CO2 Researchers Are Now Hacking Photosynthesis

Slashdot - Sun, 04/12/2016 - 3:39pm
Remember that story about the "artificial leaf" solar cells? Long-time Slashdot reader managerialslime quotes the Chicago Tribune: University of Illinois at Chicago researchers have developed a way to mimic plants' ability to convert carbon dioxide into fuel, a way to decrease the amounts of harmful gas in the atmosphere and produce clean energy. The artificial leaf essentially recycles carbon dioxide. And it's powered entirely by the sun, mimicking the real photosynthesis process. But meanwhile, in Germany: Biochemists led by Tobias Erb at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology...have developed a new, super-efficient method for living organisms to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere. Plants, algae, and other organisms turn CO2 into fuel. Erb and his colleagues reengineered this process, making it about 25 percent more energy efficient and potentially up to two or three times faster... Erb hopes that one day the CETCH cycle could be genetically engineered into living organisms, helping them more rapidly reduce atmospheric CO2 while producing useful materials. The researchers created their new CO2-transforming cycle using 11 carefully chosen enzymes.

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Categories: Science

SpaceShipTwo 'Unity' Flies Solo For First Time | Video

Space.com - Sun, 04/12/2016 - 3:33pm
The Virgin Galactic suborbital vehicle entered its second phase of testing on Dec. 3, 2016. It was released from its WhiteKnightTwo mothership and glided back down to the Mojave Air and Space Port in California after 10 minutes of flight.
Categories: Science

UK Health Secretary Urges Social Media Companies To Block Cyberbullying And Underaged Sexting

Slashdot - Sun, 04/12/2016 - 2:39pm
Mark Wilson shares his article on Beta News: Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has made calls for technology companies and social media to do more to tackle the problems of cyberbullying, online intimidation and -- rather specifically -- under-18-year-olds texting sexually explicit images. Of course, he doesn't have the slightest idea about how to go about tackling these problems, but he has expressed his concern so that, in conjunction with passing this buck to tech companies, should be enough, right? Hunt apparently believes there's already a technology which can identify sexually explicit photos, and that social media networks should now also develop algorithms to identify and block cyberbullying, an idea the Guardian called "sadly laughable." "Is the blanket censorship of non-approved communications for all under 18s -- something that goes far further than even the Great Firewall of China -- really the kind of thing a government minister should be able to idly suggest in 2016?"

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Categories: Science

Crooks Need Just Six Seconds To Guess A Credit Card Number

Slashdot - Sun, 04/12/2016 - 12:39pm
schwit1 quotes The Independent: Criminals can work out the card number, expiration date, and security code for a Visa debit or credit card in as little as six seconds using guesswork, researchers have found... Fraudsters use a so-called Distributed Guessing Attack to get around security features put in place to stop online fraud, and this may have been the method used in the recent Tesco Bank hack... According to a study published in the academic journal IEEE Security & Privacy, fraudsters could use computers to systematically fire different variations of security data at hundreds of websites simultaneously. Within seconds, by a process of elimination, the criminals could verify the correct card number, expiration date and the three-digit security number on the back of the card. One of the researchers explained this attack combines two weaknesses into one powerful attack. "Firstly, current online payment systems do not detect multiple invalid payment requests from different websites... Secondly, different websites ask for different variations in the card data fields to validate an online purchase. This means it's quite easy to build up the information and piece it together like a jigsaw puzzle."

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Categories: Science

Gears Made of Metallic Glass Could Be Ideal for Space Missions

Space.com - Sun, 04/12/2016 - 12:24pm
A material known as metallic glass, created by liquefying and then rapidly cooling metal, might be an ideal material for making gears for spacefaring robots, according to new research.
Categories: Science

Pentagon Ready to Launch First Upgraded WGS Satellite

Space.com - Sun, 04/12/2016 - 12:04pm
The military's next communications satellite is awaiting a Dec. 7 launch window.
Categories: Science

The Mysterious Machinery of Creatures That Glow in the Deep

Wired News - Sun, 04/12/2016 - 12:00pm
Bioluminescent organisms have evolved dozens of times over the course of life's history. Recent studies are narrowing in on the complicated biochemistry needed to illuminate the dark. The post The Mysterious Machinery of Creatures That Glow in the Deep appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Never Ever (Ever) Download Android Apps Outside of Google Play

Wired News - Sun, 04/12/2016 - 12:00pm
Tricking people into downloading malicious mobile apps is a con as old as time itself (or at least as old as smartphones). Don't fall for it. The post Never Ever (Ever) Download Android Apps Outside of Google Play appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Review: Ozobot Evo

Wired News - Sun, 04/12/2016 - 11:31am
This user-programmable bot for children makes playtime educational. The post Review: Ozobot Evo appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Why MakerBot Didn't Kickstart A 3D Printing Revolution

Slashdot - Sun, 04/12/2016 - 8:39am
Bre PettisâS once said MakerBot gave you a superpower -- "You can make anything you need." But four years later, mirandakatz writes that though MakerBot promised to revolutionize society, "That never happened." At Backchannel, Andrew Zaleski has the definitive, investigative account of why the 3D printing revolution hasn't yet come to pass, culled from interviews with industry observers, current MakerBot leadership, and a dozen former MakerBot employees. As he tells it, "In the span of a few years, MakerBot had to pull off two very different coups. It had to introduce millions of people to the wonders of 3D printing, and then convince them to shell out more than $1,000 for a machine. It also had to develop the technology fast enough to keep its customers happy. Those two tasks were too much for the fledgling company."

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Categories: Science

Devuan's Systemd-Free Linux Hits Beta 2

Slashdot - Sun, 04/12/2016 - 4:38am
Long-time Slashdot reader Billly Gates writes, "For all the systemd haters who want a modern distro feel free to rejoice. The Debian fork called Devuan is almost done, completing a daunting task of stripping systemd dependencies from Debian." From The Register: Devuan came about after some users felt [Debian] had become too desktop-friendly. The change the greybeards objected to most was the decision to replace sysvinit init with systemd, a move felt to betray core Unix principles of user choice and keeping bloat to a bare minimum. Supporters of init freedom also dispute assertions that systemd is in all ways superior to sysvinit init, arguing that Debian ignored viable alternatives like sinit, openrc, runit, s6 and shepherd. All are therefore included in Devuan. Devuan.org now features an "init freedom" logo with the tagline, "watching your first step. Their home page now links to the download site for Devuan Jessie 1.0 Beta2, promising an OS that "avoids entanglement".

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Categories: Science

iOS's 'Activation Lock' For Stolen iPads And iPhones Can Be Easily Bypassed

Slashdot - Sun, 04/12/2016 - 2:39am
An anonymous reader quotes ComputerWorld: Two researchers claim to have found a way to bypass the activation lock feature in iOS that's supposed to prevent anyone from using an iPhone or iPad marked as lost by its owner... One of the few things allowed from the activation lock screen is connecting the device to a Wi-Fi network, including manually configuring one. [Security researcher] Hemanth had the idea of trying to crash the service that enforces the lock screen by entering very long strings of characters in the WPA2-Enterprise username and password fields. The researcher claims that, after awhile, the screen froze, and he used the iPad smart cover sold by Apple to put the tablet to sleep and then reopen it... "After 20-25 seconds the Add Wifi Connection screen crashed to the iPad home screen, thereby bypassing the so-called Find My iPhone Activation Lock," he said in a blog post. There's also a five-minute video on YouTube which purports to show a newer version of the same attack.

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Categories: Science

Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Linux Laptop?

Slashdot - Sun, 04/12/2016 - 12:39am
Long-Time Slashdot reader sconeu is finally replacing his 10-year-old Toshiba Satellite laptop, and needs suggestions on the best current laptops for running Linux. I'm looking to run some flavor of Linux (probably KDE-based UI, but not mandatory) while using a virtual machine to run Windows 7 (for stuff needed for work). For me personally, battery life and weight are more important than raw power. I'm not going to be running games on this. I've been considering an XPS 13 Developer Edition, or something from System76, ZaReason or Emperor Linux. What laptop do you use? Do you have any suggestions? It's your chance to share useful information, recommendations, and your own experiences with various brands of laptop. So leave your best answers in the comments. What's the best Linux laptop?

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Categories: Science

The New Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Trailer Is Groot Stuff

Wired News - Sat, 03/12/2016 - 11:59pm
2017—aka the year of our Star-Lord—can't come soon enough. The post The New Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Trailer Is Groot Stuff appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

The US Government Funds A War On Online Fake News

Slashdot - Sat, 03/12/2016 - 11:39pm
An anonymous reader quotes the Washington Post: Congressional negotiators on Wednesday approved an initiative to track and combat foreign propaganda amid growing concerns that Russian efforts to spread "fake news" and disinformation threaten U.S. national security. The measure, part of the National Defense Authorization Act approved by a conference committee, calls on the State Department to lead government-wide efforts to identify propaganda and counter its effects. The authorization is for $160 million over two years... The Senate Intelligence Committee, meanwhile, has approved language in the fiscal year 2017 intelligence authorization bill calling for new executive branch efforts to combat what it characterized as "active measures" by Russia to manipulate people and governments through front groups, covert broadcasting or "media manipulation." "There is definitely bipartisan concern about the Russian government engaging in covert influence activities of this nature," Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement. "If you read section 501 of this year's intelligence authorization bill, it directs the President to set up an interagency committee to 'counter active measures by Russia to exert covert influence over peoples and governments.'" Several senators on the intelligence committee also asked President Obama to declassify any information relating to the Russian government and the U.S. election.

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Categories: Science

Our Brains Use Binary Logic, Say Neuroscientists

Slashdot - Sat, 03/12/2016 - 10:39pm
"The brain's basic computational algorithm is organized by power-of-two-based logic," reports Sci-News, citing a neuroscientist at Augusta University's Medical College. hackingbear writes: He and his colleagues from the U.S. and China have documented the algorithm at work in seven different brain regions involved with basics like food and fear in mice and hamsters. "Intelligence is really about dealing with uncertainty and infinite possibilities," he said. "It appears to be enabled when a group of similar neurons form a variety of cliques to handle each basic like recognizing food, shelter, friends and foes. Groups of cliques then cluster into functional connectivity motifs to handle every possibility in each of these basics. The more complex the thought, the more cliques join in."

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Categories: Science

It Will Soon Be Illegal To Punish US Customers Who Criticize Businesses Online

Slashdot - Sat, 03/12/2016 - 9:39pm
An anonymous reader writes: Congress has passed a law protecting the right of U.S. consumers to post negative online reviews without fear of retaliation from companies. The bipartisan Consumer Review Fairness Act was passed by unanimous consent in the US Senate, a Senate Commerce Committee announcement said. The bill, introduced in 2014, was already approved by the House of Representatives and now awaits President Obama's signature. The Consumer Review Fairness Act -- full text available here -- voids any provision in a form contract that prohibits or restricts customers from posting reviews about the goods, services, or conduct of the company providing the product or service. It also voids provisions that impose penalties or fees on customers for posting online reviews as well as those that require customers to give up the intellectual property rights related to such reviews.

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Categories: Science

Research points to Orb2 as a physical substrate for memory strength, retention

Science Daily - Sat, 03/12/2016 - 8:48pm
How do you remember what happened today in the weeks and months that follow? Researchers have answered a piece of that question in a recent study.
Categories: Science

Stress-hormone differences identified among gay men

Science Daily - Sat, 03/12/2016 - 8:45pm
Increased stigma and discrimination can affect circadian HPA-axis functioning, say researchers. The majority of previous studies have been conducted among white heterosexuals, with very little research examining HPA-axis functioning between different minorities. Individuals who identify as both sexual and racial minorities may experience increased stigma and discrimination that can affect this HPA-axis functioning. Now, researchers have examined differences in diurnal cortisol rhythm between young, self-identified, white gay men and black gay men.
Categories: Science

Relationships between chemicals found on comets

Science Daily - Sat, 03/12/2016 - 8:45pm
A new study has revealed similarities and relationships between certain types of chemicals found on 30 different comets, which vary widely in their overall composition compared to one another. The research is part of ongoing investigations into these primordial bodies, which contain material largely unchanged from the birth of the solar system some 4.6 billion years ago.
Categories: Science