is unsuspected new physics going on inside these exploding stars. The finding may also help physicists improve their use of these supernovae to measure cosmic distance.
Categories: Science

Why dark chocolate is good for your heart

Science Daily - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 2:21pm
It might seem too good to be true, but dark chocolate is good for you and scientists now know why. Dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. Both arterial stiffness and white blood cell adhesion are known factors that play a significant role in atherosclerosis. What's more, the scientists also found that increasing the flavanol content of dark chocolate did not change this effect.
Categories: Science

Cushing's syndrome: Genetic basis for cortisol excess

Science Daily - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 2:20pm
Cushing’s syndrome has been found to be linked to a genetic basis for cortisol excess. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland in response to stressful events, and modulates a whole spectrum of physiological processes. An international research collaboration has now identified genetic mutations that lead to the production and secretion of cortisol in the absence of an underlying stressor. This condition, known as Cushing's syndrome, can be successfully treated by surgical removal of the affected adrenal gland.
Categories: Science

Ecological impacts of invasive species can be readily predicted from features of their behavior

Science Daily - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 2:20pm
Ecologists have studied the behavior of some of the "world's worst" invasive species, including the large-mouth bass, an invasive fish which typically devastates invertebrate and other fish communities wherever it is introduced. They have revealed that the ecological impacts of invasive species might be readily predicted from features of their behavior.
Categories: Science

Probing the edge of chaos: How do variable physical characteristics behave at the point preceding onset of chaos?

Science Daily - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 2:20pm
The edge of chaos -- right before chaos sets in -- is a unique place. It is found in many dynamical systems that cross the boundary between a well-behaved dynamics and a chaotic one. Now, physicists have shown that the distribution -- or frequency of occurrence -- of the variables constituting the physical characteristics of such systems at the edge of chaos has a very different shape than previously reported distributions. This could help us better understand natural phenomena with a chaotic nature.
Categories: Science

Altruistic suicide in organisms helps relatives by providing nutrients to kin

Science Daily - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 2:14pm
The question of why an individual would actively kill itself has been an evolutionary mystery. Death could hardly provide a fitness advantage to the dying individual. However, a new study has found that in single-celled algae, suicide benefits the organism’s relatives. Researchers have known that when an organism commits suicide by digesting up its own body, it releases nutrients into the environment that can be used by other organisms. Now they've proven that these nutrients can only be used by relatives. In fact, the nutrients inhibit the growth of non-relatives, so not only does suicide benefit relatives, it can also harm competitors.
Categories: Science

Digital ears in the rainforest: Estimating dynamics of animal populations by using sound recordings and computing

Science Daily - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 2:14pm
A Finnish-Brazilian project is constructing a system that could estimate the dynamics of animal populations by using sound recordings, statistics and scientific computing. The canopy in a Brazilian rainforest is bustling with life, but nothing is visible from the ground level. The digital recorders attached to the trees, however, are picking up the noises of birds.
Categories: Science

Tooth extraction prior to cardiac surgery may increase risk of adverse outcomes

Science Daily - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 2:12pm
Removing an infected tooth prior to cardiac surgery may increase the risk of major adverse outcomes, including risk of death prior to surgery, even though the practice is relatively routine. This research points to a significant departure from current understanding, guideline and practice, and the authors note that further research is required before recommendations and practice are changed.
Categories: Science

Smarter colorectal screening could improve senior health

Science Daily - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 2:12pm
Age-based colorectal cancer screening guidelines could lead to inappropriate use and contribute to healthy seniors missing out on the preventative tests including colonoscopy. Large health system, Medicare and many private insurers use quality measures to encourage screening among 50- to 75-year-olds. An unhealthy, 75-year-old -- whose life expectancy is estimated at less than five years -- was significantly more likely to undergo screening than a 76-year-old who's in good health, the study found. The study suggests the upper age cut-off could unintentionally discourage screening for these healthy, older individuals, leading them to miss out on the colorectal screenings known to prevent cancer.
Categories: Science

NASA's Planet-Hunting Kepler Spacecraft a 'Gift That Keeps on Giving'

Space.com - Thu, 27/02/2014 - 2:11pm
Though a glitch ended Kepler's original operations last May, the mission continues to discover distant worlds, adding a whopping 715 new exoplanets to the tally on Wednesday. Many more will follow, and a new mission could keep Kepler busy for years.
Categories: Science