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New Research Provides Evidence of Strong Early Magnetic Field Around Earth

SlashDot - 1 hour 53 min ago
New research from the University of Rochester provides evidence that the magnetic field that first formed around Earth was even stronger than scientists previously believed. The research, published in the journal PNAS, will help scientists draw conclusions about the sustainability of Earth's magnetic shield and whether or not there are other planets in the solar system with the conditions necessary to harbor life. Phys.Org reports: Using new paleomagnetic, electron microscope, geochemical, and paleointensity data, the researchers dated and analyzed zircon crystals -- the oldest known terrestrial materials -- collected from sites in Australia. The zircons, which are about two-tenths of a millimeter, contain even smaller magnetic particles that lock in the magnetization of the earth at the time the zircons were formed. Previous research by [John Tarduno, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Dean of Research for Arts, Sciences, and Engineering at Rochester] found that Earth's magnetic field is at least 4.2 billion years old and has existed for nearly as long as the planet. Earth's inner core, on the other hand, is a relatively recent addition: it formed only about 565 million years ago, according to research published by Tarduno and his colleagues earlier this year. While the researchers initially believed Earth's early magnetic field had a weak intensity, the new zircon data suggests a stronger field. But, because the inner core had not yet formed, the strong field that originally developed 4 billion years ago must have been powered by a different mechanism. "We think that mechanism is chemical precipitation of magnesium oxide within Earth," Tarduno says. The magnesium oxide was likely dissolved by extreme heat related to the giant impact that formed Earth's moon. As the inside of Earth cooled, magnesium oxide could precipitate out, driving convection and the geodynamo. The researchers believe inner Earth eventually exhausted the magnesium oxide source to the point that the magnetic field almost completely collapsed 565 million years ago. But the formation of the inner core provided a new source to power the geodynamo and the planetary magnetic shield Earth has today.

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4G isn't dead yet: Qualcomm unveils LTE-versions of its midrange Snapdragon chips - CNET

CNET News - 2 hours 23 min ago
The company late Monday introduced three new 4G processors to tap into markets like India.

Qualcomm's new mobile chipsets pack more features for the non-5G crowd

Engadget - 2 hours 23 min ago
2020 is the year 5G will start making a difference for people, but 4G LTE networks aren't going anywhere. If anything, they'll remain the de facto means of connection for much of the world for years, so it's little surprise to see Qualcomm rolling ou...

Hulu February 2020: Everything new coming this month - CNET

CNET News - 3 hours 45 min ago
Head back to the Nine-Nine with the seventh season premiere of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and walk on the wild side of the law with season 3 of Good Girls.

Subaru plans to sell only electric cars by the middle of the 2030s

Engadget - 3 hours 50 min ago
By Ronan Glon Nipping infinite rumors in the bud, Subaru confirmed the Outback, the Forester, the BRZ, the WRX STI, and every other car it makes will go electric or disappear by the middle of the 2030s. The Japanese automaker announced it plans to k...

Disney embraces (almost) every time The Simpsons poked fun at Disney - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2020-01-20 23:38
In a new compilation video, Disney welcomes the cartoon's Disney gags -- which it now owns.

GDPR has led to $126 million in fines over data privacy

Engadget - Mon, 2020-01-20 23:03
It's been a year and nearly eight months since the EU's data privacy law, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), came into force and 114 million euros ($126 million) in fines have been imposed so far, according to a new report. The law firm...

A Newly-Discovered Part of Our Immune System Could Be Harnessed To Treat All Cancers, Say Scientists.

SlashDot - Mon, 2020-01-20 22:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: The Cardiff University team discovered a method of killing prostate, breast, lung and other cancers in lab tests. The findings, published in Nature Immunology, have not been tested in patients, but the researchers say they have "enormous potential." Our immune system is our body's natural defense against infection, but it also attacks cancerous cells. The scientists were looking for "unconventional" and previously undiscovered ways the immune system naturally attacks tumors. What they found was a T-cell inside people's blood. This is an immune cell that can scan the body to assess whether there is a threat that needs to be eliminated. The difference is this one could attack a wide range of cancers. T-cells have "receptors" on their surface that allow them to "see" at a chemical level. The Cardiff team discovered a T-cell and its receptor that could find and kill a wide range of cancerous cells in the lab including lung, skin, blood, colon, breast, bone, prostate, ovarian, kidney and cervical cancer cells. Crucially, it left normal tissues untouched. Exactly how it does this is still being explored. This particular T-cell receptor interacts with a molecule called MR1, which is on the surface of every cell in the human body. It is thought MR1 is flagging the distorted metabolism going on inside a cancerous cell to the immune system. Treatment would include extracting T-cells from a blood sample of a cancer patient and then genetically modifying them so they were reprogrammed to make the cancer-finding receptor. The upgraded cells would be grown in vast quantities in the lab and then put back into the patient.

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Star Trek: Picard -- the essential Trek episodes to watch before the new show - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2020-01-20 21:59
Catch up on these classic moments in Star Trek, The Next Generation and Voyager before Picard beams onto screens Jan. 23.

Google's Pixelbook Go is finally available in 'Not Pink'

Engadget - Mon, 2020-01-20 21:11
It took three months, but Google is finally offering its "Not Pink" version of the Pixelbook Go. The internet giant has started selling its more colorful Chromebook through its official store, Best Buy and other channels. It's functionally the same a...

Self-healing bacteria bricks could help us build on the moon or Mars - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2020-01-20 20:34
This construction Franken-material's alive -- and it could be a more sustainable solution for building.

Loot Boxes Push Kids Into Gambling, Says England's NHS Mental Health Director

SlashDot - Mon, 2020-01-20 20:30
Claire Murdoch, mental health director of England's National Health Service (NHS), has reignited the loot box controversy with a report claiming they push young people into "under the radar" gambling. PC Gamer reports: "Frankly no company should be setting kids up for addiction by teaching them to gamble on the content of these loot boxes", she said. "No firm should sell to children loot box games with this element of chance, so yes those sales should end." Loot boxes aren't currently regulated by England's Gambling Commission because their contents can't be monetized. The report calls this a "loophole" because, "Despite this, third party websites selling gaming accounts and rare items are commonplace and easy to find on places such as eBay across the internet." Murdoch called on game publishers to ban games whose loot boxes encourage children to gamble, as well as to introduce spending limits, tell players the odds of receiving each item before they buy a loot box, and "Support parents by increasing their awareness on the risks of in-game spending." As for what those risks are, the report says, "Investigations have found numerous cases of children spending money without their parents' knowledge, including a 16-year-old paying 2,000 British Pounds on a basketball game and a 15-year-old losing 1,000 British Pounds in a shooting game."

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Ultrafast Camera Takes 1 Trillion Frames Per Second of Transparent Objects, Phenomena

SlashDot - Mon, 2020-01-20 19:50
After developing the world's fastest camera a little over a year ago, Caltech's Lihong Wang decided that wasn't good enough and started working on an even faster device. A new paper published in the journal Science Advances details a new camera from Wang that can take up to 1 trillion pictures per second of transparent objects. Phys.Org reports: The camera technology, which Wang calls phase-sensitive compressed ultrafast photography (pCUP), can take video not just of transparent objects but also of more ephemeral things like shockwaves and possibly even of the signals that travel through neurons. Wang explains that his new imaging system combines the high-speed photography system he previously developed with an old technology, phase-contrast microscopy, that was designed to allow better imaging of objects that are mostly transparent such as cells, which are mostly water. The fast-imaging portion of the system consists of something Wang calls lossless encoding compressed ultrafast technology (LLE-CUP). Unlike most other ultrafast video-imaging technologies that take a series of images in succession while repeating the events, the LLE-CUP system takes a single shot, capturing all the motion that occurs during the time that shot takes to complete. Since it is much quicker to take a single shot than multiple shots, LLE-CUP is capable of capturing motion, such as the movement of light itself, that is far too fast to be imaged by more typical camera technology. In the new paper, Wang and his fellow researchers demonstrate the capabilities of pCUP by imaging the spread of a shockwave through water and of a laser pulse traveling through a piece of crystalline material.

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David Lynch goes full David Lynch in a bizarre short film for Netflix - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2020-01-20 19:22
Spoiler-free review: The director's new black-and-white film What Did Jack Do? is a wonderful Lynchian treat (about a murderous monkey, obviously).

Huge PS5 Leak Spills a Bunch of Info On Sony's Reveal Event

SlashDot - Mon, 2020-01-20 19:10
A PS5 leak posted on 4Chan, which was later reposted on Reddit, spills a bunch of information on the PlayStation 5 reveal event which is expected to take place in February. According to the leak, the PS5 will be unveiled on February 5 at a PlayStation Meeting event for the media. "The console design, controller, UI/home screen, certain features, console specs, talk from third parties/indie publishers, as well as announcements for PS5 exclusives will be shown," says the leaker. The leak says the PS5 will support backwards compatibility with games from all 5 PlayStation platforms; PS4 accessories will be compatible on the new console as well; and the specs will rival Microsoft's Xbox Series X console. Furthermore, it states that the PS5 will launch worldwide in October 2020, priced at $499 in the U.S. It'll also be launched with several exclusive titles. You can read the full list of details here.

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'Dying Light 2' is delayed indefinitely

Engadget - Mon, 2020-01-20 19:09
Yet another Square Enix-published game is facing a delay, and this might not be a short wait. Techland has delayed its zombie title Dying Light 2 indefinitely to allow "more development time to fulfill our vision." It didn't say what led to the compa...

Instagram Drops IGTV Button Because Nobody Was Using It

SlashDot - Mon, 2020-01-20 18:30
Instagram is removing the annoying orange IGTV button from its homepage because hardly anyone was using it. "As we've continued to work on making it easier for people to create and discover IGTV content, we've learned that most people are finding IGTV content through previews in Feed, the IGTV channel in Explore, creators' profiles and the standalone app. Very few are clicking into the IGTV icon in the top right corner of the home screen in the Instagram app," a Facebook company spokesperson tells TechCrunch. "We always aim to keep Instagram as simple as possible, so we're removing this icon based on these learnings and feedback from our community." TechCrunch reports: Instagram users don't need the separate IGTV app to watch longer videos, as the IGTV experience is embedded in the main app and can be accessed via in-feed teasers, a tab of the Explore page, promo stickers in Stories, and profile tabs. Still, the fact that it wasn't an appealing enough destination to warrant a home page button shows IGTV hasn't become a staple like past Instagram launches including video, Stories, augmented reality filters, or Close Friends. Now users need to tap the IGTV tab inside Instagram Explore to view long-form video. Another thing absent from IGTV? Large view counts. The first 20 IGTV videos I saw today in its Popular feed all had fewer than 200,000 views. BabyAriel, a creator with nearly 10 million Instagram followers that the company touted as a top IGTV creator has only post 20 of the longer videos to date with only one receiving over 500,000 views. [...] In another sign that Instagram is folding IGTV deeper into its app rather than providing it more breathing room of its own, and that it's eager for more content, you can now opt to post IGTV videos right from the main Instagram feed post video uploader. AdWeek Social Pro reported this new "long video" upload option yesterday. A Facebook company spokesperson tells me "We want to keep our video upload process as simple as possible" and that "Our goal is to create a central place for video uploads."

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Feds Seize For Selling Access To Stolen Data

SlashDot - Mon, 2020-01-20 17:50
JustAnotherOldGuy shares a report from PC Magazine: The FBI has shut down a website that offered hackers easy access to 12 billion records stolen in thousands of data breaches. On Thursday, the Justice Department announced it had seized the internet domain to, a site that was cataloging data taken from more than 10,300 data breaches at various companies and websites over the years. Customers could pay as little as $2 to gain access to the massive trove of data, which was carefully indexed and searchable. In return, subscribers could look up a person's email address to find out what previously leaked passwords, names, phone numbers, and IP addresses had been associated with it. It isn't entirely clear how was obtaining the data breach records. But hackers routinely sell, trade, and collect such information on dark web marketplaces and forums.

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Hospitals Give Tech Giants Access To Detailed Medical Records

SlashDot - Mon, 2020-01-20 17:44
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Wall Street Journal: Hospitals have granted Microsoft, IBM and Amazon the ability to access identifiable patient information under deals to crunch millions of health records, the latest examples of hospitals' growing influence in the data economy. This breadth of access wasn't always spelled out by hospitals and tech giants when the deals were struck. The scope of data sharing in these and other recently reported agreements reveals a powerful new role that hospitals play -- as brokers to technology companies racing into the $3 trillion health-care sector. Rapid digitization of health records in recent years and privacy laws enabling companies to swap patient data have positioned hospitals as a primary arbiter of how such sensitive data is shared. Microsoft and Providence, a Renton, Wash., hospital system with data for about 20 million patient visits a year, are developing cancer algorithms by using doctor's notes in patient medical records. The notes haven't been stripped of personally identifiable information, according to Providence. And an agreement between IBM and Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston, to jointly develop artificial intelligence allows the hospital to share personally identifiable data for specific requests, people involved in the agreement said -- though so far the hospital hasn't done so and has no current plans to do so, according to hospital and IBM officials. Microsoft executive Peter Lee in July described how his company would use Providence patient data without identifying information for algorithm development. In a December statement, he said patients' personal health data remains in Providence's control and declined to comment further. As for Amazon, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle, granted certain AWS employees access to health information that identifies individual patients. "The Hutch, a research institution with ties to hospitals, trained and tested Amazon Web Services software designed to read medical notes," the report says. "An AWS spokeswoman said it doesn't use personally identifiable data protected under federal privacy laws to develop or improve its services."

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Right now Harman/Kardon's SB 26 soundbar with powered wireless subwoofer is just $180 - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2020-01-20 17:15
This excellent home theater sound system is 70% off the $600 list price.