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Science

Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body 149

Posted by samzenpus
from the charge-and-detect dept.
sciencehabit writes Scientists have found a way to combine Van de Graaff generators with a common laboratory instrument to detect drugs, explosives, and other illicit materials on the human body. In the laboratory, scientists had a volunteer touch a Van de Graaff generator for 2 seconds to charge his body to 400,000 volts. This ionized compounds on the surface of his body. The person then pointed their charged finger toward the inlet of a mass spectrometer, and ions from their body entered the machine. In various tests, the machine correctly identified explosives, flammable solvents, cocaine, and acetaminophen on the skin.
United Kingdom

UK Gov't Plans To Push "Emergency" Surveillance Laws 143

Posted by timothy
from the back-in-line-citizen dept.
beaker_72 (1845996) writes The Guardian reports that the UK government has unveiled plans to introduce emergency surveillance laws into the UK parliament at the beginning of next week. These are aimed at reinforcing the powers of security services in the UK to force service providers to retain records of their customers phone calls and emails. The laws, which have been introduced after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that existing laws invaded individual privacy, will receive cross-party support and so will not be subjected to scrutiny or challenged in Parliament before entering the statute books. But as Tom Watson (Labour backbench MP and one of few dissenting voices) has pointed out, the ECJ ruling was six weeks ago, so why has the government waited until now to railroad something through. Unless of course they don't want it scrutinised too closely.
Crime

Police Using Dogs To Sniff Out Computer Memory 415

Posted by samzenpus
from the smells-like-a-terabyte dept.
First time accepted submitter FriendlySolipsist points out a story about Rhode Island Police using a dog to find hidden hard drives. The recent arrival of golden Labrador Thoreau makes Rhode Island the second state in the nation to have a police dog trained to sniff out hard drives, thumb drives and other technological gadgets that could contain child pornography. Thoreau received 22 weeks of training in how to detect devices in exchange for food at the Connecticut State Police Training Academy. Given to the state police by the Connecticut State Police, the dog assisted in its first search warrant in June pinpointing a thumb drive containing child pornography hidden four layers deep in a tin box inside a metal cabinet. That discovery led the police to secure an arrest warrant, Yelle says. “If it has a memory card, he’ll sniff it out,” Detective Adam Houston, Thoreau’s handler, says.
Earth

NOAA: Earth Smashed A Record For Heat In May 2014, Effects To Worsen 547

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the but-the-koch-bros-say-it's-a-lie dept.
Freshly Exhumed (105597) writes with news that NOAA's latest global climate analysis is showing things are getting hotter. From the article: Driven by exceptionally warm ocean waters, Earth smashed a record for heat in May and is likely to keep on breaking high temperature marks, experts say. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Monday said May's average temperature on Earth of 15.54 C beat the old record set four years ago. In April, the globe tied the 2010 record for that month. Records go back to 1880. Experts say there's a good chance global heat records will keep falling, especially next year because an El Nino weather event is brewing on top of man-made global warming. An El Nino is a warming of the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean that alters climate worldwide and usually spikes global temperatures.
Biotech

Researchers Find "Achilles Heel" of Drug Resistant Bacteria 106

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-your-medicine dept.
Rambo Tribble writes Researchers in Britain are reporting that they have found a way to prevent bacteria from forming the "wall" that prevents antibiotics from attacking them. “It is a very significant breakthrough,” said Professor Changjiang Dong, from the University of East Anglia's (UAE) Norwich Medical School. “This is really important because drug-resistant bacteria is a global health problem. Many current antibiotics are becoming useless, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Many bacteria build up an outer defence which is important for their survival and drug resistance. We have found a way to stop that happening," he added. This research provides the platform for urgently-needed new generation drugs.
Data Storage

Kingston and PNY Caught Bait-and-Switching Cheaper Components After Good Reviews 289

Posted by timothy
from the genuine-panaphonics dept.
An anonymous reader writes Over the past few months, we've seen a disturbing trend from first Kingston, and now PNY. Manufacturers are launching SSDs with one hardware specification, and then quietly changing the hardware configuration after reviews have gone out. The impacts have been somewhat different, but in both cases, unhappy customers are loudly complaining that they've been cheated, tricked into paying for a drive they otherwise wouldn't have purchased.
AI

Turing Test Passed 432

Posted by samzenpus
from the almost-human dept.
schwit1 (797399) writes "Eugene Goostman, a computer program pretending to be a young Ukrainian boy, successfully duped enough humans to pass the iconic test. The Turing Test which requires that computers are indistinguishable from humans — is considered a landmark in the development of artificial intelligence, but academics have warned that the technology could be used for cybercrime. Computing pioneer Alan Turing said that a computer could be understood to be thinking if it passed the test, which requires that a computer dupes 30 per cent of human interrogators in five-minute text conversations."
Transportation

Google Unveils Self-Driving Car With No Steering Wheel 583

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-soviet-google,-car-drives-you dept.
cartechboy writes: "We've already discussed and maybe even come to terms with the fact that autonomous cars are coming. In fact, many automakers including Mercedes-Benz and Tesla have committed to self-driving cars by 2017. Apparently that's not ambitious enough. Google has just unveiled an in-house-designed, self-driving car prototype with no steering wheel or pedals. In fact, it doesn't have any traditional controls, not even a stereo. The as-yet-nameless car is a testbed for Google's vision of the computerized future of transportation. Currently the prototype does little more than programmed parking lot rides at a maximum of 25 mph, but Google plans to build about 100 prototypes, with the first examples receiving manual controls (human-operated). Google then plans to roll out the pilot program in California in the next several years. So the technology is now there, but is there really a market for a car that drives you without your input other than the destination?"
Microsoft

Microsoft Is Paying Brazilian Users In Skype Credit To Switch to Bing 90

Posted by timothy
from the what's-your-value-proposition dept.
New submitter perplexing.reader (2241844) writes "Microsoft is paying Brazilian users US$2 in Skype vouchers to set Bing as their default search engine and MSN as their default home page. Translated from the site: 'Make MSN your homepage and Bing your default search engine and earn up to 60 minutes of calls to mobiles and landlines in Skype.' ... The Rules: 'After receiving the voucher, this should be used until July 31, 2014. Once on Skype, the credits do not expire. The minutes are based on a rate of $ 0.023 per minute, but the number of minutes may vary depending on the destination of the call and the number of calls you make. The current value of the voucher is $2.00. [One claimed], the voucher will appear in your Skype account." (For those outside Brazil, the page brings up a message that translates to "Sorry, this promotion is not available for your country.")
Education

Professors: US "In Denial" Over Poor Maths Standards 688

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-plus-one-equals-spoon dept.
thephydes (727739) writes "The maths skills of teenagers in parts of the deep south of the United States are worse than in countries such as Turkey and barely above South American countries such as Chile and Mexico. From the article: '"There is a denial phenomenon," says Prof Peterson. He said the tendency to make internal comparisons between different groups within the US had shielded the country from recognising how much they are being overtaken by international rivals. "The American public has been trained to think about white versus minority, urban versus suburban, rich versus poor," he said.'"
Advertising

Google Foresees Ads On Your Refrigerator, Thermostat, and Glasses 355

Posted by Soulskill
from the brought-to-you-by-melancholy dept.
New submitter waspleg sends news of a letter Google sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission in which the tech giant laid out its vision of an ad-filled future. They wrote, "We expect the definition of “mobile” to continue to evolve as more and more “smart” devices gain traction in the market. For example, a few years from now, we and other companies could be serving ads and other content on refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities. Our expectation is that users will be using our services and viewing our ads on an increasingly wide diversity of devices in the future, and thus our advertising systems are becoming increasingly device-agnostic."
Transportation

Driverless Cars Could Cripple Law Enforcement Budgets 626

Posted by Soulskill
from the jaywalking-soon-to-become-very-expensive dept.
colinneagle writes "Google's driverless cars have now combined to drive more than 700,000 miles on public roads without receiving one citation, The Atlantic reported this week. While this raises a lot of questions about who is responsible to pay for a ticket issued to a speeding autonomous car – current California law would have the person in the driver's seat responsible, while Google has said the company that designed the car should pay the fine – it also hints at a future where local and state governments will have to operate without a substantial source of revenue.

Approximately 41 million people receive speeding tickets in the U.S. every year, paying out more than $6.2 billion per year, according to statistics from the U.S. Highway Patrol published at StatisticBrain.com. That translates to an estimated $300,000 in speeding ticket revenue per U.S. police officer every year. State and local governments often lean on this source of income when they hit financial trouble. A study released in 2009 examined data over a 13-year period in North Carolina, finding a 'statistically significant correlation between a drop in local government revenue one year, and more traffic tickets the next year,' Popular Science reported. So, just as drug cops in Colorado and Washington are cutting budgets after losing revenue from asset and property seizures from marijuana arrests, state and local governments will need to account for a drastic reduction in fines from traffic violations as autonomous cars stick to the speed limit."
Businesses

Cisco Complains To Obama About NSA Adding Spyware To Routers 297

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-out-of-there dept.
pdclarry (175918) writes "Glenn Greenwald's book No Place to Hide reveals that the NSA intercepts shipments of networking gear destined for overseas and adds spyware. Cisco has responded by asking the President to intervene and stop this practice, as it has severely hurt their non-U.S. business, with shipments to other countries falling from 7% for emerging countries to over 25% for Brazil and Russia."
Earth

Studies: Wildfires Worse Due To Global Warming 379

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-getting-hot-in-here dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to scientists we can look forward to more devastating wildfires like the ones scorching Southern California because of global warming. "The fires in California and here in Arizona are a clear example of what happens as the Earth warms, particularly as the West warms, and the warming caused by humans is making fire season longer and longer with each decade," said University of Arizona geoscientist Jonathan Overpeck. "It's certainly an example of what we'll see more of in the future.""
Cloud

Comcast Predicts Usage Cap Within 5 Years 475

Posted by timothy
from the hang-onto-your-bits dept.
finalcutmonstar (1862890) writes "With net neutrality dying a slow painful death, it is no surprise that in an investor call yesterday Comcast executive VP(and Darth Vader impersonator) David Cohen predicts bandwidth caps within the next 5 years. The cap would start at 300 GB and cost the customer subscriber an extra 10 USD for 50 GB. But, Cohen stated that 'I would also predict that the vast majority of our customers would never be caught in the buying the additional buckets of usage, that we will always want to say the basic level of usage at a sufficiently high level that the vast majority of our customers are not implicated by the usage-based billing plan.'" Update: 05/15 13:58 GMT by T : Correction: Cohen is actually talking about data transferred, rather than stored (as headline originally had it), as reader MAXOMENOS points out.

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