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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 + - Panning for silver in laundry wastewater (acs.org)

DesertNomad writes: Silver nanoparticles are being used in clothing for their anti-odor abilities but some of this silver comes off when the clothes are laundered. The wastewater from this process could end up in the environment, possibly harming aquatic life, so researchers have attempted to recover the silver. Now, one group reports in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering that detergent chemistry plays a significant role in how much of this silver can be removed from laundry wastewater.

Submission + - In Support of Google's Culture (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: I’ve been getting a bunch of queries from folks asking if I could provide any insight into alt-right darling James Damore’s class action lawsuit against Google. I have no personal knowledge of the circumstances of that suit, and so I have nothing to say about its specific allegations.
I do however have considerable insight into Google’s culture — I spent enough time inside Google several years ago to have a pretty clear sense of that.

While like any other firm Google isn’t perfect, Google in particular has a culture to be roundly applauded, not condemned — I believe the finest I’ve seen in any corporate environment during my career.

Let’s start with an obvious truth ...

Submission + - ULA settles lawsuit that said it defrauded government of $90 million (denverpost.com)

schwit1 writes: ULA has settled a lawsuit with a whistleblower who claimed the company had defrauded the federal government of at least $90 million by overbilling employee work hours.

Unlike the commercial marketplace where prices of goods and services are determined by market forces including competition, sellers in the aerospace industry face little or no competition and contract pricing is based largely on a contractor’s estimated costs, the lawsuit says.

ULA charged the government tens of millions of dollars for work that was never performed and inflated the estimated labor hours including the time required to buy parts and materials from vendors, the lawsuit says.

ULA retaliated against Scott [the whistleblower] by forcing him out of the company after he revealed the alleged illegal activities. ULA officials placed a camera above his desk, monitored and questioned his cell phone and computer use, and suggested he violated the law or engaged in improper bidding practices himself, the lawsuit says.

ULA used a system called the Keith Crohn model that creates a grid using the cost of equipment to reach an employee cost. A labor value was placed on the grid for every item ordered through the company’s purchasing department. For example, any item that cost between $1 and $1,000 would be assigned a labor value of 8 hours. It didn’t matter what part it was, the lawsuit said. The U.S. bans arbitrary cost estimates when actual data is available that establishes the cost.

The first paragraph of the quote above actually describes the bad deal that the Air Force made with ULA back in the early 2000s, giving the company a monopoly on launches while subsidizing it to the tune of $1 billion per year. That deal is now dead, and ULA is instead forced to compete with SpaceX (and hopefully others) for launch contracts. Not surprisingly, their prices have dropped considerably.

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 + - Woman receives bionic hand with sense of touch (bbc.com)

schwit1 writes: Scientists in Rome have unveiled the first bionic hand with a sense of touch that can be worn outside a laboratory.

The prosthetic hand has sensors that detect information about whether an object is soft or hard. These messages are linked to a computer in a rucksack that converts these signals into a language the brain will understand. The information is relayed to Almerina's brain via tiny electrodes implanted in nerves in the upper arm.

In tests Almerina — who was blindfolded — was able to tell whether the object she was picking up was hard or soft.

Almerina was able to keep the bionic hand for six months, but it has now been removed, as it is still a prototype.

The scientific team say they hope to miniaturise the technology even further so that a sensory bionic hand can be commercialised.

Submission + - Beijing bets on facial recognition in a big drive for total surveillance (washingtonpost.com)

schwit1 writes: It will use facial recognition and artificial intelligence to analyze and understand the mountain of incoming video evidence; to track suspects, spot suspicious behaviors and even predict crime; to coordinate the work of emergency services; and to monitor the comings and goings of the country’s 1.4 billion people, official documents and security industry reports show.

A goal of all of these interlocking efforts: to track where people are, what they are up to, what they believe and who they associate with — and ultimately even to assign them a single “social credit” score based on whether the government and their fellow citizens consider them trustworthy.

Submission + - John Young, legendary moonwalker and shuttle commander, dead at 87 (cbsnews.com)

schwit1 writes: Legendary astronaut John Young — who twice ventured into space in pioneering two-man Gemini capsules, orbited the moon and then walked on its cratered surface before commanding two space shuttle missions, including the program's maiden flight — has died, ending one of the most storied careers in space history. NASA confirmed the death early Saturday on Twitter.

Submission + - Researchers create patterned stickers that can confuse AI image recognition (techcrunch.com)

amxcoder writes: Researchers at Google were able to create little stickers with 'psychedelic' looking patters on them that could trick computer AI image classifying algorithms into mis-classifying images of objects that it would normally be able to recognize. The images on the stickers were created by the researchers using knowledge of features and shapes, patterns, and colors that the image recognition algorithms look for and focus on. The patterned stickers work by tricking the image recognition algorithm into focusing on, and studying the little pattern on the small sticker and ignoring the rest of the image, including the actual object in the picture. Image recognition algorithms work by attempting to weigh importance to parts of an image as higher than other parts so it can determine the subject object in the image. These stickers were created so that the algorithm finds them 'more interesting' than the rest of the image and will focus most of it's attention on analyzing the pattern and giving the rest of the image content a lower importance, thus ignoring it or confusing it.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Best Streaming Device

Thelasko writes: The network card on my 2013 Samsung smart TV has died. It's $65 for a new one, but considering the poor support of this platform (YouTube and other apps no longer available), I'm considering getting a separate streaming box instead.

I primarily only watch Amazon Prime, Netflix, and YouTube for streaming, and am wondering what Slashdot users have found to be the best option. I'm considering Roku or Chromecast because they are well known and supported. However, I have heard a lot of news about Kodi devices being more hackable. I am running a Rygel server on my PC, but rarely use it.

I'm not the only one that will use the device, so it needs to be simple to use.

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 + - Microsoft issues an emergency fix for Windows 10 to address processor bug (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: News of an enormous security bug affecting millions of processors can't have escaped your attention over the last 24 hours or so. While Intel goes into a panicked meltdown, desperately pointing out that there's another bug affecting other processors too, software fixes are starting to emerge.

macOS has already been patched, and fixes have started to roll out to numerous Linux distros as well. Now Microsoft has pushed out a rare, off-schedule emergency fix for Windows 10 users which should be automatically installed. Users of Windows 7 and Windows 8 will have to wait until next week for a patch.

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