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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 min 41 sec ago

Charting how brain signals connect to neurons

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 19:08
Scientists have used supercomputers to create an atomic scale map that tracks how the signaling chemical glutamate binds to a neuron in the brain. The findings, say the scientists, shed light on the dynamic physics of the chemical's pathway, as well as the speed of nerve cell communications.

Children's screen-time guidelines too restrictive, according to new research

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 19:08
Digital screen use is a staple of contemporary life for adults and children, whether they are browsing on laptops and smartphones, or watching TV. Pediatricians and scientists have long expressed concerns about the impact of overusing technology on people's wellbeing. However, new research suggests that existing guidance managing children's digital media time may not be as beneficial as first thought.

Doing without dark energy

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 15:08
Three mathematicians have a different explanation for the accelerating expansion of the universe that does without theories of 'dark energy.' Einstein's original equations for General Relativity actually predict cosmic acceleration due to an 'instability,' they argue in a new paper.

Tailgating doesn't get you there faster: Study

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 14:23
We've all experienced "phantom traffic jams" that arise without any apparent cause. Researchers recently showed that we'd have fewer if we made one small change to how we drive: no more tailgating.

Synthetic protein packages its own genetic material and evolves

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 14:23
Scientists have created computationally designed protein assemblies, that display some functions normally associated with living things, in the search for ways to transport therapeutic cargo into specific types of cells without using viruses as vehicles. These encapsulate their own RNA genomes and evolve new traits in complex environments. They are synthetic versions of the protein shells that viruses use to protect and deliver materials. The synthetic proteins evolved better RNA packaging, resistance against degrading enzymes in blood and longer circulation time.

Electricity, eel-style: Soft power cells could run tomorrow's implantables

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 19:37
Inspired by the electric eel, a flexible, transparent electrical device could lead to body-friendly power sources for implanted health monitors and medication dispensers, augmented-reality contact lenses and countless other applications.

Researchers use WWII code-breaking techniques to interpret brain data

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 17:47
A team of researchers has used cryptographic techniques to decode the activity of motor neurons. Their approach has allowed them to predict, from brain data, and with only generic knowledge of typical movements, which direction monkeys will move their arms.

Your smartphone's next trick? Fighting cybercrime

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 16:58
A team of researchers has discovered how to identify smartphones by examining just one photo taken by the device. The advancement opens the possibility of using smartphones -- instead of body parts -- as a form of identification to deter cybercrime.

Gecko adhesion technology moves closer to industrial uses

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 14:56
While human-made devices inspired by gecko feet have emerged in recent years, enabling their wearers to slowly scale a glass wall, the possible applications of gecko-adhesion technology go far beyond Spiderman-esque antics. A researcher is looking into how the technology could be applied in a high-precision industrial setting, such as in robot arms used in manufacturing computer chips.

Video game improves doctors' recognition and triage of severe trauma patients

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 14:55
Playing an adventure video game featuring a fictitious, young emergency physician treating severe trauma patients was better than text-based learning at priming real doctors to quickly recognize the patients who needed higher levels of care, according to a new trial. The game tackles the annual problem of 30,000 preventable deaths occurring after injury, in part because severely injured patients aren't promptly transferred to trauma centers.

Humans can feel molecular differences between nearly identical surfaces

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 14:55
How sensitive is the human sense of touch? Sensitive enough to feel the difference between surfaces that differ by just a single layer of molecules, a team of researchers has shown. Researchers say this fundamental knowledge will be useful for developing electronic skin, prosthetics that can feel, advanced haptic technology for virtual and augmented reality and more.

Improving cyber security in harsh environments

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 14:53
Many people don't worry about the security of their personal information until it's too late. And protecting data is even more important for military personnel, whose lives could be in danger if some types of information were to get into the wrong hands. Now, one group reports a new way to protect data, especially when it is subjected to extreme environmental conditions.

Engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 23:41
Experts at manipulating matter at the nanoscale have made an important breakthrough in physics and materials science. They have engineered "artificial graphene" by recreating, for the first time, the electronic structure of graphene in a semiconductor device.

Shatter-proof mobile phone screens a step closer

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 23:39
An international study on glass could lead to the development of shatter-proof mobile phone screens.

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 19:17
Scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 17:54
Scientists have adapted DNA-PAINT technology to microscopes that are widespread among cell biology laboratories, called confocal microscopes, and that are used by researchers to image whole cells and thicker tissues at lower resolution. They have demonstrated that the method can visualize a variety of different molecules, including combinations of different proteins, RNAs and DNA throughout the entire depth of whole cells at super-resolution.

Pokémon Go could help people who struggle socially

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 15:22
Video games may have a reputation for attracting introverts, but when it comes to augmented reality games like Pokémon Go, extroverts tend to be better players. That's the key finding of a new psychology study, the first to look at the impact of players' personalities, social competence and social anxiety when playing the hit mobile game.

Action games expand the brain's cognitive abilities, study suggests

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 15:21
The human brain learns and adapts. Numerous research studies have focused on the impact of action video games on the brain by measuring cognitive abilities, such as perception and reaction time. An international team of psychologists has assembled data from the last fifteen years to quantify how action video games impact cognition. The research has resulted in two meta-analyses, which reveal a significant improvement in the cognitive abilities of gamers.

Computer scientists develop a simple tool to tell if websites suffered a data breach

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 15:20
Computer scientists have built and successfully tested a tool designed to detect when websites are hacked by monitoring the activity of email accounts associated with them. The researchers were surprised to find that almost 1 percent of the websites they tested had suffered a data breach during their 18-month study period, regardless of how big the companies' reach and audience are.

How errors affect credibility of online reviews

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 00:27
Shoppers increasingly consult online reviews before making holiday purchases. But how do they decide which reviewers to trust? Consumer trust in online reviews is influenced by spelling errors and typos, research shows. But how much those errors influence each consumer depends on the type of error and that consumer's general tendency to trust others.