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Biotech

Foldit Player May Have Created a Useful Protein 144

Posted by kdawson
from the know-when-to-hold-'em dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The organizers of the game Foldit, where you fold proteins for scientific research, announced that a user has found a protein that may be able to bind influenza viruses. Researchers plan to test the protein in a lab over the next few weeks to see if it might be medically useful."

+ - A Tale of Two mooches

Submitted by
dynamo
dynamo writes "My brother Dave* and I just released mooch, an iPhone app for keeping track of loans between friends (ex: borrowing $10 for a movie ticket.) When we started, we did some research and, amazingly, there didn't seem to be any iPhone apps out there that did this already. We researched available names during the design process, and eventually settled on "mooch", because lowercase utility names just feel right. mooch version 1.0 was completed and submitted to Apple on Aug. 2nd.

On Sep. 17th, after roughly six weeks** of "in-review" status, mooch posted to the App Store. We were thrilled — until we found out that another app with very similar functionality had been released two days earlier on the 15th (but that had been submitted after ours) — and with a nearly identical name — "Mooch! (IOU)". There are some minor differences in the UI and feature set, but the core functionality is the same as mooch's. (ex: They have a button to send a deadbeat friend reminders per transaction, we have a button to send a reminder email per friend, with the current total and transaction history.)

So, what do you do in this situation? Well, you compete, obviously, and of course we intend to do that. There are enough potential customers for more than one personal loan management app. Our concern is the similarity in name combined with the similarity in function. I can't just say to buy the app called mooch that tracks personal loans, and expect someone to find it, I have to say to get the mooch with the hand grabbing the cash icon. We've pretty much decided not to ask them to change their name — mostly because we don't want to be jerks about it, but also because we probably don't have the legal / financial resources available to make them if they don't want to.

The other issue is that we have a long list of planned features, some of which are already implemented in their application — for example, attaching a photo to a transaction. It seems likely enough that the reverse is true as well. Is it better to announce new features in advance to avoid looking like we copied them, or to keep it under wraps so as not to tip off the competition? Do we have to worry about anything resembling patent issues?

* Dave incidentally also works on the Frankencamera, which was featured on Slashdot a few weeks ago.
** For completeness, about 4 weeks into the review process, Apple very reasonably asked that a small change be made to the UI. We made the change, tested it, and resubmitted within 48 hours."

+ - HP drops EDS brand, renames technology group->

Submitted by Dan Jones
Dan Jones (666) writes "In May last year HP completed the deal to buy EDS for just under $14 billion and promised that the company brand will continue. Well a little over a year later and HP has announced it will leave the EDS brand behind and rename its IT services business HP Enterprise Services. Is anyone surprised by the move? When HP acquired Mercury a couple of years ago the first thing it did was sunset the brand. HP is also renaming its Technology Solutions Group to HP Enterprise Business. EDS was founded in 1962 and in a sense established what became known as the IT services market."
Link to Original Source

+ - France reintroduces the "Three strikes law"->

Submitted by Thanshin
Thanshin (1188877) writes "France's lower house of parliament formally passed a revised 'Three strikes' bill that will allow authorities to disconnect illegal file-sharers from the Internet.

The new bill now allows a judge to make the 'third strike decision of either disconnecting an Internet user, fine of up to 300,000 euros ($415,000USD),or a two-year jail sentence.

The measure was passed on a vote of 285-225.

The first strike will be notified by mail, the second by certified postal mail and the third will cause the disconnection. The user will have to continue paying the connection fee during the disconnection time."

Link to Original Source

+ - What's Good for Google is Good for the USA?

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "The Obama administration embraced cloud computing on Tuesday, arguing that a shift to online apps, storage and processing is critical to reduce government waste and ease environmental impacts. And as Federal CIO Vivek Kundra announced (YouTube, cheesy cartoon @19:00) the launch of Apps.gov at NASA's Ames Research Center, Google's Sergey Brin was there. No, not to check on the private jets he and other top Googlers park there. As Google cheerleader Kundra led the Feds into the Cloud, Google announced it is readying a dedicated Google cloud for federal, state, and local government customers in the US. 'Everyone benefits from cloud computing,' asserts Google, adding that 'few stand to benefit more than government.'"

+ - Tevatron tightens up the race for the Higgs | Teva->

Submitted by IronAISS
IronAISS (1637987) writes "WITH the Large Hadron Collider still in the repair shop, the race to find the Higgs boson has become a lot tighter, thanks to the older and less powerful — but working — Tevatron collider near Chicago.

"The Tevatron definitely has a chance," says Greg Landsberg of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, who works on one of the LHC's detectors.

With the LHC due to restart only in November at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, the Tevatron has been gaining ground in the search for the Higgs, the particle thought to give mass to other elementary particles. At last week'sLepton Photon conference in Hamburg, Germany, Tevatron physicists said that by early 2011 they will have recorded enough data to allow them to either find or rule out the Higgs as predicted by the standard model."

Link to Original Source
Science

+ - Most detailed photos of an atom yet-> 1

Submitted by BuzzSkyline
BuzzSkyline (905506) writes "Ukrainian researchers have managed to take pictures of atoms that reveal structure of the electron clouds surrounding carbon nuclei in unprecedented detail. Although the images offer no surprises (they look much like the sketches of electron orbitals included in high school science texts), this is the first time that anyone has directly imaged atoms at this level, rather than inferring the structure of the orbitals from indirect measurements such as electron or x-ray interferometry."
Link to Original Source
Security

+ - Microsoft: No TCP/IP patches for you, XP -> 1

Submitted by CWmike
CWmike (1292728) writes "Microsoft says it won't patch Windows XP for a pair of bugs it quashed Sept. 8 in Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008. The news adds Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and SP3 to the no-patch list that previously included only Windows 2000 Server SP4. "We're talking about code that is 12 to 15 years old in its origin, so backporting that level of code is essentially not feasible," said security program manager Adrian Stone during Microsoft's monthly post-patch Webcast, referring to Windows 2000 and XP. "An update for Windows XP will not be made available," Stone and fellow program manager Jerry Bryant said during the Q&A portion of the Webcast (transcript here). Last Tuesday, Microsoft said that it wouldn't be patching Windows 2000 because creating a fix was "infeasible.""
Link to Original Source
Movies

+ - Charles Darwin film too controversial for America->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial for American audiences, according to its producer. The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere on Sunday. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia. However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution. The full article can be found here"
Link to Original Source
Space

+ - Astrophysicists find planet that should not exist->

Submitted by SpuriousLogic
SpuriousLogic (1183411) writes "Scientists have discovered a planet that shouldn't exist. The finding, they say, could alter our understanding of orbital dynamics, a field considered pretty well settled since the time of astronomer Johannes Kepler 400 years ago. The planet is known as a "hot Jupiter," a gas giant orbiting the star Wasp-18, about 330 light years from Earth. The planet, Wasp-18b, is so close to the star that it completes a full orbit (its "year") in less than an Earth day, according to the research, which was published in the journal Nature. Of the more than 370 exoplanets — planets orbiting stars other than our sun — discovered so far, this is just the second with such a close orbit. The problem is that a planet that close should be consumed by its parent star in less than a million years, say the authors at Keele University in England. The star Wasp-18 is believed to be about a billion years old, and since stars and the planets around them are thought to form at the same time, Wasp-18b should have been reduced to cinders ages ago."
Link to Original Source
Sun Microsystems

+ - Sun plans security coprocessor for new Ultrasparc->

Submitted by
angry tapir
angry tapir writes "At the Hot Chips conference at Stanford University, Sun presented plans for a security accelerator chip that it said would reduce encryption costs for applications such as VoIP calls and online banking Web sites. The coprocessor will be included on the same silicon as Rainbow Falls, the code name for the follow-on to Sun's multithreaded Ultrasparc T2 processor."
Link to Original Source
Medicine

+ - Depression May Provide Cognitive Advantages 1

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens
Hugh Pickens writes "Paul W. Andrews and J. Anderson Thomson, Jr. argue in Scientific American that although depression is considered a mental disorder, depression may in fact be a mental adaptation which provides real benefits. This is not to say that depression is not a problem. Depressed people often have trouble performing everyday activities, they can't concentrate on their work, they tend to socially isolate themselves, they are lethargic, and they often lose the ability to take pleasure from such activities such as eating and sex. So what could be so useful about depression? "Depressed people often think intensely about their problems," write the authors. "These thoughts are called ruminations; they are persistent and depressed people have difficulty thinking about anything else. Numerous studies have also shown that this thinking style is often highly analytical. They dwell on a complex problem, breaking it down into smaller components, which are considered one at a time." Various studies have found that people in depressed mood states are better at solving social dilemmas and there is evidence that people who get more depressed while they are working on complex problems in an intelligence test tend to score higher on the test (PDF). "When one considers all the evidence, depression seems less like a disorder where the brain is operating in a haphazard way, or malfunctioning. Instead, depression seems more like the vertebrate eye--an intricate, highly organized piece of machinery that performs a specific function.""
The Almighty Buck

+ - Apple Allegedly Sought Non-Poaching Deal with Palm

Submitted by
theodp
theodp writes "A Bloomberg report that Apple CEO Steve Jobs proposed a possibly illegal truce with Palm against poaching their respective employees is sure to pique the interest of the U.S. Department of Justice, which already is investigating whether Google, Yahoo, Apple, Genentech and other tech companies conspired to keep others from stealing their top talent. 'Your proposal that we agree that neither company will hire the other's employees, regardless of the individual's desires, is not only wrong, it is likely illegal,' former Palm CEO Ed Colligan reportedly told Jobs in August 2007. That same summer, Google lectured Congress on why constraints must not be placed on hiring: 'Google's success — like that of technology companies across our nation — absolutely depends on attracting the best and the brightest employees,' testified Google VP for People Operations Laszlo Bock. 'Hiring and retaining the most talented employees,' Bock added, 'is essential to the United States' ability to compete globally.' Good points — be interesting if they come back to haunt Google and the other under-investigation tech giants."

I find you lack of faith in the forth dithturbing. - Darse ("Darth") Vader

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