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Biotech

Synthetic Chromosomes Successfully Integrated Into Brewer's Yeast 107

Posted by Soulskill
from the origin-story-for-superyeast dept.
New submitter dunnomattic writes: "Researchers at New York University School of Medicine have achieved a milestone in synthetic biology. A fully synthetic yeast chromosome, dubbed 'synIII,' has successfully replaced chromosome 3 of multiple living yeast cells. The researchers pieced together over 250,000 nucleotide bases to accomplish this feat. Dr. Jef Boeke, the lead author of the study, says, 'not only can we make designer changes on a computer, but we can make hundreds of changes through a chromosome and we can put that chromosome into yeast and have a yeast that looks, smells and behaves like a regular yeast, but this yeast is endowed with special properties that normal yeasts don't have.' Work is underway (abstract) to synthesize the remaining 15 chromosomes."
NASA

NASA Wants To Go To Europa 216

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-down-the-road dept.
MightyMartian writes "'NASA and the White House are asking Congress to bankroll a new intrastellar road trip to a destination that's sort of like the extraterrestrial Atlantis of our solar system — Jupiter's intriguing moon, Europa.' Since Europa seems one of the most likely worlds in the Solar System other than Earth where we have some hope of finding extant life, let's hope Congress gives the green light to this project."
Shark

Many Lasers Become One In Lockheed Martin's 30 kW Laser Weapon 202

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the ready-main-phaser-array dept.
Zothecula writes "In another step forward for laser weapons that brings to mind the Death Star's superlaser, Lockheed Martin has demonstrated a 30-kilowatt fiber laser produced by combining many lasers into a single beam of light. According to the company, this is the highest power laser yet that was still able to maintain beam quality and electrical efficiency, paving the way for a laser weapon system suitable, if not for a Death Star, for a wide range of air, land, and sea military platforms."

Comment: Re:3dnewsen article - auto translated? (Score 5, Informative) 155

by devjoe (#46082659) Attached to: $499 3-D Printer Drew Plenty of Attention at CES (Video)
Specifically, it appears to be a translation-and-back-again of the LA Times article which is the first link in the article, or an automated synonym-substitution (trying to avoid being detected as copyright violation for reposting stories in full, perhaps, though strangely they link to the original article at the bottom). The other articles on their site (see Latest USA News sidebar on the right) appear to have undergone the same process.
Science

Why Transitivity Violations Can Be Rational 169

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the error-axiom-broken dept.
ananyo writes "Organisms, including humans, are often assumed to be hard-wired by evolution to try to make optimal decisions, to the best of their knowledge. Ranking choices consistently — for example, in selecting food sources — would seem to be one aspect of such rationality. If A is preferred over B, and B over C, then surely A should be selected when the options are just A and C? This seemingly logical ordering of preferences is called transitivity. Furthermore, if A is preferred when both B and C are available, then A should 'rationally' remain the first choice when only A and B are at hand ... But sometimes animals do not display such logic. For example, honeybees and gray jays have been seen to violate the Independence of Irrational Alternatives, and so have hummingbirds ... Researchers have now used a theoretical model to show that, in fact, violations of transitivity can sometimes be the best choice (original paper) for the given situation, and therefore rational. The key is that the various choices might appear or disappear in the future. Then the decision becomes more complicated than a simple, fixed ranking of preferences. So while these choices look irrational, they aren't necessarily."
Shark

CES: Laser Headlights Edge Closer To Real-World Highways 295

Posted by samzenpus
from the shine-on dept.
jeffb (2.718) writes "Audi will display laser-headlight technology on a concept car at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, joining BMW, whose plug-in hybrid should reach production in 2014. A November article on optics.org describes the technology in more detail. This approach does not scan or project a 'laser beam' from the car; instead, it uses blue lasers as highly efficient light emitters, and focuses their light onto a yellow phosphor, producing an extremely intense and compact white light source and then forming that light into a conventional headlamp beam. The beam isn't coherent or point-sourced, so it won't produce the 'speckling' interference effects of direct laser illumination, and it won't pose specular-reflection hazards. It's just a very bright and very well-controlled beam of normal white light.
Government

Counterpoint: Why Edward Snowden May Not Deserve Clemency 573

Posted by Soulskill
from the issues-that-are-complicated dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Fred Kaplan, the Edward R. Murrow press fellow at the Council on Foreign Relation, writes at Slate that if Edward Snowden's stolen trove of beyond-top-secret documents had dealt only with the domestic surveillance by the NSA, then some form of leniency might be worth discussing. But Snowden did much more than that. 'Snowden's documents have, so far, furnished stories about the NSA's interception of email traffic, mobile phone calls, and radio transmissions of Taliban fighters in Pakistan's northwest territories; about an operation to gauge the loyalties of CIA recruits in Pakistan; about NSA email intercepts to assist intelligence assessments of what's going on inside Iran; about NSA surveillance of cellphone calls 'worldwide,' an effort that 'allows it to look for unknown associates of known intelligence targets by tracking people whose movements intersect.' Kaplan says the NYT editorial calling on President Obama to grant Snowden 'some form of clemency' paints an incomplete picture when it claims that Snowden 'stole a trove of highly classified documents after he became disillusioned with the agency's voraciousness.' In fact, as Snowden himself told the South China Morning Post, he took his job as an NSA contractor, with Booz Allen Hamilton, because he knew that his position would grant him 'to lists of machines all over the world [that] the NSA hacked.' Snowden got himself placed at the NSA's signals intelligence center in Hawaii says Kaplan for the sole purpose of pilfering extremely classified documents. 'It may be telling that Snowden did not release mdash; or at least the recipients of his cache haven't yet published — any documents detailing the cyber-operations of any other countries, especially Russia or China,' concludes Kaplan. 'If it turned out that Snowden did give information to the Russians or Chinese (or if intelligence assessments show that the leaks did substantial damage to national security, something that hasn't been proved in public), then I'd say all talk of a deal is off — and I assume the Times editorial page would agree.'"
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: Are We Older Experts Being Retired Too Early? 629

Posted by Soulskill
from the get-off-my-lawn dept.
caferace writes "I've been around the block. I'm a long-time worker in the tech industry (nearly 30 years), absolutely kickass SQA and Hardware person, networking, you name it. But I'm 50+ now, and finding new regular or contract work is a pain. And it shouldn't be. I have the skills and the aptitude to absorb and adapt to any new situations and languages way beyond what any of my college age brethren might have. But when I send out a perfectly good resume and use the more obvious resources there are still precious few bites for someone requiring to work remotely. Am I just whining, or is this common? Are we being put out to pasture far too early?"

+ - FEC will not allow bitcoins from campaign contributors->

Submitted by memnock
memnock (466995) writes "ABC new reports: 'Political organizations can't accept contributions in the form of bitcoins, at least for now, The Federal Election Commission said Thursday.

The commission passed on a request by the Conservative Action Fund, a political action committee, to use the digital currency. That group had asked the FEC recently whether it could accept bitcoins, how it could spend them and how donors must report those contributions. It was not immediately clear whether the same ruling would apply to individual political candidates.'
Slashdot reported earlier this week that other federal agencies have taken positions that may recognize or regulate the currency."

Link to Original Source
Cloud

Review: Puppet Vs. Chef Vs. Ansible Vs. Salt 141

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-of-breed dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Paul Venezia provides an in-depth review of Puppet, Chef, Ansible, and Salt — four leading configuration management and orchestration tools, each of which takes a different path to server automation. 'Puppet, Chef, Ansible, and Salt were all built with that very goal in mind: to make it much easier to configure and maintain dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of servers. That's not to say that smaller shops won't benefit from these tools, as automation and orchestration generally make life easier in an infrastructure of any size. I looked at each of these four tools in depth, explored their design and function, and determined that, while some scored higher than others, there's a place for each to fit in, depending on the goals of the deployment. Here, I summarize my findings.'"
Security

Microsoft Customers Hit With New Wave of Fake Tech Support Calls 201

Posted by timothy
from the only-do-this-to-your-parents dept.
rjmarvin writes "A new surge of callers posing predominately as Microsoft technicians are attempting and sometimes succeeding in scamming customers, convincing them their PCs are infected and directing them to install malware-ridden software or give the callers remote access to the computer. The fraudsters also solicit payment for the fake services rendered. This comes only a year after the FTC cracked down on fake tech support calls, charging six scam operators last October."
Programming

Zuckerberg To Teach 10 Million Kids 0-Based Counting 295

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-not-mix-things-up-and-start-at-pi dept.
theodp writes "'Why do programmers start counting at zero?' wondered Mike Hoye, questioning the conventional programming wisdom. Code.org will soon introduce the practice to a hoped-for audience of 10 million schoolchildren as part of Computer Science Education Week's Hour of Code. In a tutorial created by engineers from Microsoft, Google, Twitter and Facebook that's intended to introduce programming to kids as young as six years old, an otherwise breezy lesson featuring look-ma-no-typing Blockly and characters out of Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies, a Mark Zuckerberg video introducing the concept of Repeat Loops includes an out-of-place JavaScript example that shows kids it's as easy as 0-1-2-3 to generate 4 lines of lyrics from Happy Birthday to You by using zero-based numbering with a For-loop and ternary If statement. Accompanying videos by Bill Gates on If Statements and basketball star Chris Bosh on Repeat Until Blocks show the Code.org tutorial is still a work-in-progress. That's no big deal, since CSEdWeek has pushed back the delivery date for final Hour of Code tutorials from its prior little-time-for-testing due date to Dec. 9th, the first day of a five-day period during which teachers are expected to deliver the lessons to 10 million students."
The Almighty Buck

Startup Touts All-in-One Digital Credit Card 222

Posted by timothy
from the fewer-pieces-to-steal dept.
First time accepted submitter NoImNotNineVolt writes "Coin, a Y Combinator-backed startup, has started accepting pre-orders for a device as slim as a standard piece of payment plastic that can hold eight credit, debit, and gift cards in its dynamic magnetic stripe. Paired with the Coin smartphone app via Bluetooth low energy, card details can easily be swapped in and out of the device. A minimalist user interface on the device itself allows the owner to toggle between the loaded cards and then swipe just as they would their ordinary card. All card details are encrypted (both on the device and in the smartphone app), and the device's on-board battery is expected to last for two years of typical usage. No support for chip&pin (EMV) yet, so this may have limited utility outside of the USA. They expect to start shipping in summer of 2014."
News

Soylent: No Food For 30 Days 440

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-twinkies-count? dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Senior Editor of Motherboard Brian Merchant went an entire month without eating regular food. Instead, the journalist whisked up a concoction called soylent, an efficient take on the future of nourishment and nutrition. Merchant says: 'It was my second day on Soylent and my stomach felt like a coil of knotty old rope, slowly tightening. I wasn't hungry, but something was off. I was tired, light-headed, low-energy, but my heart was racing. My eyes glazed over as I stared out the window of our rental SUV as we drove over the fog-shrouded Bay Bridge to Oakland. Some of this was nerves, sure. I had twenty-eight days left of my month-long all-Soylent diet—I was attempting to live on the full food replacement longer than anyone besides its inventor—and I felt woozy already. ... By the third week of Soylent, not eating food seemed normal. I saw a doctor, who said I was healthy; I was still losing weight, but nothing serious. Yet, given that a daily mixture of Soylent contains 2,400 calories, both Rob and Dr. Engel thought it was odd that I’d shed so much. Dr. Engel said that given my weight, height, and body mass, I should only require about 1,800 calories a day. I could still be adjusting to the new diet, or I could have such a hyperactive metabolism that before Soylent, I was tearing through hundreds of extra calories per day and staying trim.'"

If bankers can count, how come they have eight windows and only four tellers?

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