2019-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2019-01-18 10:14:09 UTC
2019-01-21 12:14:27 UTC
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Millions of people live with amputated limbs that are gone forever. But that might not be the case in the future. For the first time, scientists have shown that adult frogs can regrow amputated legs. They say the approach can work in humans, too. "There is no reason that human bodies can't regenerate," said Tufts University biologist Michael Levin, who led the new research. "This is the first proof-of-principle of a roadmap for regenerative therapy in human medicine, well beyond limbs," he added. "Many problems — from birth defects to traumatic injury, aging and even cancer — could be solved if we understood how to induce organs to regrow in place."
Ultimately, that's what Levin and his research team at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, want to figure out: how cells cooperate to build a complex three-dimensional organ and "stop exactly when it's done." But first, the scientists needed to try to reproduce organ growth in animals that don't regenerate. Adult African clawed frogs, a common laboratory animal known in scientific circles Xenopus laevis, fit the bill. The amphibians are not normally regenerative but have some tissue renewal capacity, just like humans. "We were hoping to show that adult Xenopus frogs are capable of limb regeneration, and to find a trigger that allows it to happen," Levin said.
The trigger the team found is progesterone, the sex hormone involved in the female menstrual cycle, pregnancy and breastfeeding. The scientists applied the compound to frogs' amputated back legs with a wearable bioreactor device for 24 hours. Then they watched as the limb regenerated.
Brief Local Application of Progesterone via a Wearable Bioreactor Induces Long-Term Regenerative Response in Adult Xenopus Hindlimb (open, DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.10.010) (DX)
More than 7,000 people still watch TV in black and white more than half a century after colour broadcasts began.
London has the most TV licences for black and white sets at 1,768, followed by 431 in the West Midlands and 390 in Greater Manchester.
A total of 7,161 UK households have failed to start watching in colour despite transmissions starting in 1967.
BBC2 was the first channel to regularly broadcast in colour from July that year with the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
The number of black and white licences has almost halved in the past five years and is down from 212,000 in 2000.
Aha! Those must be the last Manichaeans.
The children's commissioner for England is calling on internet giants and toy-makers to be more transparent about the data they are collecting on children.
Today's children are the first to be "datafied" from birth and little thought has been given to the consequences, a report for her says.
Who Knows What about Me? calls for a statutory duty of care between social media giants and their younger users.
And it urges the government to consider strengthening data protection laws.
The report focuses on connected toys, biometric data collected by schools and the National Health Service, and social media.
If extraterrestrial intelligence exists somewhere in our galaxy, a new MIT study proposes that laser technology on Earth could, in principle, be fashioned into something of a planetary porch light — a beacon strong enough to attract attention from as far as 20,000 light years away.
The research, which author James Clark calls a "feasibility study," appears today in The Astrophysical Journal. The findings suggest that if a high-powered 1- to 2-megawatt laser were focused through a massive 30- to 45-meter telescope and aimed out into space, the combination would produce a beam of infrared radiation strong enough to stand out from the sun's energy.
Such a signal could be detectable by alien astronomers performing a cursory survey of our section of the Milky Way — especially if those astronomers live in nearby systems, such as around Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to Earth, or TRAPPIST-1, a star about 40 light-years away that hosts seven exoplanets, three of which are potentially habitable. If the signal is spotted from either of these nearby systems, the study finds, the same megawatt laser could be used to send a brief message in the form of pulses similar to Morse code.
Also at EarthSky.
Optical Detection of Lasers with Near-term Technology at Interstellar Distances (DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aae380) (DX)
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
China is home to the world’s largest network of CCTV cameras — more than 170 million — and its police have adopted Google Glass-like “smart specs” to seek out suspects in crowds, but now its surveillance efforts have hit a new level with technology that can apparently identify individuals based on their body shape and the way they walk.
The “gait recognition” technology is already being used by police in Beijing and Shanghai where it can identify individuals even when their face is obscured or their back is turned, according to an AP report.
[...] The positive impact is in finding criminals, but there’s a less savory edge. Besides law enforcement, media reports have shown that China has deployed surveillance technology for more sinister purposes that include controlling its people.
A new proof from the Australian science fiction writer Greg Egan and a 2011 proof anonymously posted online are now being hailed as significant advances on a puzzle mathematicians have been studying for at least 25 years.
On September 16, 2011, an anime fan posted a math question to the online bulletin board 4chan about the cult classic television series The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Season one of the show, which involves time travel, had originally aired in nonchronological order, and a re-broadcast and a DVD version had each further rearranged the episodes. Fans were arguing online about the best order to watch the episodes, and the 4chan poster wondered: If viewers wanted to see the series in every possible order, what is the shortest list of episodes they'd have to watch?
In less than an hour, an anonymous person offered an answer — not a complete solution, but a lower bound on the number of episodes required. The argument, which covered series with any number of episodes, showed that for the 14-episode first season of Haruhi, viewers would have to watch at least 93,884,313,611 episodes to see all possible orderings. "Please look over [the proof] for any loopholes I might have missed," the anonymous poster wrote.
The proof slipped under the radar of the mathematics community for seven years — apparently only one professional mathematician spotted it at the time, and he didn't check it carefully. But in a plot twist last month, the Australian science fiction novelist Greg Egan proved a new upper bound on the number of episodes required. Egan's discovery renewed interest in the problem and drew attention to the lower bound posted anonymously in 2011. Both proofs are now being hailed as significant advances on a puzzle mathematicians have been studying for at least 25 years.
Mathematicians quickly verified Egan's upper bound, which, like the lower bound, applies to series of any length. Then Robin Houston, a mathematician at the data visualization firm Kiln, and Jay Pantone of Marquette University in Milwaukee independently verified the work of the anonymous 4chan poster. "It took a lot of work to try to figure out whether or not it was correct," Pantone said, since the key ideas hadn't been expressed particularly clearly.
Now, Houston and Pantone, joined by Vince Vatter of the University of Florida in Gainesville, have written up the formal argument. In their paper, they list the first author as "Anonymous 4chan Poster."
"It's a weird situation that this very elegant proof of something that wasn't previously known was posted in such an unlikely place," Houston said.
[...] If a television series has just three episodes, there are six possible orders in which to view them: 123, 132, 213, 231, 312 and 321. You could string these six sequences together to give a list of 18 episodes that includes every ordering, but there's a much more efficient way to do it: 123121321. A sequence like this one that contains every possible rearrangement (or permutation) of a collection of n symbols is called a "superpermutation."
The story then describes parallels with the "Asymmetric" (aka weighted) traveling salesman problem as well as the fortuitous connections which led researchers to work together in finding calculations of upper and lower bounds for an arbitrary number of episodes. You'll have to RTFA to learn how many episodes you'd need to watch to view them in all possible orders.
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
Adobe is being sued after Premiere Pro unexpectedly deleted a snapper's valuable media files.
David Keith Cooper on Wednesday sued Adobe in San Jose, USA, on behalf of himself and anyone who purchased Premiere Pro 11.1.0, and, as a result, had their personal media files nuked by the video-editing suite. The sueball claims a bug in the application caused it to judiciously erase expensive footage for his projects when he hit the "Clean Cache" function.
[...] At some point, he wanted to free up space on that drive, so told the app to instead use the "Videos" directory on an external storage device to store cached materials. That "Videos" directory also happened to contain footage Cooper, a professional photographer and videographer, had been using for his work. We think you know where this is going.
When he later hit a button to clean the suite's cache, rather than delete the "Media Cache" folder in his "Videos" directory, it instead wiped everything that hadn't been accessed for 90 or more days from the whole "Videos" directory, it is claimed.
[...] Adobe declined to comment on the case, citing a policy against discussing pending litigation.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
[...] In a study that appeared last week (October 25) in Neuron, Dosenbach and his colleagues report what those late-night data reveal about the cerebellum, a region nestled underneath the cerebral cortex at the back of the skull. Their results suggest the anatomy of this region is highly individual, and that it is involved in not only coordinating and smoothing out physical movement—its most famous function—but in running quality control of our thoughts.
[...] And in the Midnight Scan Club data, activity in cortical areas associated with those higher cognitive functions was soon followed by activity in connected regions of the cerebellum, revealing integrated networks between the two, the authors say. "The regions that are involved in these executive functions . . . in the cerebellum, they temporally lag behind the cortex by several hundred milliseconds," says Scott Marek, a postdoc in Dosenbach's lab and first author on the study. He thinks nascent thoughts are relayed from the cortex to the cerebellum, which "has some sort of internal model about how the world should be, and if [the signals are] correct, great, the output goes out, but if not, then those signals get relayed back to the cerebral cortex to adjust the output."
In essence, the cerebellum appears to be performing quality control over our thinking—something it's already known to do for motor functions. Fiez says other neuroscientists had suspected it does so in higher cognitive functions, and she agrees with Marek that the new results are evidence for that hypothesis.
-- submitted from IRC
We had two Soylentils submit stories about Attorney General Jeff Sessions:
"US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been fired by President Donald Trump.
[...] Mr Trump said Mr Sessions will be temporarily replaced by his chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, who has criticised the Russia inquiry.
[...] In a resignation letter, Mr Sessions - a former Alabama senator who was an early supporter of Mr Trump - made clear the decision to go was not his own.
[...] The president cannot directly fire the special counsel, whose investigation Mr Trump has repeatedly decried as a witch hunt. But Mr Sessions' replacement will have the power to fire Mr Mueller or end the inquiry.
[...] Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he looks forward to 'working with President Trump to find a confirmable, worthy successor so that we can start a new chapter at the Department of Justice'.
Mr Graham, of South Carolina, had said last year there would be 'holy hell to pay' if Mr Sessions was ever fired."
[...] House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said: "It is impossible to read Attorney General Sessions' firing as anything other than another blatant attempt by President Trump to undermine & end Special Counsel Mueller's investigation."
Jeff Sessions is out. The new Acting Attorney General is Matthew G. Whitaker:
Matthew Whitaker will take over as acting attorney general, the President said. Whitaker is expected to take charge of the Russia investigation and special counsel Robert Mueller from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Whitaker has been openly critical of Mueller and the investigation and Democrats immediately called on him to recuse himself, just as Sessions had.
The US Surveillance State is Poised to Become Even More Powerful
Trump and Sessions Plan to Restrict H-1B Workers. Hyderabad Says to Bring It On.
Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions Backs Crypto Backdoors
Washington State Will Resist Federal Crackdown on Cannabis
DoJ Reverses Plans to Reduce the Use of Private Prisons
New Attorney General Claims Legal Weed Drives Violent Crime; Statistics be Damned
Trump Administration's War on Science Reaches DoJ
4/20: The Third Time's Not the Charm
Jeff Sessions Reboots the Drug War
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions Will Rescind the Cole Memo
President Trump Backed Off from Ordering Special Counsel Mueller Fired
President Trump Promises to Support State Legalization of Cannabis; Boehner Evolves
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
Yesterday, Microsoft released ADV180028, Guidance for configuring BitLocker to enforce software encryption, in response to a clever crack published on Monday by Carlo Meijer and Bernard van Gastel at Radboud University in the Netherlands (PDF).
[...] The security researchers explain that they were able to modify the firmware of the drives in a required way, because they could use a debugging interface to bypass the password validation routine in SSD drives. It does require physical access to a (internal or external) SSD. But the researchers were able to decrypt hardware-encrypted data without a password. The researchers write that they will not release any details in the form of a proof of concept (PoC) for exploit.
Microsoft's BitLocker feature encrypts all the data on a drive. When you run BitLocker on a Win10 system with a solid state drive that has built-in hardware encryption, BitLocker relies on the self-encrypting drive's own capabilities. If the drive doesn't have hardware self-encryption (or you're using Win7 or 8.1), BitLocker implements software encryption, which is less efficient, but still enforces password protection.
[...] The hardware-based self-encryption flaw seems to be present on most, if not all, self-encrypting drives.
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
NASA has been deliberately creating sonic booms off the coast of Galveston, Texas, since Monday in the hope that residents on the barrier island community won't be too bothered by the sound of an F/A-18 aircraft briefly going supersonic.
That's because the research jet is performing a dive maneuver designed to reduce the normally thunderous sonic boom to what NASA calls a "quiet thump," more like the sound of a car door slamming.
The test flights are aimed at measuring the community response to the new, quieter booms and are part of NASA's larger effort to develop a new, more muted supersonic plane that might be able to fly over land.
Previously: NASA Quesst Project - Quiet Supersonic Transport
Concorde Without the Cacophony: NASA Thinks It's Cracked Quiet Supersonic Flight
NASA Tests Light, Foldable Plane Wings for Supersonic Flights
Trump Administration Supports NASA's Quieter Supersonic Plane Design
NASA Awards Quiet Supersonic Aircraft Contract to Lockheed Martin
[...] This magic biomaterial is mycelium, the vegetative part of the fungus. If you imagine that mushrooms are the 'fruits' of the fungus, mycelium could be regarded as its roots or stems. It looks like a mass of white thread-like structures, each called hyphae, which crisscross soil and other material in which fungi grows. Collectively, these threads are called mycelium and are the largest part of the fungus.
Mycelium has amazing properties. It is a great recycler, as it feeds off a substrate (like sawdust or agricultural waste) to create more material, and has the potential of almost limitless growth in the right conditions. It can endure more pressure than conventional concrete without breaking, is a known insulator and fire-retardant and could even provide radiation protection on space missions.
On Earth it's currently used to create ceiling panels, leather, packaging materials and building materials, but in outer space it stands out for its architectural potential, says artist and engineer Maurizio Montalti, who has teamed up with Ciokajlo.
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
Gonorrhea is a wily foe. But doctors may soon have another drug to fight the sexually transmitted infection that's become resistant to nearly every antibiotic thrown its way. In clinical trials, a new antibiotic was effective at stopping the bacteria that causes the disease.
A single oral dose of the drug, called zoliflodacin, cured 96 percent of people who had gonorrhea infections in the urinary and genital organs, researchers report in the Nov. 8 New England Journal of Medicine. In comparison, 100 percent of patients given ceftriaxone — the remaining antibiotic that's effective against the disease in the United States — were successfully treated.
Caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, gonorrhea can be passed from an infected person to a sexual partner or from an infected mother to her baby at birth. The consequences of the infection are especially severe for women, who can develop pelvic inflammatory disease and become infertile (SN: 6/10/00, p. 376), and for babies, who can lose their sight. The United States had more than half a million new gonorrhea cases reported in 2017, up about 75 percent from the historical low point in 2009. Worldwide, an estimated 78 million new gonorrhea infections occur each year.
[...] A larger, international clinical trial of the drug is underway.
As part of this morning's Next Horizon event, AMD formally announced the first two accelerator cards based on the company's previously revealed 7nm Vega GPU. Dubbed the Radeon Instinct MI60 and Radeon Instinct MI50, the two cards are aimed squarely at the enterprise accelerator market, with AMD looking to significantly improve their performance competitiveness in everything from HPC to machine learning.
Both cards are based on AMD's 7nm GPU, which although we've known about at a high level for some time now, we're only finally getting some more details on. GPU is based on a refined version of AMD's existing Vega architecture, essentially adding compute-focused features to the chip that are necessary for the accelerator market. Interestingly, in terms of functional blocks here, 7nm Vega is actually rather close to the existing 14nm "Vega 10" GPU: both feature 64 CUs and HBM2. The difference comes down to these extra accelerator features, and the die size itself.
With respect to accelerator features, 7nm Vega and the resulting MI60 & MI50 cards differentiates itself from the previous Vega 10-powered MI25 in a few key areas. 7nm Vega brings support for half-rate double precision – up from 1/16th rate – and AMD is supporting new low precision data types as well. These INT8 and INT4 instructions are especially useful for machine learning inferencing, where high precision isn't necessary, with AMD able to get up to 4x the perf of an FP16/INT16 data type when using the smallest INT4 data type. However it's not clear from AMD's presentation how flexible these new data types are – and with what instructions they can be used – which will be important for understanding the full capabilities of the new GPU. All told, AMD is claiming a peak throughput of 7.4 TFLOPS FP64, 14.7 TFLOPS FP32, and 118 TOPS for INT4.
Netgear has announced imminent availability of their first 802.11ax router - the 8-stream Nighthawk RAX80, along with the technical details, pricing, and other information. In addition, they have also unveiled the 12-stream RAX120. While the RAX80 will be available for purchase this month, RAX120 will make it to retail in Q1 2019.
802.11ax has had an uphill adoption curve. Silicon vendors have been announcing draft-compliant chipsets since late 2016 (Quantenna - Q4 2016, Qualcomm - Q1 2017, Broadcom - Q3 2017, Marvell - Q4 2017, and Intel - Q1 2018). Device vendors were not far behind, with Asus going public about its plans to release a router (RT-AX88U) based on the Broadcom platform as early as September 2017. A year after the announcement, the RT-AX88U finally made it to retail at a $350 price point. D-Link also gave a sneak peek into their AX6000 and AX11000 routers based on the Broadcom chipset at the 2018 CES. In the meanwhile, we have had deployments of the Qualcomm chipset in the carrier gateways from KDDI and NEC in Asia, as well as enterprise access points from Huawei and Ruckus Wireless.
[...] It must be noted that the aim of 802.11ax is not to target peak data-rates, but, improve the aggregate performance over several simultaneously active clients. The OFDMA-enabled[*] simultaneous transmission to several users results in increased efficiency. Thanks to the lowered waiting time, the battery life of client devices also increases.
Also at The Verge.