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Science

+ - 302 Why the Arabic World Turned Away From Science->

Submitted by
Geoffrey.landis
Geoffrey.landis writes "The historical period that we call the dark ages, from perhaps 600 to 1200 AD, was the golden age of Islamic science, when great advances in science and technology were taking place in the middle east. But somehow, as the west experienced its renaissance, the blossoming of the age of science, and the founding of the modern technological world, the Arabic world instead turned away from science. Muslim countries have nine scientists, engineers, and technicians per thousand people, compared with a world average of forty-one, and of roughly 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, only two scientists from Muslim countries have won Nobel Prizes in science. Why? In an article "Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science" in The New Atlantis, Hillel Ofek examines both the reasons why Islamic science flourished, and why it failed. Are we turning the same way, with a rising tide of religious fundamentalism and dogma shouting down the culture of inquiry and free thinking needed for scientific advances? Perhaps we should be looking at the decline of Islamic science as a cautionary tale."
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Science

+ - 107 We Aren't the World: changing how scientists think about human behavior, culture->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "This is just fascinating: Joe Henrich and his colleagues are shaking the foundations of psychology and economics, and explain why social science studies of Westerners — and Americans in particular — don't really tell us about the human condition: "Given the data, they concluded that social scientists could not possibly have picked a worse population from which to draw broad generalizations. Researchers had been doing the equivalent of studying penguins while believing that they were learning insights applicable to all birds.""
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Links

+ - 117 WebCitation calls for cash on FundRazr->

Submitted by Phillip2
Phillip2 (203612) writes "WebCite is an effective tool against link-rot on the web. It's used by Wikipedia to secure the evidence they base their articles on. And many academic journals reference the web through it. Despite this value, it's been obviously in need to modernisation for years; to the extent that it is now asking for funds on FundRazr. Following on from a fundraising efforts by archive.org over Christmas, it raises this question of whether we take digital preservation seriously."
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Medicine

+ - 149 Scientists Create Mice That Can't Feel Cold->

Submitted by
kkleiner
kkleiner writes "Scientists created a group of mice that were incapable of feeling cold by killing off the neurons in the body whose specific job it is to transmit cold sensation from the skin to the brain. Rather than an attempt to create an X-men-like mutation, the study sheds light on how the nervous system transmits sensory information from the body to the brain and may help to develop more sophisticated pain medicines. The study was published in the February 13 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience — led by David McKemy, associate professor of neurobiology at the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences."
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Japan

+ - 105 Nuclear power hazardous to nuclear family->

Submitted by
mdsolar
mdsolar writes "Atomic Divorce is the new name for the crushing of the nuclear family in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. ""People are living with constant low-level anxiety. They don't have the emotional strength to mend their relationships when cracks appear," [...] Couples are being torn apart over such issues as whether to stay in the area or leave, what to believe about the dangers of radiation, whether it is safe to get pregnant and the best methods to protect children. "When people disagree over such sensitive matters, there's often no middle way,"" According to Noriko Kubota, a professor of clinical psychology at Iwaki Meisei University."
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+ - 172 How million-dollar frauds turned photo conservation into a mature science->

Submitted by
carmendrahl
carmendrahl writes "Photos used to be second-class citizens in the art world, not considered as prestigious as paintings or sculpture. But that changed in the 1990s. As daguerrotypes and the like started selling for millions of dollars, fakes also slipped in. Unfortunately, the art world didn't have good ways of authenticating originals.
Cultural heritage researchers had to play catch-up, and quickly. Two fraud cases, one involving avant garde photographer Man Ray, turned photo conservation from a niche field into a mature science. And today eBay plays an important role in helping ferret out the frauds."

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Android

+ - 162 Mobile Carriers Use Firefox OS To Fight Google, Apple->

Submitted by
jfruh
jfruh writes "The first Firefox OS phones are arriving, and the fledgling mobile platform is getting a surprising amount of backing from mobile carriers. One reason: those carriers believe it provides a weapon against Apple and Google, which the mobile industry sees as raking in profits for apps and phones that rightfully belong to the companies that deal with government regulations and build out mobile infrastructure."
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Microsoft

+ - 183 Microsoft admits to being hacked too->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "Once upon a time, Microsoft claimed that falling prey to social engineering tactics and then being hacked was a "rookie mistake." But now is the time for companies to jump on the bandwagon, to admit they were targeted by cyberattacks and successfully infiltrated. The stage is so crowded with 'giants' at this point, that there are fewer 'bad press' repercussions than if only one major company had admitted to being breached. Microsoft now admitted, hey we were hacked too.

"As reported by Facebook and Apple, Microsoft can confirm that we also recently experienced a similar security intrusion," wrote Matt Thomlinson, General Manager of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Security. Unlike the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal there was no mention of Chinese hackers. Is there a moral to these sad tales? Perhaps only that anyone can become a victim.

However, back in 2011, John Howie, Microsoft's senior director in the Online Services Security & Compliance (OSSC) team, basically claimed that unlike RSA or Sony, Microsoft sites are unhackable and can't be DDoSed. In regards to the breach at RSA, Howie told Computing News, "RSA got hacked because someone got socially engineered and opened a dodgy email attachment. A rookie mistake." Furthermore "Sony was coded badly and failed to patch its servers. These are rookie mistakes." Howie added, "At Microsoft we have robust mechanisms to ensure we don't have unpatched servers. We have training for staff so they know how to be secure and be wise to social engineering.""

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AI

+ - 96 Is Artificial General Intelligence the greatest threat to humanity?->

Submitted by PatrickRIot
PatrickRIot (2778703) writes "In a wide ranging interview Nick Bostrom of the Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford goes through all the cosmic, grisly and robotic ways our species might eventually check out.

A really big chunk is given over to a possible super intelligence or global brain that makes artificial intelligence comparable to reverse engineering God. The old testament kind too.

'To understand why an AI might be dangerous, you have to avoid anthropomorphising it. When you ask yourself what it might do in a particular situation, you can’t answer by proxy. You can't picture a super-smart version of yourself floating above the situation. Human cognition is only one species of intelligence, one with built-in impulses like empathy that colour the way we see the world, and limit what we are willing to do to accomplish our goals. But these biochemical impulses aren’t essential components of intelligence. They’re incidental software applications, installed by aeons of evolution and culture. Bostrom told me that it’s best to think of an AI as a primordial force of nature, like a star system or a hurricane — something strong, but indifferent.'"

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Earth

+ - 183 Long-lost continent found under the Indian Ocean->

Submitted by
ananyo
ananyo writes "The drowned remnants of an ancient microcontinent may lie scattered beneath the waters between Madagascar and India, a new study suggests. Evidence for the long-lost land comes from Mauritius, a volcanic island about 900 kilometres east of Madagascar. The oldest volcanic rocks on the island date to about 8.9 million years ago. Yet grain-by-grain analyses of beach sand collected at two sites on the Mauritian coast revealed around 20 zircons — tiny crystals of zirconium silicate that are exceedingly resistant to erosion or chemical change — that were far older. One of these zircons was at least 1.97 billion years old.
The researchers that made the discovery think that geologically recent volcanic eruptions brought shards of the buried continent to the Earth’s surface, where the zircons eroded from their parent rocks to pepper the island’s sands. Analyses of Earth’s gravitational field reveal several broad areas where sea-floor crust at the bottom of the Indian ocean is much thicker than normal — at least 25 to 30 kilometres thick, rather than the normal 5 to 10 kilometres. Those crustal anomalies may be the remains of a landmass that researchers have now dubbed Mauritia, which they suggest split from Madagascar when tectonic rifting and sea-floor spreading sent the Indian subcontinent surging northeast millions of years ago."

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Microsoft

+ - 136 Linus Torvalds To Secure Boot Supporters: This Is Not A Dick-Sucking Contest-> 1

Submitted by sfcrazy
sfcrazy (1542989) writes "Quite a lot of people raised their eyebrows the way ex-Red Hat developer Matthew Garrett made Microsoft the 'universal' control of any desktops PCs running with UEFI secure boot. Though the intentions of Garrett were clear — to enable GNU/Linux to be able to run Linux on Windows 8 certified PCs with secure boot; it was clearly putting Microsoft in a very powerful position. Linus, while a supporter of secure boot, exploded at Garrett and Howells when they proposed its inclusing in the kernel. Linus responded: Guys, this is not a dick-sucking contest. If you want to parse PE binaries, go right ahead. If Red Hat wants to deep-throat Microsoft, that's *your* issue. That has nothing what-so-ever to do with the kernel I maintain. It's trivial for you guys to have a signing machine that parses the PE binary, verifies the signatures, and signs the resulting keys with your own key. You already wrote the code, for chissake, it's in that f*cking pull request."
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The Military

+ - 156 Human Rights Watch: Petition Against Robots on the Battle Field-> 1

Submitted by
KublaCant
KublaCant writes ""At this very moment, researchers around the world – including in the United States – are working to develop fully autonomous war machines: killer robots. This is not science fiction. It is a real and powerful threat to humanity". These are the first words of a Human Rights Watch Petition to Presdient Obama to keep robots from the battlefield. The argument is that robots possess neither common sense, "real" reason, any sense of mercy nor — most important — the option to not obey illegal commands. What with the fast-spreading use of drones et al. , we are allegedly a long way off from Asimov's famous Three Laws of Robotics being implanted in autonomous fighting machines, or into any ( semi- ) autonomous robot. A "Stop the Killer Robots" campaign will also be launched in April at the British House of Commons and includes many of the groups that successfully campaigned to have international action taken against cluster bombs and landmines. They hope to get a similar global treaty against autonomous weapons. The Guardian has more about this, including quotes from well-known robotics researcher Noel Sharkey from Sheffield University."
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Earth

+ - 208 Russian meteor blast heard around the world->

Submitted by cylonlover
cylonlover (1921924) writes "When the Chelyabinsk meteor exploded high over Russia on February 15, it was a blast heard around the world. This isn't just a figure of speech. Though too low-frequency for human hearing, sound waves from the 500-kiloton detonation of the 17-meter (56-ft) rock were picked up in Antarctica – some 15,000 km (9,320 miles) away – by 17 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) infrasound stations dedicated to detecting nuclear explosions above or below ground."
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Medicine

+ - 178 Physician Suicides After Discovered Secretly Videotaping Patients for Years

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Doctors have been sanctioned for snapping photos of patients during surgery, for posting or writing anything with identifying information about patients or even for looking at their medical records out of curiosity. Now the Washington Post reports that for more than two decades, women came to see Johns Hopkins gynecologist Nikita Levy and trusted him with not only the most private parts of their bodies but also with their innermost secrets. This week patients were reeling from the news that their doctor had committed suicide after being accused of surreptitiously videotaping and photographing many of his patients. Police said they have removed nearly 10 image-filled computer hard drives from Levy’s home in Towson, Md. “Never in a thousand years would I have imagined such a thing,” says Deborah Doerfer, a certified nurse midwife who worked with Levy off and on for nearly 20 years. “He was incredibly compassionate. He was always there to take care of his patients. They expected him to be on call 24/7, and he was.” Police would not speculate how many images the hard drives may contain, nor when Levy allegedly began recording them. Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says police found multiple cameras in at least one examination room, although he would not describe how they were hidden. “Everybody understands what’s at stake here," says Lois Shepherd, an expert on biomedical ethics at the University of Virginia. "Just like when we’re in surgery and under anesthesia, we trust that our body will be exposed as necessary for a procedure, but not more than necessary. And certainly not for people’s titillation, or even for their curiosity.” Johns Hopkins Medicine has set up a hotline that patients can call to arrange for counseling."
Security

+ - 125 Walmart Self-Checks Home to Host of Vulnerabilities->

Submitted by Saralonde
Saralonde (2369676) writes "It's no secret to anyone who has seen a Walmart Self-Checkout start up that these machines run on the venerable Windows XP. However, these machines are still home to a host of vulnerabilities, including the infamous MS_08_067 netapi vulnerability. Most of these systems still run on unpatched XP SP1, leaving them wide open to a range of attacks, as well as any vulnerabilities in IE6. Also still being ran is MSXML 4.0, in an unpatched form. Do we really trust the world's biggest retailer with our card data when it can't even be trusted to secure its own transactions? These were observed by a Walmart employee from a small midwest town that shall remain unnamed."
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Security

+ - 139 Fingerprint purchasing technology ensures buyer has a pulse->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "ZU writes: A small U.S. university has come up with a novel solution to reduce the possibility of using a dead persons hand to get passed a figerprint scanner through the use of hemoglobin detection. The device quickly checks the finger print and hemoglobin "non-intrusively" to verify the identity and whether the individual is alive. This field of research is called Biocryptology and will continue with the need to ensure that biometric security devices can't be easily bypassed."
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Sci-Fi

+ - 222 Doctor Who's Dalek Designer Dies at 84->

Submitted by
SchrodingerZ
SchrodingerZ writes "Raymond Cusick, a production designer for the BBC show Doctor Who from 1963 to 1966, has died from illness. 'Terry Nation, who died in 1997, wrote the 1963 story The Daleks, in which the "satanic pepperpots" first appeared, but it was Cusick who came up with the machines' distinctive look, including the bobble-like sensors, eyestalk, sucker and exterminator weapons.' His horrid creation has remained a prime enemy in Doctor Who for over 50 years, and have remained relatively unchanged. His tireless work however was never fully awarded, as his only pay for the project was about £100. Cusick also worked on such shows as Z Cars, Dr Finlay's Casebook and The Forsyte Saga to The Duchess of Duke Street, When the Boat Comes In and Rentaghost. He officially retired in 1987. Claire Heawood, Cusick's daughter has said that her father was 'suffering from an illness and died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday.'"
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Your Rights Online

+ - 193 Muslims demand murder of more bloggers->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Days after the killing of leftist blogger Thaba Baba, mosques throughout Bangladesh called for a popular uprising to demand the killing of other bloggers who had held a rally calling for the death of Jama'at-e-Islami leaders convicted of war crimes. This happens in an atmosphere of ongoing tension between Left and Right, with the leftist government threatening to outlaw rightist parties while the right uses violence to quiet selected enemies."
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HP

+ - 208 HP Back in Tablet Game with $169 Slate7

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "You know the old adage, 'Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me?' Still, even if you got bit by the HP TouchPad debacle, HP's newly-announced $169 Slate7 tablet could prove hard to resist. Specs-wise, the Slate7 sports an ARM Dual Core Cortex-A9 1.6 GHz processor, 7-inch 1024x600 HFFS screen, Android 4.1 (Jellybean), three-megapixel camera on the back, front-facing VGA camera, 8GB of on-board storage, HP ePrint, Beats Audio, and a micro SD expandable card slot. It measures 10.7mm x 197mm x 116mm thin, and weighs in at 13-ounces. It will be available in the US in April via HPDirect.com. Engadget has some pics and their initial hands-on take."

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