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Most Recent Science News

Bookmark for regularly updated science news and information. News on topics in science, technology, health and more!

Clean Energy, Batteries Not Included (Op-Ed)

People often argue that, without cheaper batteries, more renewable energy can’t be added to the electric grid. First, when a diverse array of energy resources is balanced over a wide geographical area, variability in the electric grid declines considerably.

US States Edge Toward Cryptocoin Regulation

Science of Nerds:Slashdot - 40 min 47 sec ago
SonicSpike points out an article from the Pew Charitable Trusts' Research & Analysis department on the legislation and regulation schemes emerging in at least a few states in reaction to the increasing use of digital currencies like Bitcoin. A working group called the Conference of State Bank Supervisors’ Emerging Payments Task Force has been surveying the current landscape of state rules and approaches to digital currencies, a topic on which state laws are typically silent. In April, the task force presented a model consumer guidance to help states provide consumers with information about digital currencies. A number of states, including California, Massachusetts and Texas, have issued warnings to consumers that virtual currencies are not subject to “traditional regulation or monetary policy,” including insurance, bonding and other security measures, and that values can fluctuate dramatically. ... The article focuses on the high-population, big-economy states of New York, California and Texas, with a touch of Kansas -- but other states are sure to follow. Whether you live in the U.S. or not, are there government regulations that you think would actually make sense for digital currencies?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Internet Census 2012 Data Examined: Authentic, But Chaotic and Unethical

Science of Nerds:Slashdot - 1 hour 22 min ago
An anonymous reader writes "A team of researchers at the TU Berlin and RWTH Aachen presented an analysis of the Internet Census 2012 data set (here's the PDF) in the July edition of the ACM Sigcomm Computer Communication Review journal. After its release on March 17, 2013 by an anonymous author, the Internet Census data created an immediate media buzz, mainly due to its unethical data collection methodology that exploited default passwords to form the Carna botnet. The now published analysis suggests that the released data set is authentic and not faked, but also reveals a rather chaotic picture. The Census suffers from a number of methodological flaws and also lacks meta-data information, which renders the data unusable for many further analyses. As a result, the researchers have not been able to verify several claims that the anonymous author(s) made in the published Internet Census report. The researchers also point to similar but legal efforts measuring the Internet and remark that the illegally measured Internet Census 2012 is not only unethical but might have been overrated by the press."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Oracle Offers Custom Intel Chips and Unanticipated Costs

Science of Nerds:Slashdot - 2 hours 3 min ago
jfruh (300774) writes "For some time, Intel has been offering custom-tweaked chips to big customers. While most of the companies that have taken them up on this offer, like Facebook and eBay, put the chips into servers meant for internal use, Oracle will now be selling systems running on custom Xeons directly to end users. Those customers need to be careful about how they configure those systems, though: in the new Oracle 12c, the in-memory database option, which costs $23,000 per processor, is turned on by default."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How Texas Man Survived 1,000 Killer Bees

Africanized honeybees, or "killer bees," have been in the United States since about 1990, according to May Berenbaum, head of the department of entomology at the University of Illinois. It's hard to pin down specific data on the number of people attacked annually in the United States by Africanized honeybees: As Berenbaum explained, this is partly because not all attacks are reported and partly because, oftentimes, people aren't quite sure what stung them. While honeybee stingers stay behind in the body of the victim, many species take their stingers with them after attacking, Berenbaum explained. Though Africanized honeybees don't always attack, when they do, the results can be devastating.

Study: Climate change and air pollution will combine to curb food supplies

Science News From - 2 hours 33 min ago

Many studies have shown the potential for global climate change to cut food supplies. But these studies have, for the most part, ignored the interactions between increasing temperature and air pollution — specifically ozone pollution, which is known to damage crops.

A new study involving researchers at MIT shows that these interactions can be quite significant, suggesting that policymakers need to take both warming and air pollution into account in addressing food security.

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'Lucy' Thriller Revives 10% Brain Capacity Myth

Science News: - 2 hours 36 min ago
In the new action thriller "Lucy" from writer and director Luc Besson, Scarlett Johansson plays a drug mule whose body is implanted with a substance that begins to seep into her bloodstream and affect her body — most importantly her brain. Lucy develops the ability to use the "untapped" majority of her brain, which lies fallow in most people, the movie says. The authoritative, gravitas-laden voice of Morgan Freeman (as Professor Norman, a research psychologist) states in the film, "It is estimated most human beings use only 10 percent of their brain's capacity. She sets out for revenge using her powers, and in the trailer when Professor Norman is asked, "What happens when she reaches 100 percent?" he replies, "I have no idea."

Motivation May Explain Disconnect Between Cognitive Testing and Real-Life Functioning for Older Adults

Science News From - 2 hours 43 min ago

A psychology researcher at North Carolina State University is proposing a new theory to explain why older adults show declining cognitive ability with age, but don’t necessarily show declines in the workplace or daily life. One key appears to be how motivated older adults are to maintain focus on cognitive tasks.

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Attackers Install DDoS Bots On Amazon Cloud

Science of Nerds:Slashdot - 2 hours 45 min ago
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Attackers are exploiting a vulnerability in distributed search engine software Elasticsearch to install DDoS malware on Amazon and possibly other cloud servers. Last week security researchers from Kaspersky Lab found new variants of Mayday, a Trojan program for Linux that's used to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. The malware supports several DDoS techniques, including DNS amplification. One of the new Mayday variants was found running on compromised Amazon EC2 server instances, but this is not the only platform being misused, said Kaspersky Lab researcher Kurt Baumgartner Friday in a blog post."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Link Between Ritual Circumcision Procedure and Herpes Infection in Infants Examined

Science News From - 2 hours 49 min ago

A rare procedure occasionally performed during Jewish circumcisions that involves direct oral suction is a likely source of  herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) transmissions documented in infants between 1988 and 2012, a literature review conducted by Penn Medicine researchers and published online in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society found.  The reviewers, from Penn’s Center for Evidence-based Practice, identified 30 reported cases in New York, Canada and Israel.

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International team sheds new light on biology underlying schizophrenia

Science News From - 3 hours 11 min ago

As part of a multinational, collaborative effort, researchers from the Broad Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and scores of other institutions from all over the world have helped identify over 100 locations in the human genome associated with the risk of developing schizophrenia in what is the largest genomic study published on any psychiatric disorder to date.

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