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United Kingdom

Scotland Votes No To Independence 471

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-can-take-our-lives,-but-they'll-never-take-our-haggis dept.
An anonymous reader sends this news from the BBC: Scotland voters decided to remain part of the United Kingdom on Friday, rejecting independence in a historic referendum. The decision prevented a rupture of a 307-year union with England, bringing a huge sigh of relief to the British political establishment. Scots voted 55.3 percent to 44.7 percent against independence in a vote that saw an unprecedented turnout. "Like millions of other people, I am delighted," Prime Minister David Cameron said in a speech outside 10 Downing Street on Friday morning. "It would have broken my heart to see our United Kingdom come to an end." Cameron promised new powers for Scotland in the wake of the vote, but also warned that millions of voices in England must also be heard, calling for a "balanced settlement" that would deliver more power to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. (Somewhat related: according to a Reuters poll, one in four Americans want their state to secede from the union.)
Medicine

Survivors' Blood Holds Promise, But Draws Critics, As Ebola Treatment 55

Posted by timothy
from the blood-of-the-living dept.
As reported by The Los Angeles Times, the World Health Organization is endorsing blood transfusions from Ebola survivors as a treatment for those currently infected. The idea behind blood transfusion is similar to vaccination by other means, though (at least as discussed here) administered only after a patient has been infected: "The blood plasma of people who have recovered from Ebola contains antibodies that were successful in fighting off the virus. If these antibodies are pumped into an infected person, they might help the recipient fight the disease as well." The article mentions that while there is little evidence to back the efficacy in preventing Ebola, "Transfusions were used to treat a small number of patients during the 1995 Kikwit Ebola outbreak in Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Dr. Oyewale Tomori, a professor of virology at Redeemer's University in Nigeria. A study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases after the outbreak reported that eight patients received transfusions, and only one of them died."

The idea of blood transfusions has critics, too: Dr. William Shaffner of Vanderbilt University is skeptical, saying he was surprised that the WHO would make transfusions a priority in the ongoing crisis because they are labor-intensive, making it difficult to serve a large number of patients. "You can't do this en masse," Schaffner said. "This is going to be a desperate attempt to provide something for a relatively small number of patients." Finding suitable donors may also prove more challenging than WHO officials expect, he warned. Malnutrition and other health concerns could make it more difficult to draw blood from people. "These are people who have recovered from Ebola," Schaffner said. "When are they hale and hearty enough to actually do a donation?"
United States

DARPA Wants To Kill the Password 383

Posted by samzenpus
from the at-least-zero-characters-long dept.
jfruh writes Many security experts agree that our current authentication system, in which end users are forced to remember (or, more often, write down) a dizzying array of passwords is broken. DARPA, the U.S. Defense Department research arm that developed the Internet, is trying to work past the problem by eliminating passwords altogether, replacing them with biometric and other cues, using off-the-shelf technology available today.
Social Networks

Hotel Charges Guests $500 For Bad Online Reviews 183

Posted by timothy
from the may-require-substantial-deposit dept.
njnnja (2833511) writes In an incredibly misguided attempt to reduce the quantity of bad reviews (such as these), the Union Street Guest House, a hotel about 2 hours outside of New York City, had instituted a policy to charge groups such as wedding parties $500 for each bad review posted online. The policy has been removed from their webpage but the wayback machine has archived the policy. "If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event If you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500. fine for each negative review."

Comment: Traditional Antique Style Firearms (Score 1) 584

In organized events, I shoot historically accurate reproduction revolvers loaded with real black powder. After use they are cleaned with soap and water and then aggressively lubricated to fight corrosion. Please explain how this technology being forced on me is going to help or even be anything but a nightmare.
NASA

NASA Wants To Go To Europa 216

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-down-the-road dept.
MightyMartian writes "'NASA and the White House are asking Congress to bankroll a new intrastellar road trip to a destination that's sort of like the extraterrestrial Atlantis of our solar system — Jupiter's intriguing moon, Europa.' Since Europa seems one of the most likely worlds in the Solar System other than Earth where we have some hope of finding extant life, let's hope Congress gives the green light to this project."
The Courts

Girl's Facebook Post Costs Her Dad $80,000 387

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-say-a-word dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "BBC reports that when Dana Snay learned her father had been awarded an $80,000 cash settlement in an age-discrimination lawsuit against his former employer, she couldn't resist bragging about it on Facebook. 'Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver,' the teen posted to her 1,200 Facebook friends. 'Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.' Trouble was her father had signed a confidentiality agreement so the school refused to pay a dime and a Florida appeals court has found in the school's favor. 'Snay violated the agreement by doing exactly what he had promised not to do,' wrote Judge Linda Ann Wells. 'His daughter then did precisely what the confidentiality agreement was designed to prevent.' Snay's father said in depositions that he and his wife knew they had to say something to their daughter because she suffered 'psychological scars' from issues during her enrollment at the school and was aware that they were in mediation with Gulliver attorneys. Attorneys say it's unlikely confiding in Dana Snay would have jeopardized the settlement — it was the facebook post that did them in. 'Remember when all you had to worry about was your daughter posting naked selfies of herself on Facebook?' writes Elie Mystal at Above the Law. 'Now, things are worse.'"
Bug

Stack Overflow Could Explain Toyota Vehicles' Unintended Acceleration 664

Posted by timothy
from the go-ahead-ask-your-car-a-question dept.
New submitter robertchin writes "Michael Barr recently testified in the Bookout v. Toyota Motor Corp lawsuit that the likely cause of unintentional acceleration in the Toyota Camry may have been caused by a stack overflow. Due to recursion overwriting critical data past the end of the stack and into the real time operating system memory area, the throttle was left in an open state and the process that controlled the throttle was terminated. How can users protect themselves from sometimes life endangering software bugs?"

Comment: I call BS. (Score 1) 366

by Beer_Smurf (#46222185) Attached to: House Committee Approves Bill Banning In-Flight Phone Calls
If you recall a while back the NSA was upset because calls made from planes were harder to listen in on. How is someone talking on the phone any worse than the two people next to you having a conversation or talking on the airline provided phone? Once again the media just plays along with a obvious lie.
Transportation

A New Use For Drones: Traffic Scouting 144

Posted by Soulskill
from the drone-find-me-a-gas-station-and-some-donuts dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Renault's new concept car gives drivers an unusual companion: a small flying drone, controllable via tablet or preset GPS waypoints, which scans the area ahead for obstacles and traffic. The so-called 'flying companion' can exit the vehicle via a retractable hatch in the roof, and buzz around the immediate vicinity shooting video and photos; as this is a concept, actual hardware and software specs aren't available, although Renault's engineers envision something closer to the size of a small bird than some of the larger drones currently available. But how practical is a 'driving drone'? Considering all the accidents caused by people texting or Web-surfing while driving, it seems questionable to introduce a piece of hardware that could prove even more distracting—imagine trying to successfully guide a drone with touch-screen controls while navigating a fast-paced roadway, and you can see why the idea of a "flying companion" would raise the collective blood pressure of traffic-safety officials. Yes, it would be safer for a passenger to handle drone-flying duties while the driver concentrates on the road; but it's also a near-certainty, if such a concept ever went into production, that more than one driver would attempt to multi-task the navigation of two vehicles at once. Do you think this idea is feasible?"

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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