Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for September 17th, 2017

MIT combines several vaccines in a single injection

Posted by kenmay on September - 17 - 2017

Someday, kids might only have to endure a single jab to get the benefits of several vaccines , thanks to a new technology by a team of MIT engineers. They’ve created a method that allows a single injection to carry enough doses for the first one to two years of a child’s life, with each dose released at a specified time. Their secret? Microscopic coffee cups made out of PLGA, a biocompatible polymer used in prosthetics and implants. To create the cups, they first had to make an array of silicon molds using a process called photolithography. Each large array can create about 2, 000 cups, which are then filled with doses of vaccination using a custom-made dispensing system. Finally, they put a lid over each cup and apply heat until they fuse together and form a tightly sealed container. The team’s microscopic cups can deliver doses at different times, because PLGA can be designed to break down at different rates if you manipulate its molecules. They tested their system by injecting mice with cups created to deteriorate at 9, 20 and 41 days after injection. It was a success — the containers remained leak-proof until the days they were supposed to break down. The engineers believe their system will be especially useful in the developing world and could have many potential applications other than drug delivery. Team leader Robert Langer explained: “We are very excited about this work because, for the first time, we can create a library of tiny, encased vaccine particles, each programmed to release at a precise, predictable time, so that people could potentially receive a single injection that, in effect, would have multiple boosters already built into it. This could have a significant impact on patients everywhere, especially in the developing world where patient compliance is particularly poor.” However, they still have a long way to go to make sure their little containers can remain intact at body temperature for as long as a few months to a couple of years. They’re now conducting several more tests using a variety of drugs, including vaccines still in development . Source: MIT

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Enlarge / A stack of bitcoins sits among twisted copper wiring inside a communications room at an office in this arranged photograph in London on Tuesday, September 5, 2017. (credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images News ) Next month, a California drug dealer who recently pleaded guilty to selling on Silk Road, AlphaBay, and other sites is scheduled to be sentenced. According to federal authorities, David Ryan Burchard was one of the largest online merchants of marijuana and cocaine—he sold over $1.4 million worth of narcotics. Burchard was prosecuted in federal court in the Eastern District of California, which has quietly become a hub of cases against dealers from those notorious and now-shuttered Dark Web marketplaces. According to Lauren Horwood, a spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s Office in Sacramento, one of the primary hubs of this federal judicial district, there are currently 11 Silk Road and AlphaBay-related prosecutions underway. Four of the defendants have pleaded guilty, and, of those, two have already been sentenced, while the others’ cases are still ongoing. Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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An anonymous reader quotes BleepingComputer: The Slovak National Security Office (NBU) has identified ten malicious Python libraries uploaded on PyPI — Python Package Index — the official third-party software repository for the Python programming language. NBU experts say attackers used a technique known as typosquatting to upload Python libraries with names similar to legitimate packages — e.g.: “urlib” instead of “urllib.” The PyPI repository does not perform any types of security checks or audits when developers upload new libraries to its index, so attackers had no difficulty in uploading the modules online. Developers who mistyped the package name loaded the malicious libraries in their software’s setup scripts. “These packages contain the exact same code as their upstream package thus their functionality is the same, but the installation script, setup.py, is modified to include a malicious (but relatively benign) code, ” NBU explained. Experts say the malicious code only collected information on infected hosts, such as name and version of the fake package, the username of the user who installed the package, and the user’s computer hostname. Collected data, which looked like “Y:urllib-1.21.1 admin testmachine”, was uploaded to a Chinese IP address. NBU officials contacted PyPI administrators last week who removed the packages before officials published a security advisory on Saturday.” The advisory lays some of the blame on Python’s ‘pip’ tool, which executes arbitrary code during installations without requiring a cryptographic signature. Ars Technica also reports that another team of researchers “was able to seed PyPI with more than 20 libraries that are part of the Python standard library, ” and that group now reports they’ve already received more than 7, 400 pingbacks. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Every Nintendo Switch appears to contain a hidden copy of NES Golf

Posted by kenmay on September - 17 - 2017

On Saturday, the world may have gotten its first look at an NES game officially running on a Nintendo Switch. You might think the weird thing about this news is how long it has taken for Virtual Console support to come to the Switch. But this isn’t a Virtual Console story. Turns out, this is somehow weirder. Your Nintendo Switch may already have a fully playable NES game just sitting inside of it. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / An example of an experiment where bacteria (green) and cancer cells (red) are co-cultured. (credit: Leore Geller ) Of all the kinds of bacteria, some are charming and beneficial, others are malicious and dangerous—and then there are the ones that are just plain turds . That’s the case for Mycoplasma hyorhinis and its ilk. Researchers caught the little jerks hiding out among cancer cells, gobbling up chemotherapy drugs intended to demolish their tumorous digs. The findings, reported this week in Science , explain how some otherwise treatable cancers can thwart powerful therapies. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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