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News Article | February 1, 2016
Site: http://motherboard.vice.com/

The wording of the UK's proposed surveillance law is so vague that tech companies have little idea what data it would require them to store, a new government report has said. Companies are also concerned about the cost and feasibility of collecting such data, and are unclear on the law's position regarding encryption. “The Government must urgently review the legislation so that the obligations on the industry are clear and proportionate,” wrote Nicola Blackwood MP, chair of the Science and Technology Committee, in a statement. The committee has been taking evidence from activists, academics, and tech companies around the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, a proposed piece of legislation that will force internet service providers (ISPs) to store all customers' browsing history for 12 months, among other things. This data collection includes the creation of so-called internet connection records, or ICRs. An ICR is, according to Home Secretary Theresa May, “a record of the communications service that a person has used, not a record of every web page they have accessed.” That could include information such as a record of when you visit a specific website or when you use WhatsApp on your phone. But members of the tech industry are not clear on what an ICR actually is, according to the Science and Technology Committee's report. “The Bill was intended to provide clarity to the industry, but the current draft contains very broad and ambiguous definitions of ICRs, which are confusing communications providers,” Blackwood's statement continues. This lack of clarity also covers costs associated with implementing the collection and storage of ICRs, and concerns about how ICRs will be kept out of the hands of hackers. In the report, the committee quotes Matthew Hare of ISP Gigaclear on whether keeping a database of everyone’s browsing activities “secure and safe is always going to be the case.” There is also confusion around the tech industry's obligations around end-to-end encryption. The draft Bill says that tech companies may be obligated to remove “electronic protection” from any communications or data. That sounds a lot like telling companies to decrypt their customers' communication, but this might not always be technically feasible due to the increased roll-out of end-to-end encryption. In this case, it is customers’ devices that hold the keys for decrypting data, and not the companies themselves. “The Government should clarify and state clearly in the Codes of Practice [which will be published alongside the Bill itself] that it will not be seeking unencrypted content in such cases, in line with the way existing legislation is currently applied,” the committee said. "The evidence we heard suggests there are still many unanswered questions about how this legislation will work in the fast evolving world of communications technology,” Blackwood continued. “There are good grounds to believe that without further refinement, there could be many unintended consequences for commerce arising from the current lack of clarity of the terms and scope of the legislation. The final version of the Bill will have to address this if it is [to] provide future-proofed legislation."


News Article
Site: http://www.scientificcomputing.com/rss-feeds/all/rss.xml/all

The world’s largest database for cancer drug discovery has been revolutionized by adding 3-D structures of faulty proteins and maps of cancer’s communication networks, according to Cancer Research UK-funded research published in Nucleic Acid Research on January 4, 2016.1 The updated canSAR database, developed at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, will allow scientists working in the UK and across the globe to design new cancer treatments more effectively. The canSAR database2 was launched in 2011 by researchers in the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) — with the ambitious goal of using Big Data approaches to build a detailed picture of how the majority of known human molecules behave. canSAR has already collated billions of experimental measurements mapping the actions of one million drugs and chemicals on human proteins, and has combined these data with genetic information and results from clinical trials. The new version of canSAR uses artificial intelligence to identify nooks and crannies on the surface of faulty cancer-causing molecules, as a key step in designing new drugs to block them. It also allows scientists to identify communication lines that can be intercepted within tumor cells, opening up potential new approaches for cancer treatment. The growing database now holds the 3-D structures of almost three million cavities on the surface of nearly 110,000 molecules. Cancer Research UK and the ICR together ensure that this resource is free to use for researchers around the world, giving them speedy access to key information. Dr. Bissan Al-Lazikani, team leader in computational biology at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, who led the Cancer Research UK-funded team that developed canSAR, said: “Our database is constantly growing with information and is the largest of its kind — with more than 140,000 users from over 175 countries. And we regularly develop new artificial intelligence technologies that help scientists make predictions and design experiments. Our aim is that cancer scientists will be armed with the data they need to carry out life-saving research into the most exciting drugs of the future. “Scientists need to find all the information there is about a faulty gene or protein to understand whether a new drug might work. These data are vast and scattered, but the canSAR database brings them together and adds value by identifying hidden links and presenting the key information easily.” Professor Paul Workman, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and a Cancer Research UK Life Fellow, said: “The canSAR database is an important part of the overall drive to use Big Data approaches to understand and treat cancer more effectively. canSAR is a massively powerful resource that’s used globally by researchers to gain rapid and easy-to-use access to a huge wealth of integrated knowledge in biology, chemistry and cancer medicine. This latest research has greatly enhanced the power of canSAR to enable scientists to select the best possible targets for future cancer drug discovery and also to help them develop really innovative drugs much more rapidly and effectively than ever before for the benefit of cancer patients worldwide.” Dr. Kat Arney, Cancer Research UK’s science information manager, said: “This database  makes masses of detailed scientific information about cancer available to scientists all over the world, and will speed up crucial advances in drug discovery — ultimately saving more lives. Finding new treatments for cancer can be a long and expensive process, so anything that cuts times and costs will help to bring the next generation of therapies to patients even sooner.”


News Article | March 24, 2016
Site: http://www.techtimes.com/rss/sections/earth.xml

Japan has confirmed the killing of more than 300 whales, 200 of which were pregnant females during its latest whaling mission. The announcement was made as ships from Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research, which were in the Antarctic region since December 2015, returned Thursday from a "scientific" expedition, which the ICR claims is being done in the name of science. The Fisheries Agency said that the four-ship whaling fleet has returned to Shimonoseki in southwestern Japan having achieved the goal of taking 333 minke wales, 103 of which were males and 230 females. Of the mature females captured, 90 percent were pregnant. "The number of pregnant females is consistent with previous hunts, indicating that the breeding situation of minke whales in the Antarctic is healthy," the Fisheries Agency said in a statement. Japan's new quota is significantly fewer compared with its annual kill limit of 935 whales in the past. The reduction appears to have been influenced by criticisms and calls against the country's whaling practices. Eating whale is part of Japan's culture and the country has long claimed that most species of whale are not endangered. Its whaling practices though have long been a subject of criticism and its latest decision to conduct another whaling expedition is a defiance of the International Court of Justice ruling that declared the Antarctic whaling illegal. Many believe that Japan's whaling expeditions are not for scientific purpose. Australian Marine Conservation Society Director Darren Kindleysides said that international experts have examined Japan's so-called scientific research and found it was just a guise for killing whales. It appears, however, that the hunts are neither motivated by a market for whale meat. Although most of the meat from whale hunts ends up on shop shelves, many Japanese no longer eat them. Demand and consumption for whale meat per person has declined to just about 50 grams in 2005 from 2,000 grams in 1967 prompting shops in Japan to reduce the prices of whale meat by half in 2009 so as to move stockpiles. Japan plans to take nearly 4,000 whales for the next 12 years as part of its research program. It has also acknowledged looking forward for the resumption of commercial whaling.


News Article
Site: http://www.rdmag.com/rss-feeds/all/rss.xml/all

The world's largest database for cancer drug discovery has been revolutionized by adding 3-D structures of faulty proteins and maps of cancer's communication networks, according to Cancer Research UK-funded research published in Nucleic Acid Research Monday. The updated canSAR database, developed at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, will allow scientists working in the UK and across the globe to design new cancer treatments more effectively. The canSAR database was launched in 2011 by researchers in the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) - with the ambitious goal of using Big Data approaches to build a detailed picture of how the majority of known human molecules behave. canSAR has already collated billions of experimental measurements mapping the actions of one million drugs and chemicals on human proteins, and has combined these data with genetic information and results from clinical trials. The new version of canSAR uses artificial intelligence to identify nooks and crannies on the surface of faulty cancer-causing molecules, as a key step in designing new drugs to block them. It also allows scientists to identify communication lines that can be intercepted within tumour cells, opening up potential new approaches for cancer treatment. The growing database now holds the 3-D structures of almost three million cavities on the surface of nearly 110,000 molecules. Cancer Research UK and the ICR together ensure that this resource is free to use for researchers around the world, giving them speedy access to key information. Dr Bissan Al-Lazikani, team leader in computational biology at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, who led the Cancer Research UK-funded team that developed canSAR, said: "Our database is constantly growing with information and is the largest of its kind - with more than 140,000 users from over 175 countries. And we regularly develop new artificial intelligence technologies that help scientists make predictions and design experiments. Our aim is that cancer scientists will be armed with the data they need to carry out life-saving research into the most exciting drugs of the future. "Scientists need to find all the information there is about a faulty gene or protein to understand whether a new drug might work. These data are vast and scattered, but the canSAR database brings them together and adds value by identifying hidden links and presenting the key information easily." Professor Paul Workman, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and a Cancer Research UK Life Fellow, said: "The canSAR database is an important part of the overall drive to use Big Data approaches to understand and treat cancer more effectively. canSAR is a massively powerful resource that's used globally by researchers to gain rapid and easy to use access to a huge wealth of integrated knowledge in biology, chemistry and cancer medicine. This latest research has greatly enhanced the power of canSAR to enable scientists to select the best possible targets for future cancer drug discovery and also to help them develop really innovative drugs much more rapidly and effectively than ever before for the benefit of cancer patients worldwide." Dr Kat Arney, Cancer Research UK's science information manager, said: "This database makes masses of detailed scientific information about cancer available to scientists all over the world, and will speed up crucial advances in drug discovery - ultimately saving more lives. Finding new treatments for cancer can be a long and expensive process, so anything that cuts times and costs will help to bring the next generation of therapies to patients even sooner."


« European Parliament begins year-long inquiry into automotive emissions | Main | EPA to develop regulations for methane emissions from existing oil and gas wells; ICR coming in April » The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory is partnering with Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) to support an ongoing effort by DOE to explore fuels and engines holistically in search of greater efficiency. The collaboration between Argonne and MPC is designed to support the “Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines” initiative, which was recently launched jointly by the DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office and Bioenergy Technologies Office. (Earlier post.) The new collaboration leverages MPC’s and Argonne’s complementary capabilities in fuel design, analysis and production, as well as advanced engine combustion and emissions formation. By advancing on both fronts simultaneously, the researchers hope to make substantial gains that would not be possible by working on engines and fuels individually. Optima is targeting a reduction in per-vehicle petroleum consumption by 30% versus the 2030 business as usual. This is an exciting area of exploration that we think can yield significant benefits in overall efficiency. Co-optimization of fuels and engines has been identified as an area that is ripe for improvement. —Thomas Wallner, Manager for Fuels, Engine and Aftertreatment Research at Argonne’s Center for Transportation Research MPC and Argonne will collaborate on research projects, as well as exchanging knowledge and expertise in fuel characterization and fuel characterization equipment. The collaborators will also share information on efficiency, performance and emissions assessments of advanced combustion concepts using current and potential future fuels. This agreement builds on existing joint efforts, including MPC’s support of Argonne’s experimental research activities, by supplying samples of test fuel and refinery streams for research and testing at Argonne. MPC also provided Argonne’s Center for Transportation Research with a cooperative fuel research (CFR) engine, a test platform extensively used throughout the industry for testing related to the performance of fuels for internal combustion engines. MPC has been operating CFR engines for decades and has developed extensive know-how and expertise related to setup, test methods and potential improvements to this widely used testing tool. Argonne’s engineers will work alongside MPC experts to ensure efficient knowledge transfer and comprehensive assessment of potential improvements to the test setup and methods. Acknowledging the significant role that internal combustion engines are likely to play in the area of road transport for the foreseeable future, Argonne and MPC will use this project to advance the state-of-the-art of research in the area fuel-engine interactions and jointly disseminate research findings in the form of peer-reviewed publications, presentations and reports. Marathon Petroleum Corporation is the nation’s fourth-largest refiner, with a crude oil refining capacity of approximately 1.8 million barrels per calendar day in its seven-refinery system. Marathon brand gasoline is sold through approximately 5,600 independently owned retail outlets across 19 states. In addition, Speedway LLC, an MPC subsidiary, owns and operates the nation’s second largest convenience store chain, with approximately 2,770 convenience stores in 22 states.

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