Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Submission Scientists Invent a New Steel as Strong as Titanium-> 1

schwit1 writes: South Korean researchers have solved a longstanding problem that stopped them from creating ultra-strong, lightweight aluminum-steel alloys.

Today a team of material scientists at Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea announced what they're calling one of the biggest steel breakthroughs of the last few decades: an altogether new type of flexible, ultra-strong, lightweight steel. This new metal has a strength-to-weight ratio that matches even our best titanium alloys, but at one tenth the cost, and can be created on a small scale with machinery already used to make automotive-grade steel. The study appears in Nature.

Link to Original Source

Submission Former Cisco CEO: China, India, UK Will Lead US In Tech Race Without Action

Mickeycaskill writes: Former Cisco CEO John Chambers says the US is the only major country without a proper digital agenda and laments the fact none of the prospective candidates for the US Presidential Election have made it an issue.

Chambers said China, India, the UK and France were among those to recognise the benefits of the trend but the US had been slow — risking any economic gains and support for startups

“This is the first time that our government has not led a technology transition,” he said. “Our government has been remarkably slow. We are the last major developed country in the world without a digital agenda.

“I think every major country has this as one of their top two priorities and we don’t. We won’t get GDP increase and we won’t be as competitive with our startups.

“The real surprise to me was how governments around the world, except ours, moved.”

Submission Dormant Virus Wakes Up In Some Patients With Lou Gehrig's Disease->

MTorrice writes: Our chromosomes hold a partial record of prehistoric viral infections: About 8% of our genomes come from DNA that viruses incorporated into the cells of our ancestors. Over many millennia, these viral genes have accumulated mutations rendering them mostly dormant.

But one of these viruses can reawaken in some patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive muscle wasting disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. A new study demonstrates that this so-called endogenous retrovirus can damage neurons, possibly contributing to the neurodegeneration seen in the disease.

The findings raise the possibility that antiretroviral drugs, similar to those used to treat HIV, could slow the progression of ALS in some patients.

Link to Original Source

Submission State Trooper Cars Hacked

ancientribe writes: Two models of Virginia State Police cruisers were hacked in an experiment to expose vulnerabilities in the vehicles and to come up with ways to protect the cars from hackers. Mitre, the Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles, the University of Virginia, and other organizations in cooperation with DHS and the DOT demonstrated the attacks on an unmarked 2012 Chevrolet Impala and a marked patrol car, a 2013 Ford Taurus. GM and Ford even provided their comments to the press in the wake of the experiment.

Submission A redcoat solution to government surveillance->

schwit1 writes: Efforts to halt the government's mass surveillance of ordinary citizens have taken two forms: urging Congress to do the right thing (something it rarely does anymore) or suing spy agencies under the 4th Amendment (which prohibits most warrantless searches and seizures). Neither strategy has been particularly effective.

Perhaps another route is available, using an amendment so rarely cited that the American Bar Assn. called it the "runt piglet" of our Constitution. It's the 3rd Amendment, which prohibits the federal government from lodging military personnel in your home.

Many Americans know that the 1st Amendment protects free speech and religious freedom, that the 2nd protects the right to bear arms and that others establish the right to a jury trial and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. Very few know what the 3rd Amendment does, and understandably so. Since colonial times and the early days of the republic, no one has been routinely forced to feed and house soldiers. There has never been a Supreme Court case primarily based on the 3rd Amendment.

But let's examine whether a case may be made. The National Security Agency is part of the Department of Defense and therefore of our nation's military. By law, the NSA director must be a commissioned military officer, and per its mission statement, the NSA gathers information for military purposes. That's strong evidence that NSA personnel would qualify as soldiers under the 3rd Amendment.

And why did the framers prohibit the government lodging soldiers in private homes? Besides a general distaste for standing armies, quartering was costly for homeowners; it was also an annoyance that completely extinguished a family's sense of privacy and made them feel violated. Sound familiar?

The British could spy on American colonists by keeping soldiers among them. Today, the government can simply read your email. Centuries ago, patriots wrote angry letters about soldiers observing the ladies of the house at various stages of undress. Now, as John Oliver joked, the NSA can just view your intimate selfies.

Link to Original Source

Submission Scientist Revokes Software License to Protest Immigration-Friendly Policies writes: Kai Kupferschmidt reports in Science Magazine that Gangolf Jobbi is revoking the license to use his bioinformatics software, Treefinder, for researchers working in eight European countries (Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Denmark) because those countries allow too many immigrants to cross their borders. "Immigration to my country harms me, it harms my family, it harms my people. Whoever invites or welcomes immigrants to Europe and Germany is my enemy,” says Jobb. Treefinder has been used in hundreds of scientific papers to build phylogenetic trees, diagrams showing the most likely evolutionary relationship of various species, from sequence data. Although the change in the license may be a nuisance for some researchers, the program is far from irreplaceable, several scientists say..

"I'd say not being able to use Treefinder would be no great loss to anyone,” says Sandra Baldauf, a biologist at Uppsala University in Sweden. A paper co-authored by Baldauf last year in Current Biology used Treefinder primarily because a colleague had long worked with it, she says; now that that researcher has left, Baldauf uses "the underlying software (Consel), which is the real analytical power behind Treefinder anyway,” she wrote in an email. And after reading Jobb's statement, "I would stop using [Treefinder] just on general principle, even if we had to resort to using pencil and paper.” The affair shows that it is important for scientists to be knowledgeable about licensing issues when using software, says Antoine Branca. Because Jobb owns the licence, he can restrict it as he sees fit. Licenses like the GNU General Public License, on the other hand, grant users rights to use, study, share, and even modify the software freely. "Maybe people will be more aware of this now,” Branca says.

Submission Hackers can imitate your voice to trick authentication systems->

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers are investigating ways that attackers can fool voice-based security systems by impersonating a person’s voice. A team at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB), has found that using readily available voice morphing software, hackers are able to administer voice imitation attacks to breach automated and human authentication systems.
Link to Original Source

Submission Hajj Pilgramage Practically Defies Simulation->

agent elevator writes: In 2010, Saudi Arabia hosted an international design competition aimed at safely accommodating more pilgrims at Mecca’s Grand Mosque. One of the participants told IEEE Spectrum that the crowd densities there (6 people per square meter) bogged down off-the-shelf software so badly that simulation run times were about 10 to 20 times slower than real time crowd movement. Nevertheless, he found some work arounds that gave designers a plan to double the Grand Mosque’s peak visitor rate from 40,000 to 102,000 people per hour. Last week's stampede took place well away from the mosque, but signals sent to pilgrims telling them when to speed up or slow down could help prevent such a tragedy, the crowd simulation expert said.
    Other engineers are turning to fuzzy logic as way to predict how crowds will react in a panic.

Link to Original Source

Submission UCLA claims technique for carbon-neutral cement manufacturing->

An anonymous reader writes: The world produces around 5 billion tons of portland cement each year, or nearly three-quarters of a ton for every person on Earth. For every ton of cement produced, about a ton of carbon dioxide is released — accounting for about 7 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions. A new technique developed at UCLA captures and recombines CO2 from the first step in cement manufacturing to help power the second. In addition, the new method requires about half as much heat as typically required.
Link to Original Source

Submission Absent gravitational waves from merging black holes throw scientists into tizzy->

hypnosec writes: For the past eleven years, a team of international scientists is busy looking for gravitational waves by monitoring a set of ‘millisecond pulsars’ using CSIRO's Parkes Telescope. The idea is to record the arrival times of the highly regular trains of radio pulses on Earth to an accuracy of ten billionths of a second. Merging of a pair of black hole produces gravitational waves according to Einstein's theory of relativity. When these gravitational waves pass between Earth and a millisecond pulsar, the squeeze and stretch of space causes a change in distance Earth and the pulsar in tune of about 10 metres — a tiny fraction of the pulsar’s distance from Earth. This changes, very slightly, the time that the pulsar’s signals arrive on Earth. Researchers have been trying to detect this change as a proof of existence of gravitational waves, but to no avail raising questions on our understanding of black holes and on the theory of relativity as well.
Link to Original Source

Submission A cold spot in the Atlantic has scientists seriously freaked out ->

Kristine Lofgren writes: While the rest of the planet is suffering through an astoundingly hot year so far, one increasingly cold spot in the northern Atlantic has some scientists thinking that one of their worst fears about climate change is coming true. Research by the NOAA shows that this chilly spot means that currents in the area may be slowing down, allowing cold water to sink and warmer water to move in. If that is what is happening, and it looks like it is, it could mean that the current ocean currents could go haywire, and we all know how important the ocean is for regulating temperatures on land, right?
Link to Original Source

Submission IT Departments Try to Avoid Getting Ubered

StewBeans writes: Fortune 500 companies and longstanding corporate giants are losing to startups that are born digital because they can't keep up or they refuse to acknowledge the ways that technology is changing both business and consumer preferences. Getting "Ubered" is now one of the biggest threats to traditional IT departments as the growing number of unicorns like Airbnb, Spotify, Square, and others take over the economy and win the hearts and minds of increasingly mobile, always-on consumers. In this article, nine tech leaders from large companies talk about how they have had to change their approach in order to keep pace and avoid getting disrupted by the next big thing around the corner.

Submission Another Pharma Company Recaptures a Generic Medication->

Applehu Akbar writes: Daraprim, currently used as a niche AIDS medication, was developed and patented by Glaxo (now GlaxoSmithKlein) decades ago. Though Glaxo's patent has long since expired, a startup called Turing Pharmaceuticals has been the latest pharma company to 'recapture' a generic by using legal trickery to gain exclusive rights to sell it in the US.
Though Turing has just marketing rights, not a patent, on Daraprim, it takes advantage of pharma-pushed laws that forbid Americans from shopping around on the world market for prescriptions. Not long ago, Google was fined half a billion dollars by the FDA for allowing perfectly legal Canadian pharmacies to advertise on its site. So now that Turing has a lock on Daraprim, it has raised the price from $13.50 a pill to $750.

In 2009 another small pharma company inveigled an exclusive on the longstanding generic gout medication colchicine from the FDA, effectively rebranding the unmodified generic so they could raise its price by a similar percentage.

Link to Original Source

"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." -- Bakunin [ed. note - I would say: The urge to destroy may sometimes be a creative urge.]