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Submission + - Carbon-based filter which turns seawater into drinking water (cnbc.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A group of scientists in the U.K. created a membrane 'sieve' capable of removing salt from seawater to make it drinkable by using graphene, a wafer-thin sheet of carbon atoms.

Reporting their findings in the Nature Nanotechnology journal, researchers from the University of Manchester have claimed that the process of desalination – filtering salt-water to produce fresh water – could lead to cheaper filtration systems in the developing world.

They explained that by controlling the size of the pores in the membranes the team was able to filter out common salts passing through the material.

"This is the first clear-cut experiment in this regime. We also demonstrate that there are realistic possibilities to scale up the described approach and mass produce graphene-based membranes with required sleeve sizes," Nair added.

Submission + - Would you microchip yourself for your employer? Are you ready to be a cyborg? (star-telegram.com) 1

jasonbrown writes: At the Swedish startup hub Epicenter, it has become routine to be have a microchip implanted in the fleshy part of your thumb. The tiny device is injected with a syringe and another cyborg is created. It replaces other devices such as keys and credit cards. Doors open magically and coffee is purchased with the wave of a hand. Many people would never put a tracking device in their body for a job. Would you?

Submission + - Westinghouse Files For Bankruptcy, In Blow To Nuclear Power (reuters.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Westinghouse Electric Co, a unit of Japanese conglomerate Toshiba Corp, filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, hit by billions of dollars of cost overruns at four nuclear reactors under construction in the U.S. Southeast. The bankruptcy casts doubt on the future of the first new U.S. nuclear power plants in three decades, which were scheduled to begin producing power as soon as this week, but are now years behind schedule. The four reactors are part of two projects known as V.C. Summer in South Carolina, which is majority owned by SCANA Corp, and Vogtle in Georgia, which is owned by a group of utilities led by Southern Co. Costs for the projects have soared due to increased safety demands by U.S. regulators, and also due to significantly higher-than-anticipated costs for labor, equipment and components. Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse said it hopes to use bankruptcy to isolate and reorganize around its "very profitable" nuclear fuel and power plant servicing businesses from its money-losing construction operation. Westinghouse said in a court filing it has secured $800 million in financing from Apollo Investment Corp, an affiliate of Apollo Global Management, to fund its core businesses during its reorganization. Westinghouse’s nuclear services business is expected to continue to perform profitably over the course of the bankruptcy and eventually be sold by Toshiba, people familiar with the matter said. When regulators in Georgia and South Carolina approved the construction of Westinghouse's AP1000 reactors in 2009, it was meant to be the start of renewed push to develop U.S. nuclear power. However, a flood of cheap natural gas from shale, the lack of U.S. legislation to curb carbon emissions and the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan dampened enthusiasm for nuclear power. Toshiba had acquired Westinghouse in 2006 for $5.4 billion. It expected to build dozens of its new AP1000 reactors — which were hailed as safer, quicker to construct and more compact — creating a pipeline of work for its maintenance division.

Submission + - Chinese court lifts iPhone sales ban, Apple cleared of intellectual property the (qq.com)

fubarrr writes: A Beijing based, intellectual property court lifted sales ban of Apple iPhone 6-cn and iPhone 6S-cn mobile phones after Beijing intellectual property bureau placed it after an intellectual property theft claim by Baili Electronics in 2014. Baili claimed that Apple Computers immitated the design of Baili phones, and violeted its protected design features including "rounded corners" and "curved silhouette."

The sales ban was in effect for two years in mainland China, but as many decisions of China's de-facto defunct civil courts it was never enforced. The ban was lifted on procedural grounds as Baili Electronics went out of business, and did not provide material evidence for further legal expertise.

Link to original in Russian below.

Submission + - About 90% of Smart TVs Vulnerable To Remote Hacking Via Rogue TV Signals (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A new attack on smart TVs allows a malicious actor to take over devices using rogue DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcasting — Terrestrial) signals, get root access on the smart TV, and use the device for all sorts of nasty actions, ranging from DDoS attacks to spying on end users. The attack, developed by Rafael Scheel, a security researcher working for Swiss cyber security consulting company Oneconsult, is unique and much more dangerous than previous smart TV hacks. Scheel's method, which he recently presented at a security conference, is different because the attacker can execute it from a remote location, without user interaction, and runs in the TV's background processes, meaning users won't notice when an attacker compromises their TVs. The researcher told Bleeping Computer via email that he developed this technique without knowing about the CIA's Weeping Angel toolkit, which makes his work even more impressing. Furthermore, Scheel says that "about 90% of the TVs sold in the last years are potential victims of similar attacks," highlighting a major flaw in the infrastructure surrounding smart TVs all over the globe. At the center of Scheel's attack is Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV), an industry standard supported by most cable providers and smart TV makers that "harmonizes" classic broadcast, IPTV, and broadband delivery systems. TV transmission signal technologies like DVB-T, DVB-C, or IPTV all support HbbTV. Scheel says that anyone can set up a custom DVB-T transmitter with equipment priced between $50-$150, and start broadcasting a DVB-T signal.

Submission + - Scientists Discover Way to Transmit Taste of Lemonade Over Internet (vice.com)

schwit1 writes: With the use of electrodes and sensors—and zero lemons—a group of researchers at the University of Singapore have announced that they can convince you that you're drinking lemonade, even if it's just water. Plus, they can send you a glass of lemonade virtually over the internet.

In an experiment that involved 13 tasters, the subjects' taste buds were stimulated using electricity from receiving electrodes; LED lights mimicked a lemony color. Some were convinced that the water they were drinking was, in fact, almost as sour as lemonade.

"We're working on a full virtual cocktail with smell, taste, and color all covered. We want to be able to create any drink."

Why would anyone want to drink a virtual lemonade? Advocates of virtual eating say that virtual foods can replace foods that are bad for you, that you may be allergic to, or that you shouldn't eat because of a medical condition.

Submission + - Obama allowed use of NSA data in politics (circa.com)

mi writes: Barack Obama’s top aides routinely reviewed intelligence reports gleaned from the National Security Agency’s incidental intercepts of Americans abroad, taking advantage of rules their boss relaxed starting in 2011 to help the government better fight terrorism, espionage by foreign enemies and hacking threats.

Dozens of times in 2016, those intelligence reports identified Americans who were directly intercepted talking to foreign sources or were the subject of conversations between two or more monitored foreign figures. Sometimes the Americans’ names were officially unmasked; other times they were so specifically described in the reports that their identities were readily discernible.

Some intercepted communications from November to January involved Trump transition figures or foreign figures' perceptions of the incoming president and his administration.

Submission + - Flaws in Samsung's 'Smart' Home Let Hackers Unlock Doors and Set Off Fire Alarms (wordpress.com)

TrustedLocksmithPeac writes: A SMOKE DETECTOR that sends you a text alert when your house is on fire seems like a good idea. An internet-connected door lock with a PIN that can be programmed from your smartphone sounds convenient, too. But when a piece of malware can trigger that fire alarm at four in the morning or unlock your front door for a stranger, your “smart home” suddenly seems pretty dumb.

Submission + - The 265 members of Congress who sold you out to ISPs

Presto Vivace writes: They betrayed you for chump change

Republicans in Congress just voted to reverse a landmark FCC privacy rule that opens the door for ISPs to sell customer data. Lawmakers provided no credible reason for this being in the interest of Americans, except for vague platitudes about “consumer choice” and “free markets,” as if consumers at the mercy of their local internet monopoly are craving to have their web history quietly sold to marketers and any other 3rd party willing to pay. ... The only people who seem to want this are the people who are going to make lots of money from it. (Hint: they work for companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.) Incidentally, these people and their companies routinely give lots of money to members of Congress.

Submission + - Study: Playing Tetris Can Reduce Onset Of PTSD After Trauma (cnn.com)

dryriver writes: CNN reports that a new study has found that playing Tetris within hours of a traumatic event can reduce the onset of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: "After experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, such as a car accident, people are likely to develop anxiety or distress in relation to that event soon after the experience, leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But a new study has shown that playing the computer game Tetris within hours of experiencing trauma can prevent those feelings from taking over your mind.

PTSD occurs when intrusive memories linked to fear from a traumatic event become consolidated in a person's mind by them visualizing the event in a loop until it becomes locked in their brain. Competing with the visualization, such as with a game like Tetris, can block that consolidation form happening. 'An intrusive memory is a visual memory of a traumatic event,' said Emily Holmes, Professor of Psychology at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, whose team led the study. 'Tetris also requires imagination and vision. Your brain can't do two things at once, so this interrupts.' "

Submission + - Test flights planned for cargo drone prototype

linuxwrangler writes: Backed by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper, drone startup Natilus is attempting to reduce global airfreight costs by 50% through the use of autonomous cargo drones. To reduce regulatory and infrastructure burden, they plan to have their cargo drones take off and land on water 12 miles offshore and fly over uninhabited areas below controlled airspace. Shipments that take 11 hours in a 747 would take 30 in the drone but at half the cost. Container shipping is less than half the cost of the drone but takes three weeks. Test flights of a 30 foot prototype over San Pablo Bay north of San Francisco are planned for this summer.

Submission + - Telecom Giants Are Pushing States to Constrain Public Rights (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: There are currently plans underway in at least 17 state legislatures, as well as at the FCC, that would block cities from constraining uses of their rights-of-way by private cellular companies for 5G deployments. That means that if a city wants to set up a fair and competitive system that favors competitors, citizens, and long-range goals instead of the interests of a single big company, that would be illegal. But there's one massive catch: All of this is being done in the name of 5G—and 5G does not yet exist. At Backchannel, Susan Crawford digs into why we need to slow the onslaught of deregulatory legislation in this area and not get swept up in the still-mythical 5G hype.

Submission + - Hobbyist Turns Nintendo 64 Console into Nintendo Switch Dock (polygon.com)

adosch writes: Polygon reports, a Reddit user "modified a broken Nintendo 64 and transformed it into a functioning Switch dock." The modder, who goes by the handle 'Tettzan Zone', has "been keeping fellow Switch fans updated on his adventures in console customization on Reddit, sharing the steps he took to making the entire Nintendo 64 workable as a dock." The original post about full mod details can be found here.

Submission + - California prosecutes couple for filming officials (ap.org) 2

mi writes: California prosecutors on Tuesday charged two activists who made undercover videos of themselves interacting with officials of a taxpayer-supported organization with 15 felonies, saying they invaded privacy by filming without consent. State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a longtime Congressional Democrat who took over the investigation in January, said in a statement that the state "will not tolerate the criminal recording of conversations."

Didn't we just determine, that filming officials is not merely a right, but a First Amendment right?

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