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Submission + - In Fourth Lagrangian Area Spacecraft Finds No Earth-Trojan Asteroids, NASA's OSI (insentonews.com)

Joliaanderson12 writes: The Osiris-Rex spacecraft, which was heading for the near-Earth asteroid Pino, has successfully cleared part of the area surrounding the Trojan asteroids, NASA said on Friday. Although no such asteroids were detected, the survey showed that the main instrument on board the spacecraft worked much better than expected.

Submission + - An Unexpected New Lung Function Has Been Found - They Make Blood (sciencealert.com) 1

schwit1 writes: Researchers have discovered that the lungs play a far more complex role in mammalian bodies than we thought, with new evidence revealing that they don't just facilitate respiration — they also play a key role in blood production.

In experiments involving mice, the team found that they produce more than 10 million platelets (tiny blood cells) per hour, equating to the majority of platelets in the animals' circulation. This goes against the decades-long assumption that bone marrow produces all of our blood components.

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco also discovered a previously unknown pool of blood stem cells that makes this happen inside the lung tissue — cells that were incorrectly assumed to mainly reside in bone marrow.

"This finding definitely suggests a more sophisticated view of the lungs — that they're not just for respiration, but also a key partner in formation of crucial aspects of the blood," says one of the researchers, Mark R. Looney.

Submission + - SpaceX disapointed in lack of NASA Mars funding & looks for own landing site

frank249 writes: Elon Musk says that NASA legislation 'changes almost nothing about what NASA is doing. Existing programs stay in place and there is no added funding for Mars,' Musk is absolutely correct on two counts. First, an "authorization" bill does not provide funding. That comes from appropriations committees. Secondly, while Congress has been interested in building rockets and spacecraft, it is far less interested in investing in the kinds of technology and research that would actually enable a full-fledged Mars exploration program.

In other news, Spacenews reports that SpaceX has been working with NASA to identify potential landing sites on Mars for both its Red Dragon spacecraft starting in 2020 and future human missions. SpaceX, working with scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and elsewhere, had identified several potential landing sites, including one that looks particularly promising — Arcadia Planitia. Those landing sites are of particular interest, he said, for SpaceX’s long-term vision of establishing a human settlement on Mars, but he said the company wouldn’t rule our sending Red Dragon spacecraft elsewhere on the planet to serve other customers. “We’re quite open to making use of this platform to take various payloads to other locations as well,” he said. “We’re really looking to turn this into a steady cadence, where we’re sending Dragons to Mars on basically every opportunity.” The Red Dragon spacecraft, he said, could carry about one ton of useful payload to Mars, with options for those payloads to remain in the capsule after landing or be deployed on the surface. “SpaceX is a transportation company,” he said. “We transport cargo to the space station, we deliver payloads to orbit, so we’re very happy to deliver payloads to Mars.” Fans of the book/movie "The Martian" would be happy if SpaceX does select Arcadia Planitia for their first landing site as that was the landing site of the Ares 3.

Submission + - John Goodenough responds to skeptics of his new lithium-on battery (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: John Goodenough, the University of Texas researcher who this week demonstrated new battery cells that are safer and have at least three times as much energy density as today's standard Li-on batteries, responded to skeptics who said the technology described in research published in a peer-reviewed journal, appear to defy the laws of thermodynamics. In an article published Monday by Quartz , various energy experts took exception to Goodenough's claims, even calling them "unbelievable." Goodenough is also co-inventor of the original lithium-ion battery. In an email to Computerworld, Goodenough said "any new discovery invites strong skepticism." In this case, the skeptical scientists wondered how it is possible to strip lithium from the anode and plate it on a cathode current collector to obtain a battery voltage since the voltage is the difference in the chemical potentials (Fermi energies) between the two metallic electrodes,. "The answer is that if the lithium plated on the cathode current collector is thin enough for its reaction with the current collector to have its Fermi energy lowered to that of the current collector, the Fermi energy of the lithium anode is higher than that of the thin lithium plated on the cathode current collector," Goodenough said.

Submission + - Hadoop has failed us, tech expert say (datanami.com)

atcclears writes: Hadoop is great if you’re a data scientist who knows how to code in MapReduce or Pig, Johnson says, but as you go higher up the stack, the abstraction layers have mostly failed to deliver on the promise of enabling business analysts to get at the data.

Submission + - FBI arrests alleged attacker who tweeted seizure-inducing strobe at Kurt Eichenw

randomErr writes: Three months after someone tweeted a seizure-inducing strobe to Vanity Fair contributing editor Kurt Eichenwald an arrest has been made. The Dallas FBI confirmed the arrest and noted that a press release with more details is coming. Eichenwald, who has epilepsy, tweeted details of the arrest and said that more than 40 other people also sent him strobes after he publicized the first attack This wasn’t the first time Eichenwald was targeted with a strobe. He claims to have been attacked two other times last year.

Submission + - US-CERT: HTTPS Interception Weakens TLS (threatpost.com)

msm1267 writes: Recent academic work looking at the degradation of security occurring when HTTPS inspection tools are sitting in TLS traffic streams has been escalated by an alert published Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security.

DHS’ US-CERT warned enterprises that running standalone inspection appliances or other security products with this capability often has a negative effect on secure communication between clients and servers.

“All systems behind a hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS) interception product are potentially affected,” US-CERT said in its alert.

HTTPS inspection boxes sit between clients and servers, decrypting and inspecting encrypted traffic before re-encrypting it and forwarding it to the destination server. A network administrator can only verify the security between the client and the HTTP inspection tool, which essentially acts as a man-in-the-middle proxy. The client cannot verify how the inspection tool is validating certificates, or whether there is an attacker positioned between the proxy and the target server.

Submission + - Physicist declassifies rescued nuclear test films (llnl.gov)

Eloking writes: The U.S. conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, with multiple cameras capturing each event at around 2,400 frames per second. But in the decades since, around 10,000 of these films sat idle, scattered across the country in high-security vaults. Not only were they gathering dust, the film material itself was slowly decomposing, bringing the data they contained to the brink of being lost forever.

For the past five years, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) weapon physicist Greg Spriggs and a crack team of film experts, archivists and software developers have been on a mission to hunt down, scan, reanalyze and declassify these decomposing films. The goals are to preserve the films' content before it's lost forever, and provide better data to the post-testing-era scientists who use computer codes to help certify that the aging U.S. nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective. To date, the team has located around 6,500 of the estimated 10,000 films created during atmospheric testing. Around 4,200 films have been scanned, 400 to 500 have been reanalyzed and around 750 have been declassified. An initial set of these declassified films — tests conducted by LLNL — were published today in an LLNL YouTube playlist (link is external).

Submission + - Biological version of malware reverses antibiotic resistance in TB (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: As the mycobacterium that causes tuberculosis has frighteningly become resistant to one drug after another, scientists for years have searched for new compounds that will stop the pathogen before it kills. Now, in a novel twist, researchers have found a way to recruit help from none other than Mycobacterium tuberculosis itself to make the deadly pathogen susceptible to an existing tuberculosis (TB) drug that it has learned to dodge. It's like a biological version of “malware,” says co–senior author Benoit Déprez of the University of Lille in France. In effect, he says, the approach activates a previously silent system that, when coupled with a TB drug, instructs the bacteria to self-destruct.

Submission + - Proposed US Law Would Allow Employers to Demand Genetic Testing (businessinsider.com)

capedgirardeau writes: A little-noticed bill moving through the US Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information. Giving employers such power is now prohibited by US law, including the 2008 genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law known as GINA. The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a 'workplace wellness' program.

Submission + - The Promise Of Blockchain Is A World Without Middlemen (hbr.org)

dryriver writes: The Harvard Business Review has an interesting article about how Blockchain technology may bring down the cost of business transactions and enable new ways of doing things: "Consider the problem that small manufacturers have dealing with giants like Wal-Mart. To keep transaction costs and the costs of carrying each product line down, large companies generally only buy from companies that can service a substantial percentage of their customers. But if the cost of carrying a new product was tiny, a much larger number of small manufacturers might be included in the value network. Amazon carries this approach a long way, with enormous numbers of small vendors selling through the same platform, but the idea carried to its limit is eBay and Craigslist, which bring business right down to the individual level. While it’s hard to imagine a Wal-Mart with the diversity of products offered by Amazon or even eBay, that is the kind of future we are moving into."

Submission + - Stunning close-up of Saturn's moon, Pan, reveals a space empanada (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Astronomers have long known that Pan, one of Saturn’s innermost moons, has an odd look. Based on images taken from a distance, researchers have said it looks like a walnut or a flying saucer. But now, NASA’s Cassini probe has delivered stunning close-ups of the 35-kilometer-wide icy moon, and it might be better called a pan-fried dumpling or an empanada.

Submission + - Living in Space Has Unexpected Effects on Twins 1

slavdude writes: Identical astronaut twins Mark and Scott Kelly participated in a study to compare the effects of living in space for a year (Scott) with those of remaining on Earth (Mark). The preliminary results of the study are quite surprising.

nstead of shrinking, Scott’s telomeres grew longer in-flight. “It was exactly the opposite of what we thought, but that’s what science is all about, right?” said Bailey, with the rueful smile of a seasoned scientist. “We were wrong, that was the first reaction. We now need to correlate our findings with some of the results from other investigations to give us confidence that what we are seeing is real,” she said. Even at this early stage, a whole new set of questions is emerging.

It's not clear yet what caused the lengthening of Scott Kelly's telomeres, though

“Radiation would have to be at the top of my list,” Bailey said. “You might say, ‘Oh this is a great thing, his telomeres are longer, maybe he’ll live longer.’ And yet, like most things, there’s an opposite side of that coin. The opposite side is that’s exactly what cancers do. They turn on telomerase and they maintain their telomere length.” Other possibilities include changes in metabolic rate due to the regimented space diet and intense exercise on-station. Scott Kelly lost 15 pounds in his year on the station. “One big aspect is that nutrition and exercise can positively affect your telomere length, which can be a great predictor of aging,” McKenna said. There is also support for the view that positive attitudes and mindfulness – perhaps as in living out a lifetime dream or goal – can influence telomeres for the better.

Submission + - Your Digital Life Can Be Legally Seized at the Border 3

Toe, The writes: Quincy Larson from freeCodeCamp relates some frightening stories from U.S. citizens entering their own country, and notes that you don't have fourth and fifth amendment rights at the border. People can and have been compelled to give their phone password (or be detained indefinitely) before entering the U.S and other countries. Given what we keep on our phones, he concludes that it is now both easy and legal for customs and border control to access your whole digital life. And he provides some nice insights on how easy it is to access and store the whole thing, how widespread access would be to that data, and how easy it would be for the wrong hands to get on it. His advice: before you travel internationally, wipe your phone or bring/rent/buy a clean one.

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