In Republican Debate, Candidates Back FBI Over Apple

Wired News - Fri, 26/02/2016 - 5:23am
Apple likely isn't too happy with the GOP right about now. The post In Republican Debate, Candidates Back FBI Over Apple appeared first on WIRED.









Categories: Science

Rapidly building artificial arteries for testing drugs

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 26/02/2016 - 5:19am

The muscle layer of the engineered human arteries function well. After just one week, the arteries contain two types of proteins important for muscle contraction — actin (stained red, left) and calponin (stained red, right). These two protein molecules allow the arteries to contract and dilate in response to environmental stimuli. (credit: George Truskey Lab, Duke University)

Duke University researchers have developed a rapid new technique for making small-scale artificial human arteries for use in a system for testing drugs — one that is more accurate and reliable than using animal models. That means promising drugs could be better tested before entering human trials.

The new technique produces the artificial arteries ten times faster than current methods and the arteries are functional.

Arterial blood vessel walls have multiple layers of cells, including the endothelium and media. The endothelium is the innermost lining that interacts with circulating blood. The media is made mostly of smooth muscle cells that help control the flow of blood and blood pressure. These two layers communicate and control how blood vessels react to stimuli such as drugs and exercise. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The researchers successfully engineered artificial arteries containing the lining (endothelium) and muscle (media) layers of arteries. They also showed that both layers could communicate and function normally.

“We wanted to focus on arteries because that’s where most of the damage is caused in coronary diseases,” said George Truskey, senior author, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University.

 How to create an artificial artery

To rapidly construct strong human artificial arteries, cells were embedded in collagen gels (top) and then more than 90 per cent of the water was removed (bottom). These arteries were prepared in only three hours. The mechanical strength of these engineered arteries means researchers no longer need to wait six to eight weeks for the tissues to mature. (credit: George Truskey Lab, Duke University)

Graduate student Cristina Fernandez developed the technique to create arteries; but instead of full-size arteries, they were scaled down to one-tenth the size of a typical human artery. With this smaller diameter, the researchers were able to make a lot of these artificial vessels in a short amount of time and use them in experiments in just a few hours, instead of spending several weeks developing each one.

Despite the smaller size, these engineered arteries behaved normally, with statin drugs blocking inflammation just as they do in patients. The endothelial cells also released chemical signals to relax and constrict the media layer, again just like they do in the normal human body.

“Many of the [previous] techniques for creating artificial tissue also were rather lengthy, which was frustrating,” said Truskey. The previous studies also focused on the media cells rather than the endothelial cells, and “nobody had shown how the two would interact,” he added.

 Replacing arteries in patients

“While our arteries are small and intended for testing, they’re just as mechanically strong as those intended to be put inside of the body,” said Truskey. “So the technique could be beneficial to researchers trying to create artificial arteries to replace damaged ones in patients as well.” The arteries could also be used to look at how some select rare genetic diseases affect arteries, he added.

The study was reported online (open access) in Nature Scientific Reports. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.

Abstract of Human Vascular Microphysiological System for in vitro Drug Screening

In vitro human tissue engineered human blood vessels (TEBV) that exhibit vasoactivity can be used to test human toxicity of pharmaceutical drug candidates prior to pre-clinical animal studies. TEBVs with 400–800 μM diameters were made by embedding human neonatal dermal fibroblasts or human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells in dense collagen gel. TEBVs were mechanically strong enough to allow endothelialization and perfusion at physiological shear stresses within 3 hours after fabrication. After 1 week of perfusion, TEBVs exhibited endothelial release of nitric oxide, phenylephrine-induced vasoconstriction, and acetylcholine-induced vasodilation, all of which were maintained up to 5 weeks in culture. Vasodilation was blocked with the addition of the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor L-NG-Nitroarginine methyl ester (L-NAME). TEBVs elicited reversible activation to acute inflammatory stimulation by TNF-α which had a transient effect upon acetylcholine-induced relaxation, and exhibited dose-dependent vasodilation in response to caffeine and theophylline. Treatment of TEBVs with 1 μM lovastatin for three days prior to addition of Tumor necrosis factor – α (TNF-α) blocked the injury response and maintained vasodilation. These results indicate the potential to develop a rapidly-producible, endothelialized TEBV for microphysiological systems capable of producing physiological responses to both pharmaceutical and immunological stimuli.

Categories: Science

Perception: Brain integrates features directly to patterns

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 26/02/2016 - 5:03am

Does our brain perceive objects initially as a conglomeration of shapes, colours and patterns or does it instantly recognise the entire structure? An article by RUB philosopher Prof Dr Albert Newen provides the answer.

There is a thing on the desk. It is open, grey on the outside and black on the inside, has many small square bumps on its horizontal side, and on its vertical side a smooth, reflecting surface. A laptop. But do we really see that thing as a laptop? Or do we see shapes, colours, edges etc., while our brain completes our perception by making use of rational inferences to reach the conclusion that the thing is a laptop? In other words: how intelligent are our perception processes? Prof Dr Albert Newen from the Institute for Philosophy II investigates this question in his latest article which was published in the journal Synthese.

Features produce a pattern

His conclusion: our perception processes are organised in such a manner that they can construct complex contents. Accordingly, we do not initially perceive a laptop as a conglomeration of shapes and colours, but instantly see it as the object that it is. Newen’s explanation: the lack of certain features in a drawing, for example, does not prevent us from seeing the item. During the perception process, our brain is able to integrate a few typical features to a complex pattern. “This takes place immediately when the object is spotted. Consequently, if an individual is trained in recognising patterns, their perceptions may become richer and richer,” says Newen. A chess expert would see the chessboard in a different way than a beginner, because he activates relevant structured patterns automatically as background knowledge, and that knowledge affects the perception process. This also takes place during social perception of other people.

Perception of complex patterns makes evolutionary sense

But where is the evidence that we actually see complex contents as such and that they are not merely an element of our linguistic judgement? Newen: “Perceiving certain contents is of such vital evolutionary importance for us that it is even present in infants who lack concept formation and language.” Such contents include emotions such as fear and anger. The ability to quickly perceive emotion patterns based on the facial expression and body language of another person is crucial for social animals like humans. Prof Newen described further evidence indicating that complex contents are perceived as such in neuroscientific studies. “The structure and speed of information processing suggest that they are aspects of perception rather than aspects of a judgment,” concludes the philosophy professor.

Abstract of Defending the liberal-content view of perceptual experience: direct social perception of emotions and person impressions

The debate about direct perception encompasses different topics, one of which concerns the richness of the contents of perceptual experiences. Can we directly perceive only low-level properties, like edges, colors etc. (the sparse-content view), or can we perceive high-level properties and entities as well (the liberal-content view)? The aim of the paper is to defend the claim that the content of our perceptual experience can include emotions and also person impressions. Using these examples, an argument is developed to defend a liberal-content view for core examples of social cognition. This view is developed and contrasted with accounts which claim that in the case of registering another person’s emotion while seeing them, we have to describe the relevant content not as the content of a perceptual experience, but of a perceptual belief. The paper defends the view that perceptual experiences can have a rich content yet remain separable from beliefs formed on the basis of the experience. How liberal and enriched the content of a perceptual experience is will depend upon the expertise a person has developed in the field. This is supported by the argument that perceptual experiences can be systematically enriched by perceiving affordances of objects, by pattern recognition or by top-down processes, as analyzed by processes of cognitive penetration or predictive coding.

Categories: Science

Adblock Plus Comes (Somewhat) Clean About How Acceptable Ads Work

Slashdot - Fri, 26/02/2016 - 5:00am
Mark Wilson writes: The Acceptable Ads program from Adblock Plus has proven slightly controversial. The company behind the ad blocking tool, Eyeo, has already revealed a little about how it makes money from the program - despite the fact that no money changes hands in most whitelisting cases - and today it has opened up further about how is makes its money. Whilst recognizing that people do want to block ads, Eyeo is also aware that sites do need to benefit from ad revenue - hence Acceptable Ads, non-intrusive ads that it is hoped are less irritating and therefore easier to stomach. But Eyeo itself also wants to make money. How does it decide which company to charge to Acceptable Ads whitelisting, and which to charge? If you're expecting full transparency, you might be disappointed, but we are given a glimpse into how the financial side of things works./i

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

SpaceX Rocket Launch Postponed Again

Slashdot - Fri, 26/02/2016 - 3:13am
ClickOnThis writes with a CBC report that SpaceX has "called off a planned launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a communications satellite less than two minutes before blastoff from Florida on Thursday, citing a technical problem. It marked the second straight day that Elon Musk's privately owned Space Exploration Technologies had postponed the launch."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Damage Report: LA Methane Leak Is One of the Worst Disasters In US History

Slashdot - Fri, 26/02/2016 - 1:23am
MikeChino writes: A week after the ruptured natural gas well in Aliso Canyon was finally declared sealed, we have a full account of the damage — and it doesn't look good. In total, 97,100 metric tons of methane were released into the atmosphere over the course of 112 days — the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of over half a million cars.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter To Back Apple With Legal Filing In FBI Case

Slashdot - Fri, 26/02/2016 - 12:40am
An anonymous reader writes: Google plans to follow Microsoft in throwing its legal support behind Apple in its increasingly contentious dispute with the federal government around the iPhone connected with the San Bernardino terror attacks, according to sources. At a congressional hearing on Thursday, Microsoft's legal chief, Brad Smith, said that the company plans to file an amicus brief next week in support of Apple's resistance to helping the FBI hack the phone. Google will deliver its own supporting brief 'soon,' according to sources familiar with the company.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Tech Tycoon Bets Business Is the Internet of Things’ Future

Wired News - Fri, 26/02/2016 - 12:28am
Maybe the way the Internet of Things really grows isn't by letting you control your thermostat with your smartphone; it's by helping businesses profit. The post Tech Tycoon Bets Business Is the Internet of Things' Future appeared first on WIRED.









Categories: Science

How Ugandans Overturned an Election-Day Blackout of Social Media Apps

Slashdot - Thu, 25/02/2016 - 11:59pm
tedlistens writes: When Ugandans went to the polls last Thursday in presidential and parliamentary elections, they participated in the most heavily-contested political battle since multiparty democracy began in 2005. As reports swirled of vote buying and excessive use of force by the police on opposition protesters, it was the attempt to block access to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and mobile phone-based money services that produced the loudest reactions. In a country with the youngest population in the world, where 77 percent of the population is under 30 years of age, mobile apps have become vital to communication and commerce. During the three-day ban, an estimated 1.5 million citizens, or 15 percent of the internet-using populace, downloaded VPN software and Tor to reroute their internet connections and return to social media, where discussion about the election continued to rage.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Engineering music to sound better with cochlear implants

Science Daily - Thu, 25/02/2016 - 11:16pm
Scientists are trying to reengineer and simplify music to be more enjoyable for listeners with cochlear implants.
Categories: Science

NASA maps El Niño's shift on US precipitation

Science Daily - Thu, 25/02/2016 - 11:16pm
This winter, areas across the globe experienced a shift in rain patterns due to the natural weather phenomenon known as El Nino. A new NASA visualization of rainfall data shows the various changes in the United States with wetter, wintery conditions in parts of California and across the East Coast.
Categories: Science

New, simpler law of complex wrinkle patterns

Science Daily - Thu, 25/02/2016 - 11:16pm
A physicist points out that the work is crucial for understanding how wrinkle wavelength depends on properties of the sheet and the underlying liquid or solid.
Categories: Science

Annual plastic surgery statistics reflect the changing face of plastic surgery

Science Daily - Thu, 25/02/2016 - 11:16pm
The annual plastic surgery procedural statistics show that in 2015 there were 15.9 million surgical and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures performed in the United States -- up 2 percent from 2014.
Categories: Science

NASA sees a different kind of El Nino

Science Daily - Thu, 25/02/2016 - 11:16pm
A new NASA visualization shows the 2015 El Nino unfolding in the Pacific Ocean, as sea surface temperatures create different patterns than seen in the 1997-1998 El Nino. Computer models are just one tool that NASA scientists are using to study this large El Nino event, and compare it to other events in the past.
Categories: Science

Mountaintop mining, crop irrigation can damage water biodiversity

Science Daily - Thu, 25/02/2016 - 11:16pm
An international, multi-institutional team of researchers recommends ways that humans can protect freshwater from salts in a new article.
Categories: Science

Google DeepMind Applies AI To Healthcare With NHS Partnership

Slashdot - Thu, 25/02/2016 - 11:12pm
An anonymous reader writes: Google's London-based AI group DeepMind has launched DeepMind Health, teaming up with the NHS to work on its first project. The "neuroscience-inspired" company, bought by Google in 2014, said of the collaboration: "We want to see the NHS thrive, and to ensure that its talented clinicians get the tools and support they need to continue providing world-class care." In its first initiative alongside kidney experts at London's Royal Free Hospital, DeepMind Health has introduced a mobile app called Streams. The software is designed to support the provision of critical information to doctors and nurses in order to help detect the presence of acute kidney injuries (AKI). To support the development of the Streams app, the AI group has also acquired clinical task management app company Hark.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

The Porter Ranch Methane Leak Was the Worst in US History

Wired News - Thu, 25/02/2016 - 10:36pm
A new report shows that the leak in California was nothing less than devastating. The post The Porter Ranch Methane Leak Was the Worst in US History appeared first on WIRED.









Categories: Science

Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Shelved OSS Project Fixes?

Slashdot - Thu, 25/02/2016 - 10:23pm
New submitter superwiz writes: A company for which I worked for recently had a project which required debugging a few abandoned OSS projects. 2 of the projects ended up not being used in the company products even though bugs were found and resolved in them. This puts me in a legal limbo. Since the company paid for my time to work out those bugs, they own the copyright. I can't release them. But since they shelved the projects in which the OSS code was to be used, they don't have to release the code to the public. It would be pretty simple to identify me as the person who made the changes even if I were to release the code anonymously because these changes were committed to my former employer's private repository. Should I just forget it? I don't like the idea of information loss, especially given how much benefit that company already derives from other OSS projects. But I also don't want to release the code which I don't own. Has anyone been in this situation before? How did you handle it (other than just 'forget about it')?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

ISIS Makes Direct Threats Against Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey

Slashdot - Thu, 25/02/2016 - 9:43pm
wjcofkc writes: A group of ISIS supporters have threatened to take down Facebook and Twitter, as well as their leaders. In a 25-minute propaganda video released by a group calling itself "the sons of the Caliphate army," photographs of both technology leaders are riddled with bullets. The video was first spotted by Vocativ. The threats are being made over the two companies' efforts to seek out and remove terrorist-related content on their respective platforms. The group is quoted as saying, "If you close one account, we will take 10 in return and soon your names will be erased after we delete your sites, Allah willing, and will know that we say is true."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

The Volcanoes of Nicaragua Sure Have Been Cranky This Year

Wired News - Thu, 25/02/2016 - 9:19pm
Five volcanoes in Nicaragua have been restless so far in busy 2016 for the Central American nation. The post The Volcanoes of Nicaragua Sure Have Been Cranky This Year appeared first on WIRED.









Categories: Science