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Submission + - Spike of radioactive Iodine levels is detected in Europe (theaviationist.com)

schwit1 writes: Iodine-131 (131I), a radionuclide of anthropogenic origin, has recently been detected in tiny amounts in the ground-level atmosphere in Europe. The preliminary report states it was first found during week 2 of January 2017 in northern Norway. Iodine-131 was also detected in Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, France and Spain, until the end of January.

However, no one seems to know the reason behind the released Iodine-131. Along with nuclear power plants, the isotope is also widely used in medicine and its presence in the air could be the effect of several different incidents.

Or, as someone speculates, it could have been the side effect of a test of a new nuclear warhead in Russia: an unlikely (considered the ability to detect nuke tests through satellites and seismic detectors) violation of Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Submission + - IBM & Watson booted by MD Anderson cancer research center (forbes.com)

Life2Short writes: According to Fortune Magazine IBM's Watson has not impressed folks at the University of Texas' cancer research center. Apparently IBM does not meet the expectations of MD Anderson. FTFA: "And a scathing report from auditors at the University of Texas says the project cost MD Anderson more than $62 million and yet did not meet its goals."

Submission + - Mozilla Thunderbird Finally Makes Its Way Back into Debian's Repos

prisoninmate writes: A year ago, we told you that, after ten long years, the Debian Project finally found a way to switch their rebranded Iceweasel web browser back to Mozilla Firefox, both the ESR (Extended Support Release) and normal versions, but one question remained: what about the Mozilla Thunderbird email, news, and calendar client? Well, that question has an official answer today, as the Mozilla Thunderbird packages appear to have landed in the Debian repositories as a replacement for Icedove, the rebranded version that Debian Project was forced to use for more than ten years do to trademark issues. Make sure you read the entire article to find out what steps you need to take if you want to migrate from Icedove to Mozilla Thunderbird.

Submission + - At the End, Obama Administration Gave NSA Broad New Powers (pjmedia.com) 1

Tulsa_Time writes: This story, from the Jan. 12, 2017, edition of the New York Times, was little-remarked upon at the time, but suddenly has taken on far greater significance in light of current events:

In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

Submission + - Gamalon Launches Probabilistic Programming Products that Learn from Less Data (technologyreview.com)

moon_unit2 writes: From the story: You can, train a deep-learning algorithm to recognize a cat with a cat-fancier’s level of expertise, but you’ll need to feed it tens or even hundreds of thousands of images of felines, capturing a huge amount of variation in size, shape, texture, lighting, and orientation. It would be lot more efficient if, a bit like a person, an algorithm could develop an idea about what makes a cat a cat from fewer examples. A Boston-based startup called Gamalon has developed technology that lets computers do this in some situations, and it is releasing two products Tuesday based on the approach.

Submission + - Superbugs being treated with Brazilian Traditional Medicine (nature.com)

tomhath writes: A recently published study identifies the active compounds in fruits of the Brazilian Peppertree that help heal wounds while also blocking the ability of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa to necrotize flesh. From the report:

One of the earliest written records concerning the use of S. terebinthifolia date back to 1648 when it was described by Dutch naturalist, Willem Piso, in his book Historia Naturalis Brasiliae... It is included in the Brazilian Pharmacopoeia and has served as a staple in Brazilian traditional medicine for its anti-septic and anti-inflammatory qualities in the treatment of wounds and ulcers as well as for urinary and respiratory infections. Bark extracts have demonstrated antibacterial activity against several pathogens, including S. aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Aspergillus species. Bark extracts were also found to be active against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and were effective against peritonitis when injected into the abdominal cavity of rats...

Very little is known, however, regarding the chemistry and bioactivity of the fruits, which were used traditionally as topical poultices for infected wounds and ulcers. Furthermore, while many studies have focused on growth inhibitory, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing properties of this plant, none have examined its potential as a source of anti-virulence drugs.


Submission + - GM Salmonella destroys cancer (sandiegouniontribune.com) 1

schwit1 writes: Using mice and cultures of human cancer cells, a South Korean-led scientific team demonstrated that Salmonella typhimurium engineered to make a foreign protein caused immune cells called macrophages and neutralizes to mobilize against the cancer.

The bacterium came from an attenuated strain that has little infectious potential. Such strains have been tested as vaccines. The protein, called FlaB, is made by a gene in the estuarine bacterium Vibrio vulnificus, a close relative of the cholera bacterium, Vibrio cholerae.

Tumors shrank below detectable levels in 11 out of 20 mice injected with the modified Salmonella, said the study, published in Science Translational Medicine.

Submission + - Genetics used to improve crop production, naturally. (bbc.com)

Gr8Apes writes: Scientists have successfully decoded the genome of quinoa, a hugely popular "super-food" because it is well balanced and gluten-free. They have pinpointed one of the genes that they believe control the production of saponins (bitter toxic compounds that protect the plant from predators) which can facilitate the breeding of plants without saponins resulting in sweeter seeds without having to process them. The scientists also believe that the genetic understanding now gained will allow them to breed shorter, stockier plants that don't fall over as easily, and that these benefits could be gained without the use of genetic modification.

Submission + - Four of Iceland's main volcanoes all preparing for eruption (icelandmonitor.mbl.is)

Applehu Akbar writes: Because Iceland is the one exposed place on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, it has long been a paradise for vulcanologists. At any given time at least one of its 130 volcanoes is doing...something interesting. Now that four of Iceland's largest volcanoes are showing signs of impending eruption, the world may be in for another summer of ash. Katla, Hecla, Bárðarbunga and Grímsvötn have all had major activity in the past, including vast floods from melting glaciers, enough ash to ground aircraft over all of Europe, volumes of sulfur that have induced global nuclear winter for a decade at a time, and clouds of poisonous fluoride gas.

When the mountains of Iceland speak, the whole world listens.

Submission + - Its time to have a talk about Slashdot technology 3

hackwrench writes: On top of not fixing the problems that Slashdot has. the new owners have added an annoying ad that persistently blocks actual usage on every load.
Slashdot also frequently launches users some distance into comments for no explicable reason.
It doesn't do Unicode.
The new interface is horrendous. Fortunately it can be switched off.
Features that used to be free are now subscription-only items.
Let's all hash it out. Not just technological issues but editorial grievances as well. And how many of us are on a moderation ban list for some long forgotten stupid reason?

Submission + - Paypal disguises 13% price hike as 'Policy Update'. (paypal.com) 2

turbotalon writes: In an email sent to users February 7th, Paypal is disguising a 13% rate hike as a 'Policy Update.' Roughly one quarter of the 'policy changes' are rate hikes, yet their emailed summary glosses over the rate hike, focussing instead on a few of the 'policy changes' with one sentence at the end about 'changing some of the fees we charge'.

Additionally, they have added a "non-discouragement clause" for sellers that provides:

"In representations to your customers or in public communications, you agree not to mischaracterize PayPal as a payment method. At all of your points of sale (in whatever form), you agree not to try to dissuade or inhibit your customers from using PayPal; and, if you enable your customers to pay you with PayPal, you agree to treat PayPal’s payment mark at least at par with other payment methods offered."

Reading the full text of the update reveals the following fees are increasing:
  Standard transaction fee
  International currency exchange fees
  In-store transaction fees
  Micro-payment fees
  Cross-border transaction fees

Submission + - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration broke its own rules (dailymail.co.uk) 2

turkeydance writes: A high-level whistleblower has told this newspaper that America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity when it published the sensational but flawed report, aimed at making the maximum possible impact on world leaders including Barack Obama and David Cameron at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015.

The report claimed that the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. Launched by NOAA with a public relations fanfare, it was splashed across the world’s media, and cited repeatedly by politicians and policy makers.

But the whistleblower, Dr John Bates, a top NOAA scientist with an impeccable reputation, has shown The Mail on Sunday irrefutable evidence that the paper was based on misleading, ‘unverified’ data.

 

Submission + - 'Lost continent' found under Mauritius in the Indian Ocean (cnn.com)

schwit1 writes: Found — one lost continent, hiding underneath a tropical holiday destination.

It might sound implausible, but deep at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, a research team, led by South Africa's University of the Witwatersrand, has found pieces of an ancient continent.

The lava-covered piece of continent, dubbed 'Mauritia,' was found under the popular island of Mauritius.

According to the report published this week in the journal Nature Communications, the piece of crust is left over from the breakup of Gondwanaland, a super-continent that existed more than 200 million years ago.


Submission + - Anonymous Hacks and Takes Down 10,613 Dark Web Portals (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Anonymous hackers have breached Freedom Hosting II, a popular Dark Web hosting provider, and have taken down 10,613 .onion sites. In a message left on all Freedom Hosting II sites, the hackers claim to have found massive troves of child pornography imagery hosted on the company's servers.

The hackers dumped 74GB of server files (half of which contained child pornography) and a database dump of 2.3GB. Security researcher Chris Monteiro has analyzed some of the dumped data. He says he discovered .onion URLs hosting botnets, fraud sites, sites peddling hacked data, weird fetish portals, more weird stuff, and child abuse websites targeting both English and Russian speaking buyers [NSFW links].

Freedom Hosting II hosts about a fifth of all .onion URLs. The first Freedom Hosting service was targeted by Anonymous in 2011 and eventually shut down in 2013 after the FBI also found child pornography hosted on its sites.

Submission + - FBI Has a National Watchlist That Gives Companies Real Time Updates on Employees (theintercept.com)

schwit1 writes: Rap Back has been advertised by the FBI as an effort to target individuals in "positions of trust," such as those who work with children, the elderly, and the disabled. According to a Rap Back spokesperson, however, there are no formal limits as to "which populations of individuals can be enrolled in the Rap Back Service." Civil liberties advocates fear that under Trump's administration the program will grow with serious consequences for employee privacy, accuracy of records, and fair employment practices.

Rap Back has been advertised by the FBI as an effort to target individuals in "positions of trust," such as those who work with children, the elderly, and the disabled. According to a Rap Back spokesperson, however, there are no formal limits as to "which populations of individuals can be enrolled in the Rap Back Service." Civil liberties advocates fear that the program will grow with serious consequences for employee privacy, accuracy of records, and fair employment practices.

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