Shared posts

16 Sep 14:44

Wikileaks releases Finfisher malware to help developers defend against it

by Carly Page
Wikileaks releases Finfisher malware to help developers defend against it

Assange slams Germany for continuing to sell weaponised malware

16 Sep 14:50

‘Castle’ cast gets slap-happy in season 6 gag reel

by Samantha Highfill
The cast of Castle has a certain way of showing love toward one another, and it seems to involve a
16 Sep 13:00

‘The Flash': The fast story behind making a fast spinoff

by James Hibberd
Everything about The Flash happened fast. Producers conceived of the spin-off just two months after Arrow premiered. They cast the
15 Sep 13:13

Amateurs to Anfield in four years

Liverpool's Champions League opponents have had a meteoric rise, partly thanks to their penalty-saving defender Cosmin Moti.
15 Sep 16:01

‘CSI: Cyber’ casts Luke Perry

by Teresa Jue
CSI: Cyber is gathering the best of the ’90s and early 2000s, all in one place. Fresh off the casting
15 Sep 20:18

‘Helix’ season 2 trailer shows a very different series

by James Hibberd
Goodbye snow! The first trailer for the second season of Helix shows a radically different setting. Leaving behind the Arctic
15 Sep 20:57

‘Big Bang Theory’ star Kaley Cuoco explains why she chopped off her long locks

by Natalie Abrams
By now, fans of The Big Bang Theory have seen the season premiere photos that show Kaley Cuoco’s new ‘do
15 Sep 21:30

Genetically, Schizophrenia Is At Least Eight Separate Diseases

by Rafi Letzter

An illustration of DNA
via Pixabay
Research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry shows that schizophrenia is not a single genetic disease, but in fact a class of diseases with variable symptoms.

Schizophrenia is known to be passed in families, implying genetic origins, but no single mutation has ever been shown to cause symptoms to emerge. It turns out, that's because different "orchestras" of mutations working together cause a range disorders that until now had been understood as a single disease. These results emerged from a new approach to studying the illness. Scientists examined the DNA of 4,200 people with schizophrenia and 3,800 healthy controls, looking for places in the genome where a single nucleotide -- the smallest unit of data in DNA -- had mutated. They found that none of the individual mutations produce significant risk for the disorder on their own. However, particular clusters of mutations create risk of developing schizophrenia and different symptoms. Eight have been found so far, and they expect to uncover more.

"This is better than saying that someone either has or doesn't have the disease," Dr. Igor Zwir, a lead on the study, tells Popular Science.

The study could have broad implications for the severe mental illness, which appears in about 1 percent of the population. Sufferers can experience a range of symptoms from delusions and hallucinations to disorganized speech and apathy. The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published in 2013, called for interpretation of schizophrenia along a spectrum, but, according to Zwir, no comprehensive method for doing so existed, leading doctors to rely on trial and error for treatment.

"You can have one patient on seven drugs," he says. "One doesn't work, so they try another, and another, and another, and another. The problem is no one knows how to divide schizophrenia into groups."

By looking at the genetic roots of the disease instead of symptoms, Zwir hopes doctors will be able to be more direct in their treatment.

According to Zwir, the next step is to develop inexpensive targeted tests for the groups of mutations that produce schizophrenic symptoms. That could lead to a future of quicker, more effective care.

15 Sep 09:00

The deployment pipeline

by sharhalakis

by Julik and Aaron

11 Sep 21:00

The Ozone Layer Is On The Mend

by Emily Gertz

ozone layer, nasa, antarctica
Ozone Hole Over Antarctica
In this false-color image of total ozone over the South Pole on September 8, 2014, blues and purples are areas of least ozone, and yellows and reds show where the ozone layer is thickest.

An international agreement to phase out use of chemicals that damage the ozone layer appears to be working. A new report finds that ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere are down by 10 to 15 percent, and that the ozone layer is by and large getting thicker.

The reason is that nations have followed through on commitments made under the Montreal Protocol and related pacts to phase out use of chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) and halons, according to the new assessment (PDF) released this week by the United Nations Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization. About 300 scientists contributed to the report.

The ozone layer is a thin film of gas in the stratosphere. It protects the Earth from the Sun's ultraviolent rays, which can cause skin cancer, eye damage, and other forms of ill health for both animal and plant life on Earth.

CFCs and halons were common in products like refrigerators, fire-fighting foams and aerosol spray cans. But from the early 1970s onward, evidence mounted that UV radiation broke down these compounds in the mid-stratosphere (about six miles above the Earth's surface), resulting in the release of chlorine and bromine atoms that break down ozone (O3) molecules. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that one chlorine atom can rip apart over 100,000 ozone molecules.

ozone layer chart
Ozone Layer Progress
The ozone layer has shown signs of recovering from human-caused damage since a worldwide ban on ozone-destroying substances began in 1989.

After the Montreal Protocol came into effect in 1989, countries began phasing out manufacture and use of ozone-destroying substances. There have been signs in the past 10 to 15 years that the atmosphere's "ozone column" is thickening in places, suggesting that the ban is working. The new report estimates that by 2050, the ozone layer in the Arctic and middle latitudes should return to roughly the condition it was in in 1980. Because natural atmospheric conditions cause air pollutants to concentrate over the poles, the seasonal ozone hole over Antarctica each spring (which has caused changes in the summer climate of the Southern Hemisphere) will take longer to heal.

A side benefit of CFC reduction is that it may be helping to blunt the progress of global warming, since CFCs are also powerful greenhouse gases. The assessment estimates that in 2010, lowered emissions of ozone depleters equated to keeping around 10 metric gigatons of CO2 out of the atmosphere, “which is about five times larger than the annual emissions reduction target” for 2008-2012 under the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty.

There are some warnings in the report as well. Some of the compounds being swapped in for ozone depleters – such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – are also potent greenhouse gases. If their use increases as predicted, they will contribute quite a lot to surface temperature rises.

As well, carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) levels remain unexpectedly high, even though the substance was banned under the Montreal Protocol. Participants in the treaty reported no new emissions of CCI4, which was used in fire fighting and dry cleaning, between 2007 and 2012. NASA credits the high levels to "unidentified industrial leakages, large emissions from contaminated sites, or unknown CCl4 sources."

The UN assessment also warns that the options available for stopping future damage to the ozone layer are becoming limited as most of the most straightforward actions play themselves out. These have ranged from ending the production of ozone-harming substances, to the destruction of "banks" of destructive chemicals and upgrading to appliances that don't contain CFCs.  Presumably more ingenuity will be required on humanity's part to continue making progress -- by coming up with new, safe chemicals and technologies --  as well as not repeating the mistakes of the past.

12 Sep 09:00

Work - some days

by sharhalakis

by uaiHebert

15 Sep 13:55

Microsoft Reveals $2.5 Billion Acquisition of Mojang

15 Sep 09:55

Nokia 130 now available in China, Pakistan and Nigeria


a month of standby...

The first (and perhaps only) feature phone that Microsoft has unveiled, the Nokia 130, is now available in stores in China, Pakistan and Nigeria. The rollout to other countries will continue in the following weeks. The Nokia 130 has a recommended retail price of just €19 for the single-SIM version. That's CNY 151, PKR 2,530 or NGN 4,010 by today's exchange rates. There's a dual-SIM version of the phone that will cost a bit more. Red, black and white color options are available. Nokia/Microsoft are very proud of the 130's battery life, even made an infographic about it. It's good enough for about a month of standby or 46 hours of music playback. The phone has a microSD card (up to 32GB) for music storage. There's also FM radio built-in The phone has Bluetooth for local connectivity (with Nokia's SLAM for easier connections). The Nokia 130 has a flashlight and can be used as a backup phone if something goes wrong. It supports charging over USB (so you can use your regular chargers), the lengthy standby helps...

03 Sep 17:56

Spoof of classic O\'Reilly geek book cover - Boing Boing

by pit
12 Sep 17:18

‘White Collar’ final season gets ‘shocking ending,’ premiere date

by James Hibberd
USA’s White Collar will have a “shocking” ending, promises network president Chris McCumber. Also, the home stretch now has a
12 Sep 19:23

Black Celebration: J.J. Abrams and Disney Take X-Wing to the Dark Side

by Jason Mick
Mysterious new black-painted X-Wing pops up on the film set in the UK, Millenium Falcon also seen
11 Sep 16:02

‘Star Wars': First ‘Episode VII’ glimpse might be in ‘Rebels’

by James Hibberd
Attention Star Wars fans: Want to see the new ships, locations, characters and weapons that will be in Episode VII?
11 Sep 16:53

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman crack up in ‘Sherlock’ outtake

by Clark Collis
Emmy-winning Sherlock actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman usually play their respective roles of Holmes and Watson with admirably straight
11 Sep 23:09

OK Go Claims Apple Stole Its Music Video Concept

The level Apple stooped to in this case is pretty sad. You reject the band's original pitch and then hire the same production company behind OK Go's video and used the same director to make a knock-off video for your iPhone event. Stay classy Apple. Comments
11 Sep 21:22

What You Need To Know About The Solar Storm Headed For Earth

by Loren Grush

Solar Flare Eruption
An intense, X-class solar flare erupted from sun spot AR2518 on Wednesday afternoon.

The sun has been regurgitating a lot of solar flares these days, and now, a couple will be knocking at Earth’s door this weekend.

The originator of these flares is a particularly complex sunspot called AR2518, which is currently facing our planet. Late Monday night, the spot produced a minor solar flare (class R1) that lasted for six hours, but then on Wednesday at 1:45 p.m. EST, it upchucked a whopping X1.6-class solar flare, which is pretty darn strong.

Both flares have launched large outbursts of magnetic fields, known as coronal mass ejections – or CMEs – at high velocity straight toward Earth, according to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center. The CME associated with Monday’s flare is expected to hit tonight, while the more intense CME is expected to arrive Friday afternoon to evening. Earth experiences CMEs all the time without issue, but if they're strong enough, CMEs can cause geomagnetic storms and sometimes, extreme radio blackouts. 

Although Wednesday’s solar flare was somewhat strong, the magnitudes of these incoming CMEs aren’t that intense, historically speaking. (Although, as the Sun is nearing peak activity on its 11-year solar cycle, we may be seeing more -- and stronger -- storms soon.) What makes this event so unique, however, is that Earth will experience two CMEs in close succession to one another – a situation that is pretty rare. That means scientists are being cautious about what to expect. “The two CMEs could be interacting on their way to Earth’s orbit, or beyond Earth’s orbit,” says Thomas Berger, director of NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), meaning the flares could potentially amplify each other in some way.

Ultimately, no one really knows how these storms will impact each other. Given this uncertainty, NOAA has issued a moderate to strong G3 geomagnetic storm watch for Friday. The rating indicates that the incoming magnetic fields may cause some problems with radio communications, as well as voltage irregularities in northern latitudes of the United States. Grid operators and even FEMA have been notified, just in case.

Fortunately, NOAA doesn’t expect the impacts of the CMEs to be unmanageable. “There’s really no concern for electronics down here on the ground,” says William Murtagh, program coordinator of the Space Weather Prediction Center. Murtagh notes that some studies have implied that electronics at higher altitudes and higher latitudes, such as planes flying near the poles, might be more vulnerable to geomagnetic storms. The biggest concern with electronics on the ground would be a loss of power, but Murtagh says the storms aren't strong enough to cause such a blackout.

Still, they’ll be watching the events closely. Additionally, Wednesday’s eruption also produced an Earth-bound solar radiation storm, but that has only amounted to an S1 rating (the lowest on the NOAA scale). When solar radiation storms reach a level of S3 or above, NOAA will advise the FAA to start rerouting flights away from the poles to avoid radiation exposure. NASA mission control will also direct astronauts into more hardened portions of the International Space Station.

Meanwhile, there is one pretty awesome byproduct of these two solar flares. The storms could produce some pretty intense auroras, which may be visible in northern parts of the United States tonight and tomorrow. So if you living in Maine or the Dakotas (or even New York), make sure you have your camera handy. Chances are your DSLR will work just fine.

To learn more about solar storms, check out our previous coverage:

11 Sep 16:00

LG's first 4K OLED TV comes to the US next month for $10k

by Richard Lawler
LG just announced its first two curved 4K OLED TVs, perfect for high-end buyers that don't want to compromise on contrast or resolution, and now we know when they're going on sale in the US. The 65-inch version will start shipping next month, with a...
11 Sep 19:28

EU court rules libraries can digitize books without permission

by Terrence O'Brien
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that libraries have the right to digitize books and distribute them to dedicated reading terminals without first obtaining the publisher's permission. The decision rests on exceptions built...
11 Sep 21:33

SanDisk's 512GB SD card will hold all the 4K video you can handle

by Jon Fingas
If you've been dabbling in 4K video recording, you probably know that most SD cards won't cut it; you'll be thankful if you have enough space for a wedding video, let alone a magnum opus. SanDisk may have a solution for that space problem in its new,...
11 Sep 21:04

Bang & Olufsen's 85-inch 4K TV is competitively priced (for millionaires)

by Daniel Cooper
Bang & Olufsen advertised the Avant 55, its first 4K TV, with the phrase "the one that moves." By the same logic, the Avant 85 should be titled "the, er, bigger one that also moves." Naturally, the colossal set comes with the usual Danish video...
10 Sep 22:30

First-Ever Human Trial Of An Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Treatment Set To Begin

by Francie Diep

close-up photo of a blue eye
Human Eye
Cassi Saari

A Japanese patient with severe eye disease is set to become the first person to be treated with induced pluripotent stem cells, Nature News reports. Cells of this type have been considered promising for future treatments since their creation eight years ago, which was itself a milestone. This human test is set to be a historic moment in biotechnology.

It's also an anxious one. Stem cell therapies carry the risk of creating tumors, although Nature News reports the scientists in charge of the Japanese trial found their treatment did not cause tumors in mice and monkeys. In addition, there might be other risks to the treatment that scientists aren't yet aware of; stem cell therapies of all types are only just being tried in humans.

Induced pluripotent stem cells are special because they're not made from embryos. Instead, they come from harvesting skin cells from people, then treating those cells with genes that reverse the cell's life stage back to its stem cell state. That means scientists are able to make induced pluripotent stem cells from cells taken from a patient's own body. The resulting cells should be well matched to the patient's own genetics, although it's possible the "induction" part of the process introduces genetic aberrations into the cells.

The patient in this Japanese trial has macular degeneration, a progressive disease in which people lose the light-detecting cells in the retinas in their eyes. Scientists have also tried embryonic stem cells as a treatment for the disease. (Here's an update on that effort.)

The induced pluripotent stem cell trial will test a treatment developed by Masayo Takahashi, an opthamologist with a Japanese research institute called RIKEN. Takahashi has been making induced pluripotent stem cells and growing those cells into a sheet of replacement retinal cells. He then surgically attaches the sheet onto the retina. He and his colleagues have previously demonstrated that this treatment works in monkeys.

[Nature News]

11 Sep 01:02

After balloons and robots, Google's next moonshot is a vibrating spoon

by Mariella Moon
A new technology's joining those diabetes-monitoring contact lenses at Google X's Life Science division, one that'll make eating a lot easier for people with Parkinson's or essential tremor. This technology takes the form of a spoon that vibrates to...
11 Sep 01:57

Google Play officially extends return window to two hours

by Billy Steele
While Google already had been offering an extended two-hour window for app and game returns, the outfit has officially acknowledged the change. Before the switch, Android users had 15 minutes to decide whether or not they wanted to keep software...
10 Sep 09:43

HGST unveils its final non-helium drive and the first 10TB hard drive

by Chris Merriman
HGST unveils its final non-helium drive and the first 10TB hard drive

Uses shingle magnetic recording

10 Sep 04:37

Visa's Token Service generates fake CC numbers to keep your real ones safe

by Mariella Moon
If you haven't heard yet, Cupertino just launched a digital wallet called Apple Pay that randomizes your credit cards' numbers. The one responsible for generating those fake numbers for Visa cards in particular, is Visa itself, through its new Token...
09 Sep 23:09

Microsoft May Buy Minecraft Studio For $2B

Did they just says $2 billion for Mojang!?!? Holy hell, we need a price check on isle #3 please. Microsoft is in serious discussions to buy Mojang, the independent Swedish studio responsible for Minecraft, in a deal estimated at more than $2 billion, The Wall Street Journal reports. An agreement could be signed this week, the site says. Comments