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Biotech

Submission + - T-Cells may help prevent Organ rejection. (garvan.org.au) 1

Klootzak writes: Scientists working at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research have potentially made a discovery that could help prevent Organ rejection in transplant patients.

The Research involved genetically engineering Mice to increase levels of the BAFF (B-Cell activating factor), which is utilised by the immune system to generate B-Cells (which produce antibodies). The Scientists subsequently observed that the Immune System of the Mice with the increased hormone level would alter the bodies response to cells that were not marked "self", by increasing the amount of "T" regulatory cells which are used by the body to suppress T-Cell activity (T-Cells are the body's "Killer" cells). It was also noted that the altered response did not seem to relate to a defect in the T-Cells themselves.

This discovery may lead to improved success rates in organ transplant patients by reducing the need for patients to be given immunosuppressive drugs which can sometimes have toxic affects and also prevent the body from fighting normal pathogens like bacteria and viruses.

Further Technical Detail can be found in the Journal of Immunology.

Space

Submission + - Our universe a giant hologram?

LifesRoadie writes: New Scientist reports;

For the past seven years, this German set-up has been looking for gravitational waves — ripples in space-time thrown off by super-dense astronomical objects such as neutron stars and black holes. GEO600 has not detected any gravitational waves so far, but it might inadvertently have made the most important discovery in physics for half a century.

For many months, the GEO600 team-members had been scratching their heads over inexplicable noise that is plaguing their giant detector. Then, out of the blue, a researcher approached them with an explanation. In fact, he had even predicted the noise before he knew they were detecting it. According to Craig Hogan, a physicist at the Fermilab particle physics lab in Batavia, Illinois, GEO600 has stumbled upon the fundamental limit of space-time — the point where space-time stops behaving like the smooth continuum Einstein described and instead dissolves into "grains", just as a newspaper photograph dissolves into dots as you zoom in. "It looks like GEO600 is being buffeted by the microscopic quantum convulsions of space-time," says Hogan.

Obesa Cantavit
Space

Submission + - NASA: 2012 'space Katrina' may cripple U.S. (revolutionradio.org)

smilestill writes: "A recently released NASA report warns that the U.S. has forgotten the power of the sun, creating a technological society susceptible like never before to massive infrastructure damage from solar storms. "Whether it is terrestrial catastrophes or extreme space weather incidents," writes Baker in a statement released with the report, "the results can be devastating to modern societies that depend in a myriad of ways on advanced technological systems." The study, carried out for NASA by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, doesn't predict some new solar or environmental disaster. Instead, it studies the effects of the sun's normal, cyclical behavior upon modern technology. You can read more here"
Medicine

Submission + - Coffee can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease (theage.com.au) 1

Amenacier writes: "Recent studies by Finnish and Swedish researchers have shown that drinking moderate amounts of coffee can reduce the risk of people getting Alzheimer's disease. The reason for this is as yet unknown, although it has been hypothesised that the high levels of antioxidants found in coffee may play a role in preventing dementia and Alzheimer's. Alternatively, some studies have shown that coffee can protect nerves, which may help prevent Alzheimer's. Other studies have shown that coffee may also help to protect against diabetes, another disease which has been shown to have links to Alzheimer's disease. However, researchers warn against drinking too much coffee, as 3 cups or more may cause hallucinations."
Republicans

Submission + - Illegal searches are now legal in the US (yahoo.com)

WilyCoder writes: "The Supreme Court said Wednesday that evidence obtained after illegal searches or arrests based on simple police mistakes may be used to prosecute criminal defendants. The justices split 5-4 along ideological lines to apply new limits to the court's so-called exclusionary rule, which generally requires evidence to be suppressed if it results from a violation of a suspect's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches or seizure." Is the 4th amendment dead?
Programming

Submission + - Can we create fun games automatically? (blogspot.com) 1

togelius writes: "What makes games fun? Some (e.g. Raph Koster) claim that is fun is learning — fun games are those which are easy to learn, but hard to master, with a long and smooth learning curve. I think we can create fun game rules automatically through measuring their learnability. In a recent experiment we do this using evolutionary computation, and create some simple Pacman-like new games completely without human intervention! Maybe this is the future for game design? (Blog post, paper)."
Social Networks

Personality Testing For Employment 581

Thelasko writes "While I was in college, I had the opportunity to take an elective course in Industrial Psychology. One section of the course covered hiring practices and the validity of 'personality testing' to screen applicants (Google link for non-subscribers). The Wall Street Journal has a long article discoursing on how such tests are used in today's economy. While personality tests may be designed to uncover underlying personality traits such as honesty, critics claim that the tests instead reward cheaters." The article talks mostly about the tests' use in winnowing candidates for retail positions — deciding whom to interview. Anybody encountered them in an IT or more technical context?
The Military

Submission + - US Air Force Seeks Air Force One Replacement

Tyketto writes: The United States Air Force has taken the first public step in the search for a replacement of the Boeing VC-25, also known as Air Force One, saying that it is no longer cost effective to operate and modernize the two 19 year old VC-25s, which are converted Boeing 747-200s. Airbus has already submitted data for the A380, and while Boeing has had the Air Force One contract for nearly 50 years, delays with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Boeing 747-8, and the KC-X Tanker competition may see the USAF look to Europe for its next presidential aircraft.
Communications

Submission + - Development 2.0 Challenge Winners Announced

Katie writes: "Yesterday Columbia University and UNICEF received the first-place award in the 'Development 2.0 Challenge' of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The award was for an innovative system that uses low-end mobile phones to monitor children's health and nutritional status in Malawi. The project is part of UNICEF's new strategy for using mobile and web-based technology to facilitate communication in Africa and around the world. Runner-ups of the Challenge include two other mobile projects: Ushahidi and Click Diagnostics."
Transmeta

Submission + - Largest particle collider conducts successful test (weather.com)

mercutioviz writes: "If the economy doesn't destroy the world, maybe CERN will, as they've conducted their first successful test. From the article: The world's largest particle collider successfully completed its first major test by firing a beam of protons around a 17-mile underground ring Wednesday in what scientists hope is the next great step to understanding the makeup of the universe.
After a series of trial runs, two white dots flashed on a computer screen at 10:36 a.m. indicating that the protons had traveled the full length of the $3.8 billion Large Hadron Collider."

Sci-Fi

Submission + - Synchrotron gets sci-fi writer in residence (www.cbc.ca)

kandela writes: "CBC News is reporting that Nebula and Hugo award winning author Robert J. Sawyer is to become the first ever writer in residence at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron facility (see also their media release).

Sayer will spend two months at the facility, where he is hoping to be inspired by the everyday grind of scientists, "I spent a lot of time visiting science labs over the years, but it's always the VIP tour," he said in an interview Wednesday. "You are in and you are out in a couple of hours, and everyone has shown you all the things they want you to see but none of the day-to-day grind of the work as well. I want to get the flavour of that."

As a scientist who has worked at synchrotron facilities (and occasional sci-fi writer myself (page 4)), I'm excited to see what a professional can do with that environment for inspiration."

Sci-Fi

Submission + - Scientists discover way to levitate tiny objects (msn.com)

mytrip writes: CHICAGO — U.S. scientists have found a way to levitate the very smallest objects using the strange forces of quantum mechanics, and said on Wednesday they might use it to help make tiny nanotechnology machines.

They said they had detected and measured a force that comes into play at the molecular level using certain combinations of molecules that repel one another.

The repulsion can be used to hold molecules aloft, in essence levitating them, creating virtually friction-free parts for tiny devices, the researchers said.

Medicine

Submission + - Is love just a chemical cocktail? (bbc.co.uk)

Hapless Hero writes: A professor of neuroscience at Emory University theorizes that romantic love, despite the myriad ways poets have been describing the most written-about emotion for centuries, is nothing more profound than a series of chemical reactions. From the BBC.co.uk article:

Professor Young argues that love can be explained by a series of neurochemical events that are happening in specific brain areas. If that is true then, he says, one would no longer have to rely on oysters or chocolates to create a loving mood. Instead, it will be possible for scientists to develop aphrodisiacs — chemicals that would make people fall in love with the first person they see. And for those who have fallen in love with someone they shouldn't have fallen in love with, an antidote to unrequited love. There is even the prospect of a genetic "love test" to assess whether two potential love birds are predisposed to a happy married life.

Are we headed towards our very own real-life love potions? Or is there something deeper going on in true love?

Security

Submission + - Trojan Virus Insists "Downloading is wrong.

NoisySplatter writes: "Ernesto, founder of TorrentFreak.com, reports that a new trojan, "Troj/Qhost-AC", has been found distributed on The Pirate Bay.

The virus was disguised as a serial key generator and the offending torrent has since been removed, but the source has not been identified. Troj/Qhost-AC makes changes to the user's hosts file that redirect The Pirate Bay, Suprbay, and Mininova to 127.0.0.1. In addition to making three of the most popular torrent sites inaccessible the virus also plays a sound file saying, "downloading is wrong".

It looks like someone has finally stepped up to the plate to challenge Madonna for the title of "Most Obnoxious Anti-Piracy Stunt". Of course this could just be the software industry's attempt at outdoing the RIAA and MPAA."
Government

Submission + - Aussie Students work used to Scam NASA and US Gov. (theage.com.au)

Klootzak writes: Here's a particularly interesting story I read this morning, relevant to the recent discussions on Slashdot regarding Universities (and others) stealing student ideas...

Work from Assignments and Theses done by students studying at the University of Wollongong were used by a US Corporation to scam funding grants from NASA and the US Government.
Dr Samandi (who worked for the firm) claims he was threatened with deportation unless he played along with the deception.
According to Dr Samandi's statement to the US District Court in Tuson "the depicted system was actually a photograph of a system created by Samandi at the University of Wollongong in Australia and was still located at that institution at the time of the proposal".
The original article from The Age contains more detail.

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