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Thu, 22 Aug 2019
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Seeing through walls

Have you considered that someone could be reading what's on your monitor from a few rooms away? It's unlikely, but possible, as work by Cambridge University computer security researcher Markus Kuhn shows.

A radio antenna and radio receiver - equipment totalling less than £1000 - is all you need. Kuhn managed to grab the image to the left [see article] through two intermediate offices and three plasterboard walls.

Comment: Note: this is a first......as far as we know..... for flat panel monitors and laptops CRT (cathode ray tube) eavedropping has been around for awhile now.


Magic Wand

Doctors 'close to cure for baldness'

Down the centuries, bald men have resorted to a range of desperate measures to restore their lost hair. Today, however, the first real hope of effective treatments is reported by an American team arising from research that could also lead to scar free surgery.

©
Evidence shows mice can regenerate hair follicles

Telescope

Secrets Of Titan's Smog

Researchers have identified molecules in the atmosphere of one of Saturn's moons that are responsible for its smog-like haze.

©NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
Titan's murky atmosphere.

The findings, published in the 11 May 2007 issue of 'Science', were gathered using the Cassini spacecraft, cooperative mission of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.

The atmosphere of Titan is of great interest as it is the only one in the solar system remotely like that of Earth, containing a nitrogen-rich mix of gases.

Magic Hat

Biologists convert protein sequences into classical music

"We converted the sequence of proteins into music and can get an auditory signal for every protein," said Jeffrey H. Miller, distinguished professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, and a member of UCLA's Molecular Biology Institute. "Every protein will have its unique auditory signature because every protein has a unique sequence. You can hear the sequence of the protein."

"We assigned a chord to each amino acid," said Rie Takahashi, a UCLA research assistant and an award-winning, classically trained piano player. "We want to see if we can hear patterns within the music, as opposed to looking at the letters of an amino acid or protein sequence. We can listen to a protein, as opposed to just looking at it."

The building blocks of proteins are linear sequences of 20 different amino acids. Assigning one note for each amino acid therefore results in a 20-note scale.

"A 20-note scale is too large a range," Takahashi said. "You need a reduced scale, so we paired similar amino acids together and used chords and chord variations for each amino acid. We used each component of the music to indicate a specific characteristic of the protein. We are faithful in the conversion from the sequence to the music. The rhythm is dictated by the protein sequence."

Sheeple

Hybrid embryos get go-ahead

The [British] government has announced a U-turn on its ban on the creation of human-animal embryos and has now proposed allowing them to be used to develop new treatments for incurable diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.

The proposal in a new draft fertility bill published today would allow scientists to create three different types of hybrid embryos.

Comment: Shades of Dr. Moreau......?


Magic Wand

Fruit flies display rudimentary free will

Fruit flies have free will. Even when deprived of any sensory input to react to, the zigs and zags of their flight reveal an intrinsic, non-random - yet still unpredictable - decision-making capacity.

If evolution has furnished humans with a similar capacity, this could help resolve one of the long-standing puzzles of philosophy.

Science assumes that effects have causes, and that if we understand the causes well enough we can predict the effects. But if so, our experience of being free to make choices is an illusion, since we are in effect just sophisticated robots responding to stimuli. If our behaviour is unpredictable, this is only because random events prevent us from responding perfectly to our environment.

Coffee

Shuttle back on launch pad

After 2½ months of repairs to its external fuel tank, space shuttle Atlantis returned to the launch pad Tuesday in anticipation of lifting off in early June on a construction mission to the international space station.

©John Raoux/AP
The space shuttle Atlantis moves toward launch pad 39a at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Tuesday.

The 5.45-kilometre trip from the Vehicle Assembly Building aboard the massive crawler-transporter started just after 5 a.m. EDT and ended about noon.

It was the second trip to the launch pad that Atlantis has made this year. The shuttle was at the launch pad in late February when a freak hail storm shot hail the size of golf balls at the shuttle, making thousands of dings to insulation foam on the external fuel tank.

Display

"Many Killed Or Maimed" by Video Games

Move over Mr Jack Thompson, Louisiana State Representative Roy Burrell has upped the ante when it comes to mixing fact and fiction to make political capital.

In a column in The Shreveport Times (which Burrell likes to refer to as The Times) he speaks about U.S. federal judge, James Brady, over-turning Burrell's Jack Thompson-supported state law (HB 1381). The law would have enabled judges to rule on whether a video game was too violent to sell to children. HB 1381 was made law in Louisiana in June 2006, and over-turned as unconstitutional in November the same year.

Star

Andromeda Galaxy Might Steal Our Solar System from Milky Way

Our solar system might get booted from the suburbs to the boondocks of our galaxy when the Milky Way merges with its neighbor Andromeda in a few billion years, scientists say.

New calculations by T.J. Cox and Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics show there is a small possibility that the Sun and its planets will be exiled to the outer reaches of the merged galaxy.

"You could say that we're being sent to a retirement home in the country," Cox said.

Their findings have been submitted for publication to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Magic Wand

NASA's close-up look at a hurricane's eye reveals a new 'fuel' source

In the eye of a furious hurricane, the weather is often quite calm and sunny. But new NASA research is providing clues about how the seemingly subtle movement of air within and around this region provides energy to keep this central "powerhouse" functioning.

Using computer simulations and observations of 1998's Hurricane Bonnie in southern North Carolina, scientists were able to get a detailed view of pockets of swirling, warm humid air moving from the eye of the storm to the ring of strong thunderstorms in the eyewall that contributed to the intensification of the hurricane.

The findings suggest that the flow of air parcels between the eye and eye wall - largely believed trivial in the past - is a key element in hurricane intensity and that there's more to consider than just the classic "in-up-and-out" flow pattern. The classic pattern says as air parcels flow "in" to the hurricane's circulation, they rise "up," form precipitating clouds and transport warm air to the upper atmosphere before moving "out" into surrounding environmental air.

"Our results improve understanding of the mechanisms that play significant roles in hurricane intensity," said Scott Braun, research meteorologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. "The spinning flow of air parcels - or vortices - in the eye can carry very warm, moist eye air into the eyewall that acts as a turbocharger for the hurricane heat engine." The research appears in the June 2007 issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences.