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Submission + - SPAM: Trump GOP convention infringed copyright for at least seven songs

Paul Fernhout writes: According to Keith Girard, writing for The Improper Magazine, "Donald Trump, the self-pronounced "law and order" candidate, stole at least seven classic rock songs used by his campaign during the GOP convention, infuriating the artists who own the rights to them."

Obviously, "stole" is a loaded word when talking about copyright infringement... Might this indicate a Trump administration could by sympathetic to reducing the scope and duration of copyright?

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Can Iris-Scanning ID Systems Tell the Difference Between a Live and Dead Eye? (ieee.org)

the_newsbeagle writes: Iris scanning is increasingly being used for biometric identification because it’s fast, accurate, and relies on a body part that's protected and doesn’t change over time. You may have seen such systems at a border crossing recently or at a high-security facility, and the Indian government is currently collecting iris scans from all its 1.2 billion citizens to enroll them in a national ID system. But such scanners can sometimes be spoofed by a high-quality paper printout or an image stuck on a contact lens.

Now, new research has shown that post-mortem eyes can be used for biometric identification for hours or days after death, despite the decay that occurs. This means an eye could theoretically be plucked from someone's head and presented to an iris scanner.

The same researcher who conducted that post-mortem study is also looking for solutions, and is working on iris scanners that can detect the "liveness" of an eye. His best method so far relies on the unique way each person's pupil responds to a flash of light, although he notes some problems with this approach.

Submission + - Technology Is Making Doctors Feel Like Glorified Data Entry Clerks (fastcompany.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The average day for a doctor consists of hours of data entry. Since the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 took effect in January of 2011, which incentivizes providers to adopt electronic medical records, hospitals have spent millions, sometimes billions, of computer systems that weren't designed to help providers treat patients to begin with. The technology was supposed to reduce inefficiencies, make doctors' lives easier, and improve patient outcomes, but in fact it has done the opposite. "Frankly, the main incentive is to document exhaustively so you cover your ass and get paid," says Jay Parkinson, a New York-based pediatrician and the founder of health-tech startup Sherpa. The systems are flooding doctors with important and utterly meaningless alerts. One of the biggest problems is that the systems have made it very difficult for doctors to share information between one another, which is what the systems were intended to do all along. Why? "Because it doesn't help the bottom line of the biggest medical record vendors or the hospitals to make it easy for patents to change doctors," reports Fast Company. Since it often takes weeks, or months for data to be sent to and from facilities, that, according to Consumers Union staff attorney Dana Mendelsohn, increases the chances of doctors ordering duplicate tests. All of this reduced the time doctors have with their patients. A recent study shows that the average time doctors spend with their patients is about eight minutes and 12% of their time, down from 20% of their time in the late 1980s. "This group is 15 times more likely to burn out than professionals in any other line of work," reports Fast Company. "And much of the research on the topic concludes that 'documentation overload' is a key factor." To help alleviate this pain, medical groups are working to reduce the data-entry burden for doctors, so they can in turn spend more of their time with patients.

Submission + - Ransomware Wreaks Havoc in the Cloud (lmgsecurity.com)

rye writes: Today, researchers at LMG Security released a video of the "Jigsaw" ransomware spreading across the "HackMe, Inc." corporate network in their "Play Lab," starting with the very first click on a phishing email, all the way to the encryption of HackMe, Inc's cloud repository. Watch as the ransomware spreads to the company's networked file share and OneDrive cloud repository. A perfectly creepy "Billy the Puppet" head pops up as the ransom note is printed in green letters across the desktop.

Want your colleagues or management to understand the true potential damage of ransomware? Just show them this video. Then, unplug your network cable, crawl under your desk and hide.

"What does it actually LOOK like when ransomware encrypts all the files on an employee workstation and then moves on to encrypt your company’s file share, and even cloud-based documents?"

Submission + - New Study Shows Why Big Pharma Hates Medical Marijuana

HughPickens.com writes: Christopher Ingraham writes in the Washington Post that a new study shows that painkiller abuse and overdose are significantly lower in states with medical marijuana laws and that when medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. The researchers found that, in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law. The drops were quite significant: In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication. But most strikingly, the typical physician in a medical-marijuana state prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year. As a sanity check, the Bradfords ran a similar analysis on drug categories that pot typically is not recommended for — blood thinners, anti-viral drugs and antibiotics. And on those drugs, they found no changes in prescribing patterns after the passage of marijuana laws.

The tanking numbers for painkiller prescriptions in medical marijuana states are likely to cause some concern among pharmaceutical companies. These painkiller drug companies have long been at the forefront of opposition to marijuana reform, funding research by anti-pot academics and funneling dollars to groups, such as the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, that oppose marijuana legalization. Cost-savings alone are not a sufficient justification for implementing a medical-marijuana program. The bottom line is better health, and the Bradfords' research shows promising evidence that medical-marijuana users are finding plant-based relief for conditions that otherwise would have required a pill to treat. "Our findings and existing clinical literature imply that patients respond to medical marijuana legislation as if there are clinical benefits to the drug, which adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that the Schedule 1 status of marijuana is outdated."

Submission + - DoJ uses obsolete software to subvert FOIA requests (theguardian.com)

Bruce66423 writes: An MIT PhD student has filed a suit in Federal court alleging that the use of a 21yo IBM green screen controlled search software to search the Department of Justice databases in response to Freedom of information requests constitutes an deliberate failure to provide the data that should be being produced

Submission + - How (and why) FreeDOS keeps DOS alive (computerworld.com.au)

An anonymous reader writes: ComputerWorld Australia has a long interview with Jim Hall, the developer behind FreeDOS, talking about how and why FreeDOS keeps DOS alive, the history of FreeDOS and the upcoming FreeDOS 1.2 release. No major changes are planned in the next version. “The next version of FreeDOS won’t be multitasking, it won’t be 32-bit, it won’t run on ARM,” Hall said. “FreeDOS is still intended for Intel and Intel-compatible computers. You should still be able to run FreeDOS on your old 486 or old Pentium PC to play classic DOS games, run legacy business programs, and support embedded development.” New in the 1.2 release is an updated installer and some different packages. Good to see our favorite small OS still around.

Submission + - SPAM: Russia and China forming space exploration axis to go back to the moon and Mars

MarkWhittington writes: In a development that ought to be of concern to the United States and her allies, Russia and China have started to forge a space exploration alliance, according to a recent article in Forbes. Joint missions to the Moon and Mars are under discussion between Moscow and Beijing.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - DNA, Crypto & Shakespeare: Sandia Labs Creates Mind-Blowing Storage Technolo (darkreading.com)

ancientribe writes: Researchers from Sandia National Labs are experimenting with a new more secure form of data storage that--get this--is based on DNA. The project is for a long-term archival technology that could securely store records for the National Archives, government personnel records, research findings at the national labs, or other sensitive classified information. (Paging the US State Department). How does The Bard fit in? The researchers got the idea from the European Bioinformatics Institute's experiment that recorded all of Shakespeare’s sonnets into 2.5 million base pairs of DNA. Welcome to the future.

Submission + - UK scientists are trying to grow military drones in a lab with advanced chemistr (bgr.com)

anderzole writes: More often than not, some of the most cutting edge technology comes not from Silicon Valley, but from military companies and various branches of the armed forces. With generous budgets at their disposal, it’s hardly a surprise that grandiose research projects involving items like stealth motorcycles and drones that can both fly and swim are often rooted in military research.

That said, the following research initiative is a bit outlandish even for military standards. Over the past few days, word emerged that two military-backed defense companies based out of Scotland and England are currently working on technology that appears to be a wacky, futuristic and intriguing marriage between advanced chemistry and 3D printing.

Submission + - A rational nation ruled by science would be a terrible idea (newscientist.com) 1

schwit1 writes: Imagine a future society in which everything is perfectly logical. What could go wrong?

“Scientism” is the belief that all we need to solve the world’s problems is – you guessed it – science. People sometimes use the phrase “rational thinking”, but it amounts to the same thing. If only people would drop religion and all their other prejudices, we could use logic to fix everything.

Last week, US astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson offered up the perfect example of scientism when he proposed the country of Rationalia, in which “all policy shall be based on the weight of evidence”.

Tyson is a very smart man, but this is not a smart idea. It is even, we might say, unreasonable and without sufficient evidence. Of course, imagining a society in which everyone behaves logically sounds appealing. But employing logic to consider the concept reveals that there could be no such thing.

Submission + - Has Physics Gotten Something Really Important Really Wrong? (npr.org)

schwit1 writes: Some researchers now see popular ideas like string theory and the multiverse as highly suspect. These physicists feel our study of the cosmos has been taken too far from what data can constrain with the extra "hidden" dimensions of string theory and the unobservable other universes of the multiverse. Of course, there are many scientists who continue to see great promise in string theory and the multiverse. But, as Marcelo and I wrote in The New York Times last year, it all adds up to muddied waters and something some researchers see as a "crisis in physics."

Smolin and Unger believe this crisis is real — and it's acute. They pull no punches in their sense that the lack of empirical data has led the field astray. As they put it:

"Science is corrupted when it abandons the discipline of empirical validation or dis-confirmation. It is also weakened when it mistakes its assumptions for facts and its ready-made philosophy for the way things are."

Thus, the goal of The Singular Universe and The Reality of Time is to take a giant philosophical step back and see if a new and more promising direction can be found. For the two thinkers, such a new direction can be spelled out in three bold claims about the world.

  1. There is only one universe
  2. Time is real
  3. Mathematics is selectively real

Taken together, these three claims constitute a significant departure from mainstream ideas in physics. But their most important consequence is that nothing, not even the laws of physics, live above time. The universe is time-bound and time-saturated. Thus, there is no eternal reality of perfect mathematical form. Even the laws of physics themselves must be subject to change. That is the most radical of Unger and Smolin's radical ideas.

Submission + - Planet with 3 suns found (eso.org)

drunken_boxer777 writes: A team of astronomers at ESO recently discovered the first known planet to orbit a triple star system. Despite the fact that it is "around 580 degrees Celsius and an estimated mass of four Jupiter masses, it is also one of the coldest and least massive directly-imaged exoplanets." The press release makes certain to add a pop culture touch, by noting that "Luke Skywalker's home planet, Tatooine, in the Star Wars saga, was a strange world with two suns in the sky".

For some reason, they chose the name "HD 131399Ab" for the planet. My vote would have been for "Tathreeine".

Submission + - The Coming Government Showdown over Live Video Streaming (vortex.com)

Lauren Weinstein writes: Over the last few days, we’ve dramatically seen the force of Internet live video streaming, and the obvious hints of policy battles to come regarding this powerful technology are clearly emerging.

Beyond the tragic images of a man shot to death by police in his car, and then a sniper in Dallas who ultimately killed five officers, we’ve already seen other ugly shadows of what might become the new normal, including a streamed rape and suicide — both streamed by the perpetrators themselves for maximal publicity.

And yes, this is only the beginning. For while it has been possible to stream live video from portable devices since years ago, only now has the concept reached a critical mass, an “inflection” point where it is likely to have enormous impact on society at large.

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