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Submission + - SPAM: NASA aircraft probe Namibian clouds to solve global warming puzzle

sciencehabit writes: Off the coast of Namibia, for several months a year, a layer of smoke from African savanna fires drifts over a persistent deck of low clouds. It’s the perfect place to investigate the thorniest problem in all of climate science: how haze and clouds interact to boost or moderate global warming. Now, after weeks of delay and uncertainty, an airborne research campaign is about to begin. On 29 August, NASA will fly aircraft into the heart of this natural laboratory for about a month, with plans to return in 2017 and 2018. Complementary efforts from France and the United Kingdom would have expanded the sampling area but were postponed when the teams couldn’t get diplomatic clearances from Namibia.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - MedSec Disclosure Ethics (bloomberg.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Ok, so apparently a security research company called MedSec has discovered vulnerabilities in a slew of medical devices produced by St Jude Medical. t's alleged that St Jude's devices and ecosystem are demonstrably less secure than competitors.

Rather than disclose the vulnerabilities to the manufacturer, they approached Muddy Waters — an investor that's been known for shorting companies, and MedSec stand to benefit from the trade.

I can't recall this having ever occurred before, where does this fall in the spectrum of research and disclosure ethics?

Submission + - SPAM: Pro-nuclear countries making slower progress on climate targets

mdsolar writes: A strong national commitment to nuclear energy goes hand in hand with weak performance on climate change targets, researchers at the University of Sussex and the Vienna School of International Studies have found.

A new study of European countries, published in the journal Climate Policy, shows that the most progress towards reducing carbon emissions and increasing renewable energy sources – as set out in the EU’s 2020 Strategy – has been made by nations without nuclear energy or with plans to reduce it.

Conversely, pro-nuclear countries have been slower to implement wind, solar and hydropower technologies and to tackle emissions.

While it’s difficult to show a causal link, the researchers say the study casts significant doubts on nuclear energy as the answer to combating climate change.

“By suppressing better ways to meet climate goals, evidence suggests entrenched commitments to nuclear power may actually be counterproductive.”

Link to Original Source

Submission + - New Li-Ion battery with twice the capacity planned for release next year

lars_stefan_axelsson writes: MIT News reports that SolidEnergy, an MIT spinoff is preparing to release a new Li-Ion battery that provides double the energy density per weight and volume, compared to current batteries.

The battery uses a thin layer of lithium metal as the anode compared to the graphite which is used today. There is also a change to the electrolyte. The new battery can be manufactured using current process lines, and commercial release of batteries for smart phones is planned for early next year, with electric cars following in 2018.

So if this holds true, it's a pretty big step forward, in an industry that otherwise usually sees a couple of percent improvement per step otherwise.

Submission + - Chinese Are Hunting Chinese Over POP3 In Fjord Country (blogspot.com)

badger.foo writes: Yes, you read that right: There is a coordinated effort in progress to steal Chinese-sounding users' mail, targeting machines at the opposite end of the Eurasian landmass (and probably elsewhere), with the attempts coming exclusively from Chinese networks. This weirdness of course turned up on Peter Hansteen's doorstep (or rather his servers), and it's the topic of his latest column.

Submission + - DARPA wants to build very low frequency wireless systems (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: Wireless transmitters that operate at very or ultra low frequencies (0.330 kHz) typically require some big antenna complexes to handle their communications. Scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) said they are interested looking to eliminate that issue and develop smaller physical structures that could handle new long-distance communication applications.

Submission + - Industry Pushes Foreign Labor, Claiming 'U.S. Students Can't Hack It in Tech' (breitbart.com)

geek writes: According to Caroline May "The tech industry is seeking to bolster its argument for more white-collar foreign tech workers with the insulting claim that the education system is insufficiently preparing Americans for tech fields, according to pro-American worker attorneys with the Immigration Reform Law Institute."

"But if the H-1B program really is meant to correct the failings of our education system, as BigTech’s new messaging-push implies, why is it importing so many people from India? According to results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a global standardized math and science assessment sponsored by the OECD, India scored almost dead last among the 74 countries tested. The results were apparently so embarrassing, the country pulled out of the program all together. Not surprisingly then, there isn’t a single Indian university that appears within the top 250 spots of the World University Rankings Survey. And unlike American bachelor’s degrees, obtaining a bachelor’s in India takes only three years of study."

Submission + - GPS Under Attack as Crooks, Rogue Workers Wage Electronic War (nbcnews.com)

schwit1 writes: Once the province of hostile nations, electronic warfare has arrived with little fanfare on U.S. highways and byways.

Criminals, rogue employees and even otherwise law-abiding citizens are using illegal "jamming" devices to overpower GPS, cellphone and other electronic signals over localized areas. The devices are small and mobile — a common variety plugs into a vehicle's cigarette lighter — making it difficult for law enforcement to identify the culprits.

And experts say the threat to the Global Positioning System (GPS) — the critical space-based navigational, positional and timing network — is escalating as potentially more destructive "spoofing" devices become readily available.

Submission + - 'Faceless Recognition System' Can Identify You Even When You Hide Your Face (vice.com)

schwit1 writes: By itself, the ability to instantly identify anyone just by seeing their face already creates massive power imbalances, with serious implications for free speech and political protest. But more recently, researchers have demonstrated that even when faces are blurred or otherwise obscured, algorithms can be trained to identify people by matching previously-observed patterns around their head and body.

In a new paper uploaded to the ArXiv pre-print server, researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Saarbrücken, Germany demonstrate a method of identifying individuals even when most of their photos are un-tagged or obscured. The researchers' system, which they call the “Faceless Recognition System,” trains a neural network on a set of photos containing both obscured and visible faces, then uses that knowledge to predict the identity of obscured faces by looking for similarities in the area around a person's head and body.

Submission + - Barcelona taking city streets back from cars with Superblocks

An anonymous reader writes: An interesting piece on Vox.com highlights how Barcelona, based on their street grid design, is using Superblocks, nine square blocks of city. (It doesn’t have to be nine, but that’s the ideal.)

The plan promises a twenty-percent reduction of vehicles and sixty-percent of road space recovered for pedestrians.

"Rather than all traffic being permitted on all the streets between and among those blocks, cordon off a perimeter and keep through traffic, freight, and city buses on that."

When the Superblocks are fully implemented across the city, Barcelona estimates that 60 percent of road space now devoted solely to cars would be shifted to mixed use or car-free.

Submission + - SPAM: Solar, wind, storage and big data: Why energy may soon be free

mdsolar writes: Global investment bank Citi is predicting that the combination of near zero-variable cost energy sources such as solar and wind, along with smart analytics and “big data”, may deliver what the nuclear industry promised nearly half a century ago – free energy.

“The notion of free energy came to prominence in the 1960s, as nuclear fusion was touted as a way to provide free energy,” Citi writes in the latest of its “Disrutive Innovations” series in a section focusing on Big Data and the energy industry.

When those claims were made about nuclear fusion, the technology was in the embryonic stage, and it turned out nuclear energy wasn’t free at all, but incredibly expensive, and getting more so by the year.

But wind and solar, along with demand and storage optimisation, may finally deliver on that promise, Citi says.

“Big Data and advanced analytics are developing rapidly to improve forecasting, automation, customization, and the democratisation of energy,” it says in its reports.

“The end result is that we are producing more energy with fewer resources .. the goal of dramatically lowering energy costs for all, with the possibility of free energy in some corners, may finally come to fruition.”

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Turn your Android phone into a Laptop for $99 with the Superbook

An anonymous reader writes: A company called Andromium today launched it's second Kickstarter project, attempting to harness the processing power of your smartphone and turn it into a full fledged computer. The Superbook consists of a 11.6" laptop shell, which you connect to your phone via USB Micro-B or Type-C cable, and run the Andromium OS application (currently in beta, available in the Play Store). Of note is the leader of the project and Company co-founder Gordon Zheng, who previously worked at Google and pitched the idea to them, however they refused so he quit his job and founded Andromium Inc.
In December 2014 the company had introduced their first product which was a dock which used the MHL standard to output to external monitor. That campaign failed, however their newest creation, the Superbook smashed their Kickstarter goal in just over 20 minutes, and as of this writing has just passed its stretch goal of 150K which is 300% of their original goal.

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.

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