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+ - HullCoin launched as 'local digital currency'->

Submitted by Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian (1155547) writes "A virtual currency designed to be a "local digital currency", has been launched by Hull City Council.
In the form of digital "tokens", HullCoins can be used to pay council tax and for goods and services from firms signed up to the scheme. Hull City Council said it hoped the scheme would eventually be extended to the major supermarket chains. David Shepherdson, from the City Council, said HullCoins would have "a social purpose"."

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+ - UK reveals footage of 'top secret' drone->

Submitted by Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian (1155547) writes "Footage of Britain's new unmanned drone in flight were revealed on Wednesday.

The Taranis uses the latest stealth technology and is capable of launching precision air strikes in hostile territory.

Flying invisible to radar, the Taranis can be operated via satellite link from anywhere the world.

Should take your mind off /.beta"

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+ - Voice Bio metrics:Hello, is that really you?->

Submitted by Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian (1155547) writes "Big business wants your voice — not for customer feedback, but to tackle fraud.

Voice biometrics — the recording and analysis of unique voiceprints for authentication purposes — is one of the latest technological weapons being deployed in the war against fraudsters, thought to be pilfering at least £52bn from the UK economy each year, according to the National Fraud Authority (NFA).

UK financial services companies alone are conservatively estimated to be losing more than £5bn annually, the NFA says.

But the real figures are likely to be two or three times higher than this as so much fraud goes unreported.

Identity theft and account takeover are a big and growing problem, particularly in a digital era that has been a boon to fraudsters by presenting them with many more ways to harvest personal data."

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+ - Apple, Microsoft-backed 'Rockstar' uses Nortel patents to sue Google, Samsung an->

Submitted by Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian (1155547) writes "Early last year, the "Rockstar" consortium backed by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, Sony and Ericsson closed its purchase of thousands of patents previously owned by Nortel for $4.5 billion (around the same time Google, after failing to purchase the patents itself, closed a $12 billion deal for Motorola). That transaction cleared the DOJ as the team agreed to license the tech on "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, as well as their commitments not to seek injunctions in disputes involving SEPs.""
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+ - Adobe hack: At least 38 million accounts breached->

Submitted by Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian (1155547) writes "Adobe has confirmed that a recent cyber-attack compromised many more customer accounts than first reported.

The software-maker said that it now believed usernames and encrypted passwords had been stolen from about 38 million of its active users.

It added that the attackers had also accessed details from an unspecified number of accounts that had been unused for two or more years.

The firm had originally said 2.9 million accounts had been affected.

Adobe has also announced that the hackers stole parts of the source code to Photoshop, its popular picture-editing program.

It had previously revealed that the source code for its Acrobat PDF document-editing software and ColdFusion web application creation products had also been illegally accessed.

The information could allow programmers to analyse how Adobe's software works and copy its techniques."

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+ - Reverse ageing by boosting cells' energy factories->

Submitted by Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian (1155547) writes "JUST as a car's battery wears down with age, mitochondria, our cellular powerhouses, produce energy less efficiently as we get older. Now, ageing mice have been given a new lease of life after being injected with a drug that jump-starts their mitochondria.

Mitochondria contain genes coding for proteins important in energy production. So Shaharyar Khan of Gencia Corporation in Charlottesville, Virginia, and colleagues wondered if boosting the activity of these genes might reverse decline.

They took a naturally occurring mitochondrial transcription factor called TFAM, which initiates protein synthesis, and engineered it to cross into cells from the bloodstream and target the mitochondria.

Aged mice given modified TFAM showed improvements in memory and exercise performance compared with untreated mice. "It was like an 80-year-old recovering the function of a 30-year-old," says Rafal Smigrodzki, also at Gencia, who presented the results at the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence conference in Cambridge this month."

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+ - Last days for China's Space Station Tiangong->

Submitted by Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian (1155547) writes "When the crew of Shenzhou 10 departed the Tiangong 1 space laboratory in June, Chinese officials declared that Tiangong was now a spacecraft on death row. China's first space laboratory had three months to live. At the end of its lifetime, it would be subjected to a firery re-entry.

We are now approaching the end of the projected lifespan of Tiangong 1. We still don't know the exact date of its execution, which will be carried out when thrusters aboard the module are fired to remove it from orbit. It is expected that Tiangong 1 will re-enter over the Pacific Ocean, where any fragments from the laboratory will fall harmlessly into the water."

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+ - Esa's Cryosat mission observes continuing Arctic winter ice decline->

Submitted by Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian (1155547) writes "The volume of sea ice in the Arctic hit a new low this past winter, according to observations from the European Space Agency's (Esa) Cryosat mission.

During March/April — the time of year when marine floes are at their thickest — the radar spacecraft recorded just under 15,000 cu km of ice.

In its three years of full operations, Cryosat has witnessed a continuing shrinkage of winter ice volume.

It underlines, say scientists, the long-term decline of the floes."

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+ - DNA study suggests hunting did not kill off mammoth->

Submitted by Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian (1155547) writes "Researchers have found evidence to suggest that climate change, rather than humans, was the main factor that drove the woolly mammoth to extinction.

A DNA analysis shows that the number of creatures began to decrease much earlier than previously thought as the world's climate changed.

It also shows that there was a distinct population of mammoth in Europe that died out around 30,000 years ago.

The results have published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The view many researchers had about woolly mammoths is that they were a hardy, abundant species that thrived during their time on the planet."

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+ - Evidence of the existence of the Flying Spagetti Monster->

Submitted by Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian (1155547) writes "Pasta helps marathon runners keep the pace – and maybe some spinning stars too. The key to neutron stars' steady rotation may be spaghetti-shaped groupings of atomic nuclei that form lumps in the stellar crust.

A neutron star is the ultra-dense remnant of a stellar explosion, made up of a solid crust of atomic nuclei and a liquid core of free neutronsMovie Camera. These stars are born spinning rapidly, sometimes making multiple rotations per second. Some neutron stars also emit beams of radiation from their magnetic poles. If the beams sweep past Earth, we can detect the regular pulses of light and time the star's spin.

Without any outside influences, a neutron star will slow down over time as it radiates away energy. Curiously, X-ray pulsars, which are brighter and easier to observe than other types, appear to stop slowing down when they reach a rate of about 12 seconds per rotation."

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+ - Is Quantum Computing just round the corner?->

Submitted by Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian (1155547) writes "For the first time, a commercially available quantum computer has been pitted against an ordinary PC – and the quantum device left the regular machine in the dust.

D-Wave, a company based in Burnaby, Canada, has been selling quantum computers since 2011, although critics expressed doubt that their chips were actually harnessing the spooky action of quantum mechanics. That's because they use a non-mainstream method called adiabatic quantum computing.

Unlike classical bits, quantum bits, or qubits, can take the values 0 and 1 at the same time, theoretically offering much faster computing speed. To be truly quantum, the qubits must be linked via the quantum property of entanglement. That's impossible to measure while the device is operating. But in March, two separate tests of the D-Wave device showed indirect evidence for entanglement.

Actually reading the article it seems a bit biased"

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+ - Artificial Incemination? Just add water (oh and sperm)->

Submitted by Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian (1155547) writes "JUST add water and sperm – any romance should be provided separately. In future, women who want to safeguard their fertility may be able to store their eggs at home as a powder. To revive them for an attempt at having a baby, all they would need to do is empty the sachet, add water, fertilise with sperm and implant the embryo.

"You can keep the powder at room temperature forever – and just add water to bring it back to life," says Amir Arav of Core Dynamics in Ness Ziona, Israel, who developed the method. The technique was demonstrated with cow eggs last month at Cryo, a conference on cold-preservation techniques for eggs, sperm and embryos held in Berlin, Germany."

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+ - Making your own phone is easier than you might think ->

Submitted by
Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian writes "Our reporter builds a handcrafted cellphone using widely available parts and online instructions

SUDDENLY, my phone rings. It chirps out a tinny version of what sounds like the Christmas carol Angels We Have Heard on High. I am giddy with amazement.

On the fifth floor of the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, David Mellis has just plugged in the mobile phone I spent all afternoon soldering together. That's right: I just built a cellphone. By hand.

Mellis is a graduate student in the High-Low Tech lab, a group of engineering evangelists trying to bring technology know-how to people who perhaps thought it was out of reach. In 2005, he helped found Arduino, a company that makes easy-to-program microprocessors and sells them on simple circuit boards. The idea is to help people make electronic products without needing a degree in computer science.

They're popular among hobbyists, hackers and the sort of people who end up working at the Media Lab but they're hardly mainstream. Mellis wondered if he could take the idea further."

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+ - Solar/Wind Farms overwhelming the power grid in Cornwall->

Submitted by
Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian writes "Renewable energy projects are putting parts of Cornwall's electricity grid under severe strain, according to the region's power firm.

Western Power Distribution (WPD) said that without expensive investment the grid would struggle to cope with taking any more power.

And developers could be asked to pick up "a large proportion of these costs".

Renewables advisor Regen SW warned charges, totalling up to £4m, may bring renewable energy schemes to a "halt"."

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+ - WordPress Customer Service Faux pas->

Submitted by
Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian writes "I recently created a blog after much discussion with a corporate partner to take over the blogging on a specific topic which the original blogger had moved away from approximately three years ago the down side was I couldn’t take over his blog directly and due to corporate policies they couldn’t give me access to add my own blog on their site we agreed that I would do it elsewhere and they would organise to cross post it. That being the case I elected to use Now the issue is that has been disabled I can only assume that either they have assumed I don’t have permission to re-post, my table full of links is some kind of spam or I’m trying to do some form of SEO. None of which are true but since my account has been disabled I can no longer access to forums in order to try and defend myself which appears to be the only avenue to protest."
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You are lost in the Swamps of Despair.