Colleges Face New 'Gainful Employment' Regulations For Student Loans

Slashdot - 1 hour 53 min ago writes: Education Secretary Arne Duncan says the Education Department wants to make sure loan programs that prey on students don't continue their abusive practices. Now Kimberly Hefling reports that for-profit colleges who are not producing graduates capable of paying off their student loans could soon stand to lose access to federal student-aid programs. In order to receive federal student aid, the law requires that most for-profit programs, regardless of credential level, and most non-degree programs at non-profit and public institutions, including community colleges, prepare students for "gainful employment in a recognized occupation" (PDF). To meet these "gainful employment" standards, a program will have to show that the estimated annual loan payment of a typical graduate does not exceed 20 percent of his or her discretionary income or 8 percent of total earnings. "Career colleges must be a stepping stone to the middle class. But too many hard-working students find themselves buried in debt with little to show for it. That is simply unacceptable," says Duncan. "These regulations are a necessary step to ensure that colleges accepting federal funds protect students, cut costs and improve outcomes. We will continue to take action as needed." But not everyone is convinced the rules go far enough. "The rule is far too weak to address the grave misconduct of predatory for-profit colleges," writes David Halperin. "The administration missed an opportunity to issue a strong rule, to take strong executive action and provide real leadership on this issue." The final gainful employment regulations follow an extensive rulemaking process involving public hearings, negotiations and about 95,000 public comments and will go into effect on July 1, 2015.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

New device yields close-up look at cancer metastasis

Kurzweil AI - 1 hour 57 min ago

This dish houses a lab chip that Johns Hopkins engineers built to gain an unprecedented close-up view of how cancer cells enter the bloodstream to spread the disease. (Credit: Will Kirk/Johns Hopkins University)

Engineers at Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology (INBT) have invented a lab device to give cancer researchers an unprecedented microscopic look at metastasis (spread of tumor cells, causing more than 90 percent of cancer-related deaths), with the goal of eventually stopping the spread, described in their paper in the journal Cancer Report.

Johns Hopkins | Researchers captured this video of human breast cancer cells as they burrowed through reconstituted body tissue material and made their way into an artificial blood vessel (this is an animated GIF created from the original video)

“There’s still so much we don’t know about exactly how tumor cells migrate through the body, partly because, even using our best imaging technology, we haven’t been able to see precisely how these individual cells move into blood vessels,” said Andrew D. Wong, a Department of Materials Science and Engineering doctoral student and lead author of the journal article. “Our new tool gives us a clearer, close-up look at this process.”

The device replicated these processes in a small transparent chip that incorporates an artificial blood vessel and surrounding tissue material. A nutrient-rich solution flows through the artificial vessel, mimicking the properties of blood.

With this novel lab platform, Wong said, the team was able to record a video of the movement of individual cancer cells as they crawled through a three-dimensional collagen matrix. This material resembles the human tissue that surrounds tumors when cancer cells break away and try to relocate elsewhere in the body. This process is called “invasion.”

This 3D projection of a confocal microscope image (z-stack) shows human umbilical-vein endothelial cells forming a functional blood vessel stained for PECAM-1 (green) and nuclei (blue) (credit: Wong/Searson Lab)

Wong also created a video (above) of single cancer cells prying and pushing their way through the wall of an artificial vessel lined with human endothelial cells, the same kind that line human blood vessels.

By entering the bloodstream through this process, called “intravasion,” cancer cells are able to hitch a ride to other parts of the body and begin to form deadly new tumors.

The breast cancer cells, inserted individually and in clusters in the tissue near the vessel, are labeled with fluorescent tags, enabling their behavior to be seen, tracked and recorded via a microscopic viewing system.

Wong’s doctoral advisor, Peter Searson, the Joseph R. and Lynn C. Reynolds Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and director of the INBT, said Wong took on this challenging project nearly five years ago—and ultimately produced impressive results.

“In the past, it’s been virtually impossible to see the steps involved in this process with this level of clarity. We’ve taken a significant leap forward.”

Testing various anticancer strategies

This improved view should give cancer researchers a much clearer look at the complex physical and biochemical interplay that takes place when cells leave a tumor, move through the surrounding tissue and approach a blood vessel. For example, the new lab device enabled the inventors to see detailed images of a cancer cell as it found a weak spot in the vessel wall, exerted pressure on it and squeezed through far enough so that the force of the passing current swept it into the circulating fluid.

“This device allows us to look at the major steps of metastasis as well as to test different treatment strategies at a relatively fast pace,” Wong said. “If we can find a way to stop one of these steps in the metastatic cascade, we may be able to find a new strategy to slow down or even stop the spread of cancer.”

Next, the researchers plan to use the device to try out various cancer-fighting drugs within this device to get a better look at how the medications perform and how they might be improved. A provisional patent has been obtained through the Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer office.

INBT’s science writer, Mary Spiro, interviewed Wong for the NanoByte Podcast here.

Wong’s work has been supported by an INBT training grant. Development of the cancer research device was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Abstract of Live-Cell Imaging of Invasion and Intravasation in an Artificial Microvessel Platform

Methods to visualize metastasis exist, but additional tools to better define the biologic and physical processes underlying invasion and intravasation are still needed. One difficulty in studying metastasis stems from the complexity of the interface between the tumor microenvironment and the vascular system. Here, we report the development of an investigational platform that positions tumor cells next to an artificial vessel embedded in an extracellular matrix. On this platform, we used live-cell fluorescence microscopy to analyze the complex interplay between metastatic cancer cells and a functional artificial microvessel that was lined with endothelial cells. The platform recapitulated known interactions, and its use demonstrated the capabilities for a systematic study of novel physical and biologic parameters involved in invasion and intravasation. In summary, our work offers an important new tool to advance knowledge about metastasis and candidate antimetastatic therapies. Cancer Res; 74(17); 4937–45. ©2014 AACR.

Categories: Science

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Spacecraft Crashes During Test Flight - 2 hours 19 min ago
SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic's passenger spacecraft, experienced an 'anomaly' during its fourth rocket-powered test flight on Friday, Oct. 31. See the latest details here.
Categories: Science

Congress, Tech Have Their Eyes on Rethinking the Textbook — And Educators Should Too

Wired News - 2 hours 26 min ago

As commencement ceremonies conclude at colleges and universities, many thousands of recent graduates are entering or re-entering the workforce and finding a competitive and still-recovering market for most professions. One thing I thought about as I watched students graduate this year is the stress on students to find gainful employment with their rising debt load […]

The post Congress, Tech Have Their Eyes on Rethinking the Textbook — And Educators Should Too appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Smart Meters and New IoT Devices Cause Serious Concern

Slashdot - 2 hours 39 min ago
dkatana writes: The ongoing deployment of internet-of-things devices is already creating serious issues and discussions about the privacy of users, IoT security, and the potential threat of cyber criminals taking control of sensors and smart devices connected to the Internet. Security and privacy concerns associated with smart meters are why they are currently "optional" in several countries. That's the case in the Netherlands after consumer organizations and privacy watchdog groups campaigned vigorously to stop the mandatory smart meter deployment. A report from researchers at Tilburg University claimed that "smart meters have the capacity to reveal quite privacy-sensitive information, thus affecting not only informational privacy but also privacy of the home and of family life." This now applies to televisions as well — an article in Salon discusses the author's new "smart" TV, which came with a 46-page privacy policy. Quoting: "It logs where, when, how and for how long you use the TV. It sets tracking cookies and beacons designed to detect 'when you have viewed particular content or a particular email message.' It records 'the apps you use, the websites you visit, and how you interact with content.' It ignores 'do-not-track' requests as a considered matter of policy. It also has a built-in camera — with facial recognition."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Orbital Sciences Piecing Together Timeline of Antares Rocket Explosion - 3 hours 7 min ago
The private spaceflight company Orbital Sciences Corp. is starting to piece together the timeline of events leading up to the explosion of its Antares rocket just after launch on Tuesday evening (Oct. 28).
Categories: Science

Android Co-Founder Andy Rubin Leaving Google

Slashdot - 3 hours 24 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: The Wall Street Journal reports that Andy Rubin is leaving Google. Rubin co-founded Android in 2003 and stayed on when the company was acquired by Google in 2005. Rubin led Android through the acquisition of over a billion users, until 2013 when he moved to Google's robotics division. He was replaced in the Android division by Sundar Pichai, who continues in charge of that, Chrome, Google+, and many other products. Rubin's robotics role will be filled by James Kuffner. "Mr. Rubin's departure is a blow to Google's robotics efforts. However, Mr. Kuffner is experienced in the sector, having worked on human-like robot technology for over two decades, including seven years at Carnegie Mellon University and five years on Google's self-driving car project."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Gadget Lab Podcast: Google’s New Phone Falls to Pieces—On Purpose!

Wired News - 3 hours 29 min ago

What do you want for Halloween? How about Lollipops? And Nexus devices, and modular phones, and wrist-computers that are not watches? Hold out your goodie bags and download this week's show.

The post Gadget Lab Podcast: Google’s New Phone Falls to Pieces—On Purpose! appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

The Best London Neighborhoods for Spotting Supercars

Wired News - 3 hours 30 min ago

For tourists more interested in spotting Bugattis and Paganis than the history of the White Tower, here's where you want to hang out.

The post The Best London Neighborhoods for Spotting Supercars appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Why Facebook Just Launched Its Own ‘Dark Web’ Site

Wired News - 3 hours 57 min ago

Now the world's least anonymous website (Facebook) has just joined the Web's most anonymous network (Tor).

The post Why Facebook Just Launched Its Own ‘Dark Web’ Site appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Facebook Sets Up Shop On Tor

Slashdot - 4 hours 11 min ago
itwbennett writes: Assuming that people who use the anonymity network want to also use Facebook, the social network has made its site available on Tor, Facebook software engineer Alec Muffett said in a post on Friday. Facebook also decided to encrypt the connection between clients and its server with SSL, providing an SSL certificate for Facebook's onion address. This was done both for internal technical reasons and as a way for users to verify Facebook's ownership of the onion address. Since it is still an experiment, Facebook hopes to improve the service and said it would share lessons learned about scaling and deploying services via an onion address over time.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

How Facebook Sped Up Its iPhone App by Nearly 50%

Wired News - 4 hours 53 min ago

You weren’t imagining things. The Facebook iPhone app was getting slower. In 2012, the social networking giant launched its first native iPhone app, and over the next two years, according to Facebook engineer Adam Ernst, its all-important News Feed gradually slowed down as the company beefed up the app with new features. But recently, after […]

The post How Facebook Sped Up Its iPhone App by Nearly 50% appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

MPAA Bans Google Glass In Theaters

Slashdot - 4 hours 54 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: The Motion Picture Association of America, along with the National Association of Theater Owners, have banned Google Glass and similar devices from being in movie theaters. They said, "As part of our continued efforts to ensure movies are not recorded in theaters, however, we maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward using any recording device while movies are being shown. As has been our long-standing policy, all phones must be silenced and other recording devices, including wearable devices, must be turned off and put away at show time. Individuals who fail or refuse to put the recording devices away may be asked to leave." This is a change from the MPAA's stance earlier this year that Glass was "no threat" in terms of copyright infringement. A spokesman said the ban is geared toward combating more sophisticated wearables in the future.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Android Founder Departs Google, Continuing Executive Shakeup

Wired News - 5 hours 2 min ago

Google's head of robotics and former head of Android, Andy Rubin, is stepping down from the company to launch a new incubator for hardware startups.

The post Android Founder Departs Google, Continuing Executive Shakeup appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Wheel in a Wheel | Space Wallpaper - 5 hours 16 min ago
This space wallpaper is an artist’s impression showing the dust and gas around the double star system GG Tauri-A.
Categories: Science

Breaching Air-Gap Security With Radio

Slashdot - 5 hours 40 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Security researcher Mordechai Guri with the guidance of Prof. Yuval Elovici from the cyber security labs at Ben-Gurion University in Israel presented at MALCON 2014 a breakthrough method ("AirHopper") for leaking data from an isolated computer to a mobile phone without the presence of a network. In highly secure facilities the assumption today is that data can not leak outside of an isolated internal network. It is called air-gap security. AirHopper demonstrates how the computer display can be used for sending data from the air-gapped computer to a near by smartphone. The published paper and a demonstration video are at the link.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

4-Acre Spider Web Engulfs Building

Wired News - 5 hours 43 min ago

Spiders form communal webs more often than you think.

The post 4-Acre Spider Web Engulfs Building appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Science

Hungary's Plans For Internet Tax On Hold After Protests

Slashdot - 6 hours 14 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: When news broke last week that the Hungarian government was planning to tax internet traffic at a rate of about 62 cents per gigabyte, people on the internet were outraged. But it went beyond that: there were protests in the streets in Hungary, and the European Union warned against the plan. Now, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has put the plans on hold, saying, "This tax in its current form cannot be introduced." It's not completely dead — Orban has planned consultations over the next year to look for other ways to tax revenue generated over the internet.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Most Planets In the Universe Are Homeless

Slashdot - 7 hours 14 sec ago
StartsWithABang writes: We like to think of our Solar System as typical: a central star with a number of planets — some gas giants and some rocky worlds — in orbit around it. Yes, there's some variety, with binary or trinary star systems and huge variance in the masses of the central star being common ones, but from a planetary point of view, our Solar System is a rarity. Even though there are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy for planets to orbit, there are most likely around a quadrillion planets in our galaxy, total, with only a few trillion of them orbiting stars at most. Now that we've finally detected the first of these, we have an excellent idea that this picture is the correct one: most planets in the Universe are homeless. Now, thank your lucky star!"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Microsoft Enters the Wearables Market With 'Band'

Slashdot - 7 hours 42 min ago
Microsoft has announced the availability of "Microsoft Band," a wearable device that goes on the wrist. It's designed to do health- and fitness-related tasks, like monitoring heart rate and how well a wearer sleeps, and its on-board GPS lets users map their run/bike routes. The company says Band plays nicely with iOS and Android devices in addition to Windows phones. It also has full support for viewing phone notifications and calendar alerts, and a built-in microphone enables queries through the Cortana personal assistant software. The display is rectangular, 11mm x 33mm (0.43" x 1.3"), and has a resolution of 320x106. They claim a battery life of 48 hours, with a charge time of 1.5 hours or less. The device costs $200.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science