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Human DNA Enlarges Mouse Brains 193

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-vice-versa dept.
sciencehabit writes Researchers have increased the size of mouse brains by giving the rodents a piece of human DNA that controls gene activity. The work provides some of the strongest genetic evidence yet for how the human intellect surpassed those of all other apes. The human gene causes cells that are destined to become nerve cells to divide more frequently, thereby providing a larger of pool of cells that become part of the cortex. As a result, the embryos carrying human HARE5 have brains that are 12% larger than the brains of mice carrying the chimp version of the enhancer. The team is currently testing these mice to see if the bigger brains made them any smarter.

Russia Seeking To Ban Tor, VPNs and Other Anonymizing Tools 215

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-secrets dept.
An anonymous reader writes Three separate Russian authorities have spoken out in favor of banning online anonymizing tools since February 5th, with particular emphasis on Tor, which — despite its popularity with whistle-blowers such as Edward Snowden and with online activists — Russia's Safe Internet League describes as an 'Anonymous network used primarily to commit crimes'. The three authorities involved are the Committee on Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications, powerful Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor and the Safe Internet League, comprising the country's top three network providers, including state telecoms provider Rostelecom. Roskomnadzor's press secretary Vadim Roskomnadzora Ampelonsky describes the obstacles to identifying and blocking Tor and VPN traffic as "difficult, but solvable."

Comment: vs WebP (Score 5, Insightful) 377

by yurik (#48570691) Attached to: Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

I don't think we should compare BPG with JPEG, since it is very outdated. I wonder how it stacks against WebP - does it also support animation? Better compression? Licenses? Faster encoding/decoding? Browser manufacturer support? I'm all for making web more optimal, because you can never have "fast-enough" bandwidth, especially on a mobile device in bad connection area, but lets compare similar things.

Comment: Re:This seems different (Score 1) 134

by yurik (#48475495) Attached to: Wikipedia's "Complicated" Relationship With Net Neutrality

Wikipedia Zero does NOT, ever, pay any ISPs anything. Frequently, you, the client, might not have any internet access on your mobile device, and yet will still be able to access Wikipedia for free. This is frequently done as a CSR initiative or other reasons by the mobile operator.


The Guardian Reveals That Whisper App Tracks "Anonymous" Users 180

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-keep-using-that-word-I-do-not-think-it-means-what-you-think-it-means dept.
New submitter qqod writes this story at The Guardian that raises privacy concerns over the Whisper app. "The company behind Whisper, the social media app that promises users anonymity and claims to be the “the safest place on the internet”, is tracking the location of its users, including some who have specifically asked not to be followed. The practice of monitoring the whereabouts of Whisper users – including those who have expressly opted out of geolocation services – will alarm users, who are encouraged to disclose intimate details about their private and professional lives. Whisper is also sharing information with the US Department of Defense gleaned from smartphones it knows are used from military bases, and developing a version of its app to conform with Chinese censorship laws."

Comment: Same problem at Wikipedia (Score 1) 60

by yurik (#47411189) Attached to: All Web Developers Should Have Access to a Device Lab (Video)

I am part of the Wikipedia Zero initiative, and we need to ensure that runs on ALL platforms, including the mostly forgotten flip phones with no JavaScript. Which obviously presents the problem of testing. There are some sites (we have an account with one of them) that provides multi-platform testing, but all that means is multiple flavors of Android & IOS... with possibly the latest BB thrown in. Unfortunately, the bigger problem is the older devices, where capabilities were much more varied. One day I hope we can have access to the most commonly used labs testing, including various Nokias, etc. Hoping...

Comment: "Physics" is not science (Score 1) 292

by yurik (#46721153) Attached to: Nat Geo Writer: Science Is Running Out of "Great" Things To Discover

"Physics" is a fairly artificial concept of separation of knowledge - after all, knowledge is just one. Our brains, on the other hand, are too tiny to fit all of it in. We started learning about surroundings "midway", e.g. F=ma - basic physical phenomenon, and from there started moving towards the very small (quarks), very large (galaxies), and much more complex - chemistry, biology. I think the discoveries tend to go in waves, and when there is an imbalance of knowledge, the area at the bottom shoots up. For example - enough data accumulated and enough mathematical tools were developed to boost physics and chemistry, which helped with computers, which in turn boosted biology. Next step - exact predictions of social sciences, terraforming, ... Time to travel far far away.

P.S. Even though I couldn't find who was the original author, my physics teacher once told me that when governor visited Franklin's lab, and was shown all the electrical research, he wondered what was the purpose... to which Franklin replied "Physicists will tinker with it for a bit, and later you will start taxing it". It might have been someone else of course, but does not change the point - something gets discovered, and later it becomes ubiquitous in our everyday life.

Comment: Only benefits smaller devices (Score 1) 217

by yurik (#46653485) Attached to: .NET Native Compilation Preview Released

The raw speed of the code might actually diminish since the .net runtime could have optimized it better for the specific environment (CPU model, available RAM, phase of the moon, etc). On the other hand, the startup would benefit - no more need to just-in-time compile. Plus there is no need for memory to compile it. On the other hand, the runtime might use some cycles to further optimize code during execution, whereas with this approach the code won't change any further. In any case, great for instant startup, but I suspect conceptually this is not much different from the older binary pre-compiled cached versions of the assemblies.

Comment: Re:Reviewed by volonteers, donated to Foundation (Score 1) 125

by yurik (#46458617) Attached to: Major Wikipedia Donors Caught Editing Their Own Articles

Thekohser, thanks for the reply, could you point me to the correct info? I only found and that doc is not trivial, so any help explaining your position would greatly help. Where do 49+% go? Is it the same for all non-profits or non-profits in the same sector (if there is such a division). Thank you!

Comment: Reviewed by volonteers, donated to Foundation (Score 1) 125

by yurik (#46454885) Attached to: Major Wikipedia Donors Caught Editing Their Own Articles

Disclaimer - I work for the Wikimedia foundation, but expressing my own opinion.

Donations go to the Wikimedia Foundation, covering various technology/organizational costs, but the foundation is not involved in the actual editing or reviewing process - that has always been done exclusivelly by the community. Donations would never affect the content of an article simply because its a different group of people - those who receive the money spend it on internet/development/building/conferences, while volonteers independently decide what should stay and in what form. An analogy here would be donating money to ISP to support the service, while abusing one of the web sites on the web.


Tim Cook: If You Don't Like Our Energy Policies, Don't Buy Apple Stock 348

Posted by timothy
from the quantifiable-vs-unquantifiable dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Nick Statt reports at Cnet that at Apple's annual shareholder meeting Friday, Apple CEO Tim Cook shot down the suggestion from a conservative, Washington, DC-based think tank that Apple give up on environmental initiatives that don't contribute to the company's bottom line. The National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), hasn't taken kindly to Apple's increasing reliance on green energy and said so in a statement issued to Apple ahead of the meeting. 'We object to increased government control over company products and operations, and likewise mandatory environmental standards,' said NCPPR General Counsel Justin Danhof demanding that the pledge be voted on at the meeting. 'This is something [Apple] should be actively fighting, not preparing surrender.' Cook responded that there are many things Apple does because they are right and just, and that a return on investment (ROI) was not the primary consideration on such issues. 'When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind. I don't consider the bloody ROI,' said Cook. 'We do a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive, We want to leave the world better than we found it.' Danhof's proposal was voted down and to any who found the company's environmental dedication either ideologically or economically distasteful, Cook advised 'if you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.'"

FLOSS Codecs Emerge Victorious In Wikimedia Vote 235

Posted by Soulskill
from the quest-for-internal-consistency dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Maggs from the Wikimedia Foundation's multimedia team has given a final summary of the discussion and vote about whether to support MP4 video or not. Twice as many people voted against adding MP4 to Wikimedia than voted for full support. Now they can get back to their mission of advocating openness. 'Those opposing MP4 adoption believe that in order for what we create to be truly free, the format that it is in also needs to be free, (else everyone viewing it would need to obtain a patent license in some form to be able to view it). ... From that viewpoint, any software infrastructure in Wikimedia projects must adhere to community norms regarding intellectual property, patent status, licensing or encoding methods. Current community requirements are that free/open standards should be used at all times to encode and store video files on the servers that house our data, so that both our content and software can be redistributed without any restrictions. Proprietary video containers or codecs such as MP4 are not allowed on Wikimedia projects because they are patent-encumbered and their software cannot be re-licensed freely (though MP4 content can be freely re-licensed).'"

"America is a stronger nation for the ACLU's uncompromising effort." -- President John F. Kennedy