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Submission + - New Antifungal Provides Hope In Fight Against "Superyeast" Plagueing Hospitals (sciencedaily.com)

dryriver writes: Candida auris is a type of yeast that has turned up in hospitals around the world and lead to the death of some patients. Microscopic yeast are a menace in hospitals. The fungi can grow in the nooks and crannies of medical equipment and hospital surfaces and can cause infections in patients with weakened immune systems. Microscopic yeast have been wreaking havoc in hospitals around the world — creeping into catheters, ventilator tubes, and IV lines — and causing deadly invasive infection. C. auris is particularly problematic because it loves hospitals, has developed resistance to a wide range of antifungals, and once it infects a patient doctors have limited treatment options. But in a recent Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy study, researchers confirmed a new drug compound kills drug-resistant C. auris, both in the laboratory and in a mouse model that mimics human infection.

The drug works through a novel mechanism. Unlike other antifungals that poke holes in yeast cell membranes or inhibit sterol synthesis, the new drug blocks how necessary proteins attach to the yeast cell wall. This means C. auris yeast can't grow properly and have a harder time forming drug-resistant communities that are a stubborn source of hospital outbreaks. The drug's target — a yeast enzyme called Gwt1 — is also highly conserved across fungal species, suggesting the new drug could treat a range of infections.

The drug is first in a new class of antifungals, which could help stave off drug resistance. Even the most troublesome strains are unlikely to have developed workarounds for its mechanism of action, says study lead Mahmoud A. Ghannoum, PhD, professor of dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and director of the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: suggest technology for elderly with Parkinson's disease? (dailycaring.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: My elderly monther-in-law misses her computer. Her mind is okay, but she cannot use a computer because of her Parkinson's disease. I am not all that impressed with Amazon Echo. Seems you can ask the Echo for the time of day, or the weather outside, but it will not do anything useful — like send an email. A voice controlled PC would be great, even if it only did a few simple tasks. Is there such a thing?

Submission + - Bitcoin Could End Up Using More Power Than Electric Cars (bloomberg.com) 1

LynnwoodRooster writes: Bitcoin mining is a highly power intensive activity, and the computational (and thus power) requirements are exponential over time. According to Morgan Stanley analysts, "Miners of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could require up to 140 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2018, about 0.6 percent of the global total... That’s more than expected power demand from electric vehicles in 2025."

Submission + - Twitter really does suppress accounts of Republicans (projectveritas.com)

mi writes: Mr. O'Keefe of Project Veritas has talked to former Twitter employees and posted a new video. Some of the bits are:
  • shadow banning: “they just think that no one is engaging with their content, when in reality, no one is seeing it”
  • "if it was a pro-Trump thing and I’m anti-Trump I banned his whole account it’s at your discretion"
  • "A lot of unwritten rules It was never written it was more said"
  • "you have like five thousand keywords to describe a redneck the majority of it are for Republicans"

We usually think, Twitter has a right to do this. But, if the practice negatively affects its investors, then maybe not — and the accusations should make the company a target of a criminal investigation.

Submission + - How Millions of Iranians Are Evading the Internet Censors (wsj.com)

schwit1 writes:

Authorities in Tehran have ratcheted up their policing of the internet in the past week and a half, part of an attempt to stamp out the most far-reaching protests in Iran since 2009.

But the crackdown is driving millions of Iranians to tech tools that can help them evade censors, according to activists and developers of the tools. Some of the tools were attracting three or four times more unique users a day than they were before the internet crackdown, potentially weakening government efforts to control access to information online.

“By the time they wake up, the government will have lost control of the internet,” said Mehdi Yahyanejad, executive director of NetFreedom Pioneers, a California-based technology nonprofit that largely focuses on Iran and develops educational and freedom of information tools.

Meanwhile, President Trump's handpicked FBI director insisted recently that strong encryption is a "major public safety issue" requiring some kind of government backdoor.

Whatever keys we hand to Washington will be in the Tehran's hands (or the Kremlin's, Beijing's, etc.) in less time than it takes to download a bootleg copy of The Last Jedi.

Submission + - Intel Unveils 'Breakthrough' 49 Qubit Quantum Computer (extremetech.com) 1

cold fjord writes: Extremetech reports, "At CES 2018 this week, Intel’s CEO . . .declared the company’s new 49-qubit quantum computer represented a step towards “quantum supremacy.” A 49 qubit system is a major advance for Intel, which just demonstrated a 17-qubit system two months ago. Intel’s working with the Netherlands-based Qutech on this project, and expanding the number of qubits is key to creating quantum computers that can deliver real-world results. . . . “Qubits are tremendously fragile: Any noise or unintended observation of them can cause data loss. This fragility requires them to operate at about 20 millikelvin – 250 times colder than deep space.” This is also why we won’t be seeing quantum computers in anyone’s house at any point."

Submission + - SpaceX Zuma Launch a Failure (qz.com)

Al Katawazi writes: Unnamed sources have reported the total loss of the Zuma payload lofted upon a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday night. Reports indicate that the satellite failed separate from the second stage of the rocket. SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell has denied any problems with the SpaceX systems resulting in the loss. Northrop Grumman, the contractor who had constructed the multi billion dollar satellite had opted to mate it to the Falcon 9 using their own custom adapter rather than using the standard SpaceX interface.

Submission + - Microsoft's Meltdown and Spectre patch is bricking some AMD PCs (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: As if the Meltdown and Spectre bug affecting millions of processors was not bad enough, the patches designed to mitigate the problems are introducing issues of their own. Perhaps the most well-known effect is a much-publicized performance hit, but some users are reporting that Microsoft's emergency patch is bricking their computers.

We've already seen compatibility issues with some antivirus tools, and now some AMD users are reporting that the KB4056892 patch is rendering their computer unusable. A further issue — error 0x800f0845 — means that it is not possible to perform a rollback.

Submission + - Intel Launches 8Th Gen Core Series CPUs With Integrated AMD Radeon Graphics (hothardware.com) 1

MojoKid writes: At CES 2018, and Intel unveiled more details on its 8th generation Intel Core processors with integrated AMD Radeon RX Vega M graphics. Like cats and dogs living together, the mashup of an Intel processor with an AMD GPU is made possible by an Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB), which provides a high-speed data interconnect between the processor, GPU and 4GB of second-generation High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM2). Intel is delivering 8th generation H-Series Core processors in 65W TDP (laptops) and 100W TDP (desktops) SKUs that will take up 50 percent less PCB real estate, versus traditional discrete configs. Both the mobile and desktop variants of the processors will be available in Core i5 or Core i7 configurations, with 4 cores and 8 threads, up to 8MB of cache and 4GB of HBM2. The 65W mobile processors can boost up to 4.1GHz, while the Radeon RX Vega M GL GPU has base/boost clocks of 931MHz and 1011MHz, respectively. The AMD GPU has 20 compute units and memory bandwidth checks in at 179GB/s. Desktop processors ratchet the maximum boost slightly to 4.2GHz, while the base/boost clocks of the Radeon RX Vega M GH GPU jump to 1063MHz and 1190MHz, respectively. Desktop GPUs are also upgraded with 24 CUs and 204GB/s of memory bandwidth. Intel says that its 8th generation Core i7 with Radeon RX Vega M GL graphics is up to 1.4x faster than a Core i7-8550U with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 GPU in a notebook system. System annoucements from Dell and HP are forthcoming, with availability in the first half of this year. Intel has also launched a new NUC small form factor gaming mini PC based on the technology as well.

Submission + - Outsourcing Censorship: Ve have vays of making you not talk! (desertsun.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes:

So not only is the German government forcing social media companies to block their political opponents under the guise of counteracting online “hate speech”, the people doing the blocking are too dim to spot a parody account. How the Germans can’t see that such a law, in the hands of the wrong party, could be devastating is a mystery. I can only conclude such occurrences have no precedent in their country from which they could draw obvious lessons.

Titanic said on Wednesday its Twitter account had been blocked over the message, which it assumed was a result of a law that came into full force on Jan. 1 that can impose fines of up to 50 million euros ($60 million) on social media sites that fail to remove hate speech promptly.

A lot of people will rightly ask who defines hate speech. What they should be asking is how easy is it to change that definition.

Elasticity in the law, the ability to shut down anybody at will, is the whole point.

Submission + - Dell releases Ubuntu Linux-based XPS 13 Developer Edition (9370) laptop l (betanews.com) 1

BrianFagioli writes: Despite being a major Microsoft partner with Windows, Dell also sells desktops and laptops pre-loaded with Ubuntu. One of the company's most impressive computers is the svelte XPS 13 laptop. Dell sells a version with Ubuntu that it dubs "Developer Edition," but non-developers can, of course, use it too. Today, the company announces the the 7th-generation version of this notebook. The 9370, as it is called, can be purchased immediately.

Barton George, Dell shares, "The new XPS 13 developer edition (9370) features the 8th Generation Intel Quad Core, a brand new chassis, an improved display and smaller borders. The 9370 is even thinner, lighter and smaller than its already svelte predecessor, the 9360. Note, the 9370 does not replace the 9360, as the two will coexist."

Submission + - ARM Confirms Processor Flaw Impacts Some Android, iOS, Nvidia, And Sony Devices

An anonymous reader writes: Following yesterday’s confirmation that exploits of insecure memory can impact millions of Intel processors, ARM today confirmed that numerous Cortex series processors are exploitable, as well. ARM Cortex technology has notably been used in a wide variety of Android and iOS devices, as well as in select Nvidia Tegra products, Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, and Sony’s PlayStation Vita. After describing four different exploits that could be used against its processors, ARM posted a chart acknowledging that its Cortex-A8, -A9, -A15, -A17, -A57, -A72, -A73, and -A75 chips are all susceptible to two or more exploits. The first three Cortex processors were used in older Apple iOS, Nvidia Tegra, and Samsung Exynos devices, as well as Sony’s PlayStation Vita, while the last five are found in some Google-branded phones, and other phones built with certain Qualcomm Snapdragon chips.

Submission + - 50th Known Mersenne Prime Found!!! (mersenne.org)

chalsall writes: Persistence pays off. Jonathan Pace, a GIMPS volunteer for over 14 years, discovered the 50th known Mersenne prime, 2^77,232,917 — 1 on December 26, 2017. The prime number is calculated by multiplying together 77,232,917 twos, and then subtracting one. It weighs in at 23,249,425 digits, becoming the largest prime number known to mankind. It bests the previous record prime, also discovered by GIMPS, by 910,807 digits. You can read a little more in the press release.

Submission + - Secret Doc Shows China Promising to Give Nukes to North Korea (lifezette.com) 1

schwit1 writes: Chinese officials continue to supply North Korea with needed supplies such as oil and promise to give the dictatorial regime on its northeast border more nuclear missiles, according to a secret government document.

“The document, labeled ‘top secret’ and dated September 15 — 12 days after North Korea’s latest underground nuclear blast — outlines China’s plan for dealing with the North Korean nuclear issue,”

“It states China will allow North Korea to keep its current arsenal of nuclear weapons, contrary to Beijing’s public stance that it seeks a denuclearized Korean peninsula. Chinese leaders also agreed to offer new assurances that the North Korean government will not be allowed to collapse, and that Beijing plans to apply sanctions ‘symbolically’ to avoid punishing the regime of leader Kim Jong-un under a recent U.N. resolution requiring a halt to oil and gas shipments into North Korea.”

In return, China only asked North Korea to halt its current nuclear testing program.

Submission + - NASA Readies Clipper Mission To Europa (msn.com)

schwit1 writes: NASA is still on track to use its new Space Launch System (SLS) to launch its $2 billion-plus ‘Clipper’ mission to Jupiter’s moon of Europa. That might even happen as early as Spring of 2022 and would involve a direct two and a half year transfer to Jupiter. Over a three and a half year period, the spacecraft would use a long orbit around Jupiter to do 46 reconnaissance flybys of Europa at altitudes varying from 2700 to 25 kilometers above the moon’s frozen surface.

The aim is to use this three and a half year reconnaissance phase of the mission to search Europa for signs of a subsurface liquid ocean and for habitability. Many astrobiologists still think that this beguiling moon offers the best chance of finding life elsewhere in our solar system.

And if NASA launches a follow-on Europa lander mission, astrobiologists may find biological treasure in one of its Europa samples long before a Mars sample-return mission could be attempted.

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