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Comment: Well, back in my grandfather's day (Score 1) 534

by azav (#48034685) Attached to: Are the World's Religions Ready For ET?

Back in the 1940s, the Catholic church said that it was impossible that there were any other advanced species on other planets, because "we are god's children and the bible says nothing about him creating any others".

Now, the pope says the opposite, that "if there are any other advanced life forms, then they must also be god's children".

A complete and 100% reversal of "infallible" doctrine.

The religions will make up excuses. They are good at it.

+ - Stealing ATM PINs with a cheap infrared camera-> 1

Submitted by cccc828
cccc828 (740705) writes "German tech news website reports about a video by Mark Rober. It shows how to use a $300 infrared camera for the iPhone to read the residual heat signatures of an ATM. The residual heat signatures allow an attacker to reconstruct the PIN around 80% of the time. While this attack vector is not new, IR cameras used to be both rare and expensive. The best defense against the attack is to simply touch all the keypads keys after making a payment."
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+ - Brain-Hacking Scientists Turned Mice's Bad Memories into Good Ones

Submitted by Jason Koebler
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "Memories, generally speaking, can be good, bad, or neutral. And now, they can be changed from good to bad, and vice versa, from within the brain—in genetically engineered mice, at least.
Researchers at MIT have discovered which parts of the brain store the "emotional" part of a memory, and, in their latest study, published in Nature, were able to flip the emotional valence of a memory using light that targets specific neurons within the brain."

+ - Fish raised on land give clues to how early animals left the seas->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "When raised on land, a primitive, air-breathing fish walks much better than its water-raised comrades, according to a new study. The landlubbers even undergo skeletal changes that improve their locomotion. The work may provide clues to how the first swimmers adapted to terrestrial life. The study suggests that the ability of a developing organism to adjust to new conditions—its so-called developmental plasticity—may have played a role in the transition from sea to land."
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+ - NASA Telescopes Uncover Early Construction of Giant Galaxy->

Submitted by littlesparkvt
littlesparkvt (2707383) writes "Astronomers have uncovered for the first time the earliest stages of a massive galaxy forming in the young Universe. The discovery was made possible through combining observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, NASA‘s Spitzer Space Telescope, ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory, and the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. The growing galaxy core is blazing with the light of millions of newborn stars that are forming at a ferocious rate. The paper appears in the journal Nature on 27 August."
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Techdirt: Respected Medical Journal Sold To Scammers Willing To Publish Anything... For A ->

From feed by feedfeeder
We've talked in the past about the ridiculous nature of the academic publishing world these days, which involve a variety of questionable tactics mostly focused on (1) predatorily preying on those who "need" to be published, (2) enabling researchers (and sometimes large companies) to whitewash shoddy research by "publishing" it for a fee, and (3) making the "publishers" filthy stinking rich despite doing no actual work. The problem is that, while much of this is scammy, the line between fraudulent practices and more "legitimate" practices are pretty damn blurry. After all, when you have "legitimate" names like the American Psychological Association trying to charge $2,500 to "deposit" newly published papers with PubMed (as required to do for NIH funded papers) or publishing giant Elsevier having an entire division devoted to publishing fake journals paid for by giant pharmaceutical companies promoting their drugs, sometimes it's tough to tell who's legit and who's the out and out swindler.

But, there's definitely been a flood of "predatory" publishers lately, who will basically offer to publish absolutely anything for a fee. This has resulted in some amusing stories of purely gibberish papers getting published as "legit" (that link points to a paper that directly claimed in its own text that it was a fraud and also widely quoted My Cousin Vinny). There are reports of such gibberish papers flooding academia, sometimes in attempts to highlight how lax publishers are, and what a giant scam all of this is.

The Ottawa Citizen has a story highlighting yet another twist and turn in this ongoing battle of bogosity in academic research, involving sketchy people stepping in to buy a formerly respected journal and turning it into a pure pay-to-play publication willing to publish absolute gibberish (which the Ottawa Citizen tested and easily proved). The Ottawa Citizen was turned onto the story by Jeffrey Beall, author of Scholarly Open Access, a site that chronicles predatory publishing scams, and who was last mentioned on these pages after being threatened with a $1 billion lawsuit and "criminal charges" for outing a predatory publisher based in India.

In this case, the Experimental Clinical Cardiology journal had been a widely respected publication covering research on (you guessed it) experimental and clinical cardiology. However, last year it got sold to some unknown folks who appear to have turned it into a pure gibberish publishing enterprise -- so long as you can pay the $1,200 fee. In other words, the new publishers are trading on the old reputation of the journal, now allowing it to publish junk science or nonsensical rantings. Here's how Tom Spears at the Ottawa Citizen tested it out:

To test the journal, the Citizen sent in an outrageously bad manuscript. The title is a hodgepodge of medical-sounding words adding up to nothing: “VEGF proliferation in cardiac cells contributes to vascular declension.”

For the rest we plagiarized a study on HIV but replaced “HIV” with the word “cardiac” throughout, to make it look (sort of) like cardiology. But it wouldn’t impress anyone who knows the subject.

We submitted detailed captions for graphs — but there are no graphs.
In case you're wondering, Spears notes that "declension" is not a medical word. "It means a group of nouns in Latin that behave the same way." And, it appears that other articles in the same journal have gone through a similar level of review (i.e., none, so long as the check clears):

This is paying off spectacularly. Experimental Clinical Cardiology published 142 articles in July alone, worth a total of $170,000 U.S. for one month. It operates online only and doesn’t bother with editing, so it has almost no costs.

The result is sloppy, or worse. Some articles are called “Enter Paper Title” — the layout instructions instead of the intended title. One is filled with visible paragraph markers (). Some authors’ names are missing.
The academic publishing world is already massively profitable, and with that it appears that the scammers have jumped in and are abusing the system to make money. Of course, the "legit" publishers made this quite easy in the first place, and now it appears that there are opportunities to jump in by using previously respected journal brand reputations as part of furthering these kinds of predatory practices.

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+ - The Home Data Center: ManCave for the Internet Age->

Submitted by 1sockchuck
1sockchuck (826398) writes "It's the ultimate manifestation of the “server hugger” — the home data center featuring IT equipment installed in closets, basements and garages. What motivates these folks? Some use their gear for test-driving new equipment, others for lightweight web hosting or just as the ultimate technology ManCave. They all share a passion for technology that can't be contained by the traditional data center. What are the challenges of running IT gear in your home? Read about these setups, and share your own."
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+ - Fukushima Thyroid Cancer Data released-> 1

Submitted by puddingebola
puddingebola (2036796) writes "From the article, "The number of young people in Fukushima Prefecture who have been diagnosed with definitive or suspected thyroid gland cancer, a disease often caused by radiation exposure, now totals 104, according to prefectural officials. Of these 104, including 68 women, the number of definitive cases is 57, and one has been diagnosed with a benign tumor. The size of the tumors varies from 5 to 41 millimeters and averages 14 mm.""
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+ - Climate damage 'Irreversible' according leaked climate report 1

Submitted by SomeoneFromBelgium
SomeoneFromBelgium (3420851) writes "According to Bloomberg a leaked climate report of the IPPC speaks of 'Irreversible Damage'.
The warnings in the report are, as such, not new but the tone of voice is more urgent and more direct than ever.

It states among other things that global warming already is affecting “all continents and across the oceans,” and that “Risks from mitigation can be substantial, but they do not involve the same possibility of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts as risks from climate change, increasing the benefits from near-term mitigation action,”"

+ - Air HES System to Collect Water and Generate Electricity From the Clouds-> 1

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Using a tethered airship floating high up among the clouds, the Air HES concept is designed to yield both clean water and electricity by harvesting and condensing water vapor, which it uses to spin up an electric turbine generator to create power. The developers behind the concept claim to have built a prototype to test their theory and have also conducted feasibility studies into upping the scale of their device to produce economically viable levels of water and power."
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"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken