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Later this month, a North Carolina high school student will appear in a state court and face five child pornography-related charges for engaging in consensual sexting with his girlfriend.
What’s strange is that of the five charges he faces, four of them are for taking and possessing nude photos of himself on his own phone—the final charge is for possessing one nude photo his girlfriend took for him. There is no evidence of coercion or further distribution of the images anywhere beyond the two teenagers’ phones.
Similarly, the young woman was originally charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor—but was listed on her warrant for arrest as both perpetrator and victim. The case illustrates a bizarre legal quandry that has resulted in state law being far behind technology and unable to distinguish between predatory child pornography and innocent (if ill-advised) behavior of teenagers.
The boy is being charged with child pornography for taking pictures of himself.
[These teens were of the age of consent in North Carolina and could legally have had sex with each other. Juvenile court jurisdiction ends at age 16 in North Carolina, however, so they are being tried as adults on felony charges of possessing child porn... of themselves. -Ed.]
A number of schools have failed to train their teachers in the government's flagship computing curriculum introduced last year, which was intended to turn Blighty into a nation of coders.
One third of 27 secondary schools teaching kids up to and including GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) level have failed to spend any money training staff in the computing curriculum (on the new Key Stage 3 and 4), according to a number of Freedom of Information responses sent to software company MapR Technologies.
In contrast, the research revealed some schools had spent thousands training staff, indicating a huge disparity between institutions.
The article applies to the UK, but could as easily apply to the United States and elsewhere. How do we teach our kids to code if their teacher's can't code, and can't or won't learn first?
Move over, indoor birthing tub. This woman wants to deliver in the Pacific Ocean with dolphins as midwives.
The quest for natural childbirth has been taken to a new level. Dorina Rosin and her husband Maika Suneagle have made headlines for their decision to give birth in the ocean surrounded by dolphins. The couple lives on the big island of Hawaii, where they run a spiritual healing center.
Dorina, who is nearing the end of her pregnancy, recently took part in a dolphin blessing ceremony. In a video posted on YouTube, she swims with a snorkel and flippers, her 38-week pregnant belly visible in the water. Her partner twists and dances with a dolphin, while Dorina swims alongside another.
There have been many documented cases of dolphins helping humans. Dolphin-assisted birth is a more recent phenomenon. The Sirius Institute in Hawaii claims dolphin-assisted birth can benefit the babies: "Children born in the water with the dolphins develop 6 months faster over their first six months, have perhaps 150 grams more brain weight and are ambidextrous."
From BBC Magazine:
The Welsh village of Staylittle can be found to the west of Newtown in Powys. It's an isolated place - the nearest market town is almost eight miles away. "Staylittle, which has remained outside the perimeter of progress and stayed little, is miles from anywhere," complained a reporter in the Times in 1965. Fifty years might have passed since then but the village's communications are still tenuous.
It has no mobile reception. And because of this, most people in Staylittle have to rely on their landlines to stay in touch with people. But a fortnight ago, the villagers were cut off. Ten days later, Staylittle was still waiting for the problem to be fixed. The main conduit of communication is one working landline in the Post Office.
Yes, the UK is more compact than either the US or Australia, but I imagine it's still frustrating to be as cut off as the people here are.
A new analysis of the largest known deposit of carbonate minerals on Mars suggests that the original Martian atmosphere may have already lost most of its carbon dioxide by the era of valley network formation.
"The biggest carbonate deposit on Mars has, at most, twice as much carbon in it as the current Mars atmosphere," said Bethany Ehlmann of the California Institute of Technology and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, both in Pasadena. "Even if you combined all known carbon reservoirs together, it is still nowhere near enough to sequester the thick atmosphere that has been proposed for the time when there were rivers flowing on the Martian surface."
Carbon dioxide makes up most of the Martian atmosphere. That gas can be pulled out of the air and sequestered or pulled into the ground by chemical reactions with rocks to form carbonate minerals. Years before the series of successful Mars missions, many scientists expected to find large Martian deposits of carbonates holding much of the carbon from the planet's original atmosphere. Instead, these missions have found low concentrations of carbonate distributed widely, and only a few concentrated deposits. By far the largest known carbonate-rich deposit on Mars covers an area at least the size of Delaware, and maybe as large as Arizona, in a region called Nili Fossae.
But if the atmosphere was once thicker, what happened to it? One possible explanation is that Mars did have a much denser atmosphere during its flowing-rivers period, and then lost most of it to outer space from the top of the atmosphere, rather than by sequestration in minerals.
If Mars were losing its atmosphere to outer space, wouldn't we able to detect a trail of gas from the planet?
An L.A. Times article reports on aspects of the current state of insects as food in the US. Apparently the trend is increasing. The article focuses on a company that supplies mealworms and superworms.
Mealworms and superworms are rich in protein, amino acids and vitamins and minerals like potassium and iron. Plus, they have less fat and cholesterol than beef.
These and other insects are also considered an environmentally friendly source of protein because they can be raised on a fraction of the land and water required for traditional livestock, like cattle.
In case you are wondering:
Their flavor, when toasted, is often described as being nutty and crispy, akin to roasted pecans or fried pork rinds.
Mealworms and superworms are "two of the roughly 1,900 insect species that are good for people to eat, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization." Already about 2 billion people already have insects a staple in their diets (personal observation: a true "paleo-diet" would require them).
What are the environmental benefits?
Compared with cattle, cultivated insects emit far fewer greenhouse gases, require less water, can be grown in a smaller space, can eat foods like vegetable scraps that would otherwise be considered waste, and can grow more protein from less feed, according to the report. For instance, growing mealworms for food requires about one-tenth as much space as raising an equivalent amount of beef protein, the report says.
The benefits may not be as clear when compared with chicken:
A study published in 2015 in the scientific journal PLOS One found that crickets raised on poultry feed required nearly as much food as conventionally raised chickens per unit of protein produced. If crickets aren't able to convert feed into protein more efficiently than chickens, they really aren't that much more sustainable, the researchers concluded.
For those interested, you may want to read the report produced by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Researchers have developed innovative flat, optical lenses as part of a collaboration between NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, both in Pasadena, California. These optical components are capable of manipulating light in ways that are difficult or impossible to achieve with conventional optical devices.
Seen under a scanning electron microscope, the new metasurfaces that the researchers created resemble a cut forest where only the stumps remain. Each silicon stump, or pillar, has an elliptical cross section, and by carefully varying the diameters of each pillar and rotating them around their axes, the scientists were able to simultaneously manipulate the phase and polarization of passing light.
Phase has to do with the separation between peaks of light waves; light waves in phase with each other combine to produce a single, more powerful wave. Manipulating its phase influences the degree to which a light ray bends, which in turn influences whether an image is in or out of focus. Polarization refers to the way some light waves vibrate only in a particular direction, whereas waves in natural sunlight vibrate in all directions. Manipulating the polarization of light is essential for the operation of advanced microscopes, cameras and displays; the control of polarization also enables simple gadgets such as 3-D glasses and polarized sunglasses.
Metamaterials promise a wide range of applications from better solar cells and sensors to invisibility cloaks.
An international team of researchers has sequenced the first complete genome of an Iberian farmer, which is also the first ancient genome from the entire Mediterranean area. This new genome allows to know the distinctive genetic changes of Neolithic migration in Southern Europe which led to the abandonment of the hunter-gatherer way of life. The study is led by the Institute of Evolutionary Biology, a joint center of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain), in collaboration with the Centre for GeoGenetics in Denmark. The results are published in the Molecular Biology and Evolution journal.
The first farmers entering Europe about 8,000 years ago coming from the Near East spread through the continent following two different routes: one to Central Europe via the Danube, and the other towards the Iberian peninsula following the Mediterranean coast. These latter farmers developed their own cultural tradition: the Cardium Pottery, so-called due to a characteristic incised decoration made with the edges of bivalves shells belonging to the genus Cerastoderma (formerly Cardium).
DNA records are filling in a lot of gaps in the human saga, such as the recent discovery of Denisovans, the "Other Neanderthals."
Daniel Verley, 26, faces charges of reckless endangerment and operating a drone in a New York City public park outside of prescribed area. A police department spokesman said Verley was a teacher at the Academy of Innovative Technology in Brooklyn. Calls for comment to the school and the Department of Education were not immediately returned Friday. It wasn't immediately clear if Verley had an attorney who could comment on the charges on his behalf.
The drone buzzed over the court in Louis Armstrong Stadium on Thursday night before crashing into the seats. U.S. Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier said no one was injured. The black device flew diagonally through the arena during the next-to-last game of a second-round match that 26th-seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy won 6-1, 6-4 over Monica Niculescu of Romania.
Pennetta said she heard the drone fly by and was not sure what it was. Her initial reaction, she said afterward, was that it might have been a bomb. "A little bit scary, I have to say," Pennetta said. "With everything going on in the world ... I thought, `OK, it's over.' That's how things happen," she said. She said neither the chair umpire nor tournament officials told her that it was, indeed, a drone.
It broke into pieces upon landing, and the match was only briefly interrupted between points while police and fire department personnel went to look at it. "The chair umpire just wanted to wait for an OK from the police to be able to continue," Pennetta said, "even if, truthfully, I don't think even they knew what it was."
She said her coach and physical therapist were sitting in the opposite end of the stadium from where the drone crashed and they told her later they were afraid, too. "All of these (security measures), and then it comes in from above," Pennetta said.
The discovery of live anthrax outside a containment area at a military lab in Utah prompted military officials to order an immediate freeze on operations at nine biodefense laboratories that work with dangerous viruses, toxins and bacteria, the Pentagon announced Thursday.
The moratorium, first reported by USA TODAY, came after officials took a detailed look at policies and procedures at the labs and found them wanting, according to Defense officials. Labs at the Army's Dugway Proving Ground facility in Utah have been the focus of international concern since May, when the first clues emerged that the facility had been mistakenly shipping live anthrax — instead of killed specimens — to labs in the USA and abroad for years.
An ongoing USA TODAY Media Network investigation has revealed numerous safety problems at government, university and private labs that operate in the secretive world of biodefense research. Federal lab regulators are conducting comprehensive reviews of how they oversee lab safety and security.
While open-source hardware is already available for CPUs, researchers from the Vertical Research Group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have announced at the Hot Chips Event in Cupertino, Calif., that they have created the first open source general-purpose graphics processor (GPGPU).
Called MIAOW, which stands for Many-core Integrated Accelerator Of the Waterdeep, the processor is a resistor-transistor logic implementation of AMD's open source Southern Islands instruction set architecture. The researchers published a white paper on the device.
The creation of MIAOW is the latest in a series of steps meant to keep processor development in step with Moore's Law, explains computer scientist Karu Sankaralingham, who leads the Wisconsin research group.
The FTC said the settlement [PDF] will forbid Machinima from running videos without properly disclosing when the broadcaster has been compensated for endorsing a product. "When people see a product touted online, they have a right to know whether they're looking at an authentic opinion or a paid marketing pitch," said FTC consumer protection bureau head Jessica Rich. "That's true whether the endorsement appears in a video or any other media."
[...] The videos were aired as part of an advertising campaign for Microsoft and its advertising agency, Starcom Mediavest Group. The FTC determined that neither Microsoft or Starcom would be subject to the complaint, which was instead made against Machinima. "The failures to disclose here appear to be isolated incidents that occurred in spite of, and not in the absence of, policies and procedures designed to prevent such lapses," the FTC said [PDF]. "Microsoft had a robust compliance program in place when the Xbox One campaign was launched, including specific legal and marketing guidelines concerning the FTC's Endorsement Guides."
Under the terms of the settlement, Machinima will be required for the next 30 years to clearly disclose when a video includes paid endorsements. The company will also be required to set up policies to ensure proper labeling and disclosure of paid endorsements and, for the next five years, maintain all documents related to the settlement available to the FTC.
Quantum computing continues to attract investment, and Intel has just announced a $50 million investment to support research at Delft University of Technology:
Quantum computing is, for many, a given for solving certain kinds of problems, and it is going to take a significant amount of funding to turn the ideas embodied in quantum computing into working machines. That was the consensus of the researchers who spoke recently about quantum computing at the ISC 2015 supercomputing conference in Germany, who had varying opinions about the right approach to building quantum computers and the time it would take to get a machine of sufficient size to solve real problems.
Google has acquired a quantum machine from upstart D-Wave and has been playing around with it to see what kinds of problems – particularly search indexing problems – they might be better at solving than conventional binary machines. D-Wave raised $23.1 million in January from unknown investors, and has received a total of $139 million in funding from a variety of investors, including investment bank Goldman Sachs, In-Q-Tel (the investment arm of the US Central Intelligence Agency), Bezos Expeditions (the investment arm of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos), as well as BDC Capital, Harris & Harris Group, and DFJ.
[...] Another hotbed of quantum computing is QuTech, which is located at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, where Liven Vandersypen heads up research efforts. Vandersypen was blunt about the steep curve quantum computing has to climb to go from curiosity to useful tool. "What we are after, in the end, is a machine with many millions of qubits – say 100 million qubits – and where we are now with this circuit model, where we really need to control, very precisely and accurately, every qubit by itself with its mess of quantum entangled states, is at the level of 5 to 10 quantum bits," Vandersypen explained. "So it is still very far way."
But it just got a little bit closer, because binary chip juggernaut Intel has just ponied up $50 million to support research at Delft University of Technology over the next ten years. This may seem like a strange thing for Intel to do, but as we pointed out back in July, a quantum computer will not stand in isolation, but will require a very large and very conventional parallel supercomputer to do error detection and correction on the qubits. And Intel, as a key player in computing, has to hedge its bets outside of traditional logic devices.
Under the collaboration agreement, Intel will put engineers to work on quantum computing at QuTech and at its own facilities to coordinate with Vandersypen and his team. Intel is specifically going to help with its manufacturing, electronics, and architectural expertise as QuTech tries to take the collection of electronics gear – which includes waveform generators, cryo-amplifiers, FPGAs, and other gear to control and measure qubits – and reduce them down in size. This will take semiconductor manufacturing and packaging expertise, which Intel can supply. To highlight the investment, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich put out a statement outlining his views on quantum computing, pointing out that the future of computing is not easy to see, even if you have some good stars to steer by.
You can cross another resolution off the smartphone display list:
The third device from the Z5 series is the Xperia Z5 Premium, which includes the 5.5" 4k [3840×2160] screen, a 3,430 mAh battery, and the ability to expand its 32 GB of default internal storage by up to 200 GB through microSD cards. The 4k Triluminos IPS display promises to have a high color gamut, higher contrast and higher sharpness, as well. In the few moments I've spent with it at IFA, the screen did indeed look crystal clear.
[...] Xperia Z5 will launch globally in October this year, while the Xperia Z5 Premium should arrive a month later, in November. Both single-SIM and dual-SIM variants will exist for both models.
Some lucky Sony executive is shoving the Xperia Z5 Premium in his Google Cardboard. Next stop, the world's first 5K (5120×2880) smartphone.
The Justice Department unveiled a policy Thursday that will require its law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant to deploy cellphone-tracking devices in criminal investigations and inform judges when they plan to use them.
The department's new policy, announced by Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates, should increase transparency around the use of the controversial technology by the FBI and other Justice Department agencies.
... The new policy waives the warrant requirement for exigent circumstances. These include the need to protect human life "or avert serious injury," prevent the imminent destruction of evidence, the hot pursuit of a fleeing felon, or the prevention of escape by a convicted fugitive from justice.
The FBI had imposed their own internal warrant requirement back in April.
But the policy does not apply to State, and Local agencies that have been given Stingrays with instructions to keep them secret, even to the extent of dismissing charges rather than admit some evidence was gathered by questionable legal means.
So will ill gotten information now flow in reverse, from local to federal authorities? Will the Feds start practicing "Parallel Construction" using, but hiding, the information supplied by local police?