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There seem to be more new Sci-Fi shows coming out now than ever. Tell me, Soylent, which is the best?

  • Zoo
  • Humans
  • Killjoys
  • Dark Matter
  • Sense 8
  • The Whispers
  • Other Space
  • Have I told you about how I don't own a TV, yet?

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:66 | Votes:206

posted by janrinok on Saturday August 01, @01:32AM   Printer-friendly
from the nothing-ruled-in,-nothing-ruled-out dept.

Scientists say the Philae space probe has gathered data supporting the theory that comets can serve as cosmic laboratories in which some of the essential elements for life are assembled.

Philae, which is part of the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission, used two separate instruments to 'sniff' for molecules during its bumpy landing on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko last November.

"Comets are loaded with all the raw materials like water, CO2, methane, ammonia, needed to assemble more complex organic molecules, perhaps sparked by UV-photons from the Sun or cosmic rays, or in the shock that occurs when a comet hits the surface of a planet like the young Earth," said Mark McCaughrean, a senior scientific adviser at the European Space Agency. It's not yet known whether the complex molecules found in 67P were made in the early solar system and then incorporated into the comet or formed there later, he said. "Either way, it seems that comets are pretty good places to find the building blocks of molecules which later on could be used for life."

McCaughrean, who wasn't directly involved in the study, dismissed recent reports that evidence of life itself had been found on the comet. But he said the prebiotic compounds that were detected might be coaxed into even more complex molecules such as amino acids, including by a planetary impact.

Proteins, fundamental to living organisms, are made from long chains of amino acids, and the simplest one, glycine, was even detected in material collected from the tail of another comet by NASA's Stardust mission a few years ago. The Philae scientists have not found any amino acids on 67P yet, but that's not to say they aren't there. As Philae was only able to perform experiments for 60 hours before its batteries were depleted, scientists were unable to complete some of the work they had hoped to carry out.

Organic compounds on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko revealed by COSAC mass spectrometry [abstract]


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posted by janrinok on Saturday August 01, @12:20AM   Printer-friendly
from the stepping-on-toes? dept.

Who would have felt comfortable in these circumstances?

A Massachusetts man was driving in the town of Medford last Saturday night. He admits he took a wrong turn and ended up going the wrong way down a traffic circle. The angry man steps out of a truck and approaches him. Michael, seemingly -- and perhaps understandably -- frightened, reverses. The angry man follows him and Michael stops.

The angry man appears to show his badge and identifies himself as a police officer. Some, though, might be troubled by the officer's greeting: "I'll put a hole in your head." Michael is apologetic and explains to the officer -- now identified as Det. Stephen LeBert -- that he is being recorded. LeBert suggests that he will seize the camera.

"I'm a f***ing Medford detective and you went through that f***ing rotary," says LeBert. As Michael insists he didn't see a sign, LeBert demands his license. "You're lucky I'm a cop, otherwise I'd be beating the f***ing piss out of you right now," LeBert adds, shortly after calling the driver an a**hole. LeBert ultimately calls for on-duty cops who at least do a little to calm the situation. However, the fact that Michael posted his video to YouTube has led to an investigation.

Medford Police Chief Leo Sacco told MyFoxBoston: "It's not the proper behavior, but we only know about it when people tell us. And unfortunately, we had to get up this morning and see it on a YouTube video."

In the days before cameras proliferated, you had to rely on witnesses and hearsay. The police were more likely to be believed by those in authority. Cameras have begun to change that -- on both sides.

Sacco told the Medford Transcript: "The video is troubling enough, and it requires investigation just based on what we see here. The driver does not have to file his own complaint. He may, but he does not have to."

[...] Sacco told the Medford Transcript that LeBert was a good policeman. He added, perhaps unfortunately: "If you work hard you do step on people's toes, which generates complaints."


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posted by janrinok on Friday July 31, @10:54PM   Printer-friendly
from the way-I-type-I'm-not-surprised dept.

Security researchers have refined a long-theoretical profiling technique into a highly practical attack that poses a threat to Tor users and anyone else who wants to shield their identity online.

The technique collects user keystrokes as an individual enters usernames, passwords, and other data into a website. After a training session that typically takes less than 10 minutes, the website—or any other site connected to the website—can then determine with a high degree of certainty when the same individual is conducting subsequent online sessions. The profiling works by measuring the minute differences in the way each person presses keys on computer keyboards. Since the pauses between keystrokes and the precise length of time each key is pressed are unique for each person, the profiles act as a sort of digital fingerprint that can betray its owner's identity.

The prospect of widely available databases that identify users based on subtle differences in their typing was unsettling enough to researchers Per Thorsheim and Paul Moore that they have created a Chrome browser plugin that's designed to blunt the threat. The plugin caches the input keystrokes and after a brief delay relays them to the website in at a pseudo-random rate. Thorsheim, a security expert who organizes the annual PasswordsCon conference, and Moore, an information security consultant at UK-based Urity Group, conceived the plugin after thinking through all the ways the typing profiles could be used to compromise online anonymity.


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posted by janrinok on Friday July 31, @09:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the of-we-go-again dept.

Russia on Wednesday set a date for the first Proton rocket launch since an engine failure in May saw a Mexican satellite destroyed.

Authorities said a Proton-M rocket would blast off from the Baikonur launch site in Kazakhstan on August 28 carrying a British Inmarsat-5F3 commercial communications satellite.

A similar rocket bearing a Mexican satellite fell back to earth on May 16 after suffering an engine malfunction, in one of a string of embarrassing failures for Russia's troubled space programme.

The state-run Khrunichev Centre spacecraft maker said that a probe into the disaster showed it was due to a construction flaw in one of the engines.

"A plan to eradicate the reasons for the engine failure has been fulfilled," it said in a statement.

The Proton-M failure in May came exactly a year after the same model of rocket carrying Russia's most advanced communications satellite fell back to Earth minutes after lift-off. That accident was later blamed on a damaged ball bearing.


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posted by janrinok on Friday July 31, @08:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the cut-his-finger-nails dept.

With just one final Wolverine movie left, Hugh Jackman turned to social media to get some ideas on what to do with it. On Monday, he shared the following request on Twitter:

        My last time putting on the claws. What do you want to see happen? 50 words or less. I'll read as many as I can. pic.twitter.com/ksA1Gii5tf

        — Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) July 27, 2015

"The Wolverine," the last movie, portrayed a Japan that would feel familiar to fans of "The Barbarian and the Geisha," "You Only Live Twice," and "The Karate Kid, Part II". What would Soylent fans of Wolverine like to see?


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday July 31, @07:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the HiFi-WiFi-LiFi dept.

Researchers at Arizona State University have demonstrated the world's first white lasers:

The researchers have created a novel nanosheet – a thin layer of semiconductor [...] – with three parallel segments, each supporting laser action in one of three elementary colors. The device is capable of lasing in any visible color, completely tunable from red, green to blue, or any color in between. When the total field is collected, a white color emerges.

[...] The technological advance puts lasers one step closer to being a mainstream light source and potential replacement or alternative to light emitting diodes (LEDs). Lasers are brighter, more energy efficient, and can potentially provide more accurate and vivid colors for displays like computer screens and televisions. Ning's group has already shown that their structures could cover as much as 70 percent more colors than the current display industry standard.

Another important application could be in the future of visible light communication in which the same room lighting systems could be used for both illumination and communication. The technology under development is called Li-Fi for light-based wireless communication, as opposed to the more prevailing Wi-Fi using radio waves. Li-Fi could be more than 10 times faster than current Wi-Fi, and white laser Li-Fi could be 10 to 100 times faster than LED based Li-Fi currently still under development.

A monolithic white laser [abstract]

See also our story last year: Philips Launches "Intelligent LED Lighting" for Retail Stores.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday July 31, @06:03PM   Printer-friendly
from the cue-'does-it-run-linux'-jokes dept.

China is planning another petaflop supercomputer, this time to support what will by next year become the world's largest radiotelescope.

The telescope itself, a 500 metre monster that's scooped into a hilltop in Guizhou, has been under construction since 2011.

This week, engineers began installing the 4,450 panels that will make up the FAST (Five hundred metre Aperture Spherical Telescope) facility, which the Middle Kingdom's Academy of Sciences reckons will be able to detect radio signals from more than ten billion light years' distance.

More importantly, its huge size will also mean FAST can pick up even fainter signals than those captured at today's biggest radiotelescope, the [300 metre] Arecibo Radio Observatory in Puerto Rico.

Xinhua reports that the instrument will be supported by Skyeye-1, a petaflop facility that'll connect to FAST with 100 Gbps links.

The Institute of Computing Technology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences(CASICT), Dawning Information Industry Co and China (Guizhou) Skyeye Group will build what's to be called the Qiannan Super Computing Center in Guizhou.

FAST's daily peak demand is predicted to exceed 200 teraflops, with first stage storage of more than 10 petabytes, CASICT researcher Zhang Peiheng told the state-run news agency.

More information at Wikipedia; arXiv.org has the 2011 abstract and full PDF.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday July 31, @04:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the sour-grapes-or-a-valid-point? dept.

Insurance industry officials warn that Uber drivers don't [always] have the proper accident coverage and are putting themselves and the public at risk when they get behind the wheel. That stark message, and a call for the city to regulate Uber drivers, came during what a pair of insurance officials and Councillor Jim Karygiannis called a "technical briefing" at Toronto City Hall Thursday.

They said many drivers for the controversial ride-sharing service are hiding their activity from insurers. By law, drivers must declare to their insurance company if they're driving passengers for hire so the insurer can provide the proper policy and accident coverage.

[...]

But Philomena Comerford, CEO of Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers, said in many cases this isn't happening with Uber drivers. That means Ontario's motorists could be hit with higher premiums because of "significant and unexpected" injury claims.

"This problem comes at time when the insurance industry is working hard with the Ontario government to reduce personal consumer automobile insurance rates which do not contemplate this commercial activity," she said.

MacGregor said Uber's $5-million supplementary policy covers the company, but not the drivers themselves.


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posted by janrinok on Friday July 31, @03:49PM   Printer-friendly
from the another-outbreak-of-commonsense dept.

Proposed changes to the US government's export controls on hacking tools will likely be scaled back following widespread criticism from the infosec community, a government spokesman has said.

"A second iteration of this regulation will be promulgated," a spokesman for the US Department of Commerce told Reuters, "and you can infer from that that the first one will be withdrawn." The proposed restrictions are required by the Wassenaar Arrangement, a 41-nation pact that first came into effect in 1996 and which calls for limits on trade of "dual-use goods," meaning items that have both civilian and military applications.

In 2013, the list of goods governed under the Arrangement was amended to include technologies used for testing, penetrating, and exploiting vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks. Each company participating in the Arrangement is responsible for implementing the required export controls as it sees fit, but the rules proposed by the US were more sweeping than those put forth by other countries.

Security experts have complained that the language of the new rules, which the Commerce Department has made available for public comment since May, is overly broad and could have a chilling effect on the entire information security industry.


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posted by janrinok on Friday July 31, @02:51PM   Printer-friendly
from the we-can-see-you dept.

BBC reports:

HIV can be flushed out of its hiding places in the body using a cancer drug, researchers show. The cornerstone of treatment, anti-retroviral therapy, kills the virus in the bloodstream but leaves "HIV reservoirs" untouched. The study, published in PLoS Pathogens, showed the drug was "highly potent" at reactivating hidden HIV.

Experts said the findings were interesting, but it was important to know if the drug was safe in patients.

The power of the HIV reservoir was shown with the case of the Mississippi baby. She was given antiretroviral drugs at birth. Despite appearing to be free of HIV for nearly two years after stopping treatment, she was found to be harbouring the virus.

A strategy known as "kick and kill" is thought to be key to curing HIV - the kick would wake up the dormant HIV allowing the drugs to kill it. The team at the UC Davis School of Medicine investigated PEP005 - one of the ingredients in a treatment to prevent cancer in sun-damaged skin. They tested the drug in cells grown in the laboratory and in parts of the immune system taken from 13 people with HIV.

The report said "PEP005 is highly potent in reactivating latent HIV" and that the chemical represents "a new group of lead compounds for combating HIV". One of the researchers, Dr Satya Dandekar, said: "We are excited to have identified an outstanding candidate for HIV reactivation and eradication that is already approved and is being used in patients."


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday July 31, @01:48PM   Printer-friendly
from the still-using-TrueCrypt? dept.

ESET's WeLiveSecurity blog has released details of Win32/Potao malware attack campaigns on high-value targets in Ukraine, Russia, Georgia and Belarus:

We presented our initial findings based on research into the Win32/Potao malware family in June, in our CCCC 2015 presentation in Copenhagen. Today, we are releasing the full whitepaper on the Potao malware with additional findings, the cyber-espionage campaigns where it was employed, and its connection to a backdoor in the form of a modified version of the TrueCrypt encryption software.

Like BlackEnergy, the malware used by the so-called Sandworm APT group (also known as Quedagh), Potao is an example of targeted espionage malware directed mostly at targets in Ukraine and a number of other post-Soviet countries, including Russia, Georgia and Belarus.

[...] An (A)PT malware family that has gone relatively unnoticed for five years and that has also been used to spy on Ukrainian governmental and military targets is certainly interesting in and of itself. However, perhaps the most attention-grabbing discovery related to this case was when we observed a connection to the popular open-source encryption software, TrueCrypt. We found out that the website truecryptrussia.ru has been serving modified versions of the encryption software that included a backdoor to selected targets. Clean versions of the application are served to normal visitors to the website, i.e. people who aren't of interest to the attackers. ESET detects the trojanized TrueCrypt as Win32/FakeTC. TrueCrypt Russia's domain was also used as a C&C server for the malware. The connection to Win32/Potao, which is a different malware family from Win32/FakeTC, is that FakeTC has been used to deliver Potao to victims' systems in a number of cases. FakeTC is not, however, merely an infection vector for Potao (and possibly other malware) but a fully functional and dangerous backdoor designed to exfiltrate files from the espionage victims' encrypted drives.

From The Register.


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posted by CoolHand on Friday July 31, @12:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the caught-in-the-storm dept.

The Associated Press reports some disturbing data on the water quality in Rio De Janeiro, site of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Sewage treatment in Rio is in a sad state. There have been some half-assed efforts to build treatment plants, but they haven't kept pace with the city's rapid population growth, and most of the sewage just flows into rivers and streams untreated. The AP commissioned a study to measure bacteria and viruses in the outdoor water sport venues as well as some tourist beaches, and found dangerously high levels of pathogens in all of them.

Ivan Bulaja, the Croatian-born coach of Austria's 49er-class sailing team, has seen it firsthand. His sailors have lost valuable training days after falling ill with vomiting and diarrhea. "This is by far the worst water quality we've ever seen in our sailing careers," said Bulaja.

Training earlier this month in Guanabara Bay, Austrian sailor David Hussl said he and his teammates take precautions, washing their faces immediately with bottled water when they get splashed by waves and showering the minute they return to shore. And yet Hussl said he's fallen ill several times.

"I've had high temperatures and problems with my stomach," he said. "It's always one day completely in bed and then usually not sailing for two or three days." It is a huge risk for the athletes, the coach said.

"The Olympic medal is something that you live your life for," Bulaja said, "and it can really happen that just a few days before the competition you get ill and you're not able to perform at all."

Dr. Alberto Chebabo, who heads Rio's Infectious Diseases Society, said the raw sewage has led to "endemic" public health woes among Brazilians, primarily infectious diarrhea in children. By adolescence, he said, people in Rio have been so exposed to the viruses they build up antibodies. But foreign athletes and tourists won't have that protection.


Original Submission

posted by CoolHand on Friday July 31, @11:25AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-tell-them-about-motorcycles dept.

Like record companies at the dawn of online music file sharing, Allstate, Geico, State Farm, and others are grappling with innovations that could put a huge dent in their revenue. As carmakers automate more aspects of driving, accidents will likely plunge and car owners will need less coverage. Premiums consumers pay could drop as much as 60 percent in 15 years as self-driving cars hit the roads, says Donald Light, head of the North America property and casualty practice for Celent, a research firm. His message for insurers: "You have to be prepared to see that part of your business shrink, probably considerably."

Auto insurance has long been a lucrative business. The industry collected about $195 billion in premiums last year from U.S. drivers. New customers are the source of so much profit that Geico alone spends more than $1 billion a year on ads to pitch its policies with a talking lizard and other characters. Yet even Warren Buffett, whose company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns Geico, is talking about the long-term risks to the business model. "If you could come up with anything involved in driving that cut accidents by 30 percent, 40 percent, 50 percent, that would be wonderful," he said at a conference in March. "But we would not be holding a party at our insurance company."

The loss of revenue for the insurance industry gives me a sad.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday July 31, @10:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the downside dept.

The latest Wikileaks drop is about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, and its probable impact on "State Owned Enterprises." (SOE)

The Analysis of Leaked TPPA Paper for Ministers' Guidance on SOEs, by Professor Jane Kelsey, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland, New Zealand, makes specific reference to public broadcasters as SOEs that could be included under the TPP, and subject to a variety of new, yet undefined, restrictions.

That could mean the CBC in Canada, and likely NPR and PBS in the US. In particular, it's possible that the TPP might insist that governments not provide support (such as funding or protections) for these, and other essential public services.

From the report:

It looks like SOEs are not allowed to get government support or non-commercial assistance – such as capital injections, subsidies, grants, cheaper access to finance, government guarantees and access to land, premises or facilities on preferential terms – if that causes "adverse effects" to another TPPA country. That kind of support is often essential for SOEs that provide public functions that are not proftable or are even loss-making.

{snip} ... it suggests that a postal service, public telecommunications provider or state-owned bank that receives financial support from the government to deliver services into poor areas for social reasons could be challenged by a courier firm, satellite operator or internet bank from another country that says the support is adversely affecting it and hence its country's interests.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday July 31, @08:43AM   Printer-friendly
from the cough-choke dept.

The 3D design uses a transistor-less cross point architecture to create a 3D design of interconnects, where memory cells sit at the intersection of word lines and bit lines, allowing the cells to be addressed individually. This means data can be read or written to and from the actual cells containing data and not the whole chip containing relevant cells.

Beyond that, though, we don't know much about the memory, like exactly what kind of memory it is. Is it phase change memory, ReRAM, MRAM or some other kind of memory? The two won't say. The biggest unanswered question in my mind is the bus for this new memory, which is supposed to start coming to market next year. The SATA III bus used by virtually all motherboards is already considered saturated. PCI Express is a faster alternative assuming you have the lanes for the data.

Making memory 1000 times faster isn't very useful if it chokes on the I/O bus, which is exactly what will happen if they use existing technology. It would be like a one-lane highway with no speed limit.

It needs a new use model. It can't be positioned as a hard drive alternative because the interfaces will choke it. So the question becomes what do they do? Clearly they need to come up with their own bus. Jim Handy, an analyst who follows the memory space, thinks it will be an SRAM interface. SRAM is used in CPU caches. This would mean the 3D XPoint memory would talk directly to the CPU.

"The beauty of an SRAM interface is that its really, really fast. What's not nice is it has a high pin count," he told me.

He also likes the implementation from Diablo Technologies, which basically built SSD drives in the shape of DDR3 memory sticks that plug into your motherboard memory slots. This lets the drives talk to the CPU at the speed of memory and not a hard drive.

One thing is for sure, the bus will be what makes or breaks 3D XPoint, because what good is a fast read if it chokes on the I/O interface?


Original Submission

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