How Pittsburgh Birthed the Age of the Self-Driving Car

Wired News - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 8:05pm
Uber's launching a fleet of self-driving cars in the Steel City, starting in a few weeks. The post How Pittsburgh Birthed the Age of the Self-Driving Car appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Keeping mosquitoes away: Insect repellent and children

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 7:33pm
Summer is here and backyard barbecues, camping trips and youth camp sessions are in full swing. Amidst all of these fun activities is often a far less welcoming sign of summer: mosquitoes.
Categories: Science

Researchers find herpes strain in the nervous system

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 7:32pm
There are a couple strains of herpes so common that researchers estimate 90% of the human population have them. These strains, human herpes 6 and human herpes 7, usually do not cause severe symptoms when people acquire them. But researchers know that under certain circumstances, dormant herpes viruses in the body can unexpectedly come roaring back and cause complications not typically associated with herpes virus.
Categories: Science

'We're Just Rentals': Uber Drivers Ask Where They Fit In a Self-Driving Future

Slashdot - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 7:32pm
Bloomberg reported on Thursday about Uber's plan to bring its first fleet of self-driving cars to Pittsburgh as soon as this month, a move that has since been confirmed by the cab-hailing company. Amid the announcement, Uber drivers are disappointed at Uber, wondering what the future of the company lies for them. The Guardian reports:"Wo-o-o-o-w," 60-year old Uber driver Cynthia Ingram said. "We all knew it was coming. I just didn't expect it this soon." For Ingram, autonomous Ubers are an unwelcome threat to her livelihood. "I kind of figured it would be a couple more years down the line before it was really implemented and I'll be retired by then," she said. A paralegal with 30 years experience, Ingram began driving for Uber and Lyft in June 2015 when she lost her job. She said that she loves driving for Uber, though she has struggled to make ends meet. Rob Judge, 41, was also concerned with the announcement. "It feels like we're just rentals. We're kind of like placeholders until the technology comes out." A longtime customer service representative, Judge began driving for Uber three months ago to make money while he looks for other work. "For me personally, this isn't a long term stop," he added. "But for a lot of other people that I've connected with, this is their only means."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Proton pump found to regulate blood pH in stingrays

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 7:30pm
Researchers have discovered the same enzyme used by 'boneworms' to dissolve whale carcasses, and that helps promote photosynthesis in corals, also regulates blood pH in stingrays. The study could help scientists better understand the enzyme's function in human kidneys to regulate blood and urine functions.
Categories: Science

New study challenges assumption of asbestos' ability to move in soil

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 7:30pm
A new study challenges the long-held belief that asbestos fibers cannot move through soil. The findings have important implications for current remediation strategies aimed at capping asbestos-laden soils to prevent human exposure of the cancer-causing material.
Categories: Science

Increased eye cancer risk linked to pigmentation genes that dictate eye color

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 7:30pm
New research links specific inherited genetic differences to an increased risk for eye (uveal) melanoma, a rare form of melanoma that arises from pigment cells that determine eye color. scientists report the first evidence of a strong association between genes linked to eye color and development of uveal melanoma. Reported data suggests that inherited genetic factors associated with eye and skin pigmentation could increase a person's risk for uveal melanoma.
Categories: Science

A new Goldilocks for habitable planets

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 7:30pm
The search for habitable, alien worlds needs to make room for a second 'Goldilocks,' according to a researcher. A new study suggests that simply being in the habitable zone isn't sufficient to support life. A planet also must start with an internal temperature that is just right.
Categories: Science

Flesh-eating infections in rheumatoid arthritis patients spur new discovery

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 7:30pm
Rheumatoid arthritis patients taking medications that inhibit interleukin-1beta, a molecule that stimulates the immune system, are 300 times more likely to experience invasive Group A Streptococcal infections than patients not on the drug, according to researchers. Their study also uncovers a critical new role for IL-1beta as the body's independent early warning system for bacterial infections.
Categories: Science

China's Xiaomi Gearing Up For US Debut

Slashdot - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 6:51pm
An anonymous reader shares a Bloomberg report: Xiaomi is preparing to enter the U.S. smartphone market "in the near future," employing the same online sales and social media marketing tactics that helped the six-year-old startup become China's largest privately funded startup. Xiaomi can no longer afford to ignore the world's largest smartphone arena by revenue, company vice president Hugo Barra said in an interview. Its international expansion is taking on new-found urgency as growth at home slows and rivals such as Huawei erode its market share. "The U.S. is a market that we definitely have in our sights," Barra said on Bloomberg Television. "We will lead with social media, with the channels that allow us to get in touch with the young generation that are enthusiastic about new technology. We are definitely going there." Barra, who oversees the Chinese company's international expansion, has signaled Xiaomi's U.S. debut before. But the smartphone vendor is now in a better position to launch an incursion onto Apple's turf. In June, the Beijing-based company announced the acquisition of nearly 1,500 technology patents from Microsoft -- a deal that may smooth potential legal tangles over intellectual property as it pushes abroad.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Electrical synapses in the brain offer new avenue for epilepsy research and possible treatment

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 6:19pm
A child with absence epilepsy may be in the middle of doing something—she could be dancing, studying, talking—when all of a sudden she stares off into space for a few moments. Then, as quickly as she drifted off, the child snaps back into whatever she was doing, unaware that the episode occurred. That brief moment of disconnect from reality is called an absence seizure. Researchers now suggest that electrical signals directly exchanged between brain cells may hold promise as a potential target for absence epilepsy treatments.
Categories: Science

Microsoft Wants To Pay You To Use Its Windows 10 Browser Edge

Slashdot - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 6:10pm
An anonymous reader shares a report by The Guardian: Microsoft has a new browser. It launched with Windows 10 and it's called Edge. The company says it's faster, more battery efficient and all-round better than Chrome or Firefox. You can even draw on websites with a stylus. Trouble is, not very many people are using it. So now Microsoft's trying to bribe you to switch. The newly rebranded Microsoft Rewards -- formerly Bing Rewards, which paid people for using Bing as their search engine (another product Microsoft says is better than a Google product but that very few people actually use) -- will now pay you for using Edge, shopping at the Microsoft store, or using Bing. Users of Edge who sign up to Microsoft Rewards, which is currently US-only, are then awarded points simply for using the browser. Microsoft actively monitors whether you're using Edge for up to 30 hours a month. It tracks mouse movements and other signs that you're not trying to game the system, and you must also have Bing set as your default search engine. Points can then be traded in for vouchers or credit for places such as Starbucks, Skype, Amazon and ad-free Outlook.com -- remember, if you're not paying for something, you are the product.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

PSA: Twitch's 'Activity Sharing' Feature Exposes Your Activity By Default

Slashdot - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 5:30pm
The 'Activity Sharing' feature that Twitch announced on Thursday aims to notify your entire Friends list if you're doing something interesting. The video games streaming platform hopes that it would bolster the engagement level, as people will want to know what their friends are doing. The problem is that this feature is on by default. An anonymous reader writes: While the feature is fairly harmless, it is understandable that some people won't want others to easily spy on their behaviors. As an example, maybe you are watching a Hello Kitty game stream -- some folks might be embarrassed to have that displayed under their name. To turn it off, simply deselect the box as seen in this image.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Young, gifted, first-generation minority science students motivated by prosocial values

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 5:26pm
There are as many motives as there are undergraduates taking introductory science courses, but if you look closely at groups of freshmen science students such as those from underrepresented minority (URM) backgrounds, you can see striking motivational differences across and within these groups, shows a new survey of 249 freshmen by psychology researchers in California.
Categories: Science

AT&T, Apple, Google To Work On 'Robocall' Crackdown

Slashdot - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 5:03pm
Last month the FCC had pressed major U.S. phone companies to take immediate steps to develop technology that blocks unwanted automated calls available to consumers at no charge. It had demanded the concerned companies to come up with a "concrete, actionable" plan within 30 days. Well, the companies have complied. On Friday, 30 major technology companies announced they are joining the U.S. government to crack down on automated, pre-recorded telephone calls that regulators have labeled as "scourge." Reuters adds: AT&T, Alphabet, Apple, Verizon Communications and Comcast are among the members of the "Robocall Strike Force," which will work with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The strike force will report to the commission by Oct. 19 on "concrete plans to accelerate the development and adoption of new tools and solutions," said AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson, who is chairing the group. The group hopes to put in place Caller ID verification standards that would help block calls from spoofed phone numbers and to consider a "Do Not Originate" list that would block spoofers from impersonating specific phone numbers from governments, banks or others.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

US Air Force Launches 2 Military Surveillance Satellites

Space.com - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 4:55pm
The third and fourth satellites in the U.S. military's Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program lifted off atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket at 12:52 a.m. EDT Friday (Aug. 19) from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Categories: Science

Seawalls, forests show mixed effectiveness at reducing deaths, damage from tsunami

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 4:36pm
The Pacific coast of the Tohoku region has been struck by four large tsunamis in just over a century - in 1896, 1933, 1960 and 2011. Many critics claim that seawalls are detrimental because they offer a false sense of security, and prevent residents from being able to see the approaching danger first-hand. Moreover, they also say that the presence of seawalls tends to encourage residents to build homes in vulnerable areas rather than in safer places further inland or uphill.
Categories: Science

From pollution to caffeine intake: Researcher reveals dementia risks

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 4:36pm
Dementia strikes 47 million people worldwide. Yet scientists are still urgently trying to find why the disease affects some but not others. Among the findings from the latest research are that eating a large amount of fatty foods and living in a polluted area may increase dementia risk, whereas taking regular exercise and keeping cholesterol at healthy levels may lower risk.
Categories: Science

The NSA Leak Is Real, Snowden Documents Confirm

Slashdot - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 4:20pm
Sam Biddle, reporting for The Intercept: On Monday, A hacking group calling itself the "ShadowBrokers" announced an auction for what it claimed were "cyber weapons" made by the NSA. Based on never-before-published documents provided by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Intercept can confirm that the arsenal contains authentic NSA software, part of a powerful constellation of tools used to covertly infect computers worldwide. The provenance of the code has been a matter of heated debate this week among cybersecurity experts, and while it remains unclear how the software leaked, one thing is now beyond speculation: The malware is covered with the NSA's virtual fingerprints and clearly originates from the agency. The evidence that ties the ShadowBrokers dump to the NSA comes in an agency manual for implanting malware, classified top secret, provided by Snowden, and not previously available to the public. The draft manual instructs NSA operators to track their use of one malware program using a specific 16-character string, "ace02468bdf13579." That exact same string appears throughout the ShadowBrokers leak in code associated with the same program, SECONDDATE. SECONDDATE plays a specialized role inside a complex global system built by the U.S. government to infect and monitor what one document estimated to be millions of computers around the world. Its release by ShadowBrokers, alongside dozens of other malicious tools, marks the first time any full copies of the NSA's offensive software have been available to the public, providing a glimpse at how an elaborate system outlined in the Snowden documents looks when deployed in the real world, as well as concrete evidence that NSA hackers don't always have the last word when it comes to computer exploitation.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

2014 Napa earthquake continued to creep, weeks after main shock

Science Daily - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 4:04pm
On August 24, 2014, just south of Napa, California, a fault in Earth suddenly slipped, violently shifting and splitting huge blocks of solid rock, 6 miles below the surface. The underground upheaval generated severe shaking at the surface, lasting 10 to 20 seconds. When the shaking subsided, the magnitude 6.0 earthquake left in its wake crumpled building facades, ruptured water mains, and fractured roadways. Scientists now report that this earthquake continued to creep, weeks after the main shock.
Categories: Science