Short Science, December 14, 2014

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 December, 2014, 12:16am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 December, 2014, 12:16am

Keeping online transactions private

A new app allowing users to sell anything to anyone in complete privacy has been launched, opening a new front in the fast-developing war between coders and the law. Bitmarkets, an open-source app available for download at is the latest in a series of technical innovations by digital activists who want to prevent surveillance over commerce and communications. Bitmarkets allows users to advertise products for sale or request items and services they want to buy, and broadcasts these to all connected users. Deals are struck between individuals, with the site taking no commission. Payments are processed privately between traders and customers using bitcoin, meaning no simple money trail can be followed in the event of any criminality. Funds are held in a type of escrow and use built-in bitcoin signature technology to release funds when both parties are satisfied. With no central entity controlling the market, there are no limits on what can be sold. Guardian


Rabbit-sized horned dinosaur fossil found

It was a dinosaur about the length of a crow and the weight of a bunny. But this modest plant-eater that lived about 108 million years ago in southern Montana foreshadowed the monstrous horned dinosaurs that trod North America millions of years later. Scientists on Wednesday announced the discovery of the fossil of the oldest known horned dinosaur species from North America, Aquilops Americanus, that was a close cousin to similar dinosaurs from Asia. Reuters


Tracking breast cancer recurrence

American researchers have discovered a genetic mutation that aided the spread of breast cancer in a patient, an exciting discovery that may provide guidance on how to treat women with the disease in the future. A team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and the Magee-Womens Research Institute used tumour tissue samples collected over the last two decades that allowed researchers to track the spread of the disease in six patients. All six patients had surgery to remove the initial tumour, and were determined to be disease free, only to have the cancer recur and ultimately kill them. Recurrence of breast cancer after surgery occurs in about 30 per cent of patients. Tribune News Service