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NASA's Curiosity rover has found evidence that chemistry in the surface material on Mars contributed dynamically to the makeup of its atmosphere over time. It's another clue that the history of the Red Planet's atmosphere is more complex and interesting than a simple legacy of loss.
The findings come from the rover's Sample Analysis at Mars, or SAM, instrument suite, which studied the gases xenon and krypton in Mars' atmosphere. The two gases can be used as tracers to help scientists investigate the evolution and erosion of the Martian atmosphere. A lot of information about xenon and krypton in Mars' atmosphere came from analyses of Martian meteorites and measurements made by the Viking mission.
"What we found is that earlier studies of xenon and krypton only told part of the story," said Pamela Conrad, lead author of the report and SAM's deputy principal investigator at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "SAM is now giving us the first complete in situ benchmark against which to compare meteorite measurements."
Of particular interest to scientists are the ratios of certain isotopes - or chemical variants - of xenon and krypton. The SAM team ran a series of first-of-a-kind experiments to measure all the isotopes of xenon and krypton in the Martian atmosphere. The experiments are described in a paper published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
The data is expected to add to our understanding of how a planet's atmosphere evolves.
The blowback against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's decision to ban kratom has caught the attention of a bipartisan group of legislators, but a DEA spokesman has said that "It's not a matter of if. It's simply a matter of when" the DEA bans kratom:
A bipartisan group of nine senators is calling on the Drug Enforcement Administration to delay its "unprecedented" decision to ban kratom, a plant that researchers say holds great potential for mitigating the effects of the opioid epidemic. [...] The Senate letter, spearheaded by Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) says: "Congress granted emergency scheduling authority to the DEA based on the need for law enforcement interdiction of new and previously unknown illegal synthetic street drugs that result in injuries and death. The use of this emergency authority for a natural substance is unprecedented, so it is important to determine whether the circumstances here necessitate a jump to Schedule I.
"Given the long reported history of Kratom use," the letter continues, "coupled with the public's sentiment that it is a safe alternative to prescription opioids, we believe using the regular review process would provide for a much-needed discussion among all stakeholders." [...] The DEA cites 600-plus poison-control center calls involving kratom between 2010 and 2015 in its justification for banning the plant, and notes that 15 deaths were linked to the use of the plant between 2014 and 2016. In an interview with The Washington Post, a DEA spokesman later clarified that all but one of those fatalities involved the use of other substances. Earlier this week 51 U.S. representatives similarly called on the DEA and the White House to reconsider or at least delay the ban, which was slated to go into effect as early as Friday. In an interview, DEA spokesman Russell Baer confirmed that the ban was not yet in place. "We have not yet determined a date when we will publish that final order" putting the ban into effect, he said.
There may be a public comment period before the ban takes effect, and the White House is now obligated to respond to the petition about kratom, which has reached over 140,000 signatures.
Previously: DEA Welcomes Kratom to the Schedule I List Beginning September 30
Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
Alcohol Industry Bankrolls Fight Against Legal Pot in Battle of the Buzz [Updated]
Riding a roller coaster may help patients to break up and pass kidney stones:
When you're trying to pass a kidney stone, you're probably not thinking, in your cloud of agony, "Darn it! I should have ridden a roller coaster." And yet a new study suggests doing just that. According to research published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association [open, DOI: 10.7556/jaoa.2016.128] [DX], the bump and jolt of a roller coaster may actually help bump and jolt small kidney stones right through your system.
Dr. David Wartinger is one of the researchers who led the study, which involved bringing a silicone model packed with kidney stones and urine on Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride. Yes, it is as fascinating as it sounds. Wartinger, an osteopathic urological surgeon and professor at Michigan State University, said he got the idea from a patient who said he passed three kidney stones while riding the Orlando coaster. "It's hard to ignore that kind of a story, no matter how much of a cynic you are," Wartinger said. To be fair, you can't pin this one on Disney magic. "We have been hearing stories for years from people who went on vacation, gone to amusement parks, and ended up passing a kidney stone," he said.
Google released a hugely important patch for Chrome OS. The post about the patch in question states that it patched "a chain of exploits that gains code execution in guest mode across reboots, delivered via web page." The fact that the person won the top prize in their pwnium project means that the person in question managed to get a working rootkit. There is also mention of needing additional hardening, which may mean a whole class of vulnerabilities are present. One paranoid commentator on another site pointed to "a kernel key version update in the TPM" in the patch as meaning their old signing key having lead to the vulnerability.
One thing is sure, however, once the security embargo ends, that bug report might be a good read.
The Supreme Court on Thursday said it would decide, once and for all, whether federal intellectual property regulators can refuse to issue trademarks with disparaging or inappropriate names.
At the center of the issue is a section of trademark law that actually forbids the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) from approving a trademark if it "consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute."
The case before the justices, which they will hear sometime in the upcoming term beginning in October, concerns the Portland-based Asian-American rock band called the Slants. Previously, decisions have come down on both sides regarding trademarking offensive names. The most notable denial is likely the name of the NFL's Washington franchise, "Redskins." But lesser known denials include "Stop the Islamization of America," "The Christian Prostitute," "AMISHHOMO," "Mormon Whiskey," "Ride Hard Retard," "Abort the Republicans," and "Democrats Shouldn't Breed."
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told a Senate hearing Tuesday that 18 states have taken up his agency's offer to help improve cyber security for their election systems, in the wake of suspected breaches blamed on Russian hackers. "We are seeing a limited number of instances where there have been efforts through cyber intrusions to get into the online presence of various state election agencies. And, one or two of them have been successful, others have not," Johnson said at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing.
[...] Asked by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, whether hackers are seeking to change votes, Johnson said: "What we are seeing are efforts to get into voter registration rolls, the identity of registered voters, things of that nature, not to change a ballot count." Johnson said the matter was still an active investigation and that the source of the intrusions hadn't been concluded.
US officials briefed on the investigation have told CNN that an intrusion in an Illinois voter registration database and an attempted breach in Arizona are believed to be the work of hackers working for Russian spy agencies. US officials say there's strong evidence that Russian government hackers are behind a series [of] other cyber-attacks against the Democratic National Committee and other affiliated political organizations.
A furious Frenchman was arrested on Thursday after he marched into an Apple Store and smashed up several iPhones using a petanque [bocce] ball.
The unnamed man was captured on camera using the solid metal ball to crush the smartphones and at least one laptop.
Dressed in dark glasses and one white glove, the vandal struck in the Toison d'Or shopping centre in Dijon.
He was eventually arrested after trying to flee from security guards.
In a video of the incident shared on social media, the man declares that Apple "violates customer rights" and claims he has been refused a refund.
Footage shows the man methodically making his way round a display of iPhones and smashing them, as the shop alarm shrills in the background.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have identified a protein that enables a toxic natural aggregate to spread from cell to cell in a mammal's brain -- and a way to block that protein's action. Their study in mice and cultured cells suggests that an immunotherapy already in clinical trials as a cancer therapy should also be tested as a way to slow the progress of Parkinson's disease, the researchers say.
A report on the study appears Sept. 30 in the journal Science.
Ted Dawson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Institute for Cell Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and one of the study's leaders, says the new findings hinge on how aggregates of α-synuclein protein enter brain cells. Abnormal clumps of α-synuclein protein are often found in autopsies of people with Parkinson's disease and are thought to cause the death of dopamine-producing brain cells.
The scientists genetically engineered mice to lack a key transmembrane receptor, LAG3, that attracts the protein aggregates responsible for Parkinson's. The mice proved immune. Antibodies that targeted LAG3 also shielded subjects from the aggregates.
Pathological α-synuclein transmission initiated by binding lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (DOI: 10.1126/science.aah3374) (DX)
The United Nations plans to purchase a dedicated mission on a Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft in 2021 to give developing nations an opportunity to fly experiments in space. At a press conference during the International Astronautical Congress here Sept. 27, the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) said the agreement to fly the dedicated Dream Chaser mission is part of a broader effort by the office to increase access to space to emerging nations.
"Our project is the first-ever United Nations space mission," said Simonetta Di Pippo, director of UNOOSA. "The mission has one very important goal: to allow United Nations member states to conduct research that cannot be done on Earth." The mission, she said, will be open to all nations, but with a particular emphasis on those nations that don't have the capabilities to fly their own experiments in space. UNOOSA will soon start the process of soliciting payload proposals, with a goal of selecting payloads by early 2018 so that the winning countries have time to build them for a 2021 launch.
Neither SNC nor UNOOSA disclosed the cost of the mission. Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC's Space Systems division, said that the mission will be financed in several ways, with the countries selected to fly experiments paying at least some of the cost of the flight.
Zerodium is offering up to $1.5 million for an exploit against iPhones and iPads running the latest version of iOS 10, or up to $200,000 for an exploit against Android 7:
Last year, Zerodium offered $1 million for iOS exploits, up to a total of $3 million. It dropped the price to $500,000 after receiving and paying for three qualifying submissions. On Thursday, Zerodium founder Chaouki Bekrar said the higher prices are a response to improvements the software makers—Apple and Google in particular—have devised that make their wares considerably harder to compromise.
"Prices are directly linked to the difficulty of making a full chain of exploits, and we know that iOS 10 and Android 7 are both much harder to exploit than their previous versions," he told Ars. Asked why a string of iOS exploits commanded 7.5 times the price of a comparable one for Android he said: "That means that iOS 10 chain exploits are either 7.5 x harder than Android or the demand for iOS exploits is 7.5 x higher. The reality is a mix of both."
Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard
Are you ready for a cosmic shift of epic proportions? You’d better be, because such a shift is approaching, courtesy of our moon! This Friday, September 30th, the moon will be new but ‘black.’ During a black moon, the side of Earth’s natural satellite lit by the sun faces away from our planet. As a result, …
Also at Space.com which clarifies that when there are two New Moons in a single calendar month, the second one is called a Black Moon. This is analogous to a "Blue Moon" which is the second Full Moon occurring in a single calendar month.
Nissan has revealed a thing called the "ProPILOT Chair" that it says exemplifies "the benefits of its intelligent mobility technology" because it " automatically queues on behalf of its occupant, sparing them the hassle of standing in line."
As the video below shows, the chairs are packed with motion-sensing kit and can follow each other around like baby chickens imprinted on their mother.
Nissan swears this is an important innovation as it shows the technologies it built for self-driving cars have wider applicability than just keeping vehicles on the straight and narrow.
Quirky art projects, mobile cafes, the possibilities are endless.
Steve Tyler of the Gin Tub, in Hove, East Sussex, is hoping customers will be encouraged to talk to each other rather than looking at their screens.
He has installed metal mesh in the walls and ceiling of the bar which absorbs and redistributes the electromagnetic signals from phones and wireless devices to prevents them entering the interior of the building.
Why you hating on millennials, Bro?
Google, which is hoping to beam the internet to remote areas of the world via balloon, went before the UN's aviation agency to ask member states to let it ply their airspace.
The company's X Lab, which was created to pursue big-vision projects, said it hopes to establish a network of helium balloons floating in the stratosphere that will emit a powerful 4G signal to rural and difficult-to-access areas.
The new initiative—launched in 2013 and dubbed "Project Loon"—saw its first balloon take off from South America in February only to crash at a tea plantation in Sri Lanka, where it was discovered by villagers.
Alphabet, the parent company of Google, had partnered with Sri Lanka to bring the internet to remote areas there. The country's Information and Communication Technology Agency, which coordinated the tests with Google, described the landing as controlled and scheduled.
Why not build a giant transmitter on the Moon?
A team of explorers say they have discovered the world's deepest underwater cave, 404 meters (1,325 feet) down, near the eastern Czech town of Hranice.
Polish explorer Krzysztof Starnawski told The Associated Press Friday he felt like a "Columbus of the 21th century" to have made the discovery.
Starnawski, 48, found the cave Tuesday in the flooded limestone Hranice Abyss, which he has explored since 1998. He scuba dived to a narrow slot at 200 meters' depth and let through a remotely-operated underwater robot, or ROV, that went to the depth of 404 meters.
In 2015, Starnawski himself passed through the slot and went to 265 meters' depth, realizing that was still far from the bottom and that the cavity was widening.
Speaking on the phone from his home in Krakow, southern Poland, he said that the discovery Tuesday makes Hranice Abyss the world's deepest known underwater cave, beating the previous record-holder, Italy's Pozzo del Merro flooded sinkhole, by 12 meters (39 feet.)