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A Novel Way Of Creating Gold Nanoparticles In Water

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 08:04 AM PDT

An experiment that, by design, was not supposed to turn up anything of note instead produced a "bewildering" surprise, according to the Stanford scientists who made the discovery: a new way of creating gold nanoparticles and nanowires using water droplets.

The technique, detailed April 19 in the journal Nature Communications, is the latest discovery in the new field of on-droplet chemistry and could lead to more environmentally friendly ways to produce nanoparticles of gold and other metals, said study leader Richard Zare, a chemist in the School of Humanities and Sciences and a co-founder of Stanford Bio-X.

"Being able to do reactions in water means you don't have to worry about contamination. It's green chemistry," said Zare, who is the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science at Stanford.

[...] Around the mid-1980s, however, scientists discovered that gold's chemical aloofness only manifests at large, or macroscopic, scales. At the nanometer scale, gold particles are very chemically reactive and make excellent catalysts. Today, gold nanostructures have found a role in a wide variety of applications, including bio-imaging, drug delivery, toxic gas detection and biosensors.


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Small Changes in Rainforests Cause Big Damage to Fish Ecosystems

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 05:43 AM PDT

Freshwater fish diversity is harmed as much by selective logging in rainforests as they are by complete deforestation, according to a new study.

Researchers had expected the level of damage would rise depending on the amount of logging and were surprised to discover the impact of removing relatively few trees.

[...] Lead author Clare Wilkinson, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial, said: "That such a small change can impact fish biodiversity is shocking and worrying. We expected to see a gradient from least affected in the selectively logged areas, to heavily impacted for the streams in oil palm plantations. Instead, we saw almost the same level of fish biodiversity loss in all altered environments."

[...] Researchers believe the reasons for these dramatic changes are likely to be down to a range of factors that affect stream habitats when trees are lost. Trees provide shade, creating cooler patches of stream that many fish need to spawn. Older, taller trees provide more of this shade, but they are the ones usually removed in selective logging. Leaf litter from these trees also helps to keep the streams cool and to concentrate food sources.


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3-D Human 'Mini-Brains' Shed New Light on Genetic Underpinnings of Major Mental Illness

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 03:22 AM PDT

Major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, severe depression and bipolar disorder share a common genetic link. Studies of specific families with a history of these types of illnesses have revealed that affected family members share a mutation in the gene DISC1. While researchers have been able to study how DISC1 mutations alter the brain during development in animal models, it has been difficult to find the right tools to study changes in humans. However, advancements in engineering human stem cells are now allowing researchers to grow mini-organs in labs, and gene-editing tools can be used to insert specific mutations into these cells.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital are leveraging these new technologies to study the effects of DISC1 mutations in cerebral organoids -- "mini brains" -- cultured from human stem cells. Their results are published in Translational Psychiatry.

"Mini-brains can help us model brain development," said senior author Tracy Young-Pearse, PhD, head of the Young-Pearse Lab in the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at BWH. "Compared to traditional methods that have allowed us to investigate human cells in culture in two-dimensions, these cultures let us investigate the three-dimensional structure and function of the cells as they are developing, giving us more information than we would get with a traditional cell culture."


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Molecule That Dilates Blood Vessels Hints at New Way to Treat Heart Disease

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 01:01 AM PDT

Americans die of heart or cardiovascular disease at an alarming rate. In fact, heart attacks, strokes and related diseases will kill an estimated 610,000 Americans this year alone. Some medications help, but to better tackle this problem, researchers need to know exactly how the heart and blood vessels stay healthy in the first place.

Now, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have identified a protein, called GPR68, that senses blood flow and tells small blood vessels called arterioles when to dilate. The researchers believe medications that activate GPR68 could one day be useful to treat medical conditions, including ischemic stroke.

"It has been known for decades that blood vessels sense changes in blood flow rate, and this information is crucial in regulating blood vessel dilation and controlling vascular tone," says Ardem Patapoutian, PhD, Scripps Research professor, Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and senior author of the study published today in the journal Cell.


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US Government Weighs in on GDPR-Whois Debacle, Orders ICANN to Go Probe GoDaddy

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 10:40 PM PDT

The US government has waded into the omni-shambles that is the internet infrastructure industry's failed effort to comply with European privacy laws.

Having tried to use its behind-the-scenes influence at a recent meeting of DNS overseer ICANN to drive decisions, the Department of Commerce's frustration had led to it going public with a letter to ICANN [PDF] in which it pressures the organization to investigate the world's largest registrar GoDaddy for limiting access to its "Whois" service.

In preparation for the May 25 deadline of Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and in light of the utter failure of ICANN to come up with a way to make the Whois service compliant with that law, GoDaddy has started hiding personal contact details for the 50 million+ domain names it looks after and has begun throttling access to its Whois service.

That would appear to be a commonsense response to a law that can see the company fined millions of dollars for failing to keep personal details private. But it earned the ire of several companies that make a living from accessing such details.

A letter [PDF] from one intellectual property lawyer representing those interests urged ICANN to take action against what he claimed were "clear and direct violations" of GoDaddy's contract with ICANN. ICANN responded [PDF] with no more than an acknowledgement it had received the complaint.

But the US government has unexpectedly came to their defense, noting in its letter that "the actions taken by GoDaddy last month... are of grave concern for NTIA given the US government's interest in maintaining a Whois service that is quickly accessible for legitimate purposes."

-- submitted from IRC


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Washington State Fusion Center Accidentally Releases Records on Remote Mind Control

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 09:20 PM PDT

As part of my ongoing project looking at fusion centers' investigations into Antifa and various white supremacist groups, I filed a request with the WSFC. I got back many standard documents in response, including emails, intelligence briefings and bulletins, reposts from other fusion centers - and then there was one file titled "EM effects on human body.zip."

[...] What you are looking at here is "psycho-electronic" weapons that purportedly use electromagnetism to do a wide variety of horrible things to people, such as reading or writing your mind, causing intense pain, "rigor mortis," or most heinous of all, itching.

Now to be clear, the presence of these records (which were not created by the fusion center, and are not government documents) should not be seen as evidence that DHS possesses these devices, or even that such devices actually exist. Which is kind of unfortunate because "microwave hearing" is a pretty cool line of technobabble to say out loud.

[...] It's difficult to source exactly where these images come from, but it's obviously not government material. One seems to come from a person named "Supratik Saha," who is identified as a software engineer, the brain mapping slide has no sourcing, and the image of the body being assaulted by psychotronic weapons is sourced from raven1.net, who apparently didn't renew their domain.


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Flash Used on 5% of All Websites, Down From 28.5% Seven Years Ago

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 07:34 PM PDT

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

Only 4.9 percent of today's websites utilize Flash code, a number that has plummeted from a 28.5 percent market share recorded at the start of 2011.

The number, courtesy of web technology survey site W3Techs, confirms Flash's decline, and a reason why Adobe has decided to retire the technology at the end of 2020.

[...] On the client side, browser makers are expected to remove Flash support from their products altogether by the end of 2020 —Flash's end-of-life date.

2020 can't come soon enough.

Source: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/software/flash-used-on-5-percent-of-all-websites-down-from-285-percent-seven-years-ago/


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Login With Facebook Data Hijacked by JavaScript Trackers

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 05:57 PM PDT

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow8317

Facebook confirms to TechCrunch that it’s investigating a security research report that shows Facebook user data can be grabbed by third-party JavaScript trackers embedded on websites using Login With Facebook. The exploit lets these trackers gather a user’s data including name, email address, age range, gender, locale, and profile photo depending on what users originally provided to the website. It's unclear what these trackers do with the data, but many of their parent companies including Lytics and ProPS sell publisher monetization services based on collected user data.

Meanwhile, concert site BandsInTown was found to be passing Login With Facebook user data to embedded scripts on sites that install its Amplified advertising product. An invisible BandsInTown iframe would load on these sites, pulling in user data that was then accessible to embedded scripts. That let any malicious site using BandsInTown learn the identity of visitors. BandsInTown has now fixed this vulnerability.

TechCrunch is still awaiting a formal statement from Facebook beyond "We will look into this and get back to you."

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/18/login-with-facebook-data-hijacked-by-javascript-trackers/


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4/20: The Mary Jane Majority

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 04:20 PM PDT

Past articles: 201520162017 👀

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has come out in support of federal cannabis decriminalization, just in time for 4/20:

The Minority Leader of the Senate is making it official the day before 4/20: He's down with legal weed. In an exclusive interview with VICE News, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) confirmed he is putting his name on legislation that he said is aimed at "decriminalizing" marijuana at the federal level. For Schumer, this is a shift. While he has backed medical marijuana and the rights of states to experiment with legal sales of pot, what he is proposing is a seismic shift in federal drug policy.

"Ultimately, it's the right thing to do. Freedom. If smoking marijuana doesn't hurt anybody else, why shouldn't we allow people to do it and not make it criminal?" Schumer said.

The legislation should be available within a week or so, and would remove cannabis (still listed as "Marihuana") from the Drug Enforcement Administration's list of Schedule I substances. States would then be free to regulate or continue to prohibit the plant. Cannabis advertising would be regulated as are alcohol and tobacco advertising. (Also at NPR, CNN, The Washington Post, and CNBC, as well as Reason taking a shot at Schumer for not doing it sooner.)

A majority of Americans support the legalization of cannabis, including, for the first time, a majority (51%) of Republicans, according to Gallup. Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use. 29 states, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico have legalized medical use of cannabis, and another 17 states have legalized the use of cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabis became available for recreational purposes in California on January 1.

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LG Can't Meet Apple's Demand for iPhone OLED Displays

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 02:19 PM PDT

LG Display reportedly can't meet Apple's demand for OLED screens due to manufacturing issues. This means that Apple will once again be reliant on its primary supplier and smartphone rival, Samsung:

Analysts have been warning for months that Apple is in "urgent" need of finding another iPhone OLED supplier besides Samsung. Apple currently uses Samsung's OLED displays for the company's iPhone X model. The reliance on a single supplier means Samsung controls pricing on the displays that Apple is buying — and there's no other alternative at the moment.

Also at WSJ and MacRumors.

Related: LG's 88-inch 8K OLED TV
Apple, Valve, and LG Invest in OLED Manufacturer eMagin
Google and LG to Show Off World's Highest Resolution OLED-on-Glass Display in May
Apple Building its Own MicroLED Displays for Eventual Use in Apple Watch and Other Products


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Senate Narrowly Confirms Trump's Pick to Head NASA

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 12:46 PM PDT

Oklahoma Representative James Bridenstine, a Navy Reserve pilot, was confirmed as NASA's 13th administrator on Thursday.

In a 50-49 vote Thursday, Oklahoma Representative James Bridenstine, a Navy Reserve pilot, was confirmed as NASA's 13th administrator, an agency that usually is kept away from partisanship. His three predecessors — two nominated by Republicans — were all approved unanimously. Before that, one NASA chief served under three presidents, two Republicans and a Democrat.

The two days of voting were as tense as a launch countdown.

A procedural vote Wednesday initially ended in a 49-49 tie — Vice President Mike Pence, who normally breaks a tie, was at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida — before Arizona Republican Jeff Flake switched from opposition to support, using his vote as leverage to address an unrelated issue.

Thursday's vote included the drama of another delayed but approving vote by Flake, a last-minute no vote by Illinois Democrat Tammy Duckworth — who wheeled onto the floor with her 10-day-old baby in tow — and the possibility of a tie-breaker by Pence, who was back in town.


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2020s to Become the Decade of Lunar Re-Exploration

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 11:12 AM PDT

NASA is going back to the Moon, perhaps permanently, as seen in a new road map (image):

Four months after President Trump directed NASA to return to the Moon, the agency has presented a road map to meet the goals outlined in Space Policy Directive-1. The updated plan shifts focus from the previous "Journey to Mars" campaign back to the Moon, and—eventually—to the Red Planet.

"The Moon will play an important role in expanding human presence deeper into the solar system," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA, in a release issued by the agency.

While the revamped plan may share the same destination as the Apollo program, NASA said it will approach the return in a more measured and sustainable manner. Unlike humanity's first trip to the Moon, the journey back will incorporate both commercial and international partners.

To achieve this, NASA has outlined four strategic goals:

  • Transition low-Earth orbit (LEO) human spaceflight activities to commercial operators.
  • Expand long-duration spaceflight activities to include lunar orbit.
  • Facilitate long-term robotic lunar exploration.
  • Use human exploration of the Moon as groundwork for eventual human missions to Mars and beyond.

This may be the best outcome for the space program. Let NASA focus on the Moon with an eye towards permanently stationing robots and humans there, and let SpaceX or someone else take the credit for a 2020s/early-2030s manned Mars landing. Then work on a permanent presence on Mars using cheaper rocket launches, faster propulsion technologies, better radiation shielding, hardier space potatoes, etc.

Previously: President Trump Signs Space Policy Directive 1

Related:

Moon Base Could Cost Just $10 Billion Due to New Technologies
Should We Skip Mars for Now and Go to the Moon Again?
NASA and International Partners Planning Orbital Lunar Outpost
How to Get Back to the Moon in 4 Years, Permanently
NASA Eyeing Mini Space Station in Lunar Orbit as Stepping Stone to Mars
Private Company Plans to Bring Moon Rocks Back to Earth in Three Years
NASA and Roscosmos Sign Joint Statement on the Development of a Lunar Space Station
India and Japan to Collaborate on Lunar Lander and Sample Return Mission
Russia Assembles Engineering Group for Lunar Activities and the Deep Space Gateway
Can the International Space Station be Saved? Should It be Saved?
Trump Administration Plans to End Support for the ISS by 2025
25 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Selected for 2018
Lunar X Prize Could Continue Without Google, or Even the Prizes

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