An anonymous reader writes "The prelimbic region of the prefrontal cortex in the human brain is thought to play a key role in drug addiction, and researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse wanted to see if manipulating cells there had a positive or negative impact on that addiction. They got some rats addicted to cocaine but not before loading them up with light sensitive proteins called rhodopsins that were placed in their prefrontal cortex, attaching to the neurons there. By shining a tuned laser light on to the prefrontal cortex, it was possible to activate and deactivate the cells. By turning them on with the laser, the addictive behavior of the rats was removed. Turning them off, even in non-addicted rats, saw the addictive behavior return or introduced."
First time accepted submitter mebates writes "Two newly discovered protists, found in the guts of termites, were named after monstrous cosmic entities featured in Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos as an ode to the sometimes strange and fascinating world of the microbe. From the article: 'The single-cell protists, Cthulhu macrofasciculumque and Cthylla microfasciculumque, help termites digest wood. The researchers decided to name them after monstrous cosmic entities featured in Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos as an ode to the sometimes strange and fascinating world of the microbe. 'When we first saw them under the microscope they had this unique motion, it looked almost like an octopus swimming,' says UBC researcher Erick James, lead author of the paper describing the new protists, published in the online journal PLoS ONE.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Linux developers are now working on open-source 3D support for NVIDIA's Tegra in cooperation with NVIDIA and months after the company published open-source 2D driver code. There are early patches for the Linux kernel along with a Gallium3D driver. The Tegra Gallium3D driver isn't too far along yet but is enough to run Wayland with Weston."
First time accepted submitter gkndivebum writes "The latest casualty from the ill-fated acquisition of British company Autonomy by HP appears to be Raymond Lane, who was recently re-elected by only 58.8% of shareholders. Mr. Lane will remain on the board with shareholder Ralph Whitworth as interim chairman. It will be interesting to see where the 'evolution' of the board as articulated by Mr. Whitworth leads."
RougeFemme points out this story at the Times about software that can be used to grade student essays and offer almost instant feedback. "Imagine taking a college exam, and, instead of handing in a blue book and getting a grade from a professor a few weeks later, clicking the 'send' button when you are done and receiving a grade back instantly, your essay scored by a software program. And then, instead of being done with that exam, imagine that the system would immediately let you rewrite the test to try to improve your grade. EdX, the nonprofit enterprise founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to offer courses on the Internet, has just introduced such a system and will make its automated software available free on the Web to any institution that wants to use it. The software uses artificial intelligence to grade student essays and short written answers, freeing professors for other tasks."
First time accepted submitter njnnja writes "With tensions on the Korean peninsula continuing to rise, Anonymous hacked into the government-run North Korean Flickr site to post a 'wanted' poster for NK leader Kim Jong Un. It says that he is wanted for 'threatening world peace' and 'wasting money while his people starve to death.' They also hacked into NK's Twitter account and posted a link to the Flickr page."
An anonymous reader writes "Scribd has revealed it was hacked earlier this week, in what it says appears to have been 'a deliberate attempt to access the email addresses and passwords of registered Scribd users.' The good news is that the company believes less than 1 percent of its users were potentially compromised in the attack, and it has emailed each and every one of them asking them to reset their password. The company has set up a Web form for users to check if they are amongst those affected. We recommend that regardless of what the Web form says, and even if you don't use your Scribd account regularly, you should probably change your password."
New submitter AndyKrish links to the BBC's report that just two days after penning a "leave of presence" in which he says "I am not going away," Roger Ebert — "arguably the world's most famous film critic" — has died of cancer. Ebert was a long-time film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, as well as (most famously along with Gene Siskel) for a string of television shows. In the course of dealing with persistent cancer that affected his thyroid and jaw, and which took away his voice, Ebert became a prolific blogger on movies as well as other topics, and drew on cutting edge technology to regain the power of speech.
First time accepted submitter Patch86 writes "The team behind the Android-based OUYA games console have announced last week that they have begun shipping their first consoles. As the console originated as a Kickstarter project the first consoles will be shipped to backers; the console is due to be released for general sale for the 4th of June with a $99 price tag. As the BBC notes, this is the first of a series of major new entrants into the games console market, with others on the horizon including fellow Kickstarter Android project Gamestick, Nvidia's CES surprise Project Shield, and of course Valve's 'Steambox.'"
An anonymous reader writes "We frequently have guests in our home who ask to use our computer for various reasons such as checking their email or showing us websites. We are happy to oblige, but the problem is many of these guests have high risk computing habits and have more than once infested one of our computers with malware, despite having antivirus and the usual computer security precautions. We have tried using a Linux boot CD but usually get funny looks or confused users. We've thought about buying an iPad for guests to use, but decided it wasn't right to knowingly let others use a computing platform that may have been compromised. What tips do you have to overcome this problem, technologically or otherwise?"
According to an report at CNET, "Encryption used in Apple's iMessage chat service has stymied attempts by federal drug enforcement agents to eavesdrop on suspects' conversations, an internal government document reveals. An internal Drug Enforcement Administration document seen by CNET discusses a February 2013 criminal investigation and warns that because of the use of encryption, 'it is impossible to intercept iMessages between two Apple devices' even with a court order approved by a federal judge." The article goes on to talk about ways in which the U.S. government is pressuring companies to leave peepholes for law enforcement in just such apps, and provides some insight into why the proprietary iMessage is (but might not always be) a problem for eavesdroppers, even ones with badges. Adds reader adeelarshad82, "It turns out that encryption is only half of the problem while the real issue lies in the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act which was passed in 1994.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Facebook has announced "Home" for Android smartphones (and, eventually, tablets). It's something less than a full Facebook mobile operating system, as some expected before the company's presentation, and more like an app update. Facebook also announced the Facebook Home Program, which will work with several carriers and device makers to pre-load Home onto select devices, including ones built by Samsung, Sony, ZTE, and Lenovo. The first "Home" phone will be the HTC First, a $99.99 phone that will ship April 12 from AT&T. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told analysts and journalists assembled for his presentation that Home was designed to reorient the phone and the Facebook mobile experience around people, not apps: "On one level, Home is the next mobile version of Facebook. On the other, it's a change in the relationship with the next generation of computing devices." Home essentially is a custom start screen for your Android phone, replacing the home screen with one centered on Facebook. While users can access other Android apps on the phone, the focus is on those apps that run on the Facebook platform. Home can also be enabled as a lock screen." Reader RougeFemme points out that France Telecom/Orange will be the first carrier in Europe.
Once upon a time, people shot a kind of video called "film." And one of the most popular film camera makers was Bolex. Their 16 mm and Super 16 mm cameras were the favored tools for indie film makers, low budget TV news operations, and film schools. Sure, there were 8mm and Super 8, but they didn't give you the stunning clarity you could get with 16 mm. Besides that, carrying a Bolex was kind of like telling everyone, "Look at me! I'm a professional moviemaker!" And with the cost of processing 16 mm film back in the late 1960s and early 1970s you pretty much had to be a pro -- or at least have access to a TV station or college film lab if you wanted to do any serious movie experimentation. Obviously, times have changed. You can now buy a fairly serious camcorder at a consumer-level price. Or a DSLR that can do video -- and do depth of field tricks hardly any camcorder can match. Even so, if you are a film junkie, you just might want a Digital Bolex. Thanks to a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, it looks like you might be able to buy one before long. Too bad you can't still get Kodachrome film, which was the perfect film for your Bolex. Ah, well. RAW format digital is more or less the 21st Century equivalent of Kodachrome, so it will have to do.
coondoggie writes "There is no humor in an airport. It's a fact. And while most travelers business or otherwise know that, there are a few out there who haven't gotten the message or perhaps the choose to ignore it. Either way the 'People Say the Darndest Things' or 'What Not to Say at an Airport' section has become one of the more popular destinations on the TSA Blog site." The collected wit and wisdom of airline passengers linked unfortunately does not distinguish between stupidity (claiming that you have a bomb to get through security faster) and seemingly sensible questions that get at the heart of the problems with the current and long-running engagement of Homeland Security Theater. (It's also hard to know whether some passengers might have innocently thought their tone, facial expression, body language or context would have served as notice that they weren't actually threatening murder.)