Do you expect service with a smile? There’s a dark side to putting on a happy face

As I was walking through the V&A museum in London a few days ago, two statues immediately grabbed my attention. It was Heraclitus and Democritus, a couple of Greek thinkers known as the “weeping and laughing philosophers”. Heraclitus got his name from being melancholic and sad, whereas Democritus always wore a mask of cheerfulness. Humans are, and always have been, highly sensitive to the emotional expressions of others. Unsurprisingly, studies…

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Why looking for aliens is good for society (even if there aren’t any)

The search for life elsewhere in the universe is one of the most compelling aspects of modern science. Given its scientific importance, significant resources are devoted to this young science of astrobiology, ranging from rovers on Mars to telescopic observations of planets orbiting other stars. The holy grail of all this activity would be the actual discovery of alien life, and such a discovery would likely have profound scientific and…

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Building Codes for Bacterial Cities

Hydrodynamics and competition guide the architectural design of biofilm fortresses. …

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Jared Kushner’s Senate Testimony May Forget Russia Meetings, But the FBI Would Remember

Anything the Russian ambassador says on the phone almost certainly gets caught on a FISA wiretap.

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What is the Weather Like on Mercury?

The weather on Mercury, such as it is, consists of extreme highs and extreme lows in temperature, owing to its orbit and distance from the Sun.
The post What is the Weather Like on Mercury? appeared first on Universe Today. …

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A ‘Locked’ Smart Gun Can Be Fired With Just $15 Worth of Magnets

One smart gun model’s protections turn out to be easily overcome–by cheap magnets.

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A ‘Locked’ Smart Gun Can Be Fired By Anyone With $15 Wort of Magnets

One smart gun model’s protections turn out to be easily overcome–by cheap magnets.

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Inside the tech that makes ‘near-miss’ air collisions almost impossible

The sky is a crowded place. In June 2017, there were on average 33,000 flights every day over Europe alone. Surely then, it’s not surprising that we hear of “near-misses” between passenger jets, and of “hero pilots” avoiding “mid-air collisions”? Well yes, actually it is, because that can’t happen. These so-called “near-misses” are still a long way off from being a collision. Take the recently reported news of an Emirates…

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Messier 51 – the Whirlpool Galaxy

Located between 19 and 27 million light-years away in the Canes Venatici constellation, is the famous Whirlpool Galaxy (aka. Messier 51)
The post Messier 51 – the Whirlpool Galaxy appeared first on Universe Today. …

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ShieldFS Is a Clever New Tool That Shuts Down Ransomware Before It’s Too Late

By sniffing out ransomware in real-time, ShieldFS might be the cure to the internet’s latest security scourge.

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The Beautiful Mathematical Explorations of Maryam Mirzakhani

After her untimely death, Maryam Mirzakhani’s life is best remembered through her work. …

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The UK’s online porn crackdown could harm young people more than it helps

“Won’t somebody please think of the children!?” The UK government seems to be using this catchphrase from The Simpsons as the basis for its proposed new pornography laws. Its recently announced plan to force pornographic websites to verify users’ ages suggests it thinks it can use a blunt technological tool to stop under 18s watching online porn. Anyone as tech-savvy as the average teenager will tell you how unlikely this…

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High-fat diet in pregnancy can cause mental health problems in offspring

A high-fat diet not only creates health problems for expectant mothers, but new research in an animal model suggests it alters the development of the brain and endocrine system of their offspring and has a long-term impact on offspring behavior. The new study links an unhealthy diet during pregnancy to mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression in children. “Given the high level of dietary fat consumption and maternal…

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Scientists find some of Mars’ youngest volcanoes – and discover they could have supported life

It may seem that Mars was once a much more exciting planet. True, there are dust storms and possible water-seeps occurring today, but billions of years ago it was a dramatic place with huge volcanoes, a giant canyon system and branching river valleys being formed. But now planetary scientists have identified what looks like more recently formed volcanoes, in geological terms. Excitingly, they may have once provided the perfect environment…

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Booze in space: how the universe is absolutely drowning in the hard stuff

A cold beer on a hot day or a whisky nightcap beside a coal fire. A well earned glass can loosen your thinking until you feel able to pierce the mysteries of life, death, love and identity. In moments like these, alcohol and the cosmic can seem intimately entwined. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that the universe is awash with alcohol. In the gas that occupies the…

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History shows that stacking federal science advisory committees doesn’t work

Scientists are busy people, but every year thousands donate many hours of their time without payment to advise Congress and federal government agencies. They provide input on all kinds of issues, from antibiotic resistance to mapping the world’s oceans in three dimensions. The Trump administration has raised alarms by signaling that it is determined to replace scientific advisers who are not in line with its political philosophy. Environmental Protection Agency…

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Fast time-domain measurements on telecom single photons

Direct measurements on the temporal envelope of quantum light are a challenging task and not many examples are known because most classical pulse characterisation methods do not work on the single-photon level. Knowledge of both spectrum and timing can, however, give insights on properties that cannot be determined by the spectral intensity alone. While temporal measurements on single photons on timescales of tens of picoseconds are possible with superconducting photon detectors, and picosecond measurements have been performed using streak cameras, there are no commercial single-photon sensitive devices with femtosecond resolution available. While time-domain sampling using sum-frequency generation has already been exploited for such a measurement, inefficient conversion has necessitated long integration times to build the temporal profile. We demonstrate a highly efficient waveguided sum-frequency generation process in Lithium Niobate to measure the temporal envelope of single … …

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Ethereum Thefts Cost Investors Millions

Ethereum thefts, an Ashley Madison settlement, another leaky Amazon S3 bucket, and more of this week’s top security news.

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