From blue and black dresses to turbine blades, here's the science of 'fake fake' photographs

Science Daily - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 11:16pm
A new study reveals the science behind a 'trick of the light' that made high-profile photographs of a major piece of public art appear 'faked' despite the pictures being entirely genuine. Vision science researchers found images of the 75-meter long wind turbine appeared super-imposed because of a visual illusion caused by light reflections playing on preconceived notions about how objects are lit in natural settings, altering the object's shape to the human eye.
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Helping plants pump iron

Science Daily - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 11:16pm
Genetic variants have been identified that help plants grow in low-iron environments, which could improve crop yields, say researchers.
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How do blind cavefish find their way? The answer could be in their bones.

Science Daily - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 11:15pm
Blind cavefish typically have skulls that bend slightly to the left. A study suggests this orientation might help them find food as they navigate in a perpetual counter-clockwise direction around a cave.
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Windows Switch To Git Almost Complete: 8,500 Commits and 1,760 Builds Each Day

Slashdot - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 11:10pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Back in February, Microsoft made the surprising announcement that the Windows development team was going to move to using the open source Git version control system for Windows development. A little over three months after that first revelation, and about 90 percent of the Windows engineering team has made the switch. The Windows repository now has about 4,400 active branches, with 8,500 code pushes made per day and 6,600 code reviews each day. An astonishing 1,760 different Windows builds are made every single day -- more than even the most excitable Windows Insider can handle.

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Consumers Trust Robots For Surgery Over Savings, Research Finds

Slashdot - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 10:40pm
An anonymous reader shares an article: Andy Maguire faces a challenge: tasked with upgrading HSBC's digital-banking systems, he has discovered that customers are twice as likely to trust a robot for heart surgery than for picking a savings account. "I do find it slightly odd," said the chief operating officer of Europe's largest bank, referring to its survey of more than 12,000 consumers in 11 countries published this week. Just 7 percent of respondents would trust a robot with their savings, versus the 14 percent willing to submit to a machine for heart surgery. "You think, gosh, one would've imagined the world had moved on further or was moving faster than that," Maguire said in an interview. While consumers tend naturally to trust medical professionals, the "bar is pretty high" for banks dealing with people's money, he said. Banks around the world are spending billions of dollars to bolster creaking computer systems in a push to ward off startup competitors and cut long-term operating expenses. But consumers and regulators are holding them to ever-higher standards of security and convenience, driving the cost of overhauls higher and potentially eroding any savings.

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Airbnb Is Running Its Own Internal University To Teach Data Science

Slashdot - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 10:00pm
In an effort to fill the demand for trained data scientists, Airbnb will be running its own university-style program, complete with a custom course-numbering system. Since traditional online programs like Coursera and Udacity weren't getting the job done because they weren't tailored to Airbnb's internal data and tools, the company "decided to design a bunch of courses of its own around three levels of instruction for different employee needs," reports TechCrunch. From the report: 100-level classes on data-informed decision making have been designed to be applicable to all teams, including human resources and business development. Middle-tier classes on SQL and Superset have enabled some non-technical employees to take on roles as project managers, and more intensive courses on Python and machine learning have helped engineers brush up on necessary skills for projects. Since launching the program in Q3 2016, Airbnb has seen the weekly active users of its internal data science tools rise from 30 to 45 percent. A total of 500 Airbnb employees have taken at least one class -- and Airbnb has yet to expand the program to all 22 of its offices.

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The Only Victor in the Search for MH370? Ocean Science

Wired News - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 9:45pm
And if it doesn't, it's still good news for science. The post The Only Victor in the Search for MH370? Ocean Science appeared first on WIRED.
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Intel Drops Thunderbolt 3 Royalty, Adds CPU Integration and Works Closely With Microsoft

Slashdot - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 9:20pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Windows Central: Over the last few days, Thunderbolt 3 has been a hot topic amongst Windows users especially with its notable absence with the new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop. Part of the problem is adoption, integration, cost, and consumer confusion according to Microsoft. Intel is aware of the current roadblocks to Thunderbolt 3 implementation, which adds 40Gbps data transfers along with charging and display support for USB Type-C. Today, the company announced numerous changes to its roadmap to speed up its adoption, including: Dropping royalty fees for the Thunderbolt protocol specification starting next year; Integrating Thunderbolt 3 into future Intel CPUs. The good news here is that Intel is dropping many of the roadblocks with today's announcement. By subtracting the licensing costs for Thunderbolt 3 and integrating into the CPU, Intel can finally push mass adoption. Getting back to Microsoft, Intel noted that the two companies are already working closely together with the latest Creators Update bringing more OS support for the protocol. Roanne Sones, general manager, Strategy, and Ecosystem for Windows and Devices at Microsoft added that such cooperation would continue with even more OS-level integration coming down the road.

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Fitness Trackers Out of Step When Measuring Calories, Research Shows

Slashdot - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 8:40pm
Fitness devices can help monitor heart rate but are unreliable at keeping tabs on calories burned, research has revealed. From a report on The Guardian: Scientists put seven consumer devices through their paces, comparing their data with gold-standard laboratory measurements. "We were pleasantly surprised at how well the heart rate did -- under many circumstances for most of the devices, they actually did really quite well," said Euan Ashley, professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University and co-author of the research. "At the same time we were unpleasantly surprised at how poor the calorie estimates were for the devices -- they were really all over the map." The team tested seven wrist-worn wearable devices -- the Apple Watch, Basis Peak, Fitbit Surge, Microsoft Band, Mio Alpha 2, PulseOn, and Samsung Gear S2 -- with 31 women and 29 men each wearing multiple devices at a time while using treadmills to walk or run, cycling on exercise bikes or simply sitting.

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The Trump Administration Wants To Be Able To Track and Hack Your Drone

Slashdot - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 8:00pm
An anonymous reader shares a report: The Trump administration wants federal agencies to be able to track, hack, or even destroy drones that pose a threat to law enforcement and public safety operations, The New York Times reports. A proposed law, if passed by Congress, would let the government take down unmanned aircraft posing a danger to firefighting and search-and-rescue missions, prison operations, or "authorized protection of a person." The government will be required to respect "privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties" when exercising that power, the draft bill says. But records of anti-drone actions would be exempt from public disclosure under freedom of information laws, and people's right to sue over damaged and seized drones would be limited, according to the text of the proposal published by the Times. The administration, which would not comment on the proposal, scheduled a classified briefing on Wednesday for congressional staff members to discuss the issue.

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The birth and death of a tectonic plate

Science Daily - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 7:26pm
A new technique to investigate the underwater volcanoes that produce Earth's tectonic plates has been developed by a geophysicist.
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Increased protection of world's national animal symbols needed, suggests study

Science Daily - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 7:26pm
The snowy-feathered head and distinctive brown body of the bald eagle is a proud national symbol of the United States, adorning the country's currency and passports. The lion, known as 'King of the Beasts,' represents national strength and identity in several African countries. But, how are populations of the planet's most valued wildlife faring in the 21st century? How well are societies protecting the species they have chosen to embody their ideals and represent their national identity?
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New brain mapping tool produces higher resolution data during brain surgery

Science Daily - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 7:26pm
Researchers have developed a new device to map the brain during surgery and distinguish between healthy and diseased tissues. The device provides higher resolution neural readings than existing tools used in the clinic and could enable doctors to perform safer, more precise brain surgeries.
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Targets for better anti-thrombotic medicine identified

Science Daily - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 7:26pm
Blood thinners, such as aspirin, reduce the risk of thrombus formation but also interfere with the initial clot formation that is essential for preventing blood loss from the wounds. Now researchers have discovered that a molecule plays a role in thrombus development, but not the initial clot formation, suggesting a new avenue for developing more specific and protective blood thinners.
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Tree-climbing goats disperse seeds by spitting

Science Daily - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 7:25pm
Ecologists have observed an unusual way in which treetop-grazing goats may be benefiting the trees: the goats spit out the trees' seeds.
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Apple Wants To Turn Community College Students Into App Developers

Slashdot - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 7:20pm
Ina Fried, writing for Axios: Apple already offers a variety of tools to help school kids learn the basics of coding. Now, it aims to give older students what they need to become full-fledged app developers. On Wednesday the company is releasing, for free, the curriculum for a year-long course on how to write apps for the iPhone. The effort, though available to all, is aimed at community college students and Apple is working with six districts around the country, with the first classes to start this summer and fall. The courseware teaches students how to create apps using Apple's Swift programming language.

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Scientists Are Using Gene Editing To Create the Perfect Tomato For Your Salad

Slashdot - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 6:40pm
An anonymous reader shares an article: Geneticists are now using technology to isolate the precise genes responsible for excessive branching and flowering, characteristics which lead to less fruit and thus less yield for farmers. In a study published in the journal Cell last week, geneticist Zachary Lippman of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory explains his research team's efforts to fix mutated tomatoes using CRISPR gene editing technology. By identifying the genes associated with undesired mutations, Lippman was able to edit them and suppress their effects. After playing with the plant architecture, Lippman's team was ultimately able to engineer highly productive plants that yielded more of the desired fruit and less of the unwanted flowers and branches. Original research paper; further reading on Nature magazine.

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Zika spread secrets tracked through new gene sequencing study

Science Daily - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 6:18pm
Scientists studying the genetics of Zika virus in Brazil and beyond has provided a new understanding of the disease and its rapid spread through space and time. The research has significant public health implications and has the potential to improve responses to future outbreaks.
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Range of challenging meditation experiences

Science Daily - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 6:17pm
Though it has gained popularity in the West as medically and psychologically beneficial, meditation can produce a much wider variety of outcomes, not all of them calm and relaxing, according to a new study that analyzes meditation-related challenges.
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Brain microenvironment makes HER2-positive breast cancer metastases resistant to treatment

Science Daily - Wed, 24/05/2017 - 6:17pm
A novel mechanism behind the resistance of breast cancer brain metastases to HER2- or PI3K-targeted therapies has been discovered, and a treatment strategy has now been identified that may overcome this resistance.
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