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Submission Summary: 1 pending, 316 declined, 78 accepted (395 total, 19.75% accepted)

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Submission + - Islam and Facebook->

Taco Cowboy writes: It looks like Islam is having a hard time keeping up with technology

An Egyptian muezzin is facing disciplinary action for altering the words of the call to dawn prayer

Instead of the usual "praying is better than sleeping" chant that dude change it to "praying is better than spending time on Facebook

On a TV chat show on Sunday night, one of the worshippers came on air and accused Mr Moghazi of being a heretic. "Because of his inventiveness we have stopped praying at his mosque," the caller said

... whatever ...

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Would Alphabet be banned by Google?->

Taco Cowboy writes: Buried within Alphabet's webpage exists the link to "Hooli". Although it's part of a joke, the inclusion of the link has violated Google’s guidelines against searching spam

You’ll only spot the link if you scan through the source code of the home page or if you click on a period at the end of a sentence midway down the page that talks about Google’s drone delivery effort, Wing. Here’s the section and the source code:

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Neutrinos which packs real punches->

Taco Cowboy writes: Neutrinos are subatomic particles with no charge and almost no mass, which very rarely interact with anything. This means they can practically cross the Universe in a straight line, passing through entire planets undeflected — and undetected, but some neutrinos come packed with powerful punches

The Icecube project ( ) , which laced a cubic kilometre of ice beneath the South Pole with light sensors,recording the flashes created when a neutrino very occasionally bumps into an atom, has registered a record-breaking event that their icy instrument witnessed in June 2014

They have evidence for a neutrino arriving with at least 2,600 trillion electronvolts (teraelectronvolts, TeV) of energy — hundreds of times more than protons inside the Large Hadron Collider ( ), even after its historic revamp

What is more, that energy value is only a minimum. The neutrino itself never made it into the detector; what IceCube glimpsed was a different particle called a muon — the product of a "muon neutrino" (one of three different flavours) arriving from the north

"It was made by a neutrino that came through the Earth somewhere below our detector," said IceCube's principal investigator Francis Halzen, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison

By doing what Prof Halzen calls "back of an envelope" physics calculations, his team can reconstruct the neutrino interaction that spat the muon into the ice, where it dumped those 2,600 TeV

For a slippery, near-massless particle, this neutrino packed a punch

"Using standard model physics, the energy of this neutrino is somewhere around 5,000-10,000 TeV, with the most likely value somewhere in the middle," Prof Halzen explained

That power is equivalent to about 1,000 times the energy required by the powerful LHC

Muons are comparatively heavy — so when the sensors in the ice glimpse them rumbling past, their trajectory can be reconstructed. That turns IceCube into a telescope, peering northwards through the planet to see neutrinos arriving from the Universe's most ferocious, far-flung corners

"We can reconstruct the muon track to better than half a degree," Prof Halzen said. "This is totally going to change the astronomy we can do."

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Submission + - Robot which can walk and jump on water->

Taco Cowboy writes: Look at this pix:

this pix

and this vid:

Researchers from Seoul University and Harvard University built an insect-sized robot that mimics the way that the insect water striders, jump on the surface of a body of water after studying how the pond-skimmer insects push off the water’s surface without sinking

It isn’t difficult to make robots jump. Spring-bots do it. Robo-Cheetas do it. Even educated Robo-Fleas do it. But building a robot that can jump on the surface of the water is far more complicated

In general, you can’t jump without first pushing off of a surface. When that surface is water, pushing off usually means pushing down—or sinking fast

The team collected water striders from a local pond, and used high-speed cameras to record the insects jumping on water in buckets in the laboratory. They noticed that the insects don’t simply push down on the water. It generates a small amount of movement initially, and then gradually accelerate their legs so as not to break the surface tension tension force of water
The striders also sweep their legs inward before each jump, to maximize the amount of time they touch the surface, which boost the overall force of their pushes

Using a theoretical model of a flexible cylinder floating on liquid, they found the maximum force exerted by the insect's legs is always just below below the maximum force that water surface tension can withstand

Using these principles, the researchers developed an ultra light robot made out of nickel titanium with a 2 centimeter long body inspired by origami. Its 5 centimeter long wire legs are curved at the tips like a real water strider's and coated with a material that repels water. To recreate the same controlled acceleration in the robot as in the real insect, they used a mechanism called a torque reversal catapult (TRC), inspired by a flea's jumping leg to launch the robot from the surface of the water up to 14.2 centimeters in the air, which is similar to water striders. At the moment, the strider-bot can only jump once, and can’t land upright. But it's still quite impressive>br>
Je-sung Koh, co-lead author of the study, and his team were driven by the mere challenge of successfully building a robot that can jump on water, he said that they would like to build upon this design to develop a robot that can not only jump on the water, but that could also swim and perform other complex tasks. A future strider-bot might be used in swarms for environmental monitoring on rivers or oceans, for search and rescue in disaster areas, or even military surveillance

This isn’t the first robot to mimic the water strider’s movements.

The first robot that was able to jump on water was built in 2012 by engineers at Harbin Institute of Technology in China. However, unlike the new tiny strider-bot, the older robot is six inches long and about 1,000 times as heavy. The older jumping robot also has a different design. It uses six paddle-like feet made out of water repellant nickel foam, which allows it to balance and float on the water, as well as hop 14 centimeters high and 14 inches forward

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have already made a small robot that can walk on water. And three years ago, scientists at the University of Waterloo designed a robot that could leap 5.5 inches in the air and 14 inches forward from the water's surface. But previous robots weren’t quite as faithful to the water striders that they were modeled after; the Waterloo robot used wide paddles for its jumps and weighed about a thousand times more than a water strider. Today’s robo-insect is only seven times heavier (68 milligram) than a strider and replicates its long, thin legs

The results suggest an understanding of the hydrodynamic phenomena used by semi aquatic arthropods during water jumping and prescribe a method for reproducing these capabilities in artificial systems

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Submission + - Getting intense color without the use of toxic dyes->

Taco Cowboy writes: Some of the brightest and most colourful materials in nature – such as peacock feathers, butterfly wings and opals – get their colour not from pigments, but from their internal structure alone

Brightly-coloured, iridescent films, made from the same wood pulp that is used to make paper, could potentially substitute traditional toxic pigments in the textile and security industries. The films use the same principle as can be seen in some of the most vivid colours in nature, resulting in colours which do not fade, even after a century

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have recreated a similar structure in the lab, resulting in brightly-coloured films which could be used for textile or security applications

Cellulose is made up of long chains of sugar molecules, and is the most abundant biomass material in nature. It can be found in the cells of every plant and is the main compound that gives cell walls their strength

In plants such as Pollia condensata, striking iridescent and metallic colours are the result of cellulose fibres arranged in spiral stacks, which reflect light at specific wavelengths

The researchers used wood pulp, the same material that is used for producing paper, as their starting material. To make the films, the researchers extracted cellulose nanocrystals from the wood pulp. When suspended in water, the rod-like nanocrystals spontaneously assemble into nanostructured layers that selectively reflect light of a specific colour

The colour reflected depends on the dimensions of the layers. By varying humidity conditions during the film fabrication, the researchers were able to change the reflected colour and capture the different phases of the colour formation

“Nature is a great source of inspiration: we can use biocompatible, cheap and abundant materials for making materials that have applications in everyday life,” said Dr Silvia Vignolini from Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry, who led the research. “The materials that we produce can be used as substitutes for toxic dyes and colorants in fabric, security labelling and also cosmetics”

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Submission + - EU new VAT regulation ends up helping Amazon->

Taco Cowboy writes: Last year the EU passed a new legislation which was supposed to punish entities such as Amazon (which has its EU base in Belgium and thus not paying appropriate taxes in other EU countries) but ironically the same legislation which comes into effect 1st Jan of this year ends up helping Amazon

Microbusinsses (small shops dotted around the EU countries) simply couldn't cope with the complication of having to comply with each and every kind of VAT regulation in each and every EU country (plus local version of VATs)

Most of the microbusinesses may end up shutting their digital businesses, and those who hang on, opted to sell their wares on sites such as E-Bay or Amazon — the very entities the new EU regulation tried to punish

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Submission + - Cold War, NSA, GCHQ and Encryption->

Taco Cowboy writes: In the 1980s, the historian James Bamford was researching his book The Puzzle Palace about the US National Security Agency (NSA) and came across references to the "Boris project" in papers written by William F Friedman, the founding father of code-breaking in America. The "Boris project' details a secret agreement between Boris Hagelin, the founder of Crypto AG, a Switzerland company which sold Enigma-like machines to nations and spy agencies around the world, and NSA

Upon learning of Mr. Bamford's discovery the NSA promptly had the papers locked up in a vault

In 1995, journalist Scott Shane, then at the Baltimore Sun, found indications of contacts between the company and the NSA in the 1970s, but the company said claims of a deal were "pure invention"

The new revelations of a deal do not come from a whistleblower or leaked reports, but are buried within 52,000 pages of documents declassified by the NSA itself this April and investigated by the BBC

The relationship was based on a deep personal friendship between Hagelin and Friedman, forged during the War. The central document is a once top-secret 22-page report of a 1955 visit by Friedman to Zug in Switzerland, where Crypto AG was based

Some elements of the memo have been redacted — or blacked out — by the NSA. But within the released material, are two versions of the same memo, as well as a draft

Each of the versions has different parts redacted. By placing them side by side and cross referencing with other documents, it is possible to learn many — but not all — details. The different versions of the report make clear Friedman — described as special assistant to the director of NSA — went with a proposal agreed not just by US, but also British intelligence

Friedman offered Hagelin time to think his proposal over, but Hagelin accepted on the spot

The relationship, initially referred to as a "gentleman's agreement", included Hagelin keeping the NSA and GCHQ informed about the technical specifications of different machines and which countries were buying which ones. The provision of technical details "is a revelation of the first order," says Paul Reuvers, an engineer who runs the Crypto Museum website

"That's extremely valuable. It is something you would not normally do because the integrity and secrecy of your own customer is mandatory in this business"

The key to breaking mechanical encryption machines — such as Enigma or those produced by Hagelin — is to understand in detail how they work and how they are used. This knowledge can allow smart code breakers to look for weaknesses and use a combination of maths and computing to work through permutations to find a solution. In one document, Hagelin hints to Friedman he is going to be able "to supply certain customers" with a specific machine which, Friedman notes, is of course "easier to solve than the new models"

Previous reports of the deal suggested it may have involved some kind of backdoor in the machines, which would provide the NSA with the keys. But there is no evidence for this in the documents (although some parts remain redacted)

Rather, it seems the detailed knowledge of the machines and their operations may have allowed code-breakers to cut the time needed to decrypt messages from the impossible to the possible

The relationship also involved not selling machines such as the CX-52, a more advanced version of the C-52 — to certain countries. "The reason that CX-52 is so terrifying is because it can be customised," says Prof Richard Aldrich, of the University of Warwick. "So it's a bit like defeating Enigma and then moving to the next country and then you've got to defeat Enigma again and again and again"

Some countries — including Egypt and India — were not told of the more advanced models and so bought those easier for the US and UK to break

In some cases, customers appear to have been deceived. One memo indicates Crypto AG was providing different customers with encryption machines of different strengths at the behest of Nato and that "the different brochures are distinguishable only by 'secret marks' printed thereon"

Historian Stephen Budiansky says: "There was a certain degree of deception going on of the customers who were buying [machines] and thinking they were getting something the same as what Hagelin was selling everywhere when in fact it was a watered-down version"

Among the customers of Hagelin listed are Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, India, Jordan and others in the developing world

In the summer of 1958, army officers apparently sympathetic to Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew the regime in Iraq. Historian David Easter, of King's College, London, says intelligence from decrypted Egyptian communications was vital in Britain being able to rapidly deploy troops to neighbouring Jordan to forestall a potential follow-up coup against a British ally

The 1955 deal also appears to have involved the NSA itself writing "brochures", instruction manuals for the CX-52, to ensure "proper use". One interpretation is these were written so certain countries could use the machines securely — but in others, they were set up so the number of possible permutations was small enough for the NSA to crack

In a statement, a GCHQ spokesman said the agency "does not comment on its operational activities and neither confirms nor denies the accuracy of the specific inferences that have been drawn from the document you are discussing"

The NSA also declined to comment on the specific conclusions

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Chinese tourist crashes drone into Taipei 101 skyscrapper->

Taco Cowboy writes: A Chinese tourist is under remand for crashing his drone into the Taipei 101 sky scrapper, and ordered to pay a fine of $48,000 (NT $1.5 Million)

Yan Yungfan, a 30-year-old man from eastern China's Fujian Province, was supposedly attempting to film Taipei's cityscape on Tuesday morning with a remotely controlled Phantom 3 UAV when he lost control of the drone, causing it to hit the side of Taipei 101 at around the 30th floor

No one was injured in the incident and only minor damage was sustained by the building's glass windows, but the video immediately became a viral sensation after it was uploaded online

Taipei 101 said in a statement that there have been three incidents of drones crashing around the building since mid-June, with the first two cases taking place on June 15 and June 20. No injuries were reported for both incidents, although the UAV that crashed on June 15 fell less than two meters from pedestrians

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Submission + - Fossil fuels are messing with Carbon Dating->

Taco Cowboy writes: The element Carbon comes in several isotopes, with one of them the radioactive Carbon-14

Carbon-14 is formed when some of the atmospheric Nitrogen at the upper atmosphere is bombarded by cosmic radiation and break down into the unstable radioactive isotope of Carbon-14

The unstable isotope is brought to Earth by atmospheric activity, such as storms, and becomes fixed in the biosphere. Because it reacts identically to C-12 and C-13, C-14 becomes attached to complex organic molecules through photosynthesis in plants and becomes part of their molecular makeup. Animals eating those plants in turn absorb Carbon-14 as well as the stable isotopes. This process of ingesting C-14 continues as long as the plant or animal remains alive

The natural distribution of C-14 on planet Earth used to be about one part per trillion

The carbon dating method in determining the age of an artifact is based on the amount of radioactive carbon-14 isotopes

The C-14 within an organism is continually decaying into stable carbon isotopes, but since the organism is absorbing more C-14 during its life, the ratio of C-14 to C-12 remains about the same as the ratio in the atmosphere. When the organism dies, the ratio of C-14 within its carcass begins to gradually decrease. The rate of decrease is 1/2 the quantity at death every 5,730 years. That is the half-life of C-14 and that is the base on how Carbon Dating operates

The fossil fuel which we are burning are so old they do not have contain any traceable amount of C-14, and the more we use fossil fuel, the more non-C-14 Carbon we pump into the atmosphere

If emissions continue under a business-as-usual scenario, by year 2050 a T-Shirt made in that year (2050) will have a 'Carbon-14 emission' signature as a T-Shirt worn by William the Conqueror a thousand years (if William the Conqueror had a fetish for T-Shirt), for someone using the radiocarbon dating technique

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Submission + - Islamic Terrorism Hits Chattanooga, TN!-> 2

Taco Cowboy writes: Islamic terrorism hits the United States of America, again!

A moslem terrorist, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, a naturalized citizen from Kuwait, shot and killed 4 US Marines in Chattanooga, TN

The Marines were not able to defend themselves because they were un-armed when they were shot. The reason was that they were not permitted to arm and defend themselves by the order from the government of the United States of America

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Submission + - ITER won't be ready until 2027->

Taco Cowboy writes: Started back in 1985, the ITER, (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) project has suffered repeated delays and cost overruns, so much so that the first plasma originally scheduled for 2019 is "clearly not feasible", according to Dr. Bernard Bigot, the newly appointed director general

Part of the reason for the slow progress is down to the way the project is structured. The European Union, as host party, will contribute up to about 50% of the costs and the other parties 10% each. However, technical decisions require consensus and because those relating to the design of components will inevitably impact some parties more than others, it is difficult to reach. In one case discussions dragged on for six years without a definitive answer. Without that decision work did not progress

Dr. Bigot decides that ITER must gear up to take a more decisive role in the project. “What was plaguing the project before is that there was confusion between the best technical solution and sharing of the cost," said Bigot. “Now I want just the best technical decision. The cost will be covered according to the share of the parties, reflecting the spirit of the ITER agreement"

Dr. Bigot's current aim is to accomplish the deuterium-tritium plasma (previously planned for March 2027), to a more realistic date. “We are now considering the best way to move on from the first plasma and rush as much as possible to the DT plasma, which will please the scientific community," Bigot said

ITER intends to step up to the plate whenever some parties face difficulties complying with the schedule for delivery of equipment by putting the interests of the project first, and redistribute tasks. For example, the organization has already taken charge of procurement of some components on behalf of domestic agencies, although they still remain responsible for the costs

Dr. Bigot stresses that the project is too far advanced for design changes, with more than €7 billion of procurement contracts in place and over 1000 companies at work

“You could not just change [the scope] in the have to go, or stop." He concluded: "The time has come for the ITER Organization to demonstrate it is serious. The biggest risk is that we lose trust of the political leaders and public opinion, then the project would be dead"

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Are you a Toxoplasma Gondii carrier?

Taco Cowboy writes: Toxoplasma Gondii is a brain parasite with feline as its primary host

While most mammals and some birds are susceptable to infection by Toxoplasma gondii, only the feline serve as the definitive host, in which sexual reproduction and the production of oocysts occurs

When Toxoplasma Gondii infects the rat it alters the behavior of the host so much so that the rodent loses its innate fear of cats

It has been estimated that in between 30% to 50% of the human beings have been infected by the parasite

A study carried out in China revealed that an estimated 12% — 25% of the population are carriers of the Toxoplasma Gondii parasite

Seropositive estimations for other countries ranging from 20% for England and as high as 75% for France

Toxoplasma Gondii not only alters the behavior of rodents as there have been signs of the parasite altering behavior of human beings that it has infected. For notable cases please use the following link

In human hosts the Toxoplasma Gondii inhibits the function of the Amygdala region located deep inside the brain. The Amygdala region relegates the feeling of FEAR. Fire up the amygdala, and you can be more inhibited and fearful. Repress it, and you might find yourself on one of those Girls Gone Wild videos. If you remove the amygdala, animals will get hypersexual, fearless, and hyperoral "in which inappropriate objects are placed in the mouth"

In other words, people who are toxoplasma seropositive takes much more unnecessarily risks and have more car accidents than those who are not

Are you a cat lover?
Are you a bad driver?
Do you have an outlandish behavior?

If you do, go get a test, especially if you (or your girlfriend) are pregant and/or planning to be pregnant

The Toxoplasma Gondii can cause tragic consequences to the unborn babies, including but not limited to visual and hearing loss, mental and psychomotor retardation, seizures, hematological abnormalities, hepatosplenomegaly, still birth, or death to both mother and unborn child

For more information, please refer to CDC's advice page below

More links to Toxoplasma Gondii

Become a full human being, and not a pseudo-zombie controlled by the Toxoplasma Gondii parasite !

Submission + - Oslo flight stops at Warsaw, explosive suspected->

Taco Cowboy writes: An airliner flight to Oslo has an emergency landing at Warsaw, according to media report it is linked to explosive

More to come ...

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Submission + - China challenging US military superiority in air, space-senior Pentagon offficer->

Taco Cowboy writes: China is mounting a serious effort to challenge US military superiority in air and space, forcing the Pentagon to seek new technologies and systems to stay ahead of its rapidly developing rival, Deputy Defence Secretary Robert Work said

The Pentagon’s chief operating officer, speaking to a group of military and civilian aerospace experts, said China was quickly closing the technological gaps, developing radar-evading aircraft, advanced reconnaissance planes, sophisticated missiles and top-notch electronic warfare equipment

Work, citing a Harvard study on rising powers confronting established powers, told the conference that interactions between the two often result in war. As a result, the Defence Department must “hedge against this international competition turning more heated”

Work said the United States has relied on technological superiority for the past 25 years, but now “the margin of technological superiority upon which we have become so accustomed is steadily eroding”

Directed energy weapons, for example, might be able to shoot down missiles that cost a hundred times the price of a jolt of energy

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Fintech - the oft forgotten tech sector->

Taco Cowboy writes: Goldman Sachs has over 9,000 engineers and programmers in its employment list — and the figure is higher than Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin

Massive amount of money is pouring into fintech. In 2014, global investment in financial technology startups spiked to more than $12 billion. That’s three times what it was just a year prior, according to Accenture. There have also been some huge funding wins this year. Most recently, zero-commissions trading app Robinhood announced $50 million round and financial education site NerdWallet attracted $64 million in funds

A booming fintech industry is incubating surrounding exchanges, hedge funds, banks and proprietary trading firms. But startups developing technology for trading and “markets” has been overshadowed by its consumer finance counterpart. They shouldn’t be

To demonstrate the opportunity in this space, the industry was recently the highlight of a sold-out, half-day event in Chicago. What was abundantly clear is that the trends that dominate technology – big data and networking, social media and app ecosystems – also dominate fintech startups

That’s because while other industries embrace the “fail fast” mentality, in financial markets and trading, fail fast thrives. The ROI of new innovations is often instantly quantifiable. When Anova Technologies built a laser and microwave infrastructure to carry data over airwaves between Chicago and Aurora, they knew the value of faster data – and so did all the trading firms that relied on being faster than everyone else. Once Anova demonstrated it could send data milliseconds faster, any firm whose competitive edge was speed had to subscribe

Other startups mine social networks to monitor for fast-breaking news from market influencers. Of the millions of people tweeting about stocks, Social Market Analytics identified a universe of 55,000 influencers, offering its tools to hedge funds and institutions to gauge market sentiment on which to base algorithmic trades

And then there are companies that are capitalizing on the app ecosystem. OptionsCity Software has launched a platform that is akin to the App Store for the trading world, where third-party developers or trading firms can sell risk management, pricing or analysis tools that plug directly into the trading system

This area is so ripe that the CME Group launched its own venture capital arm last year, Liquidity Ventures I LLC, to invest $500,000 to $5 million in startups that could help it develop new lines of business. Spanish bank BBVA, Fidelity and Bank of America have all created venture arms for increased investment in technology

Another reason to look at institutional fintech is that it proves its value very quickly whereas the jury is still out on consumer fintech, which has not yet seen tough times. Robinhood and Wealthfront have exploded, but so too have equity markets. If these consumer-focused companies existed in 2008 and 2009, would they have survived the massive exodus when consumers fled equity markets? How will they perform during the next bear market? At best, the answer is unclear

Financial markets are active, and banks, hedge funds and traders will need to make money no matter where the S&P 500 trades. Fintech startups in the trading space are still open to disruption, but aren’t subject to individual investors’ emotions. For that reason, this sector deserves closer attention

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It's time to boot, do your boot ROMs know where your disk controllers are?