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Submission + - Just 2 weeks in the mountains can change your blood for months (sciencealert.com)

schwit1 writes: The human body begins adapting to high-elevation environments as quickly as overnight, and these biological changes can last for months — even after the person has returned to lower elevations.

For the first time ever, scientists comparing the blood of mountain hikers have observed how multiple changes affect the red blood cells' ability to retain oxygen in low-oxygen environments — and it happens within hours.

The find contradicts an assumption that’s lasted for half a century suggesting that humans in high-altitude environments start producing new red blood cells that are more capable of supplying oxygen to their muscles and organs than the average human’s blood.

Submission + - Despite Obama's pledge to make govern. more open, report says secret laws abound (fortune.com) 1

schwit1 writes: The Justice Department has kept classified at least 74 opinions, memos and letters on national security issues, including interrogation, detention and surveillance, according to a report released Tuesday by the Brennan Center for Justice.

Also still classified are between 25 and 30 significant opinions issued between 2003 and 2013 by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the secretive federal court that interprets the law governing foreign intelligence-gathering inside the United States.

And at the State Department, 807 international agreements signed between 2004 and 2014 have not been published.

Submission + - Feds Demand Everyone's Fingerprints To Open Phones (forbes.com)

ArtemaOne writes: Under the Fourth Amendment, Americans are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures, but according to one group of federal prosecutors, just being in the wrong house at the wrong time is cause enough to make every single person inside provide their fingerprints and unlock their phones.

Back in 2014, a Virginia Circuit Court ruled that while suspects cannot be forced to provide phone passcodes, biometric data like fingerprints doesn’t have the same constitutional protection. Since then, multiple law enforcement agencies have tried to force individual suspects to unlock their phones with their fingers, but none have claimed the sweeping authority found in a Justice Department memorandum recently uncovered by Forbes.

Submission + - SPAM: NFL ratings plunge could spell doom for traditional TV

schwit1 writes: Football, America’s biggest prime-time powerhouse, has been thrust into a crisis this fall, with dwindling ratings sparking questions over whether it can remain a gold mine for television in an age when more Americans are abandoning traditional TV.

Network executives have long used the National Football League’s live games as a last line of defense against the rapid growth of “cord-cutting” and on-demand viewing upending the industry.

But now, the NFL is seeing its ratings tumble in the same way that the Olympics, awards shows and other live events have, falling more than 10 percent for the first five weeks of the season compared with the first five weeks of last season. A continued slide, executives say, could pose an even bigger danger: If football can’t survive the new age of TV, what can?

The explosion of modern entertainment options, offered on more devices and at any time, has splintered American audiences and sped TV’s decline, Hughes said. “Sports seemed to be immune from it — it was live, the last bastion of broadcast television. But [the world] has caught up to it now.”

They pointed to “a confluence of events,” including the election, to explain the ratings slide. Other weaknesses have plagued America’s most popular TV sport. Some of the league’s top players have retired or have been suspended, including Peyton Manning, Marshawn Lynch and Tom Brady, creating a star-power vacuum that may have driven casual fans away.

Add to that the cowardly way the NFL handled the Colin Kaepernick situation, which alienated so many, now former, fans.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - SPAM: CIA Prepping for Possible Cyber Strike Against Russia

schwit1 writes: The Obama administration is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election, U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.

Current and former officials with direct knowledge of the situation say the CIA has been asked to deliver options to the White House for a wide-ranging "clandestine" cyber operation designed to harass and "embarrass" the Kremlin leadership.

The sources did not elaborate on the exact measures the CIA was considering, but said the agency had already begun opening cyber doors, selecting targets and making other preparations for an operation. Former intelligence officers told NBC News that the agency had gathered reams of documents that could expose unsavory tactics by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Vice President Joe Biden told "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd on Friday that "we're sending a message" to Putin and that "it will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact."

When asked if the American public will know a message was sent, the vice president replied, "Hope not."

Link to Original Source

Submission + - SPAM: No more manned Soyuz purchased by NASA after 2019

schwit1 writes: Both Boeing and SpaceX better get their manned capsules working by 2019, because NASA at this point has no plans to buy more seats on Russian Soyuz capsules after the present contract runs out.

Even as the commercial crew schedules move later into 2018, NASA officials say they are not considering extending the contract with Roscosmos — the Russian space agency — for more launches in 2019. The last Soyuz launch seats reserved for U.S. astronauts are at the end of 2018.

It takes more than two years to procure components and assemble new Soyuz capsules, so Russia needed to receive new Soyuz orders from NASA by some time this fall to ensure the spacecraft would be ready for liftoff in early 2019.

The second paragraph above notes that even if NASA decided it needed more Soyuz launches, it is probably too late to buy them and have them available by 2019.

Submission + - SPAM: No More Humans: Foxconn Deploys 40,000 Robots In China

schwit1 writes: Foxconn has deployed 40,000 robots in its factories in mainland China as it aims to reduce the number of workers at its plants creating digital devices. Those robots were deployed to Foxconn's manufacturing base in Zhengzhou, a panel factory in Chengdu, and computer and peripherals factories in Kunshan and Jiashan.

Dai said currently Foxconn can produce 10,000 robots annually. In the future, those robots are all potential replacements for human labor. For the Kunshan factory alone, Foxconn has cut 60,000 employees.

Prior to this, labor costs in mainland China were lower than robots; therefore, Foxconn maintained nearly one million workers. However, with the increase of labor costs and the younger generation's lack of interest in production line work, many companies have launched huge investments in automation.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - SPAM: Breakthrough increases plant yields by one third

schwit1 writes: Plant scientists have found a way to encourage plants to better use atmospheric nitrogen, thus increasing yields by more than one third.

For years, scientists have tried to increase the rate of nitrogen fixation in legumes by altering rhizobia bacterioid function or interactions that take place between the bacterioid and the root nodule cells.

Tegeder took a different approach: She increased the number of proteins that help move nitrogen from the rhizobia bacteria to the plant’s leaves, seed-producing organs and other areas where it is needed. The additional transport proteins sped up the overall export of nitrogen from the root nodules. This initiated a feedback loop that caused the rhizobia to start fixing more atmospheric nitrogen, which the plant then used to produce more seeds. “They are bigger, grow faster and generally look better than natural soybean plants,” Tegeder said. “Some evidence we have suggests they might also be highly efficient under stressful conditions like drought.”

The technique not only produces healthier plants and more seeds, it reduces the need for fertilizer, the overuse of which can be an environmental issue.

Submission + - SPAM: Ignorant of Straisand Effect, YouTube restricts Trump's video

mi writes: In an attempt to limit its impact, YouTube's censors have placed "unlisted" Trump's anti-Clinton video and then made it inaccessible in the "restricted" mode.

Predictably, the efforts backfired and the video was seen by over 370K times within 24 hours — seemingly a record for the "Team Trump" channel.

At the time of this typing, all restrictions seem to have been removed from the video.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - SPAM: Numerous suspicious court cases aim at getting web pages taken down or deindexed

schwit1 writes: There are about 25 court cases throughout the country that have a suspicious profile:
  • All involve allegedly self-represented plaintiffs, yet they have similar snippets of legalese that suggest a common organization behind them. (A few others, having a slightly different profile, involve actual lawyers.)
  • All the ostensible defendants ostensibly agreed to injunctions being issued against them, which often leads to a very quick court order (in some cases, less than a week).
  • Of these 25-odd cases, 15 give the addresses of the defendants — but a private investigator (Giles Miller of Lynx Insights & Investigations) couldn’t find a single one of the ostensible defendants at the ostensible address.

Now, you might ask, what’s the point of suing a fake defendant (to the extent that some of these defendants are indeed fake)? How can anyone get any real money from a fake defendant? How can anyone order a fake defendant to obey a real injunction?

The answer is that Google and various other Internet platforms have a policy: They won’t take down material (or, in Google’s case, remove it from Google indexes) just because someone says it’s defamatory. Understandable — why would these companies want to adjudicate such factual disputes? But if they see a court order that declares that some material is defamatory, they tend to take down or deindex the material, relying on the court’s decision.

Yet the trouble is that these Internet platforms can’t really know if the injunction was issued against the actual author of the supposed defamation — or against a real person at all.

Link to Original Source

Comment Turkey is also jailing many for downloading app (Score 2) 75


Teachers, judges, journalists, businesspeople, bankers, shoemakers, chefs, police officers, florists... All of these people are in Turkish prisons for simply downloading ByLock. Thousands of children were left orphans in a country where child social services are broke. There are dozens of cases where entire families were jailed because of this app.

Submission + - SPAM: Green Bank goes private

schwit1 writes: The Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia, having lost most of its government funding, has switched to a private model where they compete for customers on the open market.

[T]hey petitioned to retain a fraction of NSF funding and make up the difference with private contracts-a model then unheard of. Eventually, the NSF agreed to fund about 60 percent of Green Bank's operations in 2017, tapering to 30 percent in 2018.

To add cash flow to that federal tributary, Green Bankers had to nail down private contracts. The 140-foot telescope, home to the biggest ball bearing in the world, will download data from the Russian Space Agency's on-orbit radio telescope, RadioAstron, which will also hook up with the newer telescope to form a high-resolution array. The North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves has commissioned the flagship Green Bank Telescope to watch their network of pulsars for fingerprints of gravitational waves.

And Breakthrough Listen-a search for extraterrestrial intelligence-will look for the technological fingerprints of aliens. The project, funded by rich-guy Yuri Milner, will watch the sky 1,300 hours a year, debiting $2 million from Milner annually and depositing it into Green Bank's coffers.

In other words, they are marketing the telescope to the open market, selling time to use it to whoever has a need. And apparently, there is a need, though like most operations that go public to private, the telescope will have to become leaner and meaner and more efficient to stay in the black. Which is to the good.
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