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Science

+ - 'Bastard' Mouse Steals Poison-Resistance Gene->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Bacteria and plants swap genes all the time, often leading to benefits, as when one bacterium borrows an antibiotic-resistance gene from another. But when animals hybridize, the consequences are usually bad (think mules, the sterile offspring of donkeys and horses). In a new study, however, researchers have shown that house mice in Germany and Spain have aquired resistance to rodent poison by mating with the Algerian mouse, which has a gene that protects against warfarin (also known as Coumadin), the key ingredient in rat poison. The finding suggests hybridization may play a more important role in animal evolution than researchers believed."
Link to Original Source
Programming

For Automated Testing, Better Alternatives To DOS Batch Files? 426

Posted by timothy
from the run-them-under-wine dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I am working on a project that would allow our customers to test out sending different PCL commands to LAN printers. My initial thought was that a DOS batch file will allow users to select some simple options, send the tests to printers, and even generate a small web page which, when launched from the batch file, will provide email feedback on the tool. This all worked. To spice it up I added some ANSI color commands to the menus, though the implementation of that may prove tricky without resorting to .COM files or forcing the load of the ansi.sys via the command.com shortcut. And this implementation goes against my initial idea that I want the entire thing to be contained in a standalone batch file. My questions are: Is there a better option for this? Are DOS Batch files too 1990s to be taken seriously in 2010? The application needs to (1) be simple (2) be easy to update (3) be able to send PCL commands to LAN-attached printers and (4) allow email feedback. I don't know what other programming language would allow this and be as simple. I tend to think that I have found the best tool for the job but if you have another idea let me know. Call me crazy but I love DOS."
Education

3rd-Grader Busted For Jolly Rancher Possession 804

Posted by samzenpus
from the step-away-from-the-candy dept.
theodp writes "A third-grader in a small Texas school district received a week's detention for merely possessing a Jolly Rancher. Leighann Adair, 10, was eating lunch Monday when a teacher confiscated the candy. Her parents said she was in tears when she arrived home later that afternoon and handed them the detention notice. But school officials are defending the sentence, saying the school was abiding by a state guideline that banned 'minimal nutrition' foods. 'Whether or not I agree with the guidelines, we have to follow the rules,' said school superintendent Jack Ellis."
Education

Evolution, Big Bang Polls Omitted From NSF Report 495

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-let-the-rest-of-the-world-know-how-stupid-we-really-are dept.
cremeglace writes "In an unusual last-minute edit that has drawn flak from the White House and science educators, a federal advisory committee omitted data on Americans' knowledge of evolution and the Big Bang from a key report. The data shows that Americans are far less likely than the rest of the world to accept that humans evolved from earlier species and that the universe began with a big bang."
Science

Aussie Scientists Find Coconut-Carrying Octopus 205

Posted by timothy
from the concealed-carry-in-australian-waters dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from an AP report: "Australian scientists have discovered an octopus in Indonesia that collects coconut shells for shelter — unusually sophisticated behavior that the researchers believe is the first evidence of tool use in an invertebrate animal. The scientists filmed the veined octopus, Amphioctopus marginatus, selecting halved coconut shells from the sea floor, emptying them out, carrying them under their bodies up to 65 feet (20 meters), and assembling two shells together to make a spherical hiding spot. ... 'I was gobsmacked,' said Finn, a research biologist at the museum who specializes in cephalopods. 'I mean, I've seen a lot of octopuses hiding in shells, but I've never seen one that grabs it up and jogs across the sea floor. I was trying hard not to laugh.'"
Printer

What Do You Do When Printers Cost Less Than Ink? 970

Posted by timothy
from the buy-more-printers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A family member recently asked me to pick up more ink for her Epson Photo RX 595. Unfortunately, replacing the black and color ink cartridges costs $81.92 + tax at the local store! That's so bad that I got a replacement printer that's just as good, and spare ink, for less. But now I have a useless piece of e-waste that I can't even give away. What can you do with a printer like that? I hate to just throw it away."
Displays

Apple's Mini DisplayPort Officially Adopted By VESA 160

Posted by timothy
from the good-for-tiny-pictures dept.
DJRumpy writes "The Video Electronics Standard Association officially issued its Mini DisplayPort standard Tuesday, based on the technology licensed from Apple. VESA said that all devices using the Mini DisplayPort connector must meet the specifications required by the DisplayPort 1.1a standard, and cables that support the standard must also meet specific electrical specifications. It's a formal confirmation of the news from earlier this year, when VESA announced the Mini DisplayPort connector would be included in the forthcoming DisplayPort 1.2 specification."
Operating Systems

Ubuntu "Karmic Koala" RC Hits the Streets With Windows 7 483

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the cute-cuddly-linux dept.
oranghutan writes "Computerworld is reporting Canonical has made available the Release Candidate of its latest Linux-based operating system, Ubuntu 9.10, on the same day Microsoft launched the long-awaited Windows 7. 'The upcoming Canonical release, which is code-named Karmic Koala, is the latest version of the popular flavor of the Linux OS. The development release on Thursday pushed the OS one step closer to final release, which is due on Oct. 29, according to the company's release schedule Web page. An image of the OS is available for download on Ubuntu's Web site. Test versions of Karmic Koala RC available for download include the server, desktop and netbook versions.'"
Robotics

Robot Controlled By Human Brain Cells 86

Posted by timothy
from the rat-is-a-pig-is-a-boy dept.
destinyland writes "There's a new experiment from the British researchers who created a robot controlled by cultured rat neurons. They're now using a line of human brain neurons to control robots. The neurons are placed onto a multi-electrode dish that registers the neurons' electric signals. 'Every time the robot nears an object, the electrodes generate signals to stimulate the brain. In response, the brain's output is used to drive the wheels of the robot left and right so that it avoids hitting objects. The robot has no additional control from a human or a computer — its sole means of control is from its own brain.'"
Earth

US Nuclear Power Industry Poised For a Comeback 853

Posted by kdawson
from the do-not-want dept.
ThousandStars sends us to The Wall Street Journal for a report that momentum for nuclear energy is waxing in the US. "For the first time in decades, popular opinion is on the industry's side. A majority of Americans thinks nuclear power, which emits virtually no carbon dioxide, is a safe and effective way to battle climate change, according to recent polls. At the same time, legislators are showing renewed interest in nuclear as they hunt for ways to slash greenhouse-gas emissions. The industry is seizing this chance to move out of the shadow of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl and show that it has solved the three big problems that have long dogged it: cost, safety and waste."
Biotech

+ - Sound from bird wings act as a predator alarm

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Biologists have discovered that a species of Australian pigeon has a secret way of alerting fellow birds to predators — a 'whistle' emitted by flapping wings when the bird takes off in alarm. The crested pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes) is well known for the abrupt metallic-sounding whistle that it makes on takeoff. Many birds have the ability to make vocal cries to alert other members of their flock, but this is the first study to show that flight noise can also serve as an alarm call."
Space

+ - Mars Experiment Design Competition->

Submitted by
Toren Altair
Toren Altair writes "Space Florida, The Mars Society, NASA-Kennedy Space Center and the Florida Department of Education (DoE), have joined forces to create a competition in which Florida middle and high school students will design scientific experiments to send to the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah. The MDRS is one of four such facilities throughout the world, and is operated by The Mars Society. Each MARS facility can simulate many of the environmental and geological conditions encountered on the Mars surface.

During MDRS missions in the winter/spring 2009-2010 season, the Habitat crew will conduct the experiments and transmit data via 'live' camera and internet blogs. With cooperation from NASA-KSC and their Digital Learning Network (DLN), NASA personnel will transmit special interactive programs to the three (3) winning school entrants."

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Government

Serious Design Failure At USAspending.gov? 207

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-tax-dollars-at-work dept.
theodp writes "Over at Intelligent Enterprise, Seth Grimes declares the Federal Government's USAspending.gov website a travesty, calling it 'almost a parody of a government-transparency site.' Among the faults cited by Grimes is a botched 'Federal Spending FY 2009 YTD' pie chart that graced USAspending.gov's home page. Not only were the sizes of pie segments not in proportion to the percentage labels (due to a Google Chart API error), the colors in the pie chart didn't even match the colors and values in the table immediately below the chart. Lucky for the Feds, Grimes didn't get a chance to look behind the curtain at the Federal IT Dashboard, where they forgot to remove a (commented) reference to a Google spreadsheet that states 'These totals are pretty poor numbers' (Google workbook). Oops!"

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