Jul 28, 2015

How the way you type can shatter anonymity—even on Tor

posted by Christy Wilding

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Security researchers have refined a long-theoretical profiling technique into a highly practical attack that poses a threat to Tor users and anyone else who wants to shield their identity online.

The technique collects user keystrokes as an individual enters usernames, passwords, and other data into a website. After a training session that typically takes less than 10 minutes, the website—or any other site connected to the website—can then determine with a high degree of certainty when the same individual is conducting subsequent online sessions. The profiling works by measuring the minute differences in the way each person presses keys on computer keyboards. Since the pauses between keystrokes and the precise length of time each key is pressed are unique for each person, the profiles act as a sort of digital fingerprint that can betray its owner's identity.

via Ars Technica

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Jul 28, 2015

Man born with "virtually no brain" has advanced math degree

posted by Christy Wilding

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The subject of this paper grew up with a normal cognitive and social life, and didn't discover his hydrocephalus -- which had all but obliterated his brain -- until he went to the doctor for an unrelated complaint.

via Boing Boing

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Jul 28, 2015

Firefly enzyme inspires Swiss team to create portable disease test kit

posted by Christy Wilding

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Portable test kits represent an advance in disease diagnosis, as their ready availability increases chances of earlier detection and treatment. This type of technology is constantly evolving, and sometimes inspiration can come from surprising sources. Such is the case with research carried out by a Swiss team, which has borrowed from the mechanics behind the firefly's glow to develop a sensitive molecule detector.

via Gizmag

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Jul 27, 2015

Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking among hundreds to urge ban on military robots

posted by Laura Domela

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Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, along with hundreds of artificial intelligence researchers and experts, are calling for a worldwide ban on so-called autonomous weapons, warning that they could set off a revolution in weaponry comparable to gunpowder and nuclear arms.

In a letter unveiled as researchers gathered at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Buenos Aires on Monday, the signatories argued that the deployment of robots capable of killing while untethered to human operators is “feasible within years, not decades.” If development is not cut off, it is only a matter of time before the weapons end up in the hands of terrorists and warlords, they said.

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Jul 25, 2015

China officially ends ban on video game consoles

posted by Christy Wilding

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China is finally scrapping its 15-year ban on video game consoles. According to a statement from the country's Ministry of Culture, companies like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft — among others — will now be allowed to manufacture and sell video game consoles anywhere in the country. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news earlier today.

via The Verge

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Jul 25, 2015

This Kentucky distillery blasts music to flavor its brandy

posted by Christy Wilding

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Joe Heron, the owner of the Copper and Kings distillery, calls it the "sonic aging process." All day and every day, music blasts out of speakers in the distillery's aging room. Sometimes it's David Bowie. At other times, it's Bruce Springsteen, Jimi Hendrix, or Lenny Kravitz.

It is never Katy Perry, though. Heron is firm about that.

Cooper and King's aging process takes two years. During that time, the barrels are carefully rotated and exposed to different forms of music in order to infuse the brandy with a medley of flavors

via Neatorama

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Jul 24, 2015

Just one all-nighter can alter your genes,possibly for years to come

posted by Christy Wilding

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There’s a new reason to go to bed on time: late nights, in addition to a multitude of health effects, may lead to obesity and diabetes.

Countless studies have shown the negative effects of sleep loss and sleep deprivation, but a new one from a Swedish team suggests that even one night of missed snoozing can have long-lasting effects on your genes.

via Popular Science

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