Effective: 2015-July to 2015-December
Support us: Subscribe Here(Now accepting Bitcoin)
A pretty nice addition to [the third developer preview of the OS formerly known as Android M] is granular control over the permissions [which] each and every app requires upon installing it, giving Android users "meaningful choice of control". Just like in iOS, apps in Android 6.0 Marshmallow will only [allow] you to grant them a certain permission immediately before the app needs it and not in bulk during the installation, [as was the case] in previous Android installments.
[...] Android 6.0 Marshmallow officially introduces API Level 23, which is one of the requirements to have app permissions that can be granted on demand. All Android apps need to be updated [by their developers] so that they support the brand new API0 Level 23 libraries in order to introduce the individual granular app permissions.
SiliconANGLE notes that 6.0 is also getting native fingerprint support, a new power-saving mode, and Android Pay.
They also note
Hardly anyone with an existing Android phone will ever get to use [6.0].
[...] Android-powered devices rely on the manufacturer to update the operating system and the reality is that it rarely happens.
To put it more crudely, the Android update process is f**ked.
[...] [As Android remains open source and free to use,] Google can't force manufacturers to come to the party in terms of upgrades [any] more than it can force manufacturers to stop skinning their Android installs with their own custom user interfaces and software.
Release of Android 6.0 is expected in 2015Q4.
Eating foods rich in amino acids could be as good for your heart as stopping smoking or getting more exercise -- according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).
A new study published today reveals that people who eat high levels of certain amino acids found in meat and plant-based protein have lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness.
And the magnitude of the association is similar to those previously reported for lifestyle risk factors including salt intake, physical activity, alcohol consumption and smoking.
Researchers investigated the effect of seven amino acids on cardiovascular health among almost 2,000 women with a healthy BMI. Data came from TwinsUK -- the biggest UK adult twin registry of 12,000 twins which is used to study the genetic and environmental causes of age related disease.
They studied their diet and compared it to clinical measures of blood pressure and blood vessel thickness and stiffness.
Alex Rubalcava writes that autonomous vehicles are the greatest force multiplier to emerge in decades for criminals and terrorists and open the door for new types of crime not possible today. According to Rubalcava, the biggest barrier to carrying out terrorist plans until now has been the risk of getting caught or killed by law enforcement so that only depraved hatred, or religious fervor has been able to motivate someone to take on those risks as part of a plan to harm other people. "A future Timothy McVeigh will not need to drive a truck full of fertilizer to the place he intends to detonate it," writes Rubalcava. "A burner email account, a prepaid debit card purchased with cash, and an account, tied to that burner email, with an AV car service will get him a long way to being able to place explosives near crowds, without ever being there himself." A recent example is instructive. Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were identified by an examination of footage from numerous private security cameras that were recording the crowd in downtown Boston during the Marathon. Imagine if they could have dispatched their bombs in the trunk of a car that they were never in themselves? Catching them might have been an order of magnitude more difficult than it was.
According to Rubalcava "the reaction to the first car bombing using an AV is going to be massive, and it's going to be stupid. There will be calls for the government to issue a stop to all AV operations, much in the same way that the FAA made the unprecedented order to ground 4,000-plus planes across the nation after 9/11." He goes on to say that "unlike 9/11, which involved a decades-old transportation infrastructure, the first AV bombing will use an infrastructure in its infancy, one that will be much easier to shut down. That shutdown could stretch from temporary to quasi-permanent with ease, as security professionals grapple with the technical challenge of distinguishing between safe, legitimate payloads and payloads that are intended to harm."
Scientists are considering a captive breeding program to ensure the survival of an enigmatic little sea floor walking fish found only in Hobart's Derwent estuary.
Once widespread globally, the finger-sized spotted handfish is now confined to the Tasmanian waterway and may need an insurance population after recent surveys found its numbers were at dangerously low levels.
CSIRO senior research scientist Tim Lynch says the first complete survey of handfish colonies, an exhaustive run of 100 transects this winter in bone-chilling Derwent waters, found a total of just 79 fish.
From EurekAlert (Australian National University):
Physicists have found a radical new way [to] confine electromagnetic energy without it leaking away, akin to throwing a pebble into a pond with no splash. The theory could have broad ranging applications from explaining dark matter to combating energy losses in future technologies. However, it appears to contradict a fundamental tenet of electrodynamics, that accelerated charges create electromagnetic radiation, said lead researcher Dr Andrey Miroshnichenko from The Australian National University (ANU).
"This problem has puzzled many people. It took us a year to get this concept clear in our heads," said Dr Miroshnichenko, from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering. The fundamental new theory could be used in quantum computers, lead to new laser technology and may even hold the key to understanding how matter itself hangs together.
"Ever since the beginning of quantum mechanics people have been looking for a configuration which could explain the stability of atoms and why orbiting electrons do not radiate," Dr Miroshnichenko said. The absence of radiation is the result of the current being divided between two different components, a conventional electric dipole and a toroidal dipole (associated with poloidal current configuration), which produce identical fields at a distance. If these two configurations are out of phase then the radiation will be cancelled out, even though the electromagnetic fields are non-zero in the area close to the currents.
Dr Miroshnichenko, in collaboration with colleagues from Germany and Singapore, successfully tested his new theory with a single silicon nanodiscs between 160 and 310 nanometres in diameter and 50 nanometres high, which he was able to make effectively invisible by cancelling the disc's scattering of visible light.
In the not-too-distant future, patients with damaged hearts or livers might receive tissue patches grown in a lab. This week, researchers announced an important development toward that goal: A biodegradable scaffold that allows strips of beating heart tissue to snap together like Velcro.
We've gotten pretty good at growing human cells in vitro, but scaling up to tissues and organs presents a few major challenges. One, coaxing a cluster of cells to take on their proper, functional arrangement in a petri dish. Heart-forming cardiomycetes, for instance, all need to line up in the same direction in order to beat together. Two, building lab-grown tissues out in three dimensions. Biomedical researchers use scaffolds to grow thin sheets of tissue, but to be useful for human transplants, these sheets need to stack together.
The new scaffold, developed by researchers at the University of Toronto and published this week in Science Advances, could solve both of these challenges. The scaffold's honeycomb shape provides a template that causes groups of cells to line up in the same direction. Affixed to the top of each scaffold are a series of T-shaped posts, which serve to hook layers of cells together. The design was inspired by Velcro, which in turn takes inspiration from the burrs some plants use to hitch their seeds onto animals.
Now that Oxford Dictionary has added the verb 'MacGyver' to the official lexicon, we pay homage to the almighty hack.
With each new update to the online version of the Oxford Dictionary, one can practically hear the laments of pedantic grammarians far and wide. This week, among a few dozen new words, we got “awesomesauce” (having nothing to do with sauce at all) and “mkay” (as in, OK … mkay). Oh how the mighty have fallen.
In the age of all things DIY, MacGyver has become the patron saint of the hack. And if there’s one thing we love here at TreeHugger, it’s a good hack. A clever use of materials allows old things to live longer, creates new uses for things that may be obsolete, and can basically become a super sustainable way to obviate the need to purchase more and more and more new stuff. Long live the hack! So with that in mind, here’s a round-up of some of our best MacGyver moments.
What follows is a long list of hacks. Some are contrived, some are clever but too niche, some might be useful. Anybody have any to add to the list? Mine is poking string into the can of bacon & chicken grease in the kitchen to make a quick tallow lamp. Works well.
This humourous essay [PDF] on modern computer security, I thought would be an interesting read for SN; here's an excerpt.
Security research is the continual process of discovering that your spaceship is a deathtrap. However, as John F. Kennedy once said, "SCREW IT WE'RE GOING TO THE MOON." I cannot live my life in fear because someone named PhreakusMaximus at DefConHat 2014 showed that you can induce peanut allergies at a distance using an SMS message and a lock of your victim's hair. If that's how it is, I accept it and move on. Thinking about security is like thinking about where to ride your motorcycle: the safe places are no fun, and the fun places are not safe. I shall ride wherever my spirit takes me, and I shall find my Gigantic Martian Insect Party, and I will, uh, probably be rent asunder by huge cryptozoological mandibles, but I will die like Thomas Jefferson: free, defiant, and without a security label.
[Also Covered By]: Schneier on Security
Julian Assange has said in an interview that he persuaded Edward Snowden to avoid seeking asylum in Latin America due to the CIA's reach, and that he fears assassination himself:
Julian Assange has said he advised the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden against seeking asylum in Latin America because there he could have been kidnapped and possibly killed. The WikiLeaks editor-in-chief said he told Snowden to ignore concerns about the "negative PR consequences" of sheltering in Russia because it was one of the few places in the world where the CIA's influence did not reach.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Times, Assange also said he feared he would be assassinated if he was ever able to leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he sought asylum in 2012 to avoid extradition.
[...] WikiLeaks was intimately involved in the operation to help Snowden evade the US authorities in 2013 after he leaked his cache of intelligence documents to Glenn Greenwald, then a journalist with the Guardian. Assange sent one of his most senior staff members, Sarah Harrison, to be at Snowden's side in Hong Kong, and helped to engineer his escape to Russia – despite his discomfort with the idea of fleeing to one of the US's most powerful enemies.
"Snowden was well aware of the spin that would be put on it if he took asylum in Russia," Assange told the Times. "He preferred Latin America, but my advice was that he should take asylum in Russia despite the negative PR consequences, because my assessment is that he had a significant risk he could be kidnapped from Latin America on CIA orders. Kidnapped or possibly killed."
Assange also outlined his own fears of being targeted. He said that even venturing out on to the balcony of Ecuador's embassy in Knightsbridge posed security risks in the light of bomb and assassination threats by what he called "unstable people". He said he thought it was unlikely he would be shot, but that he worried that if he was freed he could be kidnapped by the CIA. "I'm a white guy," Assange said. "Unless I convert to Islam it's not that likely that I'll be droned, but we have seen things creeping towards that."
Pirates have apparently found a way to bypass the High-bandwidth Digital Copy Protection (HDCP) v2.2 DRM used on Netflix's Ultra HD (UHD = 3840×2160 resolution) content. The release group iON has uploaded a 17.73 gigabyte, 2160p/UHD copy of Breaking Bad's first episode:
The media info for the release shows that the episode has a bit rate of 41.3 Mbps and overall the video specs make it hard to play the file smoothly on the average computer. At the time of writing the 4K leak is only available on private torrent trackers but it's expected to eventually leak to public sites as well. It's currently unknown if the release group broke HDCP 2.2 or if they found another way to capture the stream.
Leaked drafts of the 4K copy protection agreement between Sony and Netflix reveals that the streams are generally well-protected. They also include a watermark so that leaks can be traced back to the source. "The watermark must contain sufficient information such that forensic analysis of unauthorized recorded video clips of the output video shall uniquely determine the account to which the output video was delivered," the document reads.
Netflix informs TF [Torrent Freak] that they are looking into the reported leak and the company will do its best to prevent similar breaches in the future. "Piracy is a global problem. We, like others[sic] content providers, are actively working on ways to protect content featured on our site," a Netflix spokesperson told us.
The torrent description mentions that the file is an "HDMI cap of UHD Netflix with a lossless capture card, encoded with x264." The use of H.264 encoding accounts for the relatively massive file size and bit rate, since Netflix uses H.265/HEVC to encode and deliver UHD streams at a bit rate of about 15.6 Mbps, far less than the 41.3 Mbps seen here.
In order to get law enforcement lobby support for a law requiring warrants to deploy drones for surveillance, North Dakota legislators decided to allow law enforcement to use "less-than-lethal" weaponized drones:
Legal experts are very concerned that a new North Dakota law which allows law enforcement drones to be armed with so-called less-than-lethal weapons—including stun guns and beanbag rounds—could be highly problematic. The law, however, explicitly forbids lethal weapons. Previous drafts of the bill specifically included prohibitions on non-lethal weapons, language that was later removed.
Among other reasons, such weapons have been shown that they can, in fact, kill people. According to research by The Guardian, 39 Americans have died this year alone at the hands of police wielding a Taser. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported Wednesday that more than 20 North American cities are pursuing large silicone-based projectiles as yet another alternative weapon.
North Dakota is believed to be the first state in the union to allow such weapons aboard state and local police drones.
[...] The law, known as House Bill 1328, which took effect earlier this month, imposes a significant pro-privacy victory: requiring that police and sheriff's deputies get a warrant when deploying a drone for surveillance. [...] However, in order to get the measure through the state's legislative body, the bill's author told Ars that he had to do a little horse trading with the state law enforcement lobby, the North Dakota Peace Officers' Association, which had strongly lobbied against it.
Kids don't want to code. They want to solve problems us oldies can't perceive
When the Raspberry Pi shipped to a planet excited geeks in the middle of 2012, it changed the way we taught IT. That had always been the intention of creator Eben Upton. Give the kids the goods and they'll do the rest.
At first, it seemed as though the grownups were more excited than the kids, creating all sorts of wacky Pi-based projects. Fortunately, those grownups - eager for the respect of their peers - shared everything they learned, posting to blogs, StackOverflow, and thousands of other websites. Want to know how to blink an LED? Drive a motor? Read a sensor? Set up a web server? Within the first year, all of that was out there, all of it indexed, searchable, and useful to kids.
these kids are using sensors on a Raspberry Pi to read the air quality of the room, alerting asthmatics to seek an environment less likely to give them breathing problems. Over there - because sometimes the referees miss goals - a netball-crazed 11 year-old girl used an ultrasonic sensor and Raspberry Pi to create an automatic scoring system.
Consider three ten year-olds who fussed and fiddled with LittleBits - a mashup of Lego with the Internet of Things - until they found just the right combination of pieces to create a system that allows you to know whether that sushi tray gliding by on that continuous track has been sitting around a little too long to be safe to eat. (Their inspiration was a teacher who'd gotten sick from bad sushi.)
The examples of kids' projects in the article aren't particularly strong. Have Soylentils seen kids doing particularly cool things with RPi's or Arduinos?
In light of some past articles on diversity, SoylentNews: "How to Get Girls Into Coding" and SoylentNews: "Google to Release Diversity Data About its Workforce" This CNN article caught my attention.
Princess Free Zone offers empowering T-shirts with images such as dinosaurs, skateboards and soccer balls. "Kids should not have to be brave to wear the things they like," says founder Michele Yulo.
[...] "Girl clothes without the girly" is the mantra behind Girls Will Be, which includes longer shorts and T-shirts (no pink ones!) with images that seek to break gender stereotypes.
[...] The company buddingSTEM offers a line of girls' clothes celebrating girls' interests in science, engineering, technology and math.
Please, browse the photos. They are full of lovely little girls, minus what I call the "silly frilly" stuff. You might even click some links, and find something fitting for the young lady in your life!
Some might complain that it's a very small start - but the longest journey begins with a single step. Each of these startups seems to be doing pretty much what I've called for - giving the girls what THEY want, rather then telling them what they should want.
One of my favorite T-shirts, seen on girls young and mature, http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/img-thing?.out=jpg&size=l&tid=92703208
Science is a messy, error fraught business, which is why reproducibility is so essential. Unfortunately, that doesn't appear to be one of psychology's strong suits, according to a massive analysis published yesterday in Science.
A years-long effort to reproduce more than 100 psychology studies across three leading journals paints a pretty dismal picture. When re-tested by independent research psychologists, the conclusions of more than 60 studies on personality, relationships, learning, and memory, turned out to be far less whelming. Strongly significant findings often became weaker, while weakly significant findings became non-existent.
[Source]: The New York Times
A little Lactobacillus for the weekend? NPR has an article about the increasing use of kettle souring by breweries:
If you're tuned into the world of beer, you may be aware of sour beers — a loosely defined style that has been made for centuries but is gaining fresh appreciation in today's craft beer renaissance. Brewers make these beers by deliberately adding bacteria and, sometimes, wild yeast to the brew, then letting them age slowly. It sounds weird, but sours can be delicious — tart and earthy, and redolent of things like leather, fruit and wood.
They're also very hard to make, requiring months or years of letting the beer gradually mature in the cellar. And all the while, brewers must take extra precautions to prevent the souring microbes from bursting out and contaminating the rest of their nonsour beers — a major logistical hitch and expense. That's why some brewers refuse to make sours: They're too much trouble. And those who do make them sell the beers at high prices, often $5 or $6 for a dainty 6-ounce sample. But a technique that makes brewing sour beers fast and easy is trending across America — making sours much more affordable. The technique is called kettle souring, and it allows brewers to produce a mouth-puckering sour in about the same time it takes to make any other beer. The result can be generous pours of acidic, face-twistingly refreshing beer for the standard price of a pint.
[...] Kettle-soured beers use some of the same critters as traditional sours to achieve a crisp, sharp tang: bacteria of the Lactobacillus genus, which munch on the sugars in beer and convert them into acids, while also turning out flavors and aromas. Some brewers will even use a dollop of yogurt made with Lactobacillus cultures to kettle sour their beers. (Traditional sours often also use Pediococcus bacteria and Brettanomyces yeast, but right now, most brewers who use kettle souring rely on Lactobacillus.)
But the key reason kettle-soured beers can be made cheaper is a change in the usual order of operations. With traditional souring, the microbes are added after the beer has fermented. That means hop oils and alcohol are already present in the beer. But hops can hinder bacteria, and alcohol slows down yeast. That's one main reason why the traditional souring process can take a long, long time — and part of the reason sour beers are intentionally made with few or no hops.
By contrast, with kettle souring, the microbes are added before the beer is fermented, so they can do their job quickly — literally, overnight in some cases, according to Lance Shaner, co-owner of Omega Yeast Labs, a company in Chicago that sells liquid Lactobacillus culture. Even when the souring takes several days, it's still lightning fast compared with barrel souring. Once the beer hits the desired level of acidity, it is then boiled to kill the souring agent. That eliminates the need for added safeguards — like a whole separate set of brewing equipment — to keep the microbes from escaping and unintentionally fouling other beers in the same brewery. The kettle-soured beer is then fermented and hopped, as usual. All in all, kettle souring means less cost, and less time. "So you're only adding an extra day to the production time," says Ben Love, the brewer at Gigantic Brewing.
[...] Jeff Grant, the owner and brewer at Draught Works, is also a fan of making kettle-soured beer, but he doesn't make them as stand-alone brews. Rather, Grant has been using his kettle-soured beer as an acidic blending ingredient to add to other beers. Edmunds, at Breakside Brewery, uses the same technique — much the way winemakers combine different wines to create a final product. "[Kettle souring] is an awesome tool for brewers to keep in their back pocket to add acidity to a beer," Edmunds says. He adds that kettle souring makes a unique and very simple style of its own — but it doesn't compare to traditional sour styles, like lambics and Flanders red ales. In fact, Edmunds says he is a little worried that brewers might try to use kettle souring to produce fast and simplified renditions of these slow-soured styles. "I really hope that brewers who embrace kettle souring see that it's not just a replacement for all those other aging processes that take more time, and which took hundreds of years to develop."