ananyo writes "Researchers may have found a way to potentially predict suicidal behaviour by analyzing someone's blood. Using blood samples taken by the coroner from nine men who had committed suicide, they found six molecular signs, or biomarkers, that they say can identify people at risk of committing suicide. To check whether these biomarkers could predict hospitalizations related to suicide or suicide attempts, the researchers analysed gene-expression data from 42 men with bipolar disorder and 46 men with schizophrenia. When the biomarkers were combined with clinical measures of mood and mental state, the accuracy with which researchers could predict hospitalizations was more than 80% (abstract)."
Are you suggesting that "the" is syntactically singular? The other speakers of English will be quite surprised to hear this. In any case, while there has indeed been a shift from plural "United States" to singular, it was certainly not a rapid change caused by the Civil War: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=1798
kkleiner writes "Science is full of stories in which great discoveries are made by accident: the discovery of radiation, the discovery of the universe's shape through x-ray detection, and now perhaps the cure for hair loss. At the time they returned to the cages to find that their bald mice had miraculously grown their hair back, the scientists at UCLA had no intention of curing baldness. Originally, theirs was in fact a study aimed at reducing the harmful affects of chronic stress. The unanticipated side effect of their treatment could prove a boon to balding men and women everywhere, not to mention to the drug company that delivers the cure to them."
An anonymous reader writes "Science writer Michael Chorost has written a book that suggests that mankind may one day be able to link individual minds to share thoughts, feelings and perceptions by genetically modifying individuals brains and implanting computers based on neural networks in the body. Here he talks about the implications for human relationships, our sense of self and phenomenon like telempathy and dream brainstorming that this so-called World Wide Mind would make possible."
forand writes "Using screen shots of a customer's Facebook profile, owners of a West Bank internet cafe helped Palestinian intelligence forces capture a man accused of heresy." According to sources quoted in the story, residents of both Gaza and the West Bank face ongoing scrutiny of their online activities; in Gaza, "Internet cafe owners are forced to monitor customers' online activity and alert intelligence officials if they see anything critical of the militant group or that violates Hamas' stern interpretation of Islam."
al0ha writes "Fear begins in your brain, and it is there — specifically in an almond-shaped structure called the amygdala — that it is controlled, processed, and let out of the gate to kick off the rest of the fear response. In this week's issue of the journal Nature, a research team led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology has taken an important step toward understanding just how this kickoff occurs by beginning to dissect the neural circuitry of fear. In their paper (abstract), these scientists ... describe a microcircuit in the amygdala that controls, or 'gates,' the outflow of fear from that region of the brain. The microcircuit in question, [Professor David J. Anderson] explains, contains two subtypes of neurons that are antagonistic — have opposing functions — and that control the level of fear output from the amygdala by acting like a seesaw. 'Imagine that one end of a seesaw is weighted and normally sits on a garden hose, preventing water — in this analogy, the fear impulse — from flowing through it,' says Anderson. 'When a signal that triggers a fear response arrives, it presses down on the opposite end of the seesaw, lifting the first end off the hose and allowing fear, like water, to flow.' Once the flow of fear has begun, that impulse can be transmitted to other regions of the brain that control fearful behavior, such as freezing in place."
Earthquake Retrofit sends along a piece from The Register reporting on a nightmare scenario of legal jurisdiction on the Internet: a Pakistani lawyer has filed blasphemy charges, carrying the death penalty, against Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives (and the pseudonomous user who initiated the "Draw Muhammad" contest last month). Pakistani police have apparently opened an investigation, according to this Google translation of a BBC Urdu report."
i_ate_god writes "I download a lot of 720/1080p videos, and I also produce a lot of raw uncompressed video. I have run out of slots to put in hard drives across two computers. I need (read: want) access to my files at all times (over a network is fine), especially since I maintain a library of what I've got on the TV computer. I don't want to have swappable USB drives, I want all hard drives available all the time on my network. I'm assuming that, since it's on a network, I won't need 16,000 RPM drives and thus I'm hoping a solution exists that can be moderately quiet and/or hidden away somewhere and still keep somewhat cool. So Slashdot, what have you done?"
Nope, "pain" is is not used as slang for "money" in French. The use of "bread" to mean "money" in English comes from Cockney Rhyming Slang, where "bread and honey" == "money".
Frequent Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton contributes the following piece on trying to get some measure of satisfaction in the struggle against pop-up ads, writing "The most annoying thing about some pop-up ads, is that you have no way of knowing which ad-serving network served them or who the responsible parties are. Could we reduce the incidence of illegal or deceptive pop-up ads, by giving users an easier way to trace their origin and figure out where to send complaints? Here's one way to do it with a simple right-click." Read on for the rest.
DesScorp writes "It seems that there's a grain of truth to one old wives' tale; it turns out that you really can die of a broken heart, especially if you're a post-menopausal woman. The Wall Street Journal reports on a phenomena called 'broken-heart syndrome,' which often occurs after great emotional distress. Quoting: 'In a conventional heart attack, an obstructed artery starves the heart muscle of oxygenated blood, quickly resulting in the death of tissue and potentially permanently compromising heart function. In contrast, the heart muscle in broken-heart-syndrome patients is stunned in the adrenaline surge and appears to go into hibernation. Little tissue is lost.' In the article a doctor notes, 'The cells are alive, but mechanically or electrically disabled.' Documented cases track heart attacks in people with seemingly healthy hearts after the grief of the death of a loved one. Intense feelings can cause the heart actually to change shape. Doctors call this 'tako-tsubo,' after the Japanese phrase for 'octopus trap,' so called because the syndrome was first identified by a Japanese doctor who noticed the strange shape in the left ventricle. Doctors note that while strong emotions like grief are usually associated with the syndrome, stress or a migraine can also trigger such heart attacks."
rocamargo writes "The space shuttle program is on its way out, but the core of people who built and maintained it will live on. To honor them, NASA gave its employees the chance to design the patch that will commemorate the shuttle program, which is slated to end in September, after STS-133 flies. From the designs of 85 current and former employees, the Shuttle Program Office has selected 15 finalists. The prospective patches, presented here, will be voted on internally by NASA employees and judged by a small panel." I've been thinking a lot lately about the end of the Space Shuttle. For someone my age, the shuttle really *IS* space travel. I'm going to be really sad to see STS-133 land.
destinyland writes "In China's Guangdong Province there's been 'almost miraculous' progress in actually using stem cells to treat diseases such as brain injury, cerebral palsy, ataxia and other optic nerve damage, lower limb ischemia, autism, spinal muscular atrophy, and multiple sclerosis. One Chinese biotech company, Beike, is now building a 21,500 square foot stem cell storage facility and hiring professors from American universities such as Stanford. Two California families even flew their children to China for a cerebral palsy treatment that isn't available in the US. The founder of Beike is so enthusiastic, he says his company is exploring the concept of using stem cells to extend longevity beyond 120 years."
dragoncortez writes "According to this Deseret News article, University classrooms will be obsolete by 2020. BYU professor David Wiley envisions a world where students listen to lectures on iPods, and those lectures are also available online to everyone anywhere for free. Course materials are shared between universities, science labs are virtual, and digital textbooks are free. He says, 'Higher education doesn't reflect the life that students are living ... today's colleges are typically tethered, isolated, generic, and closed.' In the world according to Wiley, universities would still make money, because they have a marketable commodity: to get college credits and a diploma, you'd have to be a paying customer. Wiley helped start Flat World Knowledge, which creates peer-reviewed textbooks that can be downloaded for free, or bought as paperbacks for $30."
In response to the report I posted a few days ago that the Openmoko FreeRunner phone had been discontinued, Pat Meier-Johnson writes on behalf of Openmoko to say that this isn't so. "Some bloggers have been misinterpreting a presentation by Openmoko CEO, Sean Moss-Pultz last week in Switzerland to think that the company is getting out of the phone business. That's not true. In fact, the Openmoko FreeRunner (their current model) is alive and well. (Also in Switzerland, Sean announced another project — not a phone — that they are calling 'Project B.' No details yet.) The next version of the phone, codenamed GTA03, has been suspended and there were some associated layoffs, but the GTA03 was in constant flux as a design. So the company is being prudent and focusing on the FreeRunner which has lots of open source community and most recently, embedded developer support." Glad to hear this, because the FreeRunner is an interesting phone.