FBI Overstated Forensic Hair Matches In Nearly All Trials Before 2000

schwit1 writes The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000. Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory's microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country's largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence. The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Signs of Ancient Cells and Proteins Found In Dinosaur Fossils

sciencehabit writes: The cupboards of the Natural History Museum in London hold spectacular dinosaur fossils, from 15-centimeter, serrated Tyrannosaurus rex teeth to a 4-meter-long hadrosaur tail. Now, researchers are reporting another spectacular find, buried in eight nondescript fossils from the same collection: what appear to be ancient red blood cells and fibers of ancient protein. Using new methods to peer deep inside fossils, the study in this week's issue of Nature Communications backs up previous, controversial reports of such structures in dinosaur bones. It also suggests that soft tissue preservation may be more common than anyone had guessed. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

WCry is so mean Microsoft issues patch for 3 unsupported Windows versions

Enlarge (credit: Health Service Journal) A day after a ransomware worm infected 75,000 machines in 100 countries, Microsoft is taking the highly unusual step of issuing patches that immunize Windows XP, 8, and Server 2003, operating systems the company stopped supporting as many as three years ago. The company also rolled out a signature that allows its Windows Defender antivirus engine to provide "defese-in-depth" protection. The moves came after attackers on Friday used a recently leaked attack tool developed by the National Security Agency to virally spread ransomware known as WCry . Within hours, computer systems around the world were crippled, prompting hospitals to turn away patients and telecoms, banks and companies such as FedEx to turn off computers for the weekend. The chaos surprised many security watchers because Microsoft issued an update in March that patched the underlying vulnerability in Windows 7 and most other supported versions of Windows. (Windows 10 was never vulnerable.) Friday's events made it clear that enough unpatched systems exist to cause significant outbreaks that could happen again in the coming days or months. In a blog post published late Friday night , Microsoft officials wrote: Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Massive ransomware attack hits UK hospitals, Spanish banks

Enlarge (credit: Health Service Journal) A large number of hospitals, GPs, and walk-in clinics across England have been locked down by a ransomware attack, reports suggest. There are also some reports of a ransomware attack hitting institutions in Portugal and Spain, though it isn't known if the incidents are connected. NHS England says it is aware of the issue, but hasn't yet issued an official statement. At this point it isn't clear whether a central NHS network has been knocked offline by the ransomware, or whether individual computers connected to the network are being locked out. In any case, some hospitals and clinics are reporting that their computer systems are inaccessible and some telephone services are down too. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

New ultra-high resolution printer makes colors from nanostructures

Researchers from the Technical University of Denmark demonstrated a new nanotechnology-based printing technique that produces long-lasting color images on plastic at resolutions up to 127,000 dots per inch, many times more detailed than traditional laser printers. The system uses a laser to alter the structure of nanoscale structures on the plastic material. (A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter; a human hair is around 60,000 nanometers in diameter.) The nanoprinting technique could also lead to new kinds of 3D displays or invisible watermarks. From New Scientist : The surface of the plastic is shaped so that it has lots of tiny pillars, one roughly every 200 nanometers. A thin film of the element germanium is then spread over the plastic. Heat from a laser melts the germanium on each pillar, morphing its shape and thickness. As a result, it reflects a specific color. The coating protects the shapes of the newly carved nanostructures. Resonant laser printing of structural colors on high-index dielectric metasurfaces (ScienceAdvances)

New Windows look and feel, Neon, is officially the “Microsoft Fluent Design System”

Enlarge / Project Neon in the Groove Music app. (credit: Tom Hounsell ) SEATTLE—Earlier this year, pictures of a new Windows look and feel leaked . Codenamed Project Neon , the new look builds on Microsoft Design Language 2 (MDL2), the styling currently used in Windows 10, to add elements of translucency and animation. Neon has now been officially announced, and it has an official new name: the Microsoft Fluent Design System. The awkward MDL2 name exists because the original codename for the geometric, text-centric style introduced with Windows Phone 7 and incrementally iterated ever since was subject of a trademark dispute. That look and feel was internally named Metro, but Microsoft had to stop using the Metro name after pushback from a German supermarket chain . The company didn't initially have any particularly good name to refer to the styling formerly known as Metro, so many people continued to use that term for lack of anything better. It wasn't until a couple of months after dropping "Metro" that a new name, "Microsoft Design Language," was settled on. Our understanding is that Neon befell a similar fate; someone out there is using the Neon name, forcing Microsoft to pick a different appellation. This time around, however, the company has recognized that it's important to have an official name for the style that it can talk about and describe, giving us "Microsoft Fluent Design System." Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Mac users installing popular DVD ripper get nasty backdoor instead

(credit: Patrick Wardle ) Hackers compromised a download server for a popular DVD-ripping software named HandBrake and used it to push stealthy malware that stole victims' password keychains, password vaults, and possibly the master credentials that decrypted them, security researchers said Monday. Over a four-day period ending Saturday, a download mirror located at download.handbrake.fr delivered a version of the video conversion software that contained a backdoor known as Proton, HandBrake developers warned over the weekend . At the time that the malware was being distributed to unsuspecting Mac users, none of the 55 most widely used antivirus services detected it. That's according to researcher Patrick Wardle , who reported results here and here from the VirusTotal file-scanning service. When the malicious download was opened, it directed users to enter their Mac administer password, which was then uploaded in plain text to a server controlled by the attackers. Once installed, the malware sent a variety of sensitive user files to the same server. In a blog post published Monday morning , Thomas Reed, director of Mac offerings at antivirus provider Malwarebytes, wrote: Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

MSI (almost) has the thinnest pro laptop ever

Bragging rights are a tricky thing. It's easy to say that you're the first or best, but backing up that claim is another matter. Take MSI's brand new WS60 , for example. The company bills the 15-inch laptop as the "world's thinnest and lightest mobile workstation, " and it's definitely on the featherweight side at 0.78 inches thick and 4.36 pounds. There's only one problem: it's actually a runner-up. Dell's Precision M3800 is both slimmer (0.71 inches) and lighter (4.15 pounds), so that's the machine you want in your bag if sheer portability is the major deciding factor. Thankfully for MSI, there are plenty of reasons why you might pick the WS60 instead. It's packing a more powerful Quadro K2100M graphics chipset, for one thing. You'll also get more storage out of the box (a 128GB SSD plus a 1TB hard drive) and a Thunderbolt port for high-speed peripherals. There's even the gaming-friendly keyboard, networking and speakers from the closely related GS60 , just in case you're itching to play Titanfall after you're done with your 3D modelling work. Just be prepared to pony up if MSI's system is more your style. The base model with a 1080p display and a 2.5GHz Core i7 processor will cost you $2, 300, while opting for a "3K" (2, 880 x 1, 620) screen and an extra SSD ups the price to $2, 600. Filed under: Laptops Comments Source: MSI

New ‘Image Enhance’ Lets Satellites See 2-Inch Objects on Mars

Researchers have developed a new image enhancement technique that allows them to boost the resolution of satellite images, revealing unprecedented levels of detail. Read more...

Big Test Coming Up For Kilogram Redefinition

szotz writes: Electromechanical balances have got to be better than an aged lump of platinum and iridium right? Teams are working to get kilograms measured and shipped to Paris in time for a test to see whether the technology (along with another that uses ultrapure silicon spheres) is now ready to redefine the kilogram. Why is this redefinition interesting? Because it's about using physics to overcome one problem with weight standards based on tightly held exemplars in standards bodies' inner sanctums: the mass of those exemplars can change, however subtly, introducing uncertainty and confusion. From the article: The world's metrologists aim to change this state of affairs in 2018 by fixing the kilogram to the Planck constant, a fundamental physical constant. That shift would, at least in principle, allow any laboratory to "realize" the kilogram from scratch with a series of experiments and specialized equipment. But for that scheme to work, the kilogram derived by one laboratory must be the same as those derived by others. Read more of this story at Slashdot.