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posted by janrinok on Friday October 09, @08:06AM   Printer-friendly
from the another-step-forwards dept.

Nerve cells damaged in diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), 'talk' to stem cells in the same way that they communicate with other nerve cells, calling out for 'first aid', according to new research from the University of Cambridge.

The study, published today in the journal Nature Communications, may have significant implications for the development of future medicines for disorders that affect myelin sheath, the insulation that protects and insulates our nerve cells.

Stem cells – the body's master cells, which can develop into almost any type of cell – can act as 'first aid kits', repairing damage to the body. In our nervous system, these stem cells are capable of producing new myelin, which, in the case of MS, for example, can help recover lost function. However, myelin repair often fails, leading to sustained disability. To understand why repair fails in disease, and to design novel ways of promoting myelin repair, researchers at the Wellcome Trust-Medical Research Council Stem Cell Institute at the University of Cambridge studied how this repair process works.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday October 09, @06:35AM   Printer-friendly
from the left,-right,-no-left,-too-late dept.

A New York City teacher and photographer has been ordered to serve five days of community service after he crashed a drone into the stands at the US Open last month.

In a statement released Friday, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown described the defendant, Daniel Verley, as having "cooperated fully with the police."

Brown added that Verley, who has no prior criminal record, "never intended to allow his drone to fly into the stadium and that he, in fact, lost control of the drone. Fortunately, no one was injured as a result of this incident."

Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, where Arthur Ashe Stadium is located, is huge and once hosted the World's Fair. It also contains the New York Hall of Science where Maker Faire happens, the giant metal globe, and the UFO towers that many will recognize from Men in Black. It is a fitting place to fly a drone.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday October 09, @05:06AM   Printer-friendly
from the we-know-who-you-would-like-to-see dept.

In the ongoing battle for streaming music supremacy, Pandora may be among the oldest services, but it also has the least differentiators. Apple Music offers radio channels, Rdio lets you choose your music, and Spotify gives you that on top of offline play. But Pandora for most of its time has settled for curated, related-listening style channels where users could skip a limited number of songs and fine-tune the auto-selection.

Today, however, Pandora announced an acquisition that could hint at a change. For $450 million in money and assets, the company purchased Ticketfly, one of the leading live music ticket sites competing against the LiveNation Ticketmaster behemoths.

"This is a game-changer for Pandora—and much more importantly—a game-changer for music," said Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews in a press release. "Over the past 10 years, we have amassed the largest, most engaged audience in streaming music history. With Ticketfly, we will thrill music lovers and lift ticket sales for artists as the most effective marketplace for connecting music makers and fans."

Let's hope they give Ticketmaster a run for their money.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday October 09, @03:31AM   Printer-friendly
from the what-else-would-birds-do? dept.

Birds have an enormously long evolutionary history: The earliest of them, the famed Archaeopteryx, lived 150 million years ago in what is today southern Germany. However, whether these early birds were capable of flying—and if so, how well—has remained shrouded in scientific controversy. A new discovery published in the journal Scientific Reports documents the intricate arrangement of the muscles and ligaments that controlled the main feathers of the wing of an ancient bird, supporting the notion that at least some of the most ancient birds performed aerodynamic feats in a fashion similar to those of many living birds.

An international team of Spanish paleontologists and NHM's Director of the Dinosaur Institute, Dr. Luis M. Chiappe, studied the exceptionally preserved wing of a 125-million-year-old bird from central Spain. Beyond the bones preserved in the fossil, the tiny wing of this ancient bird reveals details of a complex network of muscles that in modern birds controls the fine adjustments of the wing's main feathers, allowing birds to master the sky.

Did they taste like chicken?

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday October 09, @01:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the but-it's-what-you-want,-right? dept.

El Reg reports:

US telco giant Verizon has given notice it will be providing information on its subscribers to AOL for targeted advertising.

A notice in Verizon's privacy policy warns users that beginning next month, information such as device information, addresses and whereabouts, and browsing habits, will be given to AOL so it can sling relevant ads at netizens.

"Starting in November, we will combine Verizon's existing advertising programs – Relevant Mobile Advertising and Verizon Selects – into the AOL Advertising Network," Verizon said.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday October 09, @12:35AM   Printer-friendly
from the where-there-is-smoke? dept.

Some U.S. IT workers who have been replaced with H-1B contractors are alleging discrimination and they are doing so in increasing numbers.

There are at least seven IT workers at Disney who are pursuing, or plan to pursue, federal and state discrimination administrative complaints over their layoffs. Another Disney worker, still employed by the firm, has filed a state administrative discrimination complaint in California. These complaints are a first step to litigation.

Separately, there are ongoing court cases alleging discrimination against two of the largest India-based IT services firms, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services. The federal judges in each of cases have given a green light for the plaintiffs to proceed after rejecting dismissal efforts.

Original Submission

posted by CoolHand on Thursday October 08, @10:57PM   Printer-friendly
from the now-that's-what-we-call-a-dev-environment dept.

A town in New Mexico is about to join the ranks of these ghost towns, as the builders of the futuristic city have no intention of letting anyone live there.

Telecommunications and tech firm Pegasus Global Holdings is planning to build a full-scale American town in the New Mexico desert, a place which they hope to open to researchers developing technologies for modern living.

Pegasus plans to spend $1billion creating the 15-square-mile town, called CITE, with construction to begin sometime next year and opening as early as 2018.

CITE will include a town big enough for 35,000 people, with a business district downtown surrounded by terraced housing suburbs - but no one will ever live there.

Instead, companies will have the opportunity to test such innovations as driverless vehicles and natural disaster-proof homes in a human-free, practically risk-free, environment.

Original Submission

posted by CoolHand on Thursday October 08, @09:21PM   Printer-friendly
from the puttin-on-the-white-hat dept.

The CBC reports that the Canadian Forces, concerned about the recent news of in-vehicle computer exploits has posted an Tender Notice regarding conducting an ethical hack on selected vehicles for CDN $205k. There is also potential for follow-on work, for an additional $620k.

The work must be performed on their own test systems (Linux/Python). It sounds like they're looking at the vulnerability of vehicles in general, rather than just mil-pattern.

From the article:

The notice says the work would have to be conducted at the Defence Research and Development Canada Valcartier Research Centre. The contractor would have to use the department's own software and extend the software's capabilities as part of the work. The government is offering $205,000 for the main tasks.

The department says it may also ask for optional work, such as identifying and testing potential defensive measures that could stop a vehicle from being attacked and developing standard cybersecurity testing procedures. It would pay up to $620,000 more for that work, which would need to be complete by March 31, 2019.

Original Submission

posted by CoolHand on Thursday October 08, @08:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the give-em-the-finger dept.

Anthropologists have looked at fingerprints for years, because they are interested in human variation. But this research has looked at Level 1 details, such as pattern types and ridge counts. Forensic fingerprint analysis, which is used in criminal justice contexts, looks at Level 2 details – the more specific variations, such as bifurcations, where a fingerprint ridge splits.

For this study, researchers looked at Level 1 and Level 2 details of right index-finger fingerprints for 243 individuals: 61 African American women; 61 African American men; 61 European American women; and 60 European American men. The fingerprints were analyzed to determine whether there were patterns that were specific to either sex or ancestral background.

The researchers found no significant differences between men and women, but did find significant differences in the Level 2 details of fingerprints between people of European American and African American ancestry.

Sex, Ancestral, and pattern type variation of fingerprint minutiae: A forensic perspective on anthropological dermatoglyphics

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Thursday October 08, @06:51PM   Printer-friendly
from the island-time dept.

Interesting news for physicists and tiny watchmakers reported by Eurekalert on the feasability of the "ideal clock".

A team of physicists from the universities of Warsaw and Nottingham have just shown that when we are dealing with very large accelerations, no clock will actually be able to show the real passage of time, known as "proper time"

[...] "In both theories of relativity, special and general, it is tacitly assumed that it is always possible to construct an ideal clock - one that will accurately measure the time elapsed in the system, regardless of whether the system is at rest, moving at a uniform speed, or accelerating. It turns out, however, that when we talk about really fast accelerations, this postulate simply cannot apply," says Dr. Andrzej Dragan from the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw.

The full paper.

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Thursday October 08, @05:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the ifs-and-buts dept.

Despite the somewhat incendiary headline, the article mostly details the extent of the problem of corporate tax avoidance in general.

US corporate tax collection as a percentage of GDP is currently at an all time low. This means the U.S. government has to compensate for the shortfall from other sources (read: domestic taxpayers with no multinational activity) and cut public spending. There is, of course, an alternative: to change the law so Apple actually pays taxes on this income. In current Congressional environment, this will happen immediately after hell freezes over.

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Thursday October 08, @04:19PM   Printer-friendly
from the open-trading dept.

If you've bought shares using retail broker Scottrade in the last few years, you may want to get in touch with the biz because its servers have been plundered by hackers unknown.

The firm only found out about the data breach when the Feds got in contact to let it know. It now appears that 4.6 million customer accounts have been compromised. The IT security breach occurred between "late 2013 and early 2014", and the intruders primarily went after customer names and addresses, we're told.

"Although Social Security numbers, email addresses, and other sensitive data were contained in the system accessed, it appears that contact information was the focus of the incident," the firm said in a statement.

"We have no reason to believe that Scottrade's trading platforms or any client funds were compromised. Client passwords remained fully encrypted at all times and we have not seen any indication of fraudulent activity as a result of this incident. We have secured the known intrusion point and conducted an internal data forensics investigation on this incident with assistance from a leading computer security firm."

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Thursday October 08, @02:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the known-unknowns-of-collateral-damage dept.

A Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) hospital was bombed by the US. Result, 12 dead staff members and 10 dead patients. The coordinates of the hospital had been communicated to the US forces before to avoid mistakes. The US admits the attack was a decision. MSF is now seeking an independent inquiry.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday October 08, @01:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the one-law-for-them... dept.

Summarizing a report from The Intercept :

One of the most dangerous threats to campus free speech has been emerging at the highest levels of the University of California system, the sprawling collection of 10 campuses that includes UCLA and UC Berkeley. The university's governing Board of Regents, with the support of University President and former Director of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, has been attempting to adopt new speech codes that -- in the name of combating "anti-Semitism" -- would formally ban various forms of Israel criticism and anti-Israel activism.
One of the Regents most vocally advocating for the most stringent version of the speech code is Richard Blum, the multi-millionaire defense contractor who is married to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. Blum's verbatim comments include:

" She [Feinstein] wants to stay out of the conversation publicly but if we do not do the right thing she will engage publicly and is prepared to be critical of this university if we don't have the kind of not only statement but penalties for those who commit what you can call them crimes, call them whatever you want."

In short, Feinstein and her husband flatly threatened the university with political consequences if students or faculty found to be in violation of their policy aren't disciplined or expelled for exercising protected free speech.

What is wanted by Feinstein and supporters is for the University to adopt the State Department's controversial 2010 definition which equates criticism of Israel to Anti-Semitism. Perhaps the most ironic bullet-point in the definition warns against advocating a "double standard for Israel" at exactly the same time that it promulgates a standard that applies only to Israel!

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday October 08, @11:38AM   Printer-friendly
from the breathe-in-and-out dept.

A new study shows that iron-bearing rocks that formed at the ocean floor 3.2 billion years ago carry unmistakable evidence of oxygen. The only logical source for that oxygen is the earliest known example of photosynthesis by living organisms, say University of Wisconsin-Madison geoscientists.

"Rock from 3.4 billion years ago showed that the ocean contained basically no free oxygen," says Clark Johnson, professor of geoscience at UW-Madison and a member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. "Recent work has shown a small rise in oxygen at 3 billion years. The rocks we studied are 3.23 billion years old, and quite well preserved, and we believe they show definite signs for oxygen in the oceans much earlier than previous discoveries."

The most reasonable candidate for liberating the oxygen found in the iron oxide is cyanobacteria, primitive photosynthetic organisms that lived in the ancient ocean. The earliest evidence for life now dates back 3.5 billion years, so oxygenic photosynthesis could have evolved relatively soon after life itself.

Until recently, the conventional wisdom in geology held that oxygen was rare until the "great oxygenation event," 2.4 to 2.2 billion years ago.

Original Submission

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