Titus Andronicus writes "Angela Fritz and Jeff Masters of Weather Underground analyze this year's record ongoing Arctic ice melt. Arctic sea ice extent, area, and volume are all at record lows for the post-1979 satellite era. The ice is expected to continue melting for perhaps another couple of weeks. Extreme sea ice melting might help cause greater numbers of more powerful Arctic storms, help to accelerate the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, and help to accelerate global warming itself, due to the increased absorption of solar energy into the ocean."
ananyo writes "A rare, hereditary form of autism has been found — and it may be treatable with protein supplements. Genome sequencing of six children with autism has revealed mutations in a gene that stops several essential amino acids being depleted. Mice lacking this gene developed neurological problems related to autism that were reversed by dietary changes (abstract). According to Joseph Gleeson, a child neurologist at the University of California, San Diego, who led the study, 'This might represent the first treatable form of autism.' It is possible that some other forms of autism may also be linked to uncommon metabolic disorders — and so treatable through dietary changes, according to the scientists quoted in the piece."
thomst writes "Geeta Dayal of Wired's Threat Level blog posts an interesting report about bot-mediated automatic takedowns of streaming video. He mentions the interruption of Michelle Obama's speech at the DNC, and the blocking of NASA's coverage of Mars rover Curiosity's landing by a Scripps News Service bot, but the story really drills down on the abrupt disappearance of the Hugo Award's live stream of Neil Gaiman's acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script. (Apparently the trigger was a brief clip from the Doctor Who episode itself, despite the fact that it was clearly a case of fair use.) Dayal points the finger at Vobile, whose content-blocking technology was used by Ustream, which hosted the derailed coverage of the Hugos."
hypnosec writes "Just yesterday Apple released updates to fix Java vulnerabilities, but it seems the patch doesn't actually target the recently discovered high-profile Java bug that has been the talk of the web during the last two weeks. The two updates – Java for OS X 2012-005 for OS X Lion and Java for Mac OS X 10.6 Update 10 for Mountain Lion, are meant to tackle the vulnerability described in CVE-2012-0547. But according to KerbsOnSecurity, it seems Cupertino hasn't addressed the recent mega-vulnerabilities in Java as described in CVE-2012-4681." Update: 09/07 12:00 GMT by S : As readers have pointed out, these updates address flaws in Java 6, which is the version Apple maintains. The recently-reported Java vulnerabilities primarily affect Java 7, the patching of which is handled solely by Oracle. Nothing to see here.
pigrabbitbear writes "Now that Apple is putting the finishing touches on the most anticipated smartphone in history, Chinese students are again being pressed into service on the factory line inside the largest single internship program in the world. This according to two separate stories in the Chinese press. A report today in the Shanghai Daily says that hundreds of students in the city of Huai'an were forced to help fulfill iPhone 5 orders starting last Thursday. Classes in town had allegedly been interrupted as a result, since the two-month long internships would fulfill the students' need to 'experience working conditions.'"
SchrodingerZ writes "Researchers at the University of Central Florida have created the shortest laser pulse ever recorded, lasting only 67 attoseconds. An attosecond is a mere quintillionith of a single second (1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000). The record-breaking project was run by UCF Professor Zenghu Chang, using an extreme ultraviolet laser pulse. '"Dr. Chang's success in making ever-shorter light pulses helps open a new door to a previously hidden world, where we can watch electrons move in atoms and molecules, and follow chemical reactions as they take place," said Michael Johnson, the dean of the UCF College of Sciences and a physicist.' Its hoped that these short laser blasts will pave the way to better understand quantum mechanics in ways we have never before witnessed. In 2008 the previous record was set at 80 attoseconds, the pulse created at the Max Planck Institute in Garching, Germany."
supersloshy writes "The launch of the GNOME 3 desktop environment sparked heated debate and criticism. GNOME developers have been listening to the concerns of its users and it is rolling out several significant changes in GNOME 3.6. The message tray, often called hard to use, was made much more visible in addition to being harder to accidentally trigger. The "lock" screen can now optionally control your music player, the system volume, and display notifications so you don't have to type in a password. GNOME will also support different input sources directly instead of requiring an add-on program. Nautilus, the GNOME file browser, is also getting a major face lift with a new, more compact UI, properly working search features, a "move to" and "copy to" option as an alternative to dragging and dropping, and a new "recent files" section. These changes, among many others including improvements to system settings, will be present in GNOME 3.6 when it is released later this month. Any other additions or changes not currently implemented by the GNOME team can be easily applied with only one click at the GNOME Extensions website."
Curseyoukhan writes "Norton released its annual cybercrime report on Wednesday, and the company put the 'direct costs associated with global consumer cybercrime at US $110 billion over the past twelve months.' Last year's report put the total 'at an annual price of $388 billion globally based on financial losses and time lost.' That's more than the estimated value of the global black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined ($288 billion), the report said. But Norton makes no mention of the vast difference in 2011 and 2012 numbers. That's because last year's number was entirely fictitious." Something tells me that the scare-monger number-wavers aren't as embarrassed by this sort of logical deconstruction as they should be.
colinneagle writes with this excerpt from Network World: "If your password management system is to use your 'fingerprint as your master password,' and if your laptop uses UPEK software, then you'll not be happy to know your Windows password is not secure and instead is easily crackable. In fact, 'UPEK's implementation is nothing but a big, glowing security hole compromising (and effectively destroying) the entire security model of Windows accounts.' On the Elcomsoft blog about 'advanced password cracking insight,' Olga Koksharova had bad news for people who thought they were more secure by using biometrics, a UPEK fingerprint reader, instead of relying on a password. UPEK stores Windows account passwords in the registry 'almost in plain text, barely scrambled but not encrypted.' It's not just a few that are susceptible to hacking. 'All laptops equipped with UPEK fingerprint readers and running UPEK Protector Suite are susceptible. If you ever registered your fingerprints with UPEK Protector Suite for accelerated Windows login and typed your account password there, you are at risk.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Amazon used a Sept. 6 event in California to debut a range of products, including a front-lit [not back-lit, as originally reported] Kindle e-reader with a higher-resolution screen, an updated Kindle Fire, and the new Kindle Fire HD in two screen sizes. First, Bezos showed off a new version of the Kindle e-reader, the Kindle Paperwhite, complete with a front-lit, higher-resolution screen (221 pixels-per-inch and 25 percent more contrast, according to Amazon). The device weighs 7.5 ounces and is 9.1mm thin; battery life is rated at eight weeks, and the screen brightness is adjustable. He then showed off the updated Kindle Fire, before moving to the Kindle Fire HD, which features a choice of 7-inch or 8.9-inch screens, dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus, two antennas for better Wi-Fi pickup, and a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor (which Bezos claimed could out-perform the Tegra 3). The Kindle Fire HD's 7-inch version will retail for $199 and ship Sept. 14, while the 8.9-inch version will cost $299 and ship Nov. 20. An 8.9-inch, 4G LTE-enabled version with 32GB storage will be available starting Nov. 20 for $499, paired with a $49.99-a-year data plan."
1sockchuck writes "Google continues to expand the global reach of its infrastructure. Today the company announced plans to build its first data center in Latin America, investing $150 million in a facility in Quilicura, Chile. Google cited growing Internet use in Latin America, and said Chile has reliable infrastructure and a business-friendly environment. Last year Google announced plans for three new server farms in the Asia Pacific region, as well as a new data center in Dublin. Over the past year, Google has invested more than $2.5 billion on servers and data centers."
theodp writes "A newly-granted Google patent on Dynamic Pricing of Electronic Content describes how information gleaned from your search history and social networking activity can be used against you by providing tell-tale clues for your propensity to pay jacked-up prices to 'reconsume' electronic content, such as 'watching a video recording, reading an electronic book, playing a game, or listening to an audio recording.' The patent is illustrated with drawings showing how some individuals can be convinced to pay 4x what others will be charged for the same item. From the patent: 'According to one innovative aspect of the subject matter described by this specification, a system may use this information to tailor the price that is offered to the particular user to repurchase the particular item of electronic content. By not applying discounts for users that may, in relation to a typical user, be more inclined to repurchase a particular product, profits may increase.' Hey, wasn't this kind of dynamic pricing once considered evil?"
sciencewatcher writes "In an attempt to solve a rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl, the Dutch police have asked 8080 men to provide their DNA. All these people lived 5 km or less from the crime scene at the time of the murder. This reopened cold case is the first large-scale attempt not to hunt the rapist and killer but to locate his close or distant male relatives. All data gathered will be destroyed after the match with this particular murder. There seems to be great public support for this attempt." Shades of The Blooding.
An anonymous reader writes "Learning to write code has become something of a trendy thing to do. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he intends to learn code this year. Estonia has recently announced a scheme with the aim of getting every 6-year-old in the Baltic state to learn programming skills. The demand has spawned a number of start-ups offering coding lessons. General Assembly, which teaches off-line courses, has recently opened up in London and is recruiting ahead of a launch in Berlin. On-line education site Codecademy landed $10 million to expand from its home base in New York. Zach Simms, the 22-year-old co-founder, said in an earlier interview with The Wall Street Journal that not everyone has to learn to code, but everybody 'needs to learn the notions of algorithms, realizing what you can use code for.' But do they?"
An anonymous reader writes "I work at a non-profit that doesn't have the resources to automatically bend to each and every whim. However, I've been told that I can't use a cardboard box to put my computer on, for OSHA and fire prevention reasons. So the choice is, sit down for nine hours each day or else get a standup desk to the tune of 500 bucks or more. Is this worth it? Can I make one myself? Anything to know before I get in deep?" There are lots of home-grown stand-up desks out there (search IKEA Hackers for "stand-up desk" if that's your aesthetic leaning), and some ready-made ones from plainish to very expensive. If you've used a stand-up desk, what are your thoughts?