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Submission + - Physicists Discover Geometry Underlying Particle Physics (simonsfoundation.org)

Lee_Dailey writes: Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.

“This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University who has been following the work.

Submission + - New IE Zero Day Found, Exploit Being Used in Targeted Attacks

Trailrunner7 writes: Microsoft is looking into reports of targeted attacks against a new vulnerability that exists in all supported versions of Internet Explorer. The attacks are targeting IE 8 and 9 and there’s no patch for the vulnerability right now, though Microsoft has developed a FixIt tool for it. The bug is a use-after-free in the Microsoft HTML rendering engine and there is a fully working exploit being used in attacks right now.

“The exploit we analyzed worked only on Windows XP or Windows 7 running Internet Explorer 8 or 9,” Neil Sikka of Microsoft Engineering said. “The exploit was attacking a Use After Free vulnerability in IE’s HTML rendering engine (mshtml.dll) and was implemented entirely in Javascript (no dependencies on Java, Flash etc), but did depend on a Microsoft Office DLL which was not compiled with ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) enabled.

Attacks on the vulnerability are ongoing in Japan right now, but may spread quickly now that details of the problem are public.

Submission + - World first digital laser invented in South Africa by CSIR (greenitweb.co.za)

khabza writes: Researchers at South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have developed a world-first digital laser that could be a game-changer in the field, paving the way for new laser applications in areas ranging from medicine to communications.

Submission + - Dell's Project Sputnik: Linux Hardware for Human Beings? (shoby.com)

jimjimovich writes: Dell has announced a new project to create an Ultrabook aimed specifically at developers. While that may get some of us excited, is focusing on developers really a good idea or should Dell be focused on the consumer market with their Ubuntu Ultrabook? Will Dell or some other manufacturer finally release some Linux Hardware for Human Beings and help push Ubuntu to the masses?

Submission + - Engineered bacterium can produce ethanol from seaw (nature.com)

ananyo writes: Bioengineers have devised a way to produce ethanol from seaweed, laying the groundwork for a biofuel that doesn't sacrifice food crops.

Yasuo Yoshikuni and his colleagues at the Bio Architecture Lab in Berkeley, California, engineered the bacterium Escherichia coli so that it could digest brown seaweed and produce ethanol. Their work is published in Science (abstract http://www.sciencemag.org/content/335/6066/308.abstract ).

Many researchers are exploring ways to produce ethanol without using food crops such as sugar cane or maize (corn), and have turned to different feedstocks including switchgrass, the succulent plant jatropha, cyanobacteria and green algae. However, producing biofuels from sugar cane or maize not only detracts from food supplies, but also takes up huge areas of arable land.

But producing biofuels from seaweed has so far proved difficult for bioengineers. Seaweed produces four kinds of sugars — laminarin, mannitol, alginate and cellulose. The biggest fraction in brown seaweed is alginate, which is a complex polysaccharide and tricky for microbes to digest.

So using Vibrio splendidus, a marine microbe that can digest brown seaweed, Yoshikuni and his team isolated a biochemical pathway that breaks down alginate. They inserted the genes responsible into a strain of E. coli, which could then digest the alginate into simple sugars. The team also engineered the strain so that it could convert those sugars into ethanol, enabling the direct production of ethanol from brown seaweed. This strain of E. coli could, in theory, be engineered to produce a variety of other useful chemicals and fuels.


Submission + - DoT Grants $15M to Test Car-to-Car Communication (itworld.com)

itwbennett writes: "Car-to-car communications is about to get its first large-scale, real-world test in Ann Arbor, Mich., where the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute will be putting as many as 3,000 cars equipped with short-range radio on the roads, thanks to a $14.9 million grant it just got from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation. DoT reports predict that up to 82 percent of serious accidents among unimpaired drivers can be eliminated or reduced by a little car-to-car negotiation, or early warning that a sedan three cars ahead just hit the brakes even though you can't see it through the giant SUV directly in front of you."

Submission + - After Certificate Hack, Mozilla Seeks Reassurances (computerworld.com)

JohnBert writes: "Following the high-profile hack of DigiNotar, the makers of the Firefox browser are asking issuers of digital certificates to take a hard look at their internal security and to report back in a week.

In emails sent out to digital certificate authorities Thursday, Mozilla Certificate Authority (CA) Certificates Module owner Kathleen Wilson asked CAs such as Symantec and Go Daddy to audit their systems for any possible compromise, confirm that nobody can issue a digital certificate without two-factor authentication, and shore up practices with any third parties that might be able to issue digital certificates using the CA's root key.

Mozilla is giving CAs until Sept. 16 to respond to the email, but the browser maker is not saying what will happen if any of its 54 CAs ignore the request."


Submission + - Skype is blockig access from hardware devices? (skype.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Today my Philips VOIP 841 (a Skype certified phone), has suddenly logged out from Skype network and won't login anymore. Seems that thousands of people are in the same situation. Philips customer care says that it is a Skype bug, Skype says that is a Philips problem! Looking at the Skype answers reported on the forum thread http://community.skype.com/t5/Other-devices/Phillips-VOIP-841-Will-not-sign-in/td-p/70248 seems that Skype will not support this device (and probably others) anymore. Is this the new Microsoft strategy to maximize profits from Skype platform?

Submission + - Homemade 'Mars in a Bottle' Tortures Bacteria (discovery.com)

astroengine writes: "The only time we've ever directly looked for life on Mars was during the 1970's when NASA's Viking landers attempted to make direct measurements of Martian microbes metabolizing. Even today, the results of these groundbreaking experiments are hotly debated. Although the Viking experiments were often considered premature, a team of scientists hope to refine the next life-searching experiment to be sent to the Red Planet by building a Mars habitat on Earth. Imagine a Mars environment "goldfish bowl" complete with UV radiation, dust, chilly temperatures, and an extremely low atmospheric pressure. So what have they done with this micro-Mars environment? They've been torturing various terrestrial microbes to see how they enjoy stints on the Martian surface. Their results have shown that even Earth microorganisms have a trick or two up their sleeves to survive in this alien environment."

Submission + - LHC reaches its aim for 2011, goes for even more (web.cern.ch)

An anonymous reader writes: Both ATLAS and CMS at CERN announced the fulfilling of a goal for the 2011 year: obtaining 1 inverse femtobarn integrated luminosity (to simply put: the data). "With the LHC running at much higher intensity than initially foreseen, signals of new physics might appear any moment in our data," said CMS spokesperson Guido Tonelli. A third LHC experiment, LHCb, requires less data than ATLAS and CMS, but has also exceeded its expectations for the year. Sources close to the LHC operation team say that even 3 inverse femtobarns are possible this year.

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We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"