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Submission + - Novel approach detects unknown food pathogens

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and the Bindley Bioscience Center at Purdue University have developed a novel approach to automated detection and classification of harmful bacteria in food. The investigators have designed and implemented a sophisticated statistical approach that allows computers to improve their ability to detect the presence of bacterial contamination in tested samples. These formulas propel machine-learning, enabling the identification of known and unknown classes of food pathogens.

Submission + - University of North Florida DB Hacked (

wiredmikey writes: A foreign hacker managed to break into a database containing the personal information of high school and college students at the University of North Florida. A total of 106,884 people could have been impacted by this breach and it was disclosed that 52,853 had their names and social security numbers compromised. The University notified thousands of students that may have had their names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth compromised due to a data breach on a university computer server.

Submission + - Chinese anti-satellite space junk count hits 3,000 (

coondoggie writes: Three years after the Chinese government blew one of its satellites in space with a missile the debris from that explosion continues to grow. NASA' s Orbital Debris Program Office this week said the number of debris officially cataloged from the 2007 Chinese the Fengyun-1C spacecraft anti-satellite test has now surpassed 3000. By mid-September 2010, the tally had reached 3037, of which 97% remained in Earth orbit

Submission + - Meta-research debunks medical study findings (

jenningsthecat writes: From 'the Atlantic' comes the story of John Ioannidis and his team of meta-researchers, who have studied the overall state of medical research and found it dangerously and widely lacking in trustworthiness.. Even after filtering out the journalistic frippery and hyperbole, the story is pretty disturbing. Some points made in the article:

- Even the most respected, widely accepted, peer-reviewed medical studies are all-too-often deeply flawed or outright wrong
- When an error IS brought to light and the conclusions publicly refuted, the erroneous conclusions often persist and are cited as valid for years, or even decades
- Your doctor is probably prescribing drugs, treatment, and lifestyle changes that may range from ineffectual to outright harmful
- Scientists and researchers themselves regard peer review as providing "only a minimal assurance of quality"
- These shortcomings apply to medical research across the board, not just to blatantly self-serving pharmaceutical industry studies

The article concludes by saying "Science is a noble endeavor, but it's also a low-yield endeavor...I'm not sure that more than a very small percentage of medical research is ever likely to lead to major improvements in clinical outcomes and quality of life."

I've always been somewhat suspicious of research findings, but before this article I had no idea just how prevalent untrustworthy results were. From now on I'll take my doctor's advice with a grain of salt — or is that a questionable prescription too?


Submission + - Data breach at University of North Florida

the_macman writes: I received this email today from my University.Personal data (SSN, DOB, Name) data breach affects 106,884 people. "Between September 24, 2010 and September 29, 2010, a University of North Florida file containing the personal information of high school and college students (and others interested in UNF) may have been accessed by unauthorized persons outside the United States. While immediate steps were taken to contain this breach and to prevent further unauthorized access, UNF is notifying the 106,884 people impacted by this breach. A total of 106,884 people could have been impacted by this breach. Of those:52,853 had their names and social security numbers compromised. UNF is sending these individuals letters and e-mails to inform them of what happened and protective steps they may take. 54,031 had their names and dates of birth compromised. While we have no proof that information was actually stolen, because your personal information was involved we are notifying you about this event so that you may take steps to protect your financial information. We suggest that you follow the advice of the Federal Trade Commission located on their website: We also recommend that you place a fraud alert on your credit file."

Submission + - ZeuS Talks To Chuck, Targets Schwab Customers (

wiredmikey writes: Threat researchers have decrypted a yet another variant of the Zeus botnet, one that specifically targets Charles Schwab customers. Built using the newer Zeus 2.0 toolkit, this variant contains updated encryption, and a slightly modified configuration file to evade detection from existing tools that decrypt Zeus v2.0 config files. A researcher was able to decrypt the latest configuration file and was able to disover the intentions and targets for this ZBot attack: banks and investment accounts. With this attack, cybercriminals have expanded their scope, using heavy browser injection to conduct a targeted attack against presumed Charles Schwab clients.

Submission + - Alternatives to China's Rare Earth Monopoly (

KantIsDead writes: MIT's Technology Review adds to the ongoing discussion of China's monopoly on rare earth metals, an issue that was temporarily catapulted to national attention during China's rare earth embargo of Japan. The current article focuses on the search for alternatives to rare earth metals that would undercut China's monopoly and allow nations to develop their industry without fearing the hand of a Chinese embargo.

From the article:

"In the U.S., the Chinese dominance of rare-earth mineral production has prompted a surge of funding focused on developing permanent magnets that use less, if any, rare-earth materials, such as nearly $7 million from the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E). In one of these projects, University of Nebraska researchers are working to enhance permanent magnets made with an alloy iron and cobalt, or FeCo. This class of materials is sold today, but delivers half or less of the power of the best rare-earth-based magnets. The Nebraska researchers will focus on ways to dope the structural matrix of these alloys with traces of other elements, thereby rearranging their molecular geometry to create stronger, more durable permanent magnetic materials."

Submission + - Can apps really damage a cellular network?

schnell writes: "In recent FCC filings, T-Mobile described how the behavior of one Android IM app nearly brought their cellular data network to a breakdown in one city. Even more interesting, the US carrier describes how just the 300,000 unlocked iPhones on their network caused massive spikes in data usage. T-Mobile is using these anecdotes as evidence that mobile carriers shuold be able to retain control over the applications and devices on their network to ensure quality of service for all users. Do they have a point?"

Submission + - London Stock Exchange completes live Linux test

alexmin writes: The London Stock Exchange has completed the first dress rehearsal, a test with its customers online, of a new Linux-based system due to replace Microsoft-centric architecture.

The Millennium Exchange system, based around Linux and Sun Solaris Unix, and using Oracle databases, will replace the Microsoft.Net-basedTradElect platform on the main stock exchange on 1 November, and is intended to be one of the fastest exchange systems in the world with trading times of 0.125 milliseconds.

TradElect, the subject of much controversy in recent years, had suffered a series of high-profile outages, the worst being an eight hour downtime in 2008.

Submission + - Scary USB marketing device 8

snookerhog writes: My boss just came back from a trade show and passed me one of these USB marketing devices. I assumed that it was just a micro flash drive that had some web links or PDFs on it so I stuck it in my computer. After a brief delay and quick driver install, my Run window (Windows 7) opened on its own and typed in a URL to the advertising company's website. This little device is not a storage media, but a crafty little keyboard emulator.

this tech is new to me and it seems pretty scary, especially since I am logged in to my computer with admin rights. Anyone else played with one of these?

Submission + - Windstalks Sway in the Wind, Generate Power (

disco_tracy writes: Noise from wind turbine blades, inadvertent bat and bird kills and even the way wind turbines look have made installing them anything but a breeze. New York design firm Atelier DNA has an alternative concept that ditches blades in favor of stalks. Resembling thin cattails, the 180-foot-tall Windstalks generate electricity when the wind sets them waving.

Submission + - World’s First Flywheel Energy Plant Set to O (

Elliot Chang writes: While it doesn’t get nearly as much attention as alternative energy sources like solar or wind power, flywheel storage technology is definitely worth looking into. A kinetic energy-based technology that stems from the same elementary movement that potters and spinners have been using for centuries, the power storage tech will soon be harnessed at the world’s first grid-scale flywheel-based energy storage plant in New York. The flywheel system will use fast-rotating rims to store excess energy from the grid as kinetic energy that can be tapped into when demand rises or power from other sources is unavailable. Composed of a carbon-fiber composite material, the rims spin on magnetic bearings in a vacuum in order to minimize energy loss due to friction. Flywheel-based energy regulation is both cleaner and faster than traditional methods – it can fluctuate 10 times more quickly to match increasing or decreasing energy demands.

Comment Not visible to the eye. (Score 1) 323

From the Wikipedia article: "The patch is not a visibly dense field of floating debris". Since it is not visible it will likely be very difficult to collect or concentrate. I think there will be many technological challenges which may make the bean counters correct on this. It is a shame nonetheless. Julian

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