How Spy Agency Vets Read That Bombshell Trump Report: With Caution

Wired News - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 5:17am
An explosive new report about Trumps relationship with Russia shouldn't be taken at face value. The post How Spy Agency Vets Read That Bombshell Trump Report: With Caution appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Obama Urges Americans Not to Take Democracy for Granted

Wired News - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 5:02am
Obama's final speech was as much a warning as it was a farewell—a warning that the United States is still in the middle of crafting its history. The post Obama Urges Americans Not to Take Democracy for Granted appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Why You Shouldn't Trust Geek Squad

Slashdot - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 3:30am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Network World: The Orange County Weekly reports that Best Buy's "Geek Squad" repair technicians routinely search devices brought in for repair for files that could earn them $500 reward as FBI informants. This revelation came out in a court case, United States of America v. Mark A. Rettenmaier. Rettenmaier is a prominent Orange County physician and surgeon who took his laptop to the Mission Viejo Best Buy in November 2011 after he was unable to start it. According to court records, Geek Squad technician John "Trey" Westphal found an image of "a fully nude, white prepubescent female on her hands and knees on a bed, with a brown choker-type collar around her neck." Westphal notified his boss, who was also an FBI informant, who alerted another FBI informant -- as well as the FBI itself. The FBI has pretty much guaranteed the case will be thrown out by its behavior, this illegal search aside. According to Rettenmaier's defense attorney, agents conducted two additional searches of the computer without obtaining necessary warrants, lied to trick a federal magistrate judge into authorizing a search warrant for his home, then tried to cover up their misdeeds by initially hiding records. Plus, the file was found in the unallocated "trash" space, meaning it could only be retrieved by "carving" with sophisticated forensics tools. Carving (or file carving) is defined as searching for files or other kinds of objects based on content, rather than on metadata. It's used to recover old files that have been deleted or damaged. To prove child pornography, you have to prove the possessor knew what he had was indeed child porn. There has been a court case where files found on unallocated space did not constitute knowing possession because it's impossible to determine who put the file there and how, since it's not accessible to the user under normal circumstances.

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Categories: Science

A Robert F. Kennedy Jr.-led Vaccine Commission Would Be Bad News

Wired News - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 1:58am
He's an outspoken anti-vaccine activist ... and the new president might put him in charge of a panel to investigate vaccines. The post A Robert F. Kennedy Jr.-led Vaccine Commission Would Be Bad News appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

MIT Unveils New Material That's Strongest and Lightest On Earth

Slashdot - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 1:25am
A team of MIT researchers have created the world's strongest and lightest material known to man using graphene. Futurism reports: Graphene, which was heretofore, the strongest material known to man, is made from an extremely thin sheet of carbon atoms arranged in two dimensions. But there's one drawback: while notable for its thinness and unique electrical properties, it's very difficult to create useful, three-dimensional materials out of graphene. Now, a team of MIT researchers discovered that taking small flakes of graphene and fusing them following a mesh-like structure not only retains the material's strength, but the graphene also remains porous. Based on experiments conducted on 3D printed models, researchers have determined that this new material, with its distinct geometry, is actually stronger than graphene -- making it 10 times stronger than steel, with only five percent of its density. The discovery of a material that is extremely strong but exceptionally lightweight will have numerous applications. As MIT reports: "The new findings show that the crucial aspect of the new 3-D forms has more to do with their unusual geometrical configuration than with the material itself, which suggests that similar strong, lightweight materials could be made from a variety of materials by creating similar geometric features."

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Categories: Science

Legal or not, marijuana can increase the risk of developing alcohol use disorders

Science Daily - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 12:49am
Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) develop with time and in stages. Following the initiation of drinking, some people progress to problem drinking, and then develop a “cluster” of specific problems to comprise an AUD. However, not all stages of AUD development have been studied equally. This report examines high-risk families to understand underlying influences across multiple stages of AUD development.
Categories: Science

New technology will cut plug-in hybrid fuel consumption by one third

Science Daily - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 12:46am
Engineers have taken inspiration from biological evolution and the energy savings garnered by birds flying in formation to improve the efficiency of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) by more than 30 percent.
Categories: Science

Essential quality control system in cells identifies and destroys faulty genetic material

Science Daily - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 12:46am
New research describes a mechanism by which an essential quality control system in cells identifies and destroys faulty genetic material.
Categories: Science

Air pollution and lack of physical activity pose competing threats to children in China

Science Daily - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 12:46am
Health workers and policymakers need to find ways to address poor air quality and lack of exercise among children in China so that children can be more physically active without suffering the health risks caused by exposure to air pollution.
Categories: Science

Killing time: Study sheds light on phages and precision cell destruction

Science Daily - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 12:46am
Phage therapy, which exploits the ability of certain viruses to infect and replicate within bacteria, shows promise for treating antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. But designing such therapies depends on understanding how phages work. Phages can kill the cell immediately, or become dormant and kill it later, with a high level of precision in kill time.
Categories: Science

Sonos CEO John MacFarlene Steps Down From the Company He Helped Found

Slashdot - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 12:45am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: After nearly a decade and a half as the chief executive officer of the hardware company he cofounded, John MacFarlane has announced his resignation as the head of Sonos. The move had reportedly been planned for some time, with the executive citing a number of personal reasons. That decision was delayed, however, due in part to increased and unexpected competition by Amazon's line of Echo speakers, which cut into Sonos' bottom line. "The pivot that Sonos started at this time last year to best address these changes is complete, now it's about acceleration and leading," MacFarlane wrote in an open letter published on the Sonos site. "I can look ahead and see the role of Sonos, with the right experiences, partners, and focus, with a healthy future. In short, the future of the home music experience, and the opportunity for Sonos has never been better." The role of CEO will be filled by Patrick Spence, who is currently serving as the company's President, after four years as COO and stints at RIM (BlackBerry) and IBM Canada. MacFarlane will be staying on at the Santa Barbara-based streaming hardware company in a consulting role, but will also be resigning his job on its board of directors, telling The New York Times, "I don't want to be that founder who's always second-guessing."

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3 Key Questions Senators Must Ask Elaine Chao, Trump’s Transport Pick

Wired News - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 12:23am
The way Americans move is changing fast—and Chao will have a lot to say about it. The post 3 Key Questions Senators Must Ask Elaine Chao, Trump's Transport Pick appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Microsoft To Enhance User Privacy Controls In Upcoming Windows 10 Update

Slashdot - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 12:05am
MojoKid writes: When Microsoft first launched Windows 10, it was generally well-received but also came saddled with a number of privacy concerns. It has taken quite a while for Microsoft to respond to these concerns in a meaningful way, but the company is finally proving that it's taking things seriously by detailing some enhanced privacy features coming to a future Windows 10 build. Microsoft is launching what it calls a (web-based) privacy dashboard, which lets you configure anything and everything about information that might be sent to back to the mothership. You can turn all tracking off, or pick and choose, if certain criteria don't concern you too much, like location or health activity, for example. Also, for fresh installs, you'll be given more specific privacy options so that you can feel confident from the get-go about the information you're sending Redmond's way. If you do decide to send any information Microsoft's way, the company promises that it won't use your information for the sake of targeted advertising.

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Categories: Science

LinkedIn's and eBay's Founders Are Donating $20 Million To Protect Us From AI

Slashdot - Tue, 10/01/2017 - 11:25pm
Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, and Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, have each committed $10 million to fund academic research and development aimed at keeping artificial intelligence systems ethical and to prevent building AI that may harm society. Recode reports: The fund received an additional $5 million from the Knight Foundation and two other $1 million donations from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Jim Pallotta, founder of the Raptor Group. The $27 million reserve is being anchored by MIT's Media Lab and Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. The Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund, the name of the fund, expects to grow as new funders continue to come on board. AI systems work by analyzing massive amounts of data, which is first profiled and categorized by humans, with all their prejudices and biases in tow. The money will pay for research to investigate how socially responsible artificially intelligent systems can be designed to, say, keep computer programs that are used to make decisions in fields like education, transportation and criminal justice accountable and fair. The group also hopes to explore ways to talk with the public about and foster understanding of the complexities of artificial intelligence. The two universities will form a governing body along with Hoffman and the Omidyar Network to distribute the funds. The $20 million from Hoffman and the Omidyar Network are being given as a philanthropic grant -- not an investment vehicle.

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Categories: Science

AT&T Imposes Another $5 Rate Hike On Grandfathered Unlimited Data Plans

Slashdot - Tue, 10/01/2017 - 10:45pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: ATT is raising the price of its grandfathered unlimited data plans by $5 a month, the second such increase in the past year. The price increase affects longtime mobile customers who have held onto unlimited data plans for years after ATT stopped selling them to new subscribers. The latest price increase was reported by DSLReports yesterday, and ATT confirmed the move to Ars. "If you have a legacy unlimited data plan, you can keep it; however, beginning in March 2017, it will increase by $5 per month," ATT said. The unlimited data price had been $30 a month for seven years, until ATT raised it to $35 in February 2016. The price increase this year will bring it up to $40. That amount is just for data: Including voice and texting, the smartphone plans cost around $90 a month. ATT encouraged customers to move to one of its new plans, most of which have data limits, saying the newer packages "provide several benefits that our legacy unlimited plan doesn't." For example, the newer plans support mobile hotspot connections allowing a phone's Internet service to be shared with another device. ATT had stopped selling unlimited smartphone data to new customers and to customers who are switching plans, but last year introduced a new unlimited plan that's available only to people who also subscribe to DirecTV or U-verse TV.

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Categories: Science

Russia Hacked ‘Older’ Republican Emails, FBI Director Says

Wired News - Tue, 10/01/2017 - 10:07pm
FBI Director James Comey tells Congress the same hackers who breached the DNC also penetrated the RNC's older email domains and state-level GOP targets. The post Russia Hacked 'Older' Republican Emails, FBI Director Says appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Pentagon Successfully Tests Micro-Drone Swarm

Slashdot - Tue, 10/01/2017 - 10:05pm
schwit1 quotes a report from Phys.Org: The Pentagon may soon be unleashing a 21st-century version of locusts on its adversaries after officials on Monday said it had successfully tested a swarm of 103 micro-drones. The important step in the development of new autonomous weapon systems was made possible by improvements in artificial intelligence, holding open the possibility that groups of small robots could act together under human direction. Military strategists have high hopes for such drone swarms that would be cheap to produce and able to overwhelm opponents' defenses with their great numbers. The test of the micro-drone swarm in October included 103 Perdix micro-drones measuring around six inches (16 centimeters) launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, the Pentagon said in a statement.

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Categories: Science

Apple Patent Paves Way For iPhone With Full-Face Display, HUD Windows

Slashdot - Tue, 10/01/2017 - 9:25pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Apple Insider: Apple on Tuesday was granted a patent detailing technology that allows for ear speakers, cameras and even a heads-up display to hide behind an edge-to-edge screen, a design rumored to debut in a next-generation iPhone later this year. Awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple's U.S. Patent No. 9,543,364 for "Electronic devices having displays with openings" describes a method by which various components can be mounted behind perforations in a device screen that are so small as to be imperceptible to the human eye. This arrangement would allow engineers to design a smartphone or tablet with a true edge-to-edge, or "full face," display. With smartphones becoming increasingly more compact, there has been a push to move essential components behind the active -- or light-emitting -- area of incorporated displays. Apple in its patent suggests mounting sensors and other equipment behind a series of openings, or through-holes, in the active portion of an OLED or similar panel. These openings might be left empty or, if desired, filled with glass, polymers, radio-transparent ceramic or other suitable material. Positioning sensor inputs directly in line with said openings facilitates the gathering of light, radio waves and acoustic signals. Microphones, cameras, antennas, light sensors and other equipment would therefore have unimpeded access beyond the display layer. The design also accommodates larger structures like iPhone's home button. According to the document, openings are formed between pixels, suggesting a self-illuminating display technology like OLED is preferred over traditional LCD structures that require backlight and filter layers. Hole groupings can be arranged in various shapes depending on the application, and might be larger or smaller than the underlying component. If implemented into a future iPhone, the window-based HUD could be Apple's first foray into augmented reality. Apple leaves the mechanics unmentioned, but the system could theoretically go beyond AR and into mixed reality applications.

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Categories: Science

Researchers identify monarch butterfly birthplaces to help conserve species

Science Daily - Tue, 10/01/2017 - 9:10pm
Researchers have pinpointed the North American birthplaces of migratory monarch butterflies that overwinter in Mexico, vital information that will help conserve the dwindling species. The researchers analyzed 'chemical fingerprints' in the wings of butterflies collected as far back as the mid-1970s to learn where monarchs migrate within North America each autumn.
Categories: Science

Next-generation optics offer the widest real-time views of vast regions of the sun

Science Daily - Tue, 10/01/2017 - 9:10pm
A groundbreaking new optical device to correct images of the Sun distorted by multiple layers of atmospheric turbulence, is providing scientists with the most precisely detailed, real-time pictures to date of solar activity occurring across vast stretches of the star's surface.
Categories: Science