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Science: Defending Against Harmful Nanotech and Biotech

Posted by Roblimo on Monday March 13, @10:10AM
from the something-wicked-this-way-comes dept.
Maria Williams writes " reported that: This year's recipients of the Lifeboat Foundation Guardian Award are Robert A. Freitas Jr.and Bill Joy, who have both been proposing solutions to the dangers of advanced technology since 2000. Robert A. Freitas, Jr. has pioneered nanomedicine and analysis of self-replicating nanotechnology. He advocates "an immediate international moratorium, if not outright ban, on all artificial life experiments implemented as nonbiological hardware. In this context, 'artificial life' is defined as autonomous foraging replicators, excluding purely biological implementations (already covered by NIH guidelines tacitly accepted worldwide) and also excluding software simulations which are essential preparatory work and should continue." Bill Joy wrote "Why the future doesn't need us" in Wired in 2000 and with Guardian 2005 Award winner Ray Kurzweil, he wrote the editorial "Recipe for Destruction" in the New York Times (reg. required) in which they argued against publishing the recipe for the 1918 influenza virus. In 2006, he helped launch a $200 million fund directed at developing defenses against biological viruses."

Live Demo CD of Microkernel-Based TUD:OS Released

Posted by Roblimo on Monday March 13, @09:45AM
from the yet-another-contender-in-the-os-sweepstakes dept.
Norman Feske writes "The OS Group of Technische Universitšt Dresden (TUD:OS) has released a live demo CD of their custom operating system project. TUD:OS is a microkernel-based operating system targeted at secure and real-time systems. Some highlights of the demo CD include a new approach for securing graphical user interfaces called Nitpicker, multiple L4Linux kernels running at the same time on top of a custom L4 microkernel, a survey on the reuse of device drivers on the TUD:OS platform, native Qt-applications, the DOpE windowing system, games, and a lot more. More information is available at the demo CD website And yes, there are screenshots, too!"

Science: 1001 Islamic Inventions

Posted by Roblimo on Monday March 13, @09:20AM
from the innovations-come-from-everywhere dept.
pev writes "There's a new traveling exhibition in the UK entitled 1001 inventions. It contains some of the most interesting inventions from the past few thousand years. The common theme, however, is that they all came from the Islamic world and not the west. In some cases [the list is] quite surprising. For the lazy, the Independent newspaper in the UK printed their top 20 from the exhibition."

IT: McAfee Anti-Virus Causes Widespread File Damage

Posted by Roblimo on Monday March 13, @09:02AM
from the who-can-you-trust? dept.
AJ Mexico writes, "[Friday] McAfee released an anti-virus update that contained an anomaly in the DAT file that caused many important files to be deleted from affected systems. At my company, tens of thousands of files were deleted from dozens of servers and around 2000 user machines. Affected applications included MS Office, and products from IBM (Rational), GreenHills, MS Office, Ansys, Adobe, Autocad, Hyperion, Win MPM, MS Shared, MapInfo, Macromedia, MySQL, CA, Cold Fusion, ATI, FTP Voyager, Visual Studio, PTC, ADS, FEMAP, STAT, Rational.Apparently the DAT file targeted mostly, if not exclusively, DLLs and EXE files." An anonymous reader added, "Already, the SANS Internet Storm Center received a number of notes from distressed sysadmins reporting thousands of deleted or quarantined files. McAfee in response released advice to restore the files. Users who configured McAfee to delete files are left with using backups (we all got good backups... or?) or System restore."

Microsoft Pauses Work on 'Photoshop Killer'

Posted by Roblimo on Monday March 13, @08:40AM
from the Adobe-breathes-a-brief-sigh-of-relief dept.
daria42 writes "According to this article, Microsoft has paused development work on some parts of the pro graphics application it first released in beta back in June 2005. The problem? It appears the software giant doesn't see the application as a stand-alone product, but more of a companion piece to its Expression product line. Plus Vista needs to be released first."

Science: Google Goes to Mars

Posted by Zonk on Monday March 13, @08:24AM
from the wave-bye-bye-google dept.
Kynn writes "Google has launched Google Mars, based on the work done by Arizona State University's THEMIS researchers. With an AJAX-driven interface based on Google Maps (and Google Moon), you can search the Red Planet in false-color elevation, black-and-white visual, or infrared. Be sure to check out the so-called Face, the landing sites for Spirit and Opportunity, and the Polar Lander."

Unpleasant Surprises for Online Real Estate Buyers

Posted by Zonk on Monday March 13, @06:37AM
from the caveat-emptor dept.
prostoalex writes "Buying expensive items online from the people you've never met without any guarantees on the seller's part might seem a bit risky even for an experienced Internet shopper. The 'hotness' of the real estate investment market apparently influences some cash-heavy investors to look for opportunities online. When the entire transaction is done via a click of the mouse, and the deed for newly bought real estate arrives in the mail, some unsuspecting buyers might discover that a cozy house near the bus line in the middle of a busy street might imply a criminalized neighborhood and proximity to crack house. The New York Times investigates negative experiences of people buying investment real estate online."

Science: The Physics of Friendship

Posted by Zonk on Monday March 13, @04:19AM
from the people-in-three-dimensional-space dept.
Santosh Maharshi wrote to mention a Physorg story about a new way to model social networks. From the article: "Applying a mathematical model to the social dynamics of people presents difficulties not involved with more physical - and perhaps more rational - applications. The many factors that influence an individual's fate to meet an acquaintance and decide to become a friend are impossible to capture, but physicists have used techniques from physical systems to model social networks with near precision. By modeling people's interactions based on how particles bounce off each other in an enclosed area, physicists Marta Gonzalez, Pedro Lind and Hans Herrmann found that the characteristics of social networks emerge 'in a very natural way.'"

Your Rights Online: Bill Could Restrict Freedom of the Press

Posted by Zonk on Monday March 13, @02:33AM
from the who-needs-news? dept.
WerewolfOfVulcan writes "The Washington Post is carrying an article about a disturbing Senate bill that could make it illegal to publicly disclose even the existence of US domestic spying programs (i.e. NSA wiretaps)." An aide to the bill's author assures us it's not aimed at reporters, but the language is ambiguous at best. From the article: "Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said the measure is broader than any existing laws. She said, for example, the language does not specify that the information has to be harmful to national security or classified. 'The bill would make it a crime to tell the American people that the president is breaking the law, and the bill could make it a crime for the newspapers to publish that fact,' said Martin, a civil liberties advocate."

IT: Root Password Readable in Clear Text with Ubuntu

Posted by Zonk on Monday March 13, @12:34AM
from the that's-a-big-oops dept.
BBitmaster writes "An extremely critical bug and security threat was discovered in Ubuntu Breezy Badger 5.10 earlier today by a visitor on the Ubuntu Forums that allows anyone to read the root password simply by opening an installer log file. Apparently the installer fails to clean its log files and leaves them readable to all users. The bug has been fixed, and only affects The 5.10 Breezy Badger release. Ubuntu users, be sure to get the patch right away."

Science: The Twists of History and DNA

Posted by Zonk on Sunday March 12, @08:35PM
from the dna-certainly-is-curved dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times has a piece today talking about the possible connection between genetic evolution and history." From the article: "Trying to explain cultural traits is, of course, a sensitive issue. The descriptions of national character common in the works of 19th-century historians were based on little more than prejudice. Together with unfounded notions of racial superiority they lent support to disastrous policies. But like phrenology, a wrong idea that held a basic truth (the brain's functions are indeed localized), the concept of national character could turn out to be not entirely baseless, at least when applied to societies shaped by specific evolutionary pressures."

Games: Game Previews Just Game Marketing

Posted by Zonk on Sunday March 12, @05:20PM
from the unsurprising-but-sad dept.
Kotaku has a great feature up today written by James Wagner Au, formerly embedded reporter in the world of Second Life. He's now doing his own thing, and he's got a fairly cynical discussion over at the Kotaku site about the real purpose behind game previews in industry rags. From the article: "For the thing of it is, game magazine previews are almost uniformly positive, even for the most undistinguished titles. So it unrolls thus: publisher makes mediocre game; press previews depict mediocre game as being good or at least worth a look; excited gamers read previews, foolishly believe them, start making pre-sale orders of mediocre game; driven by preview press and pre-sale numbers based on that press, retailers stock up on mediocre game; publisher makes money from mediocre game, keeps making more games like it."

Verizon To Use New Tech With Old Cables

Posted by Zonk on Sunday March 12, @04:35PM
from the not-just-for-making-lassos-anymore dept.
Ant wrote to mention a ZDNet article about a new initive to get modern high-speed net access into homes utilizing old coaxial cable lines. Right now Verizon digs up streets and lays out expensive fiber to get homes online, but new tech may let them accomplish that task for much less hassle and expense. From the article: "Later this year, it plans to use new technology from the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) , an industry group that promotes using coaxial cable installed for cable TV to transmit broadband around the home. The organization says that its technology supports speeds up to 270 megabits per second. Because most homes already have coaxial cable installed in several rooms, Verizon can significantly reduce its Fios installation costs by using existing cabling to connect home computers to its broadband service."

Cisco Plans Its Home Invasion

Posted by Zonk on Sunday March 12, @03:21PM
from the my-fridge-talks-to-me-at-night dept.
theodp writes "Despite lots of scars from earlier consumer craziness which included an Internet-connected fridge, Newsweek reports Cisco has set its sights on your living room, including videoconferencing which would let CEO John Chambers watch his beloved Duke basketball with far-away relatives. While recent acquisitions of Linksys and Scientific Atlanta make Cisco the only company that can come in on top of technology that's already inside homes, some skeptics say speaking to the consumer is simply not in Cisco's genes."

Your Rights Online: EFF Pushes Consumers to Claim Rootkit Compensation

Posted by Zonk on Sunday March 12, @02:39PM
from the you're-on-my-list-sony dept.
An anonymous reader writes "'It's time for music fans who bought Sony BMG CDs loaded with harmful XCP or MediaMax copy protection to claim their settlement benefits', says the EFF's Derek Slater in an awareness campaign that is urging those inflicted with one of Sony BMG's rootkit infected CDs to collect what is due to them. The compensation is a DRM-free version of the original CD, $7.50, and album downloads from iTunes, Sony Connect, and others."

Science: Videogames Used to Treat ADHD

Posted by Zonk on Sunday March 12, @01:44PM
from the playing-mario-as-therapy dept.
deeptrace writes "USA today has an article about a videogame based treatment for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). It uses NASA derived technology to measure brainwave activity while playing videogames. Clinical psychologist Henry Owens says 'If they just play videogames on their own, they will zone out. When they play on this system, if they zone out [as detected by brainwave activity], the videogame doesn't respond any more' This is supposed to help the patient increase the ability to focus and concentrate."

IT: Opera 9.0 Fully Passes ACID2 Test

Posted by CmdrTaco on Sunday March 12, @10:06AM
from the both-users-celebrate dept.
Rytis writes "Opera has just become the second browser after Safari to be able to pass completely the famous ACID2 test. Mark Wilton-Jones is running a little article on the history of the Opera and ACID tests. Of course, it includes a screenshot of Opera 9 showing the nice happy face saying "Hello world!"."

Music Based on Fibonacci Sequence and Stock Market

Posted by CmdrTaco on Sunday March 12, @09:34AM
from the research-into-art dept.
Gary Franczyk writes "A band named Emerald Suspension has made an album named Playing the Market that is, as they put it: "structured based on patterns created by the stock market, economic indicators, algorithms". They have some songs based off of the Fibonacci sequence, the misery and consumer confidence indices, and the national debt. "

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