2019-07-01 00:00:00 ..
2019-11-12 18:13:17 UTC
2019-11-14 09:42:28 UTC
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Submitted via IRC for Bytram
Could the profound mysteries of antimatter and dark matter be linked? Thinking that they might be, scientists from the international BASE collaboration, led by Stefan Ulmer of the RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research, and collaborators have performed the first laboratory experiments to determine whether a slightly different way in which matter and antimatter interact with dark matter might be a key to solving both mysteries.
Dark matter and antimatter are both vexing problems for physicists trying to understand how our world works at a fundamental level.
The problem with antimatter is that though the Big Bang should have created equal amounts of matter and antimatter, the observable universe is made only of matter. Antimatter is created every day in experiments and by natural processes such as lightning, but it is quickly annihilated in collisions with regular matter. Predictions show that our understanding of the matter content of the universe is off by nine orders of magnitude, and no one knows why the asymmetry exists.
[...] The BASE group collaborators wondered whether the lack of antimatter might be because it interacts differently with dark matter, and set out to test this. For the experiment, they used a specially designed device, called a Penning trap, to magnetically trap a single antiproton, preventing it from contacting ordinary matter and being annihilated. They then measured a property of the antiproton called its spin precession frequency. Normally, this should be constant in a given magnetic field, and a modulation of this frequency could be accounted for by an effect mediated by axion-like particles, which are hypothesized dark matter candidates.
First author of the study, Christian Smorra, says, "For the first time, we have explicitly searched for an interaction between dark matter and antimatter, and though we did not find a difference, we set a new upper limit for the potential interaction between dark matter and antimatter."
More information: Direct limits on the interaction of antiprotons with axion-like dark matter, Nature (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1727-9 , https://nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1727-9
Submitted via IRC for soylent_lavender
The UK's Labour Party has confirmed a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack targeted its Web services weeks ahead of a national election on December 12, party and security officials report.
Adversaries overwhelmed Labour's digital platforms with malicious traffic, according to Britain's National Cyber Security Centre, which was notified following the incident, Reuters reports. The incident was not successful, a spokesman says, and the matter is now closed. Party officials say the DDoS attempt failed due to its "robust security systems" and no data breach occurred.
BBC reporting states:
The BBC's Gordon Corera has been told Monday's attack was not linked to a state. Earlier, a Labour source said that attacks came from computers in Russia and Brazil.
Our security correspondent said he had been told the first attack was a low-level incident - not a large-scale and sophisticated attack.
A National Cyber Security Centre spokesman said the Labour Party followed the correct procedure and notified them swiftly of Monday's cyber-attack, adding: "The attack was not successful and the incident is now closed."
[...] The BBC has confirmed that Labour is using software by the technology company Cloudflare to protect its systems. The US-based company boasts it has 15 times the network capacity of the biggest DDoS attack ever recorded, meaning it should be able to absorb any deluge of data directed at one of its clients.
[...] Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Monday's cyber-attack was "very serious" and also "suspicious" because it took place during an election campaign. "If this is a sign of things to come, I feel very nervous about it," he said.
Submitted via IRC for soylent_lavender
Cheap labor, frequent data breaches, and better fraud detection technology are fueling frustrating changes in attackers' methods.
Fraud has changed. As tools to detect and mitigate bot-generated attacks have evolved and improved, criminals are employing cheap human labor to steal account credentials and money. And the economies of several developing nations is making that possible.
"It's cost economics," says Kevin Gosschalk, CEO of Arkose Labs. "Creating fake accounts for referral fraud used to be more cost-effective. But now we have so many more data breaches happening," which means that the cyber black market is flooded with legitimate account credentials available to criminals at affordable prices. "Five years ago that was not a thing."
This means criminals are now employing an almost "sweat shop" style of labor, says Gosschalk, hiring workers in locations like Venezuela, where the hourly wage is so low that it now makes economic sense to pay people to manually carry out fraud with stolen account data, instead of using bots, he says.
"[Attackers are] giving people a script and saying 'here's [the] quota you have to hit,'" says Gosschalk. "Criminals are always trying to figure out what is [the] lowest-hanging fruit. As merchants and companies evolve with defenses, these attackers evolve. Humans just happen to have become the flavor of month."
Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard
For those of us who were children in the late 80s and early 90s, we may have dreamed of one day owning a gigantic tractor trailer that could transform into a colossal fighting robot. Or of simply having a toy that could approximate this change from one form into another. As adults, though, we have come to realize that this is wishful thinking. That is, unless we decide to build this transforming bicycle.
You're thirty years late, you bastards.
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and their collaborators have now for the first time successfully applied phage therapy in mice for a condition that's not considered a classic bacterial infection: alcoholic liver disease.
The study publishes November 13, 2019 in Nature.
"We not only linked a specific bacterial toxin to worse clinical outcomes in patients with alcoholic liver disease, we found a way to break that link by precisely editing gut microbiota with phages," said senior author Bernd Schnabl, MD, professor of medicine and gastroenterology at UC San Diego School of Medicine and director of the National Institutes of Health-funded San Diego Digestive Diseases Research Center.
Up to 75 percent of patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis, the most serious form of alcohol-related liver disease, die within 90 days of diagnosis. The condition is most commonly treated with corticosteroids, but they aren't highly effective. Early liver transplantation is the only cure, but is only offered at select medical centers to a limited number of patients. In fact, there are only approximately 8,000 liver transplants for all reasons in the United States each year, according to the American Liver Foundation, with a waiting list of roughly 14,000 people.
Alcohol itself can directly damage liver cells. But Schnabl and team had previously discovered that alcohol is also harmful to the liver for a second reason: It diminishes natural gut antibiotics, leaving mice more prone to bacterial growth in the liver and exacerbating alcohol-induced liver disease.
In the current study, Schnabl's team — including many collaborators around the world — addressed two primary questions: How do gut bacteria contribute to liver damage? And can phages be used to reduce the bacteria and thus alleviate alcoholic liver disease?
The researchers discovered that liver cells are injured by cytolysin, a toxin secreted by Enterococcus faecalis, a type of bacteria typically found in low numbers in the healthy human gut. They also found that people with alcoholic hepatitis have more cytolysin-producing E. faecalis in their guts than healthy people. The more E. faecalis present, the more severe their liver disease. For people with alcoholic liver disease, more than five percent of their fecal bacteria were Enterococcus, compared to almost none in healthy people or people with alcoholic use disorder. Approximately 80 percent of alcoholic hepatitis patients have E. faecalis living in their feces, and 30 percent are positive for cytolysin.
Moreover, the researchers found that nearly 90 percent of cytolysin-positive patients with alcoholic hepatitis died within 180 days of hospital admission, compared to approximately 4 percent of cytolysin-negative patients.
"Based on this finding, we believe detection of the cytolysin-gene in feces from patients with alcoholic hepatitis could be a very good biomarker for liver disease severity and risk of death," Schnabl said. "One day we might be able to select patients for tailored therapies based on their cytolysin status."
Next, the team transferred feces from cytolysin-positive and cytolysin-negative people with alcoholic hepatitis to mice. Mice with cytolysin-positive humanized gut microbiomes developed more severe alcohol-induced liver disease and survived less than mice without cytolysin.
To investigate the potential for phage therapy, the researchers isolated from sewage water four different phages that specifically target cytolysin-producing E. faecalis. When they treated the mice with the targeting phages, the bacteria were eradicated and alcohol-induced liver disease was abolished. Control phages that target other bacteria or non-cytolytic E. faecalis had no effect.
"This phage therapy has only so far been tested in mice, and a clinical trial will be required to test the safety of this approach, and validate our findings in patients with alcoholic hepatitis," Schnabl said.
Yi Duan, et. al. Bacteriophage targeting of gut bacterium attenuates alcoholic liver disease. Nature, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1742-x
Tesla's next "Gigafactory" will be in the Berlin area, Elon Musk announced at an event in Germany on Tuesday evening. Techcrunch's Kirsten Korosec reports that Musk made the comments during an on-stage conversation with Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess at the Golden Steering Wheel awards show.
The original Gigafactory was Tesla's massive battery factory in Nevada. Musk dubbed it a "Gigafactory" because it was designed to produce batteries with gigawatt-hours of storage capacity. Batteries are made in Nevada and then shipped to Tesla's car factory in Fremont, California, for final assembly.
When Tesla built a car manufacturing facility in Shanghai, China, the company dubbed that "Gigafactory 3." (Tesla's beleaguered solar panel factory in Buffalo, NY, is Gigafactory 2.) Tesla took a more integrated approach in China, building batteries and cars in the same facility.
It's a reasonable guess that Tesla will take the same integrated approach for its Berlin Gigafactory, which will likely be called Gigafactory 4. Musk said Tuesday that the new facility would be "near the new airport," Korosec reports.
A federal judge has struck down a decision by the Trump administration to allow blueprints for 3D-printed guns to be shared online.
In a ruling published Tuesday, Judge Robert Lasnik said the deal made in July last year was "arbitrary and capricious" and thus a violation of the federal Administrative Procedure Act and the Constitution.
The original deal was part of a settlement between the Justice Department and Texas-based nonprofit Defense Distributed, which garnered worldwide attention in 2013 with its claims to have created the world's first "100 percent 3D-printed gun." The dissemination of plans for the gun was blocked by the Obama administration, but last year Defense Distributed successfully sued the government and had the ban reversed, arguing that it was a free speech violation.
[...] Bloomberg notes that the decision may still have limitations, given that Defense Distributed worked around a previous, temporary ban on downloading plans by simply mailing blueprints directly to customers. Said [spokesperson Chad] Flores: "The speech these states want so badly to censor is already on the internet and always will be."
Previously: Landmark Legal Shift for 3D-Printed Guns
[Updated] Defense Distributed Releasing Gun Plans, President Trump "Looking Into" It
Federal Judge Imposes Preliminary Injunction Against Defense Distributed's DEFCAD
Judge Rules Feds Need Reasonable Suspicion Before Searching Tech Devices at the Border
Fourth Amendment protections against warrantless searches are reduced when entering the country, but they're not completely erased.
Border agents who seize and search people's tech devices at entry points to the United States without any suspicion of criminal activity are violating Fourth Amendment rights, a federal judge ruled this week in a case likely headed to the Supreme Court.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued in 2017 on behalf of 11 travelers—10 American citizens and one permanent resident—who had been ordered by Department of Homeland Security officials to let them review and copy the contents of their devices without any sort of warrant or explanation of what agents were looking for.
Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have long been arguing the authority for these warrantless searches on the basis of the so-called "border search exception." Courts have traditionally ruled that America's sovereign interest in controlling what and who it allows to enter its borders permits officials to search people and property coming into the country (or within 100 miles of a border) without needing a warrant or any sort of suspicion.
According to Bruce Lee of Forbes magazine, the world now has an actual vaccine effective against Ebola.
It's official. We now have a real Ebola vaccine. Not a kind-of-almost-sort-of-there vaccine. Not an experimental-use vaccine. Not a vaccine just for macaques. No, this is a vaccine that the European Commission has just approved for use in humans, the first of its kind.
It is worth noting that there are four variants of Ebola that infect humans, however the one this vaccine "Ervebo" is effective against is the deadly Zaire Ebola virus.
Ervebo is a genetically engineered, replication-competent, attenuated live vaccine. Data from clinical trials and compassionate use programs have shown that Ervebo protects against Ebola virus disease in humans following a single dose administration.
The vaccine has been tested on approximately 16,000 people so far with very good results
Health officials have been using the vaccine on an experimental basis to try to control Ebola outbreaks that have been going on in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) [...] the war-torn DRC hasn't been the easiest place to test the vaccine:
Nevertheless, researchers managed to test the efficacy of the vaccine in the country. As the WHO reported in April, this vaccine had an estimated protective efficacy of 97.5% in field studies there. That would mean if a hundred people vaccinated were exposed to the virus, less than three would end up getting infected. That's a remarkably high efficacy. After all, nothing in life is 100%. However, keep in mind that the efficacy of a vaccine also depends on how many people around you are vaccinated
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing Merck's application for approval of the vaccine.
Two Effective Treatments for Ebola Announced
The Google empire is enormous and ubiquitous, covering basically the entire Internet in one way or another. There is, however, one lucrative business the company does not yet have a foothold in: banking. And now it has plans to change that.
Google is working to launch consumer checking accounts next year, The Wall Street Journal first reported this morning. The project, code-named Cache because apparently nobody can resist a pun, is expected to launch next year, sources told the Journal. CNBC, also citing "sources familiar," confirmed the WSJ's reporting.
Google: Not a bank
The accounts will be run in partnership with Citibank and a credit union based out of Stanford University. Google executive Caesar Sengupta told the WSJ that the accounts will carry branding from the banks, not from Google, which will also "leave the financial plumbing and compliance" to the banks.
Google and its partners are still hammering out the details of these accounts, including whether or when accounts might incur fees. (Many banks that offer checking accounts waive monthly fees for customers who maintain a certain average balance or who use direct deposit.)
"Our approach is going to be to partner deeply with banks and the financial system," Sengupta told the WSJ. "It may be the slightly longer path, but it's more sustainable."
Also at The Verge.
The case has become a cause célèbre that has galvanized a variety of different interests. For Coalfire and professional pentesters around the world, the charges are an affront that threatens their ability to carry out what has long been considered a key practice in ensuring clients’ systems are truly secure.
[...] “This does affect my job directly,” said a penetration tester who asked to be identified only by his handle @Tinker. “This affects physical pentesting in general and it really affects government pentesting when the state government can’t provide protection and you can’t trust the state government to stand behind its own laws.”
[...] No one has more stake in the controversy than Wynn and De Mercurio, who risk being convicted of criminal charges that among other things could jeopardize government clearances and future job prospects. Coalfire CEO Tom McAndrew said in a statement last month that Leonard “failed to exercise commonsense and good judgement and turned this engagement into a political battle between the State and the County.” McAndrew also noted that Coalfire conducted an engagement for Iowa’s SCA in 2015 without incident.
[...] The employees, McAndrew said, intentionally tripped the alarm and then proceeded to the third floor to test the response. Crouching on floors or otherwise trying to be covert is standard practice after alarms are tripped to further test authorities’ response and see what surveillance cameras can detect.
“For those of us living in Vietnam and working in wildlife conservation, the question of whether the chevrotain was still out there and if so, where, has been nagging us for years,” Nguyen said. Nguyen is an associate conservation scientist with GWC and a PhD student with the Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research. “There was very little information available to point us in the right direction and we didn’t know what to expect. That we were able to find it with so few leads and in a relatively short period of time shows how a little bit of effort and willpower can go a long way in finding some of these special species lost to science.”
The rediscovery of the Silver-backed Chevrotain—also known as the Vietnamese Mouse-deer—is the first rediscovery of a mammal on GWC’s 25 most wanted lost species list. The species was described in 1910 from four individuals collected in 1907 near the southern beach city of Nha Trang. A Russian expedition in 1990 in central Vietnam collected a fifth individual. With only this information on hand, Nguyen and a team that included GWC’s Dr. Barney Long and Andrew Tilker, set out to figure out where to start.
“We had these two historical localities separated by quite some distance—one in the southern part of Vietnam and the other much further north,” says Tilker, GWC’s Asian species officer. “But we knew that many people have camera-trapped in the wet evergreen forests and hadn’t seen it, so we thought we should look at the dry forest habitat that’s really different and where not many people have looked.”
The team also started to put out some feelers to investigate potential leads. Soon after, one colleague obtained a photo of what appeared to be a young chevrotain with silvery coloration. Although the photo had been taken more than 10 years ago and was not conclusively a Silver-backed Chevrotain, the animal was reportedly found near the dry coastal forests where the 1907 individuals came from. It was this clue and the process of elimination, Tilker says, that set the successful mission on course.
Jeremy P. Shapiro, a professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University, has an article on The Conversation about one of the main cognitive errors at the root of science denial: dichotomous thinking, where entire spectra of possibilities are turned into dichotomies, and the division is usually highly skewed. Either something is perfect or it is a complete failure, either we have perfect knowledge of something or we know nothing.
Currently, there are three important issues on which there is scientific consensus but controversy among laypeople: climate change, biological evolution and childhood vaccination. On all three issues, prominent members of the Trump administration, including the president, have lined up against the conclusions of research.
This widespread rejection of scientific findings presents a perplexing puzzle to those of us who value an evidence-based approach to knowledge and policy.
Yet many science deniers do cite empirical evidence. The problem is that they do so in invalid, misleading ways. Psychological research illuminates these ways.
[...] In my view, science deniers misapply the concept of “proof.”
Proof exists in mathematics and logic but not in science. Research builds knowledge in progressive increments. As empirical evidence accumulates, there are more and more accurate approximations of ultimate truth but no final end point to the process. Deniers exploit the distinction between proof and compelling evidence by categorizing empirically well-supported ideas as “unproven.” Such statements are technically correct but extremely misleading, because there are no proven ideas in science, and evidence-based ideas are the best guides for action we have.
I have observed deniers use a three-step strategy to mislead the scientifically unsophisticated. First, they cite areas of uncertainty or controversy, no matter how minor, within the body of research that invalidates their desired course of action. Second, they categorize the overall scientific status of that body of research as uncertain and controversial. Finally, deniers advocate proceeding as if the research did not exist.
Just a quick note to let those of you who care know that our load balancer finally got bumped up to openssl 1.1.x and is now TLSv1.3 happy. For those of you who are especially paranoid, "ssl_early_data" is explicitly set to "off" in the nginx conf file, actively disabling 0-RTT, even though it's disabled by default.
That's all, carry on.
Several factors edged the world's most popular payment service into the top spot.
PayPal was the most frequently spoofed brand in the third quarter of 2019, unseating Microsoft, phishers' usual favorite, which held the top spot for more than a year, Vade Secure reports.
Microsoft has been the most impersonated brand for five consecutive quarters, or as long as Vade Secure has published its quarterly Phishers' Favorites report. PayPal has consistently been a popular target; however, this year saw an uptick in PayPal attacks. Unique PayPal phishing URLs spiked 167.8% and 111.9% year-over-year in the first and second quarters, respectively. This quarter saw 69.6% growth with 16,547 unique PayPal phishing URLs, or nearly 180 per day.
[...]Phishing campaigns have capitalized on PayPal's popularity. One discovered by Vade researchers targeted more than 700,000 people, primarily located in Europe, with emails threatening legal action and requesting a small amount of money from recipients.