News

News (35)

The News category details items of news and methods of journalism. News is the reporting of current events usually by local, regional or mass media in the form of newspapers, television and radio programs, or sites on the World Wide Web. News reporting is a type of journalism, typically written or broadcast in news style. Most news is investigated and presented by journalists (or reporters) and often distributed via news agencies. If the content of news is significant enough, it eventually becomes history.

Obama Strategy Against Killer Asteroids

Saturday, 07 January 2017 14:52 Written by
Obama Strategy Against Killer Asteroids

In a newly released strategy, the United States has proposed an increased global effort to locate 300,000 or so Earth-impact risks and prepare for potential future meteor collisions that could destroy cities, civilization, or all life as we know it. Near Earth Objects (NEOs) are defined as asteroids or comets that come near our planet’s orbit. A newly published White House document entitled ‘National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy’ details how low-probability, high consequence impacts pose a “significant and complex challenge”.

Cataloging and tracking these things is no small task. As of December 2016, we know for sure of some 15,342 NEOs between 1 meter and 32 kilometers in diameter. The current estimate is that there are about a thousand out there larger than a kilometer wide, and about 13,000 that are more than 140 meters across – real killers, each with their own speed, direction and orbits through the galaxy. After two decades of searching, only about 28 percent of the estimated total number of NEOs bigger than 140 meters across have been found and tracked. That's far short of the 90 percent that US Congress directed NASA to get a handle on by 2020, and it leaves a global blind spot of more than 9,000 potential extinction-level threats that we could potentially do something about if we gave ourselves enough warning.

Therapeutic Pathway to Treat Alcoholism

Tuesday, 29 November 2016 04:08 Written by
Therapeutic Pathway to Treat Alcoholism

A liver hormone called FGF21 may regulate alcohol drinking by acting directly on a receptor in the brain, according to a new study.  This raises the possibility of a new therapeutic pathway that could one day be targeted to reduce the desire for alcohol in problem drinkers. The new study, by researchers from Imperial College London, King’s College London, and UT Southwestern Medical Center, for the first time highlights a liver-brain axis which plays an important role in regulating the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol drinking is a complex trait that is known to be partly inherited, yet so far there have been few genes associated with it.

President Obama Prepares Nation for Solar Flares

Saturday, 15 October 2016 22:17 Written by
President Obama Prepares Nation for Solar Flares

A large enough solar flare could knock out electrical grids we have come to rely on for day-to-day life. On 13 October 2016, President Barack Obama issued an executive order aimed at preparing the nation's infrastructure for "extreme space weather events" that could potentially be powerful enough to wreak havoc on essential electrical grids.

Doctor Can Stop Heart Attacks

Wednesday, 28 September 2016 15:57 Written by
Doctor Can Stop Heart Attacks

When Dr. Harry Selker was working as a cardiologist in the 1970s, clot-busting drugs were showing great promise against heart attacks. One medical treatment Selker is researching is a cocktail of glucose, insulin and potassium, known by its chemical initials GIK. More than 50 years ago, studies with baboons and rabbits indicated that GIK appeared to actually prevent heart attacks. The simple concoction protected heart muscles against damage. Selker says: "So it was very encouraging. It was extraordinary, really."

Astronomers Find 1000+ New Planets

Wednesday, 11 May 2016 17:00 Written by
Astronomers Find 1000+ New Planets

This week astronomers using NASA’s Kepler space telescope announced that the planet-hunting spacecraft had increased its catalogue by an additional 1,284 worlds. This is the greatest number of planets ever announced at one time. A paper summarizing the findings appears in The Astrophysical Journal. The total exoplanet tally now stands at about 3,200, and Kepler has found 2,235 of them, NASA officials said.

Neuroscientists Word-Map Brain

Tuesday, 03 May 2016 19:04 Written by
Neuroscientists Word-Map Brain

Scientists have created an “atlas of the brain” that reveals how the meanings of words are arranged across different regions of the organ. Like a colourful quilt laid over the cortex, the atlas displays in rainbow hues how individual words and the concepts they convey can be grouped together in clumps of white matter. “Our goal was to build a giant atlas that shows how one specific aspect of language is represented in the brain, in this case semantics, or the meanings of words,” said Jack Gallant, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ancient Egyptian Demons Found

Saturday, 16 April 2016 17:04 Written by
Ancient Egyptian Demons Found

A Belgium-based Egyptologist has discovered the oldest of ancient Egyptian demons -- demonic entities populated the ancient Egyptians’ imaginations as far back as 4,000 years ago.  The discovery, presented recently at the International Conference on Ancient Egyptian Demonology, these demons gripped their victims and cut off their heads.

Wael Sherbiny, an independent scholar who specializes in the ancient Egyptian religious texts, found two demons on two Middle Kingdom coffins presumed to be about 4,000 years old.  The third demon was identified in a 4,000-year-old leather roll the researcher had previously discovered in the shelves of the Egyptian museum in Cairo, where it was stored and forgotten for more than 70 years. This leather roll was the oldest and longest Egyptian leather manuscript.

Ray Tomlinson, RIP

Saturday, 05 March 2016 23:59 Written by
Ray Tomlinson, RIP

A computing legend has died. The inventor of email, Ray Tomlinson, suffered an apparent heart attack on Saturday, according to reports. He was 74 years old.

Tomlinson sent the very first email back in 1971; at the time, he was working in Boston at Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (BBN), a company that was instrumental in the development of a very early version of the internet, called ARPANET. As an employee, he was "looking for problems [ARPANET] could solve," Tomlinson said in a 2012 interview.

Zarif to U.S. senators: You are ignorant of international law

The Iranian foreign minister on Monday reacted to an open letter to Iran’s leaders by 47 U.S. Republican senators who had warned Tehran that any nuclear deal that the Islamic Republic signs with President Barack Obama’s administration won’t last after Obama leaves office. Mohammad Javad Zarif said the letter lacks “legal validity” and shows that the signatories of the letter are “ignorant of international law”. “In our view this letter has no legal validity and is just a propaganda scheme,” Zarif noted. The letter proved that “like” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu these senators “are opposed to any deal”.

SCOTUS: Citizens United is destroying America

Saturday, 28 February 2015 16:20 Written by
SCOTUS Seal

At the time that the ruling was delivered, Kennedy’s faith that access and influence would not corrupt the system was exceeded in curiousness only by his belief that the American people would feel similarly. But as the years have passed, and as studies showing the U.S. to be a donor-run system akin to oligarchy have gone mainstream, his declaration has begun to make a bit more sense. Just so long as “the electorate” is defined as the lobbying industry and its clients, his prediction looks downright clairvoyant.

Facebook Cuts Deals to Track Your Online Activity

Facebook has announced that it’s teaming up with four of the world’s largest corporate data brokers to “enhance” the ad experience for users. Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom, and BlueKai obtain information gathered about users through online means (such as through cookies when users surf the web) as well as through offline means (such as through loyalty cards at supermarkets and product warranty cards).

Through the new relationship with Facebook, companies will be able to display advertisements to Facebook users based on data that these data brokers have on individuals. In practical terms, this means that limiting how much information you put on Facebook is not enough to limit how ads are targeted to you on Facebook.

Hackers Focus On Third-Party Targets

Thursday, 14 March 2013 12:05 Written by
Hackers Focus On Third-Party Targets

Significant flaws in Microsoft Operating Systems and programs are becoming a smaller portion of the total. Secunia reports that 86 percent of active vulnerabilities in 2012 affected third-party products such as Java, Flash and Adobe Reader. In 2007, third-party vulnerabilities made up less than 60 percent of the total.

On the plus side, the dangerous window between discovery of a vulnerability and creation of a patch is getting smaller. Secunia reports same-day patch availability for 80 percent of these threats in 2012, up from a bit over 60 percent in 2007. 

Hackers Get 10 Months to pwn Victims

Thursday, 25 October 2012 11:40 Written by
Hackers Get 10 Months to pwn Victims

"Tell no one, compromise everyone" -- Hackers exploit security vulnerabilities in software for 10 months on average before details of the holes surface in public, according to a new study based on a paper [PDF] on the research - Before We Knew It: An Empirical Study of Zero-Day Attacks In The Real World.

Two researchers from Symantec Research Labs identified 18 zero-day attacks between 2008 and 2011, and 11 of them were previously undetected. “A typical zero-day attack lasts 312 days on average and that, after vulnerabilities are disclosed publicly, the volume of attacks exploiting them increases by up to five orders of magnitude,” the researchers noted.

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