Last updated 24 Aug, 08:30 AM
BBC News - Home
Earthquake leaves at least 21 dead in central Italy - At least people 21 die and others are trapped under rubble as a magnitude 6.2 earthquake strikes central Italy, reports say.
UK woman stabbed to death at Australian backpackers' hostel - A 21-year-old British woman dies after she was attacked with a knife at an Australian backpackers' hostel, with police investigating whether it is linked to extremism.
Brexit: Owen Smith opposes Article 50 move without vote - Owen Smith says if he is elected Labour leader, the party would block invoking Article 50 in Parliament unless any Brexit deal was put to the electorate.
Syria Jarablus: Turkey pounds IS positions ahead of ground operation - A ferocious bombardment of so-called Islamic State positions marks the start of a Turkish offensive to drive the militants away from the Syrian border.
North Korea submarine fires ballistic missile - North Korea has fired a ballistic missile from a submarine, which flew for 500km (300 miles) before falling in the sea, say the US and South Korea.
Google Fuchsia eyes non-Linux things - Embedded is the web's next frontier Google’s latest operating system project, Fuchsia, may be largely a mystery, but it reinforces a truth that the platforms vendors are having, grudgingly, to acknowledge: one operating system does not fit all. For a company which has put so much effort into making Android an OS for all purposes, Google has a remarkable number of potentially conflicting platforms, now including Chrome OS, Brillo and Fuchsia.…
Major update drops for popular Pwntools penetration showbag - Hackers chuffed. The third version of the Pwntools exploit showbag has been released, sporting new Android p0wnage functions and a host of additional modules.…
No, we haven't found liquid water on Mars, says NASA - New observations don't contradict Martian wet patch theories, but dry them up a lot The idea that seasonal dark streaks on Mars indicate the presence of liquid water turns out to be a dry argument.…
Oracle reveals Java Applet API deprecation plan - Big Red nods to plugin-hostile browser-makers, outlines proper Applet pension plan Oracle has revealed its interim plan to help Java devs deal with browser-makers' imminent banishment of plug-ins.…
Nuclear fallout shelter becomes cloud storage bunker - Cold war relic beneath Paris now houses cold storage at €0.002/GB/Month French hosting company Online.net has revealed its new data centre resides in a former nuclear fallout shelter.…
New Scientist - News
We must understand electroshock therapy’s unwanted side effects - Electroconvulsive shock treatment is in line for a renaissance. But before that happens, we need to know more about the cognitive impairments it causes
Babies’ health could be affected by variation in IVF nutrients - The recipes of different IVF culture fluids are kept secret, but there’s evidence that some affect the success of the treatment and the health of babies
Secrets of how primates can live at extreme altitude revealed - Gene selection explains how some species of snub-nosed monkeys have adapted to the challenging conditions of their habitat up to 4600 metres above sea level
Why do women keep taking HRT despite breast cancer risks? - A new analysis suggests hormone replacement therapy increases the risk of developing breast cancer even more than we thought. Will women keep taking it?
A bad night’s sleep messes with your brain’s memory connections - Tests on people’s brains after a night of disruption suggest that sleep is important for clearing space for forming new memories
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NASA Reconnects With 'Lost' STEREO-B Satellite - NASA lost contact with its STEREO-B spacecraft twenty-two months ago during a routine 72-hour test. On Sunday, the spacecraft reconnected with NASA roughly 189 million miles away from Earth. While that would seem like a cause for celebration, "the very hard and scary work is just the beginning, says Stereo project scientist Joe Gurman, as the agency has to turn on the computer to learn more about the current state of the spacecraft -- a process that may make the craft lose contact with them again. Slashdot user bongey writes: NASA may have only two minutes or less to fix a STEREO-B satellite before the computer causes it to lose contact again. NASA lost contact with their STEREO-B satellite nearly twenty-two months ago when performing a routine test. NASA scientists are afraid to turn on the computer at this point because it may cause them to lose contact again. A more detailed technical summary can be found here. "We have something like two minutes between when STEREO-B receives the command to boot up one of its computers and when it starts doing what we don't want it to do," Gurman said. Business Insider writes, "Making matters worse, it takes about 20 seconds to send commands to the spacecraft -- a data rate that makes a dial-up modem seem lightning fast." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
20% of Scientific Papers On Genes Contain Conversion Errors Caused By Excel, Says Report - An anonymous reader writes from a report via WinBeta: A new report from scientists Mark Ziemann, Yotam Eren, and Assam El-Osta says that 20% of scientific papers on genes contain gene name conversion errors caused by Excel. In the scientific article, titled "Gene name errors are widespread in the scientific literature," article's abstract section, the scientists explain: "The spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel, when used with default settings, is known to convert gene names to dates and floating-point numbers. A programmatic scan of leading genomics journals reveals that approximately one-fifth of papers with supplementary Excel gene lists contain erroneous gene name conversions." It's easy to see why Excel might have problems with certain gene names when you see the "gene symbols" that the scientists use as examples: "For example, gene symbols such as SEPT2 (Septin 2) and MARCH1 [Membrane-Associated Ring Finger (C3HC4) 1, E3 Ubiquitin Protein Ligase] are converted by default to '2-Sep' and '1-Mar', respectively. Furthermore, RIKEN identifiers were described to be automatically converted to floating point numbers (i.e. from accession '2310009E13' to '2.31E+13'). Since that report, we have uncovered further instances where gene symbols were converted to dates in supplementary data of recently published papers (e.g. 'SEPT2' converted to '2006/09/02'). This suggests that gene name errors continue to be a problem in supplementary files accompanying articles. Inadvertent gene symbol conversion is problematic because these supplementary files are an important resource in the genomics community that are frequently reused. Our aim here is to raise awareness of the problem." You can view the scientific paper in its entirety here. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Microsoft Details Its 24-Core 'Holographic Processor' Used In HoloLens - The processor powering Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality headset has been a mystery -- until now. During the annual Hot Chips conference in Cupertino, California, Microsoft revealed some juicy details about the secretive chip. PCWorld reports: "The HoloLens' HPU is a custom 28nm coprocessor designed by TSMC, The Register reports. The chip packs 24 Tensilica digital signal processor (DSP) cores. As opposed to more general-purpose CPU cores, DSPs are a specialized technology designed for rapidly processing data flowing in from the world -- a no doubt invaluable asset while rendering augmented reality environments in real time. Microsoft's HPU also contains roughly 65 million logic gates, 8MB of SDRAM, and 1GB of traditional DDR3 RAM. It draws less than 10W of power, and features PCIe and standard serial interfaces. The HPU's dedicated hardware is up to 200 times faster than performing the same calculations via software on the less-specialized 14nm Intel Cherry Trail CPU. Microsoft added custom instructions to the DSP cores that allow the HPU to churn through HoloLens-specific tasks even faster, The Register reports. The HPU can perform roughly 1 trillion calculations per second, and the data it passes to the CPU requires little additional processing." Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Pinterest Acquires Instapaper - An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Instapaper, a pioneering app for saving articles to read later, has been acquired -- again. The app, which was created by developer Marco Arment and sold to Betaworks in 2013, has found a new home at Pinterest. The goal is "to accelerate discovering and saving articles on Pinterest," the company said in a statement. It will continue to operate as a standalone app, and the Instapaper team will work on both that app and on Pinterest generally. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. As a visual search engine, Pinterest isn't often thought of as a place to bookmark written content. But in 2013 the company introduced article pins, a format that creates rich bookmarks complete with a photo and a preview of the text. The acquisition of Instapaper suggests the company believes there is more to be done there -- although it's not certain how valuable that will be for Pinterest. Instapaper can be used for free or in a $30-a-year premium version; the company has never said how many subscribers it has. Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Sony Tries To Remove News Articles About PlayStation 4 Slim Leak From The Internet - Sony is expected to announce two new PlayStation 4 consoles at a scheduled event on September 7th in New York City, but as that date nears more leaks of the consoles have emerged. The most recent leak appears to show the upcoming PlayStation 4 Slim, which Sony is trying to remove from the internet by taking down news articles from social media accounts about the leak. Erik Kain via @erikkain on Twitter tweeted (Tweet no longer exists): "Sony issued a takedown and had this post removed from my Facebook page: https://t.co/fIjP0buTdY (Warning: may be paywalled)." Techdirt reports: "[The Forbes post] references the work Eurogamer did in visiting the leaker of the image to confirm the console is for real (it is), as well as generating its own image and even video of the console working for its story on the leak. But if you go today to the Eurogamer post about the leak, the video has been replaced by the following update. UPDATE, 7.30pm: Upon taking legal advice, we have removed the video previously referenced in this article. Left unsaid is whether or not any contact had been made by Sony with Eurogamer, thus prompting this 'legal advice,' but one can imagine that being the case, particularly given Sony's threats to social media users sharing images and reporting of Sony leaks and, more to the point, threats against any media that might report on those leaks." Read more of this story at Slashdot.