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Nov 6, 2019

Kaspersky identifies mysterious APT mentioned in 2017 Shadow Brokers leak

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, privacy

The NSA had superior insight into foreign nation-state hacking operations than many cyber-security vendors.

Nov 6, 2019

NASA pops open its first untouched Moon sample in more than 40 years

Posted by in categories: futurism, space

Samples of lunar dust and rock returned to Earth during the Apollo missions quickly offered scientists new insights into the makeup of our Moon, but what do they look like under the microscopes of today? NASA has just cracked open the first of two untouched lunar samples for study with modern scientific instruments, with one eye on the upcoming Artemis missions that will return humans to the Moon in 2024.

This NASA initiative is known as the Apollo Next-Generation Sample Analysis project. It concerns two samples collected in the early 1970s that were quickly sealed and stored in the form of tubes of rock and soil, representing two-feet of vertical layering from the lunar surface.

“We are able to make measurements today that were just not possible during the years of the Apollo program,” says Dr. Sarah Noble, ANGSA program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “The analysis of these samples will maximize the science return from Apollo, as well as enable a new generation of scientists and curators to refine their techniques and help prepare future explorers for lunar missions anticipated in the 2020s and beyond.”

Nov 6, 2019

Scientists discover first new HIV strain in nearly two decades

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The strain is a part of the Group M version of HIV-1, the same family of virus subtypes to blame for the global HIV pandemic, according to Abbott Laboratories, which conducted the research along with the University of Missouri, Kansas City. The findings were published Wednesday in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

Nov 6, 2019

2019’s Allen Distinguished Investigators will focus on the mysteries of our cells

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, a division of Seattle’s Allen Institute, is making a total of $7.5 million in awards to its latest class of five biomedical researchers.

The themes for this year’s Allen Distinguished Investigators focus on stem cell therapies and single-cell interactions in their native environments.

“The field of stem cell biology has the potential to change how we treat diseases by helping precision medicine, and there’s so much we still don’t understand about the interplay between cells in living tissues or organs,” Kathy Richmond, director of the Frontiers Group, said today in a news release.

Nov 6, 2019

Tipped off by an NSA breach, researchers discover new APT hacking group

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, privacy

DarkUniverse went undetected for at least 8 years. The NSA finally outed it.

Nov 6, 2019

A Second Woman Has Gotten Parasitic Eye Worms, and Surely We’re All Next

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

A species of worm that can infect human eyes has done it again, and this time it chose a 68-year-old woman from Nebraska. The woman is thought to be only the second human victim of these worms ever documented. But the incident signals they could become an emerging parasitic disease in the U.S.

The disturbing details of the case were laid out in a paper published this October in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. The woman’s doctors, as well as researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, contributed to the paper.

Nov 6, 2019

The Universe May Be Round—and That Would Be Bad News for Physicists

Posted by in categories: physics, space

Scientists analyzing data from a defunct satellite say we should all consider that our universe might be round, rather than flat. The consequences, they explain in a new paper, could be crisis-inducing.

Current theories of the universe, which describe its age, size, and how it evolves over time, are built around a flat spacetime. A new paper reiterates that data from the final Planck satellite release might be better explained by a round universe than a flat universe. Though not everyone agrees with the paper’s conclusions, the authors write that the consequences of assuming a flat universe when the universe is actually round could be dire.

Nov 6, 2019

A slice of artificial liver mimics how a real liver reacts to drugs

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing

A lab-grown liver stand-in may better predict bad responses to drugs than animal testing does.

A human “liver chip” — liver cells grown on a membrane along with several types of supporting cells — formed structures reminiscent of bile ducts and reacted to drugs similarly to intact livers, researchers report November 6 in Science Translational Medicine. Similar rat and dog liver chips also processed drugs like normal livers in those species, allowing scientists to compare human liver cells’ reactions to drugs to those of the other species.

Rats, dogs and other animals are often used to test whether drugs are toxic to humans before the drugs are given to people. But a previous study found that the animal tests correctly identified only 71 percent of drug toxicities.

Nov 6, 2019

Opinion: It’s arrogant to assume humans will never imbue AI with consciousness

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, robotics/AI

Cogito, ergo sum,” Rene Descartes. Translation: “I think, therefore I am.”

What makes us, us? How is it that we’re able to look at a tree and see beauty, hear a song and feel moved, or take comfort in the smell of rain or the taste of coffee? How do we know we still exist when we close our eyes and lie in silence? To date, science doesn’t have an answer to those questions.

In fact, it doesn’t even have a unified theory. And that’s because we can’t simulate consciousness. All we can do is try to reverse-engineer it by studying living beings. Artificial intelligence, coupled with quantum computing, could solve this problem and provide the breakthrough insight scientists need to unravel the mysteries of consciousness. But first we need to take the solution seriously.

Nov 6, 2019

Quantum Computer Made from Photons Achieves a New Record

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

The limited system made a notable advancement on the road to beating classical machines.