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+ - Consciousness on-off switch discovered deep in brain->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "ONE moment you're conscious, the next you're not. For the first time, researchers have switched off consciousness by electrically stimulating a single brain area.

Although only tested in one person, the discovery suggests that a single area – the claustrum – might be integral to combining disparate brain activity into a seamless package of thoughts, sensations and emotions. It takes us a step closer to answering a problem that has confounded scientists and philosophers for millennia – namely how our conscious awareness arises.

When the team zapped the area with high frequency electrical impulses, the woman lost consciousness. She stopped reading and stared blankly into space, she didn't respond to auditory or visual commands and her breathing slowed. As soon as the stimulation stopped, she immediately regained consciousness with no memory of the event. The same thing happened every time the area was stimulated during two days of experiments.

What happens when a government can do this to a person remotely or enmass? Tin foil hat time."

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+ - Study: Whales are ecosystem engineers

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers had previously thought that, being excessively uncommon and migrant, whales didn't have much of an effect on the more extensive marine environment. However, a new study distributed in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment gives whales a role as “engineers” of the oceans. In the study, scientists from the University of Vermont suggest that the 13 types of extraordinary whale have an essential and positive impact on the capacity of seas, on carbon storage, and on the state of fisheries around the globe. "The decline in great whale numbers, estimated to be at least 66% and perhaps as high as 90%, has likely altered the structure and function of the oceans, but recovery is possible and in many cases is already underway," researchers wrote in an article announcing their investigation."

+ - Newly spotted frozen world orbits in a binary star system

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A newly discovered planet in a binary, or twin, star system located 3,000 light-years from Earth is expanding astronomers’ notions of where Earth-like planets can form. At twice the mass of Earth, the planet orbits one of the stars in the binary system at almost exactly the same distance at which Earth orbits the sun. However, because the planet’s host star is much dimmer than the sun, the planet is much colder than Earth. “This greatly expands the potential locations to discover habitable planets in the future,” said Scott Gaudi, professor of astronomy at Ohio State. “Half the stars in the galaxy are in binary systems. We had no idea if Earth-like planets in Earth-like orbits could even form in these systems.”"

+ - Autonomous Trucking->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "We've heard about all the effort going into self-driving cars, but what about the massive fleet of trucks we use to deliver goods around the country? Well, Mercedes is trying to tackle that problem. They have just demonstrated an autonomous 18-wheeler on the German Autobahn. It's clearly a long-term project — they named it "Future Truck 2025," as an unsubtle reminder that this tech needs a lot of development before it's ready for common use. "Special cameras and multiple radar systems watch the road, the sides of the road, and cars and trucks behind the vehicle. Future Truck is also envisioned to communicate with other vehicles and connect to growing sources of online information as Big Data balloons on the road. ... Many of the component parts to put a vehicle like this into production are already available in trucks on the market: Systems that help drivers keep their distance from other drivers, active braking assistance, guidance and mapping systems, and fine-tuned cruise control and tons of other hi-tech tchotchke.""
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+ - Oklahoma's Earthquakes Linked To Fracking->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Oklahoma has already experienced about 240 minor earthquakes this year, roughly double the rate at which California has had them. A recent study (abstract) has now tied those earthquakes to fracking. From the article: "Fracking itself doesn't seem to be causing many earthquakes at all. However, after the well is fracked, all that wastewater needs to be pumped back out and disposed of somewhere. Since it's often laced with chemicals and difficult to treat, companies will often pump the wastewater back underground into separate disposal wells. Wastewater injection comes with a catch, however: The process both pushes the crust in the region downward and increases pressure in cracks along the faults. That makes the faults more prone to slippages and earthquakes. ... More specifically, the researchers concluded that 89 wells were likely responsible for most of the seismic activity. And just four wells located southeast of Oklahoma City were likely responsible for about one-fifth of seismic activity in the state between 2008 and 2013.""
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+ - Biohackers are engineering yeast to make real vegan cheese. No cows needed!

Submitted by backslashdot
backslashdot (95548) writes "A collective of biohackers from the San Francisco Bay Area have joined forces to produce the world's first real vegan cheese in baker’s yeast. The aim of the project is to produce a renewable and sustainable, closed-loop food source that will provide the same nutritional value as non-vegan cheese and taste just as great! No cows, cruelty, or animal products needed. Additionally, the project will provide a real cheese for vegans, the lactose intolerant, and those that have food allergies to certain animal-derived milk proteins. A crowdfunding campaign launched on July 1st (today) has already raised nearly 25% towards the funding goal."

+ - More lack of accountability from Congress->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Who says they’re conservatives? The House Ethics committee, run by Republicans, has quietly eliminated the requirement that elected officials list any privately sponsored travel they receive in their annual financial-disclosure forms.

The move, made behind closed doors and without a public announcement by the House Ethics Committee, reverses more than three decades of precedent. Gifts of free travel to lawmakers have appeared on the yearly financial form dating back its creation in the late 1970s, after the Watergate scandal. National Journal uncovered the deleted disclosure requirement when analyzing the most recent batch of yearly filings. “This is such an obvious effort to avoid accountability,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “There’s no legitimate reason. There’s no good reason for it.”

Once again more evidence that we the voters must replace as many of these crooks, from both parties, as we can."
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+ - SONY EXITING PC BUSINESS WITH A BANG AS VAIO FLIP LAPTOPS GET RECALLED DUE TO FI->

Submitted by xerxes2044
xerxes2044 (2918175) writes "If you use or own a Sony VAIO Flip PC laptop, you should stop right now, because a recall of these computers has just been announced by a U.S. government agency.

The problem with the Sony VAIO Flip PC stems from their lithium-ion batteries, which pose fire and burn hazards, according to this recall advisory notice published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The batteries were manufactured by Panasonic, according to the CPSC document. Here’s how the agency describes the problem."

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