writes "Whitman biology professor Paul Yancey and students Anna Downing '16 and Chloe Weinstock '17 have returned from the first detailed study of the Mariana Trench aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute's research vessel Falkor.
The Mariana Trench — located in the Western Pacific near Guam — has been the focus of high-profile voyages to conquer Challenger Deep, the deepest place on Earth. This recent expedition to the Trenchonboard Research Vessel Falkor targeted multiple depths and found active thriving communities of animals. The expedition set many new records, including the deepest rock samples ever collected and the discovery of new fish species at the greatest depths ever recorded.
New species were discovered on this expedition that will provide insight into the physiological adaptations of animals to this high-pressure environment. This research is being conducted in the lab of Whitman College'sProfessor of Biology Paul Yancey. In the past, Yancey and his students, working on animals from moderate depths, discovered certain organic molecules that protect the cells of deep-sea animals from the effects of high pressure, which distorts proteins such as enzymes. These kinds of protective molecules are also being tested to treat human diseases that are caused by malformed proteins, such as cystic fibrosis. Additionally, his work on protective molecules in fishes predicted that fish would not be able to live below about 8,200 meters (27,060 feet). Prior to this expedition, the deepest documented fish was from 7,700 meters (25,410 feet).
The expedition also broke several records for the deepest living fish either caught or seen on video. Setting the record at 8,143 meters, (26,872 feet) was a completely unknown variety of snail fish, which stunned scientists when it was filmed several times during sea floor experiments. The white translucent fish had broad wing-like fins and an eel-like tail, and slowly glided over the bottom."Link to Original Source
writes "The office-supply retailer gave new details about a breach at more than 100 of its stores.
Staples said Friday afternoon that nearly 1.16 million customer payment cards may have been affected in a data breach under investigation since October.
The office-supply retailer said two months ago that it was working with law enforcement officials to look into a possible hacking of its customers’ credit card data. Staples said in October that it had learned of a potential data theft at several of its U.S. stores after multiple banks noticed a pattern of payment card fraud suggesting the company computer systems had been breached.
Now, Staples believes that point-of-sale systems at 115 Staples locations were infected with malware that thieves may have used to steal customers’ names, payment card numbers, expiration dates and card verification codes, Staples said on Friday. At all but two of those stores, the malware would have had access to customer data for purchases made between August 10 and September 16 of this year. At the remaining two stores, the malware was active from July 20 through September 16, the company said."Link to Original Source
writes "T-Mobile US will pay at least $90 million to settle a Federal Communications Commission suit that alleged it looked the other way while third parties charged T-Mobile subscribers for services they didn't want.
The settlement is the second largest for so-called "cramming," following one that the FCC reached with AT&T in October. It came just two days after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued Sprint for the same practice.
Cramming involves sneaking third-party service charges onto phone bills without getting valid authorization from the subscriber. The most notorious type of unwanted service involved in cramming is PSMS (premium Short Message Service), in which consumers get recurring text messages on topics like jokes of the day and celebrity gossip. The settlements with AT&T and T-Mobile ban those carriers from putting any third-party PSMS charges on their bills. But there are other third-party charges that may appear on phone bills without authorization, including some types of purchases made within mobile apps.
T-Mobile let third parties continue billing its subscribers for services they never approved, even when as many as half the people getting billed for a service had complained to T-Mobile, said Travis LeBlanc, the FCC's enforcement chief. The carrier had a policy of investigating any service with a complaint rate higher than 15 percent, yet it let many of those companies keep putting their charges on T-Mobile bills, he said. T-Mobile got a 35 percent cut of the third-party charges, according to the FCC.
"We learned during this case that T-Mobile was in bed with the crammers," LeBlanc said on a conference call about the settlement on Friday. Under the settlement, T-Mobile did not admit or deny the allegations. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The carrier must pay at least $67.5 million to fund a program to pay its customers back, plus $18 million to state governments participating in the settlement and a $4.5 million penalty paid to the U.S. Treasury. If consumers' claims go higher, T-Mobile will have to pay them, with no upper limit. Consumers who believe they were wrongly charged will be able to apply for refunds at a website set up for the purpose. That site was not immediately available."Link to Original Source
writes "An astronaut aboard the International Space Station needed a socket wrench, so NASA engineers emailed him designs for 3D-printing one. What a world we're living in.
Before 3D printing, if astronauts needed something that wasn't already aboard the ISS, they would have to wait several months for the next shuttle to arrive. Now, scientists and engineers on the ground can design whatever the astronauts might need, and send the file directly to the 3D printer aboard the ISS to be printed and used immediately. A post on Medium by Made in Space co-founder Mike Chen outlines the process.
Made in Space is the group created to design, build and ultimately send a zero-gravity 3D printer to the ISS. The company heard that Wilmore needed a ratcheting socket wrench, and fired up its CAD (computer-aided design and drafting) software and designed one. Once the design for the wrench was complete, they converted it to a 3D-printer-ready format called G-code, and sent it over to NASA, which beamed it up to the ISS where it was printed automatically.
The wrench, as well as the 20 other objects that have been 3D-printed on the ISS thus far, will be sent back to Earth for further analysis. Made in Space plans to compare these 21 objects to identical 3D-printed objects that were printed on Earth to test things like the effect of long-term microgravity on the 3D-printing process so they can model and predict how well things printed in space will hold up in the future. From there, they can further enhance their 3D printer and printing technology to build better objects for use in space.
So, now that scientists have successfully emailed plans for an object to be 3D-printed aboard the ISS, it's only a matter of time before they figure out how to Snapchat or Yo the designs to space."Link to Original Source
writes "Google Cardboard, the tech giant's low-cost virtual reality headset that's literally made of cardboard and works with phones, is now compatible with Street View.
Google announced on Tuesday that users can wear the headset and experience Google Maps Street View in a new, immersive way.
The headset, which costs as little as $10 and is available for purchase online (or you can make one at home), works with any Android phone that can fit within the holder — however, 4.7-inch devices are the limit. Users then open Street View in Google Maps on the phone, double-tap a lower-right, look-around icon on the corner of the display to sync everything up. After that, the headset shows a 360-degree view of the location. This means it's possible to simulate looking up at a skyscraper in Shanghai while sitting in an apartment in the U.S."Link to Original Source
writes "Uber is standing down for the next three months in Portland, just one of the cities where it has run into trouble.
The company said it would stop picking up customers there for three months after the city sued, asking a judge to order Uber to stop operating until it is in compliance with safety, health and consumer protection rules.
But Uber fully expects to be back. In fact, this could be good news for Uber fans in the long-run.
The city has agreed to update its laws, creating a new regulatory framework for companies like Uber that tend to fall somewhere between a taxi and a ridesharing service. People use it by requesting a driver with a smartphone app.
Uber, which operates in 60 cities across 21 countries, has run into problems because its drivers do not always meet the city's regulations for taxi and car services.
Last week, for example, a judge in Spain temporarily blocked Uber because the Madrid taxi service said it was unfair to competition and not properly licensed."Link to Original Source
writes "new survey says that as online privacy continues to erode, governments, technology workers and individuals will struggle to respond.
The report titled "The Future of Privacy," sponsored by the Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center, was released Thursday and explores the future of digital privacy over the next decade.
It surveyed many privacy advocates, digital entrepreneurs, journalists and Internet pioneers.
Participants were asked to share their thoughts to a question put forward by researchers: Would governments be able to develop digital privacy policies that protected individuals but also allowed for business innovation by 2025?
Fifty-five percent of those responding said no while 45 percent said such a privacy infrastructure was likely to be developed. The study comes as the United Nations General Assembly is considering a measure calling on nations to respect a "right to privacy in the digital age."
Report authors noted several recurring themes among those participating in the study.
For those who were pessimistic about the future of online privacy, many concluded that, with so many different cultural perspectives and government policies on privacy, there was no way to create one global Internet policy."Link to Original Source
writes "Jordan Axani planned to travel around the world with his girlfriend Elizabeth Gallagher, until they broke up. Now, he'll embark on Sunday on the circumnavigation with Elizabeth Gallagher.
No need for a double-take: The name may be the same, but the person answering to it isn't.
Axani had booked his-and-her airline tickets in his name — and his girlfriend's, he said. So, after his ex went overboard, he had to find a new co-passenger with the same name, he said, because the tickets were non-transferable.
Axani is Canadian, as is his ex, so the new Elizabeth Gallagher needed to be, too, to make the switch work. So, he took to social messaging service Reddit to find her.
After threw out the offer in early November for a free round-the-world trip, social media posts avalanched down at the hashtag #ElizabethGallagher.
Elizabeth Quinn Gallagher from Nova Scotia quickly tweeted Axani a photo of her passport. Scrawled on the shot in hot pink, the words "Take me!!!"
He did, he announced on Wednesday, but though "Quinn" came at him straight out of the chute, making the final choice wasn't that simple, Axani said in a statement. Many deserving women had contacted him."Link to Original Source
writes "Google Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. struck a long-term patent cross-license agreement to reduce the risk of future patent lawsuits, the latest in a string of deals that signal a slowdown after years of aggressive patent wars.
The deal effectively bars the companies from suing each other over any of the thousands of patents the companies currently own or acquire in the next five years. It also protects the companies if either sells a patent to another company, and that company attempts a lawsuit.
“This cross license allows both companies to focus on delivering great products and services to consumers around the world,” said Kirk Dailey, Google’s head of patent transactions."Link to Original Source
writes "BlackBerry unveiled a new device on Wednesday meant to appeal to the smartphone maker’s traditional customers with signature BlackBerry phone features such as a physical keyboard and trackpad.
Dubbed the Classic, the new phone is part of the Canadian company’s plan to reignite sales and return to profitability by focusing on business customers after its previous attempt to appeal to consumer customers fell flat.
The plan also focuses on increased sales of management-device software and security services to enterprise customers.
The Classic has a traditional qwerty keyboard, a row of navigation keys to manipulate the device’s operating system and a trackpad to scroll through lists—features that made the company’s Bold device popular with lawyers, bankers and other professionals.
Smartphone Maker Seeks to Appeal to Traditional Customers With Signature BlackBerry Phone Features"Link to Original Source
writes "The Sony hackers story has taken a new and more ominous turn.
A message from the Guardians of Peace group warns of a 9/11-like attack on movie theaters that screen Seth Rogen and James Franco's North Korean comedy The Interview.
"The world will be full of fear," the message reads, according to Varietyand Buzzfeed, adding, "Remember the 11th of September 2001."
The National Association of Theatre Owners, is "not commenting at this time," said spokesman. Jackie Brenneman.
Film critic and historian Leonard Maltin was at a loss for words over the latest turn of unprecedented events.
"I don't know how to respond or react. I've never faced anything like this before," Maltin said. "There have been protests over films. But I cannot think of threats from an anonymous group like this.""Link to Original Source
writes "Uber has rolled back employee access to its "God view" mode, which allows the company to track riders' locations and other data.
The ride service company was faced with questions about its privacy policies from U.S. Senator Al Franken, following a series of recent privacy debacles. Uber's updated policy is detailed in its response to the senator's questions.
Franken sent Uber a letter in November after news reports made two things clear: The ride service company collects lots of data on customers — and some executives don't exercise that power responsibly.
In one case, an Uber employee using "God View" easily tracked a reporter's movements on her way to a meeting. In another case, Uber executive Emil Michael proposed digging up dirt on journalists who were critical of his company and spread details of their personal lives."Link to Original Source
writes "The Skype preview program will kick-off with two spoken languages, Spanish and English, and 40+ instant messaging languages will be available to Skype customers who have signed-up via the Skype Translator sign-up page and are using Windows 8.1 on the desktop or device.
Skype asked two schools to try Skype Translator – Peterson School in Mexico City, and Stafford Elementary School in Tacoma, USA – playing a game of ‘Mystery Skype’ in which the children ask questions to determine the location of the other school. One classroom of children speaking Spanish and the other speaking English, Skype Translator removed this language barrier and enabled them to communicate."Link to Original Source
writes "California prosecutors on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Uber over the ridesharing company's background checks and other allegations, adding to the popular startup's worldwide legal woes.
San Francisco County District Attorney George Gascon, meanwhile, said Uber competitor Lyft agreed to pay $500,000 and change some of its business practices to settle its own lawsuit.
Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey partnered with Gascon in a probe of the nascent ridesharing industry. A third company — Sidecar — is still under investigation and could face a lawsuit of its own if it can't reach an agreement with prosecutors.
Uber faces similar legal issues elsewhere as it tries to expand in cities, states and countries around the world.
The companies have popular smartphone apps that allow passengers to order rides in privately driven cars instead of taxis. All three are based in San Francisco."Link to Original Source
writes "ter a 10-year journey through the solar system, an epic rendezvous with a speeding comet, and the drama of Philae's triple landing, the science phase of the Rosetta mission has officially begun.
In a study published Wednesday in the journal Science, researchers working with Rosetta's ROSINA instrument report that the water being released into space by comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko has a different chemical fingerprint than the water on Earth. This finding leads the authors to conclude that water on Earth probably came from asteroids, rather than comets.
One of the many mysteries that scientists hoped Rosetta would help solve is how our planet came to be flooded with water."Link to Original Source