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Comment: Re:$32 million of greed. (Score 1) 143

by hey! (#48639471) Attached to: Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

I have a friend who was a medical entomologist and journal editor before he retired. I ran into him while I was browsing a book table at a conference, and mentioned that I'd like to buy one of the medical entomology textbooks but the $250 price tag was a bit steep.

"Just wait," he said. "I'm about to change that. I'm writing a new textbook that will be a lot cheaper. I want students and public health departments to be able to afford a solid medical entomology reference."

When his book came out the publisher set the priced at $500. It was twice as expensive any of its competitors. Now something like this is never going to sell like a basic calculus book, but it has a considerably larger market than you'd think. His idea was that it would find its way into the syllabus in medical, veterinary and public health schools; and that hospitals and public health agencies would buy copies for their libraries. But his strategy to make that happen by making the book affordable and sell in (relatively) high numbers; the publisher had other plans.

So don't blame authors for high textbook prices. It's publishers who set the price.

Comment: Re:Screw them (Score 1) 211

They won't because they aren't releasing it now, but likely will wait for the threats to die down before quietly releasing it in theaters. Then, they'll release it on DVD/Blu-Ray hoping everyone will want to buy the movie that North Korea threatened death if we watched. From the reports, the movie was horrible and so probably wouldn't have brought in much anyway, but releasing on BitTorrent for free means they make nothing. Holding for possible future means possible future income. Movie companies will always choose possible future money over no money now any day.

Comment: Re:Is a lame Seth Rogen flick worth dying for? (Score 2) 211

I wish the First Amendment was just protecting a guy burning a flag. Most times, it seems like it's protecting the Westboro Baptist Church's right to protest (and make themselves look like idiots). I hate those people (and given that I'm Jewish, support gay marriage, love science, and am fairly liberal, the feeling's probably mutual), but as much as I'd love to see them silenced for good, I know the slippery slope that would start.

Comment: Re:Huh? (Score 5, Insightful) 211

Anytime you are afraid, the terrorists win.

The politicians too. ("Vote for me because my opponent will cave to the terrorists and DESTROY AMERICA!!!")

Also some manufacturers. ("Senator X, deploy our Ultra-Cool-Sounding-But-Ultimately-Ineffective at all TSA check points. It'll give billions to us, the illusion of security to America, and a cushy job for you once you retire from the Senate.")

And the power hungry segments of law enforcement organizations. ("We need to be able to raid homes without warrants because TERRORISM!!!")

The public are the big losers when we get afraid thanks to terrorist threats (real or imagined in order to scare us into submission).

+ - USBdriveby: The $20 Device That Installs a Backdoor in a Second

Submitted by Trailrunner7
Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "Samy Kamkar has a special talent for turning seemingly innocuous things into rather terrifying attack tools. First it was an inexpensive drone that Kamkar turned into a flying hacking platform with his Skyjack research, and now it’s a $20 USB microcontroller that Kamkar has loaded with code that can install a backdoor on a target machine in a few seconds and hand control of it to the attacker.

Kamkar has been working on the new project for some time, looking for a way to install the backdoor without needing to use the mouse and keyboard. The solution he came up with is elegant, fast and effective. By using code that can emulate the keyboard and the mouse and evade the security protections such as local firewalls, Kamkar found a method to install his backdoor in just a couple of seconds and keep it hidden on the machine. He loaded the code onto an inexpensive Teensy USB microcontroller.

Kamkar’s USBdriveby attack can be executed in a matter of seconds and would be quite difficult for a typical user to detect once it’s executed. In a demo video, Kamkar runs the attack on OS X, but he said the code, which he’s released on GitHub, can be modified easily to run on Windows or Linux machine. The attack inserts a backdoor on the target machine and also overwrites the DNS settings so that the attacker can then spoof various destinations, such as Facebook or an online banking site, and collect usernames and passwords. The backdoor also goes into the cron queue, so that it runs at specified intervals."

+ - New Zeus Variant Targets Users Of 150 Banks

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A new variant of the infamous Zeus banking and information-stealing Trojan has been created to target the users of over 150 different banks and 20 payment systems in 15 countries, including the UK, the US, Russia, Spain and Japan. Chthonic, as the variant has been named by Kaspersky Lab researchers, shares a lot of similarities with previous Zeus variants. The malware is capable of collecting system information, stealing saved passwords, logging keystrokes, recording video and sound via the computer's webcam and microphone, grabbing the contents of online forms, injecting web pages and fake windows, and allows criminals to connect to the infected computer remotely and use it to carry out transactions."

+ - Hector the Stick Insect-Inspired Robot Takes its First Steps->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Hector, the stick insect-inspired robot built by a research team at Bielefeld University in Germany that was first announced in 2011, could be forgiven for feeling lonely as the only one of its kind in world, but has lately been too busy learning to walk to worry on its unique status. It is hoped that Hector, which stands for Hexapod Cognitive autonomously Operating Robot, will benefit not only roboticists but also biologists interested in animal movement."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Land of the free (Score 1) 566

by Jason Levine (#48633035) Attached to: Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

Guns are inherently dangerous because they were designed to kill/injure. This doesn't mean we need to fear all guns or ban them. Just treat guns carefully and with respect. I don't personally use guns (for various reasons), but if I did, I'd want to take all available precautions - not treat the gun like a "fun toy." (Which, sadly, some gun owners seem to regard it as. Not most gun owners, but some.) I do the same if I'm handling a sharp kitchen knife. I don't go swinging the knife around everywhere. I don't leave the knife where small children could get it. I only "point" the knife at things I don't mind the knife going into (vegetables, potatoes, etc). Were I to leave knives around my house with small children nearby, swing them around, and pretend to stab people with them, I'd be an irresponsible knife owner.

+ - Scientists Discover That Exercise Changes Your DNA

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "The human genome is astonishingly complex and dynamic, with genes constantly turning on or off, depending on what biochemical signals they receive from the body. Scientists have known that certain genes become active or quieter as a result of exercise but they hadn’t understood how those genes knew how to respond to exercise. Now the NYT reports that scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm have completed a study where they recruited 23 young and healthy men and women, brought them to the lab for a series of physical performance and medical tests, including a muscle biopsy, and then asked them to exercise half of their lower bodies for three months. The volunteers pedaled one-legged at a moderate pace for 45 minutes, four times per week for three months. Then the scientists repeated the muscle biopsies and other tests with each volunteer. Not surprisingly, the volunteers’ exercised leg was more powerful now than the other, showing that the exercise had resulted in physical improvements. But there were also changes within the exercised muscle cells’ DNA. Using technology that analyses 480,000 positions throughout the genome, they could see that new methylation patterns had taken place in 7,000 genes (an individual has 20–25,000 genes).

In a process known as DNA methylation, clusters of atoms, called methyl groups, attach to the outside of a gene like microscopic mollusks and make the gene more or less able to receive and respond to biochemical signals from the body. In the exercised portions of the bodies, many of the methylation changes were on portions of the genome known as enhancers that can amplify the expression of proteins by genes. And gene expression was noticeably increased or changed in thousands of the muscle-cell genes that the researchers studied. Most of the genes in question are known to play a role in energy metabolism, insulin response and inflammation within muscles. In other words, they affect how healthy and fit our muscles — and bodies — become. Many mysteries still remain but the message of the study is unambiguous. “Through endurance training — a lifestyle change that is easily available for most people and doesn’t cost much money,” says Sara Lindholm, “we can induce changes that affect how we use our genes and, through that, get healthier and more functional muscles that ultimately improve our quality of life.”"

+ - Quantum physics just got less complicated->

Submitted by wabrandsma
wabrandsma (2551008) writes "From phys.org:
Here's a nice surprise: quantum physics is less complicated than we thought. An international team of researchers has proved that two peculiar features of the quantum world previously considered distinct are different manifestations of the same thing. The result is published 19 December in Nature Communications.
Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner made the breakthrough while at the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore. They found that 'wave-particle duality' is simply the quantum 'uncertainty principle' in disguise, reducing two mysteries to one."

Link to Original Source

+ - NASA Satellite's 1st CO2 Maps of Earth Revealed->

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan (2529412) writes "This past summer, NASA launched its first satellite devoted to measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas that is driving global warming.

Today (Dec. 18), scientists with the space agency unveiled the first carbon maps obtained by the spacecraft, named the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, or OCO-2.

OCO-2 only started collecting its first scientifically useful information at the end of September, but the initial results "are quite amazing," said Annmarie Eldering, OCO-2 deputy project scientist, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

In a news briefing at the 47th annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, Eldering and her colleagues showed a map of the globe that uses about 600,000 data points taken by OCO-2 from Oct. 1 through Nov. 17. It shows hotspots of carbon dioxide over northern Australia, southern Africa and eastern Brazil.

These carbon spikes could be explained by agricultural fires and land clearing — practices that are widespread during spring in the Southern Hemisphere, OCO-2 scientists said.

The satellite has a grading spectrometer to measure carbon dioxide levels with a precision of about 1 part per million, or ppm. (Today's carbon concentration, 400 ppm, is the highest in at least 800,000 years. This number means there are 400 molecules of carbon dioxide in the air per every million air molecules. Before the Industrial Revolution, carbon concentration was thought to be about 280 ppm.)"

Link to Original Source

+ - Nicholas Negroponte on the Future of Learning: Nanobots Will Hack the Brain->

Submitted by giulioprisco
giulioprisco (2448064) writes "Nicholas Negroponte describes future nanobots hacking our neurons to make us learn faster and better. Able to communicate wirelessly with each other and with the external world, the nanobots would hack the brain like read/write computer memory. Negroponte says: '[I]n theory you could load Shakespeare into your bloodstream and as the little robots get to the various part of the brain they deposit little pieces of Shakespeare or the little pieces of French if you want to learn how to speak French. So in theory you can ingest information.'"
Link to Original Source

+ - Colorado sued by neighboring states over legal pot-> 2

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan (2529412) writes "The attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma sued Colorado in the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, arguing state-legalized marijuana from Colorado is improperly spilling across state lines.

The suit invokes the federal government's right to regulate both drugs and interstate commerce, and says Colorado's decision to legalize marijuana has been "particularly burdensome" to police agencies on the other side of the state line.

In June, USA TODAY highlighted the flow of marijuana from Colorado into small towns across Nebraska: felony drug arrests in Chappell, Neb., just 7 miles north of the Colorado border have skyrocketed 400% in three years.

"In passing and enforcing Amendment 64, the state of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system enacted by the United States Congress. Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining plaintiff states' own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems," says the lawsuit. "The Constitution and the federal anti-drug laws do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local pro-drug policies and licensed distribution schemes throughout the country which conflict with federal laws.""

Link to Original Source

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