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The Personal Genome Project Hits the Web 87

Ian Lamont writes "The Personal Genome Project has released the data sets and descriptions of traits, ethnic background and other information of the first ten volunteers, which include the project director and nine other people with backgrounds in genetics, medicine, and biotechnology. While the human genome was first sequenced at the beginning of this decade, what's special about this project is these 10 participants are having their names, genome, and other personal data gleaned from questionnaires shared openly on the Web, where interested researchers can freely access them. One of the ultimate aims of the project is to create a public database of 100,000 volunteers that researchers and other parties can use to determine what traits, diseases or other characteristics are associated with specific genetic markers. When asked why volunteers are requested to attach their names to the Web records, the project director said the data could be used by researchers in other fields outside of genetics, including forensic science and historical research. While this project opens the door for some interesting and potentially life-saving research, there may also be difficulties or problems for people whose records are posted on the Web. Would you participate? Would you share your name, along with your genome, disease history, and traits? Why or why not?"

Researchers Decentralize BitTorrent 262

A Cow writes "The Tribler BitTorrent client, a project run by researchers from several European universities and Harvard, is the first to incorporate decentralized search capabilities. With Tribler, users can now find .torrent files that are hosted among other peers, instead of on a centralized site such as The Pirate Bay or Mininova. The Tribler developers have found a way to make their client work without having to rely on BitTorrent sites. Although others have tried to come up with similar solutions, such as the Cubit plugin for Vuze, Tribler is the first to understand that with decentralized BitTorrent search, there also has to be a way to moderate these decentralized torrents in order to avoid a flood of spam."

The Mainframe World Is Alive, Even For Those Under 40 361

willdavid writes with a link to a report by Jeff Gould at Interop Systems, about the definitely-still-around world of mainframe computing, from which he extracts: "Last week I had the occasion to visit SHARE, the premier mainframe conference, which was held in San Jose just down the road from where I live. Based on what I saw, there is one thing I can tell you for sure, and that is that Cobol is not dead. And neither is the mainframe. When I mentioned to one of my friends that I had been to SHARE, he joked that it must have looked like an AARP convention. But this turned out not to be so. While there were certainly a few 60-somethings strolling around the halls, the under 40 generation was also well represented. What struck me the most was not the advanced age of the people but the relative youth of a lot of the software being discussed." However, it's not all fountain of youth there, either. (Thanks, BDPrime.)
The Internet

Comcast Has 30 Days To 'Fess Up About P2P Throttling 262

negRo_slim writes with some welcome news from Ars Technica: "Comcast has 30 days to disclose the details of its 'unreasonable network management practices' to the Federal Communications Commission, the agency warned Wednesday morning as it released its full, 67-page Order. As FCC Chair Kevin Martin said it would, the Commission's Order rejects the ISP giant's insistence that its handling of peer-to-peer applications was necessary. 'We conclude that the company's discriminatory and arbitrary practice unduly squelches the dynamic benefits of an open and accessible Internet,' the agency declares." And from reader JagsLive comes news that Comcast has a different plan in place to deal with heavy bandwidth users: slow traffic for up to 20 minutes at a time to users who are grabbing the most bits.

France Bans TV Shows For Babies Screenshot-sm 8

France's broadcast authority has banned the marketing of TV shows to children under 3, to protect them from the potential of developmental problems. The ruling also mandates that French cable operators airing foreign channels with programs for babies have to broadcast warning messages to parents. The messages will read: "Watching television can slow the development of children under 3, even when it involves channels aimed specifically at them." I guess there won't be any French contestants in this year's Baby Fear Factor.

Digital Drugs Screenshot-sm 24

David Gerard points us to a story by Kim Komando, the CyberSpeak columnist for USA Today. Kim wants to alert parents to the growing menace of digital drugs. This imaginary terror uses binaural beats to simulate the effects of marijuana and heroin, and — some claim — to help develop telepathy and psychokinesis. Not to perpetuate a story that is clearly scare mongering, Kim is nice enough to add that, "many are skeptical about the effects of digital drugs. Few scientific studies have been conducted on binaural beats." I want a copy of mutant powers on tape and a whistle that will make women drunk when I blow it.

Is Parallelism the New New Thing? 174

astwon sends us to a blog post by parallel computing pioneer Bill McColl speculating that, with the cooling of Web 2.0, parallelism may be a hot new area for entrepreneurs and investors. (Take with requisite salt grains as he is the founder of a Silicon Valley company in this area.) McColl suggests a few other upcoming "new things," such as Saas as an appliance and massive memory systems. Worth a read.

Silicon Circuits That Bend and Stretch 73

Matty the Monkey brings us a story from the BBC about silicon chips which can bend, flex, and even stretch. Researchers have developed a method to create circuits just 1.5 microns thick, which can then be bonded to a type of rubber to allow a great degree of flexibility. Scientists and companies see uses for these circuits in products ranging from "electronic paper" to form-fitting sensor devices to advanced brain implants. From BBC News: "To create the foldable chips, these circuit layers are deposited on a polymer substrate which is bonded in turn to a temporary silicon base. Following the deposition of the circuits, the silicon base is discarded to reveal delicate slivers of circuitry held in plastic. These are then bonded to a piece of pre-strained rubber. When the strain is removed, the rubber snaps back into shape, causing the circuits on the surface to wrinkle accordingly."

Submission + - New e-cycling Laws (

InternetVoting writes: "A trend is growing in the United States with state legislatures enacting new tougher electronic recycling laws to handle e-waste and the hazards of lead, mercury and fire-retardant plastics in electronic devices.
From the article:
Five state legislatures took steps this year to curb the threat of toxic waste created by the proliferation of discarded computer gear and other digital junk, making 2007 a banner year for passage of electronic recycling laws.
Leading the pack, Minnesota enacted the nation's strongest "e-cycling" law. It requires manufacturers of electronic goods to recycle 60 percent of the volume of their products sold in the state. Less stringent recycling laws were signed into law in Connecticut, Oregon and Texas this year, and North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley (D) also is expected to approve an e-waste law passed by his state's Legislature."

United States

Green Cars You Can't Buy 528

Geoffrey.landis writes "Auto industry blogger Lawrence Ulrich notes that Honda is now making a "Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle" (or PZEV for short) version of the 2008 Accord, an all-new vehicle that is redesigned to meet California emission standards. He notes "So, just how green is a PZEV machine? Well, if you just cut your lawn with a gas mower, congratulations, you just put out more pollution in one hour than these cars do in 2,000 miles of driving." But the irony is that it's actually illegal for automakers to sell these green cars outside of the special states they were designed for! Apparently, anybody selling one of these ultra-green vehicles out of the correctly-designated venue — which means either California, or seven northeast-states with similar pollution laws — "could be subject to civil fines of up to $27,500. Volvo sent its dealers a memo alerting them to this fact, noting that its greenest S40 and V50 models were only for the special states.""

Every cloud has a silver lining; you should have sold it, and bought titanium.