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Nanocontainers Introduced Into the Nucleus of Living Cells

fahrbot-bot shares a report from Phys.Org: An interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel in Switzerland has succeeded in creating a direct path for artificial nanocontainers to enter into the nucleus of living cells. To this end, they produced biocompatible polymer vesicles that can pass through the pores that decorate the membrane of the cell nucleus. In this way, it might be possible to transport drugs directly into the cell's control center. In order to combat diseases, different therapies strive to intervene in pathological processes that occur in the cell nucleus. Chemotherapies, for example, target biochemical reactions that are involved in the proliferation of cancer cells, while the objective of gene therapies is to insert a desired gene into the nucleus. Therefore, a challenge in the field of nanomedicine is to develop a reliable method of introducing active substances specifically into the cell nucleus. Researchers at the University of Basel have now developed tiny nanocontainers that do just that in living cells. The findings have been published in the journal PNAS.

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Billie Eilish Won Multiple Grammys Using Budget Studio Gear, Logic Pro X

Longtime Slashdot reader SpaceGhost writes: Per Engadget, Ms. Eilish and her older brother (Finneas O'Connell) produced her massively popular album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? with minimal studio gear out of a bedroom studio in their parents' house. They used equipment that many aspiring artists could afford (about $1,000 worth of Yamaha monitors for instance, and at first a $100 microphone.) The 18-year-old singer swept all four of the night's biggest prizes -- Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Album of the Year -- along with honors for Best Pop Vocal Album. According to a Pro Sound Network interview with O'Connell, their production setup included a pair of $200 Yamaha HS5 nearfield monitors with a $450 H8S subwoofer, a Universal Audio Apollo 8 interface and Apple's Logic Pro X. The duo reportedly used to record with a $99 Audio Technica AT2020 mic. "The stems (that is, individual layers of instruments and music) were then sent to mix engineer Rob Kinelski to compile," adds Engadget.

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Hackers Target NFL Teams On Twitter Ahead of Super Bowl

CaptainDork shares a report from CNET: The Twitter accounts of several NFL teams were hacked on Monday ahead of this weekend's Super Bowl game. Around 15 teams, including the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers, were all targeted. The accounts had their profile images removed and some included messages from OurMine, the Saudi Arabia-based hacker group that appears to be responsible. "We are here to show people that everything is hackable," a message on a handful of hacked accounts reads. "To improve your accounts security contact us." The message includes an email address and Twitter handle for OurMine, though the account was suspended. The NFL's main account was hijacked in the hacking spree. Some teams also had their Instagram and Facebook accounts hacked.

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Albatrosses Outfitted With GPS Trackers Detect Illegal Fishing Vessels

schwit1 shares a report from the Smithsonian: Capable of following fishing boats into remote regions out of reach of monitoring machines like ships, aircraft and even certain satellites, these feathered crimefighters could offer a convenient and cost-effective way to keep tabs on foul play at sea -- and may even help gather crucial conservation data along the way. [...] On top of their stamina and moxie, albatrosses also have a certain fondness for fish-toting vessels, says study author Samantha Patrick, a marine biologist at the University of Liverpool. To the birds, the fishing gear attached to these boats is basically a smorgasbord of snacks -- and albatrosses can spot the ships from almost 20 miles away. To test the birds' patrolling potential, the researchers stomped into the marshy nesting grounds of wandering albatrosses (Diomedea exulans) and Amsterdam albatrosses (Diomedea amsterdamensis) roosting on Crozet, Kerguelen and Amsterdam, three remote island locales in the southern Indian Ocean. After selecting 169 individuals of different ages, the team taped or glued transceivers, each weighing just two ounces, to the birds' backs and bid them adieu. Over the course of six months, the team's army of albatrosses surveyed over 20 million square miles of sea. Whenever the birds came within three or so miles of a boat, their trackers logged its coordinates, then beamed them via satellite to an online database that officials could access and cross-check with automatic identification system (AIS) data. Of the 353 fishing vessels detected, a whopping 28 percent had their AIS switched off. The number of covert ships was especially high in international waters, where about 37 percent of vessels operated AIS-free. [...] Because the birds and their transceivers detected only radar, no identifying information was logged. The task of verifying a boat's legal status still falls to officials, who must then decide whether to take action, Patrick explains. But in mapping potential hotspots of illegal fishing, the birds set off a chain reaction that could help bring perpetrators to justice. The results of the tracking method were published in the journal PNAS.

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Detection of Terahertz Magnetic Resonance Could Revolutionize Electronics

fahrbot-bot shares a report from Phys.Org: A team of physicists has discovered an electrical detection method for terahertz electromagnetic waves, which are extremely difficult to detect. The discovery could help miniaturize the detection equipment on microchips and enhance sensitivity. The finding, reported today in Nature, is based on a magnetic resonance phenomenon in anti-ferromagnetic materials. Such materials, also called antiferromagnets, offer unique advantages for ultrafast and spin-based nanoscale device applications. The researchers, led by physicist Jing Shi of the University of California, Riverside, generated a spin current, an important physical quantity in spintronics, in an antiferromagnet and were able to detect it electrically. To accomplish this feat, they used terahertz radiation to pump up magnetic resonance in chromia to facilitate its detection. [...] In order to generate such magnetic resonance, the team of physicists from UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara worked with 0.24 terahertz of radiation produced at the Institute for Terahertz Science and Technology's Terahertz Facilities at the Santa Barbara campus. This closely matched the precession frequency of electrons in chromia. The magnetic resonance that followed resulted in the generation of a spin current that the researchers converted into a DC voltage. "We were able to demonstrate that antiferromagnetic resonance can produce an electrical voltage, a spintronic effect that has never been experimentally done before," said Shi, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

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Maryland Bill Would Outlaw Ransomware, Keep Researchers From Reporting Bugs

A proposed law introduced in Maryland's state senate last week would criminalize the possession of ransomware and other criminal activities with a computer. However, CEO of Luta Security Katie Moussouris warns that the current bill "would prohibit vulnerability disclosure unless the specific systems or data accessed by the helpful security researcher were explicitly authorized ahead of time and would prohibit public disclosure if the reports were ignored." Ars Technica reports: The bill, Senate Bill 3, covers a lot of ground already covered by U.S. Federal law. But it classifies the mere possession of ransomware as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. The bill also states (in all capital letters in the draft) that "THIS PARAGRAPH DOES NOT APPLY TO THE USE OF RANSOMWARE FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES." Additionally, the bill would outlaw unauthorized intentional access or attempts to access "all or part of a computer network, computer control language, computer, computer software, computer system, computer service, or computer database; or copy, attempt to copy, possess, or attempt to possess the contents of all or part of a computer database accessed." It also would criminalize under Maryland law any act intended to "cause the malfunction or interrupt the operation of all or any part" of a network, the computers on it, or their software and data, or "possess, identify, or attempt to identify a valid access code; or publicize or distribute a valid access code to an unauthorized person." There are no research exclusions in the bill for these provisions. "While access or attempted access would be a misdemeanor (punishable by a fine of $1,000, three years of imprisonment, or both), breaching databases would be a felony if damages were determined to be greater than $10,000 -- punishable by a sentence of up to 10 years, a fine of $10,000, or both," the report adds. "The punishments go up if systems belonging to the state government, electric and gas utilities, or public utilities are involved, with up to 10 years of imprisonment and a $25,000 fine if more than $50,000 in damage is done."

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Intel Is Patching Its 'Zombieload' CPU Security Flaw For the Third Time

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: For the third time in less than a year, Intel has disclosed a new set of vulnerabilities related to the speculative functionality of its processors. On Monday, the company said it will issue a software update "in the coming weeks" that will fix two more microarchitectural data sampling (MDS) or Zombieload flaws. This latest update comes after the company released two separate patches in May and November of last year. Compared to the MDS flaws Intel addressed in those two previous patches, these latest ones have a couple of limitations. To start, one of the vulnerabilities, L1DES, doesn't work on Intel's more recent chips. Moreover, a hacker can't execute the attack using a web browser. Intel also says it's "not aware" of anyone taking advantage of the flaws outside of the lab. In response to complaints of the company's piecemeal approach, Intel said that it has taken significant steps to reduce the danger the flaws represent to its processors. "Since May 2019, starting with Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS), and then in November with TAA, we and our system software partners have released mitigations that have cumulatively and substantially reduced the overall attack surface for these types of issues," a spokesperson for the company said. "We continue to conduct research in this area -- internally, and in conjunction with the external research community."

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Apple Imagines iMac Built Into Curved Sheet of Glass

Apple applied for a patent for an ambitious design for a new all-in-one computer which integrates both its keyboard and screen into a single curved sheet of glass. The Verge reports: The patent application, which was first spotted by Patently Apple, and which was filed in May last year, describes how the iMac-like computer's "input area" and "display area" could be built into a single continuous surface, while a support structure behind the display could then contain the computer's processing unit, as well as providing space for all the machine's ports. It's a pretty striking design for a couple of reasons. For one thing, the amount of curved glass involved is far more than Apple has ever used in one of its products before. It's also interesting to see that the company is thinking about taking the iMac's all-in-one design even further, by integrating not just the computer and display together, but also a keyboard and touchpad as well (although the application also describes how the keyboard could be detached during use). The patent also describes how one could dock a MacBook into the device and output the screen to the iMac's display, while its keyboard would pass through a hole in the middle of the machine to let you use it as normal. Additionally, "the application suggests that its single sheet of glass could fold down its middle to allow you to pack it away when not in use," reports The Verge.

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Bitcoin Gold Hit By 51 Percent Attacks, $72,000 In Cryptocurrency Double-Spent

Malicious cryptocurrency miners took control of Bitcoin Gold's blockchain recently to double-spend $72,000 worth of BTG. The Next Web reports: Bad actors assumed a majority of the network's processing power (hash rate) to re-organize the blockchain twice between Thursday and Friday last week: the first netted attackers 1,900 BTG ($19,000), and the second roughly 5,267 BTG ($53,000). Cryptocurrency developer James Lovejoy estimates the miners spent just $1,200 to perform each of the attacks, based on prices from hash rate marketplace NiceHash. This marks the second and third times Bitcoin Gold has suffered such incidents in two years. Any entity that controls more than 51 percent of a blockchain's hash rate can decide what version of the blockchain is accepted (or rejected) by the network. These scenarios also allow for "double-spending," attacks that initiate a transaction with intent to quickly reverse it by "re-organizing" the blockchain, so that they can spend their original cryptocurrency again. What results is a third party accepting the original transaction and the network returns the cryptocurrency spent to the attacker, essentially allowing their funds to be used twice -- hence the name "double-spending." With Bitcoin, a transaction is generally deemed legitimate once found six blocks deep in the blockchain. These particular 51-percent attackers performed re-organizations up to 16 blocks deep, seemingly in a bid to trick exchanges like Binance into paying out BTG destined to be double-spent.

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GM To Invest $2.2 Billion In First All-Electric Vehicle Plant, Create 2,200 Jobs

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: General Motors confirmed Monday it will invest $2.2 billion to convert an aging Detroit assembly plant into the manufacturing heart of its "all-electric future." The Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant was one of five North American factories GM said it would close in November 2018 but the automaker reversed course as part of an aggressive plan to launch more than 20 battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, by 2023. The first to roll out of what is known locally as the "Poletown Plant" will be an all-electric pickup that will reportedly be the subject of an upcoming Super Bowl ad. It is widely expected to bring back the name, "Hummer," used for a brand GM abandoned in 2010 after emerging from bankruptcy. The plant will be capable of using an extremely flexible vehicle "architecture," said GM President Lloyd Reuss, industry-speak for its underlying platform. It will allow the automaker to produce multiple products "for multiple brands, with multiple variants, with multiple customers (offering) different ranges of performance at different price points to meet customers wherever they are." After a news conference at the plant, Reuss told NBC News there will be multiple pickup truck models. The Poletown plant also will have the capacity to produce SUVs and crossovers, he said. What is expected to be called the Hummer pickup will go into production in late 2021. It will be followed in early 2022 by a version of the Cruise Origin, the fully driverless ride-sharing vehicle announced last week by Cruise, GM's autonomous vehicle subsidiary. The $2.2 billion that GM will spend on the plant "is part of a broader investment of $3 billion authorized as part of the contract it negotiated last autumn with the United Auto Workers Union," adds NBC News. That includes a number of other projects, including a plan to set up a factory in Lordstown, Ohio to build batteries.

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'I Tried Listening To Podcasts at 3x and Broke My Brain'

'Podfasters' listen to their favorite pods at 1.5x, even 2x speed. But how fast is too fast? From a report: Bumping the speed up to 1.5x was initially jarring. People were talking so quickly that I had to stop what I was doing and focus on the audio to keep it from falling into background chatter. After about 20 minutes of this intentional listening, however, it felt like my brain had adjusted. What at first felt rushed and slightly wrong, now felt natural. Once I found that I could go back to doing the things I normally do when I listen to podcasts -- brush my teeth, do the dishes, fold the laundry -- I bumped up the speed another notch to the 2x barrier. Like the previous jump in speed, the first 15 to 20 minutes required an additional level of focus to get my brain to match the cadence of the conversation. But once I was there I felt like I didn't have to strain to understand what was being said -- my brain just "learned" how to listen to this accelerated pace. In our discussion of breaking 2x, Uri Hasson, director of Princeton's Hasson Lab, brought up one population that handles sped-up speech much better than the rest of us: the visually impaired. A 2018 University of Washington study attempted to quantify human listening rates by measuring the intelligibility of audio from a text-to-speech generator played at increasingly faster speeds. Researchers found that the average sighted person could comprehend around 300 words per minute, or about double the average talking speed of an American English speaker. Visually impaired subjects, however, vastly outperformed sighted subjects at speeds past 2x, demonstrating comprehension at rates even approaching 3x. The researchers hypothesized that this difference between sighted and visually impaired listening rates was attributed to one group being more familiar with synthesized text-to-speech voices. At 2x, the experience of listening to audio began to change: Though I could understand the words, they seemed to have less emotional resonance. At these high speeds, my brain seemed to shift away from assessing people's feelings towards baseline comprehension. At the end of each sentence, I'd feel a little twinge of joy, not because of anything happening in the podcast, but just because I had understood the words. Hasson points out that single word comprehension is really only one dimension of comprehension. Our brains do not work like computers. We can recognize words very quickly, but to integrate them into a sentence, a sentence into a paragraph, and a paragraph into a larger narrative takes time. Feeling competent in my base-level comprehension at 2x, I crossed the threshold into 3x. It took every ounce of concentration to just register what was being said. After 20 minutes, my brain couldn't settle into the rhythm of the conversation. I sat there for an hour, with my eyes closed, hoping that my brain would eventually "click" like it did before, but it refused.

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Met Police To Deploy Facial Recognition Cameras

The Metropolitan Police has announced it will use live facial recognition cameras operationally for the first time on London streets. From a report: The cameras will be in use for five to six hours at a time, with bespoke lists of suspects wanted for serious and violent crimes drawn up each time. Police say the cameras identified 70% of suspects but an independent review found much lower accuracy. Privacy campaigners said it was a "serious threat to civil liberties." Following earlier pilots in London and deployments by South Wales Police, the cameras are due to be put into action within a month. Police say they will warn local communities and consult with them in advance.

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Motorola on the Razr's Folding Screen: 'Bumps and Lumps Are Normal'

Last week, Motorola's Razr handset went on sale for $1499. Alongside the pre-order launch, Motorola has posted a series of videos on its YouTube channel that are somewhere between brief ads and how-tos for the folding phone. And as you might have guessed from the headline, "Caring for razr" caught The Verge's eye. From the report: In it, Motorola runs through the basics of what you need to know if you have a phone with a plastic folding screen. We thought we knew most of them already based on our experience with the Galaxy Fold, but Motorola's video has one more thing to think about: "Screen is made to bend; bumps and lumps are normal." With the Galaxy Fold, "bumps and lumps" ended up being the first harbingers of a catastrophic screen failure on our review unit. Apparently that's not going to be the case with the Razr. There are lots of ways to build a hinge for a folding plastic screen, and Motorola apparently opted for a design that allows for a little more flex than the original Fold design did. It's also able to close completely flat. Because of that plastic material, the screen is likely to have some kind of crease -- though we weren't really able to see much of one in our original hands-on. We'll obviously need to review the phone in full before we can say ourselves whether the screen has a notable crease, bumps, or lumps.

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Hackers Acting in Turkey's Interests Believed To Be Behind Recent Cyberattacks

Sweeping cyberattacks targeting governments and other organizations in Europe and the Middle East are believed to be the work of hackers acting in the interests of the Turkish government, Reuters reported Monday, citing three senior Western security officials said. From the report: The hackers have attacked at least 30 organizations, including government ministries, embassies and security services as well as companies and other groups, according to a Reuters review of public internet records. Victims have included Cypriot and Greek government email services and the Iraqi government's national security advisor, the records show. The attacks involve intercepting internet traffic to victim websites, potentially enabling hackers to obtain illicit access to the networks of government bodies and other organizations. According to two British officials and one U.S. official, the activity bears the hallmarks of a state-backed cyber espionage operation conducted to advance Turkish interests. The officials said that conclusion was based on three elements: the identities and locations of the victims, which included governments of countries that are geopolitically significant to Turkey; similarities to previous attacks that they say used infrastructure registered from Turkey; and information contained in confidential intelligence assessments that they declined to detail.

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Google Drive Is Down for Some Users

Google Drive and its suite of services -- including Google Doc and Sheet -- are facing issue, many users said Monday. DownDetector, a popular third-party service, reports it has received over 23,000 outage complaints in the last few minutes. Google has acknowledged the issue.

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