Study of microbes reveals new insight about Earth's geology, carbon cycles

Science Daily - Sat, 14/01/2017 - 12:41am
Tiny microbes play a big role in cycling carbon and other key elements through our air, water, soil and sediment. Researchers who study these processes have discovered that these microbial communities are significantly affected by the types of carbon “food” sources available. Their findings reveal that the type of carbon source affects not only the composition and activity of natural microbial communities, but also in turn the types of mineral products that form in their environment.
Categories: Science

Drone Maker Lily Robotics Faked Promotional Video, Gets Sued For False Advertising and Misleading Business Practices

Slashdot - Sat, 14/01/2017 - 12:05am
Dotnaught quotes a report from The Register: Lily Robotics says its decision on Thursday to shut down and return pre-order payments for a never-delivered drone, which came on the same day that San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon charged the company with false advertising and misleading business practices, was purely coincidental. According to a source familiar with the complaint filed against the company, Lily Robotics has known about the DA's investigation for several months. On the strength of a promotional video on YouTube in May 2015, embedded below, Lily Robotics raised more than $34 million in pre-order sales over the course of that year for a drone called Lily Camera. The flying gadget, when built, would be capable of being launched with a throw, following people, and recording them. But after pushing the delivery date back multiple times, Lily Robotics has yet to ship a single drone to its 60,000 prospective customers, according to the lawsuit filed against the company. In theory, Lily Robotics could face a fine of more than a hundred million dollars, depending upon the outcome of a trial, if it comes to that. The company faces potential fines for at least two business code violations subject to a civil penalty of $2,500 per violation, and there are some 60,000 individuals affected. In practice, however, such fines are usually orders of magnitude less, particularly if both sides agree on a settlement. The complaint against Lily, obtained by The Register, alleges that the company knowingly misled customers by creating a promotional video that purported to show video footage captured with a Lily drone prototype. "In fact, none of the video in the Promotional Video was shot by a Lily Camera," the complaint says. "Most notably, the POV footage used in the promotional video was filmed using a professional camera drone called the DJI Inspire." Among the Lily Camera prototypes present at the video shoot, the complaint says, the ones that could actually record video were able to do so because they had Go-Pro cameras mounted on them.

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Categories: Science

Outgoing FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: Net Neutrality’s Not Dead

Wired News - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 11:47pm
Republicans are set to take over the FCC. But the outgoing chairman says there's still time to save net neutrality. The post Outgoing FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: Net Neutrality's Not Dead appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

EPA Locks in Fuel Economy Rules So Trump Can’t Rip Them Up

Wired News - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 11:45pm
With a week left in charge, the EPA makes a change that'll be hard to undo. The post EPA Locks in Fuel Economy Rules So Trump Can't Rip Them Up appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Head of Sony Entertainment, Michael Lynton, To Step Down

Slashdot - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 11:43pm
Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton has told his employees that he is stepping down from the company. He will however be staying with the company for six months to help in the transition. Lynton's note to the staff reads: Dear Colleagues, Today I will be announcing my resignation from Sony to focus on my position as Chairman of the Board of Snap Inc. This was not an easy decision for me, and one that I arrived at after long and careful consideration. Sony Corp will be issuing an internal note from Kaz to all Sony global employees as well as a press release describing the details and timing of my transition, which I have included below. As some of you are already aware, I have been involved with Snapchat since its early days. Given Snapchat's growth -- and my growing role and responsibilities in it -- I recently determined that the time was right to make a change. I leave Sony with great pride in all we have accomplished together -- from our greatest victories to overcoming our biggest challenges. Together we: Produced terrific films such as American Hustle, Captain Phillips, The Social Network, Spider-man, Skyfall and Spectre; and hit TV shows like Breaking Bad, The Blacklist, The Goldbergs, The Crown and Kevin Can Wait; Grew our worldwide networks business to 178 countries, including India with our ownership of the IPL cricket rights the Ten Sports Network; Completed the Lot's most significant capital improvement projects in decades including the Jack and Harry Cohn buildings, Calley Park and the beautiful new 8-story Akio Morita building, which brought Sony Music and Sony/ATV Music Publishing employees onto the Lot for the first time; Completed the $750 million acquisition of the Michael Jackson Estate's stake in Sony/ATV, making us 100% owners; And triumphed over the most devastating and disruptive cyber-attack in corporate history, keeping studio operations running and not missing a single day of production.

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Categories: Science

Faulty Phone Battery May Have Caused Fire That Brought Down EgyptAir Flight MS80

Slashdot - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 11:20pm
New submitter drunkdrone writes: "French authorities investigating the EgyptAir crash that killed 66 people last year believe that the plane may have been brought down by an overheating phone battery," reports International Business Times. Investigators say the fire that broke out on the Airbus A320 in May 2016 started in the spot where the co-pilot had stowed his iPad and iPhone 6S, which he placed on top of the instrument panel in the plane's cockpit. From the report: "EgyptAir flight MS804 was traveling from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared from radar on 19 May 2016. Egyptian investigators have speculated that the crash, which killed all 56 passengers, seven crew members and three security personnel on board, was caused by an act of terrorism due to traces of explosives reported to be found on some the victims. Investigators in France have disputed these claims, saying that data recorded from the aircraft around the time it disappeared points to an accidental fire on the right-hand side of the flight deck, next to the co-pilot. According to The Times, CCTV pulled from cameras at Paris' Charles de Gualle airport show that the co-pilot stored a number of personal items above the dashboard, where the first signs of trouble were detected. This included an automated alert indicating a series of malfunctions on the right-hand flight deck window, followed by smoke alerts going off in a toilet and in the avionics area below the cockpit, minutes before the plane vanished."

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Categories: Science

Rival AIs Battle to Rule Poker (and Global Politics)

Wired News - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 10:59pm
Two research groups are battling to build AI that can crack no-limit Texas Holds 'Em. That could be useful---with auctions, politics, even financial markets The post Rival AIs Battle to Rule Poker (and Global Politics) appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Open Source Codec Encodes Voice Into Only 700 Bits Per Second

Slashdot - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 10:40pm
Longtime Slashdot reader Bruce Perens writes: David Rowe VK5DGR has been working on ultra-low-bandwidth digital voice codecs for years, and his latest quest has been to come up with a digital codec that would compete well with single-sideband modulation used by ham contesters to score the longest-distance communications using HF radio. A new codec records clear, but not hi-fi, voice in 700 bits per second -- that's 88 bytes per second. Connected to an already-existing Open Source digital modem, it might beat SSB. Obviously there are other uses for recording voice at ultra-low-bandwidth. Many smartphones could record your voice for your entire life using their existing storage. A single IP packet could carry 15 seconds of speech. Ultra-low-bandwidth codecs don't help conventional VoIP, though. The payload size for low-latency voice is only a few bytes, and the packet overhead will be at least 10 times that size.

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Categories: Science

Facebook No Longer Clearly Labels Edited Posts

Slashdot - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 10:00pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Mashable: Have you ever made a cringeworthy mistake in a Facebook post? Don't lie, the answer is yes. If you have a sense of shame, Facebook at least allows you to go back and correct your gaffe by editing the post, a feature that certain other social media networks still haven't added. But evidence of your slip-up lived on with the tiny "Edited" label on the bottom of the post, signaling to your followers that you cared just enough to correct yourself on the internet. Sad. Apparently, however, that's no longer the case. It seems that Facebook has removed the on-post edited label, making it much more difficult to know when someone actually took the time to fix their mistake. In order to actually know whether or not your eyes were playing tricks on you when a friend's rant no longer has 15 spelling errors the second time you see it, you'll need to do some digging. Here's how the new editing looks, courtesy of my colleague Raymond Wong and his doubts about how cool the upcoming Nintendo Switch actually is. I noticed that he added a comment about the Switch, so I checked out the post information, via the drop-down menu. To see what happened, I have to view the edit history. When I look at his edit history, I can see all the changes that were made. In most cases, this type of editing isn't a big deal, but the move to hide post edit labels takes away one of the few features that provided any transparency for our online behavior.

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Categories: Science

Trump's Cyber Security Advisor Rudy Giuliani Runs Ancient, Utterly Hackable Website

Slashdot - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 9:20pm
mask.of.sanity writes from a report via The Register: U.S. president-elect Donald Trump's freshly minted cyber tsar Rudy Giuliani runs a website so insecure that its content management system is five years out of date, unpatched and is utterly hackable. Giulianisecurity.com, the website for Giuliani's eponymous infosec consultancy firm, runs Joomla! version 3.0, released in 2012, and since found to carry 15 separate vulnerabilities. More bugs and poor secure controls abound. The Register report adds: "Some of those bugs can be potentially exploited by miscreants using basic SQL injection techniques to compromise the server. This seemingly insecure system also has a surprising number of network ports open -- from MySQL and anonymous LDAP to a very out-of-date OpenSSH 4.7 that was released in 2007. It also runs a rather old version of FreeBSD. 'You can probably break into Giuliani's server,' said Robert Graham of Errata Security. 'I know this because other FreeBSD servers in the same data center have already been broken into, tagged by hackers, or are now serving viruses. 'But that doesn't matter. There's nothing on Giuliani's server worth hacking.'"

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Categories: Science

Investigating FBI Director Comey’s Actions Can’t Undo the Past

Wired News - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 9:04pm
The Inspector General will probe Comey's actions in the Clinton email case, but can only do so much. The post Investigating FBI Director Comey’s Actions Can’t Undo the Past appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Reef fish that conquer fear of sharks may help control excess algae

Science Daily - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 8:56pm
Coral reef fish experience landscapes of fear based on how much shelter from predators is available, new research concludes. But they are willing to move past that fear if the payoff in a delicious meal of algae is high enough, the investigators found.
Categories: Science

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

Science Daily - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 8:56pm
A computer algorithm for analyzing time-lapse biological images could make it easier for scientists and clinicians to find and track multiple molecules in living organisms, outlines a new report. The technique developed by an international team of scientists is faster, less expensive and more accurate than current imaging methods that can identify signs of disease.
Categories: Science

Chemical-biological strategy for microRNA target identification

Science Daily - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 8:56pm
A research team reports photo-clickable miRNAs as probes for intracellular target identification of miRNAs.
Categories: Science

Cleverly designed tuberculosis vaccine shows promise in mice

Science Daily - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 8:55pm
A clever new tuberculosis vaccine has shown promise in trials in mice. If it succeeds, it will be the first new TB vaccine in a century. With the rise of multidrug resistant tuberculosis, the difficulty of curing the disease, and the large annual death toll, a successful vaccine could be a huge benefit to public health -- especially in low- and middle income countries.
Categories: Science

Bloodstream infections: Most common type of health care-associated infections in children

Science Daily - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 8:55pm
A new study establishes the prevalence and type of health care-associated infections (HAIs) in children in Europe and describes risk factors for infection in this population.
Categories: Science

Adaptive management of soil conservation is essential to improving water quality

Science Daily - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 8:54pm
The quality of our rivers and lakes could be placed under pressure from harmful levels of soluble phosphorus, despite well-intended measures to reduce soil erosion and better manage and conserve farmland for crop production, a new study shows. The team of international scientists found that increased levels of soluble phosphorus in rivers entering Lake Erie, in the USA, may be linked to conservation measures.
Categories: Science

Pig gene advance could boost sperm stocks from prized animals

Science Daily - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 8:54pm
Gene-editing techniques could help to improve stocks of farmed pigs by boosting supplies of sperm from prized sires. Scientists have created male pigs that could be used as surrogates capable of producing sperm that contains the genetic blueprint of sought-after pigs. Researchers say the breakthrough will allow farmers to preserve sperm from prized animals in perpetuity.
Categories: Science

Composite material for water purification

Science Daily - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 8:54pm
Fresh, clean water coming directly from the tap is a true luxury. In developing countries, people often have no choice but to use a contaminated river for drinking water. Water filters can help by quickly converting polluted surface or ground water into safe drinking water. In a new article, researchers have now introduced a novel multifunctional composite material that removes inorganic, organic, radioactive, and microbial impurities from water.
Categories: Science

Research helps protect loggerhead turtles

Science Daily - Fri, 13/01/2017 - 8:54pm
A long-running research and conservation project is helping save an at-risk species of turtle, report scientists.
Categories: Science