RUMPEL, a ground-breaking hyperdata web browser that makes it simpler for people to access and use online data about themselves, is being rolled out to the public this month.
RUMPEL gives users the ability to browse their very own private and secure 'personal data wardrobe' -- called a HAT (Hub-of-all-Things) -- which collates data about them held on the internet (eg on social media, calendars and their own smartphones, with the possibility of also including shopping, financial and other personal data) and allows them to control, combine and share it in whatever way they wish.
Launched in June 2013, HAT [PDF] will create the first ever Multi-sided Market Technology Platform for the home, allowing individuals to trade their personal data for personalised products and services in the future.
Is this yet another crack in the wall of privacy ?
A story from scienceblog.com looks at a novel treatment and prevention of tooth decay:
The bacteria that live in dental plaque and contribute to tooth decay often resist traditional antimicrobial treatment, as they can "hide" within a sticky biofilm matrix, a glue-like polymer scaffold.
A new strategy conceived by University of Pennsylvania researchers took a more sophisticated approach. Instead of simply applying an antibiotic to the teeth, they took advantage of the pH-sensitive and enzyme-like properties of iron-containing nanoparticles to catalyze the activity of hydrogen peroxide, a commonly used natural antiseptic. The activated hydrogen peroxide produced free radicals that were able to simultaneously degrade the biofilm matrix and kill the bacteria within, significantly reducing plaque and preventing the tooth decay, or cavities, in an animal model.
"Even using a very low concentration of hydrogen peroxide, the process was incredibly effective at disrupting the biofilm," said Hyun (Michel) Koo, a professor in the Penn School of Dental Medicine's Department of Orthodontics and divisions of Pediatric Dentistry and Community Oral Health and the senior author of the study, which was published in the journal Biomaterials [DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2016.05.051]. "Adding nanoparticles increased the efficiency of bacterial killing more than 5,000-fold."
The paper's lead author was Lizeng Gao, a postdoctoral researcher in Koo's lab. Coauthors were Yuan Liu, Dongyeop Kim, Yong Li and Geelsu Hwang, all of Koo's lab, as well as David Cormode, an assistant professor of radiology and bioengineering with appointments in Penn's Perelman School of Medicine and School of Engineering and Applied Science, and Pratap C. Naha, a postdoctoral fellow in Cormode's lab.
The work built off a seminal finding by Gao and colleagues, published in 2007 in Nature Nanotechnology [DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2007.260], showing that nanoparticles, long believed to be biologically and chemically inert, could in fact possess enzyme-like properties. In that study, Gao showed that an iron oxide nanoparticle behaved similarly to a peroxidase, an enzyme found naturally that catalyzes oxidative reactions, often using hydrogen peroxide.
Ars Technica reports on an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics forum in Salt Lake City with the provocative title, "Launch Vehicle Reusability: Holy Grail, Chasing Our Tail, or Somewhere in Between?"
Moderator Dan Dumbacher said of the panel, "We purposefully tried to get a good cross-section of those who have been working on it." However, the panel included no one actually building reusable rockets and relied heavily on the old-guard perspective. Dumbacher himself, now a professor at Purdue University, previously managed development of the Space Launch System rocket for NASA, and he expressed doubt about the viability of reusable launch vehicles in 2014 by essentially saying that because NASA couldn't do it, it was difficult to see how others could.
[...] The panel featured three men tied to the reusable but costly space shuttle in one way or another. Gary Payton, a visiting professor at the United States Air Force Academy, is a former shuttle astronaut. Doug Bradley is chief engineer of advanced space & launch at Aerojet Rocketdyne, which built the shuttle's reusable engines. And Ben Goldberg is director of technology at Orbital ATK, which manufactured the shuttle's solid rocket boosters.
The discussion was predictably negative, even dismissive. (Think tones of IBM, Honeywell, Burroughs, Amdahl, DEC when a couple of punks debuted a new "computer" at a Homebrew Computer Club meeting in Menlo Park.) But, reality happens...
So where were the representatives of the new space companies actually building reusable launch systems in 2016 and flying them into space? Dumbacher addressed that question more than halfway through the two-hour discussion: SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic were all invited, but "unfortunately were unable to attend due to other commitments." Perhaps instead of debating the question, they're just getting on with the job.[emphasis added]
Workers in the UK have suffered the biggest fall in wages among the world's richest countries since the financial crisis, research has suggested.
Between 2007 and 2015 wages in the UK fell by 10.4%, a drop equalled only by Greece, the analysis by the TUC [Trades Union Congress] found.
Women's pay in particular needs to be boosted, the union body said. Women earn on average 19.2% less than men, according to the latest official data.
The Treasury said the TUC's analysis did not fully reflect living standards.
The UK is the joint biggest faller on pay in 29 countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) - a forum for wealthy countries who work together to promote financial growth and social wellbeing.
The UK, Greece and Portugal were the only three OECD countries that saw real wages fall, according to the research complied by the TUC.
Source: BBC News
[redacted] Coward writes:
The early architecture of Uber consisted of a monolithic backend application written in Python that used Postgres for data persistence. Since that time, the architecture of Uber has changed significantly, to a model of microservices and new data platforms. Specifically, in many of the cases where we previously used Postgres, we now use Schemaless, a novel database sharding layer built on top of MySQL. In this article, we’ll explore some of the drawbacks we found with Postgres and explain the decision to build Schemaless and other backend services on top of MySQL.
[...] We encountered many Postgres limitations:
Inefficient architecture for writes
Inefficient data replication
Issues with table corruption
Poor replica MVCC support
Difficulty upgrading to newer releases
Earlier this year, France passed a labor reform law that banned checking emails on weekends. New research—to be presented next week at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management—suggests other countries might do well to follow suit, for the sake of employee health and productivity.
[...] Using data collected from 365 working adults, [Liuba] Belkin [of Lehigh University], and her colleagues [William Becker of Virginia Tech and Samantha A. Conroy of Colorado State University] look at the role of organizational expectation regarding "off" hour emailing and find it negatively impacts employee emotional states, leading to "burnout" and diminished work-family balance, which is essential for individual health and well-being. The study—described in an article entitled "Exhausted, but unable to disconnect: the impact of email-related organizational expectations on work-family balance"—is the first to identify email-related expectations as a job stressor along with already established factors such as high workload, interpersonal conflicts, physical environment or time pressure.
[...] Interestingly, they found that it is not the amount of time spent on work emails, but the expectation which drives the resulting sense of exhaustion. Due to anticipatory stress—defined as a constant state of anxiety and uncertainty as a result of perceived or anticipated threats, according to research cited in the article—employees are unable to detach and [therefore] feel exhausted regardless of the time spent on after-hours emails.
A story from Engadget reports:
Satellites often rely on reaction wheels, or constantly spinning flywheels, to tweak their attitudes without using precious fuel. However, they tend to be very delicate -- since they use ball bearings, they spin relatively slowly (under 6,000RPM), take up a lot of space, need tightly controlled environments and aren't very precise. Thankfully, researchers at Celeroton have a better way. They've created a magnetically levitated motor that achieves the effect of a regular reaction wheel with virtually none of the drawbacks. Since its rotor floats in a magnetic field, it can spin much faster (up to 150,000RPM) without wearing out, creating vibrations or requiring a special, lubricated environment. And given that it produces the same angular momentum as a much larger reaction wheel, it's perfect for CubeSats and any other tiny satellite where internal space is at a premium.
The motor is only a prototype at the moment, and it'll take a while before there's something commercially viable. However, multiple potential partners (including the European Space Agency) are reportedly interested. You may well see production satellites that can always adjust their positions, which might keep them useful well after conventional orbiters break down and become space junk.
The Pew Research Center conducted a survey of 4,726 American adults and asked them about gene editing to prevent diseases in babies, brain chip implants for improved cognition, and synthetic blood for enhanced physical abilities. A majority of Americans said they were "somewhat" or "very" worried about these three developments. 48% said they would use gene editing to prevent diseases in their own babies, while 50% said they would not:
Whatever appeal these ideas may have, they also raise fundamental questions about what it means to be human. From the earliest days of civilization, people have sought to better their condition through the use of tools, medications, surgeries and other therapies. But as new scientific and technological breakthroughs arise, so do questions about whether such developments move beyond limits set by God, nature or reason. Thus, this research is aimed in part at understanding where, if at all, the public might "draw the line" on human enhancements and the possibilities they could bring to society.
SpaceNews reports that Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that Jeff Bezos and Neil deGrasse Tyson will join the Defense Innovation Advisory Board.
Carter has asked the board to identify private-sector practices that the Pentagon could adopt. A first round of recommendations is expected in October.
The full list of current board members is:
· Eric Schmidt, executive chairman, Alphabet Inc.
· Jeff Bezos, president, chairman and CEO, Amazon Inc.
· Adam Grant, professor, Wharton School of Business
· Danny Hillis, computer theorist & co-founder, Applied Inventions
· Reid Hoffman, co-founder, LinkedIn, and partner, Greylock Partners
· Walter Isaacson, president & CEO, Aspen Institute, former TIME magazine editor and Steve Jobs biographer
· Eric Lander, president and founding director, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
· Marne Levine, chief operating officer, Instagram
· J. Michael McQuade, senior vice president for science and technology, United Technologies
· William McRaven, chancellor, University of Texas System
· Milo Medin, vice president, Access Services, Google Capital
· Richard Murray, professor, California Institute of Technology
· Jennifer Pahlka, founder, Code for America
· Cass Sunstein, professor, Harvard Law School
John Hinckley Jr, the man who tried to assassinate US President Ronald Reagan, is to be released from a psychiatric hospital next month after 35 years.
Mr Reagan and three others were injured in the shooting outside a hotel in Washington in March 1981.
Mr Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity but was sent for treatment to a Washington hospital.
Source: BBC News
The Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral in 2014 has funded an important scientific gene discovery in the progressive neurodegenerative disease ALS, the ALS Association says. Scientists have identified a new gene contributing to the disease, NEK1.
The Ice Bucket Challenge has raised $115m (£87.7m) from people pouring cold water over themselves and posting the video on social media. It was criticised as a stunt, but has funded six research projects. Research by Project MinE, published in Nature Genetics [DOI: 10.1038/ng.3626], is the largest-ever study of inherited ALS, also known as motor neurone disease (MND). More than 80 researchers in 11 countries searched for ALS risk genes in families affected by the disease. "The sophisticated gene analysis that led to this finding was only possible because of the large number of ALS samples available," Lucie Bruijn of the ALS Association says. The identification of gene NEK1 means scientists can now develop a gene therapy treating it. Although only 10% of ALS patients have the inherited form, researchers believe that genetics contribute to a much larger percentage of cases.
The RBS banking group has warned 1.3 million customers they could be charged negative interest rates if the Bank of England cuts base rates below zero.
The group, which includes NatWest, wrote to its business and commercial account holders about the potential changes, which mean they could lose money even when they are in credit.
The letter said: "Global interest rates remain at very low levels and in some markets are currently negative.
"Dependent on future market conditions, this could result in us charging on credit balances."
The Bank of England's base rate currently stands at the historically low rate of 0.5%, where it has been for more than seven years - and some economists believe it should be cut further to stimulate the economy.
Source: Sky News
From October 1st, the Dutch bank [ABN Amro] is adjusting its conditions to state that the bank can give negative interest rates to account holders with a business checking or -savings account, ANP reports.
Source: NL Times
China has ordered several of the country's most popular internet portals to halt much of their original news reporting, in a move that could confine an even larger share of the journalism in the country to Communist-controlled mouthpieces ahead of an important party meeting next year.
The profit-driven portals, several of which are listed on United States stock exchanges, have in recent years expanded their investigative teams to increase readership among China's more than 600 million internet users by scooping the staid state-owned news media on stories about subjects including industrial pollution, tainted milk powder and even police brutality.
But on Monday, several news organizations reported that the Beijing office of China's internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, ordered the websites of a number of the companies, including Sina, Sohu, NetEase and Phoenix, to shut down or "clean up" several of their most popular online news features.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Europe's privacy body has reiterated its pro-privacy, anti-backdoor stance.
The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Giovanni Buttarelli has long expressed the view that “privacy versus security” is a false dichotomy. In 2015, he told a conference in Brussels that “the objective of cyber-security may be misused to justify measures which weaken protection of [data protection] rights”.
He's now issued a much longer dissertation on the topic, the Preliminary EDPS Opinion on the review of the ePrivacy Directive, here (PDF).
The ePrivacy framework needs to be extended, the opinion states, it needs to be clarified, and it needs better enforcement.
The document also says the emergence of new services since the directive was first issued means it needs a thorough update. For example, Buttarelli's document states that there's a danger that new services erode privacy protections even though they're “functionally equivalent” to existing services.
For example, he writes, VoIP services should afford users the same privacy protection as traditional phone services, as should mobile messaging apps.
Likewise, he highlights the risk that the Internet of Things erodes privacy because the directive doesn't pay enough attention to machine-to-machine communications.
On encryption, Buttarelli is unequivocal:
The prohibition on backdoors would be universal, the EDPS writes: encryption providers, communication service providers, and “all other organisations (at all levels of the supply chain)” should be prohibited from “allowing or facilitating” backdoors.
Those guys behind "Futurama", know the future. Like totally! The Buggalo half cow, half insect exist! Though not in a black and white pattern, but they make milk! Here is the proof: "The case for cockroach milk: The next superfood?".
The milk crystals of the Pacific beetle cockroach are beautiful. Slice open an embryonic roach under a microscope, and the crystals spill out in a shower of nutrient-dense glitter.
But the flavor of cockroach milk is nothing to write home about. Subramanian Ramaswamy, a biochemist at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in Bangalore, India, told The Washington Post as much early Tuesday. As a party dare — he'd lost a drinking competition — one of Ramaswamy's colleagues once ate a sprinkling of the crystals.
My daughter is scared!