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Science

Does Journal Peer Review Miss Best and Brightest? 2

Posted by Soulskill
from the selecting-for-mediocrity dept.
sciencehabit writes: A study published today indicates that the scientific peer review system does a reasonable job of predicting the eventual interest in most papers, but it may fail when it comes to identifying really game-changing research. Papers that were accepted outright by one of the three elite journals tended to garner more citations than papers that were rejected and then published elsewhere (abstract). And papers that were rejected went on to receive fewer citations than papers that were approved by an editor. But there is a serious chink in the armor: All 14 of the most highly cited papers in the study were rejected by the three elite journals, and 12 of those were bounced before they could reach peer review. The finding suggests that unconventional research that falls outside the established lines of thought may be more prone to rejection from top journals.
DRM

An Automated Cat Litter Box With DRM 18

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-that's-what-the-world-needed dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Jorge Lopez had always wanted an automatic cat litter box, and finally found one called the CatGenie, a fully automated self-washing litter box connected to water, electricity and the sewer that cleans itself with water and soap. "It's the Rolls Royce of cat litter boxes, a hefty device that scoops, cleans, and disposes of the waste all on it's own. It's completely automated, even senses when a cat poops and cleans up afterwards." But there's trouble in paradise. "Life with the CatGenie was great, but not quite perfect," writes Lopez, after discovering that CatGenie uses a smart cartridge that is only available from the manufacturer. "I found that the "Smart" in SmartCartridge is that it has an RFID chip inside of it to keep track of how much solution it has, and once it runs out, well, you can't refill. I honestly did not believe this and tore one of the cartridges apart, and there it was, looking back at me, a tiny chip holding up it's little metal finger." Fortunately there are some amazing people helping the CatGenie community who have released products like the custom firmware CatGenious and CartridgeGenius, which allows you to use whatever solution you want. "The cost savings is great, but isn't the biggest driver for me, it's mainly the principle that I don't own the device I paid for, and I'm really tired of having cat litter everything in my home."
Patents

Uber Pushing For Patent On Surge Pricing 43

Posted by Soulskill
from the efficiently-separating-you-from-your-money dept.
mpicpp sends news that Uber is renewing its push for a patent on "surge pricing," the practice of increasing rider fees when many people are trying to find transportation. The system measures supply (Uber drivers) and demand (passengers hailing rides with smartphones), and prices fares accordingly. It’s one of at least 13 U.S. patent applications filed by Uber or its founders to give it an edge over potential rivals ahead of a potential initial public offering. So far, Uber hasn’t had any luck. Ten applications were initially rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “obviousness” or for covering something not eligible for protection.
Medicine

Meet the Doctor Trying To Use the Blood of Ebola Survivors To Create a Cure 17

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-in-the-blood dept.
An anonymous reader points out this article about Dr. James Crowe, who is trying to use the blood of Ebola survivors to develop a cure. "For months, Vanderbilt University researcher Dr. James Crowe has been desperately seeking access to the blood of U.S. Ebola survivors, hoping to extract the proteins that helped them overcome the deadly virus for use in new, potent drugs. His efforts finally paid off in mid-November with a donation from Dr. Rick Sacra, a University of Massachusetts physician who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia. The donation puts Crowe at the forefront of a new model for fighting the virus, now responsible for the worst known outbreak in West Africa that has killed nearly 7,000 people. Crowe is working with privately-held drugmaker Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc, which he said will manufacture the antibodies for further testing under a National Institutes of Health grant. Mapp is currently testing its own drug ZMapp, a cocktail of three antibodies that has shown promise in treating a handful of Ebola patients."
Christmas Cheer

Goodbye, Alek's Internet-Controlled Christmas Lights for Celiac Research 12

Posted by timothy
from the ho-ho-ho-and-a-merry-old-hoax-except-it's-real-these-days dept.
Alek Komarnitsky, Colorado (and the Internet's) own Clark Griswold, has decided to retire as his own props master, programmer, best boy, and effects specialist. After 10 years of increasingly elaborate set-ups, Alek's decided to go out with a bang, with his largest-yet rooftop display of open-source powered, remotely controllable, internet-connected Christmas lights. (This year, he even matches the fictional Griswold's 25,000 lights, but truth tops fiction, with live webcams, animated props, and more.) We talked with Alek last year, too; but now he's got a full decade's worth of reminiscing about his jest-made-real hobby as That Guy With the Lights, and some advice for anyone who'd like to take on a project like this.

Alek has managed to stay on good terms with his neighbors, despite the car and foot traffic that his display has drawn, and kept himself from serious harm despite a complex of minor, overlapping risks including ladders, squirrels, a fair amount of electricity and (the most dangerous, he says) wind. The lights are what the world sees, but the video capture and distribution to the vast online audience is an equal part of the work. Alek has learned a lot along the way about automation, logistics, wireless networking, and the importance of load balancing. It's always possible the lights will return in some form, or that someone will take up the mantle as Blinkenlights master, but this tail end of 2014 (and the first day of 2015) is your last good chance to tune in and help toggle some of those lights. (The display operates from 1700-2200 Mountain time.) Alternate Video Link Update: 12/22 22:50 GMT by T : Note: Alek talks about the last year here.
Open Source

Using Your Open-Source Contributions To Land a Full-Time Job 27

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-hired dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes So you've worked on an open-source project, and you want to leverage that experience to move your career forward. In theory, there's no reason an employer should shun your experience, just because you did the project from home on your own time. But how can you actually leverage that project contribution into a full-time gig (assuming you want one, of course)? Developer Jeff Cogswell offers some tips: First, make sure that any project you present on your resume is a good one; pointy-haired bosses have a nasty habit of attribute the less-than-stellar elements of a project to you, even if you weren't responsible for them. Second, be prepped to talk about deadlines, bug reports and fixes just as if the project were something you'd done for a job instead of just the pleasure of contributing to something cool. Those are just a few of the ways to use open source to your advantage, but others abound.
Google

Google Unveils New Self-Driving Car Prototype 56

Posted by samzenpus
from the drive-off-into-the-sunset dept.
colinneagle writes In May, Google released a teaser image showing a mock-up of the autonomous vehicle it planned to build. Today, the company followed up with an image showing the finished product. Google says the first edition of its self-made self-driving car will feature "temporary manual controls as needed while we continue to test and learn." When Google introduced its prototype back in May, the company claimed its self-driving cars "won't have a steering wheel, accelerator pad, or brake pedal because they don't need them." Apparently, it still has yet to reach that point. The development is an important step forward for Google's driverless car efforts, which have been deemed impractical by many of late. Last year, the Financial Times reported that Google had difficulty finding manufacturing partners that would build vehicles featuring the self-driving capabilities used in its Prius. In that light, maybe Google's willingness to build its own hardware just to get the technology on the road means that its self-driving car team knows something the rest of the industry doesn't."
Games

Minecraft Creator Notch's $70 Million Mansion Recreated In Minecraft 120

Posted by samzenpus
from the almost-like-the-real-thing dept.
theodp writes In case you've fallen behind on your TMZ reading, Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson used his Microsoft money to outbid Beyonce and Jay Z for the most expensive mansion in Beverly Hills. Now, the Minecraft mogul's new $70 million mega-mansion has been recreated inside the game that made him rich.
United States

North Korean Internet Is Down 240

Posted by samzenpus
from the right-back-at-you dept.
First time accepted submitter opentunings writes "Engadget and many others are reporting that North Korea's external Internet access is down. No information yet regrading whether anyone's taking responsibility. From the NYT: "Doug Madory, the director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research, an Internet performance management company, said that North Korean Internet access first became unstable late Friday. The situation worsened over the weekend, and by Monday, North Korea’s Internet was completely offline. 'Their networks are under duress,' Mr. Madory said. 'This is consistent with a DDoS attack on their routers,' he said, referring to a distributed denial of service attack, in which attackers flood a network with traffic until it collapses under the load."
Biotech

How Venture Capitalist Peter Thiel Plans To Live 120 Years 260

Posted by samzenpus
from the going-for-a-dip-in-the-lazarus-pit dept.
HughPickens.com writes Bloomberg News reports that venture capitalist and paypal co-founder Peter Thiel has a plan to reach 120 years of age. His secret — taking human growth hormone (HGH) every day, a special Paleo diet, and a cure for cancer within ten years. "[HGH] helps maintain muscle mass, so you're much less likely to get bone injuries, arthritis," says Thiel. "There's always a worry that it increases your cancer risk but — I'm hopeful that we'll get cancer cured in the next decade." Human growth hormone also known as somatotropin or somatropin, is a peptide hormone that stimulates growth, cell reproduction and regeneration in humans and other animals. Thiel says he also follows a Paleo diet, doesn't eat sugar, drinks red wine and runs regularly. The Paleolithic diet, also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a modern nutritional diet designed to emulate, insofar as possible using modern foods, the diet of wild plants and animals eaten by humans during the Paleolithic era. Thiel's Founders Fund is also investing in a number of biotechnology companies to extend human lifespans, including Stem CentRx Inc., which uses stem cell technology for cancer therapy. With the 70 plus years remaining him and inspired by "Atlas Shrugged," Thiel also plans to launch a floating sovereign nation in international waters, freeing him and like-minded thinkers to live by libertarian ideals with no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.
Piracy

Pirate Bay Domain Back Online 28

Posted by samzenpus
from the we're-back dept.
Zanadou writes On December 9 The Pirate Bay was raided but despite the rise of various TPB clones and rumors of reincarnations, thepiratebay.se domain remained inaccessible, until today. This morning the Pirate Bay's nameservers were updated to ones controlled by their domain name registrar binero.se . A few minutes later came another big change when The Pirate Bay's main domain started pointing to a new IP-address (178.175.135.122) that is connected to a server hosted in Moldova. So far there is not much to see, just a background video of a waving pirate flag (taken from Isohunt.to) and a counter displaying the time elapsed since the December 9 raid. However, the "AES string" looks promising.
The Courts

Argentine Court Rules Orangutan Is a "Non-Human Person" 139

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-wanna-be-like-you-hoo-hoo dept.
First time accepted submitter Andrio writes In an unprecedented decision, an Argentine court has ruled that the Sumatran orangutan 'Sandra', who has spent 20 years at the zoo in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires, should be recognized as a person with a right to freedom. The ruling, signed by the judges unanimously, would see Sandra freed from captivity and transferred to a nature sanctuary in Brazil after a court recognized the primate as a "non-human person" which has some basic human rights. The Buenos Aires zoo has 10 working days to seek an appeal." A similar case involving chimpanzees failed to provide "non-human person" status here in the U.S. earlier this month.
Beer

Problem Solver Beer Tells How Much To Drink To Boost Your Creativity 59

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-know-I-could-do-this-if-I-could-just-have-a-beer dept.
mrspoonsi writes When you've been stuck on a problem or that creative spark just won't come, the chances are you've turned to a cup of coffee to get things moving. A quick java infusion can certainly help, but studies also suggest that alcohol can also have a positive impact on your creative cognition. University of Illinois Professor Jennifer Wiley determined that a person's "creative peak" comes when their blood alcohol level reaches 0.075, lowering their ability to overthink during a task. Medical Daily reports that marketing agency CP+B Copenhagen and Danish brewery Rocket Brewing wanted to help drinkers reach their imaginative prime, so they decided to create their own beer to do just that. The result is The Problem Solver. It's a 7.1 percent craft IPA that its makers say offers a "refined bitterness with a refreshing finish." To ensure you reach the optimum creative level, the bottle includes a scale, which determines how much of the beer you need to drink based on your body weight. The agency does offer a word of warning though: "Enjoying the right amount will enhance your creative thinking. Drinking more will probably do exactly the opposite."
Transportation

TSA Has Record-Breaking Haul In 2014: Guns, Cannons, and Swords 229

Posted by samzenpus
from the return-you-rifle-to-a-upright-and-locked-position dept.
An anonymous reader writes The TSA has gathered an impressive pile of confiscated weapons this year. In early November the agency had already discovered 1,855 firearms at checkpoints. In addition to guns, they've also collected machetes, hatchets, swords, giant scissors, brass knuckles, cannonballs, bear repellent and, this past October, an unloaded cannon. "Maybe someone has a lucky inert grenade they brought back from some war, or a nice cane was given to them and they forgot that the thing is actually a sword," said Jeff Price, author of Practical Aviation Security, "It's the people that are carrying stuff like chainsaws that make me wonder."
Earth

Hot Springs At Yellowstone Changed Their Color Due To Tourist Activity 33

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-colors dept.
An anonymous reader writes Researchers say that the different colors of the hot springs in Yellowstone National Park are caused by human contamination. From the article: "Researchers at Montana State University and Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany have created a simple mathematical model based on optical measurements that explains the stunning colors of Yellowstone National Park's hot springs and can visually recreate how they appeared years ago, before decades of tourists contaminated the pools with make-a-wish coins and other detritus. If Yellowstone National Park is a geothermal wonderland, Grand Prismatic Spring and its neighbors are the ebullient envoys, steaming in front of the camera and gracing the Internet with their ethereal beauty. While the basic physical phenomena that render these colorful delights have long been scientifically understood—they arise because of a complicated interplay of underwater vents and lawns of bacteria—no mathematical model existed that showed empirically how the physical and chemical variables of a pool relate to their optical factors and coalesce in the unique, stunning fashion that they do."

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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