How To Stop Your Smart TV From Spying on You

Wired News - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 1:03am
If your TV is hooked up to the internet, it's probably tracking you somehow. Here's how to get a little bit of control back. The post How To Stop Your Smart TV From Spying on You appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

72% of 'Anonymous' Browsing History Can Be Attached To the Real User

Slashdot - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 12:45am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Stack: Researchers at Stanford and Princeton have succeeded in identifying 70% of web users by comparing their web-browsing history to publicly available information on social networks. The study "De-anonymizing Web Browsing Data with Social Networks" [PDF] found that it was possible to reattach identities to 374 sets of apparently anonymous browsing histories simply by following the connections between links shared on Twitter feeds and the likelihood that a user would favor personal recommendations over abstract web browsing. The test subjects were provided with a Chrome extension that extracted their browsing history; the researchers then used Twitter's proprietary URL-shortening protocol to identify t.co links. 81% of the top 15 results of each enquiry run through the de-anonymization program contained the correct re-identified user -- and 72% of the results identified the user in first place. Ultimately the trail only leads as far as a Twitter user ID, and if a user is pseudonymous, further action would need to be taken to affirm their real identity. Using https connections and VPN services can limit exposure to such re-identification attempts, though the first method does not mask the base URL of the site being connected to, and the second does not prevent the tracking cookies and other tracking methods which can provide a continuous browsing history. Additionally UTM codes in URLs offer the possibility of re-identification even where encryption is present. Further reading available via The Atlantic.

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Categories: Science

Teen vaping 'one way bridge' to future smoking among non-smokers, say researchers

Science Daily - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 12:19am
Teen vaping acts as a 'one way bridge' to future smoking among those who have never smoked before, and may not stop those who have smoked before from returning to it, concludes a small US study.
Categories: Science

Exercise, sleep are key to keeping employees from bringing home work frustrations, study shows

Science Daily - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 12:19am
A brisk walk or a long swim may be the key to preventing a bad day at the office from spilling over into the home. A study tracked participants' sleep patterns and daytime physical movements found employees who recorded more than 10,900 steps each day were less likely to perpetuate abuse at home.
Categories: Science

Teachers may be cause of 'obesity penalty' on girls' grades

Science Daily - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 12:18am
While obesity is often thought of as a health problem, a new study suggests that discrimination by body weight may be the more important factor for obese white female students' lower success in school.
Categories: Science

Physically demanding jobs and shiftwork linked to lowered fertility in women

Science Daily - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 12:18am
A physically demanding job or work schedules outside normal office hours may lower a woman's ability to conceive, suggests research.
Categories: Science

Researchers identify protein essential for healthy gut cell development

Science Daily - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 12:18am
Scientists have uncovered key processes in the healthy development of cells which line the human gut, furthering their understanding about the development of cancer. A new study shows that a protein called ninein is essential for normal tissue development in the gut.
Categories: Science

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Makes 375,000 Images Available For Free

Slashdot - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 12:05am
The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced Tuesday that more than 375,000 of its "public-domain artworks" are now available for unrestricted use. "We have been working toward the goal of sharing our images with the public for a number of years," said Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of the Met, in a statement. "Our comprehensive and diverse museum collection spans 5,000 years of world culture and our core mission is to be open and accessible for all who wish to study and enjoy the works of art in our care." Fortune reports: The image collection covers photographs, paintings, and sculptures, among other works. Images now available for both scholarly and commercial purposes include Emanuel Leutze's famous painting Washington Crossing the Delaware; photographs by Walker Evans, Alfred Steiglitz, and Dorothea Lange; and even some Vincent van Gogh paintings. The Met has teamed up with Creative Commons, Wikimedia, Artstor, Digital Public Library of America, Art Resource, and Pinterest to host and maximize the reach of their enormous collection. There is also a public GitHub repository of the images.

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Categories: Science

World of Warcraft Gold Can Now Be Used To Buy Other Blizzard Games

Slashdot - Tue, 07/02/2017 - 11:25pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: It has been almost two years now since Blizzard began letting World of Warcraft players pay for their monthly game-time subscriptions using in-game gold rather than real money. Now, Blizzard is expanding that effort by letting players indirectly trade WoW gold for in-game items in other Blizzard games like Hearthstone and Overwatch. The new feature is really just a slight tweak to the WoW Token, a specialized item that can be purchased for $20 (£15/€20) in real money or for a free-floating, in-game gold price at World of Warcraft auction houses. Those Tokens can still be exchanged for 30 days of World of Warcraft subscription time, but as of this week, they can also be redeemed for $15 in balance on your Battle.net account. (European figures TBC.) That balance can then be spent on packs of Hearthstone cards, Overwatch Loot Boxes, Heroes of the Storm skins, or even downloadable copies of games like StarCraft II and Diablo III. That means that a dedicated WoW player can now fund a multigame Blizzard habit simply by earning enough in-game gold. You'd better be prepared to farm a lot of gold, though. The purchase price for a WoW Token at the auction house can fluctuate wildly -- as of this writing, the tokens have gone for anywhere from 59,833 gold to 108,924 gold in the last 24 hours, according to tracking site WowToken.info. That gives each in-game gold piece a rough value between 1/100th and 2/100th of a cent, when converted to Blizzard.net balance.

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Categories: Science

Google Brain Creates Technology That Can Zoom In, Enhance Pixelated Images

Slashdot - Tue, 07/02/2017 - 10:45pm
Google Brain has created new software that can create detailed images from tiny, pixelated images. If you've ever tried zooming in on an image, you know that it generally becomes more blurry. You'd just get larger pixels and not a clear image. Google's new software effectively extracts details from a few source pixels to enhance pixelated images. Softpedia reports: For instance, Google Brain presented some 8x8 pixel images which it then turned into some pretty clear photos where you can actually tell facial features apart. What is this sorcery, you ask? Well, it's Google combining two neural networks. The first one, the conditioning network, works to map the 8x8 pixel source image against other high-resolution images. Basically, it downsizes other high-res images to the same 8x8 size and tries to make a match on the features. Then, the second network comes into play, called the prior network. This one uses an implementation of PixelCNN to add realistic, high-res details to that 8x8 source image. If the networks know that one particular pixel could be an eye, when you zoom in, you'll see the shape of an eye there. Or an eyebrow, or a mouth, for instance. The technology was put to the test and it was quite successful against humans. Human observers were shown a high-resolution celebrity face vs. the upscaled image resulted from Google Brain. Ten percent of the time, they were fooled. When it comes to the bedroom images used by Google for the testing, 28 percent of humans were fooled by the computed image.

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Categories: Science

Iris Scans and Fingerprints Could Be Your Ticket On British Rail

Slashdot - Tue, 07/02/2017 - 10:05pm
Mickeycaskill quotes a report from Silicon.co.uk: Rail passengers could use fingerprints or iris scans to pay for tickets and pass through gates, under plans announced by the UK rail industry. In its current form, the mobile technology is intended to allow passengers to travel without tickets, instead using Bluetooth and geolocation technology to track a passenger's movements and automatically charge their travel account at the end of the day for journeys taken. The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents train operators and Network Rail, said further development could see passengers identified using biometric technology in a way similar to the facial-recognition schemes used at some UK airports to speed up border checks. The RDG said more than 200 research, design and technology projects have been identified to increase the railways' capacity and improve customer service. Other projects include new seat designs that could improve train capacity by up to 30 percent and folding seats that could boost space during peak times, including tables that could fold into seats.

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Categories: Science

Apple's Ultra Accessory Connector Dashes Any Hopes of a USB-C iPhone

Slashdot - Tue, 07/02/2017 - 9:25pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Among all the iPhone 8 concepts and daydreams, my favorite scenario has always been to see Apple replacing its proprietary Lightning connector with the USB-C one that's taken over the entire rest of the smartphone world. Apple is already a strong proponent of USB-C, having moved to it aggressively with the new MacBook Pros in October, but the company also maintains Lightning for its iPhones and iPads -- which creates a lot of headaches for people desiring universal accessories that work with everything inside the Cupertino ecosystem. Alas, after yesterday's revelation of a new Ultra Accessory Connector (UAC), which is intended to ameliorate some of the pain of having both USB-C and Lightning devices, it looks like the dream of a USB-C iPhone will forever remain just that. The UAC connector is going to be used as an intermediary in headphone wires, splitting them in half so that the top part can be universal, and the bottom can be either a Lightning, USB-C, USB-A, or a regular old 3.5mm analog plug. The intent is to restore some of the universality of wired headphones -- which, until not too long ago, all terminated in a 3.5mm connector (or 6.35mm on non-portable hi-fi models designed for at-home listening). With UAC, a headphone manufacturer can issue multiple cable terminations very cheaply, making both the headphones and any integrated electronics, like a digital-to-analog converter or built-in microphone, compatible across devices with different ports. Why this matters with regard to the iPhone's sole remaining port is simple: if Apple was planning to switch its mobile devices to USB-C, it wouldn't have bothered with creating a Made for iPhone standard for UAC. It would have just made the port change.

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Categories: Science

Human intuition added to planning algorithms

Science Daily - Tue, 07/02/2017 - 9:21pm
Researchers are trying to improve automated planners by giving them the benefit of human intuition. By encoding the strategies of high-performing human planners in a machine-readable form, they were able to improve the performance of planning algorithms by 10 to 15 percent on a challenging set of problems.
Categories: Science

Why male immune cells are from Mars and female cells are from Venus

Science Daily - Tue, 07/02/2017 - 9:21pm
A research team is the first to uncover reasons why a specific type of immune cell acts very differently in females compared to males while under stress, resulting in women being more susceptible to certain diseases.
Categories: Science

Nintendo's Engineers Have Embraced Unreal Engine

Slashdot - Tue, 07/02/2017 - 8:45pm
Tom Regan, writing for Engadget: If there's one thing that Nintendo has struggled with, it's enticing third-party developers to create games for its consoles. But according to VentureBeat, the company is looking to change that with the advent of the new Switch. At an investor Q&A session, Shigeru Miyamoto revealed that Nintendo engineers have been learning how to use third-party development tools like the Unreal Engine. It's not much of a surprise, given that the Switch, like the Wii U before it, supports the Unreal Engine. But the fact that Miyamoto has opened up on the subject shows that Nintendo may be softening its sometimes frosty stance on third-party developers. That relationship has never been too friendly, with former president Hiroshi Yamauchi saying in 2000 that third-parties are "not helping the industry at all."

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Categories: Science

You Can Make Any Number Out of Four 4s Because Math Is Amazing

Slashdot - Tue, 07/02/2017 - 8:05pm
Andrew Moseman, writing for Popular Mechanics: Here's a fun math puzzle to brighten your day. Say you've got four 4s -- 4, 4, 4, 4 -- and you're allowed to place any normal math symbols around them. How many different numbers can you make? According to the fantastic YouTube channel Numberphile, you can make all of them. Really. You just have to have some fun and get creative. When you first start out, the problem seems pretty simple. So, for example, 4 - 4 + 4 - 4 = 0. To make 1, you can do 4 / 4 + 4 - 4. In fact, you can make all the numbers up to about 20 using only the basic arithmetic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. But soon that's not enough. To start reaching bigger numbers, the video explains, you must pull in more sophisticated operations like square roots, exponents, factorials (4!, or 4 x 3 x 2 x 1), and concatenation (basically, turning 4 and 4 into 44).

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Categories: Science

Breast cancer patients with dense breast tissue more likely to develop contralateral disease

Science Daily - Tue, 07/02/2017 - 7:36pm
Breast cancer patients with dense breast tissue have almost a two-fold increased risk of developing disease in the contralateral breast, according to new research.
Categories: Science

Studies point way to precision therapies for common class of genetic disorders

Science Daily - Tue, 07/02/2017 - 7:27pm
Two studies are opening important new windows into understanding an untreatable group of common genetic disorders known as RASopathies that are characterized by distinct facial features, developmental delays, cognitive impairment and heart problems. The findings could help point the way toward personalized precision therapies for these conditions.
Categories: Science

New method improves accuracy of imaging systems

Science Daily - Tue, 07/02/2017 - 7:27pm
New research provides scientists looking at single molecules or into deep space a more accurate way to analyze imaging data captured by microscopes, telescopes and other devices.
Categories: Science

Why we underestimate time when we're having fun on Facebook

Science Daily - Tue, 07/02/2017 - 7:27pm
Updating your Facebook status can be a fun way to while away the hours -- but now it seems it really is making us lose track of time as we do it.
Categories: Science