Sci-Tech


Warning about procedure that REANIMATES human brain after death

8th May 2018

Yale University scientists announced last month they had managed to successfully bring the brains of 100 slaughtered pigs back to life.

The reanimated brains were kept in this state for 36 hours before they died.

And the team said the same procedure will work on primates – humans closest animal ancestor.

They hope the process could be used to further the study of human organs when they are outside the body, which could lead to huge medical advances.

Although the pigs never actually regained consciousness, the team believe it could be possible to actually restore some level of awareness.

But leading academics have branded the procedure nightmarish, saying it raises all kinds of ethical dilemmas.

Benjamin Curtis, a Nottingham Trent ethics and philosophy lecturer, said if it was done on humans it would be a “living hell” for them.

He said: “Even if your conscious brain were kept alive after your body had died, you would have to spend the foreseeable future as a disembodied brain in a bucket, locked away inside your own mind without access to the sense that allows us to experience and interact with the world.

“In the best case scenario, you would be spending your life with only your own thoughts for company.

“Some have argued that even with a fully functional body, immortality would be tedious. With absolutely no contact to external reality it might just be a living hell.

 

 

source/read more: https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/700985/yale-experiment-brain-reanimated-pigs-life-after-death

Mobile phone cancer warning as malignant brain tumours double

3rd May 2018

resh fears have been raised over the role of mobile phones in brain cancer after new evidence revealed rates of a malignant type of tumour have doubled in the last two decades.

Charities and scientists have called on the Government to heed longstanding warnings about the dangers of radiation after a fresh analysis revealed a more “alarming” trend in cancers than previously thought.

However, the new study, published in the Journal of Public Health and Environment, has stoked controversy among scientists, with some experts saying the disease could be caused by other factors.

The research team set out to investigate the rise of an aggressive and often fatal type of brain tumour known as Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM).

They analysed 79,241 malignant brain tumours over 21 years, finding that cases of GBM in England have increased from around 1,250 a year in 1995 to just under 3,000.

The study is the first recent effort of its kind to analyse in detail the incidence of different types of malignant tumours.

The scientists at the Physicians’ Health Initiative for Radiation and Environment (PHIRE) say the increase of GBM has till now been masked by the overall fall in incidence of other types of brain tumour.

Last night the group said the increasing rate of tumours in the frontal temporal lobe “raises the suspicion that mobile and cordless phone use may be promoting gliomas”.

Professor Denis Henshaw, scientific director of Children with Cancer UK, which is allied to PHIRE, said: “Our findings illustrate the need to look more carefully at, and to try and explain the mechanisms behind, these cancer trends, instead of brushing the causal factors under the carpet and focusing only on cures.”

 

 

Chinese smartphones cited by intelligence as security risk sold on US bases

23rd April 2018

Chinese-made smartphones that the heads of U.S. intelligence have urged Americans not to buy are being sold to servicemembers across Germany at on-base exchange facilities, despite concerns of data theft and espionage.

The Huawei phones, which are being sold by TKS, an Army and Air Force Exchange Service concessionary and subsidiary of Vodaphone, could be used to gather sensitive information, according to U.S. intelligence agencies. They are banned for official government use in most cases.

The Defense Department asked whether Huawei mobile phones were being sold at exchange facilities but has not offered any other direction, said AAFES senior spokesman Chris Ward.

“We responded ‘yes’ and have had no other inquiries,” Ward said in an email response. “Should there be an official determination made by law enforcement officials that these phones present a security risk, the Exchange will instruct its vendors to remove impacted products from their assortment.”

Officials at Ramstein Air Base, where Europe’s largest exchange and a TKS concessionary operate, said they are aware that the phones are being sold on base.

Although officials did not address Huawei specifically, they said that servicemembers should adhere to operational security standards when they post anything online, take pictures or configure their location settings.

“Servicemembers need to pay attention,” said Lt Col. Joel Harper, 86th Airlift Wing spokesman. “Regardless of where the device is purchased, on base or off base, servicemembers should practice good (operational security).”

In February, the director of national intelligence, along with the heads of the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency testified before a Senate committee that Americans should not use Huawei products because of the security risks they pose.

The concern about Huawei first focused on routers, switches and other high-bandwidth commercial products but later expanded to consumer mobile phones.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified that Huawei products provide the Chinese government with the ability to maliciously modify or steal information and to conduct undetected espionage.

“We’re deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks,” Wray said.

 

 

source/read more: https://www.stripes.com/news/chinese-smartphones-cited-by-intelligence-as-security-risk-sold-on-us-bases-1.523519

Los Angeles painting city streets white in bid to combat climate change

11th april 2018

California officials are hoping their latest attempt to stem the rising tides of climate change leads to a more socially conscious — and cooler — summer.

Officials in Los Angeles have been painting streets white to reduce the effect of urban “heat islands” and combat the effects of climate change.

The LA Street Services began rolling out the project last May, which preliminary testing shows has reduced the temperature of roadways by up to 10 degrees. The project involves applying a light gray coating of the product CoolSeal, made by the company GuardTop.

“CoolSeal is applied like conventional sealcoats to asphalt surfaces to protect and maintain the quality and longevity of the surface,” according to the company website. “While most cool pavements on the market are polymer based, CoolSeal is a water-based, asphalt emulsion.”

While each coasting could can last up to seven years, they are also pricey, with the estimated cost of $40,000 per mile, the L.A. Daily News reported.

CoolSeal does pass the California skid test in addition to the slip test for wet traction, and is applied in two coats, each 50 microns thick, over an asphalt roadway or a slurry-sealed asphalt roadway, according to the streets department.

By reducing the temperature of the city streets, officials say it can help reduce temperatures in the neighborhoods where the sealant is applied.

With its numerous streets and freeways, Los Angeles suffers from the “heat island” effect, which causes urban regions to become warmer than their rural surroundings, forming an “island” of higher temperatures.

“Heat islands occur on the surface and in the atmosphere,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency. “On a hot, sunny summer day, the sun can heat dry, exposed urban surfaces, such as roofs and pavement, to temperatures 50–90°F hotter than the air1, while shaded or moist surfaces—often in more rural surroundings—remain close to air temperatures.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who may make a run for president in 2020, has used the project as part of an overall plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city by 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2025.

 

 

 

source/read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/04/10/los-angeles-painting-city-streets-white-in-bid-to-combat-climate-change.html

‘Big Brother’ in India Requires Fingerprint Scans for Food, Phones and Finances

10th April 2018

Seeking to build an identification system of unprecedented scope, India is scanning the fingerprints, eyes and faces of its 1.3 billion residents and connecting the data to everything from welfare benefits to mobile phones.

Civil libertarians are horrified, viewing the program, called Aadhaar, as Orwell’s Big Brother brought to life. To the government, it’s more like “big brother,” a term of endearment used by many Indians to address a stranger when asking for help.

For other countries, the technology could provide a model for how to track their residents. And for India’s top court, the ID system presents unique legal issues that will define what the constitutional right to privacy means in the digital age.

To Adita Jha, Aadhaar was simply a hassle. The 30-year-old environmental consultant in Delhi waited in line three times to sit in front of a computer that photographed her face, captured her fingerprints and snapped images of her irises. Three times, the data failed to upload. The fourth attempt finally worked, and she has now been added to the 1.1 billion Indians already included in the program.

Ms. Jha had little choice but to keep at it. The government has made registration mandatory for hundreds of public services and many private ones, from taking school exams to opening bank accounts.

“You almost feel like life is going to stop without an Aadhaar,” Ms. Jha said.

Technology has given governments around the world new tools to monitor their citizens. In China, the government is rolling out ways to use facial recognition and big data to track people, aiming to inject itself further into everyday life. Many countries, including Britain, deploy closed-circuit cameras to monitor their populations.

But India’s program is in a league of its own, both in the mass collection of biometric data and in the attempt to link it to everything — traffic tickets, bank accounts, pensions, even meals for undernourished schoolchildren.

“No one has approached that scale and that ambition,” said Jacqueline Bhabha, a professor and research director of Harvard’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, who has studied biometric ID systems around the world. “It has been hailed, and justifiably so, as an extraordinary triumph to get everyone registered.”

Critics fear that the government will gain unprecedented insight into the lives of all Indians.

In response, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other champions of the program say that Aadhaar is India’s ticket to the future, a universal, easy-to-use ID that will reduce this country’s endemic corruption and help bring even the most illiterate into the digital age.

“It’s the equivalent of building interstate highways,” said Nandan Nilekani, the technology billionaire who was tapped by the government in 2009 to build the Aadhaar system. “If the government invested in building a digital public utility and that is made available as a platform, then you actually can create major innovations around that.”

The potential uses — from surveillance to managing government benefit programs — have drawn interest elsewhere. Sri Lanka is planning a similar system, and Britain, Russia and the Philippines are studying it, according to the Indian government.

 

 

 

source/read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/07/technology/india-id-aadhaar.html

Bayer wins EU approval for $62.5 billion Monsanto buy

2nd April 2018

German conglomerate Bayer won EU antitrust approval on Wednesday for its $62.5 billion buy of U.S. peer Monsanto, the latest in a trio of mega mergers that will reshape the agrochemicals industry.

The tie-up is set to create a company with control of more than a quarter of the world’s seed and pesticides market.

Driven by shifting weather patterns, competition in grain exports and a faltering global farm economy, Dow and Dupont, and ChemChina and Syngenta had earlier led a wave of consolidation in the sector.

Both deals secured EU approval only after the companies offered substantial asset sales to boost rivals.

Environmental and farming groups have opposed all three deals, worried about their power and their advantage in digital farming data, which can tell farmers how and when to till, sow, spray, fertilize and pick crops based on algorithms.

The European Commission said Bayer addressed its concerns with its offer to sell a swathe of assets to boost rival BASF, confirming a Reuters story on Feb. 28.

“Our decision ensures that there will be effective competition and innovation in seeds, pesticides and digital agriculture markets also after this merger,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

“In particular, we have made sure that the number of global players actively competing in these markets stays the same.”

Vestager said the Commission, which received more than a million petitions concerning the deal, had been thorough by examining more than 2,000 different product markets and 2.7 million internal documents to produce a 1,285-page ruling.

The U.S. Justice Department, which is also reviewing the merger, said in a statement on its website that it would press on with its review and that the market in the two regions was quite different.

“While genetically modified seeds are largely prohibited in Europe, they are widely used throughout the United States,” the department noted. “The Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice continues to examine the effects of the proposed transaction on American farmers and consumers.”

China has given conditional approval to the Bayer and Monsanto deal, which has won a green light in Brazil. It is currently being reviewed by Russian antitrust authorities too.

Australia said on Thursday it would not oppose the deal following the divestment commitment.

Bayer has already reached a deal to sell certain seed and herbicide assets for 5.9 billion euros ($7.2 billion) to BASF and to give it a license to its global digital farming data. It will also divest its vegetable seeds business to BASF.

 

 

 

 

source/read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-monsanto-m-a-bayer-eu/bayer-wins-eu-approval-for-62-5-billion-monsanto-buy-idUSKBN1GX14U

Forgot your password? No problem, you might soon be able to use your penis?

13th March 2018

THERE are some inventions you know will change the world and I wholeheartedly believe this company’s “proprietary penis recognition tech” is one such example.

Operating with the belief fingerprint scanners and facial recognition technology is passé, webcam platform CamSoda has made it possible to use your penis as your password — about time!

As of today, the dick-ometrtics platform will give men the chance to use their penis for something more practical while positioned in front of the computer.

To use the service, users will need to supply the website with a picture of their old fella, which will be stored in the system to assist the proprietary penis recognition tech.

While the concept is probably not the best to use while commuting on a train during peak hour, CamSoda’s vice president Darren Press said it has its advantages.

“In order to ensure personal data is safeguarded against unwarranted individuals, biometrics have become progressively popular for its ability to provide a layer of security that is impenetrable,” he said, making me laugh at his choice of the word impenetrable.

Mr Press added that dick-ometrics takes biosecurity to the next level.

“Like a fingerprint and an eyeball, which are two of most commonly used body parts in biometric technologies, the penis has many, many differentiating factors like size, colour and vein protrusion,” he said.

 

 

source/read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/home-entertainment/computers/forgot-your-password-no-problem-you-might-soon-be-able-to-use-your-penis

80 percent of mass shooters showed no interest in video games, researcher says

Another out of touch ignoramus trying to pin blame on make-believe video games. Can someone remind him cavemen were bashing each other’s skulls in with rocks well before anyone had a PlayStation.

 

 

11 March 2018

President Trump met with video game industry representatives Thursday, after saying last month violent video games may play a role in mass shootings. The president met with parents like Melissa Henson.

“The kind of messages and images that they are putting in their minds, I think they’re nightly dress rehearsals for huge acts of violence,” she said.

But psychologist Patrick Markey’s research shows 80 percent of mass shooters did not show an interest in violent video games.

“It seems like something that should make us safer so it’s a totally understandable reaction,” Markey said. “The problem is just the science, the data, does not back up that they actually have an effect.”

Other critics point to the appearance of specific weapons in video games, like a Remington assault rifle pictured in popular game “Call of Duty.” Images of the rifle come from a lawsuit by Sandy Hook parents, who are suing Remington, saying the company bears responsibility for the killings of the 26 children at the school by shooter Adam Lanza in 2012.

“He was within this younger male demographic that Remington was trying to sell guns to,” said attorney Josh Koskoff. “What we are seeing here is what I describe as a ‘chickens coming home to roost’ scenario, where you saturate, you sell so recklessly so many of these weapons to this high-risk demographic.”

We reached out to Remington but did not hear back. The Entertainment Software Association, which represents the video game industry, said it told the president that “numerous scientific studies” show there is “no connection between video games and violence.”  In fact, Markey said his work shows when a new violent game is released, crime actually drops.

 

 

source/read more: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/80-percent-of-mass-shooters-showed-no-interest-in-video-games-researcher-says/

Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor: TSA put me through “demeaning” body search

6th march 2018

Holocaust survivor says she was a victim of a “very demeaning body search” by U.S. Transportation Security Administration agents after a visit in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Eva Mozes Kor tweeted on Sunday in Albuquerque that she had to undergo the intrusive body search before boarding a plane and that it ruined her experience following a lecture.

The Indiana resident spoke with teachers from around New Mexico at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History on Saturday about suffering through inhumane scientific experiments at the Auschwitz concentration camp as a 10-year-old.

It was unclear if the TSA search in question occurred at Albuquerque International Sunport.

TSA Regional Public Affairs Manager Carrie Harmon did not immediately return an email from The Associated Press.

Kor has been telling her own story as a Holocaust survivor for most of her life.

But in a few weeks, a documentary film about her life will add another level of the public’s understanding of the energetic Terre Haute woman who learned to forgive her Nazi tormentors as part of her own self-healing.

“Eva” will premiere on April 5 in Indianapolis and on April 14 in Terre Haute.

It’s a documentary project produced by Ted Green Films, Mika Brown and Indianapolis PBS affiliate WFYI, and it captures the legacy of Kor as she has persisted in telling her story in her own effort to make the world a better place.

Kor lost her parents and siblings to the Holocaust after her Jewish family was removed from their home in Romania and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

She and her twin sister, Miriam, both of whom survived Auschwitz, were experimented upon by Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, and they were orphans upon their liberation from the camp.

As an adult who married and moved to Terre Haute, Kor has shared her Holocaust story and became well-known for her activism and the establishment of the CANDLES Holocaust Museum (CANDLES stands for Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors)

Now 84, Kor remains active as she travels the world, sharing her personal epiphany that forgiveness is the ultimate healing agent for one’s psychological and emotional wounds.

“I discovered the cure from victimhood,” Kor said as she talked about the upcoming release of the film and how her message of forgiveness has received both praise and criticism. “Should I keep that to myself?”

Kor stands only 4 feet, 9 inches tall, and she uses a walker. But her personality still seems giant as she enters a room.

“I’m level-headed but not afraid to take on a challenge,” Kor said as she explained her quick mind and steadfast determination to help others.

“I am never a worrier. I am a doer,” she said.

 

 

source/read more; https://www.cbsnews.com/news/holocaust-survivor-eva-mozes-kor-tsa-put-me-through-demeaning-body-search/