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Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals
sciencehabit writes DNA recovered from a femur bone in Siberia belongs to a man who lived 45,000 years ago, according to a new study. His DNA was so well preserved that scientists were able to sequence his entire genome, making his the oldest complete modern human genome on record. Like present-day Europeans and Asians, the man has about 2% Neanderthal DNA. But his Neanderthal genes are clumped together in long strings, as opposed to chopped up into fragments, indicating that he lived not long after the two groups swapped genetic material. The man likely lived 7000 to 13,000 years after modern humans and Neanderthals mated, dating the mixing to 52,000 to 58,000 years ago, the researchers conclude. That's a much smaller window than the previous best estimate of 37,000 to 86,000 years ago.


Yeah but ...

By ve3oat • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
</header> The same tests on DNA from another man from the same era and locale but from a different Y-haplogroup (and different mt-haplogroup) might show a completely different proportion of genetic mixing and time to most recent mating. Don't draw too many conclusions from a sample of just one.


One sample

By wbr1 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
</header> Does not conclusively prove. Mixing could have occurred at many times and locations. While useful, more data needed.


Title seems a bit racist

By Parafilmus • Score: 3 • Thread

The author's cro-mag bias is showing.

Her title implies that the neandertals in question are not also our ancestors.

A better title might have been "...genome reveals when our Cro-Magnon ancestors had sex with our Neandertal ancestors."


Question for sequencing expert.

By tloh • Score: 3 • Thread

How accurate is it for the media to say a "complete" genome was sequenced? I know a little molecular biology and have been lead to believe that certain types of DNA, (centromeres, telomeres, other such regions with lots of repetitive sequences or "fragile sites") are very hard to sequence reliably. Are these "swept under the rug" in a "complete" sequence? Perhaps a related question, how are non-coding regulatory portions of chromosomes handled in whole genome analysis?

Will Fiber-To-the-Home Create a New Digital Divide?
First time accepted submitter dkatana writes Having some type of fiber or high-speed cable connectivity is normal for many of us, but in most developing countries of the world and many areas of Europe, the US, and other developed countries, access to "super-fast" broadband networks is still a dream. This is creating another "digital divide." Not having the virtually unlimited bandwidth of all-fiber networks means that, for these populations, many activities are simply not possible. For example, broadband provided over all-fiber networks brings education, healthcare, and other social goods into the home through immersive, innovative applications and services that are impossible without it. Alternatives to fiber, such as cable (DOCSYS 3.0), are not enough, and they could be more expensive in the long run. The maximum speed a DOCSYS modem can achieve is 171/122 Mbit/s (using four channels), just a fraction the 273 Gbit/s (per channel) already reached on fiber.

Deutsche Telecom Upgrades T-Mobile 2G Encryption In US
An anonymous reader writes T-Mobile, a major wireless carrier in the U.S. and subsidiary of German Deutsche Telecom, is hardening the encryption on its 2G cellular network in the U.S., reports the Washington Post. According to Cisco, 2G cellular calls still account for 13% of calls in the US and 68% of wireless calls worldwide. T-Mobile's upgrades will bring the encryption of older and inexpensive 2G GSM phone signals in the US up to par with that of more expensive 3G and 4G handsets. Parent company Deutsche Telecom had announced a similar upgrade of its German 2G network after last year's revelations of NSA surveillance. 2G is still important not only for that 13 percent of calls, but because lots of connected devices rely on it, or will, even while the 2G clock is ticking. The "internet of things" focuses on cheap and ubiquitous, and in the U.S. that still means 2G, but lots of things that might be connected that way are ones you'd like to be encrypted.


How's this affect StingRay(tm)s

By cant_get_a_good_nick • Score: 3 • Thread

Obligatory Ars Link. From what I understand, fake towers work by forcing you to downgrade to 2G. Will this obviate that risk?

BitTorrent Performance Test: Sync Is Faster Than Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox
An anonymous reader writes Now that its file synchronization tool has received a few updates, BitTorrent is going on the offensive against cloud-based storage services by showing off just how fast BitTorrent Sync can be. More specifically, the company conducted a test that shows Sync destroys Google Drive, Microsoft's OneDrive, and Dropbox. The company transferred a 1.36 GB MP4 video clip between two Apple MacBook Pros using two Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapters, the Time.gov site as a real-time clock, and the Internet connection at its headquarters (1 Gbps up/down). The timer started when the file transfer was initiated and then stopped once the file was fully synced and downloaded onto the receiving machine. Sync performed 8x faster than Google Drive, 11x faster than OneDrive, and 16x faster than Dropbox.


Open Source alternative to Bittorrent Sync

By gQuigs • Score: 3 • Thread

is https://ind.ie/pulse/ (was SyncThing).


Am I missing the point?

By Arterion • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

They copied some data across a local network. Then they compared it how long it took to transfer the same data to remote servers across their internet connection? 1.36 GB in 41 seconds is 33 MB/s, which is either extremely underwhelming for local network performance (I suspect a magnetic hard drive bottleneck), or extremely impressive for a fat internet pipe, neither having to do with the software in question.


Re:Comparing LAN to WAN Speeds

By AceJohnny • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Actually, while they indeed compared two computers on the same LAN, they also included a computer on the internet. Furthermore, One of Dropbox's touted features is that it's able to detect and use peers on a LAN to avoid the unneecssary round trip through the cloud. I don't know about Google Drive, but judging by the results I suspect they can do the same.

And, more importantly, they compared the other clients on the same setup.

How you got modded "+4 insightful" is beyond me.



By Bengie • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
</header> They are not designed to not use all of your bandwidth, it's that they can't. I've tested DropBox, and it breaks up the file into chunks and uploads them synchronously using REST calls. This meant my connection was constantly bouncing between 0% and 100%, causing bursts of packet-loss because it never gave TCP enough time to level out. BitTorrent on the other hand is great at not hosing my connection. I can run it near 100% and it will back-off as it detects latency going up, preempting the need for packet-loss to signal congestion.


Re:Comparing LAN to WAN Speeds

By MatthiasF • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
</header> Maybe because 3-4 people actually read the Sync blog post where it states, and I quote:

"Our tests were conducted over local LAN – on the same switch – in order to rule out available bandwidth as a limiting factor. It’s important here to note that Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive all rate-limit uploads and do not fully utilize the 1 Gbps bandwidth available (in regards to the office Internet connection, not the LAN switched). We’re confident that a slower Internet connection would yield similar results."

In other words, people agreed with me because they knew what I said to be true.

Not only did they give themselves the preferential treatment of same LAN, they also intentionally adjusted their tests to discount an advantage of a competitor. Again, quoted verbatum from the blog post:

"Dropbox has a deduplication scheme in place – what this meant for our tests is that even though we deleted the video file from our Dropbox folder, traces of it still remained and Dropbox got ~50% faster at transferring the same video file each subsequent time we uploaded it. To correct for this, we needed a new file that wasn’t bit-for-bit identical to the video file we previously transferred. "

Why don't you RTFA.


Michigan Latest State To Ban Direct Tesla Sales
An anonymous reader writes As many expected, Michigan Governor Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that bans Tesla Motors from selling cars directly to buyers online in the state. When asked what Tesla's next step will be, Diarmuid O'Connell, vice president of business development, said it was unclear if the company would file a lawsuit. "We do take at their word the representations from the governor that he supports a robust debate in the upcoming session," O'Connell said. "We've entered an era where you can buy products and services with much greater value than a car by going online."


Re:Tesla wasn't the target, it was China

By starless • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I can't justify two cars, and if I own a car, it has to be able to drive 1000 miles in a day.

If you routinely have to drive so far then an electric wouldn't work for you.
However, if driving long distances is rare then an electric plus occasional rental (e.g. zip) ought to work.


Here you go:

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread





By JustNiz • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

"Mr. Musk is a brilliant man, and Tesla is an innovative company. We can all respect that," says Jim Appleton, the president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automobile Retails. "But he doesnâ(TM)t get what it takes to do business in New Jersey."

Translation: Musk won't pay off all the useless parasites represented by Jim Appleton and all the corrupt government officials like Governor Rick Snyder the required under-the-table money to do business in their state.


So much for a free market

By Lucas123 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

These outdated statues were originally designed to protect little dealerships from the threat of big auto opening their own dealerships if one of their indirect dealers refused to carry their lemons. So dealers under pressure from Detroit were forced to sell the crappy next to the good cars.

Today, prohibiting direct sales protects only the dealerships and harms the consumer. There’s no reason to prohibit a consumer from buying directly from the manufacturer.


interstate commerce?

By markhahn • Score: 3 • Thread

I don't understand why this silliness isn't being slapped down by the feds.

Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?
An anonymous reader writes The better question may be whether it will ever be ready for the road at all? The car has fewer capabilities than most people seem to be aware of. The notion that it will be widely available any time soon is a stretch. From the article: "Noting that the Google car might not be able to handle an unmapped traffic light might sound like a cynical game of 'gotcha.' But MIT roboticist John Leonard says it goes to the heart of why the Google car project is so daunting. 'While the probability of a single driver encountering a newly installed traffic light is very low, the probability of at least one driver encountering one on a given day is very high,' Leonard says. The list of these 'rare' events is practically endless, said Leonard, who does not expect a full self-driving car in his lifetime (he’s 49)."


Re:How hard is it to recognize a stoplight?

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I think the problem is that "good accuracy" is not yet to the point where the driverless car is less likely to run over a pedestrian at an intersection than a car piloted by a human.

I very much disagree with this assessment. Google's SDC has been tested thousands of times with a huge range of pedestrian scenarios. It may not be better than an alert and primed human, but it is almost certainly better than an average human, which is the important criteria. If I was walking across an intersection, I would trust a Google SDC far more than someone late for an appointment, driving a Chevy Tahoe with a cellphone in one hand, a Starbucks latte in the other, and two screaming kids in the back seat.


Cars will be the secondary market

By Bryan Bytehead • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The first vehicle with this technology is not going to be a personal car, or anything that resembles a personal car (like a taxi). It's going to be semi trucks with trailers.

From a conference I sat in on last week (dealing with railroads, not trucks themselves), the turnover rate for truck drivers is over 100% per year. This is considered a plus for the railroads. I say that this is a plus for autonomous trucks. They drive autonomously site to site, and then, a driver takes over to get them parked into the loading dock (most likely), the trucks manage to do this autonomously (maybe, but not the scenario I see winning out, not at the beginning), or the docks are redesigned to make it easy for the autonomous trucks to park them in loading position (what will happen once autonomous trucks are widely used).

Yes, I realize other changes will have to be made. Refueling will have to be done manually in the beginning. That may mean the truck stop hires a person or two, that then takes care of the autonomous trucks, and I'm sure the owners will gladly pay a bit of a premium to get their trucks fueled. At least until the automated fuel pumps for the trucks are in place, at existing or new truck stops.

I have zero doubt that my great grandchildren won't have to learn how to drive a vehicle. I have grandchildren, and yes, I expect that they will have to learn how to drive, the technology is moving that fast.



Humans have rules for driving

By Beeftopia • Score: 3 • Thread

Humans have rules for driving. For example:

-> If you see a traffic light, identify what color it is, then continue, slow down, or stop based on one of those 3 colors.

So the Google Car cannot identify a traffic light? Or if it does, it cannot identify its color? If so, is that a weakness in the computing power? Like, a supercomputer could do these things, but a reasonably sized onboard computer cannot? Or a weakness in "vision" sensors?

-> Paper versus rock in the road: This, I can understand. There are a myriad things in the road. The decision here is, can the car safely pass over it? Inability to determine this is due to vision sensors or limitations in computing power?

I saw an interesting problem the other day: a piece of wood baseboard trim (for a wall) blew off a truck. It seemingly hung suspended in air then came down. I hit my brakes but kept going straight, hoping for the best. It hit the ground, bounced and lay flat. I imagine that might legitimately freak out an autonomous car.

A moron can drive safely, through city traffic, if he's highly motivated, manages to keep his attention on the road and his speed down. I guess a moron is still more capable of navigating the world than a computer.


Another stupid viewpoint from slate that is

By Beck_Neard • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

almost genius in its idiocy. If self-driving cars really start to hit the roads, cities would definitely mandate that all traffic lights show up in maps, and require that traffic lights show up in maps before being installed. This is not a problem of the driving car, it's a problem of trying to imagine future technology in a current context, which is of course always going to lead you astray.

Plus, as other commenters have said, self-driving cars can definitely recognize traffic lights. It's just that right now they aren't quite as good at doing that as humans are. The reason is that traffic lights and construction cones and stuff like that are optimized for human visibility, not robot visibility. It's quite trivial to adapt them for robot visibility as well (perhaps even incorporating stuff like specialized radio signals).

I predict that horseless carriages will never take off because without an animal like a horse with hooves on the ground, you could hit rocks and fall into ditches without knowing it.


Re:How hard is it to recognize a stoplight?

By TheGavster • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I think the real goal would be to have all vehicles self-drive; then they can be coordinated to interlace at intersections, removing the need for stop lights and saving a ton of fuel!

Two Exocomet Families Found Around Baby Star System
astroengine writes Scientists have found two families of comets in the developing Beta Pictoris star system, located about 64 million light-years from Earth, including one group that appears to be remnants of a smashed-up protoplanet. The discovery bolsters our theoretical understanding of the violent processes that led to the formation of Earth and the other terrestrial planets in the solar system. "If you look back at the solar system when it was only 22 million years old, you might have seen phenomena that's a like more like what's happening in Beta Pic," astrophysicist Aki Roberge, with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., told Discovery News.


Wrong distance away

By dunkindave • Score: 3 • Thread
</header> Beta Pictoris is 63.4 light years away, not 64 million light years. 64 million light years would be at the other end of the galaxy and probably not even observable. When the article gets basic facts wrong I stop reading.


Re:Wrong distance away

By Shavano • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

The linked article got it wrong, which is why the summary is wrong. As usual, the linked article is garbage and you have to dig into links you find there to get something close to reality.

Reasonably well written summary here: http://phys.org/news/2014-10-f...
Research here: http://www.nature.com/nature/j...

Undercover Narcotics Sting Op
The chief of Prichard PD gets some hands-on experience pulling drug dealers off the street.
A Grappling Hook Gun!
While digging the man cave unit, Allen & Ton find something that every would-be adventurer would want.
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