Dave Knott writes with news that the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to Takaaki Kajita (of the University of Tokyo in Japan) and Arthur McDonald (of Queens University in Canada), for discovering how neutrinos switch between different "flavours." As the linked BBC article explains: In 1998, Prof Kajita's team reported that neutrinos they had caught, bouncing out of collisions in the Earth's atmosphere, had switched identity: they were a different "flavour" from what those collisions must have released. Then in 2001, the group led by Prof McDonald announced that the neutrinos they were detecting in Ontario, which started out in the Sun, had also "flipped" from their expected identity. This discovery of the particle's wobbly identity had crucial implications. It explained why neutrino detections had not matched the predicted quantities — and it meant that the baffling particles must have a mass. This contradicted the Standard Model of particle physics and changed calculations about the nature of the Universe, including its eternal expansion.
vasanth writes with a link to the Hindu, which reports: A few days after it celebrated the successful completion of a year around the Red planet by its first inter-planetary mission — the Mars Orbiter, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Monday launched its first dedicated multi wavelength space observatory into space, besides six satellites for Canada, Indonesia and the United States. Though the national space agency has launched satellites for Indonesia and Canada earlier, this is the first time ISRO is launching satellites for the United States. ASTROSAT's sensors will provide coverage in optical, Ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray ranges, rather than the concentrating on a narrower range. Major institutions all over India will take part in the new craft's observations.
SpaceGhost writes: The BBC reports that Jake Brewer, a 34-year-old senior policy advisor in the White House Chief Technology Office, has died while participating in a charity bike race on Saturday. Some of his work included global policy and external affairs at change.org, the White Houses TechHire initiative, and the administration's efforts to expand broadband connectivity. Brewer's death has triggered emotional tributes from many in the worlds of politics and technology. Brewer was well known for his work on Change.org, and in his role at the White House as an advocate for education, access to technology, and intelligent use of data to make government more effective.
sandbagger writes: Stories about government data and historical records being deleted, burned — even tossed into Dumpsters — have become so common in recent years that many Canadians may feel inured to them. But such accounts are only the tip of a rapidly melting iceberg. A months-long Maclean's investigation, which includes interviews with dozens of academics, scientists, statisticians, economists and librarians, has found that the federal government's 'austerity' program, which resulted in staff cuts and library closures (16 libraries since 2012) — as well as arbitrary changes to policy, when it comes to data — has led to a systematic erosion of government records far deeper than most realize, with the data and data-gathering capability we do have severely compromised as a result.
yyzmcleod sends news that AeroVelo, a Canadian team of engineers and students, has built a bike that successfully broke the human-powered land speed record. (This is the same group that built a human-powered helicopter in 2013.) The team's Eta recumbent speed bike managed a speed of 85.7mph (137.9km/h). The previous record was 83.1 mph.
Mickeycaskill writes: A new report says broadband users need at least 10Mbps speeds to be satisfied with their connection — especially with regards to online video which is now seen as a staple Internet application. Researchers at Ovum measured both objective data such as speed and coverage alongside customer data to give 30 countries a scorecard. Sweden was deemed to have the best broadband, ahead of Romania and Canada, while the UK and US finished joint-eight with Russia. "Ever since broadband services were launched, there has been discussion on what is the definition of broadband and how much speed do consumers really need?" said co-author Michael Philpott. "In 2015, the answer is at least 10Mbps if you wish to receive a good-quality broadband experience, and a significant number of households, even in well-developed broadband countries, are well shy of this mark."
An anonymous reader writes: Security reporter Brian Krebs, who has been instrumental in breaking news about the Ashley Madison hack, is now being threatened by the website's former CTO with a libel suit. Contained in the leaked data was a series of emails from the ex-CTO, Raja Bhatia, to the CEO of Ashley Madison's parent company. In the emails, Bhatia noted a security hole in a competing website, saying that he downloaded their user database and was capable of modifying and exposing it. After reporting on these emails, Krebs received a letter from Bhatia's lawyer (PDF) saying the post was libelous and defamatory. They demanded a retraction, which Krebs is thus far unwilling to do.
New submitter mutherhacker writes: A group from Osaka University in Japan and McMaster University in Canada have presented a method to control a virtual 3D object using a smartphone [video]. The method was primarily designed for presentations but also applies to virtual reality using a head mounted display, gaming or even quadrocopter control. There is an open paper online as well as a git repository for both the client and the server. The client smartphone communicates with the main computer over the network with TUIO for touch and Google protocol buffers for orientation sensor data.
Lasrick writes: NASA is kicking off the Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment, a decade-long effort to figure out just how bad things in northern US and Canada really are. The large-scale study will combine on-the-ground field studies as well as data from remote sensors—such as satellites and two season of 'intensive airborne surveys'—to improve how scientists analyze and model the effects of climate change on the region.
An anonymous reader writes: A Canadian record label specializing in public domain releases has filed a complaint with the Competition Tribunal over alleged anti-competitive conduct by Universal, Sony, and host of other music industry leaders. The complaint tells a fascinating behind-the-scenes tale, with the recording industry doing everything in its powers — including posting false reviews, pressuring distributors, and lobbying for changes to the law — to stop the sale of competing public domain records.
An anonymous reader writes: A Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) study has concluded that there would be no detectable increase in cancer risk for most of the population from radiation released in a hypothetical severe nuclear accident. The CNSC's study is the result of a collaborative effort of research and analysis undertaken to address concerns raised during public hearings on the environmental assessment for the refurbishment of Ontario Power Generation's (OPG's) Darlington nuclear power plant in 2012. The draft study was released for public consultation in June 2014. Feedback from the Commission itself and comments from over 500 submissions from the public, government and other organizations have been incorporated in the final version. The study involved identifying and modelling a large atmospheric release of radionuclides from a hypothetical severe nuclear accident at the four-unit Darlington plant
wired_parrot writes: Toronto police are reporting that 2 unconfirmed suicides have been linked to the data breach. This follows pleas from other users of the site for the hackers to not release the data before it was exposed- an anonymous gay Reddit user from Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is illegal, pleaded for the data to be kept private: "I am about to be killed, tortured, or exiled," he wrote. "And I did nothing." And when The Intercept published a piece condemning the puritanical glee over the data dump, one user who commented on the article said she's been "a long term member" of the site because her spouse's medical condition has affected their intimate life. Her spouse knows she's engaged with other Ashley Madison members, she says, but now fears she will likely lose friends and have to find a new job now that her association with the site is out there. Ashley Madison has now offered a $380,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the hackers who leaked the data. Security researcher Troy Hunt has also posted about the kind of emails he's received from users after the data leak.
tsu doh nimh writes: It was bound to happen: Brian Krebs reports that extortionists have begun emailing people whose information is included in the leaked Ashleymadison.com user database, threatening to find and contact the target's spouse and alert them if the recipient fails to cough up 1 Bitcoin. Krebs interviews one guy who got such a demand, a user who admits to having had an affair after meeting a woman on the site and who is now worried about the fallout, which he said could endanger his happily married life with his wife and kids. Perhaps inevitable: two Canadian law firms have filed a class action lawsuit against the company, seeking more than half a billion dollars in damages.
Tarek Loubani is an emergency medicine physician who works as a consultant doctor in the emergency departments in London, Canada and Shifa Hospital in Gaza. He is also an assistant professor at the Department of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario. Tarek has been working in Gaza for the past 5 years, where he made news recently by creating a 3D-printable, 30-cent stethoscope that is better than the world's best $200 equivalent. The need to develop free and open medical devices due to the lack of medical supplies resulting from the blockade, inspired Loubani who hopes the stethoscope is just the beginning of replacing expensive proprietary medical tools. Tarek has agreed to answer any questions you might have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
circletimessquare writes: Plenty of regulations are bad (some because big business corrupts them) but the simple truth is modern society cannot function without effective government regulation. It keeps are food safe, our rivers clean, and our economy healthy. Passing away at age 101 Friday was a woman who personified this lesson. In 1960 the F.D.A. tasked Dr. Frances Kelsey with evaluating a drug used in Europe for treating morning sickness. She noticed something troubling, and asked the manufacturer William S. Merrell Co. for more data. "Thus began a fateful test of wills. Merrell responded. Dr. Kelsey wanted more. Merrell complained to Dr. Kelsey's bosses, calling her a petty bureaucrat. She persisted. On it went. But by late 1961, the terrible evidence was pouring in. The drug — better known by its generic name, thalidomide — was causing thousands of babies in Europe, Britain, Canada and the Middle East to be born with flipperlike arms and legs and other defects." Without Dr. Kelsey's scientific and regulatory persistence in the face of mindless greed, thousands of Americans would have suffered a horrible fate.
An anonymous reader writes: Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) [Wednesday] morning released the May 2015 draft of the copyright provisions in the Trans Pacific Partnership (copyright, ISP annex, enforcement). The leak appears to be the same version that was covered by the EFF and other media outlets earlier this summer. Michael Geist unpacks the leaked documents, noting the treaty includes anti-circumvention rules that extend beyond the WIPO Internet treaties, new criminal rules, the extension of copyright term for countries like Canada and Japan, increased border measures, mandatory statutory damages in all countries, and expanding ISP liability rules, including the prospect of website blocking for Canada.
An anonymous reader writes: A hitchhiking robot that successfully traveled across Canada in 26 days last year and parts of Europe, has met its demise in Philly. Created as a "social experiment," hitchBOT started its journey in the U.S. in Marblehead, Massachusetts, on July 17 with its thumb raised up and tape wrapped around its head that read "San Francisco or bust." After about two weeks in the U.S., someone in Philadelphia damaged the robot beyond repair. "Sadly, sadly it's come to an end," said Frauke Zeller, one of its co-creators. The Independent reports: "The robot was designed to be a talking travel companion and could toss out factoids and carry limited conversation. A GPS in the robot tracked its location, and a camera randomly snapped photos about every 20 minutes to document its travels."
monkeyzoo writes: San Francisco is testing an ultra-water-repellant paint on wallls in areas fraught with public urination problems. The paint is designed to repel the urine and soil the offender's pants. "It's supposed to, when people urinate, bounce back and hit them on the pants and get them wet. Hopefully that will discourage them. We will put a sign to give them a heads up," said Mohammad Nuru, director of the San Francisco public works. A Florida company named Ultra-Tech produces the super-hydrophobic oleophobic nano-coating that was also recently used with success on walls in Hamburg, Germany [video] to discourage public urination. Signs posted there warn, "Do not pee here! We pee back!"
dcblogs writes: In March 2000, the NASDAQ composite index reached a historic high of 5,048, at just about the same time undergrad computer science enrollments hit a peak of nearly 24,000 students at PhD-granting institutions in the U.S. and Canada, according to data collected by the Computing Research Association in its most recent annual Taulbee Survey. By 2005, computer science enrollments had halved, declining to just over 12,000. On July 17, the NASDAQ hit its highest point since 2000, reaching a composite index of 5,210. In 2014, computer science undergrad enrollments reached nearly, 24,000, almost equal to the 2000 high. Remarkably, it has taken nearly 15 years to reach the earlier enrollment peak.