When you play shows today, a lot of your older fans expect to hear tracks from Lincoln, Flood, and TMBG. Do you resent having to play the same thing over and over, or do you enjoy playing them as much as we enjoy hearing them? Do you ever play your other well-known tracks, like "Dog on Fire" or "You're Not the Boss of Me"?
Nareau writes "I work in IT at a state university, and the start of the new semester has brought up an interesting question: What website editing software should professors be teaching their students to use? Traditionally, we've used a combination of Frontpage, Dreamweaver, and WinSCP. But with the rise of browser-based editors (Google Sites) and countless Content Management Systems, there are dozens of far-better tools out there that will serve them much better in the workplace. What would you have them use?"
Bob the Super Hamste writes "According to a story at LiveScience, a 16-year-old Canadian 11th grade student has discovered a possible treatment for cystic fibrosis. The treatment is a combination of two drugs which, in a computer simulation on the Canadian SCINET supercomputing network, did not interfere with each other while interacting with the defective protein responsible for the disorder. He has also tested the drug combination on living cells with results that 'exceeded his expectations.'"
I'm still waiting for someone to develop hardware that will let me turn my TV/lamp/etc. on and off simply by clapping.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that thousands of high school students in Prince George's County missed a third day of classes Wednesday, and school officials said it could take more than a week to sort out the chaos caused by a computerized class-scheduling system as students were placed in gyms, auditoriums, cafeterias, libraries and classes they didn't want or need at high schools across the county and their parents' fury over the logistical nightmare rose. 'The school year comes up the same time every year,' said Carolyn Oliver, the mother of a 16-year-old senior who spent Wednesday in the senior lounge at Bowie High School. 'When I heard they didn't have schedules, I was like, "What have they been doing all summer?"' When school opened Monday, about 8,000 high school students had no class schedules and were sent to wait in holding spaces while administrators tried to sort things out." (More below.)
Al writes "NASA recently finished testing a miniature nuclear reactor that would provide power for an astronaut base on the Moon or Mars. The reactor combines a small fission system with a Stirling engine to make a 'safe, reliable, and efficient' way to produce electricity. The system being tested at NASA's Glenn Research Center can produce 2.3 kilowatts and could be ready for launch by 2020, NASA officials say. The reactor ought to provide much more power than solar panels but could prove controversial with the public concerned about launching a nuclear power source and placing it on the Moon or another planet."
Linuss points out research published in PLoS Biology that demonstrates the reawakening of latent human cells' ability to manufacture an HIV defense. A group of scientists led by Nitya Venkataraman began with the knowledge that Old World monkeys have a built-in immunity to HIV: a protein that can prevent HIV from entering cell walls and starting an infection. They examined the human genome for any evidence of a latent gene that could manufacture such a protein, and found the capability in a stretch of what has been dismissively termed "junk DNA." "In this work, we reveal that, upon correction of the premature termination codon in theta-defensin pseudogenes, human myeloid cells produce cyclic, antiviral peptides (which we have termed 'retrocyclins'), indicating that the cells retain the intact machinery to make cyclic peptides. Furthermore, we exploited the ability of aminoglycoside antibiotics to read-through the premature termination codon within retrocyclin transcripts to produce functional peptides that are active against HIV-1. Given that the endogenous production of retrocyclins could also be restored in human cervicovaginal tissues, we propose that aminoglycoside-based topical microbicides might be useful in preventing sexual transmission of HIV-1."
The New Yorker has a long piece examining the growing trend of healthy people, not diagnosed with any mental condition, taking drugs that enhance mental functioning, including Adderall and Provigil. The profiles include a Harvard student, a professional poker player, a number of brain researchers, and a self-described transhumanist. "Zack [Lynch]... has a book being published this summer, called 'The Neuro Revolution'... In coming years, he said, scientists will understand the brain better, and we'll have improved neuroenhancers that some people will use therapeutically, others because they are 'on the borderline of needing them therapeutically,' and others purely 'for competitive advantage.' ... Even if today's smart drugs aren't as powerful as such drugs may someday be, there are plenty of questions that need to be asked about them. How much do they actually help? Are they potentially harmful or addictive? Then, there's the question of what we mean by 'smarter.' Could enhancing one kind of thinking exact a toll on others? All these questions need proper scientific answers, but for now much of the discussion is taking place furtively, among the increasing number of Americans who are performing daily experiments on their own brains. ... [A cognitive researcher said,] 'Cognitive psychologists have found that there is a trade-off between attentional focus and creativity. And there is some evidence that suggests that individuals who are better able to focus on one thing and filter out distractions tend to be less creative. ... I'm a little concerned that we could be raising a generation of very focused accountants.'"
blantonl writes "Brazilians all over the country are using modified amateur radio equipment to communicate with each other using US Military communications satellites — effectively creating their own CB radio network on the backs of the US Military. Recent efforts to crack down have resulted in arrests of some of the users, however the behavior still continues today."
An anonymous reader writes "On April 6th, Wizards of the Coast took all of their PDF products offline, including those sold at third-party websites like RPGNow.com. From the RPGNow front page: 'Wizards of the Coast has instructed us to suspend all sales and downloads of Wizards of the Coast titles. Unfortunately, this includes offering download access to previously purchased Wizards of the Coast titles.' Wizards of the Coast also posted a press release to their website that states they are suing eight file sharers for 'copyright infringement,' and WotC_Trevor posted a short explanation about the cessation of PDF sales to the EN World Forums."
blackbearnh writes "If you've gotten tired of hacking firewalls or cloud computing, maybe it's time to try your hand with DNA. That's what Reshma Shetty is doing with her Doctorate in Biological Engineering from MIT. Apart from her crowning achievement of getting bacteria to smell like mint and bananas, she's also active in the developing field of synthetic biology and has recently helped found a company called Gingko BioWorks which is developing enabling technologies to allow for rapid prototyping of biological systems. She talked to O'Reilly Radar recently about the benefits and potential dangers of easy biological design, why students should be hacking wetware, and what's involved in setting up your own lab to slice genes."
Barence writes "Microsoft's decision to limit Windows 7 Starter Edition to running only three concurrent applications could force up the price of netbooks as many manufacturers opt for the more expensive Home Premium. The three-app rule includes applications running in the background but excludes antivirus, and the company claims most users wouldn't be affected by the limit. 'We ran a study which suggested that the average consumer has open just over two applications [at any time]. We would expect the limit of three applications wouldn't affect very many people.' However, Microsoft told journalists at last year's Professional Developers Conference that 70% of Windows users have between eight and 15 windows open at any one time."
Jason S. writes to tell us that for those seeking to "go green" or those just wishing to try something different, RTI now offers a printer that uses coffee instead of ink. In addition to recycling your grounds, the printer also uses good old fashioned elbow grease to move the grounds cartridge back and forth, saving power. Sounds like a novelty that will die quickly as human sloth reasserts itself. "Hosted by Core77 and Inhabitat, this year's Greener Gadgets Design Competition resulted in an incredible crop of innovative consumer electronics designs, and we're excited to offer you the first scoop on some of our favorite designs! Jeon Hwan Ju's RITI printer works by replacing environmentally un-friendly inkjet cartridges with the dregs from your daily coffee. Simply place used grounds in the ink case, insert a piece of paper, and move the ink case left and right to print text."
carazoo.com sends along a story on Volvo's upcoming crash-proof car. The company will introduce a concept car based on the S60 this month at the Detroit Auto Show, looking ahead a few years to the goal that by 2020 "no one should be killed or injured in a Volvo car." The concept car will have forward-looking radar as a proximity sensor, and the ability to brake if a collision is imminent. When the car senses a collision, a light flashes on the windscreen display along with an audible warning. If the driver doesn't act, the car will brake automatically.
meist3r writes "On his Government blog, Microsoft's Ian McKenzie announced today that the Royal Navy was ahead of schedule for switching their nuclear submarines to a customized Microsoft Windows solution dubbed 'Submarine Command System Next Generation (SMCS NG)' which apparently consists of Windows 2000 network servers and XP workstations. In the article, it is claimed that this decision will save UK taxpayers £22m over the next ten years. The installation of the new system apparently took just 18 days on the HMS Vigilant. According to the BAE Systems press release from 2005, the overall cost of the rollout was £24.5m for all eleven nuclear submarines of the Vanguard, Trafalgar and Swiftsure classes. Talk about staying with the sinking ship."