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What’s inside a ‘Hello Barbie’ surveillance toy?

What’s inside a ‘Hello Barbie’ surveillance toy? | SciTech | Scoop.it
‘Mattel’s Hello Barbie has a microphone and a wifi interface, and it transmits the phrases it hears to a central server in order to parse them and formulate a response. Mattel claims that the data isn’t being retained or harvested for marketing purposes, and assures parents that they can make Barbie stopping eavesdropping on them

Via Marianne PokeBunny Lenaerts
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"‘Mattel’s Hello Barbie has a microphone and a wifi interface, and it transmits the phrases it hears to a central server in order to parse them and formulate a response. "

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Earth vs. Sun: Flipping Magnetic Face Off : DNews

Earth vs. Sun: Flipping Magnetic Face Off : DNews | SciTech | Scoop.it
The sun and the Earth like to flip their magnetic fields, but they do it for very different reasons. Neither seem particularly dangerous, however.
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Bumblebees Return; Rare Species' Reemergence In Washington Leaves Scientists 'Giddy' (PHOTO)

Bumblebees Return; Rare Species' Reemergence In Washington Leaves Scientists 'Giddy' (PHOTO) | SciTech | Scoop.it
The bees' population has been declining since the mid-1990s.
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iSpy

iSpy | SciTech | Scoop.it
IN THE last week the world has been treated to a steady stream of revelations about America's surveillance apparatus. Though much of the focus of reporting is on the...
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Toxic algae bloom studied in Indian River | Enquirer-Herald - York and Clover, SC

A federal researcher has found three varieties of toxins from microscopic algae that he says are responsible for the deaths of manatees, dolphins and pelicans in the Indian River Lagoon in the past year.
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North America isn’t ready for climate change, say experts

North America isn’t ready for climate change, say experts | SciTech | Scoop.it
Climate change means extreme weather hazards like the flooding in Alberta will be more common than ever, and Canada isn’t prepared to protect itself and prevent future disasters, say (RT @TheHillTimes: North America isn't ready for climate change,...
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NASA wants amateur astronomers to track 'dangerous' asteroids - Indian Express

NASA wants amateur astronomers to track 'dangerous' asteroids - Indian Express | SciTech | Scoop.it
NASA has called on amateur astronomers and other citizen-scientists to help identify the smaller and potentially destructive asteroids lurking in the cosmos, which could wipe out a city upon impact wi...
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Wildlife Extra News - Surprise species at risk from climate change

Wildlife Extra News - Surprise species at risk from climate change | SciTech | Scoop.it
The online wildlife magazine for those who like wildlife, wildlife news and watching wildlife, plus a guide to UK nature reserves.
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How a Leafy Folk Remedy Stopped Bedbugs in Their Tracks

How a Leafy Folk Remedy Stopped Bedbugs in Their Tracks | SciTech | Scoop.it
A group of American scientists have been studying how to replicate properties found in certain types of bean leaves that can capture, or at least slow down, the pests.
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No passwords: logging in with your mind

No passwords: logging in with your mind | SciTech | Scoop.it
The future is here now: NeuroSky is reading your thoughts. The California-based company invented the Mindset.
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Firms unite for smartphone eyeglasses

Firms unite for smartphone eyeglasses | SciTech | Scoop.it
Two firms are teaming up with Google to find entrepreneurs who want to create applications and accessories for Google Glass.  Google Glass is a wearable computer with a head-mounted display.
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MIT engineers design new synthetic biology circuits that combine memory and logic

MIT engineers design new synthetic biology circuits that combine memory and logic | SciTech | Scoop.it

MIT engineers have created genetic circuits in bacterial cells that not only perform logic functions, but also remember the results, which are encoded in the cell’s DNA and passed on for dozens of generations.

The circuits could be used as long-term environmental sensors, efficient controls for biomanufacturing, or to program stem cells to differentiate into other cell types.

“Almost all of the previous work in synthetic biology that we’re aware of has either focused on logic components or on memory modules that just encode memory. We think complex computation will involve combining both logic and memory, and that’s why we built this particular framework to do so,” says Timothy Lu, an MIT assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science and biological engineering.

 

Synthetic biologists use interchangeable genetic parts to design circuits that perform a specific function, such as detecting a chemical in the environment. In that type of circuit, the target chemical would generate a specific response, such as production of green fluorescent protein (GFP).  

Circuits can also be designed for any type of Boolean logic function, such as AND gates and OR gates. Using those kinds of gates, circuits can detect multiple inputs. In most of the previously engineered cellular logic circuits, the end product is generated only as long as the original stimuli are present: Once they disappear, the circuit shuts off until another stimulus comes along.

Lu and his colleagues set out to design a circuit that would be irreversibly altered by the original stimulus, creating a permanent memory of the event. To do this, they drew on memory circuits that Lu and colleagues designed in 2009. Those circuits depend on enzymes known as recombinases, which can cut out stretches of DNA, flip them, or insert them. Sequential activation of those enzymes allows the circuits to count events happening inside a cell.

Lu designed the new circuits so that the memory function is built into the logic gate itself. With a typical cellular AND gate, the two necessary inputs activate proteins that together turn on expression of an output gene. However, in the new circuits, the inputs stably alter regions of DNA that control GFP production. These regions, known as promoters, recruit the cellular proteins responsible for transcribing the GFP gene into messenger RNA, which then directs protein assembly.

For example, in one circuit described in the paper, two DNA sequences called terminators are interposed between the promoter and the output gene (GFP, in this case). Each of these terminators inhibits the transcription of the output gene and can be flipped by a different recombinase enzyme, making the terminator inactive.

Each of the circuit’s two inputs turns on production of one of the recombinase enzymes needed to flip a terminator. In the absence of either input, GFP production is blocked. If both are present, both terminators are flipped, resulting in their inactivation and subsequent production of GFP.

Once the DNA terminator sequences are flipped, they can’t return to their original state — the memory of the logic gate activation is permanently stored in the DNA sequence. The sequence also gets passed on for at least 90 generations. Scientists wanting to read the cell’s history can either measure its GFP output, which will stay on continuously, or if the cell has died, they can retrieve the memory by sequencing its DNA.

Using this design strategy, the researchers can create all two-input logic gates and implement sequential logic systems. “It’s really easy to swap things in and out,” says Lu, who is also a member of MIT’s Synthetic Biology Center. “If you start off with a standard parts library, you can use a one-step reaction to assemble any kind of function that you want.”


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Freshwater Reserves Below Oceans ‘100 Times Greater’ Than Extractions Since 1900

Freshwater Reserves Below Oceans ‘100 Times Greater’ Than Extractions Since 1900 | SciTech | Scoop.it
Scientists have found vast aquifers of freshwater underneath the ocean floor, but getting to them will be a challenge.
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Dolphin Deaths Off East Coast Worry Federal Wildlife Officials

Dolphin Deaths Off East Coast Worry Federal Wildlife Officials | SciTech | Scoop.it
Federal wildlife officials raised a formal alarm on Thursday over the deaths of bottlenose dolphins off the east coast, saying that a fast-spreading infection could be attacking them.
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Iberian Lynx Doomed by Climate Change? : DNews

Iberian Lynx Doomed by Climate Change? : DNews | SciTech | Scoop.it
It's not just the lack of prey that that makes the Iberian lynx the rarest cat in the world; it's also climate change. But there is still hope. Continue reading →
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Harry Reid blames climate change for fires ravaging his state

Harry Reid blames climate change for fires ravaging his state | SciTech | Scoop.it
"The West is being devastated by wildfires," said the Senate majority leader. "Why?
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Puffins Return To Maine For Nesting Season [PHOTOS]

Puffins Return To Maine For Nesting Season [PHOTOS] | SciTech | Scoop.it
The puffin was brought back from the brink of extinction about a century ago, but now new threats loom.
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Puffin burrows on Seal Island are being washed away by unusually extreme storms at sea. The warming waters of the Gulf of Maine might be contributing to a boom in the butterfish population, crowding out the herring that puffins need to feed their young. Adult and baby puffins on Machias Seal Island (a different place than Maine’s Seal Island, located a bit further north on the Maine-Canada border) have been thinner and thinner in recent years. Puffin populations in the North Sea have seen massive die-offs – just this last winter, 2,500 dead puffins washed up on the coast of Scotland, many of them showing signs of starvation.

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Study: Climate change to spawn more hurricanes

Study: Climate change to spawn more hurricanes

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The world could see as many as 20 additional hurricanes and tropical storms each year by the end of the century because of climate change, says a study out Monday.

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Man-made particles affect hurricane frequency, study finds

Man-made particles affect hurricane frequency, study finds | SciTech | Scoop.it
Higher levels of air pollution reduced the frequency of North Atlantic hurricanes and other tropical storms for most of the 20th century, a study said Sunday.
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World set to exceed global warming limit: IEA | Business Recorder

World set to exceed global warming limit: IEA | Business Recorder | SciTech | Scoop.it
Global temperatures are on track to rise by more than double the two-degree Celsius (3.6-degree Fahrenheit) warming goal set by the UN unless urgent m
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Millions Of Wasps, 22-Foot Nest Found In Abandoned Home [PHOTO]

Millions Of Wasps, 22-Foot Nest Found In Abandoned Home [PHOTO] | SciTech | Scoop.it
Countless millions of wasps and their gargantuan nest have been discovered in a reportedly abandoned home on Spain's Canary Islands.
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IRS claims it can read your e-mail without a warrant

IRS claims it can read your e-mail without a warrant | SciTech | Scoop.it
The ACLU has obtained internal IRS documents that say Americans enjoy 'generally no privacy' in their e-mail messages, Facebook chats, and other electronic communications. Read this article by Declan McCullagh on CNET News.
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Globetrotting Giant Squid Are All One Species : DNews

Globetrotting Giant Squid Are All One Species : DNews | SciTech | Scoop.it
The mysterious giant squid have one of the longest ranges of any species, according to recent DNA analysis. ->
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Bat Resembling Badger Discovered | PlanetSave

Bat Resembling Badger Discovered | PlanetSave | SciTech | Scoop.it
Bat Resembling Badger Discovered
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Is it a bat or flying badger? The yellow stripes on a small black face are reminiscent of a badger, but that is where the resemblance ends. 
Read more at http://planetsave.com/2013/04/10/bat-species-resembling-badger-discovered/#cbs6ufFVTmYTFD4U.99

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