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Nov 25, 2019

Mystery blurs dump of over 1 billion people’s personal data

Posted by in category: security

Two security sleuths last month discovered an enormous amount of data that was left exposed on a server. Data found on the server belonged to around 1.2 billion people.

Kartikay Mehrotra wrote about it on Friday for Bloomberg, in a story, along with one from Wired, that was frequently quoted over the weekend. The data was left unprotected on a Google Cloud server.

The FBI were contacted and the server was shut down. Not trivial. Wired referred to the situation as a “jumbo” data leak. Wired said the information was sitting exposed and easily accessible on an unsecured server.

Nov 25, 2019

Scientists discover surprising quantum effect in an exotic superconductor

Posted by in categories: energy, quantum physics

An international team led by researchers at Princeton University has directly observed a surprising quantum effect in a high-temperature iron-containing superconductor.

Superconductors conduct electricity without resistance, making them valuable for long-distance electricity transmission and many other energy-saving applications. Conventional superconductors operate only at extremely low temperatures, but certain iron-based materials discovered roughly a decade ago can superconduct at relatively high temperatures and have drawn the attention of researchers.

Exactly how forms in iron-based materials is something of a mystery, especially since iron’s magnetism would seem to conflict with the emergence of superconductivity. A deeper understanding of unconventional materials such as iron-based superconductors could lead eventually to new applications for next-generation energy-saving technologies.

Nov 25, 2019

DNA Testing: The Disconnect Between Patients and Researchers | WSJ

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

As genetic sequencing becomes more widespread, a disconnect is emerging between what individual patients expect to get back and what scientists are willing and able to tell them. WSJ visited MIT’s Broad Institute to learn about the murky world of genomic research data.

Photo: angela weiss/afp via getty images

Continue reading “DNA Testing: The Disconnect Between Patients and Researchers | WSJ” »

Nov 24, 2019

Bacteria farms produce natural sugar safe for diabetics and teeth

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, health, sustainability

Sugar poses one of the most pressing health problems in the modern world – not least because it’s just so delicious. Rather than quitting sweets cold turkey, low-calorie alternatives to sucrose could make tasty treats that are at least less bad for us. And now, researchers from Tufts University have developed a more efficient method for producing one such sweetener, using farms of bacteria.

The sugar in question is called tagatose, which the FDA says is “generally regarded as safe.” It’s 92 percent as sweet as sucrose – regular old table sugar – but because the human digestive system doesn’t metabolize as much of it, it only has 38 percent of the calories. That, in turn, means tagatose has a much smaller effect on blood glucose and insulin, making it safe for diabetics. And to cap it off, tests show that it doesn’t contribute to cavities or tooth decay.

But, of course, there’s a catch – tagatose is a little complicated to produce. Normally, it’s done by hydrolyzing lactose to make galactose, which is then isomerized into tagatose, which then needs to be purified and crystallized into a solid, usable form. Yields from this process are low, at less than 30 percent.

Nov 24, 2019

Could Humanity Reach “Life 3.0”?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, robotics/AI

When you hear the word “cyborg,” scenes from the 1980s films RoboCop or The Terminator might spring to mind. But the futuristic characters made famous in those films may no longer be mere science fiction. We are at the advent of an era where digital technology and artificial intelligence are moving more deeply into our human biological sphere. Humans are already able to control a robotic arm with their minds. Cyborgs —humans whose skills and abilities exceed those of others because of electrical or mechanical elements built into the body —are already among us.

But innovators are pushing the human-machine boundary even further. While prosthetic limbs are tied in with a person’s nervous system, future blends of biology and technology may be seen in computers that are wired into our brains.

Our ability to technologically enhance our physical capabilities—the “hardware” of our human systems, you could say—will likely reshape our social world. Will these changes bring new forms of dominance and exploitation? Will unaltered humans be subjected to a permanent underclass or left behind altogether? And what will it mean to be human—or will some of us be more than human?

Nov 24, 2019

How to make diseases disappear | Rangan Chatterjee | TEDxLiverpool

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

Can you actually make a disease disappear? Dr Rangan Chatterjee thinks you can. Often referred to as the doctor of the future, Rangan is changing the way that we look at illness and how medicine will be practised in years to come. He highlighted his methods in the groundbreaking BBC TV show, Doctor In The House, gaining him much acclaim from patients, his contemporaries and the media.

He is the author of the international bestseller, The 4 Pillar Plan — http://amzn.to/2yGfpuB which has been released in the USA and Canada under the title, How to Make Disease Disappear — https://amzn.to/2GstJf6 Rangan’s 15 years of clinical experience in the NHS includes internal medicine, immunology and general practice. A pioneer in the emerging field of progressive medicine, he also uses techniques from other disciplines he has studied including movement kinetics and functional medicine.

Continue reading “How to make diseases disappear | Rangan Chatterjee | TEDxLiverpool” »

Nov 24, 2019

A Cosmic Anomaly: Three Supermassive Black Holes in One Galaxy

Posted by in category: cosmology

A typical but existentially terrifying feature of almost every galaxy is a monster lurking at its center: A supermassive black hole which can be hundreds or even billions of times the mass of our sun. The supermassive black hole sucks in dust and gas from the surrounding galaxy, leaving an empty spheroid shape right in the middle of the galaxy from which not even light can escape.

Very occasionally, astronomers spot not one but two of these hungry giants moving together, typically when they observe two galaxies merging. But now, researchers have spotted something utterly unprecedented: A galaxy with three supermassive black holes at its heart.

Dr. Peter Weilbacher, one of the researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam, underlined the significance of this finding: “Up until now, such a concentration of three supermassive black holes had never been discovered in the universe,” he said.

Nov 24, 2019

Plant-based diet may prevent cognitive decline

Posted by in categories: food, neuroscience

New research highlights the importance of a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains for preventing cognitive decline later in life.

Nov 24, 2019

Can the gut microbiome unlock the secrets of aging?

Posted by in categories: life extension, neuroscience

A new study finds that gut bacteria from old mice can help rejuvenate the neurons of younger ones, suggesting that gut bacteria are key to aging.

Nov 24, 2019

New Chinese magnetic levitation train ‘is faster than going by plane’

Posted by in category: transportation

A bullet train which ‘floats’ above the tracks using magnetic levitation could soon hit 373mph in China — making it faster than travelling by plane.

A prototype body of the science fiction vehicle was shown off in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao this week.

The machine, designed by China’s China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), is slated to go into production in 2021.