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Biotech

+ - Living Fossil is Fastest Evolving Animal

Submitted by
Pickens
Pickens writes "Researchers have found that New Zealand's "living dinosaur" the tuatara is evolving at a DNA level faster than any other animal. "Of course we would have expected that the tuatara, which does everything slowly — they grow slowly, reproduce slowly and have a very slow metabolism — would have evolved slowly," said DNA expert Professor David Lambert. "In fact, at the DNA level, they evolve extremely quickly, which supports a hypothesis proposed by the evolutionary biologist Allan Wilson, who suggested that the rate of molecular evolution was uncoupled from the rate of morphological evolution." In related news Henry the tuatara finally proved his manhood at age 111, when he was caught in the act by tuatara curator Lindsay Hazley mating with Mildred, a "prolific breeder" aged 70 to 80 years. The tuatara, Sphendon punctatus, is found only in New Zealand and is the only surviving member of a distinct reptilian order Sphehodontia that lived alongside early dinosaurs and separated from other reptiles 200 million years ago in the Upper Triassic period. The original paper is available for $31.50."
Education

+ - Video game shocks players->

Submitted by kublikhan
kublikhan (838265) writes "Scientists have hooked up players to a Pac-man like game that delivers electrical shocks to players when they get eaten. Scans show that when they are close to getting eaten(shocked), brain activity switches from the forebrain(thinking center) to the mid-brain(instinct, fight or flight). This is an indication of fear taking over the player's decisions. I wonder if something similar happen to the Microsoft coders when a new bug comes in their Share the Pain program?"
Link to Original Source
United States

+ - Rootkit installation hits PC gaming->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Sony (the owners of SecureROM copy protection) are still up to their old tricks. One would think that they would have learned their lesson after the music CD DRM fiasco. However, they have now gone over and started infesting PC gaming with their DRM ideas. Recent facts have surfaced that show that BioShock, a recently released PC game, installs a rootkit as part of its SecureROM copy protection scheme. Not only this, just installing the DEMO installs the rootkit on your system, which embeds itself into Explorer. This begs the question: Since when did demos need copy protection?"
Link to Original Source
Education

+ - Every college student kills a tree per year (stat)-> 2

Submitted by
salutor
salutor writes "An analysis I helped put together for the e-textbook start-up CafeScribe.com estimates that the number of textbooks used by a single US college student over the course of a four years is equal to about six, 40-foot tall trees. The true number of books that can be derived from a single tree turns out to be hard to pin down, however, as is evident from this discussion on the Teleread.org blog."
Link to Original Source
Power

+ - Why We "Waste" Energy: The Second Law Expl-> 1

Submitted by
Gooseygoose
Gooseygoose writes "
There are many instances that we can see that in our attempts to transform energy into as much as possible usable work, we are always left with this "rest" amount of heat that we can not use anymore to generate even more work. Clear examples of these imperfect transformations are the coolant radiators in our cars and the cooling towers of many factories or power plants. In powerplants that use fossil fuels we can have an efficiency as poor as 50% or often even lower, meaning that only 50% of the energy enclosed in the fuel is converted into electrical power, by means of burning fuel, heat generation that leads to steam and steam that will drive then turbines and generators. 50% or less is that not a shame? Of course the question arises why that is the case?
http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2793"

Link to Original Source
The Internet

+ - Pirate Bay earns 20,000 Euros a day-> 2

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "controverisal pro-piracy website the piratebay likes to portray itself as an innocent hobby site that provides a free index without censorship, but recent facts show that the site is earning up to 20,000 Euros per day from its advertising. Taking in money on this scale puts a different slant on the motives behind the Swedish filesharing site, and could open up the runners of the site to prosecution for profiting from copyright infringement."
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Networking

+ - Terrorists are like Starfish (?)->

Submitted by
Mark D. Drapeau
Mark D. Drapeau writes "Could biological metaphors about networking and systems shed light on one of the most difficult issues of our time — terrorism? According to a new op-ed in the 31 July 2007 Washington Times, and a new book entitled The Starfish and the Spider, the answer is a resounding "Yes". An excerpt from the op-ed reads: *** Most large institutions are organized hierarchically with centralized leadership. Corporations have CEOs, armies have generals, countries have presidents. When competing against centralized organizations, promoting diffusion and disrupting cohesion are considered progressive. However, al Qaeda has a constantly mutating, horizontal structure composed of an inspirational catalyst in the form of Osama bin Laden and other central figures joined with numerous small groups brought together not by orders but ideology. Here, lack of structure is a strength. Little thought is given, however, to how such a decentralized terrorist network structure affects the strategy for combating it. "The Starfish and the Spider," a new book about corporate strategy written for a business audience, has a wider application — combating terrorism — and sheds light on this issue.*** Read more here: http://washingtontimes.com/article/20070731/COMMEN TARY/107310009/1012 And here: http://www.starfishandspider.com/"
Link to Original Source
Slashdot.org

Introducing the Slashdot Firehose 320

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the who-wants-to-drink-from-the-firehose dept.
Logged in users have noticed for some time the request to drink from the Slashdot Firehose. Well now we're ready to start having everybody test it out. It's partially a collaborative news system, partially a redesigned & dynamic next-generation Slashdot index. It's got a lot of really cool features, and a lot of equally annoying new problems for us to find and fix for the next few weeks. I've attached a rough draft of the FAQ to the end of this article. A quick read of it will probably answer most questions from how it works, what all the color codes mean, to what we intend to do with it.
Handhelds

+ - HP-35s calculator announced and withdrawn 1

Submitted by
leighklotz
leighklotz writes "HP announced their 35th anniversary version of the groundbreaking HP-35 calculator on July 11th, and the New York Times featured [reg warning] it in their Circuits section today. Sadly, today was also the day that HP apparently withdrew the product to correct reported manufacturing defects. For calculator geeks, note that it has a big prominent ENTER button and reportedly features good tactile feedback. No news about the recall on HP's website..."
Puzzle Games (Games)

+ - Checkers has been Solved

Submitted by
r55man
r55man writes "The Chinook project recently announced that checkers has been solved. Perfect play from both sides results in a draw. From their website:

On May 8, 2007, we were pleased to announce that checkers is now solved. From the standard starting position, Black (who moves first) is guaranteed a draw with perfect play. White (moving second) is also guaranteed a draw, regardless of what Black plays as the opening move. Checkers is the largest game that has been solved to date.
"
Toys

+ - Polyethylene Bulletproof Vests better than Kevlar

Submitted by teflonscout
teflonscout (302958) writes "When I think of bulletproof vests, the first word that comes to mind is Kevlar. Wired is running a story on Dynema SB61, a bulletproof material that is made of polyethylene. It is a higher grade of the plastic found in Tupperware. The story also mentions the recall of Second Chance bulletproof vests that were made from Zylon, a material that degraded slowly when exposed to moisture. At least one police officer was injured when a bullet penetrated his Zylon vest. Polyethylene is impervious to moisture. The first vests made from this new material are 5mm thick and can stop at 9mm bullet traveling at 1777 feet per second, which is slightly better than other top of the line vests."
Education

+ - Newton's Second Law, Revisited

Submitted by
eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes "Dust off your fundamental physics books, an aspiring astrophysicist by the name of Alex Ignatiev has published a paper that proposes testing special cases of Newton's Second Law on earth's surface. The difficulties that lie ahead are that he's only got 1/1000th of a second window twice each year to test in either Greenland or Antarctica. What would he look for? Spontaneous motion. From his interview with PhysOrg, "If these experiments were to take place, Ignatiev says that scientists would look for what he calls the SHLEM effect. This acronym stands for static high latitude equinox modified inertia and would be noticed in a condition where the forces of the earth's rotation on its axis, and of the orbital force of the earth as it moves around the sun, would be canceled out. "This would lead to a tiny shift to be detected," Ignatiev explains." In the end, if Newton's Second Law could be violated, he would be forcing physicists to reevaluate much of what we understand derived from that law — which is quite a bit."
NASA

Astronaut to Run the Boston Marathon From Space 176

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the space-racing dept.
BostonBehindTheScenes writes "American astronaut Sunita Williams will run 26.2 miles on a treadmill on Patriot's Day (April 16th for those of you outside of Massachusetts) while runners on the ground will compete in the 111th Boston Marathon, according to this New Scientist article. And yes, she is an actual registered participant who qualified by finishing among the top 100 women in the Houston Marathon in 2006. NASA's press release touts this as yet another space first."

A LISP programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing. -- Alan Perlis

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