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Updated: 2015-10-08

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The First Draft of the SN manifesto is available

Hold old is the oldest piece of computer hardware that you regularly use?

  • less than 1 year
  • [1-2) years
  • [2-3) years
  • [3-5) years
  • [5-10) years
  • [10-15) years
  • more than 15 years
  • I don't HAVE any computer hardware, you insensitive clod!

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:0 | Votes:2

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday October 10, @01:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the are-they-really-who-they-say-they-are dept.

Historian and TV presenter Lucy Worsley has said romance is dying because it has become "too easy" to meet new people via dating apps and the net.

In an interview with the Radio Times, she said couples no longer faced the obstacles that had traditionally made for strong romantic encounters.

The "slow exquisite torture" of love in Jane Austen novels no longer existed in the age of Grindr and Tinder, she said.

But relationship experts say not everybody is good at commitment.

"There have always been a proportion of people that find it hard to form relationships and, rather than trying to overcome difficulties, who have moved on more quickly to others," counsellor and therapist Peter Saddington, from relationship support service Relate, told the BBC.

On the other hand, people who do marry after meeting through a dating app might be less likely to divorce.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday October 10, @11:33AM   Printer-friendly
from the I-see-said-the-blind-man dept.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMRD) could be treated by transplanting photoreceptors produced by the directed differentiation of stem cells, thanks to findings published today by Professor Gilbert Bernier of the University of Montreal and its affiliated Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital. ARMD is a common eye problem caused by the loss of cones. Bernier's team has developed a highly effective in vitro technique for producing light sensitive retina cells from human embryonic stem cells. "Our method has the capacity to differentiate 80% of the stem cells into pure cones," Professor Gilbert explained. "Within 45 days, the cones that we allowed to grow towards confluence spontaneously formed organised retinal tissue that was 150 microns thick. This has never been achieved before."

In order to verify the technique, Bernier injected clusters of retinal cells into the eyes of healthy mice. The transplanted photoreceptors migrated naturally within the retina of their host. "Cone transplant represents a therapeutic solution for retinal pathologies caused by the degeneration of photoreceptor cells," Bernier explained. "To date, it has been difficult to obtain great quantities of human cones." His discovery offers a way to overcome this problem, offering hope that treatments may be developed for currently non-curable degenerative diseases, like Stargardt disease and ARMD. "Researchers have been trying to achieve this kind of trial for years," he said. "Thanks to our simple and effective approach, any laboratory in the world will now be able to create masses of photoreceptors. Even if there's a long way to go before launching clinical trials, this means, in theory, that will be eventually be able to treat countless patients."

This approach could help people losing their sight to macular degeneration.

Differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into cone photoreceptors through simultaneous inhibition of BMP, TGFβ and Wnt signaling

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Saturday October 10, @09:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the they-still-exist??? dept.

BlackBerry is interesting again. The company has finally given in to the mobile OS duopoly and is gearing up to launch its first-ever Android device, the BlackBerry Priv. A change like this is huge for the company, and, naturally, there are a lot of questions about what an Android phone means for the future of BlackBerry. The company's CEO, John Chen, was recently interviewed at Vox's "Code Mobile" conference. There is no video of the interview yet, so all of our quotes come from The Verge's liveblog of the event.

Chen was, of course, asked about the future of BlackBerry and what the company's first Android phone means for the company. "Android in enterprise is a very underserved space," he said. "With our connection, our accounts, our know-how, it has expanded our servable market. I love BB10 and I win in the very high-end there. But the very high-end is not big. In order to make money in the handset business, I need to expand that pie."

Saying that the switch to Android is about selling phones is also a bit of an admission that most of the public doesn't want a device with the BlackBerry OS. That's a pretty obvious thing to say about an operating system with a 0.3% market share but still good to hear from the CEO.

Blackberry is still the preferred device in Washington DC and the political class, and seems popular in finance, too.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday October 10, @08:16AM   Printer-friendly
from the I-can't-even-pronounce-it dept.

ScienceDaily has an article on a new approach for creating computer memory:

A research team has created the exotic ring-shaped magnetic effects called skyrmions under ambient room conditions for the first time. The achievement brings skyrmions a step closer to use in real-world data storage as well as other novel magnetic and electronic technologies.

What can skyrmions do for you? These ghostly quantum rings, heretofore glimpsed only under extreme laboratory conditions, just might be the basis for a new type of computer memory that never loses its grip on the data it stores.

Now, thanks to a research team including scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST),* the exotic ring-shaped magnetic effects have been coaxed out of the physicist's deepfreeze with a straightforward method that creates magnetic skyrmions under ambient room conditions. The achievement brings skyrmions a step closer for use in real-world data storage as well as other novel magnetic and electronic technologies.

If you have a passing familiarity with particle physics, you might expect skyrmions to be particles; after all, they sound a lot like fermions, a class of particles that includes protons and neutrons. But skyrmions are not fundamental pieces of matter (not even of yogurt); they are effects named after the physicist who proposed them. Until just recently, magnetic skyrmions had only been seen at very low temperatures and under powerful magnetic fields.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday October 10, @06:41AM   Printer-friendly

HP has launched the OpenSwitch open source network operating system (NOS) with supporters Accton Technology Corporation, Arista, Broadcom, Intel, VMWare, and Qosmos. Binaries are available now and source code will be available soon. The Platform reports:

The open networking movement just got a little bit more open. While a number of network operating systems already exist that are based on the Linux kernel and that include a number of open source add-ons that provide the functionality of closed, proprietary network operating systems, thus far there has not been one that is fully open source and that also has commercial support. Today, that changes as Hewlett-Packard, which has a fairly large datacenter switch business, launches OpenSwitch, a new Linux-based and open source network operating system that is inspired by its own Comware and ProVision stacks for switches that have their heritage in 3Com and HP devices, respectively.

[...] "We have done a lot of work over the past 18 months to build a full-fledged, modular, modern Linux-based operating system, but we are putting it out there and we are not going to have exclusive rights to it," Carroll explains, saying that the OpenSwitch community will have a board that guides its development. "It is a flexible foundation for developers in the open switch community to create high-quality network enhancements specifically for the datacenter environment for themselves specifically or to be provided as a service."

[Ed Comment: Can anyone tell us how OpenSwitch is licensed?]

Not to be outdone, Facebook and Big Switch Networks have launched their own NOS. It is licensed under the Eclipse Public License:

Hot on the heels of Hewlett-Packard announcing its OpenSwitch open source switch operating system, Big Switch Networks, a provider of software-defined networking tools based on the OpenFlow protocol, and Facebook, one of the world's largest hyperscalers and an adamant proponent of open networking, have crafted their own open source network operating system.

The two are demonstrating the pairing of OpenNetLinux from Big Switch and FBOSS from Facebook, which together comprise a basic switch operating system that can – and probably will – compete with HP's OpenSwitch as well as alternatives from Cumulus Networks, Pluribus Networks, Pica8, and others. This competition across various NOS stacks, both on the technical merits and the relative openness of their software, is healthy for the nascent open networking space.

[...] It remains to be seen, says Sherwood, how the HP OpenSwitch effort and OpenNetLinux can or will coexist or cooperate. The Big Switch team is going to comb through the OpenSwitch code to see what is in there, but on first glance, Sherwood thinks that HP has taken a basic Linux kernel as its bottom half of the NOS and put a "very interesting" top half on it, much as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon have done with their homegrown software.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday October 10, @05:14AM   Printer-friendly
from the because-they-don't-smoke? dept.

Why elephants rarely get cancer is a mystery that has stumped scientists for decades. A study led by researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah and Arizona State University, and including researchers from the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation, may have found the answer.

According to the results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and determined over the course of several years and a unique collaboration between HCI, Primary Children's Hospital, Utah's Hogle Zoo, and the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation, elephants have 38 additional modified copies (alleles) of a gene that encodes p53, a well-defined tumor suppressor, as compared to humans, who have only two. Further, elephants may have a more robust mechanism for killing damaged cells that are at risk for becoming cancerous. In isolated elephant cells, this activity is doubled compared to healthy human cells, and five times that of cells from patients with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, who have only one working copy of p53 and more than a 90 percent lifetime cancer risk in children and adults. The results suggest extra p53 could explain elephants' enhanced resistance to cancer.

Another reason to fight extinction: loss of data vital to human survival.

Potential mechanisms for cancer resistance in elephants and comparative cellular response to DNA damage in humans

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday October 10, @04:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the submit-a-story dept.

New York Comic Con began on the 8th, running Oct. 8th - 11th. The event is sold out, so if any Soylentils are attending it's a good opportunity to practice some citizen journalism. Take pics, take notes, post them to SN so we can live through you vicariously!

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday October 10, @03:31AM   Printer-friendly
from the I'll-have-ice-with-that-please dept.

Just 10 days after confirming that liquid water has been found on Mars, the US space agency revealed the amazing dwarf-planet has both ice and a 'gorgeous' blue sky.

A NASA spokesman said: "New Horizons has detected numerous small, exposed regions of water ice on Pluto.

"The discovery was made from data collected by the Ralph spectral composition mapper on New Horizons."

There has been repeated speculation Pluto may have a liquid sea under its surface, and confirmation of water ice on the surface adds to this theory.

Amazingly, much of the frozen ice has been found in a deep crack running from an interesting crater on Pluto first highlighted to NASA by as a potentially interesting feature back in July when images first beamed back.

Europa, Enceladus, Mars, and Pluto. Mind-blowing if they all had life, too.

NASA release.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday October 10, @01:58AM   Printer-friendly
from the market-forces dept.

Nick Wingfield has an interesting article in the NYT about how Seattle, Austin, Boulder, Portland, and other tech hubs around the country are seeking not to emulate San Francisco where wealth has created a widely envied economy, but housing costs have skyrocketed, and the region's economic divisions have deepened with rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco at more than $3,500 a month, the highest in the country. "Seattle has wanted to be San Francisco for so long," says Knute Berger. "Now it's figuring out maybe that it isn't what we want to be." The core of the debate is over affordable housing and the worry that San Francisco is losing artists, teachers and its once-vibrant counterculture. "It's not that we don't want to be a thriving tech center — we do," says Alan Durning. "It's that the San Francisco and Silicon Valley communities have gotten themselves into a trap where preservationists and local politics have basically guaranteed buying a house will cost at least $1 million. Already in Seattle, it costs half-a-million, so we're well on our way."

Seattle mayor Ed Murray says he wants to keep the working-class roots of Seattle, a city with a major port, fishing fleet and even a steel mill. After taking office last year, Murray made the minimum-wage increase a priority, reassured representatives of the city's manufacturing and maritime industries that Seattle needed them and has set a goal of creating 50,000 homes — 40 percent of them affordable for low-income residents — over the next decade. "We can hopefully create enough affordable housing so we don't find ourselves as skewed by who lives in the city as San Francisco is," says Murray. "We're at a crossroads," says Roger Valdez. "One path leads to San Francisco, where you have an incredibly regulated and stagnant housing economy that can't keep up with demand. The other path is something different, the Seattle way."

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday October 10, @12:25AM   Printer-friendly
from the yawn dept.

Senators Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) today said they will try to preserve the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules in a budget standoff with Republicans.

A Republican budget proposal that came out in June would prevent the FCC from enforcing its net neutrality rules until Internet providers who are suing the commission have exhausted all their legal options.

"ISPs are certainly free to file their suits but until they prevail, and I don't believe they will, there is no basis for Republicans blocking the FCC from doing its job," Franken said in a press conference today.

ISPs previously petitioned a federal appeals court for a stay that would delay implementation of the rules until the legal case is decided. The court refused to issue a stay, allowing the net neutrality rules to take effect on June 12. But the Republican budget proposal for fiscal 2016 would prohibit implementation of the rules until the court cases are over.

An opportunity for Google, Facebook, Apple, and the rest to weigh in to preserve the Internet.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday October 09, @11:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the chocolate-teapot dept.

Belgium-based technology firm Dongle Apps has developed a gadget which notifies parents instantly by email or text when their offspring are driving too fast, Flanders website reports. The "Rookie dongle" plugs into the car's on-board diagnostics port normally used by garage technicians to identify problems and malfunctions in modern cars, and uses GPS and cell phone technology to send real-time information to the internet. The device works by registering the time, location and speed of the driver and comparing it to the current speed limit, sending a tell-tale text message or email when it thinks the car's owners needs to be alerted, De Standaard newspaper reports.

Belgium's Traffic Safety Institute has welcomed the new device, saying it's a handy gadget for parents concerned about how well their kids are sticking to speed limits. An added bonus is that the device is also able to generate reports allowing vehicle owners to negotiate a better car insurance policies, provided that their children haven't broken any traffic rules, De Standaard newspaper reports. For youngsters who think the spy-in-the-car is a little bit too intrusive, Metro Belgium says there's a private mode where information is only shown to parents when speeding is recorded.

Prediction: device instantly disconnected by teens.

Original Submission

posted by CoolHand on Friday October 09, @09:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the gubmint-protection dept.

El Reg published today a story that gives California what only two other states currently have:

[A] law requiring police to obtain a warrant before searching phones, tablets, and other electronic devices, and accounts in cloud services, too.

Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday signed off the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to require a search warrant for electronic searches. The law means cops will now need to obtain a warrant from a judge in order to retrieve electronic information, including emails, texts, and locational data, on a device or from a hosted service provider.

"For too long, California's digital privacy laws have been stuck in the Dark Ages, leaving our personal emails, text messages, photos, and smartphones increasingly vulnerable to warrantless searches," said Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), co-author of the bill.

"That ends today with the Governor's signature of CalECPA, a carefully crafted law that protects personal information of all Californians. The bill also ensures that law enforcement officials have the tools they need to continue to fight crime in the digital age."

More coverage by Wired and the Electronic Freedom Foundation.

No word, however, on what the state legislature will do about Stingray.

Original Submission

posted by CoolHand on Friday October 09, @07:58PM   Printer-friendly
from the sex-is-complicated dept.

Scientists have discovered that rock-wallabies living in north east Queensland are sharing genetic material despite belonging to six different species.

These results suggest that the evolution of these iconic Australian marsupials is far more complex than the long-held theory of how species originate.

"Understanding these evolutionary processes is pretty fundamental in biology because it helps us define what a species is and understand how different species form," said lead researcher Dr Sally Potter from The Australian National University (ANU).

It was previously thought that mating between different rock-wallaby species could not result in fertile offspring. This is because of the differences in the way their genetic material is packaged into chromosomes.

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Friday October 09, @06:27PM   Printer-friendly

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and 28 other organizations have issued a joint press release calling for the Syrian government to reveal the whereabouts of imprisoned technologist, open source developer, and "free culture advocate" Bassel Khartabil. EFF had reported on Wednesday that military police with a "top secret" sealed order moved Bassel and a cellmate from the Adra civilian jail to an undisclosed location.

Bassel "Safadi" Khartabil is one of five individuals and cases currently listed in EFF's "Offline: Imprisoned and Censored Around the World" campaign:

In 2011, after the protests began in Syria, Palestinian-Syrian software developer Bassel (Safadi) Khartabil kept the world updated on unjust arrests occurring in the country. He worked with his global contacts in the information technology world, including EFF activists, to disseminate information to Syrian contacts on how to stay safer online.

Bassel had long been a key figure in the Syrian tech community. He co-founded Aiki Lab, a hackerspace in Damascus, led the Creative Commons Syria project, and regularly contributed code and content to Mozilla, Wikipedia, the Openfontlibrary, and the Openclipart Library.

As the situation in Syria grew more unstable, Bassel saw more of his friends arrested. In March of 2012, his worldwide community of friends began to worry when Bassel's own online voice went silent. Unbeknown to his family and friends, on March 15, 2012, Bassel was arrested in the Mazzeh district of Damascus. It wasn't until July 2012 that his supporters discovered—thanks to former detainees at Kfar Souseh—that he was being held at the General Intelligence Directorate there.

In October 2012, Amnesty International confirmed that Bassel was being held at Kafr Souseh, relaying fears for his safety amidst local claims of torture. In response to this information, many groups and individuals called for Bassel's immediate release and championed his case via, a campaign run by a coalition of his friends and supporters.

Bassel was eventually charged in December 2012 with "spying for an enemy state." As members of the European Parliament, Charles Tannock and Ana Gomes, noted in their 2013 address to the European Commission on behalf of Bassel, "it is strongly suspected that his arrest was part of an effort to restrict access to online communities and discourses and stifle free expression in Syria." It was Bassel's visibility as a technologist and activist that made him a target for detention.

The press release was also made available in Arabic, French, and Spanish.

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Friday October 09, @05:01PM   Printer-friendly
from the presentation-never-happened dept.

On September 24, I gave a keynote presentation at Purdue University about the NSA, Edward Snowden, and national security journalism in the age of surveillance. It was part of the excellent Dawn or Doom colloquium, which I greatly enjoyed. The organizers live-streamed my talk and promised to provide me with a permalink to share.

After unexplained delays, I received a terse e-mail from the university last week. Upon advice of counsel, it said, Purdue "will not be able to publish your particular video" and will not be sending me a copy. The conference hosts, once warm and hospitable, stopped replying to my e-mails and telephone calls. I don't hold it against them. Very likely they are under lockdown by spokesmen and lawyers.

[...] It turns out that Purdue has wiped all copies of my video and slides from university servers, on grounds that I displayed classified documents briefly on-screen. A breach report was filed with the university's Research Information Assurance Officer, also known as the Site Security Officer, under the terms of Defense Department Operating Manual 5220.22-M. I am told that Purdue briefly considered, among other things, whether to destroy the projector I borrowed, lest contaminants remain.

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.

Original Submission

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