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Ultrasound Technique Provides a New Radiation Free Way To Visualize Tumors
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '14 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's building-it-better department:
FirephoxRising writes "Traditionally ultrasound has seen limited use in cancer treatment due to clarity and resolution issues. But researchers at the UNC School of Medicine have overcome this limitation by combining ultrasound with a contrast agent composed of tiny bubbles that pair with an antibody that many cancer cells produce at higher levels than do normal cells. 'The SFRP2-moleculary targeted contrast agent showed specific visualization of the tumor vasculature,' said Klauber-DeMore. 'In contrast, there was no visualization of normal blood vessels. This suggests that the contrast agent may help distinguish malignant from benign masses found on imaging.'"

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Environmental Report Raises Pressure On Obama To Approve Keystone Pipeline
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '14 at 11:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-so-bad department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Reuters reports that pressure on President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline increased on Friday after a State Department report played down the impact it would have on climate change, irking environmentalists and delighting proponents of the project. The long-awaited environmental impact statement concludes that the Keystone XL pipeline would not substantially worsen carbon pollution, leaving an opening for Obama to approve the politically divisive project as it appears to indicate that the project could pass the criteria Obama set forth in a speech last summer when he said he would approve the 1,700-mile pipeline if it would not 'significantly exacerbate' the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. The oil industry applauded the review. 'After five years and five environmental reviews, time and time again the Department of State analysis has shown that the pipeline is safe for the environment,' says Cindy Schild, the senior manager of refining and oil sands programs at the American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies for the oil industry. Environmentalists say they are dismayed at some of the report's conclusions and disputed its objectivity, and add that the report also offers Obama reasons to reject the pipeline. The report concludes that the process used for producing the oil — by extracting what are called tar sands or oil sands from the Alberta forest — creates about 17 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than traditional oil (PDF). But the report concludes that this heavily polluting oil will still be brought to market. Energy companies are already moving the oil out of Canada by rail. 'At the end of the day, there's a consensus among most energy experts that the oil will get shipped to market no matter what,' says Robert McNally. 'It's less important than I think it was perceived to be a year ago, both politically and on oil markets.'"

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Mysterious Underwater Circles Off the Coast of Denmark Explained
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '14 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's round-and-round department:
sciencehabit writes "The truth behind the mysterious underwater circles that periodically appear off the coast of Denmark has been discovered, and sadly it doesn't involve aliens, fairies, or the fabled lost city of Atlantis. In 2008, a tourist snapped photos of several large dark rings that appeared near the white cliffs of Denmark's island of Møn in the Baltic Sea. The circles, several as large as a tennis courts, sparked numerous theories of their origin—some more outlandish than others. In 2011, when the formations reappeared, scientists discovered they were actually round bands of marine eelgrass, similar to rings of mushrooms known as fairy rings. Because eelgrass usually grows as continuous underwater meadows, scientists were still baffled by the rims of lush eelgrass with barren cores. Now, researchers say they at last know the rings' true cause."

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Can Wolfram Alpha Tell Which Team Will Win the Super Bowl?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '14 at 09:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's and-the-answer-is department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Which football team will win the Super Bowl this weekend? That's a multi-million-dollar question, given the amount of cash people will bet on either the Seattle Seahawks or the Denver Broncos to win. Fortunately, Wolfram Alpha (the self-billed "computational knowledge engine") can analyze the historical statistics for both teams and throw out some potentially useful numbers. Developed by Stephen Wolfram and based his Wolfram Research's Mathematica analytical platform, Wolfram Alpha is an altogether different search engine from Bing or Google, which generally return pages of blue hyperlinks in response to queries. Instead of multiple results leading to still other Webpages, Wolfram Alpha usually returns set of definitive, numerical answers. (A lengthy rundown of the engine's capabilities is found on its 'About' page.) So how does Wolfram's engine, which features sophisticated algorithms chewing through trillions of pieces of data, break down the potentials for Sunday's game? Out of the 38 times the two teams have met on the field, the Broncos have triumphed 25 times (versus 12 wins for the Seahawks), scoring 98 total touchdowns to the Seahawks' 84. It's definitely advantage Broncos, in that sense. But the teams' percentages are fairly close with regard to total yardage, penalties, penalty yards, and other metrics, although the Seahawks have managed to nab more interceptions (47, versus the Broncos' 37). But while Wolfram Alpha can crunch all the historical data it wants, and that data can suggest one team will likely triumph over another, there's always the likelihood that something random—a freak injury, or a tweak to the player lineup—can change the course of the game in ways that nobody can anticipate. Also, given how player and coaching rosters vary from year to year, the teams taking the field can change radically between meetings." EA has correctly predicted eight of the last ten Super Bowl winners using the latest Madden game.

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Rome Police Use Twitter To Battle Illegal Parking
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '14 at 07:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's shame-your-neighbor department:
cartechboy writes "Illegal parking has always been a major problem in Rome. More than half of Rome's 2.7 million residents use private vehicles, and the ancient city has a staggering ratio of 70 cars per 100 residents. So many residents park, uh, creatively. But now authorities think they've found a way to fight bad parking using social media. Basically, they've asked residents to post photos of bad parking jobs to Twitter. In December, the Italian cops began encouraging smart phone users to snap pics of illegally parked cars and tweet those photos to the department's Twitter account. The new system, which was created by Raffaele Clemente, Rome's chief of traffic police, seems to be working. In the first 30 days, police received more than 1,000 complaints tweeted to their account., (one example is here). Officials were able to respond to around 740 and hand out citations."

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Astronomers Investigating Unknown Object That Hit the Earth In 773 AD
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '14 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-could-it-be department:
KentuckyFC writes "In November 2012, a group of Japanese scientists discovered that the concentration of carbon-14 in Japanese cedar trees suddenly rose between 774 AD and 775 AD. Others have since found similar evidence and narrowed the date to 773 AD. Astronomers think this stuff must have come from space so now the quest is on to find the extraterrestrial culprit. Carbon-14 is continually generated in the atmosphere by cosmic rays hitting nitrogen atoms. But because carbon-14 is radioactive, it naturally decays back into nitrogen with a half-life of about 5700 years. This constant process of production and decay leaves the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere relatively constant at about one part in a trillion will be carbon-14. One possible reason for the increase is that the Sun belched a superflare our way, engulfing the planet in huge cloud of high energy protons. Recent calculations suggest this could happen once every 3000 years and so seems unlikely. Another possibility is a nearby supernova, which bathed the entire Solar System in additional cosmic rays. However, astronomers cannot see any likely candidates nearby and there are no historical observations of a supernova from that time. Yet another possibility is that a comet may have hit the Earth, dumping the extra carbon-14 in the atmosphere. But astronomers have ruled that out on the basis that a comet carrying enough carbon-14 must have been over 100 km in diameter and would surely have left other evidence such as an impact crater. So for the moment, astronomers are stumped."

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Should Everybody Learn To Code?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '14 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's only-the-ones-who-don't-develop-bejeweled-clones department:
theodp writes "In July, the Association for Computing Machinery announced it was partnering with Code.org, with ACM contributing funding and its Director of Public Policy to Code.org in a push to 'ensure that every K-12 student in the US has the opportunity to study computer science.' Interestingly, joining others questioning the conventional Presidential wisdom that everybody-must-get-code is the Communications of the ACM, which asks in its February issue, Should Everybody Learn to Code? By the way, Code.org is bringing its Hour of Code show to the UK in March. The new National Curriculum for England that is to be taught in all primary and secondary schools beginning in September includes a new emphasis on Computer Science curricula, said to have been sparked by a speech given by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt in 2011."

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ARM Researching Novel Chip Memory
Posted by News Fetcher on February 02 '14 at 03:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bringing-in-the-heavy-hitters department:
An anonymous reader writes "ARM may be best known as processor designer but the company is now working on a non-volatile memory that could scale down to 5nm, according to an Electronics 360 report. The memory is something different called Correlated-electron RAM that was originally developed by a professor at University of Colorado. ARM is joining a research collaboration to try and make the memory an option at ARM-friendly foundries."

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First New Generic Top Level Domains Opening
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '14 at 11:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's enjoy-getting-gouged-by-your-registrar department:
umdenken points out that the first batch of generic Top Level Domains will go live within the next several days, including <tt>.bike</tt>, <tt>.guru</tt>, <tt>.clothing</tt>, <tt>.holdings</tt>, <tt>.singles</tt>, <tt>.plumbing</tt>, and <tt>.ventures</tt>. (Early access began Jan. 29th.) ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade says there is currently huge demand for ICANN to reopen their program to let companies run their own gTLD. He said, "Many, many brands and many, many communities didn't know about the GTLD program. I get significant amounts of questions about when can we open the next round, because certainly there is a bit of angst that if Canon [who applied for the .canon gTLD] uses this to do an incredible mass customization campaign to win users to their product, I'm sure the brand next to them will say "Why aren't we doing this?" So I do believe this will snowball. But many will find a .com or whatever they have now will be good enough, and I believe that one excludes the other." He also said the $185,000 price tag to do so is likely to drop.

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FCC Wants To Trial Shift From Analog Phone Networks To Digital
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '14 at 09:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-will-they-support-my-rotary-phone?! department:
An anonymous reader sends word that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission has given the go-ahead for telecommunications companies to start experimenting with an IP-based telephone protocol. From the article:
"The experiments approved by the FCC would not test the new technology - it is already being used - and would not determine law and policy regulating it, FCC staff said. The trials would seek to establish, among other things, how consumers welcome the change and how new technology performs in emergency situations, including in remote locations. 'What we're doing here is a big deal. This is an important moment,' FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said. 'We today invite service providers to propose voluntary experiments for all-IP networks.' The move in part grants the application by AT&T to conduct IP transition tests as companies that offer landline phone services seek to ultimately replace their old copper wires with newer technology like fiber or wireless."

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NVIDIA Open-Sources Tegra K1 Graphics Support
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '14 at 05:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's increment-good-citizen-point-total department:
An anonymous reader writes "NVIDIA's next-generation Tegra K1 ARM processor now has open-source support for its Kepler-based graphics. NVIDIA decided to submit a large queue of patches to the open-source, reverse-engineered Nouveau project for supporting their ARM Kepler graphics with the open-source driver. The patches are still experimental but this is the first time NVIDIA has contributed open-source code to Nouveau."

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Senator Makes NASA Complete $350 Million Testing Tower That It Will Never Use
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '14 at 04:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pork:-the-final-frontier department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Phillip Swarts reports in the Washington Times that NASA is completing a $350 million rocket-engine testing tower at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi that it doesn't want and will never use. 'Because the Constellation Program was canceled in 2010, the A-3's unique testing capabilities will not be needed and the stand will be mothballed upon completion (PDF),, said NASA's inspector general. The A-3 testing tower will stand 300 feet and be able to withstand 1 million pounds of thrust (PDF). The massive steel structure is designed to test how rocket engines operate at altitudes of up to 100,000 feet by creating a vacuum within the testing chamber to simulate the upper reaches of the atmosphere. Although NASA does not expect to use the tower after construction, it's compelled by legislation from Sen. Roger F. Wicker (R-MS), who says the testing tower will help maintain the research center's place at the forefront of U.S. space exploration. 'Stennis Space Center is the nation's premier rocket engine testing facility,' says Wicker. 'It is a magnet for public and private research investment because of infrastructure projects like the A-3 test stand. In 2010,I authored an amendment to require the completion of that particular project, ensuring the Stennis facility is prepared for ever-changing technologies and demands.' Others disagree, calling the project the 'Tower of Pork' and noting that the unused structure will cost taxpayers $840,000 a year to maintain. 'Current federal spending trends are not sustainable, and if NASA can make a relatively painless contribution to deficit reduction by shutting down an unwanted program, why not let it happen?' says Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union. 'It's not rocket science, at least fiscally.'"

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Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '14 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's beards-give-a-+50%-modifier-to-inertia department:
David W. White writes "Years ago ago those of us who used any *nix desktop ('every morning when you wake up, the house is a little different') were seen as willing to embrace change and spend hours tinkering and configuring until we got new desktop versions to work the way we wanted, while there was an opposite perception of desktop users over in the Mac world ('it just works') and the Windows world ('it's a familiar interface'). However, a recent article in Datamation concludes that 'for better or worse, [Linux desktop users] know what they want — a classic desktop — and the figures consistently show that is what they are choosing in far greater numbers than GNOME, KDE, or any other single graphical interface.' Has the profile of the Linux desktop user changed to a more pragmatic one? Or is it just the psychology of user inertia at work, when one considers the revolt against changes in the KDE, GNOME, UNITY and Windows 8 interfaces in recent times?"

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Russia's Dyatlov Pass Incident May Have Been Explained By Modern Science
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '14 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-blame-the-schools department:
swellconvivialguy writes "Fifty-five years ago, nine young Russians died under suspicious circumstances during a winter hiking trip in the Ural mountains. Despite an exhaustive investigation and the recovery of the group's journals and photographs, the deaths remained unexplained, blamed on 'an unknown compelling force.' Now American film and television producer Donnie Eichar believes he has solved the mystery of the Dyatlov Pass Incident. Working in conjunction with scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, CO, Eichar developed a theory that the hikers died because they panicked in the face of infrasound produced by a Kármán vortex street."

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In an Age of Cyber War, Where Are the Cyber Weapons?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '14 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's left-them-in-my-other-cyber-pants department:
chicksdaddy writes "MIT Tech Review has an interesting piece that asks an obvious, but intriguing question: if we're living in an age of cyber warfare, where are all the cyber weapons? Like the dawn of the nuclear age that started with the bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the use of the Stuxnet worm reportedly launched a global cyber arms race involving everyone from Syria to Iran and North Korea. But almost four years after it was first publicly identified, Stuxnet is an anomaly: the first and only cyber weapon known to have been deployed. Experts in securing critical infrastructure including industrial control systems are wondering why. If Stuxnet was the world's cyber 'Little Boy,' where is the 'Fat Man'? Speaking at the recent S4 Conference, Ralph Langner, perhaps the world's top authority on the Stuxnet worm, argues that the mere hacking of critical systems is just a kind of 'hooliganism' that doesn't count as cyber warfare. True cyber weapons capable of inflicting cyber-physical damage require extraordinary expertise. Stuxnet, he notes, made headlines for using four exploits for "zero day" (or previously undiscovered) holes in the Windows operating system. Far more impressive was the metallurgic expertise needed to understand the construction of Iran's centrifuges. Those who created and programmed Stuxnet needed to know the exact amount of pressure or torque needed to damage aluminum rotors within them, sabotaging the country's uranium enrichment operation."

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David Cameron Says Fictional Crime Proves Why Snooper's Charter Is Necessary
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '14 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's with-all-the-wisdom-of-a-politician department:
An anonymous reader sends this story from TechDirt:
"You may recall the stories from the past couple years about the so-called 'snooper's charter' in the UK — a system to further legalize the government's ability to spy on pretty much all communications. It was setting up basically a total surveillance system, even beyond what we've since learned is already being done today. Thankfully, that plan was killed off by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. However, Prime Minister David Cameron is back to pushing for the snooper's charter — and his reasoning is as stupid as it is unbelievable. Apparently, he thinks it's necessary because the fictional crime dramas he watches on TV show why it's necessary. Cameron said, 'I love watching, as I probably should stop telling people, crime dramas on the television. There's hardly a crime drama where a crime is solved without using the data of a mobile communications device. What we have to explain to people is that... if we don't modernise the practice and the law, over time we will have the communications data to solve these horrible crimes on a shrinking proportion of the total use of devices and that is a real problem for keeping people safe.'"

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Finnish Hacker Isolates Helicopter GPS Coordinates From YouTube Video Sounds
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '14 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's curiosity-leads-to-the-best-hacks department:
An anonymous reader sends a post by Finnish electronics hacker Oona Räisänen, who heard a mysterious digital signal in the audio accompanying a YouTube video of a police chase. The chase was being filmed by a helicopter. Räisänen wrote: "The signal sits alone on the left audio channel, so I can completely isolate it. Judging from the spectrogram, the modulation scheme seems to be BFSK, switching the carrier between 1200 and 2200 Hz. I demodulated it by filtering it with a lowpass and highpass sinc in SoX and comparing outputs. Now I had a bitstream at 1200 bps. ... The bitstream consists of packets of 47 bytes each, synchronized by start and stop bits and separated by repetitions of the byte 0x80. Most bits stay constant during the video, but three distinct groups of bytes contain varying data." She guessed that the data was location telemetry from the helicopter, so she analyzed it to extract coordinates. When she plotted them and compared the resulting curve to the route taken by the fleeing car in the video, it was a match.

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How the Black Hole Firewall Paradox Was Resolved
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '14 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's black-holes-are-made-of-cantaloupes department:
Stephen Hawking's recent comments about the nature of black holes have bred uncertainty about physics concepts that were relatively well understood. This article from astrophysicist Ethan Siegel explains that yes, black holes still exist, and how a group of three academic papers answered the black hole 'firewall' paradox. Quoting:
"... And so what these three papers, in tandem, have done, is demonstrate that there is no firewall and that the resolution to the firewall paradox is that the first assumption, that Hawking radiation is in a pure state, is the one that's flawed. You won't read about this in the popular write-ups because it doesn't have a catchy headline, it's complex, and it's not work by someone that's already very famous for other work. But it's right. Hawking radiation is not in a pure state, and without that pure state, there's no firewall, and no paradox. There is still an incredible amount to learn and understand about black holes, event horizons, and the behavior of quantum systems in strongly curved spacetime, to be sure, and there's lots of very interesting research ahead. These findings arguably raise more questions than they answer, although at least we know that black holes won't fry you when you fall in; it will still be death by spaghettification, not by incineration!"

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The JavaScript Juggernaut Rolls On
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '14 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's building-tools-to-build-more-tools department:
JThaddeus writes "An article in TechWorld Australia summarizes the latest opinions on JavaScript from ThoughtWorks: 'There is no end in sight to the rise of JavaScript... "I think JavaScript has been seen as a serious language for the last two or three years; I think now increasingly we're seeing JavaScript as a platform," said Sam Newman, ThoughtWorks' Global Innovation Lead.' The article touches on new additions to JavaScript tools, techniques, and languages built on JavaScript. As the fuller report (PDF) says, 'The ecosystem around JavaScript as a serious application platform continues to evolve. Many interesting new tools for testing, building, and managing dependencies in both server- and client-side JavaScript applications have emerged recently.'"

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UCLA Architectural Program Teaches Design for Robot Homes
Posted by News Fetcher on February 01 '14 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's more-than-meets-the-eye department:
Lucas123 writes: "UCLA has created a graduate-level program that teaches architects how to design intelligent robotic buildings that are able to change their configuration to adapt to their owners' needs. The design are not limited to homes, of course, and could be used in office buildings or hotels. For example, a hotel could switch out a small bathroom in a guest room for a larger one that comes to the room along the outside façade of the building. Factories could also be transformed based on changing needs. Students in the program are working to come up with a more dynamic building, possibly one that has moving platforms or walls that could adapt the building for manufacturing different sized aircraft or products."

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