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Submission + - Could there be another Little Ice Age coming in 2030?

Hussman32 writes: According to an article in the Royal Astronomical Society "A new model of the Sun’s solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun’s 11-year heartbeat. The model draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone. Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the ‘mini ice age’ that began in 1645."

Will the changes in solar behavior lead to a new Maunder Minimum?
 

Submission + - Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, we avoided severe ozone depletion->

hypnosec writes: Concentrations of ozone depleting chemicals was at its peak in 1993, but over the years they have declined and a new research points out that the Montreal Protocol, which came into force in 1987, has played a major role in not only ensuring that use of these chemicals is reduced, but has also helped us avoid a severe ozone depletion.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - The Machines Are Coming

HughPickens.com writes: Zeynep Tufekci writes in an op-ed at the NYT that machines can now process regular spoken language and not only recognize human faces, but also read their expressions. Machines can classify personality types, and have started being able to carry out conversations with appropriate emotional tenor. Machines are getting better than humans at figuring out who to hire, who’s in a mood to pay a little more for that sweater, and who needs a coupon to nudge them toward a sale. It turns out that most of what we think of as expertise, knowledge and intuition is being deconstructed and recreated as an algorithmic competency, fueled by big data. "Machines aren’t used because they perform some tasks that much better than humans, but because, in many cases, they do a “good enough” job while also being cheaper, more predictable and easier to control than quirky, pesky humans," writes Tufekci. "Technology in the workplace is as much about power and control as it is about productivity and efficiency."

According to Tufekci technology is being used in many workplaces: to reduce the power of humans, and employers’ dependency on them, whether by replacing, displacing or surveilling them. Optimists insist that we’ve been here before, during the Industrial Revolution, when machinery replaced manual labor, and all we need is a little more education and better skills but Tufekci says that one historical example is no guarantee of future events. "Confronting the threat posed by machines, and the way in which the great data harvest has made them ever more able to compete with human workers, must be about our priorities," concludes Tufekci. "This problem is not us versus the machines, but between us, as humans, and how we value one another."

Submission + - NASA's ARM will take a boulder from an asteroid and take it to lunar orbit->

MarkWhittington writes: NASA announced more details of its controversial asteroid redirect mission. The space agency has chosen to not snag an asteroid in deep space and move it to a retrograde orbit around the moon. Instead, an uncrewed spacecraft with a solar electric propulsion system will snag a boulder off of a larger asteroid and bring it to lunar orbit for an Orion spacecraft to visit.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Apple seemingly attempts to determine your location even when location services ->

chrisgagne writes: Apple says "You can also turn Location Services off altogether by deselecting Enable Location Services in the Privacy pane of Security & Privacy preferences. However, here's a video showing that although Location Services are turned off, Apple's com.apple.geod (their location services daemon) is still active and attempting to communicate with gsp-ssl.ls.apple.com. It's blocked from doing so by Little Snitch, whose Network Monitor is showing all of these attempts.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - FDA finds herbal supplements at GNC, Walmart don't contain what they claim

MikeChino writes: The New York State Attorney General's Office is demanding that GNC, Walmart, Walgreens, and Target remove store brand herbal supplements from their shelves after the pills were found to be packed with a strange array of fraudulent—and in some cases hazardous—ingredients. Popular supplements such as ginseng, valerian root, and St. John's wort sold under store brand names at the four major retailers were found to contain powdered rice, asparagus, and even houseplants, while being completely void of any of the ingredients on the label.

Submission + - The January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics is a free PDF download->

An anonymous reader writes: If you wanted to pinpoint the beginning of the PC era, you could do worse than to declare that it began when the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics magazine came out. It cover-featured the MITS Altair 8800, the first successful PC, and inspired Paul Allen and Bill Gates to found "Micro-Soft." I wrote about the issue, which is now available for free in PDF form (along with every other issue of Popular Electronics).
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Telomere-Lengthening Procedure Turns Clock Back Years in Human Cells-> 2 2

Zothecula writes: Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a new procedure to increase the length of human telomeres. This increases the number of times cells are able to divide, essentially making the cells many years younger. This not only has useful applications for laboratory work, but may point the way to treating various age-related disorders – or even muscular dystrophy.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Plan C: The Cold War plan which would have brought the US under martial law->

v3rgEz writes: Starting on April 19, 1956, the federal government practiced and planned for a near-doomsday scenario known as Plan C. When activated, Plan C would have brought the United States under marshal law, rounded up over ten thousand individuals connected to "subversive" organizations, implemented a censorship board, and prepared the country for life after nuclear attack.

There was no Plan A or B.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Virgin Galactic Dumps Scaled Composites for Spaceship Two

PvtVoid writes: Virgin Galactic, following an aggressive schedule to build a replacement for the Spaceship Two which crashed in October, is doing so without partner Scaled Composites, according to the Los Angeles Times. Kevin Mickey, the president of Scaled Composites, confirmed this week that his company would no longer be involved in testing. He said Scaled would still work as a consultant to Virgin Galactic.

Submission + - How IT executives think about surviving the first few months on the job

Lemeowski writes: It's not uncommon for IT leaders to inherit a hot mess when they take over a new role in an IT department. Politics, governance gates, and chaos can contribute to a sense of futility when an IT department is in the midst of a transition, writes Pearson CTO Sven Gerjets. When this happens, there are a few approaches that newcomers can take to pull their IT departments out of an IT tornado. Gerjets outlines some of the best moves new IT leaders can take when their IT organization is facing a lot of crises: "Discipline and clarity are where it all begins, two ingredients you’ll notice are entirely missing from tornadoes."

Submission + - Psychiatrists say non-conformity is a mental illness->

schwit1 writes: Modern psychiatry has become a hotbed of corruption, particularly the kind that seeks to demonize and declare mentally ill anyone who deviates from what is regarded as the norm. This is abundantly evident in the latest installment of the industry's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, which dubs people who do not conform to what those in charge declare to be normal as mentally insane.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Interior of burnt Herculaneum scroll read for first time 1 1

Solandri writes: When Mt. Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, it destroyed a library of classical works in Herculaneum. The papyrus scrolls weren't incinerated, but were instead carbonized by the hot gases. The resulting black carbon cylinders have mostly withstood attempts to read their contents since their discovery. Earlier attempts to unfurl the scrolls yielded some readable material, but were judged too destructive. Researchers decided to wait for newer technology to be invented that could read the scrolls without unrolling them.

Now, a team led by Dr Vito Mocella from the National Research Council's Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems (CNR-IMM) in Naples, Italy has managed to read individual letters inside one of the scrolls. Using a form of x-ray phase contrast tomography, they were able to ascertain the height difference (about 0.1mm) between the ink of the letters and the papyrus fibers which they sat upon. Due to the fibrous nature of the papyrus and the carbon-based ink, regular spectral and chemical analysis had thus far been unable to distinguish the ink from the paper. Further complicating the work, the scrolls are not in neat cylinders, but squashed and ruffled as the hot gases vaporized water in the papyrus and distorted the paper.

Full paper in Nature Communications (paywalled).

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A giant panda bear is really a member of the racoon family.

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