Submission Washtenaw County mammoth find hints at role of early humans (video,ph,map)->

Emmanuel Rodriguez Vasconcelos writes: A team of University of Michigan paleontologists and an excavator who donated his time worked all day at the site in Lima Township, roughly 10 miles southwest of Ann Arbor and several miles from the town of Chelsea. They were able to recover about 20 percent of the animal's bones, including the skull and two tusks, numerous vertebrae and ribs, the pelvis and both shoulder blades.
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Submission Verizon is merging its cellphone tracking supercookie w/AOL's ad tracking networ->

schwit1 writes: Verizon is giving a new mission to its controversial hidden identifier that tracks users of mobile devices. Verizon said in a little-noticed announcement that it will soon begin sharing the profiles with AOL's ad network, which in turn monitors users across a large swath of the Internet.

That means AOL's ad network will be able to match millions of Internet users to their real-world details gathered by Verizon, including — "your gender, age range and interests." AOL's network is on 40 percent of websites, including on ProPublica.

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Submission Researchers create "habitability index for transiting planets"->

hypnosec writes: Kepler Space Telescope has allowed astronomers to detect and catalog thousands of exoplanets and exoplanet candidates and with more powerful telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope scheduled for launch, scientists will be able to check if any of these exoplanets is habitable. However, when it comes to using space telescopes, there is a lot of time, and money that are required and so pointing the telescope at random to any of the exoplanets isn’t a practical proposition. That’s why researchers have created what they call a ‘habitability index for transiting planets’ using which astronomers will be able to prioritize the use of space telescope for finding habitable planets.
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Submission Scandal Erupts in Unregulated Online World of Fantasy Sports writes: Joe Drape and Jacqueline Williams report at the NYT that a major scandal is erupting in the multibillion-dollar industry of fantasy sports, the online and unregulated business in which an estimated 57 million people participate where players assemble their fantasy teams with real athletes. Two major fantasy companies were forced to release statements defending their businesses’ integrity after what amounted to allegations of insider trading, that employees were placing bets using information not generally available to the public. “It is absolutely akin to insider trading. It gives that person a distinct edge in a contest,” says Daniel Wallach. “It could imperil this nascent industry unless real, immediate and meaningful safeguards are put in place."

In FanDuel’s $5 million “NFL Sunday Million” contest this week, DraftKings employee Ethan Haskell placed second and won $350,000 with his lineup that had a mix of big-name players owned by a high number of users. Haskell had access to DraftKings ownership data meaning that he may have seen which NFL players had been selected by DraftKings users, and by how many users. In light of this scandal, DraftKings and FanDuel have, for now, banned their employees from playing on each other's sites. Many in the highly regulated casino industry insist daily fantasy sports leagues are gambling sites and shouldn’t be treated any differently than traditional sports betting and, as a result, should be regulated and Chris Grove says this may be a watershed moment for a sector that has resisted regulation but now may need it to prove its legitimacy. “You have information that is valuable and should be tightly restricted,” says Grove. “There are people outside of the company that place value on that information. Is there any internal controls? Any audit process? The inability of the industry to produce a clear and compelling answer to these questions to anyone’s satisfaction is why it needs to be regulated.”

Submission Getting More Women Coders Into Open Source->

Nerval's Lobster writes: Diversity remains an issue in tech firms across the nation, with executives and project managers publicly upset over a lack of women in engineering and programming roles. While all that's happening on the corporate side, a handful of people and groups are trying to get more women involved in the open source community, whether Women of OpenStack, Outreachy, which geared toward people from underrepresented groups in free software, and others. But does something actually need to be done about diversity among programmers? Can anything be done to shift the demographics, considering the issues that even large, coordinated companies have with altering the collective mix of their employees?
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Submission Aliens Have a Tough Time Perceiving Human Communications and Tech->

szczys writes: The screen on that new cellphone has amazing pixel density, color vibrance, and refresh rate. The high-end headphones you just picked up do an amazing job reproducing sound. These devices that make up UI for our modern technology interface extremely well with Humans but are going to be awful communication modes for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Sure, we haven't made contact with alien life yet. Even if they did pick up our broadcasts or space probes the relatively narrow-range of audio (narrow and low frequency), visual (slow refresh rate), and data transmission methods are likely to make no sense to non-human entities. The Voyager Golden Record took a fascinating approach to making some data available to new civilizations; it's interesting to think of other ways we might communicate with beings of fundamentally different biology.
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Submission Open source lunar rocket for review - are the numbers good?->

Kristian vonBengtson writes: Moonspike has proposed an open source lunar rocket to be created soon. The project will have complete transparency and the initial design is shown in the "feasibility study" which you can download. Are there any bright minds out there who can check the numbers? PDF alert!!
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Submission Brain prosthesis aims to help people struggling with memory loss->

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at USC and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center say they have developed a brain prosthesis designed to help people suffering from memory loss. The prosthesis, which includes a small array of electrodes implanted into the brain, has performed well in laboratory testing in animals and is currently being evaluated in human patients. Specifically it mimics how a memory is translated from short-term memory into long-term memory. In people with a damaged hippocampus it can loop the memory signals around the damage and provide the next region with the correctly translated memory. Their work was presented at the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.
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Submission Machines will learn just like a child, says IBM CEO->

dcblogs writes: Technology is shifting to intelligent machines with a capability to reason, said IBM Chairman and CEO Virginia Rometty. These machines won't replace humans, but will augment them. It is a technology that will transform business, she said. Rometty, interviewed Tuesday by Gartner analysts at the research firm's Symposium ITxpo, said cognitive systems understand not only data, but unstructured data, which includes images, songs, video, and then goes a step further: "They reason and they learn." The method of learning is not unlike a child's, she said.
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Submission The story of the founding of Fermilab

StartsWithABang writes: Back in 1967, the National Accelerator Laboratory was first commissioned, which would later become Fermilab, making such discoveries as the bottom and top quarks, the tau neutrino, and the discovery of CP-violation. In short, this was the machine, the laboratory and the home of the people who confirmed for us the validity of the Standard Model in a way never before achieved. But Fermilab isn’t just a cold, lifeless place where physicists hole up to make these discoveries: it’s also a triumph of nature and architecture, and it’s all owed to the brilliance and vision of its first director: Bob Wilson.

Submission Endocannabinoids Contribute to Runner's High->

MTorrice writes: After a nice long bout of aerobic exercise, some people experience what’s known as a “runner’s high”: a feeling of euphoria coupled with reduced anxiety and a lessened ability to feel pain. For decades, scientists have associated this phenomenon with an increased level in the blood of -endorphins, opioid peptides thought to elevate mood.

Now, German researchers have shown the brain’s endocannabinoid system—the same one affected by marijuana’s 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—may also play a role in producing runner’s high, at least in mice.

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Submission Dear FCC : Please don't kill my PC!->

An anonymous reader writes: This past year the FCC passed a set of rules that require manufacturers to thwart end-users from violating rules intended to keep the airwaves usable by all. Unfortunately the rules are such that they will do nothing to stop violators who have the knowledge and intent to bypass them and are already having massive collateral damage on non-violating users. Many people in the OpenWRT and LibreCMC communities are already seeing these locks in newer stock firmware images.

What we would like people to keep in mind is that these rules are not explicit to routers and will hamper other devices as well. Can't install your favourite distribution on a new computer? These rules may be to blame.

The EFF, FSF, Purple Foundation, OpenWRT, ThinkPenguin, Qualcomm, and others have been working diligently to stop this, but we need your help. This is your last chance to send in comments for a set of proposed rules that will make the situation even worse than it already is. For accurate information (there have been many factually inaccurate and misleading stories/quotes) check out the following blog post: and send your comments into the FCC via the EFF's new site: Also see

This is your last chance to stop this. The comment period ends October 9th!

Additional thoughts: Canada and Europe are also passing a similar set of rules. This fight won't be over any time soon. However we won't win unless we can overcome and win the first battle: stopping the proposed rules in the USA.

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Submission Windows Phone Store plagued by fake mobile apps->

An anonymous reader writes: A post by security company Avast indicates not only the large amount of fake apps available at third-party marketplace the Windows Phone Store, but also how long they remain available in spite of negative comments and other flags from end-users. Avast speculate that improved security and auditing procedures at rival stores such as Google Play account for the increasing attention that fake app-publishers are giving to the Windows phone app market.
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Submission Snowden discusses the GCHQ smartphone hacking tools

simpz writes: Edward Snowden has given an interview to the BBC about what GCHQ Smurf smartphone hacking tools are capable of doing. The register has the story:

These are probably baseband processor attacks. Any phones provide a decent separation of the baseband from the application OS? Or should we be buying MiFi's and small tablets?

Submission Matthew Garrett Forks The Linux Kernel

jones_supa writes: Just like Sarah Sharp, the Linux developer Matthew Garrett has gotten fed up with the unprofessional development culture surrounding the kernel. "I remember having to deal with interminable arguments over the naming of an interface because Linus has an undying hatred of BSD securelevel, or having my name forever associated with the deepthroating of Microsoft because Linus couldn't be bothered asking questions about the reasoning behind a design before trashing it.", Garrett writes. He has chosen to go his own way, and has forked the Linux kernel and added patches that implement a BSD-style securelevel interface. Over time it is expected to pick up some of the power management code that Garrett is working on, and we shall see where it goes from there.