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+ - Scientists Correlate Arthritis And Giant Cell Arteritis With Solar Cycles->

cold fjord writes: The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory reports, "... a chat between husband and wife has evolved into an intriguing scientific discovery. The results, published in May in BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) Open, show a “highly significant” correlation between periodic solar storms and incidences of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and giant cell arteritis (GCA) ... The findings by a rare collaboration of physicists and medical researchers suggest a relationship between the solar outbursts and the incidence of these diseases that could lead to preventive measures if a causal link can be established. RA and GCA are autoimmune conditions in which the body mistakenly attacks its own organs and tissues. ... Inspiring this study were conversations between Simon Wing, a Johns Hopkins University physicist and ... his wife, Lisa Rider, deputy unit chief of the Environmental Autoimmunity Group at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences ... Rider spotted data from the Mayo Clinic ... showing that cases of RA and GCA followed close to 10-year cycles. “That got me curious,” Wing recalled. “Only a few things in nature have a periodicity of about 10-11 years and the solar cycle is one of them.” Wing teamed with physicist Jay Johnson of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory ... to investigate further. When the physicists tracked the incidence of RA and GCA cases compiled by Mayo Clinic researchers, the results suggested “more than a coincidental connection,” said Eric Matteson, chair of the division of rheumatology at the Mayo Clinic ... The findings found increased incidents of RA and GCA to be in periodic concert with the cycle of magnetic activity of the sun."
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Science

General Mills To Drop Artificial Ingredients In Cereal 163 163

schwit1 writes: General Mills announced Monday that it will be removing artificial colors and flavoring from its cereal products over the next two to three years. The company said that Trix and Reese's Puffs will be some of the first cereals to undergo the changes adding that cereals like Lucky Charms that have marshmallows may take longer to reformulate. They say 90 percent of their cereals will have no artificial ingredients by the end of 2016. "We've continued to listen to consumers who want to see more recognizable and familiar ingredients on the labels and challenged ourselves to remove barriers that prevent adults and children from enjoying our cereals," said Jim Murphy, president of General Mills cereal division, in a statement.
Programming

WebAssembly: An Attempt To Give the Web Its Own Bytecode 126 126

New submitter Josiah Daniels writes with this kernel from a much more detailed article at Ars Technica about what already looks like a very important initiative: WebAssembly is a new project being worked on by people from Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, and Apple, to produce a bytecode for the Web. WebAssembly, or wasm for short, is intended to be a portable bytecode that will be efficient for browsers to download and load, providing a more efficient target for compilers than plain JavaScript or even asm.js
Security

The Internet of Things Is the Password Killer We've Been Waiting For 124 124

jfruh writes: You can't enter a password into an Apple Watch; the software doesn't allow it, and the UI would make doing so difficult even if it did. As we enter the brave new world of wearable and embeddable devices and omnipresent 'headless' computers, we may be seeing the end of the password as we know it. What will replace it? Well, as anyone who's ever unlocked car door just by reaching for its handle with a key in their pocket knows, the answer may be the embeddable devices themselves.
Businesses

FCC To Fine AT&T $100M For Throttling Unlimited Data Customers 205 205

New submitter Wargames writes: According to the article in the New York Times, AT&T is getting fined $100,000,000 for its doublespeak redefinition of the word "Unlimited". The FCC says AT&T failed to adequately notify its customers that they could receive speeds slower than the normal network speeds AT&T advertised and that these actions violated the FCC's 2010 Open Internet Order. “Unlimited means unlimited,” Travis LeBlanc, the F.C.C.’s chief of the enforcement bureau, said in a statement on Wednesday. “As today’s action demonstrates, the commission is committed to holding accountable those broadband providers who fail to be fully transparent about data limits.”

+ - Elop And Others Leaving Microsoft, Myerson Taking Bigger Role->

jones_supa writes: Former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, and Scroogled mastermind Mark Penn, are leaving Microsoft as part of a fresh company reorganization. "We are aligning our engineering efforts and capabilities to deliver on our strategy and, in particular, our three core ambitions," says CEO Satya Nadella in an e-mail to employees today. Alongside Elop and Penn, Microsoft executives Kirill Tatarinov and Eric Rudder will also leave as part of a transition period. Tatarinov used to head up Microsoft's business solutions group, and Ruder was responsible for the company's advanced strategy. The reorganization will see Windows chief Terry Myerson take on more responsibility. Myerson will take over a new team called Windows and Devices Group. He will be focused on Microsoft devices and the engineering of Windows.
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Graphics

AMD Announces Fiji-based Radeon R9 Fury X, 'Project Quantum', Radeon 300 Series 76 76

MojoKid writes: Today AMD announced new graphics solutions ranging from the bottom to the top ($99 on up to $649). First up is the new range of R7 300 Series cards that is aimed squarely at gamers AMD says are typically running at 1080p. For gamers that want a little bit more power, there's the new R9 300 Series (think of them as R9 280s with higher clocks and 8GB of memory). Finally, AMD unveiled its Fiji graphics cards that feature onboard High Bandwidth Memory (HBM), offering 3x the performance-per-watt of GDDR5. Fiji has 1.5x the performance-per-watt of the R9 290X, and was built with a focus on 4K gaming. The chip itself features 4096 stream processors and is comprised of 8.9 billion transistors. It has a graphics core clock of 1050MHz and is rated at 8.6 TFLOPs. AMD says there will also be plenty of overhead for overclocking. Finally, AMD also took the opportunity to showcase its "Project Quantum," which is a small form-factor PC that manages to cram two Fiji GPUs inside. The processor, GPUs, and all other hardware are incorporated into the bottom of the chassis, while the cooling solution is built into the top of the case.
Robotics

Do Robots Need Passports? Should They? 164 164

Hallie Siegel writes: With countries evolving different regulations over robotic devices, law professor Anupam Chander looks into whether robots crossing borders will need passports, and what the role of international trade law should be in regulating the flow of these devices. Fascinating discussion on what happens when technology like robots crosses over international borders, as part of this year's We Robot conference in Seattle.

+ - Uber's Rise in China May Be Counterfeit->

retroworks writes: Josh Horwitz' story in Quartz today reports both the apparent rapid success of Uber adaptation in China, and a queasy footnote for shareholders applauding the rapid growth. While China is a natural ride-sharing haven, it also has a tradition of gaming the western system.

"Accomplices can sit in their apartments, disable location settings, and specify a pickup not far from the actual location of driver’s vehicle, the report said. The driver then accepts the hail, and goes on a trip without a passenger. After the accomplice approves payment, the driver will – hopefully – pay back the fee and share a cut of the bonus. It’s not the most clever get-rich scheme on the planet. But for drivers, it’s better than waiting for a hail in a parking lot."

Uber's spokeswoman told the Quartz writer that the company has an on-the-ground team who investigate into these various type of fraud, then uses "deep analytics, and new tools developed by our Chinese engineers in our dedicated fraud team to combat against such fraud.” The Uber spokeswoman declined to elaborate on the nature of these tools.

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+ - WA Gov. Sides with Microsoft: Philanthropy-Funded K-12 CS Education Now the Law

theodp writes: During public hearings on WA State's House Bill 1813, which took aim at boy's historical over-representation in K-12 computer classes, the Office of the WA State Superintendent of Public Instruction voiced concerns that by relying on the generosity of corporations, wealthy individuals, and nonprofits to fund STEM, computer science, and technology programs, learning opportunities would be limited to a small group of students, creating disparity of opportunity. "If this is a real priority," pleaded Chris Vance, "fund it fully" (HB 1813, like the White House K-12 CS plan, counts on philanthropy to make up for tax shortfalls). But legislators in the WA House and Senate — apparently more swayed by the pro-HB 1813 testimony of representatives from Microsoft and Microsoft-backed TEALS and Code.org — overwhelmingly passed the bill, sending it to Governor Jay Inslee for his signature. Not to worry. On Wednesday, the bill was signed into law by Gov. Inslee, who was perhaps influenced by the we-need-to-pass-HB-1813 blogging of Microsoft General Counsel and Code.org Board member Brad Smith, who coincidentally is not only responsible for Microsoft's philanthropic work, but was also co-chair of Gov.-elect Inslee's transition team. The WA state legislative victory comes less than 24 hours after the San Francisco School Board voted to require CS instruction beginning with preschool. Not unlike the play The Music Man, in which "Professor" Harold Hill convinces naive parents their musically-disinclined children must learn to play instruments, Microsoft has teamed with other tech giants and their leaders to create a national K-12 CS crisis that has convinced politicians and parents — including the President of the United States — that America's computer science-disinclined children must learn to code ASAP. "Ya got trouble," one can almost hear "Professor" Bill Gates sing, "with a capital 'T' and that rhymes with 'P' and that stands for Programming!"

+ - Fatal A400M crash linked to data-wipe mistake->

nickweller writes: A military plane crash in Spain was probably caused by computer files being accidentally wiped from three of its engines, according to investigators.

Plane-maker Airbus discovered anomalies in the A400M's data logs after the crash, suggesting a software fault.

And it has now emerged that Spanish investigators suspect files needed to interpret its engine readings had been deleted by mistake.
This would have caused the affected propellers to spin too slowly

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Earth

Why Our Brains Can't Process the Gravest Threats To Humanity 637 637

merbs writes: Our brains are unfathomably complex, powerful organs that grant us motor skills, logic, and abstract thought. Brains have bequeathed unto we humans just about every cognitive advantage, it seems, except for one little omission: the ability to adequately process the need for the whole species' long-term survival. They're miracle workers for the short-term survival of individuals, but the scientific evidence suggests that the human brain flails when it comes to navigating wide-lens, slowly-unfurling crises like climate change.

+ - Microsoft is building Surface Hub in a factory near Portland->

harrymcc writes: At its January Windows 10 launch, Microsoft introduced Surface Hub, a giant multi-touch computing device designed for conference rooms. What it didn't reveal: It's building it in its own factory in Wilsonville, Ore. Over at Fast Company, I write about the place and profile Jeff Han, the computing pioneer who's spearheading the project.
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+ - Copyright Law As an Intimidation Tactic

Presto Vivace writes: Guy Reveals Airtel Secretly Inserting JavaScript, Gets Threatened With Jail For Criminal Copyright Infringement

Last week, an Indian blogger, Thejesh GN, discovered that mobile operator Airtel was injecting javascript into subscribers' browsing sessions, which is both incredibly sketchy and a huge security concern (not to mention raising net neutrality issues on the side). He posted the proof to GitHub and tweeted about it.
He posted the evidence showing that javascript was being quietly inserted, and that it apparently tried to insert some sort of toolbar:
That's all super sketchy. But that's just the very beginning of this story. Because days later, Thejesh received the most ridiculous legal threat letter, coming from a lawyer named Ameet Mehta from the law firm Solicis Lex. It claims to be representing an Israeli company, Flash Network, which is apparently responsible for the code injection software... and it claims that by merely revealing to the public that Airtel was doing these injections, he had engaged in criminal copyright infringement under the Information Technology Act, 2000.

The computer is to the information industry roughly what the central power station is to the electrical industry. -- Peter Drucker

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