How an Open Standard API Could Revolutionize Banking

Slashdot - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 9:25am
An anonymous reader writes: Open bank data will give us the freedom to access all banks in real time and from a single view, automatically calculating the best deals in complete transparency, which will be a significant step forward for social good and give people more control over their finances. Meanwhile, financial tech incubators, accelerators, and startups are creating a more experienced talent pool of developers ready to act upon these newly available assets. From the article: "The United Kingdom government has commissioned a study of the feasibility of UK banks giving customers the ability to share their transactional data with third parties via an open standard API. First mentioned alongside the autumn statement back in December, the chancellor has now outlined plans for a mandatory open banking API standard during the recent budget in March."

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Categories: Science

What’s on Kurt Cobain’s Lost ‘Montage of Heck’ Mixtape

Wired News - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 9:00am

Brett Morgen's documentary on Nirvana's frontman, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, takes its name from what might just be the weirdest mixtape ever.

The post What’s on Kurt Cobain’s Lost ‘Montage of Heck’ Mixtape appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

UK High Court Orders Block On Popcorn Time

Slashdot - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 7:07am
An anonymous reader writes: Five ISPs have been given orders by the UK High Court to restrict access to sites offering downloads of popular movie streaming service Popcorn Time – a move which follows complaints from the Motion Picture Association referring to the software's use as a platform for viewing pirated content. According to the new regulation, Virgin, BT, Sky, EE and TalkTalk are now required to block access to popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorntime.se and isoplex.isohunt.to – all sites which link to Popcorn Time downloads. In the High Court order, Justice Birss cites under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, that the 'Popcorn Time application is used in order to watch pirated content on the internet.' Popcorn Time operates as a BitTorrent client, despite its slick user interface, and is used mainly for illegal content – although, as its supporters argue, it is also a handy tool for streaming public domain films. It is unclear how successful the ban will be – the blocked sites are not the only places to find Popcorn Time online. Additionally, at ISP level, it will be challenging to monitor as there is not a single version or developer to seek out, with the code available as open source.

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Categories: Science

XS-1: DARPA's Experimental Spaceplane

Space.com - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 6:27am
The XS-1 is a space plane under development by the U.S. military's high-tech agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Categories: Science

Elon Musk’s Grand Plan to Power the World With Batteries

Wired News - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 5:42am

Tesla's Elon Musk has revealed his plan to sell huge batteries for homes and businesses, and it could change how we consume energy.

The post Elon Musk’s Grand Plan to Power the World With Batteries appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Science

New Solar Telescope Unveils the Complex Dynamics of Sunspots' Dark Cores

Slashdot - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 5:22am
An anonymous reader writes: The high-resolution images, taken by the New Solar Telescope (NST), show the atmosphere above the umbrae (the dark patches in the center of sunspots) to be finely structured, consisting of hot plasma intermixed with cool plasma jets as wide as 100 kilometers. These ground breaking images are being captured by scientists at NJIT's Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO). Sunspots are formed when strong magnetic fields rise up from the convection zone, a region beneath the photosphere that transfers energy from the interior of the Sun to its surface. At the surface, the magnetic fields concentrate into bundles, which prevent the hot rising plasma from reaching the surface. This energy deficit causes the magnetic bundles to cool down to temperatures about 1,000 degrees lower than their surroundings. The NST takes snapshots of the Sun every 10 seconds, which are then strung together as a video to reveal fast-evolving small explosions, plasma flows and the movement of magnetic fields.

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Categories: Science

Once a Forgotten Child, OpenSSL's Future Now Looks Bright

Slashdot - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 4:28am
Trailrunner7 writes: Rarely does anything have a defined turning point in its history, a single day where people can point and say that was the day everything changed. For OpenSSL, that day was April 7, 2014, the day that Heartbleed became part of the security lexicon. Heartbleed was a critical vulnerability in the venerable crypto library. OpenSSL is everywhere, in tens of thousands of commercial and homespun software projects. And so too, as of last April, was Heartbleed, an Internet-wide bug that leaked enough memory that a determined hacker could piece together anything from credentials to encryption keys. "Two years ago, it was a night-and-day difference. Two years ago, aside from our loyal user community, we were invisible. No one knew we existed," says Steve Marquess, cofounder, president and business manager of the OpenSSL Foundation, the corporate entity that handles commercial contracting for OpenSSL. "OpenSSL is used everywhere: hundreds, thousands of vendors use it; every smartphone uses it. Everyone took that for granted; most companies have no clue they even used it." To say OpenSSL has been flipped on its head—in a good way—is an understatement. Heartbleed made the tech world realize that the status quo wasn't healthy to the security and privacy of ecommerce transactions and communication worldwide. Shortly after Heartbleed, the Core Infrastructure Initiative was created, uniting The Linux Foundation, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Dell, Google and other large technology companies in funding various open source projects. OpenSSL was the first beneficiary, getting enough money to hire Dr. Steve Henson and Andy Polyakov as its first full-timers. Henson, who did not return a request to be interviewed for this article, is universally known as the one steady hand that kept OpenSSL together, an unsung hero of the project who along with other volunteers handled bug reports, code reviews and changes.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Artificial photosynthesis could help make fuels, plastics, and medicine

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 3:46am

Schematics of a general artificial photosynthetic approach. The proposed approach for solar-powered CO2 fixation includes four general components: (1) harvesting solar energy, (2) generating reducing equivalents, (3) reducing CO2 to biosynthetic intermediates, and (4) producing value-added chemicals. An integration of materials science and biology, such an approach combines the advantages of solid-state devices with living organisms. (credit: Chong Liu et al./Nano Letters)

A team of scientists has invented a new artificial photosynthetic system that could one day reduce industry’s dependence on fossil fuel-derived energy by powering it with solar energy and bacteria.

In the ACS journal Nano Letters, they describe a novel system that converts light and carbon dioxide into building blocks for plastics, pharmaceuticals and fuels — all without electricity.

Plants use photosynthesis to convert sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to make their own fuel in the form of carbohydrates. Globally, this natural process harvests 130 Terawatts of solar energy to generate up to 115 billion metric tons of biomass annually. If scientists could figure out how to harness just a fraction of that amount to make fuels and power industrial processes, they could dramatically cut our reliance on fossil fuels.

However, such an approach has not been fully realized owing to a host of unmet basic scientific challenges, say the scientists at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute, and University of California, Berkeley.

The groups developed a stand-alone solar-energy conversion process that combines the strengths of semiconductor nanodevices and bacterium-based biocatalysts. A nanowire array captures light, and with the help of bacteria, converts carbon dioxide into acetate. The bacteria directly interact with light-absorbing materials, which the researchers say is the first example of “microbial photoelectrosynthesis.”

Another kind of bacteria then transforms the acetate into chemical precursors that can be used to make a wide range of everyday products from antibiotics to paints, replacing fossil fuels and electrical power.

The authors acknowledge funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryHoward Hughes Medical Institute, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Abstract of Nanowire–Bacteria Hybrids for Unassisted Solar Carbon Dioxide Fixation to Value-Added Chemicals

Direct solar-powered production of value-added chemicals from CO2 and H2O, a process that mimics natural photosynthesis, is of fundamental and practical interest. In natural photosynthesis, CO2 is first reduced to common biochemical building blocks using solar energy, which are subsequently used for the synthesis of the complex mixture of molecular products that form biomass. Here we report an artificial photosynthetic scheme that functions via a similar two-step process by developing a biocompatible light-capturing nanowire array that enables a direct interface with microbial systems. As a proof of principle, we demonstrate that a hybrid semiconductor nanowire–bacteria system can reduce CO2 at neutral pH to a wide array of chemical targets, such as fuels, polymers, and complex pharmaceutical precursors, using only solar energy input. The high-surface-area silicon nanowire array harvests light energy to provide reducing equivalents to the anaerobic bacterium, Sporomusa ovata, for the photoelectrochemical production of acetic acid under aerobic conditions (21% O2) with low overpotential (η < 200 mV), high Faradaic efficiency (up to 90%), and long-term stability (up to 200 h). The resulting acetate (∼6 g/L) can be activated to acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) by genetically engineered Escherichia coli and used as a building block for a variety of value-added chemicals, such as n-butanol, polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) polymer, and three different isoprenoid natural products. As such, interfacing biocompatible solid-state nanodevices with living systems provides a starting point for developing a programmable system of chemical synthesis entirely powered by sunlight.

Categories: Science

New tool can switch neural behavior ‘on’ and ‘off’

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 3:35am

The updated DREADD (Designer Receptors Activated Exclusively by Designer Drugs) achieves bidirectional remote control of a neuron (bottom) and behavior by introducing a synthetic, experimental chemical messenger system into specific brain circuits in mice. It consists of a receptor protein (top) and matching inert chemical (middle) for increasing neuronal activity (red) and another set for reducing activity (blue). (credit: Bryan Roth, Ph.D., University of North Carolina)

University of North Carolina (UNC) scientists have perfected a noninvasive “chemogenetic” technique that allows them to switch off a specific behavior in mice — such as voracious eating — and then switch it back on. This unique tool — the first to result from the NIH BRAIN Initiative — will help scientists understand how to modulate neurons to more effectively treat diseases.

The method works by targeting two different cell surface receptors of neurons that are responsible for triggering the specific chemical signals that control brain function and complex behaviors.

When this complex signaling system goes awry, the results can lead to a plethora of diseases, including schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, eating disorders, and epilepsy. Cell surface receptors also play roles in cancers, diabetes, digestive conditions, and other diseases. This new technique could be modified to study them, as well.

Targeting brain circuits to treat human disease

“This new chemogenetic tool will show us how brain circuits can be more effectively targeted to treat human disease, ” said Bryan L. Roth, MD, PhD, the Michael Hooker Distinguished Professor of Protein Therapeutics and Translational Proteomics at the UNC School of Medicine. “The problem facing medical science is that although most approved drugs target these brain receptors, it remains unclear how to selectively modulate specific kinds of receptors to effectively treat disease.”

Roth addressed this problem by inventing a technology he dubbed “DREADDs” — Designer Receptor Exclusively Activated by a Designer Drug.

The first-generation DREADD technology was developed in 2007. Essentially, in lab experiments, Roth’s team altered the chemical structure of G protein-coupled receptors so that the receptors expressed synthetic proteins when reintroduced into a mouse. This way, the mutated receptor could only be activated or inhibited by a specific synthesized drug-like compound. The receptor became like a lock; the synthetic drug became the only key that fit the lock. Depending on what Roth’s team wanted to study, they could lock or unlock the specific brain circuits and behaviors associated with that one receptor.

This DREADD technology — also known as chemogenetics — is now used by hundreds of labs worldwide. It helped revolutionize our understanding of how brain circuits control normal and abnormal behavior, emotions, perception, pain sensation, memory, and many other processes. DREADDs have been used to improve the function of insulin-producing cells in mice as a way of treating diabetes. DREADD technology has also helped scientists treat epileptic seizures in mice.

But scientists could use this first DREADD to only manipulate a single receptor in one direction: either excite the receptor or inhibit it.

Targeting two kinds of receptors

Last year, Roth and UNC colleagues Thomas Kash, PhD, and Jian Jin, PhD, received a $2.84-million NIH BRAIN Initiative grant to develop the next generation of DREADDs.

Today in the journal Neuron, UNC and NIH researchers revealed the first results of that grant: a new chemogenetic technology they have named KORD (k-opioid receptor DREADD). This new tool, co-invented by Roth and Eyal Vardy, PhD, a former UNC postdoctoral fellow, can target two different kinds of receptors on the same neuron sequentially. This allowed them to study the function of two kinds of receptors as they relate to each other.

In the Neuron paper, Roth’s team explain how they modified the receptors in the lab, packaged the receptors in an viral vector, and injected them into mice so that the synthetic receptors were expressed only in certain kinds of neurons in specific parts of the brain.

Then they administered the synthetic drug-like compound to demonstrate how neuronal signaling could be manipulated to turn the same neurons “on” and “off” and thereby turning on and off specific behaviors in mice.

In one type of experiment, the NIH lab of Michael Krashes, PhD, was able to turn on and off voracious feeding behavior in mice. In another type of experiment, UNC researchers were able to turn on and off behaviors similar to those induced by drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines.

“We are now sharing KORD and other DREADD technology freely with other scientists, and it is likely that new uses for these technologies will appear in the near future,” said Roth.

Abstract of A New DREADD Facilitates the Multiplexed Chemogenetic Interrogation of Behavior

Highlights

  • Structure-guided approach for κ-opioid receptor (KOR)-DREADD (KORD) design
  • KORD is selectively activated by salvinorin B, and not by endogenous opioids
  • KORD robustly silenced multiple neuronal subtypes
  • Inhibitory KORD combined with excitatory hM3Dq for multiplexed behavioral control

Summary

DREADDs are chemogenetic tools widely used to remotely control cellular signaling, neuronal activity, and behavior. Here we used a structure-based approach to develop a new Gi-coupled DREADD using the kappa-opioid receptor as a template (KORD) that is activated by the pharmacologically inert ligand salvinorin B (SALB). Activation of virally expressed KORD in several neuronal contexts robustly attenuated neuronal activity and modified behaviors. Additionally, co-expression of the KORD and the Gq-coupled M3-DREADD within the same neuronal population facilitated the sequential and bidirectional remote control of behavior. The availability of DREADDs activated by different ligands provides enhanced opportunities for investigating diverse physiological systems using multiplexed chemogenetic actuators.

Categories: Science

IBM demonstrates superconducting quantum computer

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 3:22am

Layout of IBM’s four superconducting quantum bit device. Using a square lattice, IBM is able to detect both types of quantum errors for the first time. The new quantum-bit circuit design allows for independent and simultaneous detection of X and Z errors on two-code qubits, shaded purple and labelled Q1 and Q3.  (credit: A.D. Córcoles et al./Nature Communications)

IBM scientists Wednesday April 29 unveiled two critical advances towards creating a practical quantum computer by detecting and measuring both kinds of quantum errors simultaneously. They also demonstrated a new, square quantum bit circuit design that they suggest is the only physical architecture that could successfully scale to larger dimensions.

Quantum computers promise to open up new capabilities in the fields of optimization and simulation that are not possible using today’s computers. If a quantum computer could be built with just 50 quantum bits (qubits), no combination of today’s TOP500 supercomputers could successfully outperform it, the scientists say.

The IBM breakthroughs, described in an open-access paper in the April 29 issue of the journal Nature Communications, show for the first time the ability to detect and measure the two types of quantum errors (bit-flip and phase-flip) that will occur in any real quantum computer*.

Until now, it was only possible to address one type of quantum error or the other, but never both at the same time. This is a necessary step toward quantum error correction, which is a critical requirement for building a practical and reliable large-scale quantum computer.

IBM’s quantum bit circuit is based on a square lattice of four superconducting qubits on a chip roughly one-quarter-inch square. It enables both types of quantum errors to be detected at the same time. Using a square-shaped design instead of the conventional linear array allow for detecting both kinds of quantum errors simultaneously and may offer the best potential to scale by adding more qubits to arrive at a working quantum system.

IBM Research scientist Jerry Chow conducts a quantum computing experiment at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY (credit: Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

Dealing with decoherence

One of the great challenges for scientists seeking to harness the power of quantum computing is controlling or removing quantum decoherence — the creation of errors in calculations caused by interference from factors such as heat, electromagnetic radiation, and material defects. The errors are especially acute in quantum machines, since quantum information is so fragile.

Previous quantum-computing research, such as work in the John Martinis Lab at UC Santa Barbara (see “A quantum device that detects and corrects its own errors“), has been able to detect bit-flip or phase-flip quantum errors, but never the two together.

“This provided incomplete information on the quantum state of a system, making the designs inadequate for a quantum computer,” said Jay Gambetta, a manager in the IBM Quantum Computing Group. “Our four qubit results take us past this hurdle by detecting both types of quantum errors and can be scalable to larger systems, as the qubits are arranged in a square lattice as opposed to a linear array.”

Preserving information longer

Quantum information is very fragile because all existing qubit technologies lose their information when interacting with matter and electromagnetic radiation. Theorists have found ways to preserve the information much longer by spreading information across many physical qubits.

“Surface code” is the technical name for a specific error correction scheme which spreads quantum information across many qubits. It allows for only nearest neighbor interactions to encode one logical qubit, making it sufficiently stable to perform error-free operations.

With exponentially more power than today’s fastest supercomputers, quantum computers could herald a new era of innovation across industries (credit: IBM)

The IBM Research team used a variety of techniques to measure the states of two independent syndrome (measurement) qubits. Each reveals one aspect of the quantum information stored on two other qubits (called code, or data qubits). Specifically, one syndrome qubit revealed whether a bit-flip error occurred to either of the code qubits, while the other syndrome qubit revealed whether a phase-flip error occurred.

Determining the joint quantum information in the code qubits is an essential step for quantum error correction because directly measuring the code qubits destroys the information contained within them.

Because these qubits can be designed and manufactured using standard silicon fabrication techniques, IBM anticipates that once a handful of superconducting qubits can be manufactured reliably and repeatedly, and controlled with low error rates, there will be no fundamental obstacle to demonstrating error correction in larger lattices of qubits.

Quantum computing could allow scientists to design new materials and drug compounds without expensive trial and error experiments in the lab, potentially speeding up the rate and pace of innovation across many industries. Quantum computers could also quickly sort and curate ever larger databases as well as massive stores of diverse, unstructured data. This could transform how people make decisions and how researchers across industries make critical discoveries.

The work at IBM was funded in part by the IARPA (Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity) multi-qubit-coherent-operations program.

* Two types of errors can occur on such a superposition state. One is called a bit-flip error, which simply flips a 0 to a 1 and vice versa. This is similar to classical bit-flip errors and previous work has showed how to detect these errors on qubits. However, this is not sufficient for quantum error correction because phase-flip errors can also be present, which flip the sign of the phase relationship between 0 and 1 in a superposition state. Both types of errors must be detected in order for quantum error correction to function properly.

Abstract of Demonstration of a quantum error detection code using a square lattice of four superconducting qubits

The ability to detect and deal with errors when manipulating quantum systems is a fundamental requirement for fault-tolerant quantum computing. Unlike classical bits that are subject to only digital bit-flip errors, quantum bits are susceptible to a much larger spectrum of errors, for which any complete quantum error-correcting code must account. Whilst classical bit-flip detection can be realized via a linear array of qubits, a general fault-tolerant quantum error-correcting code requires extending into a higher-dimensional lattice. Here we present a quantum error detection protocol on a two-by-two planar lattice of superconducting qubits. The protocol detects an arbitrary quantum error on an encoded two-qubit entangled state via quantum non-demolition parity measurements on another pair of error syndrome qubits. This result represents a building block towards larger lattices amenable to fault-tolerant quantum error correction architectures such as the surface code.

Categories: Science

Regions at greatest risk for species extinction the least studied

Science Daily - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 2:57am
Scientists have crunched the numbers and the results are clear. For every degree that global temperatures rise, more species will become extinct. Overall, the study predicts a nearly 3 percent species extinction rate based on current conditions. If the earth warms another 3°C, the extinction risk rises to 8.5 percent. And if climate change continues on that trajectory, the world would experience a 4.3°C rise in temperature by the year 2100 -- meaning a 16 percent extinction rate.
Categories: Science

US Switches Air Traffic Control To New Computer System

Slashdot - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 2:01am
coondoggie writes: The Federal Aviation Administration this week said it had completed the momentous replacement of the 40-year-old main computer systems that control air traffic in the US. Known as En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM), the system is expected to increase air traffic flow, improve automated navigation and strengthen aircraft conflict detection services, with the end result being increased safety and less flight congestion. The FAA said the Lockheed Martin-developed ERAM systems “uses nearly two million lines of computer code to process critical data for controllers, including aircraft identity, altitude, speed, and flight path. The system almost doubles the number of flights that can be tracked and displayed to controllers.”

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Categories: Science

Making robots more human by detecting human emotions

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 1:30am

Stretchable transparent ultrasensitive strain sensors attached to the forehead, near the mouth, under the eye, and on the neck to sense skin strains induced by muscle movements during expression of emotions and daily activities (credit: Eun Roh et al./ACS Nano)

If robots could detect human emotions, it might make them more “human.” That’s the premise of new research by Korean scientists, who have developed simple, low-cost, ultra-sensitive wearable strain sensors that can detect facial expressions.

This kind if detection is normally done with vision sensors connected to a computer, with facial-analysis algorithms, but such systems are expensive and have low mobility and high complexity, the researchers note in a paper published in ACS Nano.

Schematic illustration of the cross-section of the strain sensor consisting of the three-layer stacked nanohybrid structure (credit: Eun Roh et al./ACS Nano)

Instead, the researchers created a stretchable, transparent sensor by layering a carbon-nanotube film on two different kinds of electrically conductive elastomers. They found that changes in resistance values could indicate whether subjects were laughing or crying and where they were looking, based on characteristic patterns of resistance change.

Laughing has a characteristic pattern that can be inferred from signals from sensors that measure changes in resistance on the forehead and near the mouth (credit: Eun Roh et al./ACS Nano)

The sensors could also have applications in monitoring heartbeats, breathing, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing),and other health-related cues, the researchers suggest.

The work was funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea.

Abstract of Stretchable, Transparent, Ultrasensitive, and Patchable Strain Sensor for Human–Machine Interfaces Comprising a Nanohybrid of Carbon Nanotubes and Conductive Elastomers

Interactivity between humans and smart systems, including wearable, body-attachable, or implantable platforms, can be enhanced by realization of multifunctional human–machine interfaces, where a variety of sensors collect information about the surrounding environment, intentions, or physiological conditions of the human to which they are attached. Here, we describe a stretchable, transparent, ultrasensitive, and patchable strain sensor that is made of a novel sandwich-like stacked piezoresisitive nanohybrid film of single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) and a conductive elastomeric composite of polyurethane (PU)-poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrenesulfonate (PEDOT:PSS). This sensor, which can detect small strains on human skin, was created using environmentally benign water-based solution processing. We attributed the tunability of strain sensitivity (i.e., gauge factor), stability, and optical transparency to enhanced formation of percolating networks between conductive SWCNTs and PEDOT phases at interfaces in the stacked PU-PEDOT:PSS/SWCNT/PU-PEDOT:PSS structure. The mechanical stability, high stretchability of up to 100%, optical transparency of 62%, and gauge factor of 62 suggested that when attached to the skin of the face, this sensor would be able to detect small strains induced by emotional expressions such as laughing and crying, as well as eye movement, and we confirmed this experimentally.

Categories: Science

Online voting a step closer thanks to breakthrough in security technology

Science Daily - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 1:20am
A technique to allow people to cast their election vote online -- even if their home computers are suspected of being infected with viruses -- has been developed by researchers. Taking inspiration from the security devices issued by some banks, the system allows people to vote by employing independent hardware devices in conjunction with their PCs.
Categories: Science

Substantial benefits for health, environment through realistic changes to UK diets

Science Daily - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 1:20am
Making a series of relatively minor and realistic changes to UK diets would not only reduce UK diet-related greenhouse gas emissions by nearly a fifth, but could also extend average life expectancy by eight months, according to new research.
Categories: Science

England set for 'substantial increase' in record-breaking warm years

Science Daily - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 1:20am
The likelihood of record-breaking warm years in England is set to substantially increase as a result of the human influence on the climate, new research suggests.
Categories: Science

Comcast Brings Fiber To City That It Sued 7 Years Ago To Stop Fiber Rollout

Slashdot - Fri, 01/05/2015 - 12:04am
An anonymous reader writes with the latest update in Comcast's "if you can't beat them, join them" fiber plan. In April 2008, Comcast sued the Chattanooga Electric Power Board (EPB) to prevent it from building a fiber network to serve residents who were getting slow speeds from the incumbent cable provider. Comcast claimed that EPB illegally subsidized the buildout with ratepayer funds, but it quickly lost in court, and EPB built its fiber network and began offering Internet, TV, and phone service. After EPB launched in 2009, incumbents Comcast and AT&T finally started upgrading their services, EPB officials told Ars when we interviewed them in 2013. But not until this year has Comcast had an Internet offering that can match or beat EPB's $70 gigabit service. Comcast announced its 2Gbps fiber-to-the-home service on April 2, launching first in Atlanta, then in cities in Florida and California, and now in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Obama Announces e-Book Scheme For Low-Income Communities

Slashdot - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 11:21pm
An anonymous reader writes: The White House has today launched an initiative encouraging top book publishers to supply $250 million worth of free e-books to low-income students. Partnering with local governments and schools nationwide, President Obama hopes that the e-book scheme will support low-income households who significantly trail the national average for computer ownership and digital connectivity. At Anacostia Library in Southeast Washington, D.C., Obama announced that libraries and schools in poorer communities would be supported by the scheme and efforts would be made to increase internet access at these establishments. Publishers involved in the program include Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Bloomsbury, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. NGOs, such as book donation charity Firstbook, and public libraries will also be working together to develop apps to support the digital reading program.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Gravity data show that Antarctic ice sheet is melting increasingly faster

Science Daily - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 11:11pm
Researchers 'weighed' Antarctica's ice sheet using gravitational satellite data and found that during the past decade, Antarctica's massive ice sheet lost twice the amount of ice in its western portion compared with what it accumulated in the east. Their conclusion -- the southern continent's ice cap is melting ever faster.
Categories: Science

Replacing one serving of sugary drink per day by water or unsweetened tea or coffee cuts risk of type 2 diabetes, study shows

Science Daily - Thu, 30/04/2015 - 11:11pm
Replacing the daily consumption of one serving of a sugary drink with either water or unsweetened tea or coffee can lower the risk of developing diabetes by between 14 percent and 25 percent, concludes new research.
Categories: Science