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The First Draft of the SN manifesto is available

What do you fear the most?

  • Walking alone at night
  • Becoming the victim of identity theft
  • Safety on the Internet
  • Being the victim of a mass/random shooting
  • Public speaking
  • Candlejack coming to kidnap me
  • I doesn't afraid of anything
  • Other - Spe

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:114 | Votes:524

posted by martyb on Saturday November 22, @09:45AM   Printer-friendly
from the wishing-him-well dept.

Reuters is reporting that one of the Cuban doctors who was sent to Sierra Leone has been diagnosed with Ebola. The doctor has been in Sierra Leone since October as a member of a group of 165 doctors and nurses that are part of a Cuban team of 256 medical professionals sent to West Africa to treat patients caught up in an epidemic that has infected more than 14,000 people and killed more than 5,000 of them.

In another post, Reuters reported:

The doctor, Felix Baez, 43, cannot recall any mistake in procedure that could have led to him catching the virus from a patient, said Jorge Perez, director of the tropical diseases hospital where Cuban doctors train for their Ebola missions.

Baez is a specialist in internal medicine, with little infectious disease experience. The Cuban doctors and nurses follow the training and recommendations of the World Health Organization, and wear protective, full-body suits when treating Ebola patients with strict procedures on how to remove them. They trained for their mission for three weeks in Cuba and another 15 days upon arriving in West Africa.

The Cuban claim that unlike doctors from other countries, they would treat any infected doctors in the field under the same condition as their Ebola patients "until they recover or die" quickly fell by the wayside, as plans were made to move the doctor to Geneva for treatment. Even prior to flying to Geneva, Dr Baez has been placed in the care of British doctors.

posted by martyb on Saturday November 22, @07:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the neutronfish-are-starfish-that-went-supernova dept.

The Seattle Times reports on a string of grisly sea-star die-offs.

Sea-stars on the West Coast are dying at an unprecedented and alarming rate. This most recent outbreak was discovered in Washington in 2013 and continues to confound Ecologists.

New research, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has linked the wasting disease to a virus that has been found in sea-stars since the 1940s. Which raises the question of what would cause this recent, explosive outbreak?

posted by martyb on Saturday November 22, @06:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the Danger!-Will-Robinson!-Danger! dept.

Vance and BYU colleagues Bonnie Anderson and Brock Kirwan carried out the experiment to better understand how people deal with online security risks, such as malware. They found that people say they care about keeping their computers secure, but behave otherwise—in this case, they plowed through malware warnings.

“We see these messages so much that we stop thinking about them,” Vance said. “In a sense, we don’t even see them anymore, and so we often ignore them and proceed anyway.”

posted by martyb on Saturday November 22, @04:25AM   Printer-friendly
from the If-I-added-a-function-to-a-math-library-could-you-say-I-commited-asin? dept.

Are you involved in a github or bitbucket project or have one of your own? Share it here and lets see if we can spark some collaboration.

If anyone is interested in keeping up-to-date with progress on the slashcode that drives SN and other member repos, check out #github on

posted by martyb on Saturday November 22, @02:35AM   Printer-friendly
from the that's-a-bright-idea! dept.

For several decades, astronomers have found and studied gravitational lenses: systems in which light from a distant source is bent as it passes a massive object, so that we see several images (magnified and distorted) of that source. The light from each image takes a different path to reach us, which can cause one image to vary before or after another; the lag in time between images, together with the redshifts of the source and the lensing object, can yield accurate distances.

Today's Astronomer's Telegram, number 6729, announces a very special gravitational lens: one which produces multiple images of a supernova! Supernovae are luminous enough to be seen at great distances (the host of this one is at z=1.49, very far away), and they rise and fall strongly in brightness over just a few weeks or months. This combination should allow astronomers to measure very accurate time lags between the three bright images of the supernova and use that information as a strong check on our understanding the size, age, and expansion rate of the universe.

posted by martyb on Saturday November 22, @12:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the should-name-a-search-engine:-"Sir Ch" dept.

Mozilla announced a change to their strategy for Firefox search partnerships. They are ending the practice of having a single global default search provider. Instead, the default search provider would be determined by location in the following ways:

  • United States: Yahoo (new five year deal), who would support the Do Not Track setting in Firefox
  • Russia: Yandex
  • China: Baidu

Google - together with Bing, DuckDuckGo, and other (depending on location) will continue to be a pre-installed search option. While not a default search provider, Google is not fully out - they will continue to power the Safe Browsing and Geolocation features of Firefox.

posted by martyb on Friday November 21, @10:58PM   Printer-friendly
from the waiting-for-apple-to-upgrade-it-to-retina® dept.

The NYT reports that the largest and most expensive digital billboard in Times Square stands eight stories tall and is nearly as long as a football field, spanning the entire block from 45th Street to 46th Street on Broadway and contains nearly 24 million LED pixels, each containing tiny red, blue and green lights. At a going rate of more than $2.5 million for four weeks, the megascreen ranks as one of the most expensive pieces of outdoor ad real estate on the market. A digital art exhibition by the critically acclaimed Universal Everything studio collective will animate the screen until November 24, when Google will take over as the exclusive, debut advertiser with a campaign that runs through the New Year. Size matters in Times Square,” said Harry Coghlan. “Sometimes it just comes down to wanting to stand out, and it comes down to ego.”

One of the oldest forms of advertising, billboards are attracting new attention as digital displays allow for new levels of real-time interactivity. Each day, more than 300,000 pedestrians are estimated to enter the Times Square “bow tie,” where Seventh Avenue intersects with Broadway between 42nd and 47th Streets. “People go to the Grand Canyon to see the most visually stunning natural canyon in the world” says Tim Tompkins. “They come to Times Square to see the most digitally striking canyon in the world.”

posted by martyb on Friday November 21, @09:20PM   Printer-friendly
from the try-it-in-another-country dept.

TV-over-the-Internet startup Aereo has filed for bankruptcy, bringing to a close its long-running copyright battle with US television networks. The filing comes at a time when there actually had been a bright spot on the policy horizon for Aereo. The FCC is set to consider whether some types of online streaming should be considered cable systems.

Aereo was created to use a system of using tiny, dime-sized antennas to send broadcast TV signals over the Internet. By renting one antenna and separate storage space to each customer, the company hoped to remain within the bounds of copyright law, despite not having permission from the television networks for its transmissions.

The fight was waged in federal courts around the country. The US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled in Aereo's favor, but the decision was overturned this summer by the Supreme Court. Aereo ceased doing business shortly thereafter.

Letter to Aereo customers:

posted by LaminatorX on Friday November 21, @07:47PM   Printer-friendly
from the no-gene-for-fate dept.

The Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the Justice Department funded the initial research for "rapid DNA" technology, now available for only 250K USD from IntegenX: The RapidHIT represents a major technological leap—testing a DNA sample in a forensics lab normally takes at least two days. The laser-printer-sized device takes only 90 min to generate a DNA profile, check it against a database, and report on whether it found a match.

"The US government will soon test the machine in refugee camps in Turkey and possibly Thailand on families seeking asylum in the United States, according to Chris Miles, manager of the Department of Homeland Security's biometrics program."

The FBI's website says it is "eager to see" rapid DNA in wide use and that it supports the "legislative changes necessary" to make that happen. IntegenX's Heimburger says the FBI is almost finished working with members of Congress on a bill that would give "tens of thousands" of police stations rapid-DNA machines that could search the FBI's system and add arrestees' profiles to it.

posted by LaminatorX on Friday November 21, @05:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the inappropriate-for-minors dept.

Medical News Today reports

Steven Lipschultz, MD and his team at Wayne State University analyzed records of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System from October 2010 to September 2013. These records have information about calls to 55 US poison control centers from the public and health care professionals regarding energy exposures.

Those reports indicate that calls about energy drinks and children younger than 6 years old are alarmingly high--over 40 percent--and some of these children are suffering serious cardiac and neurological symptoms.

The team notes that some energy drinks can have up to 400 mg of caffeine per can or bottle, compared with 100-150 mg in a regular cup of coffee.

What is more, caffeine poisoning can happen at levels higher than 400 mg per day in adults, above 100 mg a day in adolescents, and at 2.5 mg per kg (2.2 lbs) of body weight in children under the age of 12.

"Energy drinks have no place in pediatric diets," says Dr. Lipschultz. "Anyone with underlying cardiac, neurologic, or other significant medical conditions should check with their health care provider to make sure it's safe to consume energy drinks."

The Center for American Progress notes

Energy drinks represent part of a larger subset of energy products that include gels and bars.

[...]The new study comes on the heels of calls to regulate the sale and marketing of these caffeinated beverages, particularly as some energy companies have targeted children as young as six in their marketing campaigns.

[...]Unlike most caffeinated drinks, energy drink makers don't always disclose the amount of the substance in each serving. A Consumer Reports investigation in 2012 found that many energy drink manufacturers producers either fail to reveal the level of caffeine in their products or underestimate it by 20 percent.

[...]Some of these incidents have spilled into the headlines. The parents of a 14-year-old Maryland girl, for example, sued producers of Monster, claiming that the caffeine caused the teen to go into cardiac arrest after consuming two 24-ounce bottles within a 24-hour period. Monster was also the defendant in a lawsuit involving the family of a 16-year-old girl from Arizona who died from a heart attack while on a trip in Mexico. In that case, the girl's mother said that she had been consuming nothing but the energy drink over the course of two days.

posted by LaminatorX on Friday November 21, @03:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the fear-and-loathing-in-theoretical-conciousness dept.

As an investor in DeepMind, Elon Musk has come forward as seriously concerned about the potential for runaway artificial intelligence. The Washington Post writes:

“The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe,” Musk wrote in a comment since deleted from the Web site, but confirmed to Re/Code by his representatives. “10 years at most.”

The very future of Earth, Musk said, was at risk.

“The leading AI companies have taken great steps to ensure safety,” he wrote. “The recognize the danger, but believe that they can shape and control the digital superintelligences and prevent bad ones from escaping into the Internet. That remains to be seen.”

Musk seemed to sense that these comments might seem a little weird coming from a Fortune 1000 chief executive officer.

“This is not a case of crying wolf about something I don’t understand,” he wrote. “I am not alone in thinking we should be worried.”

With all the talk of the Singularity and Roko's Basilisk, it's no surprise. The article also has a good timeline of Musk's previous criticisms of and concerns about artificial intelligence.

posted by LaminatorX on Friday November 21, @01:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the malamanteau dept.

Just a few minutes ago, I received an email from Malwarebytes notifying me that I'd have to change my forum password next time I logged in. On November 10th their Invision Power Board based forum was compromised. Yes, it can happen to anyone! There are several lessons that can be learned, as outlined in my blog post below:

posted by LaminatorX on Friday November 21, @11:39AM   Printer-friendly
from the world-of-tomorrow dept.

When a medication enters the bloodstream, it ends up being concentrated in the liver – after all, one of the organ's main functions is to cleanse the blood. This means that if a drug is going to have an adverse effect on any part of the body, chances are it will be the liver. It would seem to follow, therefore, that if a pharmaceutical company wanted to test the safety of its products, it would be nice to have some miniature human livers on which to experiment – which is just what San Diego-based biotech firm Organovo ( ) is about to start selling.

Known as exVive3D, the three-dimensional liver models measure just a few millimeters across, and are created using a 3D bioprinter. The device incorporates two print heads, one of which deposits a support matrix, and the other of which precisely places human liver cells in it.

[Additional Coverage]:

posted by martyb on Friday November 21, @09:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the more-bang-for-your-watt dept.

I just saw a story on a German news site about a new, power-efficient supercomputer, which claims 5.27 GFlops/watt; that makes it roughly 20% more efficient than the current leader of the Green 500 which has 4.39 GFlops/watt. The owner's press release is (also in German) here. Their website supports English as well, but currently not for this press release — you might want to check again later today.

I was thinking, maybe this is the new race in power-computing. In the past, energy costs played a substantial role in operation of a datacenter. Lowering this prohibitive cost makes power-computing suitable for lots of new organisations, which might have a much bigger impact than new local power-houses.

posted by martyb on Friday November 21, @08:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the lock-without-a-key dept.

In 1989, the year the Berlin Wall began to fall, American artist Jim Sanborn was busy working on his Kryptos sculpture, a cryptographic puzzle wrapped in a riddle that he created for the CIA’s headquarters and that has been driving amateur and professional cryptographers mad ever since.

To honor the 25th anniversary of the Wall’s demise and the artist’s 69th birthday this year, Sanborn has decided to reveal a new clue to help solve his iconic and enigmatic artwork. It’s only the second hint he’s released since the sculpture was unveiled in 1990 and may finally help unlock the fourth and final section of the encrypted sculpture, which frustrated sleuths have been struggling to crack for more than two decades.

The 12-foot-high, verdigrised copper, granite and wood sculpture on the grounds of the CIA complex in Langley, Virginia, contains four encrypted messages carved out of the metal, three of which were solved years ago. The fourth is composed of just 97 letters, but its brevity belies its strength. Even the NSA, whose master crackers were the first to decipher other parts of the work, gave up on cracking it long ago. So four years ago, concerned that he might not live to see the mystery of Kryptos resolved, Sanborn released a clue to help things along, revealing that six of the last 97 letters when decrypted spell the word “Berlin”—a revelation that many took to be a reference to the Berlin Wall.

To that clue today, he’s adding the next word in the sequence—“clock”—that may or may not throw a wrench in this theory. Now the Kryptos sleuths just have to unscramble the remaining 86 characters to find out.

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