IBM Creates World's First Artificial Phase-Change Neurons
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica:
IBM has created the world's first artificial nanoscale stochastic phase-change neurons and has already created and used a population of 500 of them to process a signal in a similar manner as the brain. Ars Technica reports: "Like a biological neuron, IBM's artificial neuron has inputs (dendrites), a neuronal membrane (lipid bilayer) around the spike generator (soma, nucleus), and an output (axon). There's also a back-propagation link from the spike generator back to the inputs, to reinforce the strength of some input spikes. The key difference is in the neuronal membrane. In IBM's neuron, the membrane is replaced with a small square of germanium-antimony-tellurium (GeSbTe or GST). GST, which happens to be the main active ingredient in rewritable optical discs, is a phase-change material. This means it can happily exist in two different phases (in this case crystalline and amorphous), and easily switch between the two, usually by applying heat (by way of laser or electricity). A phase-change material has very different physical properties depending on which phase it's in: in the case of GST, its amorphous phase is an electrical insulator, while the crystalline phase conducts. With the artificial neurons, the square of GST begins life in its amorphous phase. Then, as spikes arrive from the inputs, the GST slowly begins to crystallize. Eventually, the GST crystallizes enough that it becomes conductive -- and voila, electricity flows across the membrane and creates a spike. After an arbitrary refractory period (a resting period where something isn't responsive to stimuli), the GST is reset back to its amorphous phase and the process begins again." The research has been
published via the journal Nature.
China Builds 'Elevated Bus' That Drives Over Cars
An anonymous reader writes:
Remember that futuristic bus design from China a few months ago? China has actually built it and is testing it on the streets. The Transit Elevated Bus or TEB-1, as it's called, stands nearly 16 feet tall and straddles two lanes of traffic, allowing cars to pass under it. The hope is for TEB-1 to someday alleviate major traffic in China and other crowded countries. Washington Post reports: "The Transit Elevated Bus piloted in China's Hebei province rolls along a designated track, making it similar in some ways to a commuter train or tram -- the key difference, of course, being that it runs on top of the existing roadway without the need to construct a separate overpass. Images distributed by Chinese media show a spacious passenger compartment -- measuring 72 feet long by 26 feet wide -- capable of holding up to 300 riders. Surprisingly, there are not very many seats. That would probably have to change should an American model ever come to fruition." The concept of the elevated bus
first arrived in 2010, where the company claimed it would "cost 10% of a subway system and use 30% less energy than current bus technologies."
Canada Wants To Keep Federal Data Within National Borders
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Stack:
Canada has released its latest federal cloud adoption strategy, now available for public comment, which includes policy concerning the storing of sensitive government information on Canadian citizens within national borders. The newly-published [Government of Canada Cloud Adoption Strategy] requires that only data which the government has categorized as "unclassified," or harmless to national and personal security, will be allowed outside of the country. This information will still be subject to strict encryption rules. The new strategy, which has been in development over the last year, stipulates that all personal data stored by the government on Canadian citizens, such as social insurance numbers and critical federal information, must be stored in Canada-based data centers in order to retain "sovereign control."
Police Asked Facebook To Deactivate Woman's Account During Deadly Standoff
An anonymous reader quotes a report from KABC-TV:
In the midst of a five-hour standoff that turned deadly, Facebook granted an emergency request from the Baltimore County Police Department to take offline the social media accounts belonging to a woman who wielded a shotgun at officers. Baltimore County Police officers shot and killed Korryn Gaines, 23, after she barricaded herself inside her Randallstown apartment with her 5-year-old son and pointed a shotgun at officers attempting to serve an arrest warrant. Police Chief Jim Johnson said Tuesday that the department made the emergency request to have Gaines' social media accounts suspended after she posted videos online showing the standoff. People who saw the postings, Johnson said, responded by encouraging her to not comply with police. Videos posted on Facebook and Instagram appeared to show Gaines, who was black, talking with police in the doorway to her apartment and to her son during the standoff. The standoff Monday began after three officers went to Gaines' apartment to serve arrest warrants on her and her boyfriend, Kareem K. Courtney, 39, according to police. Gaines' bench warrant stemmed from charges during a March 10 stop, including disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Authorities said she was armed with a 12-gauge pistol grip shotgun that was legally purchased last year and toward the end of the negotiations pointed it directly at an officer and said, "If you don't leave, I'm going to kill you." An officer shot at her and Gaines fired two shots, but missed the officers, who returned fire and killed her, police said. Facebook's policy says that it may grant law enforcement permission to suspend accounts in cases where there is a substantial risk of harm. Facebook has received roughly 855 requests for emergency disclosures of information to government agencies due to the threat of harm or violence between July and December 2015, according to their
Government Request Report. About 73 percent of those requests were granted.
Pennsylvania To Apply 6% 'Netflix Tax'
An anonymous reader writes:
Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania has signed into law a new revenue package that will require residents to pay a 6% sales tax on their streaming subscriptions. AllFlicks reports: "Though the term 'Netflix tax' has become popular, laws like this don't just affect Netflix -- they also affect competitors like Hulu and HBO Now. App purchases and ebooks are also affected. They recently decided on a hefty $31.5 billion budget, and they came up $1.3 billion short of paying for it. The government is trying to close that funding gap, and streaming subscribers are being stuck with the bill." Magazine and newspaper subscriptions, as well as digital versions of the Bible, will be exempt from the digital downloads tax,
reports CBS Local News in Pittsburgh.
Alphabet Will Begin Testing Project Wing Delivery Drones In the US
An anonymous reader writes:
Google's parent company, Alphabet, has been granted permission by the White House on Tuesday to start testing its Project Wing delivery drones in the U.S. The Guardian reports: "The drones will be tested in one of six designated Federal Aviation Authority areas within the U.S. as part of the government's initiative to promote research into unmanned flight and safety legislation. The announcement was made alongside a pledge from the U.S. National Science Foundation to spend $35m (26 million British Pound) over the next five years on drone research, and comes a month after the U.S. government green-lit commercial drone flights, but with restrictions around line-of-sight control that made automated drone delivery infeasible. The tests will help shape U.S. legislation around the types of automated flying systems that Amazon and Alphabet hope to use to delivery goods and services via air, and establish requirements for unmanned pilot licenses."
Microsoft, Google, Apple Could Be Requested To Actively Block Pirated Downloads, Says Report
Popular operating systems by Microsoft, Apple, and Google
could possibly soon nuke torrents downloaded (PDF, non-English language) from The Pirate Bay and other websites that offer copyright infringing content, warns a report published by Black Market Watch and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime. The report adds that the aforementioned companies are in an ideal position to deter piracy, and could be requested by the authority to put a system in place to block pirated content on the operating system level.
Via a TorrentFreak report:
"Other players that possess the potential ability to limit piracy are the companies that own the major operating systems which control computers and mobile devices such as Apple, Google and Microsoft," one of the main conclusions reads. "The producers of operating systems should be encouraged, or regulated, for example, to block downloads of copyright infringing material," the report adds. The report references last year's Windows 10 controversy, noting that these concerns were great enough for some torrent sites to block users with the new operating system. While Sweden doesn't have enough influence to make an impact on these global software manufacturers, applying pressure through the international community and trade groups may have some effect.
Tesla Posts 13th Straight Loss, Says On Track For Second-Half Deliveries
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters:
Tesla Motors Inc reported its 13th straight quarterly loss as a rise in sales of its Model S and Model X electric cars failed to make up for the huge cost of ramping up production. The company, run by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk, said on Wednesday it was on track to deliver about 50,000 new Model S and Model X vehicles during the second half of 2016. Shares of Tesla, which has offered to buy solar panel installer SolarCity Corp for $2.6 billion, were volatile in after-hours trading. They were last up 1 percent. Tesla delivered 14,402 vehicles in the second quarter, missing its goal of 17,000. It delivered 14,810 vehicles in the first quarter, which was also less than its expectations. Tesla said its net loss widened to $293.2 million, or $2.09 per share, in the second quarter, from $184.2 million, or $1.45 per share, a year earlier. Total revenue rose 33 percent to $1.27 billion in the quarter ended June 30. In addition to acquiring SolarCity, Tesla has
unveiled its massive $5 billion Gigafactory in Nevada last week and announced its "
Master Plan, Part Deux" not too long before that, which includes
manufacturing electric trucks and buses, as well as a ride-sharing program.
LibreOffice 5.2 Officially Released
prisoninmate writes from a report via Softpedia:
LibreOffice 5.2 is finally here, after it has been in development for the past four months, during which the development team behind one of the best free office suites have managed to implement dozens of new features and improvements to most of the application's components. Key features include more UI refinements to make it flexible for anyone, standards-based document classification, forecasting functions in Calc, the spreadsheet editor, as well as lots of Writer and Impress enhancements. A series of videos are provided to see what landed in the LibreOffice 5.2 office suite, which is now available for download for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows operating systems.
When It Comes To China, Google's Experience Still Says It All
defeat by its local competitor in China was the latest of a string of such cases, and Google's experience trying to establish itself there is illustrative of the challenges facing all American tech companies that aspire to dominate in that market, writes reader
mirandakatz. Steven Levy
writes at Backchannel:
Perhaps because its market share never rose high enough, Uber did not experience the brunt of China's regulation. Still, who's to say what would have happened if Uber had managed to outperform Didi? If Uber's market share topped fifty percent, would the government have sat by as a neutral observer? Would the Uber app start experiencing slowdowns? Would its drivers be stopped? Would airports welcome Didi cars and not Uber? My bet is that, mixed with disappointment at not winning the country, Uber executives might be feeling a bit relieved that such worries are now off the table. As it is, Uber has become one more casualty in China's other wall, a towering fortress of restrictions, regulations and unfair play that keeps down American internet companies.
Suicide Squad Fans Petition To Shut Down Rotten Tomatoes Over Negative Reviews
The much-anticipated movie
Suicide Squad has largely failed to impress film critics and normal people alike. People are leaving the theaters disappointed, with a firm belief that DC Universe has let them down again. Vanity Fair goes as far as saying, "
Suicide Squad isn't even the good kind of bad," adding that "I'd have to imagine that most fans of Harley Quinn -- male, female, gay, straight -- will be disappointed." The ratings are super low at IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes as well. Amid these reviews, the fans of the film have
launched a Change.org petition with the intent of shutting down film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Variety adds:
Abdullah Coldwater, the DC Comics fan who drafted the petition, accused the site of giving "unjust bad reviews" that "affects people's opinion even if it's a really great [movie]." He added, "Critics always give The DC Extended Universe movies unjust bad reviews." The petition has received over 13,000 signatures as of this post. "Suicide Squad," which stars Will Smith, Jared Leto and Margot Robbie and is one of the most highly-anticipated movies of the summer, currently has an approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes of 34 percent. In comparison recent critical disgrace "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" settled at 27 percent on 344 critiques, whereas Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War" garnered a laudatory 90 percent with 320 critics chiming in.
Apple Makes Slight Progress On Diversity While Its Rivals Are Making Practically None
The workforce at Apple is still predominately white and male, reveals the
diversity report the company released Wednesday. But that doesn't mean that its efforts to improve diversity haven't yielded improvements. This is the third year that the Cupertino giant has released its diversity numbers and the balance is improving, although a bit slowly. From a MacRumors report:
Its overall workforce, including tech, non-tech, and retail jobs, is 68% male and 32% female as of June 2016, a slight change from a 69%-31% split in 2015. Apple's race and ethnicity breakdown among U.S. employees is 19% Asian, 9% Black, 12% Hispanic, 2% Multiracial, 1% Other, and 56% White, representing a 2 percent increase in White employees and a 1 percent increase in both Asian and Hispanic employees compared to last year's data. Females represent 37% of Apple's global new hires, while U.S. underrepresented minorities represent 27% of global new hires. Apple defines underrepresented minorities as "groups whose representation in tech has been historically low -- Black, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islander."Washington Post compares Apple's progress to other Silicon Valley giants, claiming that
rest of the industry is mostly sitting idle. (Alternate source:
Reuters) From the report:
At Facebook, black and Hispanic employees make up 2 and 4 percent of the employee base. Despite commitments to diversity, neither Google nor Facebook have made a dent in those numbers since they first announced them in 2014.
TVs Are Still Too Complicated, and It's Not Your Fault
In his latest column for
The Verge, renowned journalist Walt Mossberg argues that TVs -- their UI, execution, underlying technologies, and remote --
are still too complicated. In the latest weekly, he has shared the experience of buying a new TV, setting it up, and the first few days of getting through it. The modern set, Smart TV for most, comes with a plethora of proprietary and standard features. But only a handful of people actually know what these features are -- and how they differ in the models offered by the same company. Mossberg says folks at Best Buy were of little use when explaining these features, but did a good job making false claims such as "you have to buy a sound bar because the TV doesn't have good speakers" even when that wasn't necessarily the case. Now Mossberg, having pioneered tech journalism as it is known today, knows a thing or two about TVs, but for a general consumer, it is an unnecessary thing that could spoil the experience, and make a bigger dent in their TV budget than it should have. But buying the TV wasn't the worst part. Following are excerpts from his column:
But learning to use the TV is a whole other story. The Bean Bird (assistive cartoon feature) setup process was pretty straightforward, but it gets you going just enough to start watching something. Tweaking all of the TV's many features, including common ones like picture tones and uncommon ones like zooming in on a part of the picture or using a built-in web browser, takes hours. You must wade through menus containing scores of choices. And some controversial features common to modern TVs are buried deep in these menus. For instance, while I like motion smoothing others strongly dislike it -- it's sometimes known as the "soap opera effect." If you don't like it, the LG's interface doesn't make it at all easy to understand what's happening to your picture or what setting to adjust to turn it off. It's not even called motion smoothing in the menus -- LG calls it "TruMotion." The user interface is also somewhat confusing. There are at least three ways, for instance, to change inputs and at least two to bring up quick settings. The menu for launching apps like Netflix, inputs, and more appears to have a million icons in it and marches for what seems like miles across the bottom of the screen. So you have to edit it, which takes a bunch of time.Mossberg also found issues with the way the remote was designed to execute. "For instance, it's supposed to become a "universal" remote, controlling all your connected set-top boxes, but I can only get it to control some, but not all, of the basic features of my cable box, a TiVo Bolt. And its voice search is pathetic -- far worse than the one on the latest Apple TV."
Comcast Wants To Charge Broadband Users More For Privacy
Comcast believes it should be able to charge its broadband users who want to protect their privacy. FCC, on other hand, has indicated that such practices should not be there. In a new filing with the FCC, Comcast says that charging consumers more money to opt out of "snoopvertising"
should be considered a perfectly acceptable business model (PDF). DSLReports:
"A bargained-for exchange of information for service is a perfectly acceptable and widely used model throughout the U.S. economy, including the Internet ecosystem, and is consistent with decades of legal precedent and policy goals related to consumer protection and privacy," Comcast said in the filing. The company proceeds to claim that banning such options "would harm consumers by, among other things, depriving them of lower-priced offerings." In short, Comcast is arguing that protecting your own privacy should be a paid luxury option, and stopping them from doing so would raise broadband rates. But as we've noted for years it's the lack of competition that keeps broadband prices high. It's also the lack of competition that prevents users upset with broadband privacy practices from switching to another ISP. That's why the FCC thinks some basic privacy rules of the road might be a good idea.
Windows 10 Anniversary Update Borks Dual-Boot Partitions
Windows 10 Anniversary Update may affect and even delete other partitions on the same disk,
OMGUbuntu is reporting, citing several complaints by users. "Broken boot loaders on an update are one thing but losing data, even entire partitions?" asks the author. Microsoft-centric news blog WindowsReport is corroborating on the report, adding that in some cases, the new OS
was not able to detect some partitions. It says (edited):
Many users are reporting that some of their partitions disappeared after installing the Anniversary Update. Usually, it's the smallest partition that disappears, although we couldn't say for sure whether the partition is deleted or if Windows simply doesn't detect it. Some users are saying that the partition is not allocated, while others can detect it once they install third-party partition management applications.We have reached out to Microsoft for clarification, and will update the post when we hear back from them.
Project Hosting Service Fosshub Compromised, Embedding Malware Inside Hosted Files
At least some applications on Fosshub, a free project hosting service appear to
have been compromised, according to several reports. (
Fosshub has acknowledged the hack.) The software portal, furthermore,
is serving malware payloads, reports add. Catalin Cimpanu of Softpedia says that a hacking group which goes by the name of
PeggleCrew is responsible for the hack. "In short, a network service with no authentication was exposed to the internet," the hacker told Softpedia in an email. "We were able to grab data from this network service to obtain source code and passwords that led us further into the infrastructure of FOSSHub and eventually gain control of their production machines, backup and mirror locations, and FTP credentials for the caching service they use, as well as the Google Apps-hosted email." The hacker group told the publication that they have compromised the entire website, "including the administrator's email. He also revealed he didn't dump the site's database but claimed that "passwords weren't salted." A user on Reddit, who has since received lots of upvotes,
Some popular apps that have links to FossHub that may be infected include: Audacity, WinDirStat, qBittorrent, MKVToolNix, Spybot Search&Destroy, Calibre, SMPlayer, HWiNFO, MyPhoneExplorer, and IrfanView.Another application which has reportedly been compromised is Classic Shell. It is ostensibly overwriting the MBR on users' computers. Many users are upset with the timing of hack, noting that plenty of people were looking for Classic Shell
amid the release of Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
Update: 08/03 17:30 GMT by
M :In a blog post, Audacity said that Fosshub was serving a hacked copy of its audio editing software for three hours. It adds that "no Audacity Team infrastructure was compromised." Fosshub team writes:
Last night we had a security incident caused by a group of hackers that allowed them to log-in to FossHub developer *through* an user that was compromised. Shortly after, we noticed two users that were compromised. They simply logged-in using their passwords and this allowed them to escalate. [...] Several hours later, we noticed the attackers were able to gain access through an FTP account and we decided to shut down the main server immediately to prevent any further infection/damage. FossHub.com is down on purpose until we are able to identify the way hackers were able to escalate. Fosshub insists that the hacked copy of Classic Shell was only downloaded 300 times. In the meantime, if you know someone who may have downloaded the compromised copy of Classic Shell, here's what
they need to do next.
Your Battery Status Is Being Used To Track You Online
A paper published last year revealed that the
battery on a laptop or phone can be used to track one's online activities. The vulnerability resided in a built-in HTML 5 specification, which could be tricked into identifying people and tracking their online activities. One year later, we are now learning that the
vulnerability is being exploited in the wild. The Guardian reports:
[...] Two security researchers from Princeton University have shown that the battery status indicator really is being used in the wild to track users. By running a specially modified browser, Steve Engelhard and Arvind Narayanan found two tracking scripts that used the API to "fingerprint" a specific device, allowing them to continuously identify it across multiple contexts. The research was highlighted by Lukasz Olejnik, one of the four researchers who first called attention to the potential issues with the battery status API in 2015. Although Olejnik achieved some success following his warning, with the body in charge of the web's standards thanking his group for the privacy analysis, the API still has the potential for misuse. And while it is only tracking scripts using it now, Olejnik warns that unscrupulous actors could do more. "Some companies may be analysing the possibility of monetising the access to battery levels," he writes. "When battery is running low, people might be prone to some -- otherwise different -- decisions. In such circumstances, users will agree to pay more for a service."
Interviews: Ask Ruby on Rails Creator David Heinemeier Hansson a Question
David Heinemeier Hansson created the
Ruby on Rails open-source web framework in 2003. David is also the founder and CTO of
Basecamp, a project management tool that's been used by more than 15 million people. In addition, David is the best-selling author of
REWORK, a book about starting and running businesses a better way. David has agreed to take some time to answer some of your questions.
as many questions as you'd like, but please, one per comment. (And feel free to also leave your suggestions for who Slashdot should interview next.) We'll pick the very best questions -- and forward them on to David Heinemeier Hansson himself.
Israel's SolidRun Creates Open Networking Kit Inspired By Raspberry Pi
joshtops shares a VentureBeat report:
SolidRun, a developer of electronic modules and PCs, said it is launching ClearFog Base kit, an off-the-shelf open development kit that enables do-it-yourself hardware enthusiasts to create their own telecom-grade routers. The kit is based on the Marvell Armada 38x SoC processor that runs on open source software based on OpenWrt. It lets enthusiasts build telecom-grade routers capable of Gigabit speed and embedded storage. The kit is inspired by the DIY computer kit, Raspberry Pi, which has sold a surprisingly large number of units. With OpenWrt support and several connectivity options, device makers can easily utilize the ClearFog Base within their own products to bridge a variety of network standards, like LAN, Wi-Fi, LTE, Fiber, and DSL. They can also utilize mikroBUS boards for IoT type networking standards such as ZigBee, Sub GHz, Bluetooth, and others. The $70 kit was created by Tel-Aviv, Israel-based SolidRun.
Frequent Password Changes Are the Enemy Of Security, FTC Technologist Says
Though changing passwords often might seem like a good security practice,
in reality, that isn't the case, says Carnegie Mellon University professor Lorrie Cranor. Earlier this year, when the Federal Trade Commission tweeted that people should "encourage" their loved ones to "change passwords often," Cranor wasted no time challenging it. From ArsTechnica's story:
The reasoning behind the advice [of changing password often] is that an organization's network may have attackers inside who have yet to be discovered. Frequent password changes lock them out. But to a university professor who focuses on security, Cranor found the advice problematic for a couple of reasons. For one, a growing body of research suggests that frequent password changes make security worse. As if repeating advice that's based more on superstition than hard data wasn't bad enough, the tweet was even more annoying because all six of the government passwords she used had to be changed every 60 days. "I saw this tweet and I said, 'Why is it that the FTC is going around telling everyone to change their passwords?'" she said during a keynote speech at the BSides security conference in Las Vegas. "I went to the social media people and asked them that and they said, 'Well, it must be good advice because at the FTC we change our passwords every 60 days." Cranor eventually approached the chief information officer and the chief information security officer for the FTC and told them what a growing number of security experts have come to believe. Frequent password changes do little to improve security and very possibly make security worse by encouraging the use of passwords that are more susceptible to cracking. The CIO asked for research that supported this contrarian view, and Cranor was happy to provide it. The most on-point data comes from a study published in 2010 by researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
US Air Force Declares F-35A Ready For Combat
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Defense News:
The U.S. Air Force on Tuesday declared its first squadron of F-35As ready for battle, 15 years after Lockheed Martin won the contract to make the plane. The milestone means that the service can now send its first operational F-35 formation -- the 34th Fighter Squadron located at Hill Air Force Base, Utah -- into combat operations anywhere in the world. The service, which plans to buy 1,763 F-35As, is the single-largest customer of the joint strike fighter program, which also includes the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and a host of governments worldwide. "Given the national security strategy, we need it," [Air Combat Command (ACC) head Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle] said. "You look at the potential adversaries out there, or the potential environments where we have to operate this airplane, the attributes that the F-35 brings -- the ability to penetrate defensive airspace, the ability to deliver precision munitions with a sensor suite that fuses data from multiple information sources -- is something our nation needs." Carlisle said in July that even though he would feel comfortable sending the F-35 to a fight as soon as the jet becomes operational, ACC has formed a "deliberate path" where the aircraft would deploy in stages: first to Red Flag exercises, then as a "theater security package" to Europe and the Asia-Pacific. The fighter probably won't deploy to the Middle East to fight the Islamic State group any earlier than 2017, he said, but if a combatant commander asked for the capability, "I'd send them down in a heartbeat because they're very, very good." The declaration is
another achievement for the $379 billion program -- the Pentagon's largest weapons project -- following the declaration of a first squadron of F-35s ready for combat made by the U.S. Marine Corps in July 2015.
Millennials Are Less Likely To Be Having Sex Than Young Adults 30 Years Ago, Says Survey
An anonymous reader writes:
A survey of nearly 27,000 people suggests that millennials are less likely to be having sex than younger adults were 30 years ago. The Guardian reports: "The research, conducted in the U.S., found that the percentage of young adults aged between 20 and 24 who reported having no sexual partner after the age of 18 increased from 6% among those born in the 1960s, to 15% of young adults born in the 1990s. Published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior by researchers from three U.S. universities, the study involved the analysis of data collected through the nationwide General Social Survey that has asked U.S. adults about their sexual behavior almost every year since 1989. The results reveal that young adults aged between 20 and 24 and born in the 1990s were more than twice as likely to report that they had had no sexual partners since the age of 18 than young adults of the same age born in the 1960s. Just over 15% of the 90s-born group reported that they had not had sex since they turned 18, compared to almost 12% of those born in the 1970s or 1980s. For those born in the 60s the figure was just over 6%. The shift [towards increasing abstinence seen among all adults since the 1960s] was greater for white individuals, those who had not gone to university, and those who attended religious services. The trend was also greater for women than for men: the authors found that 2.3% of women born in the 1960s are sexually inactive, compared to 5.4% of those born in the 1990s. That, the authors suggest, could in part be down to a rise in so-called virginity pledges as well as concerns about social stigma. As for why this is the case, the authors of the study suggest it could have something to do with the fact that
young people are living at home for longer, thus "stifling their sex life," and playing video games and consuming media in their free time. In addition, easy access to pornography may also be playing a role. A co-author of the research, Ryne Sherman, also suggests another factor could be that the way in which people interpret questions asked in the survey has changed. "Young people in the 1950s, when they were asked if you had a sexual partner, [might] say 'oh oral sex, that counts,' whereas young people today might say 'oh no that doesn't count because I didn't actually have sexual intercourse,'" he said.
NASA's 'Journey To Mars' Initiative Might Be Delayed Due To Government Audit
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Christian Science Monitor:
NASA has taken bold steps toward crewed Mars exploration in recent years. But according to a new audit, the agency may be moving too hastily. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) expressed concerns this past week about the feasibility of NASA's Orion crew capsule and Space Launch System (SLS). In two government-requested audits, the GAO questioned NASA's ability to meet program deadlines, citing insufficient funding and internal management issues. According to the GAO, however, the agency's schedule just isn't realistic. By pushing for earlier launch dates, NASA is increasing the inherent risk of a deep space mission. NASA's budgeting practices are also scrutinized in GAO's audit. In September, the agency asked for $11.3 billion to prepare Orion for launch. "Ideally, if these programs go forward, NASA would be taking actions to reduce the risks we see now, which are being caused by management issues," says Cristina Chaplain, who led the GOA audit, in an interview with the Monitor. "They're going to face the technical issues no matter what. But they're exacerbating them with management concerns, like not having accurate cost estimates." The report adds: "NASA's '
Journey to Mars' initiative has been a source of both excitement and controversy. The
Asteroid Redirect Mission, in which the agency will send four astronauts to redirect an asteroid into the moon's orbit, is
slated to launch sometime in the next decade. The mission is designed to test new propulsion technology for future crewed Mars missions. In the 2030s, NASA hopes to send an Orion crew to the red planet. NASA plans to complete the first SLS launch in 2018. In the test mission, called
Exploration Mission 1, the rocket will carry an empty Orion into orbit around the moon. In subsequent missions, SLS/Orion will launch with a full crew. NASA has scheduled
Exploration Mission 2 for April 2023, but administrators hope to launch as early as 2021."