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Submission + - 10 Percent of the World's Wilderness Has Been Lost Since 1990s (livescience.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Wilderness areas around the world have experienced catastrophic declines over the last two decades, with one-tenth of global wilderness lost since the 1990s, according to a new study. Since 1993, researchers found that a cumulative wilderness area twice the size of Alaska and half the size of the Amazon has been stripped and destroyed. The shrinking wilderness is due, in part, to human activity such as mining, logging, agriculture, and oil and gas exploration. The researchers said theirfindings underscore the need for international policies to recognize the value of wilderness and to protect wilderness areas from the threats they face. Central Africa and the Amazon saw the most wilderness decline, the researchers found. Of the roughly 1.27 million square miles (3.3 million square kilometers) of global wilderness lost, the Amazon accounted for nearly one-third, and 14 percent of the world's wilderness was lost from Central Africa, according to the study. The researchers determined that only 11.6 million square miles (30.1 million square km) of wilderness is left, which equates to just 20 percent of the Earth's total land mass.

Submission + - Scientists create invincible super bacteria in order to make a cool video

guises writes: By making a giant Petri dish out of bands of increasingly antibiotic-laced agar, a couple of microbiologists have created a means to watch bacterial evolution as it happens: colonies introduced to the dish expand to fill the areas in which they can survive and then mutate and spread into the areas in which they couldn't. It takes only eleven days for the bacteria to evolve sufficient resistance to survive in an area with a thousand times the concentration of antibiotic that would have killed the original colonies. And it makes a pretty neat video.

Submission + - Saving billions of male chicks from a horrible death (acs.org)

JMarshall writes: For chickens bred to lay eggs, being male is a death sentence. Male chicks are usually culled within days of hatching by methods including gassing and grinding. A new method uses Raman spectroscopy to sex the embryos while still in the egg, allowing the male embryos to be culled before they are sensitive to pain. The researchers cut a hole in the end of the egg with a laser, shine light on the blood vessels exposed within the egg, and collect a Raman spectrum. Male and female blood have different spectra thanks to differences in sugar and protein profiles and in the amount of DNA in the blood. Then the researchers tape the end of the egg closed and allow embryo development to continue.

There's more work to be done before the approach can be used industrially, but with strong demand for an ethical alternative to chick culling, a major German producer of egg-laying hens is partnering with the researchers to build a larger scale prototype for testing.

Submission + - Should we seed life on alien worlds? (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Astronomers have detected more than 3000 planets beyond our solar system, and just a couple of weeks ago they discovered an Earth-like planet in the solar system next door. Most—if not all—of these worlds are unlikely to harbor life, but what if we put it there? Science chatted with theoretical physicist Claudius Gros about his proposed Genesis Project, which would send artificially intelligent probes to lifeless worlds to seed them with microbes. Over millions of years, they might evolve into multicellular organisms, and, perhaps eventually, plants and animals. In the interview, Gros talks artificial intelligence, searching for habitable planets, and what kind of organisms he’d like to see evolve.

Submission + - Weaponizing Disinformation (nytimes.com)

XXongo writes: With a vigorous national debate underway on whether Sweden should enter a military partnership with NATO, officials in Stockholm suddenly encountered an unsettling problem: a flood of distorted and outright false information on social media, confusing public perceptions of the issue. As the defense minister, Peter Hultqvist, traveled the country to promote the pact in speeches and town hall meetings, he was repeatedly grilled about the bogus stories.
The planting of false stories is nothing new; the Soviet Union devoted considerable resources to that during the ideological battles of the Cold War. Now, though, disinformation is regarded as an important aspect of Russian military doctrine, and it is being directed at political debates in target countries with far greater sophistication and volume than in the past, using everything from paid internet trolls to faked documents to dubious news stories planted in conventional media.
The fundamental purpose of dezinformatsiya, or Russian disinformation, experts said, is to undermine the official version of events — even the very idea that there is a true version of events — and foster a kind of policy paralysis.

Submission + - Tasmanian devils rapidly evolving resistance to contagious cancer 1

tomhath writes: Scientists from the US, UK and Australian have observed Tasnamian Devils evolving as the species fights to survive a transmittable cancer.

The cancer is spread when the aggressive animals bite each other on the snout. A database of gnome sequences collected over the past twenty years has revealed that in as few as six generations there are significant changes in their DNA in regions the scientists believe are related to resisting cancer.

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.

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