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  Monday, June 26, 2017
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7-30-07: Some feeds were removed. PHP RSS ReaderChemical & Engineering News: Nano SCENE

Welcome to Chemical & Engineering News's Nano SCENE, an up-to-the-minute collection of news about nanoscience and nanotechnology, including coverage of nanofabrication and assembly, characterization of nanostructures, bionanotechnology, organic and inorganic nanomaterials, and nanodevices.

Thirsty MOF sucks more water from airA high-capacity, water-adsorbent metal-organic framework could help improve the performance of both water capture and adsorption cooling devices

IBM researcher unveil first 5-nm chipThe breakthrough could help pave the way for cognitive computing and more efficient cell phones

Artificial melanin gets into the skinPolydopamine nanoparticles could protect skin cells from DNA damage caused by ultraviolet radiation

‘DNA slingshot’ targets drug deliveryMolecular machines built with synthetic DNA and antibodies could have applications in medicine

Stretchy material creates dynamic hologramsMetamaterial hologram displays a series of images as it’s stretched

‘Flat water’ provides a battery boostAtomically thin liquid layers could help 2-D materials improve energy-storage devices

Stretchy holograms made from a metamaterialRubbery holograms display a series of different images as they are stretched

Multicomponent catalyst promotes multistep reactionsNanoparticle-on-nanorod material enables four-step reaction in one pot to prepare pharmaceutical intermediates

Spray-on process creates bright, efficient LEDsNew method to make quantum-dot light-emitting diodes offers a low-cost route to bright, flexible displays

Quantum dots could expand live imagingParticles strongly emit short-wavelength infrared light, which penetrates tissue deeply

Carbon nanobelt fashioned at lastIterative Wittig reactions and aryl-aryl coupling knit together the fused ring structure

Making immune cells more tolerantNew biomaterials target cells involved in autoimmune diseases

PHP RSS ReaderYahoo News - Latest News & Headlines  Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines

The latest news and headlines from Yahoo! News. Get breaking news stories and in-depth coverage with videos and photos.

New Zealand law student launches climate change court case

New Zealand law student launches climate change court caseWELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A New Zealand law student is taking the government to court in hopes of forcing it to set more ambitious climate change targets.



Trump’s Tech Week did not make America great

Trump’s Tech Week did not make America greatIt was a full house last week at the White House as President Donald Trump opened his doors to a gaggle of tech CEOs to talk about modernizing the U.S. government. Among the all-star lineup: Apple's Tim Cook, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, and Alphabet's Eric Schmidt. This week, they're gone. They leave behind desks at departments key to bringing the government into the 21st century that have remained empty months into Trump's presidency. Trump has yet to appoint a science adviser, which breaks with decades of practice in Republican and Democratic administrations. That adviser typically heads up the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which among other things advises the government on everything from artificial intelligence to climate change. Senators have issued letters pleading with the president to fill out the OSTP staff. Other departments important to innovation efforts are almost comically understaffed. The U.S Digital Service, for example, is looking to recruit, via a blog post published earlier this month. And for anyone paying attention, they'll realize that this is actually the issue facing the government's efforts to modernize.  So! The White House "Tech Week" is now in the books, and aside from some quality photo ops, it's unclear if anything's actually gonna come from it. "Tech week" looks headed for the same fate as "infrastructure week"—punchlines for the Trump administration's tendency to focus on branding, over getting actual work done, as controversy swirls around his presidency.  So is Tech Week still a thing? — Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 23, 2017 Now, with "tech" having been addressed, the administration's on to "energy week" while pushing a budget that will slash research and development spending. Politico calls it "the deepest cuts in innovations investments that any administration has ever proposed." The silver lining? It's not really in Trump's hands.  "There’s a couple of interesting things that you quickly realize when you go to work in tech policy. [One] is that the federal government has very little directive power to do much of anything," said Michael Daniel, who currently works as president of the Cyber Threat Alliance and formerly served as special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator at the White House.  "In order to be effective in tech policy you actually have to build a lot of consensus among industry and other elements to persuade [tech companies] that you've got a direction that they want to go," Daniel continued. In other words, it can't happen in a week. But the Trump administration also can't really undo all the work that was done under Barack Obama's administration. The government pushed out several initiatives related to the tech sector under the former president. Most notably, Tech Hire was a campaign launched in March 2015 to expand the tech industries in local economies by building talent pipelines in those communities. Those programs don't necessarily need Trump to succeed. Initiatives like Tech Hire still exists, led by the nonprofit Opportunity@Work, and are thriving in some areas such as Atlanta. John C. Yates, the partner-in-charge of the technology practice at the law firm Morris, Manning & Martin, is referred to many as the godfather of Atlanta's tech scene.  Yates said that Tech Hire, while it may be an Obama-era program, aligns with the current administration's goal for a strong American economy.  "You can’t grow the economy unless you grow the workforce. We can either increase immigration (which the current administration has not been in favor of) or you can better train the workforce here," Yates said.  Beyond Atlanta, another bipartisan effort exists. The Tech Jobs Tour, launched earlier this year, is a private effort dedicated to placing talent in tech jobs. Leanne Pittsford, who runs the group Lesbians Who Tech, founded the tour, while Megan Smith—formerly chief technology officer under the Obama administration—serves as an adviser.  "There's conversation outside of the administration. Where is opportunity, and what do I have access to? It's meeting people where they are," said Mitali Chakraborty, chief experience officer at Tech Jobs Tour.  "No one wants to be the next Silicon Valley. They just want to be the best version of their city," Chakraborty said. "They know it’s the identity of their own city and their future." They aren't turning a blind eye to the administration, of course.  "We just feel like we have a lot of work to do, a lot of work to do on the state level, the local level, the private level," Chakraborty said. "Regardless of who’s in office, we’re doing the work ... businesses are going to keep starting and stopping, the economy is going to keep moving. I always say red states, blue states, it doesn’t matter. Jobs are purple. WATCH: Take your summer picnics to the next level with this portable grill



Great Barrier Reef a $42 billion asset 'too big to fail': study

Great Barrier Reef a $42 billion asset 'too big to fail': studyAustralia's under-pressure Great Barrier Reef is an asset worth Aus$56 billion (US$42 billion) and as an ecosystem and economic driver is "too big to fail", a study said Monday. The World Heritage-listed reef is the largest living structure on Earth and its economic and social value was calculated for the first time in the Deloitte Access Economics report commissioned by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. The study, based on six months' analysis, comes as the reef suffers an unprecedented second straight year of coral bleaching due to warming sea temperatures linked to climate change.



Strong earthquake injures 2, knocks off roof tiles in Japan

Strong earthquake injures 2, knocks off roof tiles in JapanTOKYO (AP) — A strong earthquake shook residents Sunday in a mountainous region of central Japan, injuring at least two people and knocking roof tiles off homes.



'Anonymous' says NASA has found alien life, but let's all slow the hell down

'Anonymous' says NASA has found alien life, but let's all slow the hell downThe shadowy hacker collective Anonymous believes that NASA is about to announce that it has discovered alien life of some kind.  We've looked into these claims and concluded they are, at best, a bone-headed misunderstanding of  mundane statements from a NASA official in April, or, at worst, a bold-faced lie playing all of us for clicks.  Either way, it's not worth our time to fully debunk or yours to deeply consider. Simply put, there's no evidence that NASA is about to reveal that it's found aliens.  SEE ALSO: It's not aliens. It's never aliens. Stop saying it's aliens. Anonymous cites out-of-context testimony from Thomas Zurbuchen, the associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, given during an April 26 hearing before the House Science, Space and Technology.  Consider what Zurbuchen actually said in his written testimony [emphasis added]: "... We haven’t found definitive signs of life elsewhere just yet, our search is making remarkable progress and astrobiology is a focus of a growing number of NASA missions."  That’s a far cry from saying something like, “Oh boy, oh wow, we've definitely found little green men, but I can't tell you about it yet because we're a very secretive government agency,” which seems to be what Anonymous heard. Oh, and also, Zurbuchen flatly denies the Anonymous report. Are we alone in the universe? While we do not know yet, we have missions moving forward that may help answer that fundamental question. — Thomas Zurbuchen (@Dr_ThomasZ) June 26, 2017 Here are some other stories to catch you up on what NASA has actually been up to on its hunt for life in the solar system: NASA's newest treasure trove of alien planets will help us find our place in the galaxy These seven planets could be where we find alien life NASA confirms discovery of nearest rocky exoplanet to Earth so far Potentially habitable planet found orbiting our neighboring star If we keep using 'Earth-like' to describe alien planets, it will become meaningless If you'll excuse me, I'm going to write about something else now.  UPDATE: June 26, 2017, 12:23 p.m. EDT This story was updated to include tweets from Zurbuchen related to the Anonymous report. WATCH: NASA has discovered a water world in our solar system capable of sustaining life



How to Watch the Eclipse? Airline Flight Will Chase Solar Phenomenon as It's Happening

How to Watch the Eclipse? Airline Flight Will Chase Solar Phenomenon as It's HappeningThe last total solar eclipse that was visible in the United States happened in 1918. Airplane technology has advanced quite a bit in the last 100 years, and Alaska Airlines is going to provide the best view possible to one of the rarest astronomical phenomena. The flight is invitation-only, but beginning July 21 the airline will hold a contest across Alaska's social channels to win a seat on the flight.



World mayors urge G20 leaders to 'save the planet'

World mayors urge G20 leaders to 'save the planet'Dozens of city mayors from around the world -- including Washington, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo and Sydney -- on Monday called on G20 leaders to stick to their commitments on tackling climate change. In light of US President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate change pact "the resolve of the other 19 leaders at the upcoming G20 Summit to safeguard the future of our planet is more important than ever," the statement added.



Google Earth Heads to the Classroom With National Geographic and PBS

Google Earth Heads to the Classroom With National Geographic and PBSGoogle Earth Heads to the Classroom With National Geographic and PBS



The way we respond to being stared at may reveal how much power we think we have

The way we respond to being stared at may reveal how much power we think we haveIn a blog post for Psychology Today, Audrey Nelson discusses how continuous eye contact for ten seconds or longer is disconcerting. This doesn't mean that everyone who dislikes eye contact is on the autistic spectrum, though. According to research discussed in another blog post in Psychology Today, avoiding someone's gaze could also be an evolutionary behaviour we have picked up to respond to threats.



California big tunnels win early approval. Questions remain

California big tunnels win early approval. Questions remainSAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown won crucial early approval from federal wildlife officials Monday for his $16 billion proposal to re-engineer California's north-south water system, advancing his plan to build two giant tunnels to carry Northern California water to the south even though much about the project remains undetermined.



App allows tech workers to anonymously speak out

App allows tech workers to anonymously speak outEmployees share their experiences of workplace bullying and victimization



Sea level rise is accelerating, with Greenland in leading role

Sea level rise is accelerating, with Greenland in leading roleGlobal sea level rise is accelerating as the Greenland Ice Sheet sheds more of its ice, scientists have found.  Given this quickening pace, it's possible that by the end of this century, sea level rise could threaten coastal communities around the world, from Miami to Mumbai.  A new study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, is one of a few recent works to confirm an acceleration in sea level rise during the past few decades. There had been greater uncertainty about this before, with climate deniers latching onto that and arguing that such an acceleration has not, in fact, been occurring. SEE ALSO: Trump to mayor of sinking island: Don't worry about sea level rise However, by using calculations of the various contributing factors to sea level rise, such as melting ice sheets, water expansion that occurs as the oceans warm, and other factors, researchers from institutions in China, Australia, and the U.S. found that global mean sea level increased from about 2.2 millimeters per year in 1993 to 3.3 millimeters per year in 2014.  July 30, 2013 in Qaqortoq, Greenland.Image: Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesWhile that may seem tiny, the numbers add up quickly. These rate changes are the difference between a decadal sea level rise rate of 0.86 inches and 1.29 inches, with greater acceleration expected in the future.  The findings also made clear how major contributors to sea level rise have been changing over time. And it doesn't paint a pretty picture.  Whereas global ice mass loss constituted 50 percent of sea level rise in 1993, this rose to 70 percent in 2014. The study found that the largest increase came from the Greenland Ice Sheet, which made up just 5 percent of the global mean sea level rise rate in 1993, and now constitutes 25 percent of it.  Given scientists' concerns about Antarctica's stability, look for melting glaciers to comprise an even greater share of the sea level rise budget in the near future. Sea level is accelerating! and largest change is coming from increased mass flux of Greenland ice sheet. Now contributes 25% of annual rise. — Chris Harig (@chrisharig) June 26, 2017 The sea level rise rates we expect over next 100 years are several times what the Dutch dealt with in the last 500 years of dike building. — Chris Harig (@chrisharig) June 26, 2017 A different study published in early June found the rate of sea level rise just about tripled between 1990 and 2012.  A study published in 2016 found that if global warming continues above 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial levels through 2100, then sea levels would end up rising faster than at any time during human civilization. That study found that in a warming scenario of 5 degrees Celsius, or 9 degrees Fahrenheit, which is roughly the path we’re on now, New York City could see more than a meter, or about 3.6 feet, of sea level rise with an even higher upper limit. This would make a Hurricane Sandy-sized storm surge far more common in the city. A separate study published in February found that current rates of sea level rise are likely unprecedented in at least the past 2,800 years. This week's findings are in line with NASA's estimate for the current rate of sea level rise, which is 3.4 millimeters per year.  Calved icebergs from the nearby Twin Glaciers are seen floating on the water on July 30, 2013 in Qaqortoq, Greenland.Image: Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesThe significance of the new study is that it resolves lingering uncertainties about mismatches between what scientists know about contributors to sea level rise, and measured rates from satellites. This study, along with other recent work, shows the two match up closely, and it nails down the sea level rise acceleration.  Also, the new research shows that coastal communities that are already struggling with increased flooding on an annual basis, such as Miami Beach, will have to cope with a rapidly worsening situation in coming decades.  For every millimeter that the local sea level rises, the easier it becomes for the ocean to hit previously unheard of flood levels. Storm surges ride on top of background sea levels, and like a basketball player playing on a court with a steadily rising floor, even weaker storms are becoming more likely to score a slam dunk.  WATCH: It's official, 2016 was Earth's warmest year on record



World Food Prize goes to African Development Bank president

World Food Prize goes to African Development Bank presidentDES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The son of a Nigerian farm laborer who rose out of poverty to earn graduate degrees in agricultural economics and spent his career improving the availability of seed, fertilizer and financing for African farmers is the winner of this year's World Food Prize announced Monday.



Should robot artists be given copyright protection?

Should robot artists be given copyright protection?Artificial intelligence can now produce original paintings, novels and music.



Signs Of Sadism Include Bitter Tastes, Like Black Coffee

Signs Of Sadism Include Bitter Tastes, Like Black CoffeeAlthough sadism is often linked with serial killers or other extreme behaviors, this isn’t always the case, and these personality types are much more common than we think.



Yellowstone Grizzlies Lose Endangered Status

Yellowstone Grizzlies Lose Endangered StatusThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  removed grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from the Endangered Species List yesterday (June 22). The decision to return the Yellowstone bears to state and tribal management reflected rebounding grizzly numbers in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), a region that encompasses Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in a statement. However, scientists and Tribal Nations representatives have argued against the delisting, citing that the bears aren't out of the woods just yet, according to a statement published online by the Sierra Club, a nonprofit environmental organization.



Weed killer ingredient going on California list as cancerous

Weed killer ingredient going on California list as cancerousFRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Regulators in California took a pivotal step on Monday toward becoming the first state to require the popular weed killer Roundup to come with a label warning that it's known to cause cancer.



Subway digging uncovers 'Pompeii-like scene' in Rome

Subway digging uncovers 'Pompeii-like scene' in RomeROME (AP) — Digging for Rome's new subway has unearthed the charred ruins of an early 3rd-century building and the 1,800-year-old skeleton of a crouching dog that apparently perished in the same blaze that collapsed the structure.



The prize-winning tech helping Ghana's farmers to grow

The prize-winning tech helping Ghana's farmers to growAgyei Douglas is a farmer who grows vegetables near Kumasi in Ghana's central Ashanti region. For farmers, there are also weather forecasts, market prices and agricultural tips all offered as voice messages in local languages such as the Akan dialect Twi.



Ex-CEO's reputation precedes him, affects jury selection

Ex-CEO's reputation precedes him, affects jury selectionSeveral potential jurors at the federal securities fraud trial of Martin "Pharma Bro" Shkreli were excused on Monday after telling the judge they couldn't be impartial toward the flamboyant former ...



Taking on Uber's ousted CEO

Taking on Uber's ousted CEOTech journalist targeted for her criticism



Cold-Blooded Mummy: How India's Hot Weather Preserved a Reptile

Cold-Blooded Mummy: How India's Hot Weather Preserved a ReptileThe Indian chameleon (Chamaeleo zeylanicus) was likely looking for water from an old pipe that had been dry for years, said filmmaker and writer Janaki Lenin, who found the critter and posted photos of it on Twitter. "The tragic story of a chameleon," Lenin tweeted June 18. It's strange that the dead chameleon was gripping the water pipe, said Christopher Raxworthy, the curator-in-charge of the Department of Herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.



With Legal Pot, Fatal Car Crashes Haven't Increased

With Legal Pot, Fatal Car Crashes Haven't IncreasedIn the three years following Colorado's and Washington's decisions in 2012 to legalize recreational marijuana, deaths in car crashes did not increase in those states, a new study finds. "One of the arguments being made when they were legalizing marijuana in those two states was, 'We're going to create a whole population of drugged drivers, and they're going to crash their cars and die," said Dr. Jayson Aydelotte, a trauma surgeon at Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, Austin. Aydelotte and his colleagues wanted to see if that prediction came true.



Brazil remains stagnant in innovation ranking

Brazil remains stagnant in innovation rankingThe country did not advance in its overall innovation efforts in the last year; Chile is the leader in the region.



Do We Have To Worry About An Asteroid Strike?

Do We Have To Worry About An Asteroid Strike?Just because an asteroid passes by Earth from a safe distance one year doesn’t mean it will always happen that way.



Night Owl or Early Riser? Sleep Patterns Can Vary by 10 Hours

Night Owl or Early Riser? Sleep Patterns Can Vary by 10 HoursEveryone has his or her own sleep chronotype, the personal biological clock that controls the body's rhythms and dictates whether people feel their best early in the morning, late at night or somewhere in between. Fischer saidthe study's results show that work-shift schedules and school start times should shift to accommodate people's natural sleep patterns. For example, Rhode Island lawmakers are currently considering delaying school start times to accommodate adolescents’ later sleep patterns.



Op-Ed: SpaceX is a more attractive Elon Musk company than Tesla or SolarCity

Op-Ed: SpaceX is a more attractive Elon Musk company than Tesla or SolarCityElon's SpaceX could be the most valuable of any Musk company and it should get far more attention than it does, says Eric Jackson.



Why you're always the one to get bitten by mozzies

Why you're always the one to get bitten by mozziesAnd other people never get bitten



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News for nerds, stuff that matters

Social Media Giants Step Up Joint Fight Against Extremist Content

Social media giants Facebook, Google's YouTube, Twitter and Microsoft said on Monday they were forming a global working group to combine their efforts to remove terrorist content from their platforms. From a report: Responding to pressure from governments in Europe and the United States after a spate of militant attacks, the companies said they would share technical solutions for removing terrorist content, commission research to inform their counter-speech efforts and work more with counter-terrorism experts. The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism "will formalize and structure existing and future areas of collaboration between our companies and foster cooperation with smaller tech companies, civil society groups and academics, governments and supra-national bodies such as the EU and the UN," the companies said in a statement.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


New Study Explains Why Trump's 'Sad' Tweets Are So Effective

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: During his campaign and presidency, Donald Trump has used Twitter to circumvent traditional media broadcasters and speak directly to the masses. He is particularly known for one specific tweet construction: he sets up a situation that he feels should inspire anger or outrage, then punctuates it with "Sad!" New research from New York University suggests a reason why this style is so effective: a tweet containing moral and emotional language spreads farther among people with similar political persuasion. The study offered up "duty" as an example of a purely moral word, "fear" as a purely emotional one, and "hate" as word that combined the two categories. The research found that the use of purely moral or purely emotional language had a limited impact on the spread of a tweet, but the "presence of moral-emotional words in messages increased their diffusion by a factor of 20% for each additional word." The impact of this language cut both ways. Tweets with moral-emotional words spread further among those with a similar political outlook, and they spread less with those who held opposing views, according to the research published in the journal PNAS. The study looked at 563,312 tweets on the topics of gun control, same-sex marriage, and climate change, and rated their impact by the number of retweets each one received.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Zillow Threatens To Sue Blogger For Using Its Photos For Parody

Kate Wagner is facing potential legal charges by real estate Zillow for allegedly violating the site's terms of service by reproducing images from their site on her blog. Wagner's blog is called McMansion Hell -- a Tumblr blog that "highlights the absurdity of giant real estate properties and the ridiculous staging and photography that are omnipresent in their sales listings," writes Natt Garun via The Verge. From the report: A typical McMansion Hell blog post will have a professional photo of a home and / or its interior, along with captions scattered throughout by Wagner. She also adds information about the history and characteristics of various architecture styles, and uses photos from the likes of Zillow and Redfin to illustrate how so many real estate listings inaccurately use the terms. Under each post, Wagner adds a disclaimer that credits the original source of the images and cites Fair Use for the parody, which allows for use of copyrighted material for "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research." In a cease and desist letter to Wagner, Zillow claims Wagner's reproduction of these images do not apply under the Copyright Act. Additionally, the company claims McMansion Hell may "[interfere] with Zillow's business expectations and interests." As a result of the potential lawsuit, Wagner has temporarily taken McMansionHell.com down. In a statement to The Verge, Zillow said: "Zillow has a legal obligation to honor the agreements we make with our listing providers about how photos can be used. We are asking this blogger to take down the photos that are protected by copyright rules, but we did not demand she shut down her blog and hope she can find a way to continue her work."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


China, Canada Vow Not To Conduct Cyberattacks On Private Sector

New submitter tychoS writes from a report via Reuters: China and Canada have signed an agreement vowing not to conduct state-sponsored cyberattacks against each other aimed at stealing trade secrets or other confidential business information. The new agreement was reached during talks between Canada's national security and intelligence adviser, Daniel Jean, and senior communist party official Wang Yongqing, a statement dated June 22 on the Canadian government's website showed. "This is something that three or four years ago (Beijing) would not even have entertained in the conversation," an unnamed Canadian government official told the Globe and Mail, which first reported the agreement. The new agreement only covers economic cyber-espionage, which includes hacking corporate secrets and proprietary technology, but does not deal with state-sponsored cyber spying for intelligence gathering.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


'Infarm' Startup Wants To Put a Farm In Every Grocery Store

Infarm, a 40-plus person startup based in Berlin, imagines a future where every grocery store has its own farm packed with herbs, vegetables and fruit. "The plants themselves are being monitored by multiple sensors and fed by an internet-controlled irrigation and nutrition system," reports TechCrunch. "Growing out from the center, the basil is at ascending stages of its life, with the most outer positioned ready for you, the customer, to harvest." From the report: The concept might not be entirely new -- Japan has been an early pioneer in vertical farming, where the lack of space for farming and very high demand from a large population has encouraged innovation -- but what potentially sets Infarm apart, including from other startups, is the modular approach and go-to-market strategy it is taking. This means that the company can do vertical farming on a small but infinitely expandable scale, and is seeing Infarm place farms not in offsite warehouses but in customer-facing city locations, such as grocery stores, restaurants, shopping malls, and schools, enabling the end-customer to actually pick the produce themselves. In contrast, the Infarm system is chemical pesticide-free and can prioritize food grown for taste, color and nutritional value rather than shelf life or its ability to sustain mass production. Its indoor nature means it isn't restricted to seasonality either and by completely eliminating the distance between farmer and consumer, food doesn't get much fresher. When a new type of herb or plant is introduced, Infarm's plant experts and engineers create a recipe or algorithm for the produce type, factoring in nutrition, humidity, temperature, light intensity and spectrum, which is different from system to system depending on what is grown. The resulting combination of IoT, Big Data and cloud analytics is akin to "Farming-as-a-Service," whilst , space permitting, Infarm's modular approach affords the ability to keep adding more farming capacity in a not entirely dissimilar way to how cloud computing can be ramped up at the push of a button.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Google Home Is 6 Times More Likely To Answer Your Question Than Amazon Alexa

According to software developed by New York-based 360i, Google Home is six times more likely to answer your question than Amazon Alexa -- its biggest competitor. Adweek reports: It's relatively surprising, considering that RBC Capital Markets projects Alexa will drive $10 billion of revenue to Amazon by 2020 -- not to mention the artificial intelligence-based system currently owns 70 percent of the voice market. 360i's proprietary software asked both devices 3,000 questions to come to the figure. While Amazon Alexa has shown considerable strength in retail search during the agency's research, Google won the day thanks to its unmatched search abilities.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


'I'm Suing New York City To Loosen Verizon's Iron Grip'

New submitter mirandakatz writes: New York City is lagging far behind when it comes to ensuring ubiquitous, reasonably priced fiber optic internet access for every resident. There's a jaw-dropping digital divide in the city, and more than a quarter of households are still using dial-up. The city could be doing more to fix that -- but it's not. That's why Susan Crawford, a professor at Harvard Law School and fierce advocate for nationwide fiber, is suing the city. At Backchannel, Crawford writes that "the city's intransigence should be embarrassing to it. Instead of a plan, instead of exercising power and acting coherently, all we've got is shuffling and nay-saying. Getting information regarding access is the key to transforming telecommunications policy in the U.S. -- as well as in New York City. We must do better." "New York City is the regulator of all the underground conduit in those two boroughs -- meaning the pipes running under the streets through which fiber optic lines are threaded," Crawford writes. "At any moment, it could require that additional conduit be built where it doesn't now exist. It could require that choked-up conduit that is now decades old be cleaned and repaired. And it could require that that conduit run to every building in the city, and require that all new buildings have neutral connection points in their basements allowing many competitors to hawk their services to tenants. If the city took these steps [...] it would foster a vibrantly competitive marketplace for retail fiber-based services for everyone. Dozens of competitors. Low prices for data transmission. But the problem is that, as far as I can tell, the city that never sleeps is, in fact, asleep: It is not taking advantage of its powers. That is why I sued the city five years ago seeking information about its regulatory efforts."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Fake Online Stores Reveal Gamblers' Shadow Banking System

randomErr shares an exclusive report from Reuters: A network of dummy online stores offering household goods has been used as a front for internet gambling payments. The seven sites in Europe to sell items including fabric, DVD cases, and maps are fake outlets. The faux store fronts are a multinational system to disguise payments for the $40 billion global online gambling industry. Online gambling is illegal in many countries and some U.S. states. The dummy sites underline a strategy which regulators, card issuers and banks have yet to tackle head-on. The scheme found by Reuters involved websites which accepted payments for household items from a reporter but did not deliver any products. Instead, staff who answered helpdesk numbers on the sites said the outlets did not sell the product advertised, but that they were used to help process gambling payments, mostly for Americans.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Judge Sentences Man To One Year In Prison For Hacking Smart Water Readers In Five US Cities

An anonymous reader writes: A Pennsylvania man was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for hacking and disabling base stations belonging to water utility providers in five cities across the U.S. East Coast. Called TGB, these devices collect data from smart meters installed at people's homes and relay the information to the water provider's main systems, where it is logged, monitored for incidents, and processed for billing. Before he was fired by the unnamed TGB manufacturing company, Flanagan's role was to set up these devices. After he was fired, Flanagan used former root account passwords to log onto the devices and disable their ability to communicate with their respective water utility providers' upstream equipment. He wasn't that careful, as the FBI was able to trace back the attacks to his home. Apparently, the guy wasn't that silent, leaving behind a lot of clues. Flanagan's attacks resulted in water utility providers not being able to collect user equipment readings remotely. This incurred damage to the utility providers, who had to send out employees at customer premises to collect monthly readings. He was arrested in Nov 2014, and later pleaded guilty.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


Apple Releases First Public Beta Of iOS 11 for iPhone and iPad

Zac Hall, writing for 9to5Mac: Apple has released the first macOS High Sierra public beta for Mac. This allows users who are not registered developers to test pre-release versions of macOS with new features for free. Prior to the public beta availability, macOS High Sierra has only been available to test with a $99/year developer account. You can register for the free public beta program here. [Note: some outlets report that the update is still "coming soon." [...] Apple has released the first iOS 11 public beta for iPhone and iPad. This allows users who are not registered developers to test pre-release versions of iOS with new features for free. You can register for the free public beta program here..

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Sorry, But Anonymous Has No Evidence That NASA Has Found Alien Life

From a Popular Science article: In a new video, the hacker group known as Anonymous claims that NASA has discovered alien life. But before you freak out, let's talk. Sadly, the group of activists and hacktivists doesn't seem to have found any new evidence to support their extraordinary claim. The video is mainly based on NASA quotes taken out of context, and what appear to be videos and information from conspiracy theory websites. The crux of the argument is based on something Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, said during a hearing in April. These sorts of hearings are organized to educate the House Science Committee on the latest research in a particular field of study. During this one, Zurbuchen said: "Taking into account all of the different activities and missions that are specifically searching for evidence of alien life, we are on the verge of making one of the most profound, unprecedented, discoveries in history." That's the quote Anonymous is pegging their video on. But if you watch his opening statement, he actually explains his reasoning just before he gets to that part. He mentions the Mars 2020 rover, which will look for signs of past life on the red planet. The Europa Clipper mission is slated to search for conditions suitable to life on Jupiter's ocean-filled moon. In a statement, Zurbuchen said, "While we're excited about the latest findings from NASA's Kepler space observatory, there's no pending announcement regarding extraterrestrial life. For years NASA has expressed interest in searching for signs of life beyond Earth. We have a number of science missions that are moving forward with the goal of seeking signs of past and present life on Mars and ocean worlds in the outer solar system. While we do not yet have answers, we will continue to work to address the fundamental question, 'are we alone?'"

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The Mere Presence of Your Smartphone Reduces Brain Power, Study Shows

An anonymous reader shares a study: Your cognitive capacity is significantly reduced when your smartphone is within reach -- even if it's off. That's the takeaway finding from a new study from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. McCombs Assistant Professor Adrian Ward and co-authors conducted experiments with nearly 800 smartphone users in an attempt to measure, for the first time, how well people can complete tasks when they have their smartphones nearby even when they're not using them. In one experiment, the researchers asked study participants to sit at a computer and take a series of tests that required full concentration in order to score well. The tests were geared to measure participants' available cognitive capacity -- that is, the brain's ability to hold and process data at any given time. Before beginning, participants were randomly instructed to place their smartphones either on the desk face down, in their pocket or personal bag, or in another room. All participants were instructed to turn their phones to silent. The researchers found that participants with their phones in another room significantly outperformed those with their phones on the desk, and they also slightly outperformed those participants who had kept their phones in a pocket or bag.

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Indie Game Developer Shares Free Keys on The Pirate Bay

Jacob Janerka, developer of the popular indie adventure game 'Paradigm,' recently spotted a cracked copy of his title on The Pirate Bay. But, instead of being filled with anger and rage while running to the nearest anti-piracy outfit, Janerka decided to reach out to the pirates. Not to school or scold them, but to offer a few free keys. From a report: "Hey everyone, I'm Jacob, the creator of Paradigm. I know some of you legitimately can't afford the game and I'm glad you get to still play it :D," Janerka's comment on TPB reads. Having downloaded many pirated games himself in the past, Janerka knows that some people simply don't have the means to buy all the games they want to play. So he's certainly not going to condemn others for doing the same now, although it would be nice if some bought it later. "If you like the game, please tell your friends and maybe even consider buying it later," he added.

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Google Replaces Gchat With Hangouts Today

An anonymous reader shares a report: The day dreaded by stubborn office workers around the country has finally arrived. At some point today, Google will replace its Google Talk feature in Gmail -- known colloquially to most of the world as Gchat -- with Google Hangouts. The reasoning: Google's announcement of the switch back in March touts Hangouts' better features and integration with other Google products over the barebones Gchat, which launched way back in 2005.

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Who Americans Spend Their Time With

Data scientist Henrik Lindberg has a series of fascinating charts based on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics that show who people in the United States spend their time with over the course of their lifetime. Check out the charts here. From a report on Quartz: Some of the relationships Lindberg found are intuitive. Time with friends drops off abruptly in the mid-30s, just as time spent with children peaks. Around the age of 60 -- nearing and then entering retirement, for many -- people stop hanging out with co-workers as much, and start spending more time with partners. Others are more surprising. Hours spent in the company of children, friends, and extended family members all plateau by our mid-50s. And from the age of 40 until death, we spend an ever-increasing amount of time alone. Those findings are consistent with research showing that the number of friends we have peaks around age 25, and plateaus between the ages of 45 and 55. Simply having fewer social connections doesn't necessarily equal loneliness. The Stanford University psychologist Linda Carstensen has found that emotional regulation improves with age, so that people derive more satisfaction from the relationships they have, whatever the number. Older people also report less stress and more happiness than younger people.

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