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Submission + - Get caught using a VPN in the UAE, you will face fines of up to $545,000 (ibtimes.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: UAE has introduced a federal law banning the use of VPNs to try to avoid paying for expensive VOIP services.

The President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has issued a series of new federal laws relating to IT crimes, including a regulation that forbids anyone in the UAE from making use of virtual private networks (VPN) to secure their web traffic from prying eyes.

The new law states that anyone who uses a VPN or proxy server can be imprisoned and fined between Dh500,000-Dh2,000,000 ($136,000-$545,000, £415,000, €495,000) if they are found to use VPNs fraudently.

Submission + - Class of Large but Very Dim Galaxies Discovered

schwit1 writes: Astronomers have now detected and measured a new class of large but very dim galaxy that previously was not expected to exist.

‘Ultradiffuse’ galaxies came to attention only last year, after Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and Roberto Abraham of the University of Toronto in Canada built an array of sensitive telephoto lenses named Dragonfly. The astronomers and their colleagues observed the Coma galaxy cluster 101 megaparsecs (330 million light years) away and detected 47 faint smudges.

“They can’t be real,” van Dokkum recalls thinking when he first saw the galaxies on his laptop computer. But their distribution in space matched that of the cluster’s other galaxies, indicating that they were true members. Since then, hundreds more of these galaxies have turned up in the Coma cluster and elsewhere.

Ultradiffuse galaxies are large like the Milky Way — which is much bigger than most — but they glow as dimly as mere dwarf galaxies. It’s as though a city as big as London emitted as little light as Kalamazoo, Michigan.

More significantly, they have now found that these dim galaxies can be as big and as massive as the biggest bright galaxies, suggesting that there are a lot more stars and mass hidden out there and unseen than anyone had previously predicted.

Submission + - ULA interns launch record-breaking model rocket

schwit1 writes: A team of ULA interns, working in their spare time, have successfully launched the largest model rocket every built.

On Sunday (July 24), ULA launched the 50-foot-tall (15.24 meters) Future Heavy rocket out of Fort Carson Army Post, breaking the record for “the largest sport rocket launched anywhere in the world,” according to a statement from ULA. The Future Heavy is also notable because it was built entirely by company interns and their mentors. “We like [our interns] to have a very realistic experience,” ULA President and CEO Tory Bruno told Space.com at the Space Symposium meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado, last April.

Calling it a “model rocket” really isn’t fair. The thing is big, and really ranks up there with many of the suborbital rockets NASA used to routinely fly out of Wallops Island. That ULA has provided support for this effort again suggests that the leadership of Bruno is reshaping the company into a much more innovative and competitive company.

Submission + - Scribbles reveal Leonardo da Vinci ahead of his time, again

schwit1 writes: A historian doing a detailed study of Leonardo da Vinci’s research on the nature of friction has discovered his first notes on the subject, where da Vinci outlined the laws of friction two hundred years before they were finally documented by a French scientist.

“The sketches and text show Leonardo understood the fundamentals of friction in 1493,” says Hutchings. “He knew that the force of friction acting between two sliding surfaces is proportional to the load pressing the surfaces together and that friction is independent of the apparent area of contact between the two surfaces. These are the ‘laws of friction’ that we nowadays usually credit to a French scientist, Guillaume Amontons, working 200 years later.”

It is an unfortunately thing that da Vinci lived and worked in Italy. Though this was where the Renaissance blossomed, it is also the place where some scientists at the time were persecuted for being too honest about their research. To protect himself da Vinci confined his scientific genius to his private diaries, written in a backwards script he created so that no one could easily understand them. Thus, while his brilliance as a painter was recognized in his lifetime and after, the discoveries he had made about engineering and science were lost for literally centuries.

Submission + - China Bans Internet News Reporting as Media Crackdown Widens (bloomberg.com)

schwit1 writes: Internet portals must shut all original reporting operations

Web services can now carry only state-approved media news

China’s top internet regulator ordered major online companies including Sina Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. to stop original news reporting, the latest effort by the government to tighten its grip over the country’s web and information industries.

The Cyberspace Administration of Chinaimposed the ban on several major news portals, including Sohu.com Inc. and NetEase Inc., Chinese media reported in identically worded articles citing an unidentified official from the agency’s Beijing office. The companies have “seriously violated” internet regulations by carrying plenty of news content obtained through original reporting, causing “huge negative effects,” according to a report that appeared in The Paper on Sunday.

The agency instructed the operators of mobile and online news services to dismantle “current-affairs news” operations on Friday, after earlier calling a halt to such activity at Tencent, according to people familiar with the situation. Like its peers, Asia’s largest internet company had developed a news operation and grown its team. Henceforth, they and other services can only carry reports provided by government-controlled print or online media, the people said, asking not to be identified because the issue is politically sensitive.

The sweeping ban gives authorities near-absolute control over online news and political discourse, in keeping with a broader crackdown on information increasingly distributed over the web and mobile devices. President Xi Jinping has stressed that Chinese media must serve the interests of the ruling Communist Party.

Submission + - The Common Core Costs Billions and Hurts Students (nytimes.com)

schwit1 writes: Six years after the release of our first national standards, the Common Core, and the new federal tests that accompanied them, it seems clear that the pursuit of a national curriculum is yet another excuse to avoid making serious efforts to reduce the main causes of low student achievement: poverty and racial segregation.

The people who wrote the Common Core standards sold them as a way to improve achievement and reduce the gaps between rich and poor, and black and white. But the promises haven’t come true. Even in states with strong common standards and tests, racial achievement gaps persist. Last year, average math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress declined for the first time since 1990; reading scores were flat or decreased compared with a decade earlier.

Submission + - Iran destroys 100,000 satellite dishes in crackdown (yahoo.com)

schwit1 writes: Iran destroyed 100,000 satellite dishes and receivers on Sunday as part of a widespread crackdown against the illegal devices that authorities say are morally damaging, a news website reported.

"The truth is that most satellite channels... deviate the society's morality and culture," he said at the event according to Basij News.

Under Iranian law, satellite equipment is banned and those who distribute, use, or repair them can be fined up to $2,800 (2,500 euros). Iranian police regularly raid neighbourhoods and confiscate dishes from rooftops.

Submission + - MH370 Pilot Flew a Suicide Route on His Home Simulator Closely Matching Final Fl (nymag.com) 1

schwit1 writes: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was likely steered into the sea intentionally, by its own captain, in a pre-planned mass murder-suicide, a new report reveals.

In an exclusive story posted online Friday, New York magazine says that the plane’s captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, “conducted a simulated flight deep into the remote southern Indian ocean less than a month before the plane vanished under uncannily similar circumstances.”

Submission + - Physicists Combine Gold with Titanium And Quadruple Its Strength (futurism.com)

schwit1 writes: When it comes to bone replacements, the go-to material is still titanium. Hard, wear-resistant, and compatible to the body, titanium looks like the best alternative to actual bone, maybe even better. Who knew that you could improve the ‘gold standard’ by just adding actual gold?

Rice University physicists have discovered that an alloy of titanium and gold is three to four times harder than steel, and may actually be better as a material for replacement body parts. The study, published in Science Advances , described the properties of an alloy of the two metals, a 3-to-1 mixture of titanium and gold, called Titanium-3. They found the alloy to be four times harder than titanium.

When they checked the biocompatibility and wear rate of the alloy, the researchers knew that it would rank high, since its parent metals are already biocompatible and used in medical implants. Surprisingly, Titanium-3 performed well over their expectations, actually being more biocompatible and wear resistant than pure titanium.

Gold-pressed latinum?

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