Category Archives: SCIENCE & TECH

Calls mount for action on ‘killer robots’ after UN talks


Geneva (AFP) – “Robots are not taking over the world”, the diplomat leading the first official talks on autonomous weapons assured Friday, seeking to ease criticism over slow progress towards restricting the use of so-called “killer robots”.

The United Nations was wrapping up an initial five days of discussions on weapons systems that can identify and destroy targets without human control, which experts say will soon be battle ready.

The meeting of the UN’s Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) marked an initial step towards an agreed set of rules governing such weapons.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.yahoo.com/news/calls-mount-action-killer-robots-un-talks-155430106.html

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Artificial climate intervention could completely destroy the planet


That terrible Hollywood disaster movie Geostorm fell flat on its face at the box office and got so many things wrong when it comes to science that it’s really not even worth remembering, but it did manage to predict something vaguely accurately: manipulation of the climate is bad news. In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, a team of researchers led by climate gurus at the University of Exeter reveal that dabbling in artificial cooling of the planet as a countermeasure to manmade global warming is a recipe for disaster.

The research utilized advanced climate models to simulate the effects of the proposed climate intervention techniques — including the intentional injection of aerosols into the atmosphere to lessen the sun’s ability to fuel devastating storms — and the results are not exactly encouraging.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://bgr.com/2017/11/14/geoengineering-climate-change-intervention-study/

 US scientists try 1st gene editing in the body


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Scientists for the first time have tried editing a gene inside the body in a bold attempt to permanently change a person’s DNA to try to cure a disease.

The experiment was done Monday in California on 44-year-old Brian Madeux. Through an IV, he received billions of copies of a corrective gene and a genetic tool to cut his DNA in a precise spot.

“It’s kind of humbling” to be the first to test this, said Madeux, who has a metabolic disease called Hunter syndrome. “I’m willing to take that risk. Hopefully it will help me and other people.”

Signs of whether it’s working may come in a month; tests will show for sure in three months.

If it’s successful, it could give a major boost to the fledgling field of gene therapy. Scientists have edited people’s genes before, altering cells in the lab that are then returned to patients. There also are gene therapies that don’t involve editing DNA.

But these methods can only be used for a few types of diseases. Some give results that may not last. Some others supply a new gene like a spare part, but can’t control where it inserts in the DNA, possibly causing a new problem like cancer.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://apnews.com/4ae98919b52e43d8a8960e0e260feb0a/AP-Exclusive:-US-scientists-try-1st-gene-editing-in-the-body

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley launches investigation of Google 


Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office on Monday issued a subpoena to Google as part of an investigation into whether the tech giant is violating Missouri’s consumer protection and anti-trust laws.

The investigation delves into Google’s collection of data on users and whether Google, the world’s most popular search engine, has manipulated search results at the expense of competitors, according to a release from Hawley’s office.

“When a company has access to as much consumer information as Google does, it’s my duty to ensure they are using it appropriately,” said Hawley, a Republican who is mounting a campaign for U.S. Senate. “I will not let Missouri consumers and businesses be exploited by industry giants.”

Patrick Lenihan, Google’s spokesman, said in an email that the company has not yet received the subpoena. Lenihan said Google has “strong privacy protections in place for our users and continue to operate in a highly competitive and dynamic environment.”

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article184113056.html

Vault 8: WikiLeaks Begins Publishing Source Code for CIA Hacking Tools 


WikiLeaks began publishing the source code of alleged CIA hacking tools Thursday in a new series dubbed “Vault 8.”

The source code, according to a press release from the anti-secrecy organization, is intended to “enable investigative journalists, forensic experts and the general public to better identify and understand covert CIA infrastructure components.”

“Source code published in this series contains software designed to run on servers controlled by the CIA,” WikiLeaks writes, stressing that the material does not contain 0-day or undisclosed vulnerabilities that could be utilized by others.

Hive, the first tool featured in Vault 8, aids the agency in controlling malware installed on target devices.

“Even the most sophisticated malware implant on a target computer is useless if there is no way for it to communicate with its operators in a secure manner that does not draw attention,” WikiLeaks writes. “Using Hive even if an implant is discovered on a target computer, attributing it to the CIA is difficult by just looking at the communication of the malware with other servers on the internet.”

“Hive provides a covert communications platform for a whole range of CIA malware to send exfiltrated information to CIA servers and to receive new instructions from operators at the CIA.”

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.infowars.com/vault-8-wikileaks-begins-publishing-source-code-for-cia-hacking-tools/

AT&T Deal Puts Trump’s Antitrust Cop at Center of a Political Storm 

WASHINGTON — A year ago, Makan Delrahim predicted that AT&T’s $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner would be approved by regulators. “I don’t see this as a major antitrust problem,” Mr. Delrahim, then a law professor, said to a Canadian television network.

Now, five weeks into his job as the top antitrust regulator at the Justice Department, Mr. Delrahim has taken a different position. The department has threatened to block the deal in court unless AT&T sells off major assets.

Mr. Delrahim’s position has thrown a surprising twist into a blockbuster deal, which has been watched for signs about how the Trump administration would handle giant mergers. On Wednesday, the dispute spilled into the public with conflicting versions about what the Justice Department wants.

In one account, the agency offered two paths: Sell Turner Broadcasting, including CNN, or offload DirecTV, according to several people at the companies. In another, AT&T offered to sell CNN, according to two officials at the agency.

Randall L. Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive, said on Wednesday that he had never offered to sell CNN. On Thursday, appearing at The New York Times’s DealBook conference, he said the company was ready to go to court against the Justice Department.

“To suggest that selling some of the key franchises of the business that are the most desired for your business plan makes no business sense,” Mr. Stephenson said.

The public spat has put a political cloud over the deal. President Trump has been critical of CNN and the deal. Several Democratic lawmakers have called for hearings to determine whether politics played a role in what is supposed to be an independent process.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/11/09/technology/justice-department-antitrust.html?referer=http://www.drudgereport.com/

SUPERHUMANS: Chips inserted in brains will give us MIND-BLOWING abilities within years


People will be able to buy new memories and delete unwanted ones in the near future as experts believe they are close to biohacking the body’s most powerful tool, according to a leading technology entrepreneur.

Speaking at Lisbon’s Web Summit, Bryan Johnson, the founder of Kernel – a start-up researching the possibilities of microchips being inserted on the brain – says unlocking the true potential of the mind is the “single greatest thing” humanity can achieve.

Kernel’s first step is to design chips that can help fight disease, but then it hopes to evolve the brain to offer superhuman abilities.

The firm’s website reads: “To further explore our own human boundaries, a wave of new technologies needs to emerge that can access, read, and write from the most powerful tool we have — the human brain.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://www.express.co.uk/news/science/877457/brain-function-dementia-super-power-human-kernel

Could Blood Plasma Be The Fountain Of Youth?

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Blood has always been known as “the Gift of Life” and a growing number of Bay Area researchers are currently trying to isolate a factor in blood that may turn back the hands of time.

“We don’t know how soon we’re going to defeat aging,” proclaimed Aubrey de Grey. “We should be able to keep people truly in a youthful state of health, no matter how long they live and that means the risk of death will not rise.”

De Grey is the Chief Science Officer and Co-founder of the SENS Research Foundation in Mountain View. He believes we can grow biologically younger.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/11/06/could-blood-plasma-be-the-fountain-of-youth/

Lockheed Martin developing high-energy laser for jets


Lockheed Martin is working to develop a high-power fiber laser for fighter jets.

Under a $26.3 million contract from the Air Force Research Lab, the firm will design and produce a directed energy system for aircraft, with plans to test the technology by 2021.

The move comes after a series of successful tests with similar systems in ground-based platforms – but, the experts say developing a laser for a smaller, airborne design will be a challenge.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5055865/Lockheed-Martin-developing-high-energy-laser-jets.html

DHS Wants Tech to Scan Your Face as You Drive 


The Homeland Security Department wants technology that can passively scan the faces of foreign nationals crossing the U.S. border by car, ensuring that the individuals who enter the country are the same ones who leave it.

DHS’ Silicon Valley outpost is hosting an industry day Nov. 14 to solicit solutions that would let Customs and Border Protection scan people’s faces, even if they’re wearing sunglasses, hats or are looking away from the camera, without requiring them to slow down or exit the car.

DHS has been dinged on its biometric exit program before. Its overstay reports, which records who has overstayed their visa, are often incomplete, according to the Government Accountability Office, potentially causing “significant homeland security risks.”

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The department’s Science and Technology Directorate is using Other Transaction Solicitations, a category of contracts designed to be awarded within weeks of the solicitation, and often for smaller contracts worth a few hundred thousand dollars.

The solicitation specifically seeks technology that can improve the infrastructure at land-based ports of entry, though DHS has various other programs dedicated to improving biometric exit-tracking at air and seaports. Those border checkpoints often experience snow or intense heat, which creates additional infrastructural challenges, according to the solicitation.

DHS also wants a solution that would anonymize the data if it happens to scan the face of a citizen exiting the country; the biometric exit-tracking is designed specifically to track the movement of foreign nationals.

The directorate anticipates making awards for $50,000 to $200,000 for up to four phases, ranging from proof of concept, prototype, a complex test and a full-fledged pilot.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://m.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2017/11/dhs-wants-tech-scan-your-face-you-drive-mexico/142218/?oref=ng-HPriver