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Hacking and computer security. Read today's research news on hacking and protecting against codebreakers. New software, secure data sharing, and more.
Updated: 7 hours 38 min ago

Enabling biocircuits: New device could make large biological circuits practical

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 17:53
Researchers have made great progress in recent years in the design and creation of biological circuits -- systems that, like electronic circuits, can take a number of different inputs and deliver a particular kind of output. But while individual components of such biological circuits can have precise and predictable responses, those outcomes become less predictable as more such elements are combined. Scientists have now come up with a way of greatly reducing that unpredictability, introducing a device that could ultimately allow such circuits to behave nearly as predictably as their electronic counterparts.

End to end 5G for super, superfast mobile

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 15:32
Computer scientists are investigating how software-defined cellular networking might be used to give smart phone users the next generation of super-superfast broadband, 5G.

Study supports free 'Super WiFi'

Mon, 11/24/2014 - 14:24
The need for the wireless transfer of data will increase significantly in the coming years. Scientists therefore propose to turn some of the TV frequencies that will become free into common property and to use it to extend existing wireless networks (WiFi) instead of using the frequencies for mobile communications. Their study recommends that the additional frequencies not be marketed but made available to the population and companies at no cost.

How the hummingbird achieves its aerobatic feats

Sat, 11/22/2014 - 00:21
Although hummingbirds are much larger and stir up the air more violently as they move, the way that they fly is more closely related to flying insects than it is to other birds. Now, the most detailed, three-dimensional aerodynamic simulation of hummingbird flight conducted to date has definitively demonstrated that the hummingbird achieves its nimble aerobatic abilities through a unique set of aerodynamic forces that are more closely aligned to those found in flying insects than to other birds.

Theater arts research offers insight for designers, builders of social robots

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 19:12
Researchers have provided insight into human behavior for scientists, engineers who design and build social robots.

Streamlining thin film processing for electrodes, display screens

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 16:18
Energy storage devices and computer screens may seem worlds apart, but they’re not. When an electrical engineering professor teamed up with and computer scientists to make a less expensive supercapacitor for storing renewable energy, they developed a new plasma technology that will streamline the production of display screens.

When shareholders exacerbate their own banks' crisis

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 15:28
Banks are increasingly issuing 'CoCo' bonds to boost the levels of equity they hold. In a crisis situation, bondholders are forced to convert these bonds into a bank's equity. To date, such bonds have been regarded only as a means of averting a crisis. A study by German economists now shows that if such bonds are badly constructed, they worsen a crisis instead of stabilizing the banking system.

Robots take over inspection of ballast tanks on ships

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 15:26
A new robot for inspecting ballast water tanks on board ships is being developed. The robot is able to move independently along rails built into the tanks. At the moment, people still carry out such inspections, with ships being brought into dry dock for the purpose.

When vaccines are imperfect: What math can tell us about their effects on disease propagation

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 23:36
The control of certain childhood diseases is difficult, despite high vaccination coverage in many countries. One of the possible reasons for this is 'imperfect vaccines,' that is, vaccines that fail either due to 'leakiness,' lack of effectiveness on certain individuals in a population, or shorter duration of potency. In a new article, authors use a mathematical model to determine the consequences of vaccine failure and resulting disease dynamics.

Don't get hacked! Research shows how much we ignore online warnings

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 17:32
New research finds that people say they care about online security but behave like they don't -- such as ignoring security warnings. To better understand how people deal with security messages, researchers simulated hacking into study subjects laptops. The responses were telling.

Tomorrow's degradable electronics

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 13:19
Researchers are developing electronics that disappear to order. When the FM frequencies are removed in Norway in 2017, all old-fashioned radios will become obsolete, leaving the biggest collection of redundant electronics ever seen – a mountain of waste weighing something between 25,000 and 30,000 tons. The same thing is happening with today's mobile telephones, PCs and tablets, all of which are constantly being updated and replaced faster than the blink of an eye. The old devices end up on waste tips, and even though we in the west recover some materials for recycling, this is only a small proportion of the whole. And nor does the future bode well with waste in mind. Technologists' vision of the future is the "Internet of Things".

New computer model predicts gut metabolites to better understand gastrointestinal disease

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 13:17
The first research to use computational modeling to predict and identify the metabolic products of gastrointestinal (GI) tract microorganisms has been published by researchers. Understanding these metabolic products, or metabolites, could influence how clinicians diagnose and treat GI diseases, as well as many other metabolic and neurological diseases increasingly associated with compromised GI function.

Pac-man instead of patch: Using video games to improve lazy eye, depth perception

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 22:47
Scientists have created video games that add an important element of fun to the repetitive training needed to improve vision in people – including adults – with a lazy eye and poor depth perception.

Social sensing game detects classroom bullies

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 20:17
Researchers have developed a computer game that can detect classroom bullies, victims and bystanders. The game's behavior analyses effectively identify classroom bullies, even revealing peer aggression that goes undetected by traditional research methods, the researchers say.

Thin film produces new chemistry in 'nanoreactor'

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 18:25
Physicists have discovered a new manganese compound that is produced by tension in the crystal structure of terbium manganese oxide. The technique they used to create this new material could open the way to new nanoscale circuits.

New app aims for rapid interventions, reduced mortality for infants with heart defects

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 16:25
A powerful new app is directly connecting single ventricle heart defect patients to their doctors, dramatically improving their monitoring while they recover from heart surgery at home. The tablet-based app is a more automated, accurate and simplified way for physicians to monitor these high-risk patients at home in real-time. The aim of the app is to enable quick intervention at signs of danger, reduce the mortality rate, and decrease the burden placed on at-home caregivers.

Reminder systems to improve TB diagnoses, care

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 15:20
The use of reminder systems in improving patient adherence to TB appoints for diagnoses and treatment has been reviewed by investigators. Effective treatment for TB requires people to take multiple drugs every day for at least six months, and many patients drop out of treatment before it is completed (especially when they start feeling better) because they forget, or due to the costs and inconvenience of attending multiple clinic appointments. Incomplete treatment contributes to the spread of TB and the development of drug resistance.

Testing if a computer has human-level intelligence: Alternative to 'Turing test' proposed

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 15:17
Researchers are offering an alternative to the celebrated “Turing Test” to determine whether a machine or computer program exhibits human-level intelligence.

Gifted men and women define success differently, 40-year study finds

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 15:17
Researchers spent four decades studying a group of mathematically talented adolescents, finding that by mid-life they were extraordinarily accomplished and enjoyed a high level of life satisfaction. Gender, however, played a significant role in how they pursued—and defined—career, family and success. Intellectually gifted women tracked for 40 years were found to earn less money, be less present in STEM fields, and work fewer hours than their male counterparts. Despite that, they expressed a high level of personal satisfaction and sense of achievement, defining success more broadly than men to include family and community service. These observations come from the most recent round of results from the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), the largest longitudinal research project of its kind. The results were posted this week to Psychological Science.

A 3-D, talking map for the blind (and everyone else)

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 15:16
Developers have built and tested a new kind of interactive wayfinder: 3-D maps that vocalize building information and directions when touched.