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Submission + - Ebola vaccine works, offering 100% protection in African trial->

sciencehabit writes: A highly unusual clinical trial in Guinea has shown for the first time that an Ebola vaccine protects people from the deadly virus. The study, published online today by The Lancet, shows that the injection offered contacts of Ebola cases 100% protection starting 10 days after they received a single shot of the vaccine, which is produced by Merck. Scientists say the vaccine could help to finally bring an end to the epidemic in West Africa, now more than 18 months old.

"This will go down in history as one of those hallmark public health efforts," says Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy in Twin Cities, Minnesota, who wasn't involved in the study. "We will teach about this in public health schools."

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Submission + - $340 Audiophile Ethernet Cable Tested->

An anonymous reader writes: Ars Technica has done a series of articles that attempt to verify whether there's any difference between a $340 "audiophile" Ethernet cable and a $2.50 generic one. In addition to doing a quick teardown, they took the cables to Las Vegas and asked a bunch of test subjects to evaluate the cables in a blind test. Surprise, surprise: they couldn't. They weren't even asked to say which one was better, just whether they could tell a difference. But for the sake of completeness, they also passed the cables through a battery of electrical tests. The expensive cable met specs — barely, in some cases — while the cheap one didn't. It passed data, but with a ton of noise. "And listeners still failed to hear any difference."
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Submission + - Questioning The Dispute over Key Escrow ->

Nicola Hahn writes: "The topic of key escrow encryption has once again taken center stage as former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff has spoken out against key escrow both at this year’s Aspen Security Forum and in an op-ed published recently by the Washington Post. However the debate over cryptographic back doors has a glaring blind spot. As the trove of leaks from Hacking Team highlights, most back doors are implemented using zero-day exploits. Keep in mind that the Snowden documents reveal cooperation across the tech industry, on behalf of the NSA, to make products that were "exploitable". Hence, there are people who question whether the whole discussion over key escrow includes an element of theater. Is it, among other things, a public relations gambit, in the wake of the PRISM scandal, intended to cast Silicon Valley companies as defenders of privacy?"
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Submission + - Munich Planning Highway System for Cyclists->

An anonymous reader writes: The German city of Munich has been looking for solutions to its traffic problem. Rush hour traffic is a problem, and public transit is near capacity. They think their best bet is to encourage (and enable) more people to hop on their bikes. Munich is now planning a Radschnellverbindungen — a highway system just for cyclists. Long bike routes will connect the city with universities, employment centers, and other cities. The paths themselves would be as free from disruptions as possible — avoiding intersections and traffic lights are key to a swift commute. They'll doubtless take lessons from Copenhagen's bike skyway: "Cykelslangen (pronounced soo-cool-klag-en) adds just 721 feet of length to the city’s 220 miles of bicycle paths, but it relieves congestion by taking riders over instead of through a waterfront shopping area."
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Submission + - China's Island-Building In Pictures->

An anonymous reader writes: The South China Sea is just small enough to have high strategic value for military operations and just large enough to make territorial claims difficult. For over a year now, the world has been aware that China is using its vast resources to try and change that. Instead of fighting for claims on existing islands or arguing about how far their sovereignty should extend, they simply decided to build new islands. "The islands are too small to support large military units but will enable sustained Chinese air and sea patrols of the area. The United States has reported spotting Chinese mobile artillery vehicles in the region, and the islands could allow China to exercise more control over fishing in the region." The NY Times has a fascinating piece showing clear satellite imagery of the new islands, showing how a fleet a dredgers have dumped enormous amounts of sand on top of existing reefs. "Several reefs have been destroyed outright to serve as a foundation for new islands, and the process also causes extensive damage to the surrounding marine ecosystem." We can also see clear evidence of airstrips, cement plants, and other structures as the islands become capable of supporting them.
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Submission + - Chris Beard's open letter to Nadella->

puddingebola writes: Chris Beard at Mozilla has sent an open letter to Satya Nadella complaining about the default settings in Windows 10. Users who upgrade to 10 will have their default browser automatically changed to the new Edge browser. From the article, "The upgrade process, as he explained it, "appears to be purposely designed to throw away the choices its customers have made about the Internet experience they want, and replace it with the Internet experience Microsoft wants them to have." "
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Submission + - JAXA successfully tests its D-SEND low noise supersonic aircraft

AmiMoJo writes: JAXA, the Japanese space agency, has successfully tested it's low sonic boom demonstration aircraft D-SEND#2. The unmanned aircraft is floated up to 30,000m by balloon and released, falling back to earth and breaking the sound barrier in the process. The sonic boom created is measured on the ground. The project aims to halve the noise created by sonic booms, paving the way for future supersonic aircraft.

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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