Who will wake up from a coma? Electrical jolts in the brain offer hints

Who will wake up from a coma? Electrical jolts in the brain offer hints

Enlarge / Healthcare worker sets up an EEG on an ICU patient. (credit: Getty | BSIP)

Researchers may have found a way to detect inklings of consciousness in comatose and vegetative patients just days after they experience a brain injury—and it appears the method may help predict which patients will rouse and recover in the months afterward.

A team of researchers in New York recorded electrical activity in the brains of unresponsive patients while giving them simple spoken commands, such as “keep opening and closing your right hand” or “wiggle your toes.” Of 104 unresponsive patients tested, 16 (15%) showed some activity. Of those 16 patients, eight of them (50%) went on to be able to follow spoken commands by the time they left the hospital. A year later, seven of them (44%) were able to function independently for at least eight hours at a time.

In contrast, only

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Easy-to-make thermal chameleon fades into the background

Easy-to-make thermal chameleon fades into the background

Enlarge / This story isn’t really about this kind of chameleon. Sorry. (credit: Renee Grayson / Flickr)

Chameleons, unlike bowties, are cool. The chameleon is most famous for its ability to blend with its surroundings (I’m just as impressed with the acrobatic tongue), something we’d often like to do ourselves. Doing something similar with heat would be exciting. Imagine a camouflage suit that blended in with its background in both the visible and the infrared.

Three researchers suggest they’ve done exactly that in a recent paper on a thermal cloaking demonstration. Unfortunately, their cloak doesn’t so much blend with the surroundings as become completely transparent. This is still remarkable, and, at least when cloaking in two dimensions, it’s surprisingly simple to make.

Hiding in plain sight

Before we get to how the cloak works, let me take you through what the thermal chameleon is trying to hide. Let’s

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With Darkness on the Edge of Town, the Stranger Things expanded universe begins

With Darkness on the Edge of Town, the Stranger Things expanded universe begins

Back in the summer of 2016, Netflix wasn’t Netflix, TV Industry Conquerer™ just yet. Long before Russian Doll, The Crown, or choose-your-own adventure bonanzas, Netflix made a bunch of “eh” originals following their initial Orange Is The New Black/House of Cards splash. But then, the company’s “green light all the things” strategy struck unexpected gold with an ’80s adventure homage set in fictitious, rural Indiana. Suddenly, pulsing vintage synths could be heard everywhere.

A few years can really make all the difference. Entering 2019, maybe only Game of Thronesfinal season had more hype within the TV landscape than Stranger Things’ two-years-in-the-making third season (and we all know how things went in Westeros). And new-school Netflix has leveraged this anticipation in a very old school way: tie-in novels. A hallmark of beloved franchises from 

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Taser maker says it won’t use facial recognition in bodycams

Taser maker says it won’t use facial recognition in bodycams

Enlarge / A body camera from Taser is seen during a press conference at City Hall September 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. (credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / Getty Images News)

Axon, creator of the Taser, did something unusual for a technology company last year. The Arizona corporation convened an ethics board of external experts to offer guidance on potential downsides of its technology.

Thursday, that group published a report recommending that the company not deploy facial recognition technology on its body cameras, widely used by US police departments. The report said the technology was too unreliable and could exacerbate existing inequities in policing, for example by penalizing black or LBGTQ communities.

Axon’s CEO and founder Rick Smith agrees. “This recommendation is quite reasonable,” he says in an interview. “Without this ethics board we may have moved forward before we really understood what could go wrong with this technology.”

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In-the-wild Mac malware kept busy in June—here’s a rundown

In-the-wild Mac malware kept busy in June—here’s a rundown

June was a busy month for Mac malware with the active circulation of at least six threats, several of which were able to bypass security protections Apple has built into modern versions of its macOS.

The latest discovery was published Friday by Mac antivirus provider Intego, which disclosed malware dubbed OSX/CrescentCore that’s available through Google search results and other mainstream channels. It masquerades as an updater or installer for Adobe’s Flash media player, but it’s in fact just a persistent means for its operators to install malicious Safari extensions, rogue disk cleaners, and potentially other unwanted software.

“The team at Intego has observed OSX/CrescentCore in the wild being distributed via numerous sites,” Intego’s Joshua Long wrote of two separate versions of the malware his company has found. “Mac users should beware that they may encounter it, even via seemingly innocuous sources such as Google search results.”

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Here are All of the Games on Stadia

Google: ISP Data Caps Not Seen as Challenge for Stadia


Phil Harrison, vice president and general manager of Google, was recently asked how data caps could affect Stadia gamers. Quite matter of factly, Harrison stated that data caps aren’t seen as a challenge for the service, because ISPs have a strong history of, “staying ahead of consumer trend.”

The question is valid, though. With Stadia offering the potential of streaming 4K games at 60fps, a players ISP-controlled data cap could be hit quite easily. However, Harrison says, “If you look at the history of data caps in those small number of markets — and it’s actually a relatively small number of markets that have [data caps] — the trend over time, when music streaming and download became popular, especially in the early days when it was not necessarily legitimate, data caps moved up. Then with the evolution of TV and film streaming, data caps moved up, and we expect that … Read the rest

Florida LAN: Someone clicks link, again, giving Key Biscayne ransomware

Florida LAN: Someone clicks link, again, giving Key Biscayne ransomware

Enlarge / Key Biscayne, Florida, is the third Florida local government to get hit by ransomware within a month. (credit: Alicia Vera/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A third Florida local government has reported that it has been struck by ransomware. Key Biscayne joins Lake City as a victim of Ryuk, a form of ransomware first spotted in August of 2018. Ryuk was the final piece of what has been labeled the “Triple Threat’ attack, the other two threats being Emotet and Trickbot malware.

While the attack on Riviera Beach, Florida, revealed last week was similar—all three cases start with a city employee clicking on an attachment in email and unleashing malware—it’s not certain if that attack was also based on Ryuk.

Ryuk is targeted ransomware, originally linked to the North Korean “Lazarus” threat group, but now it appears to have been adopted by non-state criminal ransomware operators as well.

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New Hobbs and Shaw trailer stars a McLaren 720S and Hobbs’ mom

New Hobbs and Shaw trailer stars a McLaren 720S and Hobbs’ mom

When it comes to action movies, I have a few rules of thumb—one of them concerns the Rock (Dwayne Johnson, not the movie). If he’s in a film, odds are high it’ll be good even if the starting material is Baywatch or Jumanji. I have a similar rule about Jason Statham, who in recent years has embraced a similar willingness to engage in a bit of tongue-in-cheek (though 2015’s Spy is worth watching solely to see him chew every bit of scenery in sight). Obviously, all this means the summer movie I’m looking forward to above all others is Hobbs and Shaw, the latest installment from the Fast and Furious universe starring both Johnson and Statham. That anticipation has only increased with the release of a third and final trailer on Friday.

Much of the footage in this new trailer has been seen before, but it feels quite

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Friday Phone Deals: Pixel 2 XL for $10/mo, BOGO Galaxy S10

Friday Phone Deals: Pixel 2 XL for $10/mo, BOGO Galaxy S10


A Pixel 2 XL at $10/mo is this week’s best smartphone deal.

For this week’s round-up of the best smartphone deals, we’ve got a big price drop on the Pixel 2 XL from Verizon, a couple of solid BOGO deals on the Galaxy S10 family, and a sweetened Pixel 3a package from Best Buy.

Verizon Pixel 2 XL is $10/mo

The Pixel 2 XL might be over a year old at this point, but it’s still a solid phone with an incredible camera that will get a ton of software updates. It’s also the favorite Google phone of DL readers (our review).

At Verizon, you can buy one for just $10/mo, which is a discount of $609. The full price is $849.99, but Verizon will give you bill credits for 24 months to bring the payment down to $10/mo. No trade-ins are required.

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“We need to up our game”—DHS cybersecurity director on Iran and ransomware

“We need to up our game”—DHS cybersecurity director on Iran and ransomware

Enlarge / Christopher Krebs, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, at a recent Senate hearing. Krebs issued a warning earlier this week on a surge in Iranian state-sponsored “malicious cyber activity.” (credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)

Last weekend, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Christopher Krebs issued a statement warning about elevated malicious Internet activity from state-sponsored actors in Iran. The notice corresponded to new warnings from private security research firms, including Recorded Future, of a surge in preparatory activity over the past three months by APT33, a threat group connected to the Iranian government and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC, Iran’s military).

In an interview with Ars, Krebs explained that the reason for the warning went beyond that “regional activity”—attacks on Saudi Arabian companies and other organizations in the Persian Gulf and South Asia.

“Over the course of the

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