This Martian Landscape Looks Like the American Desert

Space.com - Sat, 20/08/2016 - 11:43am
A panoramic view from the surface of Mars shows brown and copper-colored plateaus and buttes reminiscent of desert regions in the southwest United States.
Categories: Science

A Master of Umbral Moonshine Toys With String Theory

Wired News - Sat, 20/08/2016 - 11:00am
The physicist-mathematician Miranda Cheng is working to harness a mysterious connection between string theory, algebra, and number theory. The post A Master of Umbral Moonshine Toys With String Theory appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Security News This Week: Eddie Bauer Stores, Hotels and Hospitals Hacked

Wired News - Sat, 20/08/2016 - 11:00am
Each Saturday we round up the news stories that we didn’t break or cover in depth at WIRED, but which deserve your attention nonetheless. The post Security News This Week: Eddie Bauer Stores, Hotels and Hospitals Hacked appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Fedora 25 To Run Wayland By Default Instead Of X.Org Server

Slashdot - Sat, 20/08/2016 - 11:00am
An anonymous reader writes: Fedora 25 will finally be the first release for this Linux distribution -- and the first tier-one desktop Linux OS at large -- that is going ahead and using Wayland by default. Wayland has been talked about for years as a replacement to the xorg-server and finally with the upcoming Fedora 25 release this is expected to become a reality. The X.Org Server will still be present on Fedora systems for those running into driver problems or other common issues. Fedora's steering committee agreed to the change provided the release notes "are clear about how to switch back to X11 if needed." In addition, according to the Fedora Project's wiki, "The code will automatically fall back to Xorg in cases where Wayland is unavailable (like NVIDIA)."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Astronauts Successfully Install Parking Spot At ISS

Slashdot - Sat, 20/08/2016 - 7:00am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: With more private spaceship traffic expected at the International Space Station in the coming years, two U.S. astronauts embarked on a spacewalk Friday to install a special parking spot for them. Americans Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins switched their spacesuits to internal battery power at 8:04 (1204 GMT) and floated outside the orbiting laboratory to begin the work of attaching the first of two international docking adaptors. The spacewalkers finished the task in just over two hours. "With that, we have a new port of call," said NASA commentator Rob Navias, as the space station flew over Singapore at 10:40 am (1440 GMT). NASA describes the docking adaptor as a "metaphorical gateway to a future" that will allow a new generation of U.S. spacecraft -- the first since the space shuttle program ended in 2011 -- to carry astronauts to the space station. The second docking adaptor is expected to be installed in 2018. Built by Boeing, the circular adaptor measures around 42 inches (one meter) tall and about 63 inches wide. The adaptors will work with Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon, two spaceships under construction that are planned to ferry astronauts to the space station. The docking adaptor is more sophisticated than past equipment because it will allow automatic parking instead of the current grapple and berthing process, which is managed by astronauts.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Marijuana Provides More Pain Relief For Men Than Woman, Says Study

Slashdot - Sat, 20/08/2016 - 3:30am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PsyPost: Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) found that men had greater pain relief than women after smoking marijuana. In this study, the researchers analyzed data from two double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies looking at the analgesic effects of cannabis in 42 recreational marijuana smokers. After smoking the same amount of either an active or placebo form of cannabis, the participants immersed one hand in a a cold-water bath until the pain could no longer be tolerated. Following the immersion, the participants answered a short pain questionnaire. After smoking active cannabis, men reported a significant decrease in pain sensitivity and an increase in pain tolerance. Women did not experience a significant decrease in pain sensitivity, although they reported a small increase in pain tolerance shortly after smoking. "These findings come at a time when more people, including women, are turning to the use of medical cannabis for pain relief," said Ziva Cooper, PhD, associate professor of clinical neurobiology (in psychiatry) at CUMC. "Preclinical evidence has suggested that the experience of pain relief from cannabis-related products may vary between sexes, but no studies have been done to see if this is true in humans." You can view the results of the study online in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Mercedes’ New Concept Is a Maybach for the Electric Age

Wired News - Sat, 20/08/2016 - 1:52am
The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 concept is nearly 20 feet long and packs a battery of swanky, futuristic features. The post Mercedes' New Concept Is a Maybach for the Electric Age appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

The Rio Olympics Are Where TV Finally Sees the Future

Wired News - Sat, 20/08/2016 - 1:35am
Time was, watching the Olympics just meant turning on your TV. That's changed—and there's no going back. The post The Rio Olympics Are Where TV Finally Sees the Future appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Neuroscientists identify cortical links to adrenal medulla (mind-body connection)

Kurzweil AI - Sat, 20/08/2016 - 1:35am

Cortical pathways to the adrenal medulla. Cortical areas on the lateral surface and the medial wall of the hemisphere are the source of neurons that influence the adrenal medulla. Gray shading: cortical motor areas; blue shading: medial prefrontal areas. (credit: Richard P. Dum et al./PNAS)

Neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh have identified the neural networks that connect the cerebral cortex to the adrenal medulla — the inner part of the adrenal gland, located above each kidney, which is responsible for the body’s rapid response in stressful situations.

These findings, reported in the online Early Edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences PNAS), provide evidence for the neural basis of a mind-body connection. They also shed new light on how stress, depression, and other mental states can alter organ function, and show that there is a real anatomical basis for psychosomatic illness.

The research also identifies a concrete neural substrate that may help explain why meditation and certain exercises such as yoga and Pilates can be so helpful in modulating the body’s responses to physical, mental and emotional stress, according to senior author Peter L. Strick, Ph.D., Thomas Detre Chair of the Department of Neurobiology and scientific director of the University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute.

Why it matters which cortical areas influence the adrenal medulla

In their experiments with monkeys, the scientists traced the neural circuitry that links areas of the cerebral cortex to the adrenal medulla, using a unique tracing method that involves rabies virus. This approach is capable of revealing long chains of interconnected neurons.

Different hormones produced in different zones of the cortex and medulla of the gland (credit: Regents of University of Michigan Medical School)

Another surprising result of the research was that motor areas in the cerebral cortex, which are involved in the planning and performance of movement, provide a substantial input to the adrenal medulla. One of these areas is a portion of the primary motor cortex that is concerned with the control of axial body movement and posture. This input to the adrenal medulla may explain why core body exercises are so helpful in modulating responses to stress. Calming practices such as Pilates, yoga, tai chi and even dancing in a small space all require proper skeletal alignment, coordination, and flexibility to avoid harm to the body.

The PNAS study also revealed that the areas of the cortex that are active when we sense conflict, or are aware that we have made an error, are a source of influence over the adrenal medulla. “This observation,” said Dr. Strick, “raises the possibility that activity in these cortical areas when you re-imagine an error, or beat yourself up over a mistake, or think about a traumatic event, results in descending signals that influence the adrenal medulla in just the same way as the actual event.”

These anatomical findings have relevance for therapies that deal with post-traumatic stress.

Additional links with the adrenal medulla were discovered in cortical areas that are active during mindful mediation and areas that show changes in bipolar familial depression. “One way of summarizing our results is that we may have uncovered the stress and depression connectome,” says Strick.

Overall, these results indicate that circuits exist to link movement, cognition and affect to the function of the adrenal medulla and the control of stress. This circuitry may mediate the effects of internal states like chronic stress and depression on organ function and thus provide a concrete neural substrate for some psychosomatic illness.

This research was funded by National Institutes of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Abstract of Motor, cognitive, and affective areas of the cerebral cortex influence the adrenal medulla

Modern medicine has generally viewed the concept of “psychosomatic” disease with suspicion. This view arose partly because no neural networks were known for the mind, conceptually associated with the cerebral cortex, to influence autonomic and endocrine systems that control internal organs. Here, we used transneuronal transport of rabies virus to identify the areas of the primate cerebral cortex that communicate through multisynaptic connections with a major sympathetic effector, the adrenal medulla. We demonstrate that two broad networks in the cerebral cortex have access to the adrenal medulla. The larger network includes all of the cortical motor areas in the frontal lobe and portions of somatosensory cortex. A major component of this network originates from the supplementary motor area and the cingulate motor areas on the medial wall of the hemisphere. These cortical areas are involved in all aspects of skeletomotor control from response selection to motor preparation and movement execution. The second, smaller network originates in regions of medial prefrontal cortex, including a major contribution from pregenual and subgenual regions of anterior cingulate cortex. These cortical areas are involved in higher-order aspects of cognition and affect. These results indicate that specific multisynaptic circuits exist to link movement, cognition, and affect to the function of the adrenal medulla. This circuitry may mediate the effects of internal states like chronic stress and depression on organ function and, thus, provide a concrete neural substrate for some psychosomatic illness.

Categories: Science

Oracle Is Funding a New Anti-Google Group

Slashdot - Sat, 20/08/2016 - 1:30am
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Fortune: Oracle says it is funding a new non-profit called "Campaign for Accountability," which consists of a campaign called "The Google Transparency Project" that claims to expose criminal behavior carried out by Google. "Oracle is absolutely a contributor (one of many) to the Transparency Project. This is important information for the public to know. It is 100 percent public records and accurate," said Ken Glueck, Senior Vice President of Oracle. Fortune reports: "Oracle's hidden hand is not a huge surprise since the company has a history of sneaky PR tactics, and is still embroiled in a bitter intellectual property lawsuit with Google." One would think Microsoft may be another contributor, but the company said it is not. Daniel Stevens, the deputy director of the CfA, declined to name the group's other donors, or to explain why it does not disclose its funders. Why does this matter? "When wealthy companies or individuals pose as a grass-roots group like the so-called 'campaign for accountability' project, [it] can confuse news and public relations, and foster public cynicism," writes Jeff John Roberts via Fortune.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Comcast Rolls Out $70-Per-Month Gigabit Internet Service In Chicago

Slashdot - Sat, 20/08/2016 - 12:50am
An anonymous reader writes from a report via PC Magazine: Comcast is now offering Chicagoans gigabit internet speeds. PC Magazine reports: "Launched on Wednesday, the program uses DOCSIS 3.1 technology to deliver speeds up to 1Gbps over existing network infrastructure. DOCSIS 3.1 runs through standard cable connections already in place at your home or office. So Xfinity and Comcast Business Internet customers can simply sign up for a plan and plug in a new modem; no fiber installation required. The service, according to Comcast, allows you to download a 5GB HD movie in 40 seconds, a 60MB TV episode in four seconds, a 150MB music album in two seconds, or a 15GB video game in two minutes. Initial users have the choice of a promotional contract price of $70 per month for 36 months, or $139.95 per month (plus tax and fees) with no contract."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Oh You’ll Get Used to Robo-Cars—Uber Will Make Sure of It

Wired News - Sat, 20/08/2016 - 12:41am
Today, Uber finds itself in a position where it makes more sense to develop an interface that behaves like a trusty chauffeur than a co-pilot. The post Oh You’ll Get Used to Robo-Cars—Uber Will Make Sure of It appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

WIRED’s Latest HTTPS Update: We’re Almost There, Folks

Wired News - Sat, 20/08/2016 - 12:27am
WIRED still isn't at full HTTPS, but we're making good progress. The post WIRED's Latest HTTPS Update: We’re Almost There, Folks appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

The British Sports Car That Became Ford’s Famed GT40

Wired News - Sat, 20/08/2016 - 12:25am
The Lola Mk 6 is the little known basis for Ford's famed GT. The post The British Sports Car That Became Ford's Famed GT40 appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Mayo Clinic, collaborators working to advance aging research via clinical trials

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 19/08/2016 - 6:04am

(credit: iStock)

Mayo Clinic and other members of the Geroscience Network* have developed strategies for taking new drugs to clinical trials — specifically, drugs that target processes underlying multiple age-related diseases and disabilities. And they’ve written six supporting articles that appeared Wednesday Aug. 17 in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A – Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.

The Geroscience Network consists of 18 academic aging center, with the participation of more than 100 investigators from across the U.S. and Europe.

Aging may be a modifiable risk factor

“Aging is the largest risk factor for most chronic diseases, including stroke, heart disease, cancer, dementias, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, blindness and frailty,” said James Kirkland, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging.

However, he said recent research suggests that aging may actually be a modifiable risk factor. “The goal of our network’s collaborative efforts is to accelerate the pace of discovery in developing interventions to delay, prevent, or treat these conditions as a group, instead of one at a time.”

Felipe Sierra, Ph.D., of the National Institute on Aging and a member of the Geroscience Network, describes the potential impact of such discoveries in his article, “Moving Geroscience into Uncharted Waters.” He notes that in addition to the direct health issues, care for the elderly currently accounts for 43 percent of the total health care spending in the U.S,, or approximately 1 trillion dollars a year, and that this number is expected to rise as baby boomers reach retirement age.

“Reducing these costs is critical for the survival of society as we know it,” he said. “A 2013 paper by Dana Goldman and colleagues calculated that a just modest increase (2.2 years) in lifespan and healthspan could reduce those expenses by 7 trillion dollars by 2050.”

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Paul Glenn Foundation, Nathan Shock Centers of Excellence for the Biology of Aging, the Connor Group, and the Noaber and Ted Nash foundations.

The first two articles cited below are open-access.

* In addition to Mayo Clinic, members of the Geroscience Network are Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, National Institute on Aging, the Scripps Research Institute, Stanford University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Arkansas, the University of Connecticut, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, the University of Southern California, the University of Washington, and Wake Forest University as well as members from other institutions across the U.S. and Europe.

Categories: Science