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What should be the Book Club pick for December 2018?

  • Snow Crash - by Neal Stephenson
  • We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse #1) - by Dennis Taylor
  • Dawn (Xenogenesis #1) - by Octavia Butler
  • The Metropolitan Man (Fan Fiction) - by Alexander Wales
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow (Non-Fiction) - by Daniel Kahneman
  • Superforecasting (Non-Fiction) - by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner
  • Makers (Fiction) - by Cory Doctorow
  • Rip Foster in Ride the Gray Planet - by Harold L. Goodwin

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:26 | Votes:53

posted by martyb on Monday September 24, @02:51AM   Printer-friendly
from the If-it's-not-written-down-it-doesn't-exist? dept.

The GDPR "right to be forgotten" is now being used to remove court cases from the internet. Seems the "right to be forgotten" is on a collision course with free speech and open government.

The complaint against Bujaldon is fairly damning, and while Bujaldon tried to get the case dismissed, the court was not at all impressed. The current docket suggests that the parties are attempting to work out a settlement, but having yourself be a defendant accused of real estate and securities fraud can't be good for the old reputation.

Never fear, however, for the GDPR has a Right to be Forgotten in it, and Bujaldon is apparently using it to delete his own name from the dockets for which he is a defendant

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Monday September 24, @01:14AM   Printer-friendly
from the early-warning dept.

Preventing a dengue outbreak at the 2020 Summer Olympics:

In 2014, a dengue outbreak unexpectedly occurred in Tokyo. What does that mean for the 2020 summer Olympics and Paralympics being held in the city? Researchers report this week in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases that new controls and frameworks are recommended to detect dengue and other infectious diseases and help prevent their spread during the summer games.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease that, in rare severe cases, can cause mortality if left untreated. Although the disease is mostly endemic in tropical and subtropical areas, it has recently been observed expanding to more temperate areas, including Japan. International sporting events such as the Olympics put spectators at particular risk of acquiring locally endemic diseases.

In the new work, Naoki Yanagisawa, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, USA, and colleagues used a failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) to test the vulnerability and resiliency of Japan's current preparedness plans and design ways to strengthen those plans. Publicly available national resources were used to input data on protocols and trends related to Japan's tourism, public health, and infectious diseases.

The team identified 20 critical points for detection of disease, assessment of disease, and patient communication. Overall, they described the current controls for dengue detection -- which include guidelines and services to update both physicians and travelers on infections -- as robust. However, there were gaps related to missed cases at accommodations, failure to diagnose dengue cases in some situations, and communication failures. Suggested action plans to close these gaps, such as formal training seminars about dengue, were outlined in the new paper.

Naoki Yanagisawa, Koji Wada, John D. Spengler, Ramon Sanchez-Pina. Health preparedness plan for dengue detection during the 2020 summer Olympic and Paralympic games in Tokyo. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2018; 12 (9): e0006755 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006755

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Sunday September 23, @10:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the gut-feeling dept.

Your gut is directly connected to your brain, by a newly discovered neuron circuit:

The human gut is lined with more than 100 million nerve cells—it's practically a brain unto itself. And indeed, the gut actually talks to the brain, releasing hormones into the bloodstream that, over the course of about 10 minutes, tell us how hungry it is, or that we shouldn't have eaten an entire pizza. But a new study reveals the gut has a much more direct connection to the brain through a neural circuit that allows it to transmit signals in mere seconds. The findings could lead to new treatments for obesity, eating disorders, and even depression and autism—all of which have been linked to a malfunctioning gut.

The study reveals "a new set of pathways that use gut cells to rapidly communicate with ... the brain stem," says Daniel Drucker, a clinician-scientist who studies gut disorders at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto, Canada, who was not involved with the work. Although many questions remain before the clinical implications become clear, he says, "This is a cool new piece of the puzzle."

[...] Additional clues about how gut sensory cells benefit us today lie in a separate study, published today in Cell. Researchers used lasers to stimulate the sensory neurons that innervate the gut in mice, which produced rewarding sensations the rodents worked hard to repeat. The laser stimulation also increased levels of a mood-boosting neurotransmitter called dopamine in the rodents' brains, the researchers found.

Combined, the two papers help explain why stimulating the vagus nerve with electrical current can treat severe depression in people, says Ivan de Araujo, a neuroscientist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, who led the Cell study. The results may also explain why, on a basic level, eating makes us feel good. "Even though these neurons are outside the brain, they perfectly fit the definition of reward neurons" that drive motivation and increase pleasure, he says.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Sunday September 23, @08:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the it-adds-up dept.

Halfway mark for NOEMA, the super-telescope under construction:

The completion of NOEMA phase 1, the first phase of the NOEMA project was officially celebrated on Wednesday, September 19th. The Max Planck Society and its partner institute IRAM have completed the first, decisive step towards one of the most important German-French-Spanish initiatives in astronomy: upgrading the NOEMA observatory in the French Alps and developing the most powerful and most sensitive telescope at millimetre wavelengths in the Northern hemisphere. Four years after the inauguration of the first NOEMA antenna, ten 15-meter dishes currently constitute the observatory and have provided ground-breaking scientific results.

NOEMA (NOrthern Extended Millimeter Array) is part of a completely new generation of radio telescopes: it consists of an array of several movable telescopes placed on tracks, equipped with state-of-the-art reception systems which combine to form the equivalent of a single, giant telescope.

With outstanding sensitivity and resolution, NOEMA permits to explore the cold universe at temperatures very near absolute zero at -273.15 degrees Celsius, unveiling objects impossible to observe using optical instruments because they are hidden by interstellar clouds of cosmic dust.

[...] In the future, a total of 12 antennas will scan the sky in the service of the researchers, currently ten antennas have already been constructed on the Plateau de Bure in the French Alps.

[...] During observations, the ten antennas interact to build one single telescope, a technique called interferometry. The resolving power of such a network of telescopes equals that of one single telescope with a diameter of the maximum distance between the antennas. For NOEMA, this is equivalent to a telescope of up to 760 meters diameter and a resolving power of less than one arc second. In other words, the NOEMA antennas could detect a smartphone from a distance of more than 500 kilometres.

[...] The second project phase will last until 2021 and foresees, besides antennas 11 and 12, the extension of the track system which will allow to place the antennas at a distance of 1.7 kilometres, increasing tenfold the sensitivity of measurements compared to what has been possible until now.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Sunday September 23, @06:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the what's-next dept.

Delta to start scanning faces at airport check-in:

Delta will later this year roll out facial recognition at its terminal at Atlanta International Airport for anyone traveling on an international flight.

The airline said the biometric facial scanning is optional — a move that will shave off a few minutes off each flight — but will help border and pre-flight security authorities before jetting out of the US. It’s the latest roll-out of facial recognition trials at Detroit Metropolitan and New York John F. Kennedy airports.

What might be convenient to some, to others it’s a privacy violation — and some argue that without approval from Congress, it could be illegal.

Facial recognition at airports is a controversial move, one that’s been decried over the past year since it first rolled out last year. Six major US airports completed trials as part of a wider rollout — aimed to be completed by today. CBP [Customs and Border Protection -ed] relies on airlines to collect facial recognition data, something Delta doesn’t shy away from. The airline said facial recognition “is a natural next step following CBP and Delta's optional facial recognition boarding tests” at Atlanta.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday September 23, @03:50PM   Printer-friendly
from the can-you-spot-the-fake? dept.

Reason Behind Sunspot Observatory Closure According to Court Documents

A federal search warrant reveals that Sunspot Solar Observatory was shut down as FBI agents conducted computer forensic searches for child pornography.

The source of child pornography was traced to an IP address used at the observatory and a source within the building observed a computer with "not good" images on it, the warrant states.

An investigation by the FBI revealed that a janitor is the main suspect in the search, however he has not been charged with a crime even though his name is on the warrant.

The warrant states the suspect would use the observatory Wifi and a personal laptop to download the child pornography.

A limited number of people have access to the observatory from dusk until dawn, which helped narrow their search.

The observatory in the mountains of southern New Mexico had been closed since Sept. 6 because of an undisclosed security concern, but reopened on Monday.

Reason Behind Sunspot Observatory Closure According to Psychics

Channeled Adronis: There are increasing anomalies taking place upon your sun right now; sun spots, magnetic fluctuation and openings. If these particular observatory labs were not closed down, you would have evidence how spacecrafts can come out of the sun at specific opening points. Scientist don’t understand it, that’s why the observatory closure, and amateours footages are ceased.

[...] Psychic Focus has a bit different story; The Observatory serves for the busy UFO activity in the area, but also for a bigger operation under ground. Large study of ETs going on. There was a breach in security that allowed a Grey to escape and “call” a fellow ship to get him. People were evacuated in fear of a retaliation, until they can be sure they are safe and secure

[...] Hucolo Jim another kind; There are species that are causing some anomalies in the way that is not healthy to the earth, so that is why the observatory was closed, the whole city was affected. I can not give you specifics, but I can tell this, there are also ETs that try to stop the ascension process

[Ed note: Yes, there are several more like these from the same source. Do people really believe this stuff? SMH. --martyb]

Sunspot Observatory Closed by FBI Due to Security Issue... but We Don't Know Why
AURA Statement about the Status of the Sunspot Solar Observatory

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

posted by mrpg on Sunday September 23, @01:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the ??? dept.

Coding Error Sends 2019 Subaru Ascents to the Car Crusher:

Usually, news of an automotive-related software issue involves an error like last week's GM recall of 1 million SUVs and pickups because of a steering defect in their electric power-steering module. GM stated that the defect can cause a momentary loss of power steering followed by its sudden return, which can lead to an accident, and already has in about 30 known cases. GM says a software update to the module available from its dealers will fix the problem.

But a software remedy can't solve Subaru's issue with 293 of its 2019 Ascent SUVs. All 293 of the SUVs that were built in July will be scrapped because they are missing critical spot welds.

According to Subaru's recall notice [PDF] filed with the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the welding robots at the Subaru Indiana Automotive plant in Lafayette, Ind., were improperly coded, which meant the robots omitted the spot welds required on the Ascents' B-pillar. Consumer Reports states that the B-pillar holds the second-row door hinges. As a result, the strength of the affected Ascents' bodies may be reduced, increasing the possibility of passenger injuries in a crash.

Subaru indicated in the recall that "there is no physical remedy available; therefore, any vehicles found with missing welds will be destroyed." Luckily, only nine Ascents had been sold, and those customers are going to receive new vehicles. The rest were on dealer lots or in transit.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday September 23, @11:08AM   Printer-friendly
from the under-pressure dept.

A new wearable ultrasound patch that non-invasively monitors blood pressure in arteries deep beneath the skin could help people detect cardiovascular problems earlier on and with greater precision. In tests, the patch performed as well as some clinical methods to measure blood pressure.

Applications include real-time, continuous monitoring of blood pressure changes in patients with heart or lung disease, as well as patients who are critically ill or undergoing surgery. The patch uses ultrasound, so it could potentially be used to non-invasively track other vital signs and physiological signals from places deep inside the body.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday September 23, @08:47AM   Printer-friendly
from the Less-Filling!-Chats-great! dept.

Telegram's move to Swift on iOS promises a more battery-friendly app:

Founder Pavel Durov said on his Telegram channel that the Swift version looks the same as the current app, but it's sleeker, faster and more battery efficient. He noted that the Telegram team is "putting some finishing touches on it," though it's pretty much ready to make the switch for all of its iOS users. A completely new codebase could mean there are some bugs or glitches, though Durov claims Telegram will quickly fix them.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday September 23, @06:26AM   Printer-friendly
from the Quis-custodiet-ipsos-custodes? dept.

Google has been aggressively suppressing an internal memo that shared details of Dragonfly, a censored search engine for China that would also track users:

Google bosses have forced employees to delete a confidential memo circulating inside the company that revealed explosive details about a plan to launch a censored search engine in China, The Intercept has learned. The memo, authored by a Google engineer who was asked to work on the project, disclosed that the search system, codenamed Dragonfly, would require users to log in to perform searches, track their location — and share the resulting history with a Chinese partner who would have "unilateral access" to the data.

The memo was shared earlier this month among a group of Google employees who have been organizing internal protests over the censored search system, which has been designed to remove content that China's authoritarian Communist Party regime views as sensitive, such as information about democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.

According to three sources familiar with the incident, Google leadership discovered the memo and were furious that secret details about the China censorship were being passed between employees who were not supposed to have any knowledge about it. Subsequently, Google human resources personnel emailed employees who were believed to have accessed or saved copies of the memo and ordered them to immediately delete it from their computers. Emails demanding deletion of the memo contained "pixel trackers" that notified human resource managers when their messages had been read, recipients determined.

[...] Google reportedly maintains an aggressive security and investigation team known as "stopleaks," which is dedicated to preventing unauthorized disclosures. The team is also said to monitor internal discussions. Internal security efforts at Google have ramped up this year as employees have raised ethical concerns around a range of new company projects. Following the revelation by Gizmodo and The Intercept that Google had quietly begun work on a contract with the military last year, known as Project Maven, to develop automated image recognition systems for drone warfare, the communications team moved swiftly to monitor employee activity. The "stopleaks" team, which coordinates with the internal Google communications department, even began monitoring an internal image board used to post messages based on internet memes, according to one former Google employee, for signs of employee sentiment around the Project Maven contract.

Eric Schmidt has predicted that there will be two distinct "Internets" within the decade, with one led by China:

Eric Schmidt, who has been the CEO of Google and executive chairman of its parent company, Alphabet, predicts that within the next decade there will be two distinct internets: one led by the U.S. and the other by China. Schmidt shared his thoughts at a private event in San Francisco on Wednesday night convened by investment firm Village Global VC. The firm enlists tech luminaries — including Schmidt, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Diane Green — as limited partners, then invests their money into early-stage tech ventures.

At the event, economist Tyler Cowen asked about the possibility of the internet fragmenting into different sub-internets with different regulations and limited access between them in coming years. "What's the chance, say, 10 to 15 years, we have just three to four separate internets?"

Also at CNBC and The Washington Post.

Previously: Google Plans to Launch Censored Search Engine in China, Leaked Documents Reveal
Uproar at Google after News of Censored China Search App Breaks
"Senior Google Scientist" Resigns over Chinese Search Engine Censorship Project

Related: In Snowden's Wake, Calls for Balkanized Internet Present More Harm than Good
China Begins Enforcing Internet Real-Name Policy

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday September 23, @04:05AM   Printer-friendly
from the tell-a-tale-of-woe dept.

The Walking Dead developer Telltale hit with devastating layoffs as part of a 'majority studio closure'

Telltale Games, creators of episodic adventure games like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and Batman: The Enemy Within, laid off approximately 250 employees today as part of what the company is calling a "majority studio closure." According to multiple sources The Verge spoke with, employees were let go with no severance.

"Today Telltale Games made the difficult decision to begin a majority studio closure following a year marked by insurmountable challenges," the company said in a statement. "A majority of the company's employees were dismissed earlier this morning." The company will retain a small team of 25. These remaining employees will stay on "to fulfill the company's obligations to its board and partners," according to Telltale.

The final season of Telltale's award-winning series, The Walking Dead, kicked off last month. The second episode is slated to launch next week. Staff were informed of the layoffs today and were given roughly 30 minutes to leave the building, according to one source.

Telltale Games is also behind the new Sam & Max games, Tales of Monkey Island, the Back to the Future game, and Minecraft: Story Mode.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Sunday September 23, @01:44AM   Printer-friendly
from the enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend dept.

Revealed: Russia's secret plan to help Julian Assange escape from UK

Russian diplomats held secret talks in London last year with people close to Julian Assange to assess whether they could help him flee the UK, the Guardian has learned.

A tentative plan was devised that would have seen the WikiLeaks founder smuggled out of Ecuador's London embassy in a diplomatic vehicle and transported to another country.

One ultimate destination, multiple sources have said, was Russia, where Assange would not be at risk of extradition to the US. The plan was abandoned after it was deemed too risky.

The operation to extract Assange was provisionally scheduled for Christmas Eve in 2017, one source claimed, and was linked to an unsuccessful attempt by Ecuador to give Assange formal diplomatic status.

Related: Ecuador Grants Citizenship to Julian Assange
Ecuador Reportedly Almost Ready to Hand Julian Assange Over to UK Authorities
Associated Press Publishes Supposedly Leaked WikiLeaks Documents

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday September 22, @11:23PM   Printer-friendly
from the Sudden-outbreak-of-common-sense dept.

Woman can use donor sperm in IVF without estranged husband's consent, court rules

A Victorian woman will not need her estranged husband's permission to undergo IVF using donor sperm following a ruling by the federal court in Melbourne. The court heard that the woman, who cannot be named, has been separated and living apart from her husband since late 2017. The woman wanted to try to conceive through IVF using donor sperm, but was told by a Melbourne reproductive clinic that under Victoria's Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act she first needed her husband's consent.

The matter was urgent because the woman is 45 and patients are generally only able to use their own eggs in an IVF procedure when they are younger than 46. The woman said she recently underwent a procedure to collect her eggs and freeze them for later use after she was divorced, but was told the prospect of a successful pregnancy using frozen eggs was lower than IVF using fresh eggs. The clinic told her that with her husband's consent, she could begin a round of treatment later in September.

[...] Under the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act, there is a guiding principle that "the welfare and interests of persons born or to be born as a result of treatment procedures are paramount". But the court heard that this should not justify requiring the consent of a former partner who, without such consent, would have no responsibility for the child anyway.

Federal court Justice John Griffiths ordered that the woman could undergo IVF without consent and that the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act discriminated against her on the basis of her marital status. He declared that part of the law "invalid and inoperable". In his judgment published on Friday, Griffiths said nothing in his ruling was intended to harm the reputation of the woman's estranged husband and that the decision would not directly affect his legal rights, and that he would not be imputed with any parental rights, obligations or responsibilities.

See also: Parents likely to block girlfriend's attempt to access sperm from dead son (2016)

Related: Bioethicist Recommends Freezing Sperm to Lessen Genetic Risks
Divorced Couple Fighting in Court over Frozen Embryos
Medical Ethics of Multiples, Surrogacy, and Abortion
Deceased Dutch Fertility Clinic Doctor's Belongings to be DNA Tested
Japanese Man Granted Paternity Rights to 13 Children Born to Surrogate Mothers

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Saturday September 22, @09:03PM   Printer-friendly
from the le-manchot-empereur dept.

The French government has released CLIP OS to the public. It is based on the Linux kernel with a GNU userspace and Gentoo Hardened as the base. The system has been developed for in-house use and is maintained by the National Cybersecurity Agency of France, or Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d'information (ANSSI). The kernel is hardened by a custom "Linux Security Module". The source for versions 4 and 5 of the whole distro are now released for public scrutiny and people are free to compile either. Version 5 has documentation in English. There are currently no plans to distribute binaries.

The French government's national cybersecurity agency has released an operating system built using open source components internally over the course of more than 10 years for use by the French administration.

Dubbed CLIP OS, the operating system is based on the open source Linux kernel, but focuses on security hardening and provides partitioning mechanisms that allow the processing of both public and sensitive information in isolation on the same computer.

Original Submission

posted by takyon on Saturday September 22, @06:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the final-puff dept.

Into the pot you go: Maine restaurant sedates lobsters with marijuana smoke

Lobsters in one Maine restaurant go out in a blaze of glory once they hit the pot. The owner of a lobster joint is sedating her crustaceans with marijuana smoke before cooking them – granting them, she says, a blissfully humane death.

Charlotte Gill, owner of Charlotte's Legendary Lobster Pound in Southwest Harbor, told the Portland Press Herald that she had been looking for a way to reduce the suffering of her signature menu item. She experimented with blowing marijuana smoke into a tank with one lobster, Roscoe (basically, she hot-boxed him). When Gill then removed Roscoe's claw bands and returned him to a tank with the other lobsters, she says, he was less aggressive. Gill has a medical marijuana license.

She plans to offer this cooking method as an option for customers who want their lobsters to be baked before they're boiled. But that doesn't mean customers will get stoned from their dinner.

"THC breaks down completely by 392 degrees, therefore we will use both steam as well as a heat process that will expose the meat to 420-degree extended temperature, in order to ensure there is no possibility of carry-over effect," Gill told the Press Herald. So where some see a humane death for the lobster, others see a waste of perfectly good weed.

Related: Switzerland Bans Lobster Boiling Without Stunning or Killing Them

Original Submission