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Scientists Turn Gold Into Foam That's Nearly As Light As Air ( 66

Zothecula writes: Along with its use in jewelry, gold also has numerous applications in fields such as electronics and scientific research. It's a handy material, but – of course – it's also expensive. That's why researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a new way of making a small amount of gold go a long way. They've created a gold foam that looks much like solid gold, but is actually 98 parts air and two parts solid material (abstract). As an added bonus, the aerogel-type foam can also be made in non-gold colors such as dark red.

Submission + - Expose tax evaders, go to jail. (

An anonymous reader writes: Hervé Falciani, the whistleblower who exposed wrongdoing at HSBC’s Swiss private bank, has been sentenced to five years in prison by a Swiss court.

The former IT worker was condemned in his absence for the biggest leak in banking history. While working on the database of HSBC’s Swiss private bank, Falciani downloaded the details of around 130,000 holders of secret Swiss accounts. The information was handed to French investigators leading to the prosecution of tax evaders including Arlette Ricci, heir to France’s Nina Ricci perfume empire, and to pursue Emilio Botín, the late chairman of Spain’s Santander bank.

HSBC was fined £28m by the Geneva authorities earlier this year, after investigators concluded that they had allowed money laundering to take place at its Swiss subsidiary.

Falciani is currently living in France, where he sought refuge from Swiss justice, and did not attend the trial.

Submission + - Scientists Turn Gold Into Foam That's Nearly as Light as Air (

Zothecula writes: Along with its use in jewellery, gold also has numerous applications in fields such as electronics and scientific research. It's a handy material, but – of course – it's also expensive. That's why researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a new way of making a small amount of gold go a long way. They've created a gold foam that looks much like solid gold, but is actually 98 parts air. As an added bonus, the aerogel-type foam can also be made in non-gold colors such as dark red.

Greenwald: Why the CIA Is Smearing Edward Snowden After Paris Attacks ( 290

JoeyRox points out that Glenn Greenwald has some harsh words for the CIA in an op-ed piece for the LA Times. From the article: "Decent people see tragedy and barbarism when viewing a terrorism attack. American politicians and intelligence officials see something else: opportunity. Bodies were still lying in the streets of Paris when CIA operatives began exploiting the resulting fear and anger to advance long-standing political agendas. They and their congressional allies instantly attempted to heap blame for the atrocity not on Islamic State but on several preexisting adversaries: Internet encryption, Silicon Valley's privacy policies and Edward Snowden."

Tesla's NOx Problem: Model X Delay Explained? ( 41

An anonymous reader writes: It may not have come as a surprise that the NOx emissions violations discovered in some of Volkswagen's diesel engines have led to similar findings in cars from several other manufacturers. However, Daily Kanban's Edward Niedermeyer has discovered that a seemingly unlikely car maker has also received a Notice of Violation for NOx emissions: a thermal oxidizer used in Tesla's Fremont, CA plant produces far more of the reactive gases than the permit allows. According to Niedermeyer, the device is located at the paint shop destined for the Model X production and this environmental problem could well be the leading cause for the delay.

Submission + - Ditching the Lens Enables Superslim FlatCam That's Thinner Than a Dime (

Zothecula writes: Much has changed in camera design over the years, but snapping photos and shooting video still invariably requires a lens to capture light and focus on a subject. But if a camera could somehow replicate this process digitally, making relatively chunky lens attachments completely unnecessary, what would be left to look at? Well, going by new research underway at Rice University, not really much at all. Engineers have produced a functional camera that is thinner than a dime, raising the possibility of tiny, flexible versions that could one day be embedded in everything from your wallpaper to your credit card.

Microsoft Blames Layoffs For Drop In Female Employees ( 179

itwbennett writes: This year, women made up 26.8 percent of Microsoft's total workforce, down from 29 percent in 2014, the company reported Monday. In a blog post discussing the numbers, Gwen Houston, Microsoft's general manager of diversity and inclusion, pointed the finger at the thousands of layoffs the company made to restructure its phone hardware business: 'The workforce reductions resulting from the restructure of our phone hardware business ... impacted factory and production facilities outside the U.S. that produce handsets and hardware, and a higher percentage of those jobs were held by women,' she said.

Submission + - FSF: "Microsoft's Software is Malware"

vivaoporto writes: In a sharp article the Free Software Foundation (FSF) pushes forward the argument that Microsoft software is, in fact, malware.

According to their definition, malware is "software designed to function in ways that mistreat or harm the user", not including accidental errors. The article discriminate between the following types of behaviour and gives examples of instances where it applies to Microsoft software:

* Back doors
* Sabotage
* Surveillance
* Jails — systems that impose censorship on application programs.
* Tyrants — systems that reject any operating system not “authorized” by the manufacturer.

Examples include instances of forced updates over explicit user denial, the ability to remote deletion of apps, informing NSA of unfixed bugs, among others.

it concludes with the statement that, "if you do want to clean your computer of malware, the first software to delete is Windows".

Submission + - New Desalination Method Shocks The Salts Out Of Water (

MTorrice writes: As more and more people live in areas affected by drought or contaminated water, desalination is becoming an important way to meet global drinking water needs. So scientists continue to develop ever simpler and less expensive desalination methods.

Current technologies, for example, frequently rely on membranes to filter out ions. These membranes eventually get clogged and must be replaced, increasing costs.

A new method for water desalination separates salt water into briny and fresh streams with the help of an electric shock wave.

Submission + - Scientists Produce Graphene 100 Times Cheaper Than Ever Before (

Zothecula writes: Since first being synthesized by Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov at the University of Manchester in 2004, there has been an extensive effort to exploit the extraordinary properties of graphene. However the cost of graphene in comparison to more traditional electronic materials has meant that its uptake in electronic manufacturing has been slow. Now researchers at the University of Glasgow have discovered a way to create large sheets of graphene using the same type of cheap copper used to manufacture lithium-ion batteries.

File Says NSA Found Way To Replace Email Program ( 93

schwit1 writes: Newly disclosed documents show that the NSA had found a way to create the functional equivalent of programs that had been shut down. The shift has permitted the agency to continue analyzing social links revealed by Americans' email patterns, but without collecting the data in bulk from American telecommunications companies — and with less oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The disclosure comes as a sister program that collects Americans' phone records in bulk is set to end this month. Under a law enacted in June, known as the USA Freedom Act, the program will be replaced with a system in which the NSA can still gain access to the data to hunt for associates of terrorism suspects, but the bulk logs will stay in the hands of phone companies.

The newly disclosed information about the email records program is contained in a report by the NSA's inspector general that was obtained through a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act. One passage lists four reasons the NSA decided to end the email program and purge previously collected data. Three were redacted, but the fourth was uncensored. It said that "other authorities can satisfy certain foreign intelligence requirements" that the bulk email records program "had been designed to meet."

Submission + - Intel Warns Excessive U.S. Drone Regulation Could Drive Development Overseas (

An anonymous reader writes: In a statement to the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Intel’s senior VP Joshua Walden has warned that the slow and cautious pace of drone regulation in the U.S. could drive development out of the country, stating that 'a federal government approach that is overly prescriptive will deter the private sector’s ability to invent and compete in the marketplace'. Walden also stated that Intel is 'being welcomed by foreign countries eager for investment in this new technology area.'

Submission + - Comcast Xfinity Wi-Fi Discloses Customer Names and Addresses (

itwbennett writes: Despite assurances that only business listings and not customer names and home addresses would appear in the public search results when someone searches for an Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspot, that is exactly what's happened when the service was initiated 2 years ago — and is still happening now, writes CSO's Steve Ragan. And that isn't the only security issue with the service. Another level of exposure centers on accountability. Ken Smith, senior security architect with K Logix in Brookline, Ma., discovered that Comcast is relying on the device’s MAC address as a key component of authentication.

Inside the Mission To Europa ( 106

An anonymous reader writes: Ars Technica details the political and engineering battles being waged to make it possible for NASA to land a probe on Jupiter's moon Europa. They have new information about mission plans; it sounds ambitious, to say the least. "First, the bad news. Adding a lander to the Clipper will require additional technical work and necessitate a launch delay until late 2023. At that time, the massive Space Launch System rocket NASA is developing could deliver it to Jupiter in 4.6 years. Once there, the lander would separate from the Clipper, parking in a low-radiation orbit.

The Clipper would then proceed to reconnoiter Europa, diving into the harsh radiation environment to observe the moon and then zipping back out into cleaner space to relay its data back to Earth. Over a three-year period, the Clipper would image 95 percent of the world at about 50 meters per pixel and three percent at a very high resolution of 0.5 meters per pixel. With this data, scientists could find a suitable landing site. ...The JPL engineers have concluded the best way to deliver the lander to Europa's jagged surface is by way of a sky crane mechanism, like the one successfully used in the last stage of Curiosity's descent to the surface of Mars. With four steerable engines and an autonomous system to avoid hazards, the lander would be lowered to the moon's surface by an umbilical cord."

Submission + - Microsoft's plan to port Android apps to Windows proves too complex (

An anonymous reader writes: The Astoria project at Microsoft failed because a breakthrough was needed to overcome the complexity of the software development challenge. Microsoft tried to automate mapping the Android UI into the Windows 10 UI and to map Google services within the app such as maps, payments and notifications into Microsoft equivalents. Automated conversion of a UI from one platform to another has never been successfully demonstrated.

When I first saw Microsoft's Android bridge at Build 15, I thought it was achievable. But project Astoria as it is called is much too complex. Drawing on my architectural knowledge of the underlying Microsoft/Lumia hardware that is very similar to Android phones.I concluded that in the context of partitioning the device or running a VM Microsoft would succeed. But Microsoft tried something much more ambitious.

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department