Venus and Jupiter Imagined: From Galileo to Science Fiction

Space.com - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 6:28am
Through the centuries, Venus and Jupiter have transformed in the public consciousness, thanks to science and science fiction.
Categories: Science

Saturday's Venus-Jupiter Encounter May Explain Bible's Star of Bethlehem

Space.com - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 6:10am
Could the fabled Star of Bethlehem have been a close conjunction between Venus and Jupiter? A similar conjunction will take place Saturday (Aug. 27).
Categories: Science

Linus on Linux's 25th Birthday

Slashdot - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 3:30am
The creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds, posted his famous message announcing Linux on August 25, 1991, claiming that it was "just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu." ZDNet's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols caught up with Linus Torvalds and talked about Linux's origins in a series of interviews: "SJVN: What's Linux real birthday? You're the proud papa, when do you think it was? When you sent out the newsgroup post to the Minix newsgroup on August 25, 1991? When you sent out the 0.01 release to a few friends? LT: I think both of them are valid birthdays. The first newsgroup post is more public (August 25), and you can find it with headers giving date and time and everything. In contrast, I don't think the 0.01 release was ever announced in any public setting (only in private to a few people who had shown interest, and I don't think any of those emails survived). These days the way to find the 0.01 date (September 17) is to go and look at the dates of the files in the tar-file that still remains. So, both of them work for me. Or either. And, by the way, some people will argue for yet other days. For example, the earliest public semi-mention of Linux was July 3: that was the first time I asked for some POSIX docs publicly on the minix newsgroup and mentioned I was working on a project (but didn't name it). And at the other end, October 5 was the first time I actually publicly announced a Linux version: 'version 0.02 (+1 (very small) patch already).' So you might have to buy four cakes if you want to cover all the eventualities." Vaughan-Nichols goes on to pick Linus' brain about what he was doing when he created Linux. In honor of Linux's 25th birthday today, let's all sing happy birthday... 1... 2... 3...

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

‘We are probably one of the last generations of Homo sapiens’ — Yuval Noah Harari

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 2:42am

Historian and author of the international bestseller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari predicts the future of humanity.

“We are probably one of the last generations of Homo sapiens,” he tells BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.

Animation by Cognitive.

Categories: Science

Government Deception Operatives Conclusively Linked to the 'UFO Summer' of 1947

Underground Stream - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 2:36am

In his ongoing research to clarify the extent Cold War spy games influenced public perception of the UFO phenomenon, writer and former intelligence analyst James Carrion recently linked military deception planners to the UFO wave of 1947. His latest blog post cites declassified documents that conclusively demonstrate how a career intelligence officer, part of a high-level unit now known to have been specifically assembled to execute strategic deception operations, petitioned the FBI for assistance investigating flying saucers. Given the purpose of the unit, titled the Joint Security Control Special Section, and details of the documents quoted, Carrion concludes there would have been no other reason for the interaction with the Bureau than to actively promote a deception plan.

The post is well worth the time to absorb and digest. It contains several relevant points of interest, including key aspects of the career of Col. Carl Goldbranson. The colonel trained extensively in military deception and, according to author and historian Thaddeus Holt, engaged in deception activity during the 1940s and until the end of his career. Holt documented Goldbranson to be one of the most skilled deception planners in the Allied service in his 2004 book, The Deceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War.

Carrion reports Col. Goldbranson to have been the senior member of the deception-tasked Joint Security Control Special Section at the time he was advising FBI personnel on incidents of flying disks. Carrion explained:

This July 21, 1947 FBI memo is extremely important. It unequivocally documents the connection between US strategic deception planners and early UFO events by relating how Colonel Carl Goldbranson petitioned FBI assistance in investigating UFO events. Goldbranson was a WW2 member of Joint Security Control and one of its principal deception planners.

Carrion continued:

The Special Section of JSC consisted of only seven individuals including Goldbranson who as a full bird Colonel would have been the senior member. So for those who question the importance of Goldbranson to this analysis, only one question need be answered. What are the odds that the senior member of the principal US organization and specific section charged with planning and implementing U.S. strategic deception is on record in FBI official memorandum, getting his hands dirty in the UFO controversy of 1947? Goldbranson had no reason to be involved unless he was actively promoting a deception plan.

For those unfamiliar with James Carrion's work, he focuses on the 1946-47 time frame. He cites declassified documents and related materials to present forensic historical analysis. Carrion proposes that a small group of U.S. intelligence personnel masterminded deception operations surrounding reported UFOs for a variety of purposes designed to create military advantages. Learn more in his free book, Anachronism, and keep an eye out for his forthcoming work, The Roswell Deception.

I've followed James Carrion's research rather closely, including summarizing some of it in my recently published book along with an interview he graciously provided. Some highlights of his work, in my opinion, include demonstrating the 'ghost rockets' saga conclusively involved aspects of deception; a discontinued classified operation, Project Seal, was misrepresented to be ongoing and consisting of developing an airborne weapon more powerful than the atomic bomb; and, now, Carrion shows deception planners were conclusively linked to the UFO summer of '47.

Critics of Carrion's work typically cite unrelated UFO cases or peripheral circumstances. Rarely do they directly address the material presented. Arguments are common that Uncle Sam couldn't be responsible for all reported UFO phenomena, in spite of the fact Carrion is simply sharing what he is learning about the specific 1946-47 era.

A primary point, as far as I'm concerned, is that Carrion's findings justify further research into the extent public perception of the UFO phenomenon was exploited at the time. It's clear that it happened - relevant questions revolve around how much, why, the specific instances and the consequences.

Jack Brewer is the author of The Greys Have Been Framed: Exploitation in the UFO Community. He blogs at The UFO Trail.

Experts say inexpensive drug could slow heart disease for type 1 diabetic patients

Science Daily - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 1:43am
Scientists believe a drug commonly prescribed for type 2 diabetes could be routinely taken by type 1 diabetic patients to slow the development or delay heart disease.
Categories: Science

New test needed to assess the quality, safety of sunglasses

Science Daily - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 1:43am
Exposure to the sun may deteriorate your sunglasses over time and the lenses may become lighter and so alter the category under which they are classified. It may also diminish the impact resistance of lenses (how 'shatterproof' the lens is). Revision of standards is needed to test sunglasses quality and establish safe limits for the lenses' UV filters, according to new research.
Categories: Science

The Big Short: Security Flaws Fuel Bet Against St. Jude

Slashdot - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 1:25am
chicksdaddy writes: "Call it The Big Short -- or maybe just the medical device industry's 'Shot Heard Round The World': a report from Muddy Waters Research recommends that its readers bet against (or 'short') St. Jude Medical after learning of serious security vulnerabilities in a range of the company's implantable cardiac devices," The Security Ledger reports. "The Muddy Waters report on St. Jude's set off a steep sell off in St. Jude Medical's stock, which finished the day down 5%, helping to push down medical stocks overall. The report cites the 'strong possibility that close to half of STJ's revenue is about to disappear for approximately two years' as a result of 'product safety' issues stemming from remotely exploitable vulnerabilities in STJ's pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices. The vulnerabilities are linked to St. Jude's Merlin at home remote patient management platform, said Muddy Waters. The firm cited research by MedSec Holdings Ltd., a cybersecurity research firm that identified the vulnerabilities in St. Jude's ecosystem. Muddy Waters said that the affected products should be recalled until the vulnerabilities are fixed. In an e-mail statement to Security Ledger, St. Jude's Chief Technology Officer, Phil Ebeling, called the allegations 'absolutely untrue.' 'There are several layers of security measures in place. We conduct security assessments on an ongoing basis and work with external experts specifically on Merlin at home and on all our devices,' Ebeling said." More controversial: MedSec CEO Justine Bone acknowledged in an interview with Bloomberg that her company did not first reach out to St. Jude to provide them with information on the security holes before working with Muddy Waters. Information security experts who have worked with the medical device industry to improve security expressed confusion and dismay. "If safety was the goal then I think (MedSec's) execution was poor," said Joshua Corman of The Atlantic Institute and I Am The Cavalry. "And if profit was the goal it may come at the cost of safety. It seems like a high stakes game that people may live to regret."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

US Unveils Charges Against KickassTorrents, Names Two More Defendants

Slashdot - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 12:45am
A total of three men are said to be operators of file-sharing site KickassTorrents (KAT), according to U.S. prosecutors. Last month, federal authorities arrested the 30-year-old Ukrainian mastermind of KAT, Artem Vaulin, and formally charged him with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement. Two other Ukrainians were named in the new indictment (PDF): Levgen (Eugene) Kutsenko and Oleksander (Alex) Radostin. While only Vaulin has been arrested, bench warrants have been issue for the arrest of all three men. Ars Technica reports: "Prosecutors say the three men developed and maintained the site together and used it to 'generate millions of dollars from the unlawful distribution of copyright-protected media, including movies, [...] television shows, music, video games, computer software, and electronic books.' They gave out 'Reputation' and 'User Achievement' awards to users who uploaded the most popular files, including a special award for users who had uploaded more than 1,000 torrents. The indictment presents a selection of the evidence that the government intends to use to convict the men, and it isn't just simple downloads of the copyrighted movies. The government combed through Vaulin's e-mails and traced the bitcoins that were given to him via a 'donation' button."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Apple Patenting a Way To Collect Fingerprints, Photos of Thieves

Slashdot - Fri, 26/08/2016 - 12:05am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Apple Insider: As published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple's invention covering "Biometric capture for unauthorized user identification" details the simple but brilliant -- and legally fuzzy -- idea of using an iPhone or iPad's Touch ID module, camera and other sensors to capture and store information about a potential thief. Apple's patent is also governed by device triggers, though different constraints might be applied to unauthorized user data aggregation. For example, in one embodiment a single failed authentication triggers the immediate capture of fingerprint data and a picture of the user. In other cases, the device might be configured to evaluate the factors that ultimately trigger biometric capture based on a set of defaults defined by internal security protocols or the user. Interestingly, the patent application mentions machine learning as a potential solution for deciding when to capture biometric data and how to manage it. Other data can augment the biometric information, for example time stamps, device location, speed, air pressure, audio data and more, all collected and logged as background operations. The deemed unauthorized user's data is then either stored locally on the device or sent to a remote server for further evaluation.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

PSA: PlayStation Network Gets Two-Step Verification

Slashdot - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 11:20pm
Consider this a public service announcement: Sony has (finally) added two-factor authentication to PlayStation Network accounts. If you're a PlayStation user and are reading this right now, you really should go set it up so that someone doesn't try to take over your account and steal your password. Ars Technica details how you can set up the new security features: "Turn on your PS4 and go to Settings -> PlayStation Network Account Management -> Account Information -> Security -> 2-Step Verification. You can also set it up through the web by logging into your PSN account on the web and going through the Security tab under the Account header. From there, on-screen instructions will walk you through the process of using a text message to confirm your mobile device as a secondary layer of security for your PSN account. Two-factor support is not available when logging on to older PlayStation systems, so Sony recommends you generate a 'device setup password' to help protect the PS3, Vita, or PSP." Two-factor authentication comes five years after hackers breached PSN's security and stole 77 million accounts.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

The Alt-Right’s Dark Army of Racist Trolls Just Had a Great Day

Wired News - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 10:41pm
The alt-right is just a way for people to pretend they aren't white supremacists. After today, they are mainstream. The post The Alt-Right’s Dark Army of Racist Trolls Just Had a Great Day appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

FCC Proposes 5G Cybersecurity Requirements, Asks For Industry Advice

Slashdot - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 10:40pm
Presto Vivace quotes a report from FedScoop: "Cybersecurity issues must be addressed during the design phase for the entire 5G ecosystem, including devices. This will place a premium on collaboration among all stakeholders," said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler during a National Press Club event on June 20. "We continue to prefer an approach that emphasizes that industry develop cybersecurity standards just as we have done in wired networks." The FCC published a request Wednesday for comment on a new set of proposed 5G rules to the Federal Register focused on adding specific "performance requirements" for developers of example internet-connected devices. If a company hopes to secure a license to access higher-frequency 5G spectrum in the future then they will need to adhere to these specific requirements -- in other words, compliance is non-negotiable. Notably, these FCC "performance requirements" now include the submission of a network security plan. The report adds: "A quick review of the FCC's proposed 5G cybersecurity plan shows a six category split, organized by a companies' security approach, coordination efforts, standards and best practices, participation with standards bodies, other security approaches and plans with information sharing organizations. Security plans must be submitted to the commission at least six months before a 5G-ready product enters the market, according to the notice."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Facebook Gives Away Machine Vision Tools of the Future

Wired News - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 10:03pm
Facebook wants to teach computers to see, so it's giving away its AI research for free. The post Facebook Gives Away Machine Vision Tools of the Future appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Princeton Researchers Announce Open Source 25-Core Processor

Slashdot - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 10:00pm
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at Princeton announced at Hot Chips this week their 25-core Piton Processor. The processor was designed specifically to increase data center efficiency with novel architecture features enabling over 8,000 of these processors to be connected together to build a system with over 200,000 cores. Fabricated on IBM's 32nm process and with over 460 million transistors, Piton is one of the largest and most complex academic processors every built. The Princeton team has opened their design up and released all of the chip source code, tests, and infrastructure as open source in the OpenPiton project, enabling others to build scalable, manycore processors with potentially thousands of cores.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Song Exploder: The Guy Behind Silicon Valley’s Theme Still Records on Cassette

Wired News - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 9:30pm
In the latest 'Song Exploder' podcast Tom Fec (aka Tobacco), who composed the theme for HBO's 'Silicon Valley,' breaks down a track from his fourth album. The post Song Exploder: The Guy Behind Silicon Valley's Theme Still Records on Cassette appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Public health researchers develop model to predict Sudden Cardiac Death

Science Daily - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 9:24pm
Researchers have developed a sudden cardiac death (SCD) predictive model that can help identify and prevent the disease in individuals at high risk.
Categories: Science

Designing ultrasound tools with Lego-like proteins

Science Daily - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 9:23pm
Ultrasound imaging is used around the world to help visualize developing babies and diagnose diseases. Sound waves bounce off the tissues, revealing their different densities and shapes. The next step in ultrasound technology is to image not just anatomy, but specific cells and molecules deeper in the body, such as those associated with tumors or bacteria in our gut. Now scientists say that [rotein engineering techniques might one day lead to colorful ultrasound images of cells deep within our bodies.
Categories: Science

Neuroscientists stand up for basic cell biology research

Science Daily - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 9:23pm
Clinical trials and translational medicine have certainly given people hope and rapid pathways to cures for some of humankind's most troublesome diseases, but now is not the time to overlook the power of basic research, says a neuroscientist.
Categories: Science

Symmetry crucial for building key biomaterial collagen in the lab

Science Daily - Thu, 25/08/2016 - 9:23pm
Functional human collagen has been impossible to create in the lab. Now, a team of researchers describes what may be the key to growing functional, natural collagen fibers outside of the body: symmetry.
Categories: Science