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Submission + - Professors claim passive cooling breakthrough via plastic film (economist.com)

charlesj68 writes: An article in the Economist discusses the development of a plastic film by two professors at the University of Colorado in Boulder that provides a passive cooling effect. The film contains embedded glass beads that absorb and emit infrared in a wavelength that is not blocked by the atmosphere. Combining this with half-silvering to keep the sun from being the source of infrared absorption on the part of the beads, and you have way of pumping heat at a claimed rate of 93 watts per square meter.
Actual paper in Science: http://science.sciencemag.org/...
Original research by others in Nature: http://www.nature.com/nature/j...

Submission + - Wikipedia Comments Destroyed by a Few Highly Toxic Users (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A joint study carried out by researchers from Alphabet's Jigsaw and the Wikimedia Foundation has analyzed all user comments left on Wikipedia in 2015 in order to identify how and why users launch in personal attacks, one of the many faces of online abuse. A closer look at the data revealed that 34 "highly toxic users" were responsible for almost 9% of all personal attacks on the site.

"By comparing these figures, we see that almost 80% of attacks come from the over 9000 users who have made fewer than 5 attacking comments," the research team noted, something that's somewhat normal, as everybody tends to get mad at one point or another. "However, the 34 users with a toxicity level of more than 20 are responsible for almost 9% of attacks. Thus, while the majority of Wikipedia’s attacks are diffused infrequent attackers, significant progress could be made by moderating a relatively small number of frequent attackers," researchers concluded.

Comment When terahertz is not teraHertz (THz) (Score 2) 53

This article takes advantage of a definition for "terahertz band" as indicated in the paper linked.

http://aip.scitation.org/doi/f...

The "terahertz" band is 300 GHz to 10,000 GHz, so anyone who does work at 300 GHz is working in the "terahertz" band. However, the SI terahertz unit is 1000 GHz, as another poster pointed out. So this is on the far far far low end of the terahertz band. It's like claiming you're flying when you run, because both your feet are off the ground at the same time...

Submission + - Boeing Unveils New NASA Spacesuits For Starliner Austronaut Taxi (space.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The NASA astronauts who fly aboard Boeing's new spaceship will wear sleek, blue suits that are lighter, simpler and more comfortable than the bulky orange gear of the space shuttle era, company representatives said. Unveiled today (Jan. 25), the new "Boeing Blue" spacesuits for the Starliner capsule weigh about 20 lbs. (9 kilograms) each with all of their accessories, compared to 30 lbs. (13.6 kg) for the old space shuttle suits, NASA officials said. Other advances include touch-screen-sensitive gloves, more-flexible material and soft helmets that are incorporated into the suit (rather than the hard, detachable helmets of the shuttle era). The Boeing Blue suit, and the one that SpaceX develops, will help keep astronauts safe in the event of an emergency during trips to and from orbit. The suits are not designed for spacewalks; the large, bulky "extravehicular mobility units" that astronauts use for this latter purpose are already aboard the ISS. "The spacesuit acts as the emergency backup to the spacecraft's redundant life-support systems," Richard Watson, subsystem manager for spacesuits in NASA's Commercial Crew Program, said in the same statement. "If everything goes perfectly on a mission, then you don't need a spacesuit. It's like having a fire extinguisher close by in the cockpit. You need it to be effective if it is needed."

Submission + - DragonflEye Project Wants to Turn Insects Into Cyborg Drones

robotopia writes: Scientists at an R&D company called Draper are using genetic engineering and optoelectronics to turn dragonflies into cybernetic insects, reports IEEE Spectrum. To control the dragonflies, Draper engineers are genetically modifying the nervous system of the insects so they can respond to pulses of light. The goal of the project, called DragonflEye, is enabling insects to carry scientific payloads or conduct surveillance.

Submission + - Deep Learning Algorithm Diagnoses Skin Cancer As Well As Seasoned Dermatologists (extremetech.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Remember how that Google neural net learned to tell the difference between dogs and cats? It’s helping catch skin cancer now, thanks to some scientists at Stanford who trained it up and then loosed it on a huge set of high-quality diagnostic images. During recent tests, the algorithm performed just as well as almost two dozen veteran dermatologists in deciding whether a lesion needed further medical attention. The algorithm is called a deep convolutional neural net. It started out in development as Google Brain, using their prodigious computing capacity to power the algorithm’s decision-making capabilities. When the Stanford collaboration began, the neural net was already able to identify 1.28 million images of things from about a thousand different categories. But the researchers needed it to know a malignant carcinoma from a benign seborrheic keratosis. Dermatologists often use an instrument called a dermoscope to closely examine a patient’s skin. This provides a roughly consistent level of magnification and a pretty uniform perspective in images taken by medical professionals. Many of the images the researchers gathered from the Internet weren’t taken in such a controlled setting, so they varied in terms of angle, zoom, and lighting. But in the end, the researchers amassed about 130,000 images of skin lesions representing over 2,000 different diseases. They used that dataset to create a library of images, which they fed to the algorithm as raw pixels, each pixel labeled with additional data about the disease depicted. Then they asked the algorithm to suss out the patterns: to find the rules that define the appearance of the disease as it spreads through tissue. The researchers tested the algorithm’s performance against the diagnoses of 21 dermatologists from the Stanford medical school, on three critical diagnostic tasks: keratinocyte carcinoma classification, melanoma classification, and melanoma classification when viewed using dermoscopy. In their final tests, the team used only high-quality, biopsy-confirmed images of malignant melanomas and malignant carcinomas. When presented with the same image of a lesion and asked whether they would “proceed with biopsy or treatment, or reassure the patient,” the algorithm scored 91% as well as the doctors, in terms of sensitivity (catching all the cancerous lesions) and sensitivity (not getting false positives).

Submission + - House science chairman: 'Get your news directly from the president' (cnn.com) 1

ClickOnThis writes: CNN has reported that Rep. Lamar Smith (R), chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee is asking Americans to trust the information they get from the President over the news produced by the media. From the article:

Republican Rep. Lamar Smith saluted President Donald Trump from the floor of the House on Tuesday evening, rattling off his first-week accomplishments but saying Trump is not getting the press coverage he deserves.

"The national liberal media won't print that, or air it or post it," Smith said. "Better to get your news directly from the President. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth."


Submission + - Massive Twitter Botnet Dormant Since 2013 (threatpost.com)

msm1267 writes: A sizable and dormant Twitter botnet has been uncovered by two researchers from the University College London, who expressed concern about the possible risks should the botmaster decide to waken the accounts under his control.

Research student Juan Echeverria Guzman and his supervisor and senior lecturer at the college Shi Zhou said the 350,000 bots in the Star Wars botnet could be used to spread spam or malicious links, and also, more in line with today’s social media climate, it could start phony trending topics, attempt to influence public opinion, or start campaigns that purport a false sense of agreement among Twitter users.

Compounding the issue is a larger botnet of more than a half-million bots that the researchers have uncovered since their initial research. That research, the two academics said, will be shared in a future paper. In the meantime, the Star Wars botnet dataset is available for study; the researchers said the data is tens of times larger than any public collection on Twitter bots.

The researchers also said they have not shared their data with Twitter yet because they are waiting for their current research to be approved in a scientific journal.

“We would also like to give researchers a chance to get the dataset by themselves before they are gone, this is why we have not reported to Twitter directly, but we will as soon as the paper gets accepted,” Echeverria Guzman said.

Submission + - NASA eyes $10 Quintillion asteroid (usatoday.com)

kugo2006 writes: NASA announced a plan to research 16 Psyche, an asteroid potentially as large as Mars and primarily composed of Iron and Nickel. The rock is unique in that it has an exposed core, likely a result of a series of collisions, according to Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Psyche's principal investigator. The mission's spacecraft would launch in 2023 and arrive in 2030.

Submission + - AI can predict when patients will die from heart failure 'with 80% accuracy' (ibtimes.co.uk)

drunkdrone writes: Scientists say they have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) programme that is capable of predicting when patients with a serious heart disorder will die with an 80% accuracy rate.

Researchers from the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS) believe the software will allow doctors to better treat patients with pulmonary hypertension by determining how aggressive their treatment needs to be.

Submission + - Blockchain Tech Could Save Banks $12bn a year

Mickeycaskill writes: Accenture research has found Blockchain technology has the potential to reduce infrastructure costs by an average of 30 percent for eight of the world's ten biggest banks. That equates to annual cost savings of $8-12 billion.

A vast amount of cost for today's investment banks comes from complex data reconciliation and confirmation processes with their clients and counterparts, as banks maintain independent databases of transactions and customer information.

However, Blockchain would enable banks to move to a shared, distributed database that spans multiple organisations.

It has become increasingly obvious in recent months that blockchain will be key to the future of the banking industry, with the majority of banks expected to adopt the technology within the next three years.

Submission + - Who Is Killing the Towns of Western Massachusetts? (backchannel.com) 1

mirandakatz writes: If Western Massachusetts is going to retain its population—particularly its younger residents—it needs 21st century internet. That's easier said than done: Governor Charlie Baker appears to be favoring an approach that gives money to incumbent telecoms companies, and prevents towns from seizing control of their connectivity. At Backchannel, Susan Crawford argues that "because of Governor Baker, many of the people of Western MA, especially younger residents, will have to move somewhere. And even a region rich in culture, with second-home owners who otherwise might want to stay full time, will find itself populated with ghosts. Unhappy ghosts, with lousy, overpriced internet access."

Submission + - FTC Dismantles Two Huge Robocall Organizations

Trailrunner7 writes: Continuing its campaign against phone fraud operations, the FTC has dismantled two major robocall organizations that the commission alleges were making hundreds of millions of calls over the course of several years to consumers who were on the Do Not Call registry.

The FTC filed complaints against two separate groups of defendants, the leaders of which have both been involved in previous legal actions for robocalling operations. The defendants each controlled several different corporate entities that were involved in selling home security systems, extended auto warranties, and other products through repeated automated phone calls. Many of the calls were to numbers on the DNC list, a violation of the telemarketing regulations.

The two main defendants in the complaints are Justin Ramsey and Aaron Michael Jones, and in separate actions, they and many of their co-defendants have agreed to court-ordered bans on robocall activities and financial settlements. The FTC alleges that Ramsey directed an operation that made millions of robocalls a month.

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