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Preview: Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Sci-Tech Science & Technology News


India launches phone app to monitor New Delhi's pollution

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:14:32 UT

NEW DELHI (AP) — The Indian capital, laboring under the label of being the world's most polluted city, is trying something new to help clean up its air. A smartphone application that allows citizens to report the presence of construction dust or the burning of leaves and garbage in public parks to authorities was launched Friday.

Hard crash-landing may have wrecked Europe's Mars probe

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 07:14:02 UT

BERLIN (AP) — Scientists say Europe's experimental Mars probe has hit the right spot but may have been destroyed in a fiery ball of rocket fuel because it was traveling too fast. Pictures taken by a NASA satellite show a black spot where the Schiaparelli lander was meant to touch down Wednesday, the European Space Agency said. The images end days of speculation over the probe's likely fate following unexpected radio silence less than a minute before the planned landing. The agency said in a statement that the probe dropped from a height of 2 to 4 kilometers (1.4 miles to 2.4 miles) and struck the surface at a speed exceeding 300 kph (186 mph), "therefore impacting at a considerable speed." The European Space Agency said the probe's mother ship was successfully placed into orbit Wednesday and soon will begin analyzing the Martian atmosphere in search for evidence of life. The Beagle 2 probe landed on Mars in 2003 but failed to deploy its solar panels properly, preventing it from functioning.

Over 50,000 evacuated in typhoon's path in southern China

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 03:39:17 UT

BEIJING (AP) — Typhoon Haima forced the evacuations of more than 50,000 people in southern China after hammering the northern Philippines with ferocious wind and rain, triggering flooding, landslides and power outages and killing at least 13 people. Chinese meteorological services said the typhoon made landfall shortly after noon Friday in Shanwei in Guangdong province, packing winds of up to 166 kilometers (103 miles) per hour before weakening to a tropical storm. Neighboring Hong Kong suspended trading on the stock market Friday and shut down schools, offices and commuter ferries as Haima lashed the financial hub with rain and wind gusts of up to 109 kph (68 mph).

Cyberattacks on key internet firm disrupt internet services

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 00:18:36 UT

Withering cyberattacks on server farms of a key internet firm repeatedly disrupted access to major websites and online services including Twitter, Netflix and PayPal across the United States on Friday. Manchester, New Hampshire-based Dyn Inc. said its data centers were hit by three waves of distributed denial-of-service attacks, which overwhelm targeted machines with junk data traffic. The data flood came from tens of millions of different Internet-connected machines — including increasingly popular but highly insecure household devices such as web-connected cameras. The level of disruption was difficult to gauge, but Dyn serves some of the biggest names on the web, providing the domain name services that translate the numerical internet addresses into human-readable destinations such as "" Steve Grobman, chief technology officer at Intel Security, compared an outage at a domain name services company to tearing up a map or turning off GPS before driving to the department store. Jason Read, founder of the internet performance monitoring firm CloudHarmony, owned by Gartner Inc., said his company tracked a half-hour-long disruption early Friday in which roughly one in two end users would have found it impossible to access various websites from the East Coast. For James Norton, the former deputy secretary at the Department of Homeland Security who now teaches on cybersecurity policy at Johns Hopkins University, the incident was an example of how attacks on key junctures in the network can yield massive disruption. Dyn officials said attacks stemmed from tens of millions of devices connected to the internet — closed-circuit video cameras, digital video recorders and even thermostats — that were infected with malware. Security experts have recently expressed concern over increasing power of denial-of-service attacks following high-profile electronic assaults against investigative journalist Brian Krebs and French internet service provider OVH . In a widely shared essay titled "Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet," respected security expert Bruce Schneier said last month that major internet infrastructure companies were seeing a series of worrying denial-of-service attacks.

Russian indicted on charges he hacked LinkedIn

Sat, 22 Oct 2016 00:10:34 UT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Russian man has been charged with hacking and stealing information from computers at LinkedIn and other San Francisco Bay Area companies, federal prosecutors announced Friday. A grand jury indicted Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Nikulin, 29, of Moscow on Thursday on charges including computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft, the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco said. The U.S. has accused Russia of coordinating the theft and disclosure of emails from the Democratic National Committee and other institutions and individuals in the U.S. to influence the outcome of the election.

New 3D technology raises hopes for the coldest of cold cases

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 20:43:21 UT

New 3D technology raises hopes for the coldest of cold cases The clay busts were the effort of University of South Florida forensic anthropologists and forensic artists who pulled images of unidentified bodies from cold case files, printed their skulls in 3D plastic, then molded heads and faces that someone might recognize. Investigators hope that updated DNA procedures and chemical isotope testing will help them identify the bodies and ultimately, learn what happened to them. Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell talked about the case, and said there is a "tsunami" of missing and unidentified cases in Florida, partially because of the state's transient population. For Dr. Erin Kimmerle, a USF anthropologist and director of the school's Institute for Forensic Anthropology & Applied Science, it's about justice for the families, especially in cases of homicides. Two sisters showed up, and intensely compared one of the clay faces to a picture they carried of their older sister, missing since the late 1970s.

SharkNinja, Dyson end legal battle over advertising claims

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 19:50:54 UT

In court documents, Dyson acknowledged that its claim became false once Lift-Away came out, but insisted it took prompt steps to eliminate the "twice the suction" advertising from the market, including spending nearly $1 million to replace packaging. A footnote said the claim referred to only one Dyson vacuum — the DC40 — but Dyson argued in court filings that the footnote was so small and inconspicuous that most consumers would not have noticed it and assumed the claim compared it to every full-size Dyson upright. Stacey Dogan, a Boston University law professor who specializes in intellectual property and competition law, said these kinds of cases can become emotional for two companies who take brand loyalty seriously.

A giant nude statue in California is stirring controversy

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 19:20:20 UT

A 55-foot tall statue of a nude woman unveiled this week in the working-class community of San Leandro is stirring controversy and a lot of conversation. The statue — roughly three times as tall as Michelangelo's David — is made of steel mesh in the form of a graceful dancer, with an arched back and arms stretched overhead. The debate is not over the statue's artistic merit or its message of female empowerment, which is aimed at the general public, not the tech industry. The statue, called "Truth is Beauty," is on private property at the edge of a new tech office complex — in a highly trafficked and visible area just across from San Leandro's commuter rail station. The sculptor, Marco Cochrane, says he was marked as a child by the rape of a neighborhood friend and tries through art to bring attention to sexual assault and to the fear of many women, but also to the strength women feel when not afraid.

Met Gala, exhibit to honor designer Rei Kawakubo

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:20:27 UT

NEW YORK (AP) — The annual Met Gala, one of the most anticipated events in the fashion world, will honor designer Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons. By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time.

European Space Agency says its experimental Mars probe crash-landed and may have exploded when it hit the surface

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:04:34 UT

BERLIN (AP) — European Space Agency says its experimental Mars probe crash-landed and may have exploded when it hit the surface.

Counterterrorism prosecutors seek access to encrypted data

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 15:43:01 UT

PARIS (AP) — Prosecutors from France, Belgium, Spain and Morocco called Friday for the ability to unlock phones and computers and to gain access to encrypted communications to aid in the fight against terrorism. Following a two-day meeting in Paris, prosecutors in charge of counterterrorism investigations in the four countries issued a joint statement Friday to "alert" national and international authorities, internet providers, software makers and telecommunication operators about the obstacles posed by data encryption and the locking systems of smartphones and computers. Molins referred to the U.S. case earlier this year in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation engaged in a high-profile fight with Apple to access data from a locked iPhone used by a shooter in the San Bernardino, California, terrorist attack.

Russians seek answers to central Moscow GPS anomaly

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 15:17:50 UT

MOSCOW (AP) — Joggers, taxi drivers, players of Pokemon Go and senior Russian officials are seeking an explanation of why mobile phone apps that use GPS are malfunctioning in central Moscow. A programmer for Russian internet firm Yandex, Grigory Bakunov, said Thursday his research showed a system for blocking GPS was located inside the Kremlin, the heavily guarded official residence of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Users of GPS have complained on social media in recent months that when they are near the Kremlin their GPS-powered apps stop working or show them to be in Moscow's Vnukovo airport, 29 kilometers (18 miles) away.

Goodyear christening 2nd airship in fleet replacing blimps

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:41:54 UT

Though they still use helium and bear the blue-and-gold Goodyear logo, they aren't technically blimps because they have a fixed structure holding the balloon in place. Wingfoot Two was finished in March and already was used for some event coverage ahead of Friday's christening in Akron, where Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. is based.

Soyuz capsule docks with International Space Station

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 13:30:41 UT

The docking took place smoothly Friday and the crew entered the space laboratory after a lengthy procedure to open its hatches. The crew consists of two astronauts from the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, as well as NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough.

Sweden's Ericsson posts Q3 loss, cites worsening industry

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:12:59 UT

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Swedish mobile networks company Ericsson said Friday that the decline across the industry has accelerated, contributing to a third-quarter loss for the company of 233 million kroner ($26.3 million). Revenue dropped 14 percent to 51.1 billion kronor ($5.8 billion) from 59.2 billion kronor amid fierce Asian competition and a slowing telecom equipment market.