Now Is the Best Time to Observe the Moon This Month - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 11:00am
The moon is now at first-quarter phase, a time when the play of light and shadow brings the most dramatic lunar features into sharp relief.
Categories: Science

Review: Huawei Honor 5X

Wired News - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 10:58am
Fewer bucks, more bangs. The post Review: Huawei Honor 5X appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

New 'Star Trek' Exhibit Lets You Join Starfleet Academy - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 9:54am
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to be a cadet at Starfleet Academy for a day? Well, now you have the chance with the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum's new interactive "Star Trek" exhibit.
Categories: Science

The Starfleet Academy Experience: Inside the Intrepid ꞌStar Trekꞌ Exhibit (Photos) - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 9:46am
Check out these photos from a preview event for the Intrepid Museum's new Star Trek exhibit that gives visitors an interactive Starfleet cadet experience.
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Mars Rover Curiosity Bounces Back from Glitch - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 9:46am
Curiosity put itself into a minimal-activity "safe mode" on July 2 after noticing an anomaly. But the rover's handlers brought the six-wheeled robot out of safe mode on Saturday (July 9), and Curiosity is resuming full operations today (July 11).
Categories: Science

The Weird Nothingness Across the Street From Famous Monuments

Wired News - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 9:30am
See what happens when you photograph the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, and the White House the wrong way around. The post The Weird Nothingness Across the Street From Famous Monuments appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Monstrous 'Frankenstein Galaxy' Made from Cosmic Spare Parts - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 8:41am
The seemingly nondescript galaxy UGC 1382 is actually a behemoth cobbled together out of various cosmic spare parts, Frankenstein-style, a new study suggests.
Categories: Science

Stuxnet/Cyberwar Documentary Reviewer: 'The U.S. Has Pwned Iran'

Slashdot - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 7:33am
Slashdot reader alphadogg quotes an article from Network World: The new documentary about Stuxnet, "Zero Days", says the U.S. had a far larger cyber operation against Iran called Nitro Zeus that has compromised the country's infrastructure and could be used as a weapon in any future war. Quoting unnamed sources from inside the NSA and CIA, the movie says the Nitro Zeus program has infiltrated the systems controlling communications, power grids, transportation and financial systems, and is still ready to "disrupt, degrade and destroy" that infrastructure if a war should break out with Iran... For the more technically inclined, the film contains some riveting interviews with researchers at Symantec who devoted their lives to unraveling the code line by line to figure out what it did, how it did it, who created it and what the target was. It was also a bit chilling in that after they figured out that governments were behind the worm they worried that the researchers themselves might be targeted to keep them silent. One Friday night, says Symantec researcher Eric Chien, he said to his research partner Liam O Murchu, "I'm not suicidal. If I should show up dead on Monday, it wasn't me." In the film former NSA and CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden says "This stuff is hideously over classified."

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Locusts engineered as biorobotic sensing machines

Kurzweil AI - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 7:26am

Sensors placed on the insect monitor neural activity while they are freely moving, decoding the odorants present in their environment. (credit: Baranidharan Raman)

Washington University in St. Louis engineers have developed an innovatiave “bio-hybrid nose” that could be used in homeland security applications, such as detecting explosives, replacing state-of-the-art miniaturized chemical sensing devices limited to a handful of sensors.

Compare that to the locust antenna (where their chemical sensors are located): “it has several hundreds of thousands of sensors and of a variety of types,” says Baranidharan Raman, associate professor of biomedical engineering, who has received a three-year, $750,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR).

The team previously found that locusts can correctly identify a particular odor, even with other odors present — and even in complex situations, such as overlapping with other scents or in different background conditions.

Replacing canines

In previous research, the opening of the locust maxillary palps to the trained odorant was used as an indicator of acquired memory. The palps were painted with non-odorous organic-chemical green paint to facilitate tracking. (credit: Debajit Saha et al./Nature Communications)

The ingenious idea in the new study by the Raman Lab is to remotely monitor neural activity from the insect brain while they are freely moving, exploring, and decoding the odorants present in their environment, which will require innovative low-power electronic components to collect, log, and transmit data.

The locusts could also collect samples using remote control. To do that, the engineers are developing a plasmonic “tattoo” made of a biocompatible silk to apply to the locusts’ wings. It will generate mild heat to help steer locusts to move toward particular locations by remote control. The tattoos, studded with plasmonic nanostructures, also can collect samples of volatile organic compounds in their proximity, which would allow the researchers to conduct secondary analysis of the chemical makeup of the compounds using more conventional methods.

“The canine olfactory system still remains the state-of-the-art sensing system for many engineering applications, including homeland security and medical diagnosis,” Raman said. “However, the difficulty and the time necessary to train and condition these animals, combined with lack of robust decoding procedures to extract the relevant chemical sending information from the biological systems, pose a significant challenge for wider application.

Categories: Science

This deadly soil bug can reach your brain in a day, end up in spinal cord

Kurzweil AI - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 6:32am

B. pseudomallei soil-dwelling bacterium endemic in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, particularly in Thailand and northern Australia (credit: Wikipedia CC)

Imagine a  deadly bacteria that can be picked up by a simple sniff and can travel to your brain and spinal cord in just 24 hours. Or one that could just be quietly sitting there, waiting for an opportune moment. Or maybe just doing small incremental damage ever day over a lifetime … as you lose the function in your brain incrementally.

That’s the grisly finding (in mice), published in Immunity and Infection this week, of a new study by Australian Griffith University and Bond University scientists.

The pathogenic bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei, which causes the potentially fatal disease melioidosis, kills 89,000 people around the world each year and is prevalent in northern Australia, where a person with melioidosis has a 20–50 per cent chance of dying once it infects the brain. The bacterium is found in the northern parts of the Northern Territory, including Darwin.

In Southeast Asia 50 per cent of the population may be positive for melioidosis, and in places like Cambodia the mortality rate is as high as 50 per cent.

But for the rest of us, the findings could also lead to discoveries of how the common staphylococcus and acne bacterium also end up in the spinal cord, as well as how chlamydia travels to the brain in Alzheimer’s patients. Or even explain common back problems, which could be where bacteria have infected your bone, causing pain that could be simply treated with antibiotics, according to the researchers.

Tracing the bacteria in mice brains and spinal cords

(Top) A schematic drawing of a mouse brain showing the location of various images. (Bottom) D: A B. pseudomallei rod (arrow) present in trigeminal nerve near the connection between the trigeminal nerve in the brain and the brainstem. (E) B. pseudomallei rod (arrow) with a fluorescent particle (arrow with tail) after the merge between the trigeminal nerve and brainstem. Scale bars in μm. (credit: James A. St John et al./Infection and Immunity)

The olfactory mucosa, located in the nose, is very close to the brain and it has long been known that viruses could reach the brain from the olfactory mucosa. But researchers have not understand exactly how the bacteria traveled to the brain and spinal cord, or just how quickly.

To find out, James St. John, PhD., Head of Griffith’s Clem Jones Centre for Neurobiology and Stem Cell Research, and associates infected mice with B. pseudomallei. They were able to trace the bacteria travels from the nerves in the nasal cavity before moving to the brain stem and then into the spinal cord. (He noted that this could also be a pathway for many other common bacteria.)

“Our latest results represent the first direct demonstration of transit of a bacterium from the olfactory mucosa to the central nervous system (CNS) via the trigeminal nerve; bacteria were found a considerable distance from the olfactory mucosa, in the brain stem, and even more remarkably in the spinal cord,” said professor Ifor Beacham from the Griffith Institute for Glycomics.

Researchers will now work on ways to stimulate supporting cells that could remove the bacteria. St. John said the work was important because the bacteria had the potential to be used as a bioweapon and knowing how to combat it was extremely important.

“Bacteria have been implicated as a major causative agent of some types of back pain. We now need to work out whether the bacteria that cause back pain also can enter the brainstem and spinal cord via the trigeminal nerve,” he added.

Abstract of Burkholderia pseudomallei rapidly infects the brainstem and spinal cord via the trigeminal nerve after intranasal inoculation

Infection with Burkholderia pseudomallei causes melioidosis, a disease with a high mortality rate (20% in Australia and 40% in south-east Asia). Neurological melioidosis is particularly prevalent in northern Australian patients and involves brainstem infection, which can progress to the spinal cord; however, the route by which the bacteria invade the central nervous system (CNS) is unknown. We have previously demonstrated that B. pseudomallei can infect the olfactory and trigeminal nerves within the nasal cavity following intranasal inoculation. As the trigeminal nerve projects into the brainstem, we investigated whether the bacteria could continue along this nerve to penetrate the CNS. After intranasal inoculation of mice, B. pseudomallei caused low-level localised infection within the nasal cavity epithelium, prior to invasion of the trigeminal nerve in small numbers. B. pseudomallei rapidly invaded the trigeminal nerve and crossed the astrocytic barrier to enter the brainstem within 24 hours and then rapidly progressed over 2000 μm into the spinal cord. To rule out that the bacteria used a haematogenous route, we used a capsule-deficient mutant of B. pseudomallei, which does not survive in the blood, and found that it also entered the CNS via the trigeminal nerve. This suggests that the primary route of entry is via the nerves that innervate the nasal cavity. We found that actin-mediated motility could facilitate initial infection of the olfactory epithelium. Thus, we have demonstrated that B. pseudomallei can rapidly infect the brain and spinal cord via the trigeminal nerve branches that innervate the nasal cavity.

Categories: Science

New Icy Dwarf Planet Lurks Past Neptune | Video - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 6:01am
Icy world 2015 RR245 (discovered in 2015) has been classified a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center. It was found using the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Maunakea, Hawaii and is an estimated 435 miles.
Categories: Science

New Dwarf Planet Discovered Far Beyond Pluto's Orbit - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 6:01am
Astronomers have discovered another dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt, the ring of icy objects beyond Neptune. This newfound world, dubbed 2015 RR245, is much more distant than Pluto, orbiting the sun once every 700 Earth years, scientists said.
Categories: Science

Did your smart watch and fitness tracker just give away your PIN?

Science Daily - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 4:01am
A new research report reveals that popular wearable devices may leak information as you use them. Researchers discovered that the motions of your hands as you use PIN pads, which is continually and automatically recorded by your device, can be hacked in real time and used to guess your PIN with more than 90 percent accuracy within a few attempts.
Categories: Science

Ask Slashdot: How Often Do You Switch Programming Languages?

Slashdot - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 3:33am
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: I always see a lot of different opinions about programming languages, but how much choice do you really get to have over which language to use? If you want to develop for Android, then you're probably using Java...and if you're developing for iOS, then you've probably been using Swift or Objective-C. Even when looking for a job, all your most recent job experience is usually tied up in whatever language your current employer insisted on using. (Unless people are routinely getting hired to work on projects in an entirely different language than the one that they're using now...) Maybe the question I really want to ask is how often do you really get to choose your programming languages... Does it happen when you're swayed by the available development environment or intrigued by the community's stellar reputation, or that buzz of excitement that keeps building up around one particular language? Or are programming languages just something that you eventually just fall into by default? Leave your answers in the comments. How often do you switch programming languages?

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Kentucky Anonymous Member Indicted Three Years After FBI Raid

Slashdot - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 1:36am
A federal grand jury has indicted "KYAnonymous" -- more than three years after FBI agents raided and searched his home -- and charged him under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes an article from Ars Technica: After The New York Times published an account [late in 2012] of a horrific rape against a teenage girl in Steubenville, Ohio, an online vigilante campaign was started...the campaign targeted local officials who the vigilantes felt weren't prosecuting the rape investigation seriously because the alleged perpetrators were high school football players... Two teenage boys ended up being charged, and when the case went to trial in March 2013, the two were convicted of rape and sentenced to one to two years in prison. The indictment says Deric Lostutter "knowingly and intentionally joined and voluntarily participated in a conspiracy" to "harass and intimidate and to gain publicity for their online identities," according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. "If convicted in the Kentucky case, Lostutter could face a maximum penalty of 16 years in prison (no more than five years on each of three counts, and one year on a fourth)..." "The federal search warrant of Lostutter's home listed 'Guy Fawkes masks' among the items agents were looking for."

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Report identifies ways to boost children's quality of life through outdoor learning

Science Daily - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 1:28am
Outdoor learning can have a significant and positive impact on children's quality of life but needs to be introduced more formally into the school curriculum in order for its potential benefits to be fully realized, a new report suggests.
Categories: Science

Truth is in danger as new techniques used to stop journalists covering the news

Science Daily - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 1:28am
The truth is being suppressed across the world using a variety of methods, according to a special report.
Categories: Science

Discovery of new ovarian cancer signaling hub points to target for limiting metastasis

Science Daily - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 1:28am
Researchers have found a previously undiscovered pathway through which ovarian cells can be transformed into cancer cells, one they think provides an excellent opportunity for targeting by new drugs, which, when combined with others now in development, may be able to stave off metastatic disease.
Categories: Science

EFF Delivers 210,000 Signatures Opposing Trans-Pacific Partnership

Slashdot - Sun, 10/07/2016 - 11:35pm
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: "The TPP is simply bad for tech users and innovators," writes the Electronic Frontier Foundation, arguing the proposed trade agreement for the Pacific Rim "exports the most onerous parts of U.S. copyright law and prevents the U.S. from improving them in the future, while failing to include the balancing provisions that work for users and innovators, such as fair use." At a press conference, the EFF delivered 210,000 signatures gathered in conjunction with other activist groups "to call on Democratic Party Leader Nancy Pelosi to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership from going to a vote during the 'lame duck' session of Congress following the November election." More signatures are still being collected online, to be delivered on July 21. In a statement, the EFF adds that the TPP also "does nothing to safeguard the free and open Internet, by including phony provisions on net neutrality and encryption, trade secrets provisions that carry no exceptions for journalism or whistleblowing, and a simplistic ban on data buy off big tech."

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Has Physics Gotten Something Really Important Really Wrong?

Slashdot - Sun, 10/07/2016 - 10:35pm
Slashdot reader schwit1 quotes an article from NPR: Some researchers now see popular ideas like string theory and the multiverse as highly suspect. These physicists feel our study of the cosmos has been taken too far from what data can constrain with the extra "hidden" dimensions of string theory and the unobservable other universes of the multiverse... it all adds up to muddied waters and something some researchers see as a "crisis in physics." The article quotes Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Lee Smolin, the authors of a new book arguing that "Science is corrupted when it abandons the discipline of empirical validation or dis-confirmation. It is also weakened when it mistakes its assumptions for facts and its ready-made philosophy for the way things are." And according to this analysis of the book, what they're proposing is "to take a giant philosophical step back and see if a new and more promising direction can be found. For the two thinkers, such a new direction can be spelled out in three bold claims about the world. There is only one universe. Time is real. Mathematics is selectively real."

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