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Submission + - Autonomous Cars? How About Autonomous Bikes?

R3d M3rcury writes: So we've all heard about the brave new world of autonomous cars which will be at our beck-and-call. But how about an autonomous bike?

The i-Bike (not to be confused with the iBike computer) is the winner of KPIT Sparkle 2016, the All India Science and Engineering Student Contest. It started off as a bicycle suitable for use by people with disabilities. If you could use a smartphone, you could ride a bike. But the developers realized that this could be part of a bike-sharing system. You could rent a bike at the train station, ride to work, and then have the bike automatically return to the train station for the next person.

Of course, the obvious question is: Will the bike stop at stop signs?

Submission + - Google Chrome Finally Passes Mozilla Firefox

An anonymous reader writes: March saw the fifth full month of IE11 availability with Windows 8.1, the release of Firefox 28, and the first full month of Chrome 33 availability. The latest numbers from Net Applications show that Chrome was the only major winner last month, having finally passed Firefox. Between February and March, IE dipped 0.23 percentage points (from 58.19 percent to 57.96), Firefox fell 0.42 percentage points (from 17.68 percent to 17.52 percent), and Chrome gained 0.68 percentage points (from 16.84 percent to 17.52 percent). Safari meanwhile gained 0.01 percentage points to 5.68 percent and Opera slipped 0.03 percentage points to 1.20 percent.

Submission + - Tamiflu-resistant influenza: parsing the genome for the culprits (

An anonymous reader writes: From the article.

It doesn’t take long for the flu virus to outsmart Tamiflu. EPFL scientists have developed a tool that reveals the mutations that make the virus resistant, and they have identified new mutations that may render ineffective one of the few treatments currently available on the market.

Open access to the paper in PLOS Genetics

Submission + - Scientists Confirm the Discovery of the First Ringed Minor Planet (

Zothecula writes: With the use of seven telescopes spread across South America, observers have confirmed the unlikely discovery of a double ring surrounding the minor planet Chariklo, which holds orbit between Saturn and Uranus. Previously rings have only been found around giant planets, the most dramatic of which, Saturn, shines easily visible to the naked eye in the night sky.

Submission + - DNA study suggests hunting did not kill off mammoth (

Big Hairy Ian writes: Researchers have found evidence to suggest that climate change, rather than humans, was the main factor that drove the woolly mammoth to extinction.

A DNA analysis shows that the number of creatures began to decrease much earlier than previously thought as the world's climate changed.

It also shows that there was a distinct population of mammoth in Europe that died out around 30,000 years ago.

The results have published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The view many researchers had about woolly mammoths is that they were a hardy, abundant species that thrived during their time on the planet.

Submission + - Coffee delays brain maturation in adolescent rats (

golden age villain writes: Slashdot readers are probably well aware of the stimulating effects of our favourite psychoactive beverage. Now, scientists at the Children's Hospital in Zurich show in rodents that consumption of coffee during the period corresponding to adolescence has profound effects on the maturation of the developing brain. From the paper: "Adolescence is a critical period for brain maturation during which a massive reorganization of cortical connectivity takes place. In humans, slow wave activity (less than 4.5 Hz) during NREM sleep was proposed to reflect cortical maturation which relies on use-dependent processes. [...] Caffeine treatment exerted short-term stimulating effects and altered the trajectory of slow wave activity. Moreover, caffeine affected behavioral and structural markers of maturation, delaying all three assessed markers of brain maturation. Thus, caffeine consumption during a critical developmental period shows long lasting effects on sleep and brain maturation."

Submission + - Are the NIST standard elliptic curves back-doored? 2

IamTheRealMike writes: In the wake of Bruce Schneier's statements that he no longer trusts the constants selected for elliptic curve cryptography, people have started trying to reproduce the process that led to those constants being selected ... and found it cannot be done. As background, the most basic standard elliptic curves used for digital signatures and other cryptography are called the SEC random curves (SEC is "Standards for Efficient Cryptography"), a good example being secp256r1. The random numbers in these curve parameters were supposed to be selected via a "verifiably random" process (output of SHA1 on some seed), which is a reasonable way to obtain a nothing up my sleeve number if the input to the hash function is trustworthy, like a small counter or the digits of PI. Unfortunately it turns out the actual inputs used were opaque 256 bit numbers, chosen ad-hoc with no justifications provided. Worse, the curve parameters for SEC were generated by head of elliptic curve research at the NSA — opening the possibility that they were found via a brute force search for a publicly unknown class of weak curves. Although no attack against the selected values are currently known, it's common practice to never use unexplainable magic numbers in cryptography standards, especially when those numbers are being chosen by intelligence agencies. Now that the world received strong confirmation that the much more obscure and less widely used standard Dual_EC_DRBG was in fact an NSA undercover operation, NIST re-opened the confirmed-bad standards for public comment. Unless NIST/the NSA can explain why the random curve seed values are trustworthy, it might be time to re-evaluate all NIST based elliptic curve crypto in general.

Submission + - BBC Criticised For Snooping Under RIPA Powers (

judgecorp writes: "The BBC and other UK public bodies has been criticised for excessive and secretive use of snooping powers granted under RIPA (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act). The act allows the BBC and other to request information on suspected criminals, but it has been over-used, and used covertly according to critics."

Submission + - Meet Elvis: The robot that interrogates people traveling across the border (

colinneagle writes: Even though it's been 35 years, some folks have a specific King of Rock-n-Roll in mind when they hear the name "Elvis." However you might have a case of the Jailhouse Rock blues if the new Elvis catches you in a lie. That's because this Elvis is AI; an android behind a touchscreen who questions people on behalf of U.S. Customs and Border (CBP) Protection to analyze potentially suspicious behavior and to predict threats. He's an Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time (AVATAR) kiosk.

Tucson News reported that there are not enough CBP agents to handle all of the Trusted Traveler Program applications that require face-to-face interviews. It works by using sensors "to screen passengers for unusual physiological responses to questioning — which can indicate a subject is lying," according to CNN.

  It's not what you answer, but how you answer. Are you upset or fidgeting? CNN reported that it "uses three sensors to assess physiological responses: a microphone, which monitors vocal quality, pitch and frequency; an infrared camera, which looks at pupil dilation and where the eyes focus; and a high-definition camera recording facial expressions."


Submission + - Apple iPad vs Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (

AlistairCharlton writes: Despite being locked in the middle of a multi-billion-dollar legal battle, Apple and Samsung's relentless product development shows no signs of slowing and now the South Korean company has got one over on its California rival with the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet and its S-Pen stylus.

But will the lure of a tablet that can display two applications at once, convert handwriting to text and offer the novelty of a stylus, prove to be a rival to the market-dominating iPad?


Submission + - Harvesting Uranium from Seawater Using Shrimp Shells

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Uranium is currently mined from ore deposits around the world, but there are fears that demand may outstrip the supply of ore as nuclear power becomes more widespread and while the world's oceans hold billions of tons of uranium at tiny concentrations of three parts per billion, extracting uranium from seawater has up to now been uneconomical. Now BBC reports that a new technique using uranium-absorbing mats made from discarded shrimp shells containing plastic fibers impregnated with molecules that both lock onto the fibers and preferentially absorb uranium has culminated in a field test that has netted a kilogram of uranium. "We began working with the Gulf Coast Agricultural and Seafood Co-operative... and with the shrimpers and crabbers there, and found they were paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to get rid of their waste [shells]" says Robin Rogers of the University of Alabama who outlined an improvement developed in his own group: seafood shells. Research has focussed on improving both the braided fibers of the mat and the "ligand" that captures the uranium, which has most often been a molecule called poly-acrylamidoxime. "We discovered an 'ionic liquid' — a molten salt — could extract a very important polymer called chitin directly from shrimp shells," Rogers added. Although the extraction process has not reached parity with the more mature — but more environmentally damaging — technology of mining uranium ores, work is promising enough to begin to remove a concern about the sustainability of those terrestrial sources and any stumbling block they may present to growth in the nuclear power industry. "This uncertainty around whether there's enough terrestrial uranium is impacting the decision-making in the industry because it's hard to make long-term research and development or deployment decisions in the face of big uncertainties about the resource," says Erich Schneider, Ph.D. "So if we can tap into uranium from seawater, we can remove that uncertainty.""

Submission + - "Unbreakable Message Exchange" using single photon (

Taco Cowboy writes: Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is a process that enables two parties, 'Alice' and 'Bob', to share a secret key that can then be used to protect data they want to send to each other. The secret key is made up of a stream of photons that 'spin' in different directions — vertically, horizontally or diagonally — according to the sender's preferences.

The laws of physics state that it is not possible to measure the state, or 'spin', of a particle like a photon without altering it, so if 'Eve' attempted to intercept the key that was sent between 'Alice' and 'Bob', it would become instantly noticeable.

The use of QKD for message encryption is not new, as it has been used to encode the national election ballot results in Switzerland in 2007.

The techniques currently being used on a commercial scale rely on lasers to create the source of photons, however, may come with a potential defect — The emission events in lasers occur completely random in time, sometimes results in the emission of two photons very close to each other.

Single photon sources are predestined for use in the secure communication systems using quantum communication protocols of the future, with the benefit of having a single photon source emits exactly one photon upon a trigger event, giving further enhancement on the security.

In the new experiment, the single photons were produced with high efficiency, then made into a key and successfully transmitted from the sender to the receiver across 40 cm of free space in the laboratory.


Submission + - Sci-Fi writers of the past predict life in 2012 (

cylonlover writes: As part of the L, Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future award in 1987, a group of science fiction luminaries put together a text “time capsule” of their predictions about life in the far off year of 2012. Including such names as Orson Scott Card, Robert Silverberg, Jack Williamson, Algis Budrys and Frederik Pohl, it gives us an interesting glimpse into how those living in the age before smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi and on-demand streaming episodes of Community thought the future might turn out.

Submission + - Casio Paper Writer Tablets Store What's Written on Paper (

SmartAboutThings writes: "Casio tries to fill a gap in the market and comes up with a very interesting tablet: the Casio Paper Writer Tablet. It has the ability to digitize hand-written notes, documents, business cards. And that's not all. It also has a 1.5 Ghz processors, 1GB of Ram, 16 GB of internal memory, NFC, it is dust-proof and the battery resists up to 10 hours per charge. Is this what Microsoft's Courier was intented to be?"

Submission + - The word "ToDo" has been trademarked ! (

Taco Cowboy writes: An iOS app developer is threatening to sue an Android app developer over the word "ToDo"

Apparently, according to the iOS app developer, he "owns the trademark for the word “ToDo”"

As if the patent trolls haven't given us enough headaches, now we have trademark trolls

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