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+ - Neandertals may have created cave art too->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "One of the biggest debates in archaeology is whether Neandertals were capable of the kind of abstract and symbolic expression that prehistoric modern humans demonstrated in abundance—for example, by painting animal images on the walls of caves like Chauvet and Lascaux in France and Altamira in Spain. Possible evidence for Neandertal art was reported a couple of years ago in the Spanish cave of El Castillo, but researchers are not sure whether Neandertals or modern humans painted a red disk on its wall 41,000 years ago—right around the time that modern humans entered Europe. Now, archaeologists working at Gorham’s Cave, a former Neandertal haunt on the coast of Gibraltar, report that they have found this crosshatched pattern etched into the hard rock floor of the cave. The pattern was deeply incised using some sort of stone tool and was found under archaeological layers dating back at least 39,000 years—but containing stone tools that only Neandertals made. Scientist argue that it is proof positive that Neandertals were just as capable of abstract thought as modern humans."
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+ - AnandTech founder's "retirement" is a job at Apple Inc.->

Submitted by gwstuff
gwstuff (2067112) writes "Anand Lal Shimpi, the legendary hardware reviewer who founded and led AnandTech recently announced that he would retire from the tech writing business. On the heels of the announcement comes the news that he has joined Apple Inc. Unsurprisingly, the details of his new role in the company are unknown, with a typical "confirm, but won't provide details" statement from Apple."
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+ - What Does Google Do With All The Information It Collects? 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "About two thirds of websites run Google code (mostly Analytics, AdSense, and +1) that tells Google what you do there and where you came from. (Also Analytics is used by 63% of Fortune 500 companies and 71% of the top 10k websites.) 800 million Android phones are in use (that's 11% of all humans), telling Google pretty much everywhere they go, everything they do, and everyone they talk to. Hundreds of millions of people use Google Maps. Over 400 million people use Gmail, telling Google everything they write and receive by email. Plus untold millions use Google Toolbar. Does Google do anything with this data? And even if they "don't be evil" with it today, is there anything stopping them from "being evil" with it tomorrow? What about 20 years from now when they are a second-rate company and some investment group buys out their assets? Do you block Google code in your browsing habits? Do you run Google code on your websites?"

+ - Hacker dubbed "Rawshark" causes political mayhem in New Zealand->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "New Zealand is facing its weirdest election ever with a hacker calling himself "Rawshark" progressively dumping emails hacked from a controversial blogger. This weekend, revelations forced the resignation of one Government minister and nobody knows what will drop next.

Emails revealed that the blogger, called "Whale Oil", was in contact with both a government minister in charge of New Zealand's white collar crime investigations unit and with a PR man acting for a founder of a failed finance company then under investigation."

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+ - XKCD Author's Unpublished Book Remains a Best-Seller for 5 Months->

Submitted by destinyland
destinyland (578448) writes "Tuesday is the official release date for the newest book from the geeky cartoonist behind XKCD — yet it's already become one of Amazon's best-selling books. Thanks to a hefty pre-order discount, one blogger notes that it's appeared on Amazon's list of hardcover best-sellers since the book was first announced in March, and this weekend it remains in the top 10. Randall Munroe recently announced personal appearances beginning this week throughout the U.S. (including Cambridge, New York, Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay Area) — as well as a Google Hangout on Friday, September 12. Just two weeks ago he was also awarded the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story — and now many of his appearances are already sold out."
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+ - Battle of the heavy lift rockets

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Check out this very detailed and informative look at unstated competiton between NASA’s SLS rocket and SpaceX’s heavy lift rocket plans that are even more powerful than the Falcon Heavy.

Key quote: "It is clear SpaceX envisions a rocket far more powerful than even the fully evolved Block 2 SLS – a NASA rocket that isn’t set to be launched until the 2030s."

The SpaceX rocket hinges on whether the company can successfully build its new Raptor engine. If they do, they will have their heavy lift rocket in the air and functioning far sooner than NASA, and for far far far less money."

+ - Boston Police Grabbed Photos Of Every Person Attending Local Music Festivals->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Once again, the government is experimenting on the public with new surveillance technology and not bothering to inform them until forced to do so. Boston's police department apparently performed a dry run of its facial recognition software on attendees of a local music festival.

        Nobody at either day of last year's debut Boston Calling partied with much expectation of privacy. With an army of media photographers, selfie takers, and videographers recording every angle of the massive concert on Government Center, it was inherently clear that music fans were in the middle of a massive photo opp.

        What Boston Calling attendees (and promoters, for that matter) didn't know, however, was that they were all unwitting test subjects for a sophisticated new event monitoring platform. Namely, the city's software and equipment gave authorities a live and detailed birdseye view of concertgoers, pedestrians, and vehicles in the vicinity of City Hall on May 25 and 26 of 2013 (as well as during the two days of a subsequent Boston Calling in September). We're not talking about old school black and white surveillance cameras. More like technology that analyzes every passerby for height, clothing, and skin color.

While no one expects their public activities to carry an expectation of privacy, there's something a bit disturbing about being scanned and fed into a database maintained by a private contractor and accessible by an unknown number of entities. Then there's the problem with the technology itself which, while improving all the time, is still going to return a fair amount of false positives."

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+ - What to do about repeated internet overbilling? 5

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "AT&T has been overbilling my account based on overcounting DSL internet usage (they charge in 50 Gigabyte units after the first 150). I have been using a Buffalo NFinity Airstation as a managed switch to count all traffic. As you may recall, this device runs firmware based on dd-wrt and has hidden telnet functionality, so I am able to load a script to count traffic directly onto the device. I have an auto-scraper that collects the data and saves it on my computer's hard disk every 2 minutes while the computer is running. While it is not running, the 2 minute counters accumulate in RAM on the device. Power problems are not normally an issue here; and even when they are I can tell it has happened. The upshot of all this is I can measure the exact amount of download bandwidth and a guaranteed overestimate of upload bandwidth in bytes reliably. I have tested this by transferring known amounts of data and can account for every byte counted, including ethernet frame headers. AT&T's billing reporting reports usage by day only, lags two days, and uses some time basis other than midnight. It is also reading in my testing a fairly consistent 14% higher whenever the basis doesn't disturb the test by using too much bandwidth too close to midnight.

AT&T has already refused to attempt to fix the billing meter, and asserts they have tested it and found it correct. Yet they refuse to provide a realtime readout of the counter that would make independent testing trivial. I've been through the agencies (CPUC, FCC, and Weights & Measures) and can't find one that is interested, AT&T will not provide any means for reasonable independent testing of the meter. It is my understanding that if there is a meter and its calibration cannot be checked, there is a violation of the law, yet I can't find an agency that can even accept such a claim (I'm not getting "your claim is meritless", but "we don't handle that"). If indeed they are not overbilling, my claim of no way to verify the meter still stands. My options are running thin here.

So that my account can be identified by someone who recognizes the case: 7a6c74964fafd56c61e06abf6c820845cbcd4fc0 (bit commitment)."

+ - Scientists craft seamless, ultrathin semiconductor junctions->

Submitted by vinces99
vinces99 (2792707) writes "Scientists have developed what they believe is the thinnest-possible semiconductor, a new class of nanoscale materials made in sheets only three atoms thick. The University of Washington researchers have demonstrated that two of these single-layer semiconductor materials can be connected in an atomically seamless fashion known as a heterojunction. This result could be the basis for next-generation flexible and transparent computing, better light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, and solar technologies.

“Heterojunctions are fundamental elements of electronic and photonic devices,” said senior author Xiaodong Xu, a UW assistant professor of materials science and engineering and of physics. “Our experimental demonstration of such junctions between two-dimensional materials should enable new kinds of transistors, LEDs, nanolasers, and solar cells to be developed for highly integrated electronic and optical circuits within a single atomic plane.”

The research was published online this week in Nature Materials. The researchers discovered that two flat semiconductor materials can be connected edge-to-edge with crystalline perfection. They worked with two single-layer, or monolayer, materials – molybdenum diselenide and tungsten diselenide – that have very similar structures, which was key to creating the composite two-dimensional semiconductor."

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+ - Some raindrops exceed their terminal velocity->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "New research reveals that some raindrops are “super-terminal” (they travel more than 30% faster than their terminal velocity, at which air resistance prevents further acceleration due to gravity). The drops are the result of natural processes—and they make up a substantial fraction of rainfall. Whereas all drops the team studied that were 0.8 millimeters and larger fell at expected speeds, between 30% and 60% of those measuring 0.3 mm dropped at super-terminal speeds. It’s not yet clear why these drops are falling faster than expected, the researchers say. But according to one notion, the speedy drops are fragments of larger drops that have broken apart in midair but have yet to slow down. If that is indeed the case, the researchers note, then raindrop disintegration happens normally in the atmosphere and more often than previously presumed—possibly when drops collide midair or become unstable as they fall through the atmosphere. Further study could improve estimates of the total amount of rainfall a storm will produce or the amount of erosion that it can generate."
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+ - Lockpickers Invent 3D-Printed Plastic Skeleton Key To Crack High Security Locks->

Submitted by concertina226
concertina226 (2447056) writes "In TV shows such as Prison Break, and movies throughout history, people have escaped prisons by making a mould of the necessary key by pressing it into a bar of soap, and then filling the mould with plastic from a melted toothbrush or some other fanciful, though non-believable, material.

But what if you could actually make a skeleton key out of plastic?

Jos Weyers and Christian Holler, competitive lock-pickers and security consultants, have found a way to use the traditional lock-picking technique of "bumping", where key blanks are "bumped" into the lock by tapping the end of the key with a hammer.

Even without the original key, the lockpickers have found a way to create a 3D model of a high-security key and print it onto a plastic key that works multiple times."

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+ - 13-year-old Finds Fungus Deadly to AIDS Patients Literally Grows on Trees->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers have pinpointed the environmental source of fungal infections that have been sickening HIV/AIDS patients in Southern California for decades. It literally grows on trees. The discovery is based on the science project of a 13-year-old girl, who spent the summer gathering soil and tree samples from areas around Los Angeles hardest hit by infections of the fungus named Cryptococcus gattii ."
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+ - Dropbox Caught Between Warring Giants Amazon and Google->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Google and Amazon are both aggressively pursuing the cloud storage market, constantly increasing available storage space and constantly dropping prices. On its face, this looks great for the consumer — competition is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately, many smaller companies like Box, Dropbox, and Hightail simply aren't able to run their services at a loss like the giants can. Dropbox's Aaron Levie said, "These guys will drive prices to zero. You do not want to wait for Google or Amazon to keep cutting prices on you. ‘Free’ is not a business model." The result is that the smaller companies are pivoting to win market share on feature sets, rather than available space or price. "Box is trying to cater to special data storage needs, like digital versions of X-rays for health care companies and other tasks specific to different kinds of customers. Hightail is trying to do something similar for customers like law firms. And Dropbox? It is trying to make sure that its consumer-minded service stays easier to use than what the big guys provide." It's going to be tough for them to hold out, and even tougher for new storage startups to break in. But that might be the only thing keeping us from choosing between the Wal-Mart-A and Wal-Mart-B of online storage."
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