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Submission + - Toy inspired medical centrifuge costing under 1 dollar

colinwb writes: Stanford researchers (link has video) have developed a human-powered medical centrifuge, costing 20 cents, based on a whirligig children's toy. As proof of concept, it can separate malaria parasites from blood cells in 15 minutes, and the parasites can be identified using a cheap microscope previously reported on Slashdot.

A Nature article and video, with useful caveats about whether this will actually be used, and a full description with diagrams and seriously impressive mathematics. They've also applied for a Guinness World Record of the fastest rotational speed from a human-powered device: 125,000 rpm.

Submission + - Mapping the brain functions of extinct animals

brindafella writes: How can scientists map the brain functions of an extinct animal? The technique is called diffusion tensor imaging, and it has recently mapped the preserved brains of two thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus), extinct as of 1936 in Tasmania, the island state of Australia. Thylacine were the largest known carnivorous marsupial (pouched mammal) of modern times. Diffusion tensor imaging looks at how water diffuses inside parts of the brain. Using it with traditional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the researchers mapped how molecules moved through the brain of the thylacine while it was alive to reveal the neural wiring of different brain regions. They tested the technique with a brain of a similar animal, a Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), preserved at about the same time, and the brain of a recently deceased Devil.

Submission + - Female Shark Learns To Reproduce Without Males After Years Alone (newscientist.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A female shark separated from her long-term mate has developed the ability to have babies on her own. Leonie the zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) met her male partner at an aquarium in Townsville, Australia, in 1999. They had more than two dozen offspring together before he was moved to another tank in 2012. From then on, Leonie did not have any male contact. But in early 2016, she had three baby sharks. Intrigued, Christine Dudgeon at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and her colleagues began fishing for answers. One possibility was that Leonie had been storing sperm from her ex and using it to fertilize her eggs. But genetic testing showed that the babies only carried DNA from their mum, indicating they had been conceived via asexual reproduction. Some vertebrate species have the ability to reproduce asexually even though they normally reproduce sexually. These include certain sharks, turkeys, Komodo dragons, snakes and rays. However, most reports have been in females who have never had male partners. In sharks, asexual reproduction can occur when a female’s egg is fertilized by an adjacent cell known as a polar body, Dudgeon says. This also contains the female’s genetic material, leading to “extreme inbreeding”, she says. “It’s not a strategy for surviving many generations because it reduces genetic diversity and adaptability.” Nevertheless, it may be necessary at times when males are scarce. “It might be a holding-on mechanism,” Dudgeon says. “Mum’s genes get passed down from female to female until there are males available to mate with.” It’s possible that the switch from sexual to asexual reproduction is not that unusual; we just haven’t known to look for it, Dudgeon says.

Submission + - Microsoft adds Intel's Clear Linux open source operating system to Azure Market (betanews.com)

BrianFagioli writes: Today, Microsoft announces the addition of Intel's Clear Linux OS to Azure Marketplace. In other words, users of the company's cloud platform can set up a virtual machine using this distribution in addition to existing Linux-based operating systems.

"Today, we're excited to announce the availability of Clear Linux OS for Intel Architecture in Azure Marketplace. Clear Linux OS is a free, open source Linux distribution built from the ground up for cloud and data center environments and tuned to maximize the performance and value of Intel architecture. Microsoft Azure is the first public cloud provider to offer Clear Linux, and we’re really excited about what it means for Linux users in the cloud and the community at large," says Jose Miguel Parrella, Open Source Product Manager, Microsoft.

Submission + - Microsoft rolls out Clear Linux for Azure instances (networkworld.com)

JG0LD writes: Microsoft announced today that it has added support for the Intel-backed Clear Linux distribution in instances for its Azure public cloud platform. It’s the latest in a lengthy string of Linux distributions to become available on the company’s Azure cloud.

Submission + - Meet Kubo, the robot that teaches kids to code (techcrunch.com)

An anonymous reader writes: "Kubo comes with its own programming language called TagTile. The language consists of puzzle pieces that fit together to give Kubo instructions. For example, you could connect three pieces together – forward, turn, then another forward. Kubo then drives over these pieces oncer to “learn” the command, then can remember and perform it without needing the pieces.

Kubo reads the puzzle pieces using an RFID technology – each piece has an individual embedded RFID tag, and Kubo itself has a reader built in." — TechCrunch

Submission + - How the Human Brain Decides What Is Important and What's Not (neurosciencenews.com)

baalcat writes: A new study in Neuroscience News sheds light on how we learn to pay attention in order to make the most of our life experiences.

"The Wizard of Oz told Dorothy to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” in an effort to distract her, but a new Princeton University study sheds light on how people learn and make decisions in real-world situations.

The findings could eventually contribute to improved teaching and learning and the treatment of mental and addiction disorders in which people’s perspectives are dysfunctional or fractured."

Submission + - Quimitchin: The First Mac Malware of 2017 Arrives

wiredmikey writes: Security researchers have a uncovered a Mac OS based espionage malware they have named "Quimitchin". The malware is what they consider to be "the first Mac malware of 2017" which appears to be a classic espionage tool. While it has some old code and appears to have existed undetected for some time, it works.

It was discovered when an IT admin noticed unusual traffic coming from a particular Mac, and has been seen infecting Macs at biomedical facilities.

Submission + - Robotic Sleeve Mimics Muscles to Keep a Heart Beating

randomErr writes: 5.7 million adults in the United States have heart failure each year with about 41 million worldwide. Currently treatment involves surgically implanting a mechanical pump, called a ventricular assist device (VAD), into the heart.The VAD helps maintains the heart's function. But patients with VADs are at high risk for getting blood clots and having a stroke. Researchers at Harvard University and Boston Children's Hospital have created a soft robotic sleeve that doesn't have to be implanted. The robotic sleeve slips around the outside of the heart, squeezing it in sync with their natural rhythm..

Submission + - New Automotive Software Released: Find the Flaws Before Hackers Do (github.io)

santiago torres writes: Today researchers at NYU Tandon School of Engineering and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute unveiled a software security framework called Uptane, designed specifically to ensure security of over-the-air delivery of software updates to automobiles. Uptane is notable because 1) It is intended to remain secure even if a hacker or insider steals a number of keys or compromises some of the servers, 2) the automotive industry is taking this seriously, with dozens of suppliers and OEMs participating, and 3) the design is open with the researchers providing implementation, deployment scenarios, and other documentation. "Allowing the public to scrutinize Uptane’s security will ultimately improve and validate the design," said NYU Tandon Professor Justin Cappos, who leads the project. The researchers are openly inviting security reviews / questions from the public. You can see a demonstration of the technology at Reuters' Facebook page here. Given that the security community will have input into Uptane so that issues can be fixed before the system is deployed, will this make you feel safer about riding around in a 2 ton car controlled by 100 million lines of code?

Submission + - CIA Releases 13 Million Declassified Documents Online (bbc.com)

dryriver writes: The BBC reports: About 13 million pages of declassified documents from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have been released online. The records include UFO sightings and psychic experiments from the Stargate programme, which has long been of interest to conspiracy theorists. The move came after lengthy efforts from freedom of information advocates and a lawsuit against the CIA. Among the more unusual records are documents from the Stargate Project, which dealt with psychic powers and extrasensory perception. Those include records of testing on celebrity psychic Uri Geller in 1973, when he was already a well-established performer. Memos detail how Mr Geller was able to partly replicate pictures drawn in another room with varying — but sometimes precise — accuracy, leading the researchers to write that he "demonstrated his paranormal perceptual ability in a convincing and unambiguous manner".

Submission + - Pwn2Own 2017 Takes Aim at Linux (eweek.com)

darthcamaro writes: For the first time in its ten year history, the annual Pwn2Own hacking competition is taking direct aim at Linux. Pwn2Own in the past has typically focused mostly on web browsers, running on Windows and macOS. There is a $15,000 reward for security researchers that are able to get a local user kernel exploit on Ubuntu 16.10. The bigger prize though is a massive $200,000 award for exploiting Apache Web Server running on Ubuntu.

Submission + - Apple removes Finder for Airpods app from its store

Ecuador writes: There was a $3.99 app that helped you find your Airpod if it was within bluetooth range. Even though it had a limited range, it might have been useful for some people to avoid Apple's $69 replacement fee. But Apple has apparently pulled the app with no explanation. According to the developer's reddit post:
"Yeah, just got off the phone with them. They didn't find anything wrong with the app itself, but rather they they didn't like the 'concept' of people finding their Airpods and hence was deemed 'not appropriate for the App Store'."
What is interesting, if what the developer is saying is true (it is a Reddit post after all), is that Apple does allow similar apps (from the same developer) for finding other devices (Fitbit, Jawbone), so they don't like the concept specifically as it applies to the Airpods. The speculation is that they either have similar functionality planned, or they really like that $69 replacement fee.

Submission + - Obamacare repeal has gig economy worried (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: Repealing the Affordable Care Act without a replacement leaves some 18 million without health insuance in the first year alone, the Congressional Budget Office warned Tuesday. Millions more will lose insurance later on. The estimate includes independent, or gig, workers who use Fiverr's job marketplace. "The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is incredibly important," said Brent Messenger, Fiverr's global head of community. A wholesale repeal of the ACA, or Obamacare, will not only "negatively impact our marketplace but the gig economy as a whole," he said. Republicans in Congress and President-elect Donald Trump are promising an Obamacare replacement, but so far they haven't delivered it. That is making people nervous, because some of the ACA's provisions — including coverage for pre-existing conditions — are very important, especially to older independent workers, Jane Langeman, an independent management consultant and president of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP), "Many of us are on our second-career as independent business owners and have a lot of life and pre-existing conditions under our belts," said Langeman. "The Affordable Care Act made it easier for business owners to even get health insurance, especially when faced with pre-existing health conditions," she said.

Submission + - EFF sets out privacy and security plans for the first 100 days under Trump (betanews.com) 1

Mark Wilson writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has set out its plans for the first 100 days under Trump, during which time it says it will continue to fight for the rights of internet and technology users.

The digital rights group has already drawn up a wishlist for covering its privacy and security dreams for 2017, but the 100-day plan sees the EFF setting out its agenda for the first few months under Trump. Having claimed that "our civil liberties need an independent defense force" and that "free speech and the rights to privacy, transparency, and innovation won’t survive on their own", EFF is prepared to go to court — again — to hold the new administration to account when necessary.

The group plans to continue its fight against "wrongful surveillance and censorship orders", and says that it will make full use of Freedom of Information Act requests to "force transparency on our secretive government". This is something that will be happening right from the get-go: "we intend to wield this tool from the earliest days of Trump's presidency".

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