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Comment Not a virus (Score 1) 105

"Scientists have recovered the RNA of the virus that caused the plague by digging through an English mass grave, and compiling [from several partial examples] the genetics of the virus. Though the plague still persists, scientists have believe the ancient strain was different due to a different onset of symptoms."

You want to correct that, it is a bacteria and not a virus (you can find this in the very article you mention).
Role Playing (Games)

Dragon Age 2 Announced 183

Today BioWare announced a sequel to Dragon Age: Origins, titled Dragon Age 2. They've opened an official site for the game, which shares some vague details and concept art, and promises a trailer in mid-August. The story will apparently span an entire decade and involve a new hero, but it will be located in the same world as the original game. The site says there will be "dynamic new combat mechanics," though the same three basic classes will be available. More information should be forthcoming in this month's issue of Game Informer.
Games

Submission + - Individual in-game advertising in upcoming titles

Scythal writes: In-game advertising provider Massive Inc., acquired by Microsoft in 2006, has signed up or renewed contracts with several publishers, notably EA, Blizzard Entertainment, Activision.

Eagerly anticipated games like Need for Speed: SHIFT will feature the technology that continuously collects "anonymous" information about users, sends them to the Massive database for analysis, and downloads advertisements to be shown in the game. All that insidiously, without the users' explicit consent and out of their control.

Which raises further concerns about privacy, security and quite frankly, customer abuse.

The technology has already been implemented, and was present in older titles. For example, Far Cry 2 released in October 2008 by Ubisoft Montreal had it. You could discover that if you cared to read the manual up to the last pages:
  • "This game incorporates technology of Massive Incorporated ("Massive") that, when activated, enable the presentation of in-game advertisements and other in-game objects which are uploaded temporarily to your personal computer or game console and changed during online game play. As part of this process, when Massive technology is activated, Massive may have access to your Internet Protocol address. Your Internet Protocol address, and other basic anonymous information, available to Massive are temporarily used by Massive for the general purposes of transmitting and measuring in-game advertising."

However, it seems it was not used at the time for some reason. This time, be assured it will be.

How are we supposed to react to something like this? Would you feel concerned about software that collects personal information and sends it so that you get more particularized ads in a game you paid for? Wait, wouldn't that be called adware? But wasn't adware free before?

And, gratified by the success of this technology, what would be the next logical step of companies like Massive? Wouldn't they seek new publishers and use it in other software? Mind-googling isn't it.

Privacy

Facebook Faces the Canadian Privacy Commissioner 140

dakohli writes "Canwest's Sarah Schmidt writes that Facebook has until Monday to find a way to fix its 'serious privacy gaps.' And if the Canadian Privacy Commissioner isn't happy with the Web Company's response, then she has two weeks to push it to the Canadian Federal Court in Ottawa. 'A spokeswoman for the commission said it's premature to say whether the feud will end up in court. This would be an international first for Facebook, which has grown to more than 200 million users since its launch in 2004.'"
Medicine

Submission + - p53 as a barrier to pluripotency->

Scythal writes: "The well known molecule p53 serves not only as a tumour suppressor, but also acts as a barrier to the generation of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Five papers online in Nature this week show that when p53 is removed from cell populations that often fail to reprogram there is a higher degree of success."
Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Anti-privacy tool? (Score 1) 377

Good one ;-)

As a matter of fact it was close to that in Far Cry 2, which featured the Massive technology:

"This game incorporates technology of Massive Incorporated ("Massive") that, when activated, enable the presentation of in-game advertisements and other in-game objects which are uploaded temporarily to your personal computer or game console and changed during online game play. As part of this process, when Massive technology is activated, Massive may have access to your Internet Protocol address. Your Internet Protocol address, and other basic anonymous information, available to Massive are temporarily used by Massive for the general purposes of transmitting and measuring in-game advertising."

Not really a violation of privacy, yet...

So Ubisoft (especially Montreal): face it, if your games were not so flawed, or if at least you had some kind of support and not only a farce of it, and if you were not abusing your customers' rights, then maybe your sales wouldn't drop as much.

Comment Re:parallel computations only half the battle (Score 1) 135

Deja vu?
Not quite, they cite his paper in the references and acknowledge Adleman's work as "seminal" (pp. 4-5). But where he used PCR to replicate DNA fragments (where nucleotides coded for data of the mathematical problem instead of actual amino acids), they use a living organism - the E. coli bacteria.
The problem they claim to solve is the Hamiltonian path problem, so I'm not sure what you mean by "identify the shortest one". But clearly they left the problem of false positives out for a later study. As they say, DNA sequencing could be acceptable given the low rate of false positives, you need to do it to read the solution anyway (but yes... at what cost?).

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