Category Archives: Tech News
Medics may slow biological time to save soldiers’ lives

dims?crop=3900%2C2600%2C0%2C0&quality=85Battlefield medics frequently only have a brief window of opportunity to treat an injury before it’s fatal or causes permanent disabilities, and it’s frequently so fleeting that there’s not much they can do. DARPA is exploring an unusual solution to…


Levi’s will use lasers to ethically create the finishes on all of its jeans

Levi Strauss is introducing a digitizing technique that uses lasers to ethically create designs on its jeans in place of manual labor. Called Project FLX (which stands for Future-Led Execution), the technique will cut out harmful chemicals and reduce labor-intensive steps in producing jean finishes from between 18 to 24 steps to just three. Levi is also planning to scale this across the company’s denim supply chain.

“Our first step in the new process is to photograph the jean, and then we take that and illustrate it in a way that the laser can interpret. So what used to happen traditionally 8, 10, 12 minutes with manual applications, we can now execute with the laser in 90 seconds or so,” said Bart Sights, Levi’s VP in technical…

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He’s not just saying he feels her pain—he really is

Enlarge (credit: ccbarr / Flickr)

The perception of pain is impacted by social, emotional, and psychological factors as well as biological ones, and these factors can all affect one another. Skin-to-skin touch—a clearly social phenomenon—is known to alleviate pain. What is not quite known is how.

 A touch of pain

The Social and Affective Neuroscience Lab at the University of Haifa decided to find out. A team of researchers there designed an experiment in which 20 heterosexual romantic partners were recruited for a study on pain perception. The couples were exposed to six different conditions: holding hands when the woman was subjected to pain and when she wasn’t, just being together but not holding hands when the woman was subjected to pain and when she wasn’t, and being in separate rooms when the woman was subjected to pain and when she wasn’t.

During all conditions, the partners’ brains were simultaneously scanned so the researchers could assess the relationship between brain coupling, pain perception in the suffering partner, and empathy in the observing partner. This simultaneous scanning of individuals while they interact is a pretty new thing and a pretty big deal.

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uTorrent bugs let websites control your computer and steal your downloads

Enlarge / A screenshot of one of the uTorrent PoC exploits in action. (credit: Google Project Zero)

Two versions of uTorrent, one of the Internet’s most widely used BitTorrent apps, are vulnerable to a host of easy-to-exploit vulnerabilities that allow attackers to execute code, access downloaded files, and snoop on download histories, a Google Project Zero researcher said. uTorrent developers are in the process of rolling out fixes for both the uTorrent desktop app for Windows and the newer uTorrent Web product.

The vulnerabilities, according to Project Zero, make it possible for any website a user visits to control key functions in both the uTorrent desktop app for Windows and in uTorrent Web, an alternative to desktop BitTorrent apps that uses a web interface and is controlled by a browser. The biggest threat is posed by malicious sites that could exploit the flaw to download malicious code into the Windows startup folder, where it will be automatically run the next time the computer boots up. Any site a user visits can also access downloaded files and browse download histories.

In an e-mail sent late Tuesday afternoon, Dave Rees, VP of Engineering at BitTorrent, the developer of the uTorrent apps, said the flaw has been fixed in a beta release of the uTorrent Windows desktop app, but has not yet been delivered to users who already have the production version of the app installed. The fixed version, uTorrent/BitTorrent, is available here for download and will be automatically pushed out to users in the coming days. In a separate e-mail sent Tuesday evening, Rees said uTorrent Web had also been patched. “We highly encourage all uTorrent Web customers to update to the latest available build available on our website and also via the in-application update notification,” he wrote.

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Facebook admits SMS notifications sent using two-factor number was caused by bug

Facebook this evening clarified the situation around SMS notifications sent using the company’s two-factor authentication (2FA) system, admitting that the messages were indeed caused by a bug. In a blog post penned by Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos, the company says the error led it to “send non-security-related SMS notifications to these phone numbers.”

Facebook uses the automated number 362-65, or “FBOOK,” as its two-factor authentication number, which is a secure way of confirming a user’s identity by sending a numeric code to a secondary device like a mobile phone. That same number ended up sending users Facebook notifications without their consent. When users would attempt to get the SMS notifications to stop, the…

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How Parkland Students Are Setting and Keeping the Record Straight


How students are fighting lies, half-truths, and hypocrisy in the wake of the Florida school shooting


Netflix’s ‘Cloverfield’ sequel starts streaming tonight

cloverfilproj.jpgLast year Netflix’s Super Bowl ad focused on a season of Stranger Things we still had months to wait for, but this year things are different. The streaming company dropped a surprise 30-second teaser for The Cloverfield Paradox, a sequel to the 2008…


NASA has gone a year without a formal leader—with no end in sight

Enlarge / Astronaut Charles Bolden served as NASA’s administrator for more than seven years. (credit: NASA)

More than a year has now passed since four-time astronaut Charles Bolden resigned as NASA administrator on January 20, 2017, after seven years on the job. NASA has been led by an acting administrator, Robert Lightfoot, ever since. It is unprecedented for NASA to go without formal leadership for this long.

Five months ago, the Trump administration finally put forward a nominee for the post of administrator, Oklahoma Congressman and pilot James Bridenstine. Although he was confirmed along a party-line vote twice during Senate confirmation hearings, he has yet to receive a vote before the full Senate. Increasingly, it is obvious that the White House does not have the votes to confirm Bridenstine in a Senate where Republicans hold only a narrow margin.

Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, has led opposition to Bridenstine, saying he is too politically polarizing a figure to lead NASA. Nelson has convinced his fellow Floridian Senator, Republican Marco Rubio, to oppose Bridenstine as well. However, Nelson’s motivations may not be just the sanctity of NASA’s bipartisanship, as Bridenstine may not be pliable enough for the Florida Senator who is looking out for the interests of Kennedy Space Center. Nelson may be more interested in someone like Kennedy’s director, Bob Cabana, as a potential Bridenstine replacement.

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The people making fake AI porn have been temporarily distracted by Nicolas Cage

Over the past few months, the internet has found a creepy new hobby: using artificial intelligence to paste the faces of celebrities onto porn videos. The technology has some disturbing implications, especially with regards to consent, harassment, and fake revenge porn. But on Reddit, where most of this content is being shared, users have found at least one wholesome (sort of) use for it: inserting Nicolas Cage into movies he never acted in.

Cage has long been an internet favorite, thanks in part to his willingness to appear in just about anything. Now, with the help of AI, his likeness can be seen in an even wider range of roles: replacing Sean Connery as James Bond in Dr. No; standing in as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark; and…

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Amazon’s mini rainforest work space spheres are opening today

After seven years of planning and construction, Amazon’s mini rainforest spheres are finally opening in Seattle. “The Spheres,” as they’re known, hold 40,000 plants from 30 different countries around the world. They were designed as places employees can go to take a break or meet up with others away from their desks. The spheres also feature living walls, which are vertical gardens with over 25,000 plants woven into 4,000 square feet of mesh.

The structure is made of three connected spheres constructed from glass and steel, and, as reported by Bloomberg, they can accommodate up to 800 people. The biggest sphere is 90 feet high and 130 feet wide. Inside, it’s warm and humid, with temperatures sitting at an average of 72 degrees Fahrenheit…

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