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It's Surprisingly Hard To Notice When Moving Objects Change 140

An anonymous reader writes "Scientists at Harvard have found that people are remarkably bad at noticing when moving objects change in brightness, color, size, or shape. In a paper published yesterday (PDF) in Current Biology, the researchers present a new visual illusion that 'causes objects that had once been obviously dynamic to suddenly appear static.' The finding has implications for everything from video game design to the training of pilots."

1978 Cryptosystem Resists Quantum Attack 185

KentuckyFC writes "In 1978, the CalTech mathematician Robert McEliece developed a cryptosystem based on the (then) new idea of using asymmetric mathematical functions to create different keys for encrypting and decrypting information. The security of these systems relies on mathematical steps that are easy to make in one direction but hard to do in the other. Today, popular encryption systems such as the RSA algorithm use exactly this idea. But in 1994, the mathematician Peter Shor dreamt up a quantum algorithm that could factorise much faster than any classical counterpart and so can break these codes. As soon as the first decent-sized quantum computer is switched on, these codes will become breakable. Since then, cryptographers have been hunting for encryption systems that will be safe in the post quantum world. Now a group of mathematicians have shown that the McEliece encryption system is safe against attack by Shor's algorithm and all other known quantum algorithms. That's because it does not depend on factorisation but gets its security from another asymmetric conundrum known as the hidden subgroup problem which they show is immune to all known quantum attacks."
The Military

WikiLeaks Publishes Afghan War Secrets 966

A number of readers submitted word on the massive WikiLeaks release of Afghanistan war documents. "The data is provided in CSV and SQL formats, sorted by months, and also was rendered into KML mapping data." WikiLeaks provided the documents in advance to the New York Times, Der Spiegel, and the UK's Guardian — the latter also has up a video tutorial on how to read the logs. From the Times: "A six-year archive of classified military documents... offers an unvarnished, ground-level picture of the war in Afghanistan that is in many respects more grim than the official portrayal. The secret documents... are a daily diary of an American-led force often starved for resources and attention as it struggled against an insurgency that grew larger, better coordinated and more deadly each year. The New York Times, the British newspaper The Guardian, and the German magazine Der Spiegel were given access to the voluminous records several weeks ago on the condition that they not report on the material before Sunday. The documents — some 92,000 reports spanning parts of two administrations from January 2004 through December 2009 — illustrate in mosaic detail why, after the United States has spent almost $300 billion on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban are stronger than at any time since 2001."

Avoiding GM Foods? Monsanto Says You're Overly Fussy 835

blackbeak writes "The BBC today characterized those who avoid GM foods as overly fussy, the very same day that the Wall Street Journal announced that picky eating may be recognized in the 2013 DSM as a psychiatric disorder. The DSM item refers to something completely different, though I'm sure many will confuse the two. Of course, this was not done without subterfuge; the BBC's author, Professor Jonathan Jones, in no way indicates his close ties to Monsanto. Point by point Jones regurgitates the same pro-GM arguments debunked numerous times all over the net for years, while serving up some stale half facts too."

Alleged Russian Spy Ring Exposed In US 279

Several readers sent in the story of an alleged Russian spy ring busted yesterday by the FBI after a decade-long investigation. The FBI says that Moscow trained and planted long-term "moles" in the US in order to infiltrate the upper echelons of US government and business circles and pass back intelligence to the Russians. Twelve people have been charged; ten were arrested in the US (one is at large) and one in Cyprus. Wired and the New York Post have colorful coverage. Wired's leans on the tradecraft and discusses steganography, while the Post favors the femme fatale angle (alleged spy Anna Chapman). The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the US actions were unfounded and pursued "unseemly" goals. One of many choice quotes from copious coverage: "They couldn't have been spies. Look what she did with the hydrangeas." From the WSJ report: "Officials said no secrets were compromised or revealed in the alleged plot, and the spy operation seems to have yielded little of value given some of the elaborate methods deployed. None of the 11 charged by US prosecutors was accused of accessing any classified or sensitive US government information."

Doctors Reverse With Drugs Autism-Linked Fragile X Syndrome In Mice 63

An anonymous reader writes "New research by a team of Bangalore-based scientists has given hope to those with emotional problems caused by the inheritance of a fragile X chromosome. The researchers, for the first time in the world, mapped defective connections between nerve cells in the emotional hub of the brain of mice who had Fragile X Syndrome. The research has just been published in the online edition of the US-based Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." Besides the mapping of these nerves, though, "The NCBS team has shown that even the long-term ravages of the condition could be reversed with medication in mice." Fragile X syndrome is associated with autism, though the conditions do not map directly to each other.

HP Confirms Slate To Run WebOS 178

Kilrah_il writes "After HP bought Palm a few weeks ago, many rumors emerged regarding the new parent company's plans to further expand the scope of devices running WebOS. Now it appears that at least one of the rumors is true: The Slate will be running WebOS. 'Today an HP exec has confirmed that the company is developing a WebOS tablet which should be available by October.'"

The Short Arm of the Law 336

mindbrane writes "CNN takes a look at when companies are too big for the legal system to handle. Quoting: 'Prosecutors said that excluding Pfizer would most likely lead to Pfizer's collapse, with collateral consequences: disrupting the flow of Pfizer products to Medicare and Medicaid recipients, causing the loss of jobs including those of Pfizer employees who were not involved in the fraud, and causing significant losses for Pfizer shareholders. ... So Pfizer and the feds cut a deal. Instead of charging Pfizer with a crime, prosecutors would charge a Pfizer subsidiary, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc. ... As a result, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc., the subsidiary, was excluded from Medicare without ever having sold so much as a single pill. And Pfizer was free to sell its products to federally funded health programs.' IBM may have cast the mold for this sort of thing in its 1970s antitrust case, but the recurrence of similar cases speaks to ongoing concerns for legal systems."
The Military

India First To Build a Supersonic Cruise Missile 319

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt: "India successfully tested Sunday a 'maneuverable' version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile which it has jointly developed with Russia, news reports said. The vertical-launch version of the 290-kilometer range BrahMos was tested from a warship in the Bay of Bengal off India's eastern coast, the PTI news agency reported. 'The vertical-launch version of missile was launched at 11:30 (0600 GMT) hours today from Indian Navy ship INS Ranvir and it manoeuvred successfully hitting the target ship. It was a perfect hit and a perfect mission,' BrahMos aerospace chief A Sivathanu Pillai was quoted as saying. 'After today's test, India has become the first and only country in the world to have a manoeuvrable supersonic cruise missile in its inventory,' Pillai said."

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