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+ - New Virus Means Deadlier Flu Season Is Possible

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Donald McNeil writes in the NYT that this year’s flu season may be deadlier than usual because this year’s flu vaccine is a relatively poor match to a new virus that is now circulating. “Flu is unpredictable, but what we’ve seen thus far is concerning,” says Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. According to the CDC, five U.S. children have died from flu-related complications so far this season. Four of them were infected with influenza A viruses, including three cases of H3N2 infections. The new H3 subtype first appeared overseas in March but because it was not found in many samples in the United States until September, it is now too late to change the vaccine. Because of the increased danger from the H3 strain — and because B influenza strains can also cause serious illness — the CDC recommends that patients with asthma, diabetes or lung or heart problems see a doctor at the first sign of a possible flu, and that doctors quickly prescribe antivirals like Tamiflu or Relenza. “H3N2 viruses tend to be associated with more severe seasons,” says Frieden. “The rate of hospitalization and death can be twice as high or more in flu seasons when H3 doesn’t predominate.”"

+ - Electric eel shocks like a Taser->

Submitted by Science_afficionado
Science_afficionado (932920) writes "After a nine month study, a Vanderbilt biologist has determined that the electric eel emits series of millisecond, high-voltage pulses to paralyze its prey just before it attacks. The high-voltage pulses cause the motor neurons in its target to violently contract, leaving it temporarily immobilized in the same fashion as the high-voltage pulses produced by a Taser. He documented this effect using high-speed video. The eel, which is nocturnal and has very poor eyesight, also uses closely spaced pairs of high-voltage pulses when hunting for hidden prey. He determined that the pulses cause the prey's body to twitch which produces water movements that the eel uses to locate its position even when it's hidden from view."
Link to Original Source

+ - How Astronomers Will Take 'Image Of The Century': A Black Hole

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "Researchers studying the universe are ramping up to take the "image of the century" — the first ever image of a supermassive black hole. While the evidence for the existence of black holes is compelling, Scientists will continue to argue the contrary until physical, observational evidence is provided. Now, a dedicated team of astrophysicists armed with a global fleet of powerful telescopes is out to change that. If they succeed, they will snap the first ever picture of the monstrously massive black hole thought to live at the center of our home galaxy, the Milky Way. This ambitious project, called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), is incredibly tricky, but recent advances in their research are encouraging the team to push forward, now. The reason EHT needs to be so complex is because black holes, by nature, do not emit light and are, therefore, invisible. In fact, black holes survive by gobbling up light and any other matter — nearby dust, gas, and stars — that fall into their powerful clutches. The EHT team is going to zoom in on a miniscule spot on the sky toward the center of the Milky Way where they believe to be the event horizon of a supermassive black hole weighing in at 4 million times more massive than our sun. We can still see the material, however, right before it falls into eternal darkness. The EHT team is going to try and glimpse this ring of radiation that outlines the event horizon. Experts call this outline the "shadow" of a black hole, and it's this shadow that the EHT team is ultimately after to prove the existence of black holes."

+ - Every weapon, armored truck, and plane the Pentagon gave to local police->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz (125380) writes "You may have heard that the image-conscious Los Angeles Unified School District chose to return the grenade launchers it received from the Defense Department’s surplus equipment program. You probably have not heard about some of the more obscure beneficiaries of the Pentagon giveaway, but now you can after MuckRock got the Department of Defense to release the full database, letting anyone browse what gear their local department has received."
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+ - Ultrasound used to create Haptics, that can be touched and felt

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "Bristol University use ultrasound focused to create 3d objects out of the thin air. The research, led by Dr Ben Long and colleagues Professor Sriram Subramanian, Sue Ann Seah and Tom Carter from the University of Bristol’s Department of Computer Science, could change the way 3D shapes are used. The new technology could enable surgeons to explore a CT scan by enabling them to feel a disease, such as a tumour, using haptic feedback. The method uses ultrasound, which is focussed onto hands above the device and that can be felt. By focussing complex patterns of ultrasound, the air disturbances can be seen as floating 3D shapes. Visually, the researchers have demonstrated the ultrasound patterns by directing the device at a thin layer of oil so that the depressions in the surface can be seen as spots when lit by a lamp. “In the future, people could feel holograms of objects that would not otherwise be touchable, such as feeling the differences between materials in a CT scan or understanding the shapes of artefacts in a museum.”"

+ - Ocean-going robot fleet completes fish tracking mission->

Submitted by Hallie Siegel
Hallie Siegel (2948665) writes "The second phase of an ambitious project to gather valuable information on ocean processes and marine life using a fleet of innovative marine robots has just reached its conclusion. Co-ordinated by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), the Exploring Ocean Fronts project took place off southwest England and saw the largest deployment of robotic vehicles ever attempted in UK water. The marine robot patrols successfully located tagged fish and tracked the movements of individual fish over several days by re-locating them."
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+ - Nanny State Bans Many Porn Acts in UK

Submitted by DigitAl56K
DigitAl56K (805623) writes "The Independent reports that the UK's Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 has banned a long list of sex acts from Video-On-Demand pornography produced in the UK, many with no obvious reason. The restrictions "appear to make no distinction between consensual and non-consensual practices between adults".

A list of banned acts can be found in TFA, and include use of physical restraints, spanking, and humiliation. I wonder how long it will be before sites hosting content featuring such terrible, heinous, immoral acts are permanently blocked by the UK's net filter."

+ - Intelligence agency wants a superconducting, super cool, supercomputer->

Submitted by coondoggie
coondoggie (973519) writes "If there’s a away to overcome the power and cooling requirements to build a supercomputer beyond exaflop – that’s over 1,000 petaflops, about 30 times faster than the current fastest supercomputer — researchers at Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) want to find it."
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+ - Aliens Are Probably Everywhere, Just Not Anywhere Near Humans

Submitted by rossgneumann
rossgneumann (3901661) writes "If there’s intelligent life in the cosmos, it’s probably nowhere we can get to anytime soon. At least that’s the finding of the astrobiologist who, for the first time in decades, has rendered a major update to the key formula scientists use to seek out interstellar life. That’d be the Drake equation, which was developed over half a century ago to determine where life might lurk in the universe. Using the new Kepler data, astrobiologist Amri Wandel did some calculations to estimate the density of life-bearing worlds in our corner of the universe."

+ - New effort to grant legal rights to chimpanzees fails->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Advocates of “legal personhood” to chimpanzees have lost another battle. This morning, a New York appellate court rejected a lawsuit by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) to free a chimp named Tommy from captivity. The group had argued that the chimpanzee deserved the human right of bodily liberty. Despite the loss, the NhRP is pursuing more cases in the hopes of conferring legal rights to a variety of animals, from elephants to dolphins."
Link to Original Source

+ - Consumer-grade SSDs survive two petabytes of writes

Submitted by crookedvulture
crookedvulture (1866146) writes "The SSD Endurance Experiment previously covered on Slashdot has reached another big milestone: two freaking petabytes of writes. That's an astounding total for consumer-grade drives rated to survive no more than a few hundred terabytes. Only two of the initial six subjects made it to 2PB. The Kingston HyperX 3K, Intel 335 Series, and Samsung 840 Series expired on the road to 1PB, while the Corsair Neutron GTX faltered at 1.2PB. The Samsung 840 Pro continues despite logging thousands of reallocated sectors. It has remained completely error-free throughout the experiment, unlike a second HyperX, which has suffered a couple of uncorrectable errors. The second HyperX is mostly intact otherwise, though its built-in compression tech has reduced the 2PB of host writes to just 1.4PB of flash writes. Even accounting for compression, the flash in the second HyperX has proven to be far more robust than in the first. That difference highlights the impact normal manufacturing variances can have on flash wear. It also illustrates why the experiment's sample size is too small to draw definitive conclusions about the durability of specific models. However, the fact that all the drives far exceeded their endurance specifications bodes well for the endurance of consumer-grade SSDs in general."

+ - We Are Living in the Surveillance Society Says Assange

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Julian Assange writes in an op-ed in the NYT that we are living in a surveillance society where totalitarian surveillance is embodied in our governments and embedded in our economy, in our mundane uses of technology and in our everyday interactions. Companies like Google and Facebook are in the same business as the U.S. government’s National Security Agency says Assange and their business model is the industrial destruction of privacy. This destruction of privacy widens the existing power imbalance between the ruling factions and everyone else, leaving “the outlook for subject peoples and oppressed classes,” as Orwell wrote, “still more hopeless.”

According to Assange, the very concept of the Internet — a single, global, homogenous network that enmeshes the world — is the essence of a surveillance state. "The Internet was built in a surveillance-friendly way because governments and serious players in the commercial Internet wanted it that way. There were alternatives at every step of the way. They were ignored." But if there is a “democratic weapon,” that “gives claws to the weak” in George Orwell's words, it is cryptography. "It is cheap to produce: cryptographic software can be written on a home computer. It is even cheaper to spread: software can be copied in a way that physical objects cannot. But it is also insuperable — the mathematics at the heart of modern cryptography are sound, and can withstand the might of a superpower." It is too early to say whether the “democratizing” or the “tyrannical” side of the Internet will eventually win out says Assange. "But acknowledging them — and perceiving them as the field of struggle — is the first step toward acting effectively.""

+ - SpoofedMe - Social Login Attack Discovered by IBM X-Force Researchers->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "IBM X-Force’s Application Security Research Team has devised a logical attack that allows a malicious user to intrude into user accounts on a relying website — a website that relies on authentication assertions passed to it by the identity provider — by abusing the social login mechanism.

A specific instance of this attack allowed an attacker to intrude into a Slashdot user account by using the “Sign In With LinkedIn” service. It should be noted that LinkedIn responded quickly and fixed this vulnerability after the attack was disclosed. Once logged in, the attacker has complete access to the victim’s account. For example, the attacker could access the victim’s private information and impersonate him or her"

Link to Original Source

+ - A Cheap, Durable Robot Hand With An Adaptable Grip

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Building robot hands that mimic human ones may not be doing robotic grasping any favors. Authors from iRobot, Harvard and Yale describe the success they've had with an underactuated, three fingered hand. It doesn't look human, but thanks to a design that prioritizes flexibility and adaptability, it can do a lot of the same jobs with a lot less programming than previous models. http://spectrum.ieee.org/robot..."

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