Does the World Need Polymaths?

Slashdot - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 8:00pm
Two hundred years ago, it was still possible for one person to be a leader in several different fields of inquiry. Today that is no longer the case. So is there a role in today's world for the polymath -- someone who knows a lot about a lot of things? From a report: Bobby Seagull's fist-pumping and natty dressing, and Eric Monkman's furrowed brow, flashing teeth, contorted facial expressions and vocal delivery -- like a fog horn with a hangover -- made these two young men the stars of the last University Challenge competition. [...] They're still recognised in the street. "People often ask me, do you intimidate people with your knowledge," says Monkman. "But the opposite is the case. I have wide knowledge but no deep expertise. I am intimidated by experts." Seagull, like Monkman, feels an intense pressure to specialise. They regard themselves as Jacks-of-all-Trades, without being master of one. "When I was young what I really wanted to do was know a lot about a lot," says Monkman. "Now I feel that if I want to make a novel contribution to society I need to know a great deal about one tiny thing." The belief that researchers need to specialise goes back at least two centuries. From the beginning of the 19th Century, research has primarily been the preserve of universities. Ever since, says Stefan Collini, Professor of Intellectual History and English Literature at Cambridge University, researchers have labels attached to them. "They're professor of this or that, and you get a much more self-conscious sense of the institutional divides between domains of knowledge."

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Categories: Science

Postnatal identification of Zika virus peptides from saliva

Science Daily - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 7:46pm
For the first time, researchers are using proteomics to examine proteins and peptides in saliva in order to accurately detect exposure to Zika virus. With 70 countries and territories reporting evidence of mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission, there is an increased need for a rapid and effective test for the virus. This study offers a new, quicker and more cost-effective way to test for the virus.
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Alternative mode of bacterial quorum sensing

Science Daily - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 7:46pm
Researchers have revealed the existence of a new quorum-sensing molecule that increases the virulence of the pathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
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Materials scientists probe a protein's role in speeding Ebola's spread

Science Daily - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 7:46pm
Scientists have pinpointed how a tiny protein seems to make the deadly Ebola virus particularly contagious.
Categories: Science

Meeting and Hotel Booking Provider's Data Found in Public Amazon S3 Bucket

Slashdot - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 7:20pm
Leaks of personal and business information from unsecured Amazon S3 buckets are piling up. From a report: The latest belongs to Groupize, a Boston-area business that sells tools to manage small group meetings as well as a booking engine that handles hotel room-block reservations. Researchers at Kromtech Security found a publicly accessible bucket containing business and personal data, including contracts and agreements between hotels, customers and Groupize, Kromtech said. The data included some credit card payment authorization forms that contained full payment card information including expiration data and CVV code. The researchers said the database stored in S3 contained numerous folders, below; one called "documents" held close to 3,000 scanned contracts and agreements, while another called all_leads had more than 3,100 spreadsheets containing critical Groupize business data including earnings. There were 37 other folders in the bucket containing tens of thousands of files, most of them storing much more benign data.

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Categories: Science

New targets for drugs to treat fatty liver disease and liver cancer

Science Daily - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 7:11pm
There may no silver bullet for treating liver cancer or fatty liver disease, but knowing the right targets will help science develop the most effective treatments. Researchers have just identified a number of drug targets that can be used in the development of new efficient treatment strategies with minimum side effects.
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Analysis of a 'rusty' lunar rock suggests the moon's interior is dry

Science Daily - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 7:11pm
The moon is likely very dry in its interior according to a new study analyzing fragments of the 'Rusty Rock,' a rock collected from the moon's surface during the Apollo 16 mission in 1972.
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Dino-killing asteroid could have thrust Earth into two years of darkness

Science Daily - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 7:10pm
Tremendous amounts of soot, lofted into the air from global wildfires following a massive asteroid strike 66 million years ago, would have plunged Earth into darkness for nearly two years, new research finds. This would have shut down photosynthesis, drastically cooled the planet, and contributed to the mass extinction that marked the end of the age of dinosaurs.
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Chemicals from gut bacteria maintain vitality in aging animals

Science Daily - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 7:10pm
A class of chemicals made by intestinal bacteria, known as indoles, help worms, flies and mice maintain mobility and resilience for more of their lifespans, scientists have discovered.
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Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

Science Daily - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 7:10pm
Scientists found a gene variant that affects cholesterol levels also could increase the risk of contracting typhoid fever. A common cholesterol-lowering drug could protect animal models against Salmonella Typhi, the culprit behind the potentially deadly infection. The findings give insight into the mechanisms that govern human susceptibility to infectious disease and point to possible avenues to protect against pathogens -- like Salmonella or Ebola -- whose entry into host cells is regulated by cholesterol.
Categories: Science

Android Oreo: Features and Release Date

Wired News - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 6:47pm
You’ll want it, even if you can't get it yet.
Categories: Science

Cord-Cutting Still Doesn't Beat the Cable Bundle

Slashdot - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 6:40pm
I'd like to cut the cord, writes Brian Barrett for Wired, then, the very instant I allow myself to picture what life looks like after that figurative snip, my reverie comes crashing down. From an article: Cutting the cord is absolutely right for some people. Lots of people, maybe. But it's not that cheap, and it's not that easy, and there's not much hope of improvement on either front any time soon. Not to turn this into a math experiment, but let's consider cost. Assuming you're looking for a cord replacement, not abandoning live television altogether, you're going to need a service that bundles together a handful of channels and blips them to your house over the internet. The cheapest way you can accomplish this is to pay Sling TV $20 per month, for which you get 29 channels. That sounds not so bad, and certainly less than your cable bill. But! Sling Orange limits you to a single stream. If you're in a household with others, you'll probably want Sling Blue, which offers multiple streams and 43 channels for $25 per month. But! Sling Orange and Sling Blue have different channel lineups (ESPN is on Orange, not Blue, while Orange lacks FX, Bravo and any locals). For full coverage, you can subscribe to both for $40. But! Have kids? You'll want the Kids Extra package for another $5 per month. Love ESPNU? Grab that $5 per month sports package. HBO? $15 per month, please. Presto, you're up to $65 per month. But! Don't forget the extra $5 for a cloud-based DVR. Plus the high-speed internet service that you need to keep your stream from buffering, which, by the way, it'll do anyway. That's not to pick on Sling TV, specifically. But paying $70 to quit cable feels like smoking a pack of Parliaments to quit Marlboro Lights. You run into similar situations across the board, whether it's a higher base rate, or a limited premium selection, or the absence of local programming altogether. It turns out, oddly enough, that things cost money, whether you access those things through traditional cable packages or through a modem provided to you by a traditional cable operator.

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Categories: Science

Total Solar Eclipse 2017: Follow Live from Coast to Coast

Wired News - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 6:30pm
Monday, August 21 marks the first total solar eclipse to hit the mainland United States in nearly 40 years.
Categories: Science

Driverless Cars Need a Lot More Than Software, Ford CTO Says

Slashdot - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 6:00pm
In an interview, Ken Washington, Ford's Chief Technical Officer, shared company's views on how autonomy will change car design. From an article: The biggest influence will be how the cars are bought, sold and used: "You would design those vehicles differently depending on what business model (is being used). We're working through that business model question right now," he said. The biggest misconceptions about autonomous capabilities is that it's only about software: "People are imagining that the act of doing software for autonomy is all you need to do and then you can just bolt it to the car," he said. "I don't think it's possible to describe what an autonomous vehicle is going to look like," he added.

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Categories: Science

Biofuels from bacteria

Science Daily - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 5:50pm
Scientists are working toward a better understand whether cyanobacteria can be grown for biofuels on a large scale.
Categories: Science

Afternoon slump in reward response

Science Daily - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 5:42pm
Activation of a reward-processing brain region peaks in the morning and evening and dips at 2 p.m., finds a study of healthy young men. This finding may parallel the drop in alertness people tend to feel in mid-afternoon.
Categories: Science

Supreme Court Asked To Nullify the Google Trademark

Slashdot - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 5:20pm
Is the term "google" too generic and therefore unworthy of its trademark protection? That's the question before the US Supreme Court. From a report: What's before the Supreme Court is a trademark lawsuit that Google already defeated in a lower court. The lawsuit claims that Google should no longer be trademarked because the word "google" is synonymous to the public with the term "search the Internet." "There is no single word other than google that conveys the action of searching the Internet using any search engine," according to the petition to the Supreme Court. It's perhaps one of the most consequential trademark case before the justices since they ruled in June that offensive trademarks must be allowed. The Google trademark dispute dates to 2012 when a man named Chris Gillespie registered 763 domain names that combined "google" with other words and phrase, including "googledonaldtrump.com."

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Categories: Science

How to Watch the Total Solar Eclipse Without Glasses

Wired News - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 5:07pm
Sure, you can buy solar glasses. Or you can save your money an make a DIY pinhole. It's a lot more fun.
Categories: Science

How to Photograph the 2017 Solar Eclipse Using Your Smartphone

Wired News - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 5:00pm
Don't have a DSLR with a fancy lens? That's fine. You can still get some great photos using your phone's camera.
Categories: Science

People favor highly reviewed products, even when they shouldn't

Science Daily - Mon, 21/08/2017 - 4:52pm
When we're trying to decide which cell phone case to buy or which hotel room to book, we often rely on the ratings and reviews of others to help us choose. But new research suggests that we tend to use this information in ways that can actually work to our disadvantage.
Categories: Science