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Meet the Doctor Trying To Use the Blood of Ebola Survivors To Create a Cure 15

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-in-the-blood dept.
An anonymous reader points out this article about Dr. James Crowe, who is trying to use the blood of Ebola survivors to develop a cure. "For months, Vanderbilt University researcher Dr. James Crowe has been desperately seeking access to the blood of U.S. Ebola survivors, hoping to extract the proteins that helped them overcome the deadly virus for use in new, potent drugs. His efforts finally paid off in mid-November with a donation from Dr. Rick Sacra, a University of Massachusetts physician who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia. The donation puts Crowe at the forefront of a new model for fighting the virus, now responsible for the worst known outbreak in West Africa that has killed nearly 7,000 people. Crowe is working with privately-held drugmaker Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc, which he said will manufacture the antibodies for further testing under a National Institutes of Health grant. Mapp is currently testing its own drug ZMapp, a cocktail of three antibodies that has shown promise in treating a handful of Ebola patients."
Christmas Cheer

Goodbye, Alek's Internet-Controlled Christmas Lights for Celiac Research 11

Posted by timothy
from the ho-ho-ho-and-a-merry-old-hoax-except-it's-real-these-days dept.
Alek Komarnitsky, Colorado (and the Internet's) own Clark Griswold, has decided to retire as his own props master, programmer, best boy, and effects specialist. After 10 years of increasingly elaborate set-ups, Alek's decided to go out with a bang, with his largest-yet rooftop display of open-source powered, remotely controllable, internet-connected Christmas lights. (This year, he even matches the fictional Griswold's 25,000 lights, but truth tops fiction, with live webcams, animated props, and more.) We talked with Alek last year, too; but now he's got a full decade's worth of reminiscing about his jest-made-real hobby as That Guy With the Lights, and some advice for anyone who'd like to take on a project like this.

Alek has managed to stay on good terms with his neighbors, despite the car and foot traffic that his display has drawn, and kept himself from serious harm despite a complex of minor, overlapping risks including ladders, squirrels, a fair amount of electricity and (the most dangerous, he says) wind. The lights are what the world sees, but the video capture and distribution to the vast online audience is an equal part of the work. Alek has learned a lot along the way about automation, logistics, wireless networking, and the importance of load balancing. It's always possible the lights will return in some form, or that someone will take up the mantle as Blinkenlights master, but this tail end of 2014 (and the first day of 2015) is your last good chance to tune in and help toggle some of those lights. (The display operates from 1700-2200 Mountain time.) Alternate Video Link Update: 12/22 22:50 GMT by T : Note: Alek talks about the last year here.

Comment: N. Korea's Own Bad Ways Made This Possible (Score 2) 228

by Roblimo (#48655393) Attached to: North Korean Internet Is Down

Dictatorships that control their subjects' access to information like to have all Internet connections in their country pass through a single choke point so that they can maintain control. I once visited Saudi Arabia and met the guy responsible for all Internet traffic in and out of the country -- through a single link with a single backup.

This is good if you want to give your people only the access you want them to have, and to block everything else. At the same time, it means your whole country can be knocked offline by a single attack, which seems to be the problem N. Korea is experiencing. Imagine trying to knock the entire U.S. offline! It couldn't be done.

Cuba, OTOH.... well, that one may change soon. But N. Korea? Probably not, although I wish it would. A far more miserable place than Cuba has ever been.

Comment: Re:Brought it on ourselves (Score 1) 207

by Bob9113 (#48651715) Attached to: GCHQ Warns It Is Losing Track of Serious Criminals

It isn't so much that people are upset that police have the ability to listen in to phone calls or track us. Rather, they are upset that increasingly these powers are being used on everyone all the time, usually without needing a warrant or having any oversight. These powers have been, are and will continued to be abused by the authorities.

Came here to say this, and you said it better than I could. Thanks!

Comment: Stop Being Pawns and Do Our Bidding! (Score 1) 258

by Bob9113 (#48646781) Attached to: Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down

It is unfortunate that the millions of Fox News viewers on Dish were used as pawns by their provider. Hopefully they will vote with their hard earned money and seek another one of our other valued distributors immediately.

Stop being their pawns, do our bidding! Choke their cannon with your dead! And peel us some grapes!

Comment: Re:What took them so long? (Score 2) 202

by Bob9113 (#48646299) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

If "production networks" cannot be rendered totally secure, they should not exist. Moreover, if they do exist they should be wholly insulated from the Internet

There's always a connection to the Internet. Sometimes it is sneakernet, sometimes it uses photonic information dellivery to bio-ocular scanning device, which uses cranial data storage and processing, and meatfingers to transmit the data through an array of buttons commonly called a "keyboard"; but there is always a connection. Hacking airgapped networks (which are still networks, just with some strange hops through biochemical computers) is just another stop on the path. If we can trick a computer into accepting a "dangerous" value, we can do the same for humans. If we can train humans to reject those values, we can train computers to do the same.

Humans are just another kind of programmable machine on the network we call Earth, with different kinds of exploitable flaws. Right now we trust the machines more than we should so their security is weaker than the humans in many cases, and so the machines are the targets. But that will change though hard experience.

Not trying to contradict you, just noodling on the nature of being a node on a network.

Comment: Amateurs. We Are Cyborgs. (Score 3, Insightful) 385

by Bob9113 (#48637607) Attached to: The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

Susan Schneider, a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, joins a handful of astronomers, including Seth Shostak, director of NASA's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, NASA Astrobiologist Paul Davies, and Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology Stephen Dick in espousing the view that the dominant intelligence in the cosmos is probably artificial.

You know, my mechanical engineer friend had some really good suggestions about the appendix surgery I was planning to get. Perhaps I should let him make the call instead of the surgeon. Oh, wait, no, that would be stupid.

Notice how there aren't any artificial intelligence researchers on that list? They are no more qualified to discuss artificial intelligence than a mechanical engineer is to discuss surgery. Better than my dog, to be sure, but not good enough to take their word for it.

I am an artficial intelligence researcher. We are cyborgs, ever more tightly coupled to the increasingly intelligent machines -- like our smart phones -- that house ever more of our memory, our social circles, and our emotional artifacts. Whatever it is that makes us who we are, increasingly, is coupled to our machines. And we will continue to be cyborgs, with an increasing share of our consciousness handed off to the machines onto which we smear our selves.

It will not be us versus them. We are them.


LinuxFest Northwest 2015 Will be Held April 25 and 26 (Video) 21

Posted by Roblimo
from the the-coolest-conference-in-our-country's-upper-left-hand-corner dept.
Their website says, 'Come for the code, stay for the people! We have awesome attendees and electrifying parties. Check out the robotics club, the automated home brewing system running on Linux, or the game room for extra conference fun.' This is an all-volunteer conference, and for a change the volunteers who run it are getting things together far in advance instead of having sessions that don't get scheduled until a few days before the conference, which has happened more than once with LFNW.

So if you have an idea for a session, this is the time to start thinking about it. Sponsors are also welcome -- and since LFNW sponsorships regularly sell out, it's not to soon to start thinking about becoming a sponsor -- and if you are part of a non-profit group or FOSS project, LFNW offers free exhibit space because this is a conference that exists for the community, not to make money for a corporate owner. But don't delay. As you can imagine, those free exhibit spots tend to fill up early. (Alternate Video Link)

Comment: Re:Wildly premature question (Score 1) 81

by Bruce Perens (#48620117) Attached to: SpaceX To Attempt Falcon 9 Landing On Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship

If we look at jet aircraft, wear depends on the airframe and the engines, and the airframe seems to be the number of pressurize/depressurize cycles as well as the running hours. Engines get swapped out routinely but when the airframe has enough stress it's time to retire the aircraft lest it suffer catastrophic failure. Rockets are different in scale (much greater stresses) but we can expect the failure points due to age to be those two, with the addition of one main rocket-specific failure point: cryogenic tanks.

How long each will be reliable can be established using ground-based environmental testing. Nobody has the numbers for Falcon 9R yet.

Weight vs. reusable life will become a design decision in rocket design.

Comment: Re:Does the job still get done? (Score 1) 664

by Bob9113 (#48617391) Attached to: Economists Say Newest AI Technology Destroys More Jobs Than It Creates

If the job still gets done it's a good thing that jobs gets replaced by AI.
The flaw isn't in who does the work, but how the economic system around it is set up.

This is dead on the money. The traditional example is moving shoe manufacturing to China. The model says that if we move shoe manufacturing to lower wage countries, then US GDP will increase. As a result, the average income in the US will increase, even if the shoe makers in the US cannot find new jobs.

"But what about those shoe makers?"

"Well," the mathematical model says, "even if we have to provide financial aid to put those former shoe makers into jobs for which they are currently underqualified, the net economic benefit of moving the manufacturing overseas is a win for the US (and for China)."

It's actually all quite true. The mathematical model is as well-tested as gravity. But there's the rub -- right now we're just straight up shifting the cashflow out of labor and into capital gains. From those who work for a living to those who have investment money to put at risk -- without a commensurate job retraining program or economic incentives for employers who migrate those labor resources into the new economy. Done that way, it's absolute shit for the laborers. But what's worse is that leaves them as a wasteful drag on the economy instead of developing them as a productive economic resource. In the long run, it is worse even for the wealthy who are doing a little better in the short run. It is, from a purely objective economic standpoint, fiscally stupid.

And not only are we allowing the shift to happen, we're encouraging it by having a lower capital gains tax rate than the labor tax rate (complicated math, it's higher than the 15% or 20% that the left claims, and lower than the 40% counting corp tax that the right claims, but the real tax incidence of capital gains on the investor is substantially lower than the real tax incidence of income tax on a laborer with the same income).

We are creating the exact sort of economic conditions that have sparked most of the major economic revolutions since the dawn of civilization. And we're seeing the same rise of nationalist rhetoric fueled oligarchy that was at the center of each of those previous examples -- with one major change: This time it's happening in multiple countries at once. Abbot, Harper, and Cameron are as deeply tied to Wall Street and the surveillance industrial complex as Obama and the rest of the party-line Republocrats are.


Attorney Yasir Billoo Explains NDA Law (Video) 38

Posted by Roblimo
from the sometimes-you-need-to-know-a-little-about-law-even-if-you-don't-want-to dept.
Yasir Billoo, an attorney with Golden & Grimes in Miami, Florida, is licensed to practice law in both Florida and California, and works heavily in the areas of business/commercial law, employment and labor, and civil appeals. Yasir also has a business-oriented blog titled Small Business Law.

In this Slashdot video interview hosted by Timothy Lord, Yasir gives what is essentially a primer on the law behind Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and how they differ from Non-Competes. Sooner or later you're going to encounter -- or even write -- an NDA, and you'd better know the law behind what you're doing. Naturally, today's interview isn't specific legal advice about a particular situation. If you want that, you need to hire a lawyer to advise you. But Yasir (a long-time Slashdot reader. BTW) has shared enough knowledge in this interview that it will help you deal with many NDA situations on your own, and how to tell when you really should have a lawyer by your side. (Alternate Video Link )

Comment: Re:So much for his career (Score 2) 161

by Bob9113 (#48590901) Attached to: Former iTunes Engineer Tells Court He Worked To Block Competitors

I hardly doubt that a future employer would hold him accountable for telling the truth under oath.

Was that intentional, Freudian slip, or mistake? I mean, I concur 100% -- there is no doubt in my mind that the most successful US companies strongly favor a willingness to lie under oauth -- but then I've worked on Madison Ave and my brother worked on Wall Street, so I've seen the sausage get made.

Line Printer paper is strongest at the perforations.