When I ran into a wall yesterday, I thought I briefly saw a black wall with yellow lines...
mattnyc99 writes "Esquire is running a a jaw-dropping profile of MacArthur genius Marc Roth in their annual Best and Brightest roundup, detailing how this gonzo DNA scientist (who also figured out how to diagnose lupus correctly) went from watching his infant daughter die to literally reincarnating animals. Inspired by NOVA and funded by DARPA, Roth has developed a serum for major biotech startup Ikaria that successfully accomplished 'suspended animation' — the closest we've ever come to simulating near-death experiences and then coming back to life. From the article: 'We don't know what life is, anyway. Not really. We just know what life does — it burns oxygen. It's a process of combustion. We're all just slow-burning candles, making our way through our allotment of precious O2 until it becomes our toxin, until we burn out, until we get old and die. But we live on 21 percent oxygen, just as we live at 37 degrees. They're related. Decrease the oxygen to 5 percent, we die. But, look, the concentration of oxygen in the blood that runs through our capillaries is only 2 or 3 percent. We're almost dead already! So what if we turn down the candle's need for oxygen? What if we dim the candle so much that we don't even have the energy to die?' " The writer Tom Junod engages in what Hunter Thompson once called "a failed but essentially noble experiment in pure gonzo journalism." If you can suspend your inner critic for a time, it's a fun ride.
gollum123 writes "The US Supreme Court has removed restrictions on the Navy's use of sonar in training exercises near California. The ruling is a defeat for environmental groups who say the sonar can kill whales and other mammals. In its 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court said the Navy needed to conduct realistic training exercises to respond to potential threats. The court did not deal with the merits of the claims put forward by the environmental groups. In reinstating the use of sonar, the top US court rejected a lower federal judge's injunction that had required the US Navy to take various precautions during submarine-hunting exercises. The Bush administration argued that there is little evidence of harm to marine life in more than 40 years of exercises off the California coast. It said that the judges should have deferred to the judgment of the Navy and Mr Bush. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said overall public interest was 'strongly in favor of the Navy.' 'The most serious possible injury would be harm to an unknown number of the marine mammals,' Chief Justice Roberts wrote. 'In contrast, forcing the Navy to deploy an inadequately trained anti-submarine force jeopardizes the safety of the fleet.'"
David Gerard points out a Times Online story that says: "Everyone [in the UK] who buys a mobile telephone will be forced to register their identity on a national database under government plans to extend massively the powers of state surveillance. Phone buyers would have to present a passport or other official form of identification at the point of purchase. Privacy campaigners fear it marks the latest government move to create a surveillance society. A compulsory national register for the owners of all 72m mobile phones in Britain would be part of a much bigger database to combat terrorism and crime. Whitehall officials have raised the idea of a register containing the names and addresses of everyone who buys a phone in recent talks with Vodafone and other telephone companies, insiders say." We've recently discussed other methods the UK government is using to keep track of people within its borders, such as ID cards for foreigners and comprehensive email surveillance.
CurtMonash writes "Parallel Efficiency is a simple metric that divides the actual work your parallel CPUs do by the sum of their total capacity. If you can get your parallel efficiency up, it's like getting free servers, free floor space, and some free power as well. eBay reports that it amazed even itself by increasing overall PE from 50% to 80% in about 6 months — across tens of thousands of servers. The secret sauce was data warehouse-based analytics. I.e., eBay instrumented its own network to do minute-by-minute status checks, then crunched the resulting data to find bottlenecks that needed removing. Obviously, savings are in the many millions of dollars. eBay has been offering some glimpses into its analytic efforts this year, and the PE savings are one of the most concrete examples they're offering to validate all this analytic cleverness."
Wiseleo writes "Yahoo decided to massively screw up their entire userbase by changing all user profiles to blank. No warning, no automated way to get data back, and other unwanted changes. The blog has such choice quotes as 'We know this has been a rough transition for some of you and, and are committed to helping you use, understand, and (hopefully) enjoy your new profile,' and, 'We also know lots of you worked hard on your old profiles and want your data. If you feel like you're missing data, we've saved a copy of your old profile (and alias) and our Customer Care team can retrieve this information. You won't, however, be able to revert back to your old profile format, but you will be able to get any data that you think is missing. To do this, please go here to contact Customer Care.' There were 850 comments posted, all negative, on the first day. There are hundreds more today. There is even more outrage on the Yahoo Messenger blog."
SonicSpike points us to a Chicago Tribune article reporting that in Colorado the Air Force is jamming garage doors. In a joint U.S.-Canadian operation, they were testing communications on a frequency that would be used by first responders in the event of a threat to homeland security. From the article: "But the frequency also controls an estimated 50 million garage door openers, and hundreds of residents in the area found that theirs had suddenly stopped working... Technically, the Air Force has the right to the frequency, which it began using nearly three years ago at some bases. Signals have previously interfered with garage doors near bases in Florida, Maryland, and Pennsylvania."
flanksteak writes "The National Institute of Standards and Technology is going to recommend the decertification of all electronic voting machines that don't create paper records. Although it sounds like this recommendation may have been in the works for a while, the recent issues in Sarasota, FL (18,000 missing votes) have brought the issue a higher profile. The most interesting comment in the story comes near the end, in which the author cites a study that said paper trails from electronic voting machines aren't all they're cracked up to be."
narramissic writes "ITworld is reporting that a shareholder lawsuit against HP for pretexting has been expanded to include charges of insider stock trading. On top of everything else, eight executives implicated in the spying ring also participated in the sale of 1.7 million shares of the company. " From the article: "An amended complaint filed Wednesday in the Superior Court of California for Santa Clara County accuses HP Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd and seven other company executives of selling $41.3 million worth of HP stock at 'inflated prices' shortly before the company revealed that its investigators had used questionable and possibly illegal techniques to gain access to personal records such as phone call logs."