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Submission + - Maximizing economic output with linear programming ... and communism (medium.com)

mkwan writes: Economies are just a collection of processes that convert raw materials and labour into useful goods and services. By representing these processes as a series of equations and solving a humongous linear programming problem, it should be possible to maximize an economy's GDP. The catch? The economy needs to go communist.

Submission + - Cheaper Flow Batteries Using Vitamins Discovered (natureworldnews.com)

William Robinson writes: Scientists from Harvard University have discovered how to create flow batteries using organic molecules inspired by vitamin B2, which helps store energy from food in the body. With a few tweaks to the original B2 molecule, the scientists discovered a new group of organic molecules that make good candidates for alkaline flow batteries. The result of the discovery was a redox flow battery that demonstrates an open-circuit voltage approaching 1.2V, with a current efficiency of 99.7 percent and a capacity retention over 99.98 percent per cycle.

Submission + - A Debate Over the Physics of Time (quantamagazine.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Einstein once described his friend Michele Besso as “the best sounding board in Europe” for scientific ideas. They attended university together in Zurich; later they were colleagues at the patent office in Bern. When Besso died in the spring of 1955, Einstein — knowing that his own time was also running out — wrote a now-famous letter to Besso’s family. “Now he has departed this strange world a little ahead of me,” Einstein wrote of his friend’s passing. “That signifies nothing. For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

Einstein’s statement was not merely an attempt at consolation. Many physicists argue that Einstein’s position is implied by the two pillars of modern physics: Einstein’s masterpiece, the general theory of relativity, and the Standard Model of particle physics. The laws that underlie these theories are time-symmetric — that is, the physics they describe is the same, regardless of whether the variable called “time” increases or decreases. Moreover, they say nothing at all about the point we call “now” — a special moment (or so it appears) for us, but seemingly undefined when we talk about the universe at large. The resulting timeless cosmos is sometimes called a “block universe” — a static block of space-time in which any flow of time, or passage through it, must presumably be a mental construct or other illusion.

Submission + - Windows 10 on air-gapped networks?

roger_that writes: We have been looking at the Windows 10 upgrade for our networks, and have not found any information about what happens to Windows 10's attempts to "phone home", when the computer is not attached to the Internet. Do files build up on the hard drive, like the WER (Windows Error Reporting) files of Windows Server 2003/2008? Does the error reporting continuously grab CPU cycles, attempting to send reports that can never go anywhere? Is there anything I need to be aware of/change before I move to Win10? We will be turning off as much of the "phoning home" software as we can (think Cortana), but what happens with the stuff we can't turn off?

Submission + - Ransomware Wreaks Havoc in the Cloud (lmgsecurity.com)

rye writes: Today, researchers at LMG Security released a video of the "Jigsaw" ransomware spreading across the "HackMe, Inc." corporate network in their "Play Lab," starting with the very first click on a phishing email, all the way to the encryption of HackMe, Inc's cloud repository. Watch as the ransomware spreads to the company's networked file share and OneDrive cloud repository. A perfectly creepy "Billy the Puppet" head pops up as the ransom note is printed in green letters across the desktop.

Want your colleagues or management to understand the true potential damage of ransomware? Just show them this video. Then, unplug your network cable, crawl under your desk and hide.

"What does it actually LOOK like when ransomware encrypts all the files on an employee workstation and then moves on to encrypt your company’s file share, and even cloud-based documents?"

Submission + - New Study Shows Why Big Pharma Hates Medical Marijuana

HughPickens.com writes: Christopher Ingraham writes in the Washington Post that a new study shows that painkiller abuse and overdose are significantly lower in states with medical marijuana laws and that when medical marijuana is available, pain patients are increasingly choosing pot over powerful and deadly prescription narcotics. The researchers found that, in the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law. The drops were quite significant: In medical-marijuana states, the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication. But most strikingly, the typical physician in a medical-marijuana state prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year. As a sanity check, the Bradfords ran a similar analysis on drug categories that pot typically is not recommended for — blood thinners, anti-viral drugs and antibiotics. And on those drugs, they found no changes in prescribing patterns after the passage of marijuana laws.

The tanking numbers for painkiller prescriptions in medical marijuana states are likely to cause some concern among pharmaceutical companies. These painkiller drug companies have long been at the forefront of opposition to marijuana reform, funding research by anti-pot academics and funneling dollars to groups, such as the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, that oppose marijuana legalization. Cost-savings alone are not a sufficient justification for implementing a medical-marijuana program. The bottom line is better health, and the Bradfords' research shows promising evidence that medical-marijuana users are finding plant-based relief for conditions that otherwise would have required a pill to treat. "Our findings and existing clinical literature imply that patients respond to medical marijuana legislation as if there are clinical benefits to the drug, which adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that the Schedule 1 status of marijuana is outdated."

Submission + - Test of America's homeland missile defense system was an epic fail ... (latimes.com)

schwit1 writes: The system, known as GMD, has cost taxpayers more than $40 billion since it was declared operational in 2004. It is being expanded at a rapid pace despite stubborn technical problems that have undermined its reliability.

In carefully scripted tests, the system has failed to intercept and destroy mock warheads about half the time.

Project engineers for the Jan. 28 test had planned for the interceptor to fly within a narrow “miss distance” of its target to test the new thrusters’ effectiveness.

The missile agency issued a news release that day touting a “successful flight test.” The agency’s lead contractors were no less effusive. Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc., maker of the thrusters, said the new model “successfully performed its mission-critical role.”

That is not what happened. The closest the interceptor came to the target was a distance 20 times greater than what was expected, said the Pentagon scientists, who spoke on condition they not be identified.

“The mission wasn’t successful,” one of the scientists said. “Did the thruster perform as expected? No, it did not provide the control necessary for a lethal impact of an incoming threat.” A second scientist said the claims of success by the Missile Defense Agency and the contractors were “hyperbole, unsupported by any test data.”

Submission + - There are four quarks! (home.cern)

slew writes: Although last year saw the first LHC observations of pentaquark particles, apparently there are indeed tetraquark particles too! And the LHC found four of them (coincidence?) Even more interesting, although they apparently each have a unique internal structure, mass and their own sets of quantum numbers, all of the four particles apparently contain the same quark composition (charm,anti-charm,strange,anti-strange). Weird stuff ;^)

Submission + - What media streaming device to use

bkr1_2k writes: Way back when, I had a pc dedicated as a media server using MythTV. That died and I didn't bother building a new one. Consumer electronics caught up and I recently bought an AppleTV 3 to use for streaming my media library. I am, unsurprisingly, finding flaws with it. I'm looking for alternative devices that allow me to stream from my media server directly, without the need for a middleman app like iTunes for the AppleTV.

I don't need a ton of streaming services (we have netflix and amazon prime but don't use anything else). I primarily want to use this for streaming my own music and movie libraries over my home network, preferably with a user interface that lets me browse those in a fashion that doesn't force me to scroll through my whole library to get to the title that starts with the letter z. (A very poor design choice in the AppleTV).

Nor do I want any voice controls since they all suck, in my experience.

I would prefer an "open" device that I can update at will with add-ons but it's not a requirement.

What's are the current options out there? Roku, AppleTV, Chromecast. Anything else that might fit my needs better?

Submission + - HTML5 Ads Aren't That Safe Compared to Flash, Experts Say (softpedia.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: A study [PDF] from GeoEdge, an ad scanning vendor, reveals that Flash has been wrongly accused as the root cause of today's malvertising campaigns, but in reality, switching to HTML5 ads won't safeguard users from attacks because the vulnerabilities are in the ad platforms and advertising standards themselves. The company argues that for video ads, the primary root of malvertising is the VAST and VPAID advertising standards. VAST and VPAID are the rules of the game when it comes to online video advertising, defining the road an ad needs to take from the ad's creator to the user's browser.

Even if the ad is Flash or HTML5, there are critical points in this ad delivery path where ad creators can alter the ad via JavaScript injections. These same critical points are also there so advertisers or ad networks can feed JavaScript code that fingerprints and tracks users. The real culprit is the ability to send JavaScript code at runtime, and not if the ad is a Flash object, an image or a block of HTML(5) code.

Submission + - SPAM: Axiom Space proposes commercial module for NASA's International Space Station

MarkWhittington writes: When the International Space Station, first proposed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, reaches the end of its operational life in 2024, the question will arise what comes next for low Earth orbit activities. A number of proposals have emerged for building a commercial space station, such as the one to be constructed with inflatable modules proposed by Bigelow Aerospace. According to Geek Wire, a former NASA space station manager named Mike Suffredini suggests building a commercial module that would attach to the ISS. When the space station ends, the module will serve as the basis of a commercial space station.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Documents Show How Russia's Troll Army Hit America (buzzfeed.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The documents show instructions provided to the commenters that detail the workload expected of them. On an average working day, the Russians are to post on news articles 50 times. Each blogger is to maintain six Facebook accounts publishing at least three posts a day and discussing the news in groups at least twice a day. By the end of the first month, they are expected to have won 500 subscribers and get at least five posts on each item a day. On Twitter, the bloggers are expected to manage 10 accounts with up to 2,000 followers and tweet 50 times a day.

They are to post messages along themes called “American Dream” and “I Love Russia.” The archetypes for the accounts are called Handkerchief, Gay Turtle, The Ghost of Marius the Giraffe, Left Breast, Black Breast, and Ass, for reasons that are not immediately clear.

According to the documents, which are attached to several hundred emails sent to the project’s leader, Igor Osadchy, the effort was launched in April and is led by a firm called the Internet Research Agency. It’s based in a Saint Petersburg suburb, and the documents say it employs hundreds of people across Russia who promote Putin in comments on Russian blogs.

Submission + - Astronauts Enter Inflatable Space Station Module For The First Time

Dave Knott writes: The International Space Station's new inflatable habitat has had its first visitors. Astronauts have entered the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), "to collect an air sample and begin downloading data from sensors on the dynamics of BEAM's expansion". BEAM is part of a project to test how expandable habitats — which provide more usable volume per unit launch mass than do traditional rigid modules — perform in space. Over the next two years, NASA and Bigelow will study how well BEAM protects against temperature extremes, radiation and micrometeorite strikes.

Submission + - Hackers spamming ISIS supporters on Twitter with graphic PORN (mirror.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: Online hackers are spamming ISIS supporters on Twitter by following them with THOUSANDS of graphic porn accounts.

The accounts, known as 'pornbots', feature nothing but graphic sexual images and are automatically generated, but almost never tweet and therefore cannot be deleted as spam.

The hackers target tweeters who use a lot of ISIS hashtags and strike rapidly, sometimes following them with several hundred accounts in just a few minutes.

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