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+ - Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis

Submitted by Freshly Exhumed
Freshly Exhumed writes: Wellness advocate Belle Gibson, who translated her high profile as a cancer survivor into publishing success, has admitted her cancer diagnosis was not real. Ms Gibson, 23, who claimed to have healed terminal brain cancer by eating wholefoods, made the admission in an interview with the Australian Women's Weekly. The success of Gibson's book, The Whole Pantry, and her smartphone application, which advocates natural therapies, has been largely dependent on her high-profile as a cancer survivor. Sadly, we've seen this sort of behaviour before. It would seem that Belle Gibson has emulated Dr. Andrew Wakefield in knowingly decieving the public in ways that could possibly be dangerous to the health of believers.

+ - If Earth never had life, continents would be smaller-> 1

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: It may seem counterintuitive, but life on Earth, even with all the messy erosion it creates, keeps continents growing. Presenting here this week at the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union, researchers say it's the erosion itself that makes the difference in continental size. Plant life, for example, can root its way through rock, breaking rocks into sediment. The sediments, like milk-dunked cookies, carry liquid water in their pores, which allows more water to be recycled back into Earth’s mantle. If not enough water is present in the mantle about 100 to 200 km deep to keep things flowing, continental production decreases. The authors built a planetary evolution model to show how these processes relate and found that if continental weathering and erosion rates decreased, at first the continents would remain large. But over time, if life never evolved on Earth, not enough water would make its way to the mantle to help produce more continental crust, and whatever continents there were would then shrink. Now, continents cover 40% of the planet. Without life, that coverage would shrink to 30%. In a more extreme case, if life never existed, the continents might only cover 10% of Earth.
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Comment: Re:Landing vs splashdown (Score 2) 341

I've heard this point before, with the obvious comparison of Shuttle wings. The counter is that wings are absolutely dead weight on liftoff, plus you've added an entirely new structural mode to the airframe. It has to have the correct structural strength for both vertical ascent and horizontal landing. Both wings and bimodal structure add weight.

Landing the F9 on it's tail, it's practically empty, a fraction of it's initial weight. I'd be interested in seeing the math between F9 and Shuttle, but I suspect SpaceX has done their homework on this.

Of course the science fiction idea of landing anything that can then take off is just that - science fiction. The LEM did it, but then again, only half of the LEM - the bottom was left behind.

+ - Accelerating Universe? Not So Fast->

Submitted by writes: A UA-led team of astronomers found that the type of supernovae commonly used to measure distances in the universe fall into distinct populations not recognized before. The findings have implications for our understanding of how fast the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang.

Certain types of supernovae, or exploding stars, are more diverse than previously thought, a University of Arizona-led team of astronomers has discovered. The results, reported in two papers published in the Astrophysical Journal, have implications for big cosmological questions, such as how fast the universe has been expanding since the Big Bang.

Most importantly, the findings hint at the possibility that the acceleration of the expansion of the universe might not be quite as fast as textbooks say.

The team, led by UA astronomer Peter A. Milne, discovered that type Ia supernovae, which have been considered so uniform that cosmologists have used them as cosmic "beacons" to plumb the depths of the universe, actually fall into different populations. The findings are analogous to sampling a selection of 100-watt light bulbs at the hardware store and discovering that they vary in brightness.

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+ - Ten U.S. senators seek investigation into the replacement of U.S. tech workers->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs writes: Ten U.S. senators, representing the political spectrum, are seeking a federal investigation into displacement of IT workers by H-1B-using contractors. They are asking the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Labor Department to investigate the use of the H-1B program "to replace large numbers of American workers" at Southern California Edison (SCE) and other employers. The letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and the secretaries of the two other departments, was signed by U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight over the Justice Department. The other signers are Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), a longtime ally of Grassley on H-1B issues; Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), David Vitter (R-La.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.). Neither California senator signed on. "Southern California Edison ought to be the tipping point that finally compels Washington to take needed actions to protect American workers," Sessions said. Five hundred IT workers at SCE were cut, and many had to train their replacements.
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+ - The 'Page 63' Backdoor to Elliptic Curve Cryptography 3

Submitted by CRYPTIS
CRYPTIS writes: The security of Elliptic curve cryptography is facilitated by the perceived 'hard' problem of cracking the Discrete Logarithm Problem (DLP) for any given curve. Historically, for FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standards) compliance it was required that your curves conformed to the FIPS186-2 document located at . Page 63 of this specifies that the 'a' and 'b' elliptic curve domain parameters should conform to the mathematical requirement of c*b^2 = a^3 (mod p).

Interestingly, back in 1982, A. M. Odlyzko, of AT & T Bell Laboratories, published a document entitled “Discrete logarithms in finite fields and their cryptographic significance” ( ). Page 63 of this document presents a weak form of the DLP, namely a^3 = b^2*c (mod p).

It seems then, that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), driven in turn by the NSA, have required that compliant curves have this potentially weak form of the DLP built in; merely transposing the layout of the formula in order to obtain what little obfuscation is available with such a short piece of text.

+ - USAF thinking of sharing space surveillance data with scientists->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: The data could be redacted nevertheless the United States Air Force is thinking of open up its treasure trove of space surveillance data that the military doesn’t need for its space situational awareness mission could be made available to scientists interested in using that data to search for asteroids or other research

“We collect a lot of data, and a lot of data we throw off to the side because it isn’t relevant to national security,” Whelan said in a talk at an asteroid science symposium here March 26 organized by the Universities Space Research Association and George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute. “Our trash is your treasure”

With upgrades to the network, including the upcoming Space Surveillance Telescope and the Space Fence radar, will provide the Air Force will vast amounts of additional data, which the service plans to process only to the level needed to carry out its mission of tracking objects in Earth orbit

“We’re going to have all of this data. We’re not going to process it as deeply as you might process data,” he said. “We will consume what we want to consume, the rest of it will go onto the floor”

Whelan said DARPA will hand over the telescope to the Air Force to incorporate into the Space Surveillance Network by 2017. “Those of you who have played with this know that it is a vacuum cleaner. It sucks up all kinds of data,” he said of the telescope

That telescope, coupled with the Space Fence radar system scheduled to begin operating by 2019, will greatly increase the Air Force’s ability to track satellites and other objects in Earth orbit. “We expect our catalog to explode in size,” Whelan said, from the current 22,000 objects being tracked to more than 50,000

In a separate presentation at the symposium, Mark Boslough of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico showed a map of airbursts in the upper atmosphere caused by exploding meteors. He described the data, released just in the last few months, as coming from “U.S. government sensors” without being more specific. It is widely believed, however, that the information comes from U.S. missile warning satellites

Those data showed approximately 550 such events from 1994 through 2013, including the February 2013 airburst above Chelyabinsk, Russia, that released the equivalent of nearly half a megaton of TNT. That single event, Boslough said, accounted for at least as much energy as all the others combined

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+ - The most astounding fact about the Universe

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang writes: There are many scientific facts that are simply remarkable when it comes to the Universe, including the stories of the stars, of galaxies, of matter, of life, of atoms and of subatomic particle. In short, every aspect of nature we can think of has its own unique, remarkable story. But there’s one fact that supersedes them all: the fact that the Universe itself can be understood, scientifically. This is much more profound than most people realize, and also the most powerful guide we have to unpacking and understanding the cosmos itself.

+ - New Political Party Runs Entirely on Your Feedback->

Submitted by Andrew Warshaver
Andrew Warshaver writes: Fed up with the failures of the U.S. political system, two CMU grads are turning to technology to create a new party that runs entirely online, and entirely on your feedback. Their electorates will make decisions solely based on the principles of Liquid Democracy, a form of Representative Democracy for the Technology Age. If they succeed, no more calling & mailing your representatives, simply log on and vote (or delegate).
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+ - Jupiter destroyed 'super-Earths' in our early solar system->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: If Jupiter and Saturn hadn’t formed where they did—and at the sizes they did—as the disk of dust and gas around our sun coalesced, then our solar system would be a very different and possibly more hostile place, new research suggests. Computer models reveal that in the solar system’s first 3 million years or so, gravitational interactions with Jupiter, Saturn, and the gas in the protoplanetary disk would have driven super-Earth–sized planets closer to the sun and into increasingly elliptical orbits. In such paths, a cascade of collisions would have blasted any orbs present there into ever smaller bits, which in turn would have been slowed by the interplanetary equivalent of atmospheric drag and eventually plunged into the sun. As Jupiter retreated from its closest approach to the sun, it left behind the mostly rocky remnants that later coalesced into our solar system’s inner planets, including Earth.
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Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. -- Publius Syrus