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The Internet

Could We Beam Broadband Internet Into Iran? 541

abenamer writes "Some reporter at a recent White House press briefing just asked the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, this question: Was 'the White House....considering beaming broad capability into Iran via satellite so the opposition forces would be able to communicate with themselves and the outside world?' 'Gibbs said he didn't know such a thing was possible. (Is it?) But he said he would check on the technological feasibility and get back with an answer.' I'm not sure what the reporter meant by beaming broadband into Iran: Do they even have 3G? Would we bomb the Iranians with SIM cards that would allow them to get text messages from the VOA? Or somehow put up massive Wi-Fi transmitters from Iraq and beam it into Iran? How would you beam broadband into Iran?"

DHS To Kill Domestic Satellite Spying Program 150

mcgrew writes "The Bush administration had plans in place to use spy satellites to spy on American citizens. This morning the AP reports that new DHS head Janet Napolitano has axed those plans. 'The program was announced in 2007 and was to have the Homeland Security Department use overhead and mapping imagery from existing satellites for homeland security and law enforcement purposes. The program, called the National Applications Office, has been delayed because of privacy and civil liberty concerns. The program was included in the Obama administration's 2010 budget request, according to Rep. Jane Harman, a California Democrat and House homeland security committee member who was briefed on the department's classified intelligence budget.'"

Robotic Ferret Used To Fight Smugglers Screenshot-sm 54

Scientists at the University of Sheffield have created a device dubbed the "cargo-screening ferret" that is able to detect drugs, weapons, and even illegal immigrants concealed in cargo containers. The 30cm-long robot is equipped with tiny sensors that are more sensitive than any currently employed in conventional cargo scanners. The ferret will attach itself magnetically to the inside of a cargo container and sweep it for contraband, while sending a steady stream of information back to its controller. Project leader Dr Tony Dodd said, "It's essential we develop something which is simple to operate and which border agents can have total confidence in. The ferret will be able to drop small probes down through the cargo and so pinpoint exactly where contraband is concealed."

Mayo Clinic Reports Dramatic Outcomes In Prostate Cancer Treatment 122

Zorglub writes "Two prostate cancer patients who had been told their condition was inoperable are now cancer-free as the result of an experimental therapy, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester announced Friday. 'Cancer has a propensity for turning off T cells. Dr. Allison hypothesized that if you block the off-switch, T cells will stay turned on and create a prolonged immune response. Dr. Kwon, then at NIH, demonstrated that CTLA-4 blockage could be used to treat aggressive forms of prostate cancer in mice. There was one limitation to that concept — the worry that by simply leaving all the T cells on there may not be enough response aimed at the tumor. Dr. Kwon called Dr. Allison and designed the trial together. The idea: use androgen ablation or hormone therapy to ignite an immune approach — a pilot light — and then, after a short interval of hormone therapy, introduce an anti-CTLA-4 antibody that acts like gasoline to this pilot light and overwhelms the cancer cells.' After the treatment, the patients' tumors shrunk to such a degree that they could be successfully removed."

White House Panel Considers New Paths To Space 151

Neil H. writes "The White House's Human Space Flight Plans blue-ribbon panel (the 'Augustine panel') has posted the material from their first public meeting on the future of NASA's spaceflight program, which was held on Wednesday. NASA officials presented their Ares I rocket plans and their belief that they can work around its design flaws, with projected development costs ballooning to $35 billion. The panel also heard several alternative proposals, such as adapting already-existing EELV and SpaceX rockets to carry crew to orbit; these proposals would have better safety margins than the Ares I, be ready sooner, and cost NASA less than $2 billion to complete, but are politically unattractive."

German Member of Parliament Joins Pirate Party 246

Political Observer writes "Jörg Tauss, a member of the German Parliament (Bundestag), left the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which is part of the coalition government, and announced that he is joining the German Pirate Party (Google translation; original German article). Tauss resigned from the SPD after all but four of the party's members voted for a new censorship law, which passed the parliament on Thursday. The law, which aims at reducing child pornography, introduces an infrastructure for DNS-based content blocking and is the subject of major criticism from Internet users. In March 2009 Tauss became the subject of investigations by the German police for possession of child pornographic material. He said he had this material only for research as part of his role as a member of parliament. Investigations are still continuing."

US House Democrats Unveil a Health Care Plan 925

gollum123 sends in this piece from a political blog in the NY Times. Here is the text of the bill in question (PDF). "House Democrats on Friday answered President Obama's call for a sweeping overhaul of the health care system by putting forward [an] 852-page draft bill that would require all Americans to obtain health insurance, force employers to provide benefits or help pay for them, and create a new public insurance program to compete with private insurers — a move that Republicans will bitterly oppose. ... But the chairmen said they still did not know how much the plan would cost, even as they pledged to pay for it by cutting Medicare spending and imposing new, unspecified taxes. The three chairmen described their bill as a starting point in a weeks-long legislative endeavor that they said would dominate Congress for the summer and ultimately involve the full panorama of stakeholders in the health care industry, which accounts for about one-sixth of the nation's economy. ... House Republicans, who have had no involvement in the development of the health legislation so far, quickly denounced the Democrats' proposal as a thinly disguised plan for an eventual government takeover of the health care system. ... The House Democrats' plan is one of three distinct efforts underway on Capitol Hill to draft the health overhaul legislation. In the Senate, both the Finance Committee and the health committee have separate bills in the works, and in recent days those efforts seem to have stumbled."
The Internet

Ray Bradbury Loves Libraries, Hates the Internet 600

Hugh Pickens was one of several readers to let us know that, according to a NY Times story, the 89-year-old Ray Bradbury hates the Internet. But he loves libraries, and is helping raise $280,000 to keep libraries in Ventura County open. "Among Mr. Bradbury's passions, none burn quite as hot as his lifelong enthusiasm for halls of books. ... 'Libraries raised me,' Mr. Bradbury said. 'I don't believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don't have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn't go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.' ... The Internet? Don't get him started. 'The Internet is a big distraction,' Mr. Bradbury barked... 'Yahoo called me eight weeks ago,' he said, voice rising. 'They wanted to put a book of mine on Yahoo! You know what I told them? "To hell with you. To hell with you and to hell with the Internet." It's distracting. It's meaningless; it's not real. It's in the air somewhere.'"

DIY Biologists To Open Source Research 147

destinyland writes "Falling costs and garage tinkering are creating a grass roots movement of amateur biologists whose research is more transparent than that of academia. They are building lab equipment using common household items and even synthesizing new organisms, and their transparency also allows the social pressure which creates more ethical research. DIY fosters lab co-ops for large equipment and provokes important discussions. (Would it be ethical to release a homegrown symbiote that cures scurvy in hundreds of thousands of people?) This movement could someday lead to bottom-up remedies for disease, fuel-generating microbes, or even a social-networked disease-tracking epidemiology. 'In much the same way that homebrew computer science built the world we live in today, garage biology can affect the future we make for ourselves,' argues h+ magazine, which featured the article in their summer issue."

We all agree on the necessity of compromise. We just can't agree on when it's necessary to compromise. -- Larry Wall