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For 6-month period:
2017-07-01 to 2017-12-31
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[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:46 | Votes:133

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday December 05, @10:37PM   Printer-friendly
from the hard-to-swing-a-pick-in-zero-G dept.

So, you want to be an asteroid miner?

So [Williams] started talking to Christopher Dreyer, a professor at the Colorado School of Mines' Center for Space Resources, a research and technology development center that's existed within the school for more than a decade.

It was good timing. Because this summer, Mines announced its intention to found the world's first graduate program in Space Resources—the science, technology, policy, and politics of prospecting, mining, and using those resources. The multidisciplinary program would offer Post-Baccalaureate certificates and Masters of Science degrees. Although it's still pending approval for a 2018 start date, the school is running its pilot course, taught by Dreyer, this semester.

The focus seems to be on space colonies mining what they need in place, more than bringing material back to Earth.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday December 05, @09:03PM   Printer-friendly
from the blends-in-with-the-soot dept.

BBC:

Electric black taxis have hit London's roads under plans to improve air quality but critics say their cost will put drivers off "going green".

The cab costs £55,599 up from £45,000 for the newest petrol equivalent.

Chris Gubbey, boss of manufacturer the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) insists the cab will "play a major role in helping to improve air quality".

The launch comes weeks ahead of rules requiring new cabs in the capital to be capable of emitting zero emissions.

More than 9,000 such taxis, roughly half the current black cab fleet, are expected on London's roads by 2021.

The £10K price difference should break even in two years of savings on fuel, less if maintenance costs are factored in. But will that make up for lost revenue from fares the cabs can't accept while recharging?


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posted by martyb on Tuesday December 05, @07:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the new-baby-boomers dept.

A woman in the U.S. has given birth in the last month after having successfully received a uterus transplant in September 2016. This follows an unsuccessful uterus transplant performed at the Cleveland Clinic in February 2016:

For the first time in the United States, a woman who had a uterus transplant has given birth.

The mother, who was born without a uterus, received the transplant from a living donor last year at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, and had a baby boy there last month, the hospital said on Friday.

At the family's request, their name, hometown and the date of the birth are being withheld to protect their privacy, according to Julie Smith, a spokeswoman for the hospital, which is part of Baylor Scott & White Health.

Since 2014, eight other babies have been born to women who had uterus transplants, all in Sweden, at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg.

[...] At Baylor, eight women have had transplants, including the new mother, in a clinical trial designed to include 10 patients. One recipient is pregnant, and two others — one of whom received her transplant from a deceased donor — are trying to conceive. Four other transplants failed after the surgery, and the organs had to be removed, said Dr. Giuliano Testa, principal investigator of the research project and surgical chief of abdominal transplantation.

"We had a very rough start, and then hit the right path," Dr. Testa said in a telephone interview. "Who paid for it in a certain way were the first three women. I feel very thankful for their contribution, more so than I can express."

Up to 50,000 women may be candidates for uterus transplants.

Also at Newsweek, Time, and Dallas News.

Related: President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Says Transgender Women Could Give Birth


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posted by martyb on Tuesday December 05, @05:57PM   Printer-friendly
from the all-your-coin-are-belong-to-us dept.

In May, the bill S.1241 (archive) was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Chuck Grassley, a Republican Senator from Iowa. The bill, if enacted, would call upon the Department of Homeland Security to develop

a strategy to interdict and detect prepaid access devices, digital currencies, or other similar instruments, at border crossings and other ports of entry for the United States

According to a story at btcmanager.com (square brackets in original),

the bill would "criminalize [those] intentionally concealing ownership or control of a [digital currency or digital exchange] account.

The Senate held a meeting about the bill on November 28. Witnesses included Charles Davidson of the Kleptocracy Initiative of the Hudson Institute conservative think tank; Douglas Farah of IBI Consultants, which specializes in "issues of national security, transnational crime, terrorism, terror finance and non-state armed actors"; and Kathryn Haun Rodriguez of Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange. Ms. Haun, however, made no mention of cryptocurrency in her testimony (PDF).


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday December 05, @04:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the phone-to-flip-over dept.

Samsung has announced its W2018 dual-screen flip phone, with a wide aperture camera lens, Snapdragon 835, and 6 GB of RAM. It will likely only be released in Asian markets:

Samsung unveiled a new expensive flip phone, the Samsung W2018, during a launch event in China today, as first reported by GizmoChina. Many of the W2018's specs are on par with the S8 and Note 8, with one exception: the camera lens.

[...] With an aperture of f/1.5, Samsung claims that the W2018's 12-megapixel rear camera can capture sharp images in less light than the cameras on rival phones can. It also has a 5-megapixel front camera. Through software, the camera can sense when there's enough light to switch to f/2.4 and capture more of the background in photos. The phone will launch with Android Nougat, instead of Oreo.

[...] As an attempt to sweeten the deal for luxury lovers, Samsung says that W2018 buyers also get perks like concierge help at airports and subways, free software tech support, and a hotline just for VIPs. The phone will get released in China first and the price is yet to be announced, but we can guess it might be even higher than the W2017's price tag of $3,000. That's a lot to pay for tech support and taking clear photos at night.

In the West, you can expect a foldable instead of a flippable phone.

Also at Engadget and Android Headlines.

Related: People Opting for a Dumbphone Over a Smartphone


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday December 05, @02:51PM   Printer-friendly
from the deja-vu-all-before-again dept.

We've been told its all our fault that antibiotic drugs are losing the arms race to bacteria. We tend to over use the drugs, and the bacteria tend to develop immunity.

However, a story in Ars Technica suggests we aren't just one step ahead, we may actually be a couple steps behind the bacteria:

Genetic analyses of 288 bacterial isolates collected between 1911 and 1969 from 31 countries show that Salmonella developed resistance to an antibiotic several years before that drug even hit the market. The finding suggests that the diarrhea-causing bacteria were somehow primed to withstand the semi-synthetic antibiotic ampicillin before doctors could prescribe it in the early 1960s. Thus, overuse in humans didn't drive the emergence of that resistance.

Instead, the authors speculate that overuse of a related antibiotic—penicillin G—in animals may be to blame.

[...] "Although our study cannot identify a causal link between the use of penicillin G and the emergence of transmissible ampicillin-resistance in livestock, our results suggest that the non-clinical use of penicillins like [penicillin G] may have encouraged the evolution of resistance genes in the late 1950s," Weill said in a press statement.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday December 05, @01:18PM   Printer-friendly
from the vid-off dept.

Vid.me has announced that they are shutting down on December 15th 2017, saying that they could not find a path to sustainability.

This news should be of concern as content creators have been getting increasingly frustrated with Youtube's algorithms that demonetize their videos and this means they have one less alternative to turn towards.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday December 05, @11:45AM   Printer-friendly
from the past-their-sell-by-date dept.

Over 200 fossilized pterosaur eggs have been found at a single dig site in China:

The largest clutch of [pterosaur] eggs ever discovered suggests that the extinct flying reptiles may have gathered together in vast colonies to lay their eggs. More than 200 eggs were discovered at one location in China.

Little is known about how the pterosaurs reproduced. The find suggests that hatchlings were probably incapable of flight when they emerged from the egg, and needed some parental care.

Fossilised pterosaur eggs and embryos are extremely rare. Until now only a handful of eggs have been found, in Argentina and north-western China. The large collection of eggs suggests pterosaurs may have nested in colonies, where they defended their offspring from predator attack.

Also at NYT and NPR.

Egg accumulation with 3D embryos provides insight into the life history of a pterosaur (DOI: 10.1126/science.aan2329) (DX)


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday December 05, @10:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the tax-man-cometh dept.

The Verge reports

[On November 29], Coinbase suffered a major defeat at the hands of the Internal Revenue Service, nearly a year after the case was initially filed. A California federal court has ordered Coinbase to turn over identifying records for all users who have bought, sold, sent, or received more than $20,000 through their accounts in a single year between 2013 and 2015. Coinbase estimates that 14,355 users meet the government's requirements.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday December 05, @08:48AM   Printer-friendly
from the tinker-tailor-soldier-spy dept.

A former National Security Agency employee who worked at Tailored Access Operations has pleaded guilty to willful retention of national defense information, the same charge Harold T. Martin III faces:

A former National Security Agency employee admitted on Friday that he had illegally taken from the agency classified documents believed to have subsequently been stolen from his home computer by hackers working for Russian intelligence.

Nghia H. Pho, 67, of Ellicott City, Md., pleaded guilty to one count of willful retention of national defense information, an offense that carries a possible 10-year sentence. Prosecutors agreed not to seek more than eight years, however, and Mr. Pho's attorney, Robert C. Bonsib, will be free to ask for a more lenient sentence. He remains free while awaiting sentencing on April 6.

Mr. Pho had been charged in secret, though some news reports had given a limited description of the case. Officials unsealed the charges on Friday, resolving the long-running mystery of the defendant's identity.

Mr. Pho, who worked as a software developer for the N.S.A., was born in Vietnam but is a naturalized United States citizen. Prosecutors withheld from the public many details of his government work and of the criminal case against him, which is linked to a continuing investigation of Russian hacking.

Related: "The Shadow Brokers" Claim to Have Hacked NSA
The Shadow Brokers Identify Hundreds of Targets Allegedly Hacked by the NSA
Former NSA Contractor May Have Stolen 75% of TAO's Elite Hacking Tools
NSA Had NFI About Opsec: 2016 Audit Found Laughably Bad Security
Reality Winner NSA Leak Details Revealed by Court Transcript


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday December 05, @07:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the buh-bye! dept.

Gravitational wave detectors could provide advance notice of seismic waves caused by powerful earthquakes (magnitude 8.5 and greater), allowing a little more time for people to evacuate (particularly at coastal regions that may be endangered by a tsunami):

Gravity signals that race through the ground at the speed of light could help seismologists get a better handle on the size of large, devastating quakes soon after they hit, a study suggests. The tiny changes in Earth's gravitational field, created when the ground shifts, arrive at seismic-monitoring stations well before seismic waves.

"The good thing we can do with these signals is have quick information on the magnitude of the quake," says Martin Vallée, a seismologist at the Paris Institute of Earth Physics.

Seismometers in China and South Korea picked up gravity signals immediately after the magnitude-9.1 Tohoku earthquake that devastated parts of Japan in 2011, Vallée and his colleagues report in Science on December 1. The signals appear as tiny accelerations on seismic-recording equipment, more than a minute before the seismic waves show up.

Observations and modeling of the elastogravity signals preceding direct seismic waves (DOI: 10.1126/science.aao0746) (DX)

Related: First Joint Detection of Gravitational Waves by LIGO and Virgo
The Nobel Physics Prize Has Been Awarded to 3 Scientists for Discoveries in Gravitational Waves
"Kilonova" Observed Using Gravitational Waves, Sparking Era of "Multimessenger Astrophysics"


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday December 05, @05:42AM   Printer-friendly
from the two-words:-rogue-wave dept.

ESA Director General Jan Wörner signed a Memorandum of Intent with Rolls-Royce today, as the two entities agree to investigate how space technology can be used to develop autonomous and remote-controlled ships.

The partners will pool their expertise to analyse and implement space-enabled services for autonomous and remote-controlled shipping, which reduces the opportunity for human error and allows crews to concentrate on more valuable tasks.

The plan is to study the applications of various space assets to autonomous shipping, such as satellite-based positioning, better situational awareness using Earth observation data, and satcom services for improved onboard connectivity.

The collaboration with the Rolls-Royce Ship Intelligence division aims to develop and validate new ship-to-shore integrated land-based and satellite-based systems solutions, which ESA has been working on for some time under its Satellite for 5G (S45G) initiative. S45G aims at developing and demonstrating integrated satellite- and terrestrial-based 5G services, across multiple vertical markets and various use cases.

They'll be alright until the Somalis get teenagers with laptops.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday December 05, @04:09AM   Printer-friendly
from the ping-time:-7.04E7-ms dept.

NASA has used Voyager 1's trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) thrusters in place of its attitude control thrusters. The move could extend the amount of time NASA can communicate with Voyager 1 by two to three years:

NASA scientists needed to reorient the 40-year-old Voyager 1 -- the space agency's farthest spacecraft -- so its antenna would point toward Earth, 13 billion miles away. But the "attitude control thrusters," the first option to make the spacecraft turn in space, have been wearing out.

So NASA searched for a Plan B, eventually deciding to try using four "trajectory correction maneuver" (TCM) thrusters, located on the back side of Voyager 1. But those thrusters had not been used in 37 years. NASA wasn't sure they'd work.

Tuesday, engineers fired up the thrusters and waited eagerly to find out whether the plan was successful. They got their answer 19 hours and 35 minutes later, the time it took for the results to reach Earth: The set of four thrusters worked perfectly. The spacecraft turned and the mood at NASA shifted to jubilation.

Also at Space.com.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday December 05, @02:36AM   Printer-friendly
from the be-still-my-bleeding-[silicone]-heart dept.

Soft hearted:

It looks like a real heart. And this is the goal of the first entirely soft artificial heart: to mimic its natural model as closely as possible. The silicone heart has been developed by Nicholas Cohrs, a doctoral student in the group led by Wendelin Stark, Professor of Functional Materials Engineering at ETH Zurich. The reasoning why nature should be used as a model is clear. Currently-used blood pumps have many disadvantages: their mechanical parts are susceptible to complications while the patient lacks a physiological pulse, which is assumed to have some consequences for the patient.

“Therefore, our goal is to develop an artificial heart that is roughly the same size as the patient’s own one and which imitates the human heart as closely as possible in form and function,” says Cohrs. A well-functioning artificial heart is a real necessity: about 26 million people worldwide suffer from heart failure while there is a shortage of donor hearts. Artificial blood pumps help to bridge the waiting time until a patient receives a donor heart or their own heart recovers.

The soft artificial heart was created from silicone using a 3D-printing, lost-wax casting technique; it weighs 390 grams and has a volume of 679 cm3. “It is a silicone monoblock with complex inner structure,” explains Cohrs. This artificial heart has a right and a left ventricle, just like a real human heart, though they are not separated by a septum but by an additional chamber. This chamber is in- and deflated by pressurized air and is required to pump fluid from the blood chambers, thus replacing the muscle contraction of the human heart.

Would you rather replace your organs with models made from soft materials, or titanium?


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday December 05, @01:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the I-just-lost-my-appetite dept.

A small human trial (27 participants) has found no benefits to consuming (dried) placental pills. The control group took pills containing beef or vegetarian mock beef:

In two new studies, researchers conclude that new moms who consume their placentas experience no significant changes in their moods, energy levels, hormone levels, or in bonding with their new infant, when compared with moms ingesting a placebo. "It really does show that most of what's going on, if not all, is a placebo effect," says Mark Kristal, a behavioral neuroscientist at the State University of New York in Buffalo who has studied the practice—known as placentophagy—in other animals for more than 40 years.

Humans aren't the only species that eat their placentas. In fact, nearly all mammals do. In rats, placentophagy spurs moms to start taking care of their pups and relieves birthing pain; both amniotic fluid and placentas contain a factor that acts as a morphine-related analgesic. But whether placentophagy confers such benefits in humans has been unclear. What is clear is that the practice is gaining in popularity. Before the 1970s, it was used occasionally in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a host of ailments in men and women. Now, there are cookbooks that offer guidelines for the storage and preparation of placenta-based smoothies and meals. Most contemporary consumers first steam and dehydrate the placenta before pulverizing it and fashioning it into a vitaminlike pill.

Maybe they need to eat it when it is fresh and raw instead of dried and powdered.

Effects of placentophagy on maternal salivary hormones: A pilot trial, part 1 (DOI: 10.1016/j.wombi.2017.09.023) (DX)

Placentophagy's effects on mood, bonding, and fatigue: A pilot trial, part 2 (DOI: 10.1016/j.wombi.2017.11.004) (DX)

Related: The Gruesome History of Eating Corpses as Medicine
Prematurely Born Lambs Kept Alive With Artificial External Placenta - Human Babies Could be Next


Original Submission