News & Updates

Brown bear penis bones. (credit: Didier Descouens – Museum of Toulouse)

The penis bone, or baculum, has long been a knobby issue for scientists. The bone, which dangles at the tip of a male’s reproductive organ detached from the skeleton, pops up in many placental mammals. Mice, bats, cats, dogs, and hedgehogs all sport structural reinforcement in their nether regions. Walruses possess startling two-foot-long models that resemble baseball bats. Most primates, including our closest relatives, also have members in the baculum club—but humans, oddly, do not.

Over the years, researchers have come up with a number of hypotheses for why man’s manhood is boneless, but a new evolutionary study offers some evidence. Analyzing anatomy and mating practices of thousands of mammals, anthropologists Matilda Brindle and Christopher Opie of University College London suggest that humans lost their baculum due to quick sex and relatively little competition.

The findings, published Wednesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, may finally start to nail down our understanding of the puzzling purposes of penis bones.

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Carol Raymond/JPL

Ceres may be a cold, dark, and dead world today, but scientists poring over a trove of data returned by the Dawn spacecraft have found that has not always been the case. Rather, new discoveries of ice on the surface of Ceres and other emerging clues have led planetary scientists to conclude the dwarf planet once had an inner ocean, and perhaps it even harbored life. They discussed their findings Thursday at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting during a news conference.

Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt. Since Dawn reached it in early 2015, the spacecraft has returned 54,000 images, 16 million visible spectra, and 21 million infrared spectra. It mapped out the dwarf planet’s gravity field in great deal. Additionally, Dawn carries a detector to study the collision of neutrons with the surface of Ceres. Based upon the energy of gamma rays produced by such collisions, the spacecraft can detect various elements at the surface and to a depth of about one meter. In the last two years Dawn has found a lot of hydrogen.

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By Waqas

Australian internet providers have been ordered by the Federal Court to block The Pirate Bay and four other websites on grounds of copyright infringement. The ruling was announced in the afternoon today and with this Australia received its first ever, successful site-blocking case. Read: is now Internet companies have received 15 days deadline to completely […]

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Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our partners at TechBargains, the Dealmaster is back! There are only 10 days till Christmas, so if you haven’t nailed down all your holiday shopping, maybe something in our big list of deals will give you an idea. The top item this week is a Dell Inspiron 3650 for just $379. It has an Intel Core i5-6400, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive.

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The Dell XPS 8900.

Laptop & Desktop Computers

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Enlarge / Step 1: Put Nintendo Switch in head-mounted dock. Step 2: Be in virtual reality? (credit: Nintendo/USPTO/NeoGAF)

Newly published patent applications for Nintendo’s upcoming Switch console describe plans for a potential head-mounted display accessory that holds the system’s tablet-style screen in a virtual reality-style housing.

The diagram and description come from a trove of five patent applications (as noted by NeoGAF) that were filed with the US Patent and Trademark office on June 10 and published today. Unlike most patent applications, which may describe product ideas that will never be announced (much less released), these patents quite clearly describe the Nintendo Switch and its detachable JoyCon controllers with details that match what’s known from the system’s October reveal.

That being said, the unannounced head-mounted display, while patented, may never see the light of day as a real product. As it stands, the Switch’s tablet screen, which reportedly runs 6.2″ diagonally and sports 720p resolution, would be quite blocky compared to the displays on other virtual reality headsets. Even the first Oculus Development Kit had 800 lines of vertical resolution back in 2013.

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If you run a mainstream distribution of Linux on a desktop computer, there’s a good chance security researcher Chris Evans can hijack it when you do nothing more than open or even browse a specially crafted music file. And in the event you’re running Chrome on the just-released Fedora 25, his code-execution attack works as a classic drive-by.

The zero-day exploits, which Evans published on Tuesday, are the latest to challenge the popular conceit that Linux, at least in its desktop form, is more immune to the types of attacks that have felled Windows computers for more than a decade and have increasingly snared Macs in recent years.

While Evans’ attacks won’t work on most Linux servers, they will reliably compromise most desktop versions of Linux, which employees at Google, Facebook, and other security conscious companies often use in an attempt to avoid the pitfalls of Windows and Mac OS X. Three weeks ago, Evans released a separate Linux zero-day that had similarly dire consequences.

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Charles Tendell Joins ABC’s Good Morning America! A former Uber employee is alleging in a California lawsuit that a lack of security measures allowed employees to spy on riders through their Uber accounts.

“Uber’s lack of security regarding its customer data was resulting in Uber employees being able to track high profile politicians, celebrities, and even personal acquaintances of Uber employees, including ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, and ex-spouses,”

President Obama announces the nomination of Rep. Melvin Watt, left, as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and Tom Wheeler, right, as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), on May 1, 2013. (credit: White House)

Tom Wheeler today presided over his final public meeting as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, a three-year stretch that he called the highlight of his career.

Wheeler was sworn in to the FCC in November 2013, and he knew the industry well because he was a former lobbyist. From 1979 to 1984, he led the cable industry’s top lobby group, and from 1992 to 2004 he was the chief lobbyist for the mobile phone industry.

Looking back, Wheeler says it was easier being a lobbyist.

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By Lesley Haught

Do you own a WordPress site? Congratulations, the advanced security features of the platform will protect you for life…or so you’d like to think. Unlike ready SaaS solutions, online website builders with centralized managements, WordPress is a popular open-source CMS with open code with lots of security vulnerabilities. And believe me, these vulnerabilities can be […]

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An image sent by DNC staffer Alexandra Chalupa shows a warning message she received from Yahoo Mail. She may have been targeted using data from one of the Yahoo breaches or a forged cookie based on stolen Yahoo code. (credit: Alexandra Chalupa)

In October of 2013, as a result of documents leaked by Edward Snowden, we learned the National Security Agency tapped straight into the connections between data centers at Yahoo and Google as part of a program called MUSCULAR. A month later, Yahoo announced it would encrypt all of its internal networks between data centers and add Secure Socket Layer encryption and secure (HTTPS) Web connections to all its services.

That move, however, failed to prevent two major breaches of user data: a breach affecting user data from more than 500 million user accounts late in 2014 (revealed in September) and the breach revealed yesterday involving data from more than 1 billion accounts. The recent break took place in August of 2013—before the barn door was closed. In addition, Yahoo’s chief information security officer, Bob Lord, said that the parties behind the 2014 breach had stolen some of Yahoo’s code and used it to forge Web “cookies” that gave access to users’ accounts without the need to use login credentials.

Evidence of the August 2013 breach was given to Yahoo by “law enforcement officials,” according to Lord, but it was likely discovered by a security researcher watching for data on underground markets. That suggests the data was in circulation in underground marketplaces in one form or another and actively in use by Internet criminal rings for a variety of purposes. If that’s the case, then practically all of Yahoo’s users who set up accounts prior to 2013 may have had details from their accounts used in targeted attacks, attempts to gain access to other Web accounts and cloud services, or any number of other scams.

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