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Science

Bats' White-Nose Syndrome May Be Cured 13

Posted by samzenpus
from the wipe-your-nose dept.
New submitter alabamatoy writes: Several news outlets are reporting that a common bacteria may be proving successful in curing "white-nose syndrome" which has been decimating the bat populations across North America. A new treatment using a common bacterium was developed in Missouri by Forest Service scientists Sybill Amelon and Dan Lindner, and Chris Cornelison of Georgia State University. The Nature Conservancy reports: "On May 20, 2015, Scientists and conservationists gathered outside the historic Mark Twain Cave Complex in Hannibal, Missouri, to release back into the wild some of the first bats successfully treated for deadly White-Nose Syndrome." Bats are a key player in the environment, keeping insect populations under control, especially mosquitoes.

Comment: Re:"Slow and calculated torture?" (Score 1) 636

by Rich0 (#49772181) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

Maybe Greeks are different but in Germany, if you borrow money, you are fully expected to pay it back. As soon as possible. Greece can make as much racket as it likes, but the Germans still want their money back. And frankly, I agree. If Greece is not willing to pay back what they take, that's theft, and they can go without aid for all I care. Especially when the borrowed money doesn't actually go to fixing its major economic issues.

That is a fairly naive viewpoint. No business approaches loans in this way. A loan is a contract, with terms that apply in the event of default, and terms governing repayment. Defaulting on a loan has consequences, but most businesses do not view it as a moral issue. If it ever becomes advantageous to default on a loan, they will do so. If it is advantageous to take measures to hinder attempts at collection, they will do this as well. As far as they're concerned, it isn't theft - it is just the terms of the agreement the lender agreed to. Most nations have bankruptcy laws, and sovereign nations have, well, sovereignty. Lenders who agree to make loans do so with full knowledge of these laws.

So, if a person declares bankruptcy I do not believe they are committing theft - the lender understood the bankruptcy laws when they freely made the loan, and they did so at an interest rate that they considered profitable even in light of this risk. Likewise, when a bank lends to a sovereign nation, they do so knowing that they have very little recourse if the nation chooses to default on the loan.

To the extent that anybody was forced to loan money against their will, they might be able to claim that whoever forced them to lend money was a thief.

Privacy

Sniffing and Tracking Wearable Tech and Smartphones 37

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-follow-you-with dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Senior researcher Scott Lester at Context Information Security has shown how someone can easily monitor and record Bluetooth Low Energy signals transmitted by many mobile phones, fitness monitors, and iBeacons. The findings have raised concerns about the privacy and confidentiality wearable devices may provide. “Many people wearing fitness devices don’t realize that they are broadcasting constantly and that these broadcasts can often be attributed to a unique device,” said Scott says. “Using cheap hardware or a smartphone, it could be possible to identify and locate a particular device – that may belong to a celebrity, politician or senior business executive – within 100 meters in the open air. This information could be used for social engineering as part of a planned cyber attack or for physical crime by knowing peoples’ movements.” The researchers have even developed an Android app that scans, detects and logs wearable devices.
Businesses

Large Amount of Star Citizen Art Assets Leaked 60

Posted by samzenpus
from the pre-pre-release dept.
jones_supa writes: A huge batch of work-in-progress assets for Star Citizen have leaked to the public. An unknown person, likely connected with Cloud Imperium Games in some way, provided a link to the 48 gigabytes of content. The link has now been taken down, but as we know, it's hard to remove material from Internet after once put there. Being a CryEngine game, it has been suggested that it might be possible to view some of the assets using CryEngine development tools. Leaks are always quite the conundrum with the opportunities they present to curious fans and competitor companies, but can also be very depressing for the developers and publisher of the game.
United Kingdom

Leaked Document Shows Europe Would Fight UK Plans To Block Porn 95

Posted by samzenpus
from the things-that-are-worth-fighting-for dept.
Mark Wilson writes: Before the UK elections earlier in the month, David Cameron spoke about his desire to clean up the internet. Pulling — as he is wont to do — on parental heartstrings, he suggested that access to porn on computers and mobiles should be blocked by default unless users specifically requested access to it. This opt-in system was mentioned again in the run-up to the election as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid assured peopled that the party "will age restrict online porn". But it's not quite that simple. There is the small problem of Europe. A leaked EU Council document shows that plans are afoot to stop Cameron's plans in its tracks — and with the UK on the verge of trying to debate a better deal for itself within Europe, the Prime Minister is not in a particularly strong position for negotiating on the issue. Cameron has a fight on his hands, it seems, if he wants to deliver on his promise that "we need to protect our children from hardcore pornography". Documents seen by The Sunday Times reveal that the EU could make it illegal for ISPs and mobile companies to automatically block access to obscene material. Rather than implementing a default block on pornography, the Council of the European Union believes that users should opt in to web filtering and be able to opt out again at any time; this is precisely the opposite to the way Cameron would like things to work.
Biotech

Sex-Switched Mosquitoes May Help In Fight Against Diseases 93

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-girls-allowed dept.
cstacy writes: Only the female mosquitoes bite and transmit viral diseases such as Dengue Fever. Scientists have finally discovered the elusive genetic switch called Nix, that determines the sex of these blood sucking insects, and hope to selectively eliminate females to control the spread of diseases. "Nix provides us with exciting opportunities to harness mosquito sex in the fight against infectious diseases because maleness is the ultimate disease-refractory trait," explained Zhijian Jake Tu, an affiliate of the Fralin Life Science Institute and a biochemistry professor from Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Privacy

Hackers Can Track Subway Riders' Movements By Smartphone Accelerometer 57

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-the-better-to-follow-you-with dept.
Patrick O'Neill writes: Tens of millions of daily subway riders around the world can be tracked through their smartphones by a new attack, according to research from China's Nanjing University. The new attack even works underground and doesn't utilize GPS or cell networks. Instead, the attacker steals data from a phone's accelerometer. Because each subway in the world has a unique movement fingerprint, the phone's motion sensor can give away a person's daily movements with up to 92% accuracy.

Comment: Re:Great Recession part II? (Score 1) 636

by Tom (#49770387) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

At the end? You want to say the LIBOR scandal was not real, courts were all wrong and banks paid out billions in fines just to avoid some bad PR?

Get back to reality. We have actual proof that these people are criminals and they they were engaged in a criminal conspiracy.

There is no conspiracy in the conspiracy-theory world-domination sense, but if you doubt that there was at least one conspiracy in the criminal sense, you haven't read any news for some years.

Comment: Re:They're bums, why keep them around (Score 1) 636

by Tom (#49770369) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

Yes, there is a part of that as well. The german government is absolutely to blame for the whole circus and far from the innocent victim they pretend to be.

Blaming banks for this suggests that more bank regulation and supervision is the solution,

Not at all. I'm very libertarian in this. The solution is to let the fucking "too big to fail" banks fail. But if they threaten to take down the whole system, bankrupt them the way you would any other essential service: By nationalising them, letting all their shareholders pay the bill, jail the top management for endangering the economy, selling all the financial market gambling money it holds and using all its assets to pay out regular peoples accounts. Then close the whole thing down and tell the other banks that if they so much as flinch, they'll be next.

If you give governments and politicians the ability to interfere in the market (tell banks and corporations what to do), they are going to use that ability not for the benefit of society, but for their own political benefit and the financial benefit of their political and financial backers.

Sadly, our fear of that is so overwhelming, that we've allowed the opposite to become reality. We've weakened our governments so much that banks and corporations interfere with politics (telling governments what to do) and they are using that ability not for the benefit of society, but for their own economic beenfit and the profit interests of their shareholders and investors.

Earth

Galapagos Island Volcano Erupts After 33 Years, Threatening Fragile Ecosystem 118

Posted by samzenpus
from the when-the-volcano-blows dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Wolf volcano in the Galapagos islands has erupted for the first time in more than 30 years, sending lava flowing down its slopes and potentially threatening the world's only colony of pink iguanas. The Galapagos National Park says that currently there is no risk to tourism operations, but the Environment Ministry is notifying tourist operators to take precautions. A tourist boat passing by took an amazing picture of the eruption.

Comment: Re:They're bums, why keep them around (Score 1) 636

by Tom (#49770307) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

The loans to Greece were for "schools and public services".

Bullshit. The loans were given under austerity conditions, i.e. orders to cut this and that and that in social services.

Heck, you just again called for another massive transfer of money from French and German tax payers to banks and corporations, because that's what Greek debt forgiveness amounts to.

No, I call that we let the banksters actually suffer the consequences of a high-risk investment going wrong (after all, that risk is why the interest rate is so high) and send the money to Greece not to french and german banks with Greece being just a proxy.

Comment: Re:They're bums, why keep them around (Score 1) 636

by Tom (#49770281) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

It is hard to see why German or French pensioners should pay for the stupidity of Greek voters.

It's even harder to see why taxpayers should pay for the gambling debt of big banks.

Iceland was the only country that did the right thing: Jail the bankers and save regular peoples' account money, not investors profits.

Comment: Re:They're bums, why keep them around (Score 1) 636

by Tom (#49770267) Attached to: Greece Is Running Out of Money, Cannot Make June IMF Repayment

Ohter eurozone countries are going to pay instead of Greece.

Here's a crazy idea: Some private corporations made a huge profit lending money at very high interest rates. Interest on credit is your payment for taking a risk (that's why there is higher interest if the risk is higher). What if - omg! - that risk actually were a risk and they would lose their money? If taxpayers did not bail them out so they can buy a 3rd yacht?

Programming

Google's Diversity Chief: Mamas Don't Let Their Baby Girls Grow Up To Be Coders 256

Posted by samzenpus
from the starts-at-home dept.
theodp writes: Explaining the reasons for its less-than-diverse tech workforce, Google fingered bad parenting for its lack of women techies. From the interview with Google Director of Diversity and Inclusion Nancy Lee: "Q. What explains the drop [since 1984] in women studying computer science? A. We commissioned original research that revealed it's primarily parents' encouragement, and perception and access. Parents don't see their young girls as wanting to pursue computer science and don't steer them in that direction. There's this perception that coding and computer science is ... a 'brogrammer' culture for boys, for games, for competition. There hasn't been enough emphasis on the power computing has in achieving social impact. That's what girls are interested in. They want to do things that matter." While scant on details, the Google study's charts appear to show that, overall, fathers encourage young women to study CS more than mothers. Google feels that reeducation is necessary. "Outreach programs," advises Google, "should include a parent education component, so that parents learn how to actively encourage their daughters."

+ - Galapagos Island volcano erupts after 33 years, threatening fragile ecosystem

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Wolf volcano in the Galapagos islands has erupted for the first time in more than 30 years, sending lava flowing down its slopes and potentially threatening the world's only colony of pink iguanas. The Galapagos National Park says that currently there is no risk to tourism operations, but the Environment Ministry is notifying tourist operators to take precautions. A tourist boat passing by took an amazing picture of the eruption.

"You show me an American who can keep his mouth shut and I'll eat him." -- Newspaperman from Frank Capra's _Meet_John_Doe_

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