Daily Archives: May 8, 2017

Review: Walmart – Crotilla 

Walmart’s Crotilla is described on the box as “a flaky flatbread fusion of croissant and tortilla made with butter.”A 16.8-oz box with eight Crotillas goes for $3.99 but I received this box courtesy of Walmart.If you’re wondering if these are like flattened disc-shaped croissant, that’s pretty much what they are. With the much compacted form, the rather small box exhibited some surprising heft.

Source: Review: Walmart – Crotilla | Brand Eating

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When Hollywood Met Neurosurgery

This is an ETV trainer assembly based on 3-D printing technology and casting process. Source: Copyright AANS. Used with permission

A team of computer engineers and neurosurgeons, with an assist from Hollywood special effects experts, reports successful early tests of a novel, lifelike 3D simulator designed to teach surgeons to perform a delicate, minimally invasive brain operation.

A report on the simulator that guides trainees through an endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) was published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics on April 25. The procedure uses endoscopes, which are small, computer-guided tubes and instruments, to treat certain forms of hydrocephalus, a condition marked by an excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid and pressure on the brain. ETV is a minimally invasive procedure that short-circuits the fluid back into normal channels in the brain, eliminating the need for implantation of a shunt, a lifelong device with the associated complications of a foreign body.

“For surgeons, the ability to practice a procedure is essential for accurate and safe performance of the procedure. Surgical simulation is akin to a golfer taking a practice swing,” says Alan R. Cohen, M.D., professor of neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a senior author of the report. “With surgical simulation, we can practice the operation before performing it live.”

Special features include an electronic pump to reproduce flowing cerebrospinal fluid and brain pulsations.

Source: When Hollywood Met Neurosurgery

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German research organization to identify Nazi victims that ended up as brain slides

They are kept deep in the archive of the Max Planck Society in Munich – human brain specimens, elaborately prepared and neatly labeled.Some of the brain specimens belong to Nazi victims. They were murdered because they were mentally ill or disabled and considered “unworthy of life,” according to Hitler.About 300,000 people including children were killed in the Nazi’s so-called “euthanasia program, T4.”But the victims’ brains were preserved.”These Nazi crimes [committed during] the euthanasia program were a good opportunity for scientists to get their hands on brain tissues and examine rare neurological diseases,” says Herwig Czech, a historian at the University of Vienna.Doctors could even order the brain of a certain patient – a patient they found interesting for research.

Source: German research organization to identify Nazi victims that ended up as brain slides | Science | DW.COM | 02.05.2017

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Enabling This Makes Firefox More Responsive On Ubuntu

Multiprocess Firefox brings a ‘major improvement’ to your browsing experience — but if you’re running Ubuntu you won’t be feeling the benefit.Yup, it turns out that Firefox multiprocess mode is disabled on Ubuntu by default. This is because the Ubuntu modifications add-on that comes pre-bundled with the browser is not yet compatible with it.If the “Ubuntu Modifications” add-on is active it’s almost certain that multi-processing is disabled.Multiprocess Firefox (which is also known as “Electrolysis” or e10s) separates web content from the Firefox UI processes. This means that when a poorly made web page or web script causes a spike in CPU or memory the rest of the browse, e.g., tabs, buttons and menus, don’t lock up.Mozilla is rolling out multiprocess support in Firefox in stages, starting with Firefox 48 released last August.Enabling multiprocess mode isn’t a cure-all for all your browser slowdowns, of course. If you have a really rubbish internet connection you’ll still a really rubbish even with this option turned on.But if you’re one of those who, like me, tend to notice a perceptible something afflicting the Firefox experience, I recommend giving this tweak a whirl. Kiss goodbye to those nanosecond lags when switching between tabs of heavy media rich websites.In fact this feature, when combined with another tweak to make Firefox faster, give a compelling glimpse at how Firefox is shaping up to take on Chromium.Enable Firefox Multiprocess on UbuntuFirst, check whether Firefox multiproccess mode is enabled in your browser. Head to about:support in a new tab and check the status of the “multiprocess Windows” option:Chances are you’ll see “0” windows using it because it is “disabled by add-ons”.Now, if you love the “Ubufox” add-on you can force enable Firefox multiprocess mode. This will ignoring extension incompatibility and, based on a limited burst of usage, things seem to just fine like this.But the fastest solution for most is just to disable the “Ubuntu Modifications” extension by going to the Tools > Add-ons page and clicking ‘Disable’ next to the add-ons.Restart the browser as prompted and, when it comes back up, you can check if multi-processing is now enabled:If the option still lists as “disabled by add-ons” you’ll need to disable more add-ons, or create a force-override user setting.Thanks Robert S

Source: Enabling This Makes Firefox More Responsive On Ubuntu – OMG! Ubuntu!

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Hackers Aim High to Hack the U.S. Air Force

First it was Hack the Pentagon, then last year Hack the Army, and now in 2017 the Air Force is getting in on the bug bounty action.The original Hack the Pentagon bug bounty program debuted in March 2016 as an effort to enable security researchers to attack a limited set of Pentagon IT assets in a certain time period. The effort was expanded in October 2016 into a wider effort with the Department of Defense Digital Services organization to enable to different branches of the armed forces to benefit from bug bounties.The U.S Army announced its bug bounty effort in November 2016 as the first engagement under the November 2016 contract. The U.S. Air Force is a further expansion and will allow researchers from the U.S as well as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to participate.”Hack the Air Force has the largest scope of participation yet,” Reina Staley, Chief of Staff at U.S Defense Digital Services, told eSecurityPlanet.AdvertisementStaley noted that the very first DoD pilot bug bounty, Hack the Pentagon, was limited to participation by only US citizens.”Since the success of Hack the Pentagon and the subsequent Hack the Army bounty, we’ve been working to continually expand the bounds for participation by everyone,” she said. “For this round with the Department of the Air Force, we’re excited to include the citizens of a few allied nations.”Much like the other programs that HackerOne runs for the U.S Armed Services, the bug bounty is not an open invitation to hack anything that a security researcher wants. Peter Kim, CISO, US Air Force said that Hack the Air Force will be limited to only public facing web assets.

Source: Hackers Aim High to Hack the U.S. Air Force – eSecurity Planet

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Don’t click that Google Docs link! Gmail hijack mail spreads like wildfire 

Final update If you get an email today sharing a Google Docs file with you, don’t click it – you may accidentally hand over your Gmail inbox and your contacts to a mystery attacker.The phishing campaign really kicked off in a big way on Wednesday morning, US West Coast time. The malicious email contains what appears to be a link to a Google Doc file. This leads to a legit Google.com page asking you to authorize “Google Docs” to access to your Gmail account.Except it’s not actually the official Google Docs requesting access: it’s a rogue web app with the same name that, if given the green light by unsuspecting marks, then ransacks contact lists and sends out more spam. It also gains control over the webmail account, including the ability to read victims’ messages and send new ones on their behalf.

Source: Don’t click that Google Docs link! Gmail hijack mail spreads like wildfire • The Register

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Does Emptying Disk Space Speed Up Computers? Myth Busted

Irrespective of how powerful the rest of the components your PC is boasting, perhaps the biggest performance bottlenecks that makes or breaks the speed of the system happens to be its storage. Configuring a system with top-notch hardware is the right idea but failing to upgrade your hard drive or replace it with a speedier solid-state drive will only result in performance degradation over time.The slow-down will not be noticeable initially, but as you gradually start to fill up that existing storage, it is only a matter of time before your impressive configuration starts behaving like a system that was built 10 years ago. There is actually a misconception that emptying disk space will speed up your PC. So, let’s clear that doubt first-

Source: Does Emptying Disk Space Speed Up Computers? Myth Busted

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What Are Torrents? How Torrent Works?

Bittorrent, commonly known as torrent, is the one internet element where you are able to enjoy all sorts of content for absolutely no price tag and there are millions of users out there who take advantage of this service (For the discussion on illegal downloading, here’s another dedicated article). Nearly the whole globe has an application running on their computers or mobile device that gives them access to a wide range of movies, TV shows, games and myriad amounts of data through these torrents. Still, how knowledgeable are you on the workings of torrents?To help you understand the working of torrents, we will be covering a wide area of topics, detailing topics like what torrents are and how torrent works so that you can come to terms with their existence in the World Wide Web.

Source: What Are Torrents? How Torrent Works? — BitTorrenting 101

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Man? Woman? Who Cares! This Is CANADA! 

Remember “Pat” the hermaphroditic Saturday Night Live character from the early 1990s?She went through various skits while the people around her tried to determine Pat’s gender.It was also turned into a turd of a movie, which we won’t talk about here.Well, it turns out that “Pat” has another career and is now setting Canadian immigration policy.‘X’ For ‘Unspecified’: Legislation is being considered that would provide three options on the “gender” question for citizens to choose on their passports: There’d be an “M” for “male, “F” for “female” and a brand-spanking new “X” for “unspecified.”This is in keeping with a federal human rights bill being considered in Ottawa, that would establish “gender protections” making Canada the eighth country on the planet with a “non-binary” option on their passports.There were some detractors, but in progressive Canada, nobody really listened to them.“What is going to be written in a passport? What kind of checks should be made before the passport is delivered?” Conservative Sen. Jean-Guy Dagenais asked the justice minister, The Toronto Star reported.

Source: Man? Woman? Who Cares! This Is CANADA! | The Federalist Papers

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Police Close Scientology Facility After Finding Prisoners Inside

Scientology centers in Tennessee have been closed after police rescued two patients being held and medicated against their will.Wikimedia CommonsTiny cabins and a double-wide trailer belonging to the Church of Scientology were recently raided by Tennessee police after they received a 911 call from a person trapped inside.“We proceeded up the hill through a gated, makeshift paddock that is secured externally with a steel latch,” the Cannon County officers reported.There, they saw the person who had called them looking out through a Plexiglas window.“He is locked inside the cabin with no way to remove himself from the building,” the report went on.The site’s caretaker, Dennis Flamond, allowed the officers inside, where they found a mostly empty room with a small pile of sheets in the corner.The caller told officers that he had been held there against his will for nine months and was being given unknown medications supposedly meant to “cleanse” him through Scientology. The man said that he was being mistreated and showed the officers his bare, lightless room.The officers removed the man from the premises and contacted his mother, who was in disbelief. She had learned about the facility online, where it was portrayed completely differently than the grim reality.By the time officers returned with a search warrant for the rest of the facility, Flamond was packing his things.Officers also found a female patient, who was also hospitalized, along with several boxes of evidence.Three suspects have been arrested and two of them — Flamond and Hans Snyder Lytle (the site’s manager) — have pleaded guilty to two counts of false imprisonment.Scientology is a controversial church founded by Ron Hubbard in 1955. It has achieved widespread fame with the help of celebrity members like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and Beck. It was recently involved in another bout of scandal after former member Leah Remini released a docuseries on the institution.“You’re not going to continue to lie to people and abuse people and take their money and their lives,” Remini tells the church in the show’s opening. “If I can stop one, then I’m gonna do it.”

Source: Police Close Scientology Facility After Finding Prisoners Inside

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“Brains in a dish” move out of science fiction and into the lab

Small cultures of human neuronal cells developing in a dish are not quite “brains in a petri dish” as they are sometimes described. But these cerebral organoids give scientists unprecedented options for studying and understanding the early embryonic stages of human brain development. Two recent papers published in Nature show just how powerful these neuroscience research tools are. The first paper characterizes these neural developments more fully, while the second uses organoids as a tool to show how a neurodevelopmental disorder known as Timothy Syndrome develops.Making a brain-like thingThe first paper focused on fully understanding brain organoids, which start out as a cluster of neural stem cells. The authors of the paper describe them as cell systems that build themselves up with their own internal growth program.

After a month of growth in the dish, these organoids started to show brain regionalization, with different clusters of cells appearing to differentiate into the forebrain, midbrain, hindbrain, and retina, according to the gene markers for each of these regions.After six months of growth, brain organoids developed 10 distinct cell classes, each of which mapped to neuron populations in the developing human brain, like astrocytes, retina cells, and cortex cells. Different brain organoids showed different distributions of these 10 neuron cell populations, and these differences were linked to the growth environment that the organoids were in. So, even though the brain organoids weren’t receiving growth signals from a human body, the culture environment could still direct their growth.

Source: “Brains in a dish” move out of science fiction and into the lab | Ars Technica

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