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Science

Scientists Give Praying Mantises Tiny 3D Glasses 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists at Newcastle University are outfitting praying mantises with tiny 3D glasses in order to study how their vision works. From the article: 'Praying mantises have stereoscopic vision, unlike most invertebrates. This makes them sophisticated hunters, and ideal subjects for a team from Newcastle University led by vision scientist Jenny Read. By putting 3-D glasses on the mantises and faking them out, Reid and her colleagues want to learn how the insect's vision differs from ours.""
Programming

Erik Meijer: The Curse of the Excluded Middle 237

Posted by samzenpus
from the almost-good-enough dept.
CowboyRobot (671517) writes "Erik Meijer, known for his contributions to Haskell, C#, Visual Basic, Hack, and LINQ, has an article at the ACM in which he argues that 'Mostly functional' programming does not work. 'The idea of "mostly functional programming" is unfeasible. It is impossible to make imperative programming languages safer by only partially removing implicit side effects. Leaving one kind of effect is often enough to simulate the very effect you just tried to remove. On the other hand, allowing effects to be "forgotten" in a pure language also causes mayhem in its own way. Unfortunately, there is no golden middle, and we are faced with a classic dichotomy: the curse of the excluded middle, which presents the choice of either (a) trying to tame effects using purity annotations, yet fully embracing the fact that your code is still fundamentally effectful; or (b) fully embracing purity by making all effects explicit in the type system and being pragmatic by introducing nonfunctions such as unsafePerformIO. The examples shown here are meant to convince language designers and developers to jump through the mirror and start looking more seriously at fundamentalist functional programming.'"
Earth

Waste Management: The Critical Element For Nuclear Energy Expansion 281

Posted by samzenpus
from the put-that-anywhere dept.
Lasrick (2629253) writes "As part of a roundtable on the risks of developing nuclear power in developing countries, Harvard's Yun Zhou explores the reprocessing of spent fuel. Zhou points out that no country in the world has come up with a permanent solution to nuclear waste in either of its two forms: the spent fuel that emerges directly from reactor cores and the high-level radioactive waste that results when spent fuel is reprocessed. Zhou points out that China and France have just announced a joint effort to establish a reprocessing plant, but that option isn't really practical for the developing world."
Censorship

China Censors "The Big Bang Theory" and Other Streaming Shows 166

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-officially-reinstate-anything-can-happen-thursday. dept.
dryriver (1010635) writes in with news that the Chinese government has had enough of the antics of doctor Sheldon Lee Cooper. "Chinese authorities have ordered video streaming websites in the country to stop showing four popular American TV shows, including The Big Bang Theory and The Good Wife, senior staff from two sites said Sunday. The move suggests government attention is intensifying on the online streaming industry, which is freer than state television and China's cinemas to show foreign productions and other content and has stretched the boundaries of what can be seen in the country. A spokeswoman for a leading online video site, Youku, said it had received notification on Saturday not to show sitcom The Big Bang Theory, political and legal drama The Good Wife, crime drama NCIS and legal drama The Practice."
Security

Microsoft Issues Advisory For Internet Explorer Vulnerability 152

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-out dept.
jones_supa (887896) writes "Neowin reports how Microsoft made a rare weekend post on its Security Response Center blog to announce an advisory that affects all currently supported versions of Internet Explorer (versions 6 to 11). The issue is based on a newly discovered exploit that could be used against the web browser. The vulnerability exists in the way that IE accesses an object in memory that has been deleted or has not been properly allocated. Memory may be corrupted in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user. Microsoft is aware of 'limited, targeted attacks' that have used the exploit. IE 10 and 11 are protected against attacks using this exploit if they have their Enhanced Protected Mode turned on. Also, PCs that have either the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit 4.1 or the EMET 5.0 Technical Preview installed are also secured against this security hole. Microsoft will take the appropriate action to protect its customers by delivering a security update."
Math

Mathematicians Push Back Against the NSA 233

Posted by samzenpus
from the stop-adding-to-the-problem dept.
First time accepted submitter Parseval (3632761) writes "The NSA and GCHQ need mathematicians in order to function — they are some of the biggest employers of mathematicians in the world. This New Scientist article by a mathematician describes some of the math behind mass surveillance, and calls on other mathematicians to refuse to cooperate with the NSA/GCHQ while they continue to surveil the entire population. From the article: 'Mathematicians seldom face ethical questions. We enjoy the feeling that what we do is separate from the everyday world. As the number theorist G. H. Hardy wrote in 1940: "I have never done anything 'useful'. No discovery of mine has made, or is likely to make, directly or indirectly, for good or ill, the least difference to the amenity of the world." That idea is now untenable. Mathematics clearly has practical applications that are highly relevant to the modern world, not least internet encryption.'"
Biotech

Bill Gates & Twitter Founders Put "Meatless" Meat To the Test 466

Posted by samzenpus
from the now-with-more-vitamin-M dept.
assertation (1255714) writes "Bill Gates and the founders of Twitter are betting millions that meat lovers will embrace a new plant-based product that mimics the taste of chicken and beef. Meat substitutes have had a hard time making it to the dinner tables of Americans over the years, but the tech giants believe these newest products will pass the "tastes like chicken" test. Gates has met several times with Ethan Brown, whose product, Beyond Meat, is a mash-up of proteins from peas and plants."
Microsoft

Finding the Next Generation of Teachers With "Innovative Microsoft Ads" 122

Posted by samzenpus
from the blue-screen-101 dept.
theodp (442580) writes "Back in 2011, the U.S. Dept. of Education delegated teacher recruitment to Microsoft (RFP, pdf). 'The decision to turn over TEACH to [Microsoft] Partners in Learning serves to expand the already outsized influence Gates and his fortune have on public education,' wrote the Washington Post at the time. So, 'what happens when a public institution in a democracy — the US Department of Education — outsources its goal of recruiting good teachers to a private industry?' Well, in addition to Teach.org and redundant social media efforts on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Linkedin, and YouTube, the U.S. is now relying on 'Innovative Microsoft Advertising to Recruit the next Generation of Teachers'. From the press release, 'The Ad Council and TEACH have formed a unique outreach campaign with Microsoft's Advertising team in an effort to recruit the next generation of teachers who will drive innovation and redefine teaching in K-12 classrooms. Microsoft donated over 125 million impressions across Xbox 360, Windows 8, and MSN in order to encourage consumers to rediscover teaching through interactive ad units. This media effort is an extension of the Ad Council and TEACH's public service advertising (PSA) campaign, Make More...Throughout March, consumers were able to engage with TEACH "NUads on Xbox", via gesture, voice or controller on their Xbox 360 consoles...Most recently, Microsoft leveraged their Windows 8 platform to provide a unique experience to consumers, enabling them to navigate through a series of questions to help "discover their true passion," along with the opportunity to play challenging mind and word games, such as a word scramble and tangrams.' Check out the demo of the Windows 8 platform experience [YouTube], in which a person is advised 'You'd Make a Great Science & Tech Teacher,' on the basis of a 'Personality Quiz' consisting of five dragged-and-dropped photos."
Transportation

Nissan Develops a Self-Cleaning Car 94

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-it-clean dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Nicole Arce reports at Tech Times that engineers at Nissan are using a 'super-hydrophobic' and 'oleophobic' paint finish called Ultra-Ever Dry on the new Nissan Note supermini that can repel water and oils, as well as dirt, dust, mud and grit. The paint uses nanotechnology to create a thin air shield above the surface of the car that makes rain, road spray, frost, sleet and standing water roll off the car without tainting its surface at all. 'By creating a protective layer of air between the paint and environment, it effectively stops standing water and road spray from creating dirty marks on the car's surface,' says Nissan's press release. Nissan says it has no plans of making the special paint job a standard on factory models but it will consider offering the self-cleaning paint as an aftermarket option. Nissan is now attempting to determine if the material is durable for long-term use on vehicles — and if it will hold up in different weather conditions around the globe. The Japanese automaker plans to test its custom technology this summer in Europe, with researchers based in its England technical facility using a Versa Note for testing."
United States

DOJ Complains About Getting a Warrant To Search Mobile Phones 178

Posted by samzenpus
from the give-us-an-easy-button-please dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The US government has entered its reply brief in the US vs. Wurie case and its argument in favor of warrantless searches of arrestees' cell phones contains some truly terrible suppositions. The government argues that impartial technological advancements somehow favor criminals. As it sees it, the path to the recovery of evidence should not be slowed by encryption or wiping or even the minimal effort needed to obtain a warrant. From the article: 'The government agrees that times are changing but counterintuitively argues that only law enforcement is being negatively affected by this. Every argument in favor of warrantless searches contains some sort of lamentation about how tech-savvy criminals will be able to cover up or destroy evidence contained on their phones before the police can crack open these new-fangled address books and copy everything down.'"
Google

The Fall and Rise of Larry Page 99

Posted by samzenpus
from the back-story dept.
schnell (163007) writes "Slate has a long, detailed story about how Larry Page founded Google, how he struggled with its growth, and ultimately how he came back to reinvigorate it. The story recounts fascinating details about Page's relationship to Sergey Brin, the combative culture Page fostered in the company's early years, his resistance to having engineers managed by non-engineers, the company's struggle through its rapid growth, and how Page once even wanted to hire Steve Jobs as Google's CEO."
Security

Apache Struts Zero Day Not Fixed By Patch 15

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "The Apache Software Foundation released an advisory warning that a patch issued in March for a zero-day vulnerability in Apache Struts did not fully patch the bug in question. Officials said a new patch is in development and will be released likely within the next 72 hours, said Rene Gielen of the Apache Struts team. On March 2, a patch was made available for a ClassLoader vulnerability in Struts up to version 2.3.16.1. An attacker would be able to manipulate the ClassLoader via request parameters. Apache said the fix was insufficient to repair the vulnerability."
Government

White House Worried About Discrimination Through Analytics 231

Posted by Soulskill
from the codifying-the-digital-divide dept.
Cludge writes "Describing concerns about the potential for big data methods to inadvertently classify people by race, religion, income or other forms of discrimination, the White House announced it will release a report next week that reviews the adequacy of existing privacy laws and regulations in the era of online data collection. The review, led by Obama's senior counselor, John Podesta, will outline concerns about whether methods used for commercial applications may be inherently vulnerable to inadvertent discrimination. 'He described a program called "Street Bump" in Boston that detected pot-holes using sensors in smartphones of citizens who had downloaded an app. The program inadvertently directed repair crews to wealthier neighborhoods, where people were more likely to carry smartphones and download the app.' 'It's easy to imagine how big data technology, if used to cross legal lines we have been careful to set, could end up reinforcing existing inequities in housing, credit, employment, health and education,' he said."
The Internet

Why the Sharing Economy Is About Desperation, Not Trust 331

Posted by Soulskill
from the share-and-share-alike-but-pay-me dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wired recently ran a cover story about the sharing economy — shorthand for the rise of peer-to-peer rental services like Lyft and Airbnb — which they call a cultural and economic breakthrough. They say it has ushered in a 'new era of Internet-enabled intimacy.' An article at New York Magazine has another theory: that it arose because of the weakness in the real economy. Quoting: 'A huge precondition for the sharing economy has been a depressed labor market, in which lots of people are trying to fill holes in their income by monetizing their stuff and their labor in creative ways. In many cases, people join the sharing economy because they've recently lost a full-time job and are piecing together income from several part-time gigs to replace it. In a few cases, it's because the pricing structure of the sharing economy made their old jobs less profitable. (Like full-time taxi drivers who have switched to Lyft or Uber.) In almost every case, what compels people to open up their homes and cars to complete strangers is money, not trust.'"
Medicine

This Chip Can Tell If You've Been Poisoned 36

Posted by Soulskill
from the let-somebody-else-test-it-first dept.
sciencehabit writes "When you are dealing with a deadly poison that can be found in food and is a potential terrorist weapon, you want the best detection tools you can get. Now, researchers in France have demonstrated an improved method to detect the most deadly variant of the botulinum neurotoxin, which causes botulism. Their test — essentially, a lab on a tiny chip (abstract) — provides results faster than the standard method and accurately detects even low concentrations of the toxin."

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis

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