astroengine writes: The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered rocky remains of planetary material ‘polluting’ the atmospheres of two white dwarfs — a sign that these stars likely have (or had) planetary systems and that asteroids are currently being shredded by extreme tidal forces. Although white dwarfs with polluted atmospheres have been observed before, this is the first time evidence of planetary systems have been discovered in stars belonging to a relatively young cluster of stars. “We have identified chemical evidence for the building blocks of rocky planets,” said Jay Farihi of the University of Cambridge in a Hubble news release. “When these stars were born, they built planets, and there’s a good chance that they currently retain some of them. The signs of rocky debris we are seeing are evidence of this — it is at least as rocky as the most primitive terrestrial bodies in our Solar System.” Link to Original Source
theodp writes: Responding to an earlier request by the estate of Aaron Swartz to disclose the names of those involved in the events leading to Aaron's suicide, counsel for MIT snippily told the Court, "The Swartz Estate was not a party to the criminal case, and therefore it is unclear how it has standing, or any legally cognizable interest, to petition for the modification of the Protective Order concerning others' documents." In motions filed on slow-news-day Good Friday (MIT's on spring break), the DOJ, MIT, and JSTOR all insisted on anonymity for those involved in the Swartz case, arguing that redacting of names was a must, citing threats posed by Anonymous and LulzSec, a badly-photoshopped postcard sent to Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann and another sent to his Harvard Prof father, cake frosting, a gun hoax, and e-mail sent to MIT. From the DOJ filing: 'I also informed him [Swartz estate lawyer] that whatever additional public benefit might exist by disclosing certain names was, in this case, outweighed by the risk to those individuals of becoming targets of threats, harassment and abuse.' From the MIT filing: 'The publication of MIT's documents in unredacted form could lead to further, more targeted, and more dangerous threats and attacks...The death of Mr. Swartz has created a very volatile atmosphere.' From the JSTOR filing: 'The supercharged nature of the public debate about this case, including hacking incidents, gun hoaxes and threatening messages, gives JSTOR and its employees legitimate concern for their safety and privacy.'
Shipud writes: A group from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Yale University and the Joint Genome Institute have isolated single cells of otherwise elusive and unculturable SR1 bacteria and sequenced their genomes. They found that SR1 deviate from the genetic code in a way previously unknown: what codes for "stop making proteins" in most organisms, is used differently in SR1, to actually continue making them. This study shows the power of a new technology, single-cell DNA sequencing, to reveal genetic information. SR1 bacteria are found in our mouths, and are suspected to cause periodontitis. Link to Original Source
Although I own a couple of small (5",8") scopes, my generally preferred tool is a decent pair of binoculars. I've tried computer-based star finders without a lot of success, but nothing works quite as well as pointing the binos toward a constellation or region of sky between constellations I recognize.
sosis96 writes: "Brain cancer cell phones – A new study out of Denmark suggests that cell phone use may not increase your risk of some types of noncancerous brain tumors. Apparently, it makes sense that if cell phone radiation caused tumor growth in humans, that this particular tumor might be found more often in people using cell phones." Link to Original Source
sciencehabit writes: It started with a single monkey coming down with pneumonia at the California National Primate Research Center in Davis. Within weeks, 19 monkeys were dead and three humans were sick. Now, a new report confirms that the Davis outbreak was the first known case of an adenovirus jumping from monkeys to humans. The upside: the virus may one day be harnessed as a tool for gene therapy. Link to Original Source
rhettb writes: Reptiles have long been thought to be dim-witted, but a new study in Biology Letters finds that the Puerto Rican anole, a type of lizard, can match birds in intelligence. Using cognitive tests that have been previously used on birds, researchers with Duke University found that the lizards were capable of solving a problem they've never encountered before, remembering the solution in future trials, and even changing techniques when presented with new challenges. In fact, the tiny anoles solved the test with fewer tries than birds. Link to Original Source
tripleevenfall writes: A Blaine, MN man was sentenced to 18 years Tuesday for using his computer skills to harass and embarrass his new next-door neighbors. The man was accused of hacking into his next-door neighbors' Wi-Fi and using their identity to send pron to co-workers and threats to elected officials Link to Original Source
from the peer-to-peer-review dept.
linhares writes "Nature's Publishing Group is launching a new journal, Scientific Reports, announced earlier this month. The press release makes it clear that it is molded after PLoS ONE: 'Scientific Reports will publish original research papers of interest to specialists within a given field in the natural sciences. It will not set a threshold of perceived importance for the papers that it publishes; rather, Scientific Reports will publish all papers that are judged to be technically valid and original. To enable the community to evaluate the importance of papers post-peer review, the Scientific Reports website will include most-downloaded, most-emailed, and most-blogged lists. All research papers will benefit from rapid peer review and publication, and will be deposited in PubMed Central.' Perhaps readers may find it ironic that PLoS ONE, first dismissed by Nature as an 'online database' 'relying on bulk, cheap publishing of lower quality papers to subsidize its handful of high-quality flagship journals' seems to be setting the standards for 'a new era in publishing.'"
alphadogg writes: Is Snort, the 12-year-old open-source intrusion detection and prevention system, dead?
The Open Information Security Foundation (OISF), a nonprofit group funded by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to come up with next-generation open source IDS/IPS, thinks so. But Snort's creator, Martin Roesch, begs to differ, and in fact, calls the OISF's first open source IDS/IPS code, Suricata 1.0 released this week, a cheap knock-off of Snort paid for with taxpayer dollars.
The OISF was founded about a year and a half ago with $1 million in funding from a DHS cybersecurity research program, according to Matt Jonkman, president of OISF. He says OISF was founded to form an open source alternative and replacement to Snort, which he says is now considered dead since the research on what is supposed to be the next-generation version of Snort, Snort 3.0, has stalled.
"Snort is not conducive to IPv6 nor to multi-threading," Jonkman says, adding, "And Snort 3.0 has been scrapped."
According to Jonkman, OISF's first open source release Suricata 1.0 is superior to Snort in a number of ways, including how it can inspect network packets using a multi-threading technology to inspect more than one packet at a time, which he claims improves the chances of detecting attack traffic Link to Original Source
Theovon writes: Despite the self-deprecating jokes, many of us slashdotters do indeed have the social skills to find mates and have children. This is why articles like the recent one on delayed umbilical cord cutting are of interest to us. Well, here's another one for us parents, something my week-old daughter is experiencing first-hand. Procter and Gamble is putting their heads in the sand and denying all responsibility in response to a spate of reports that the most recent version of their "Dry Max" diapers are causing severe rashes that appear to be chemical burns. There are articlesallover the place, with questions and blogs and even P&G's lame response trying to suggest that it's a mere coincidence that rashes are increasing at the same time that their new diapers came out. The feds are investigating, and hopefully, there will be a recall soon. My little girl's rash isn't quite as severe as what I've been reading about, since we caught it early and are using liberal amounts of Desitin. We're accustomed to seeing corporate greed stand in the way of product quality, every one of us who is forced to use Microsoft products. But it's one thing to lose some work. It's entirely another when helpless babies are physically injured by a product that we're supposed to trust, and even worse when the manufacturer tries to tell us that we're the ones at fault.
audiovideodisco writes "Even among octopuses, the Argonaut must be one of the coolest. It gets its nickname — 'paper nautilus' — from the fragile shell the female assembles around herself after mating with the tiny male (whose tentacle/penis breaks off and remains in the female). For millennia, people have wondered what the shell was for; Aristotle thought the octopus used it as a boat and its tentacles as oars and sails. Now scientists who managed to study Argonauts in the wild confirm a different hypothesis: that the octopus sucks air into its shell and uses it for ballast as it weaves its way through the ocean like a tiny submarine. The researchers' beautiful video and photographs show just how the Argonaut pulls off this trick. The regular (non-paper) nautilus also uses its shell for ballast, but the distant relationship between it and all octopuses suggests this is a case of convergent evolution."