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Biotech

Personal Genomics Firm 23andMe Patents Designer Baby System 171

Posted by timothy
from the not-creepy-at-all dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Consumer genomics company 23andMe has developed a system for helping prospective parents choose the traits of their offspring, from disease risk to hair color. The patent — number 8543339, "Gamete donor selection based on genetic calculations" — describes a technology that would take a customer's preferences for a child's traits, compute the likely genomic outcomes of combinations between a customer's sperm or egg and other people's sex cells, and describe which potential reproductive matches would most likely produce the desired baby."
Crime

Brooklyn Yogurt Shop Sting Snares Fake Reviewers For NY Attorney General 168

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the believe-nothing dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Reuters reports that nineteen companies caught writing fake reviews on websites such as Yelp, Google Local and CitySearch have been snared in a year-long sting operation by the New York Attorney General and will pay $350,000 in penalties. The Attorney General's office set up a fake yogurt shop in Brooklyn, New York, and sought help from firms that specialize in boosting online search results to combat negative reviews. Search optimization companies offered to post fake reviews of the yogurt shop, created online profiles, and paid as little as $1 per review to freelance writers in the Philippines, Bangladesh and Eastern Europe. To avoid detection the companies used 'advanced IP spoofing techniques' to hide their true identities. 'This investigation into large-scale, intentional deceit across the Internet tells us that we should approach online reviews with caution,' said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. 'More than 100 million visitors come to Yelp each month, making it critical that Yelp protect the integrity of its content,' said Aaron Schur, Yelp's Senior Litigation Counsel."
AI

How Could Swarms of Robots Help Humanity? 67

Posted by timothy
from the terrible-secret-of-space dept.
ceview writes "Researchers at Sheffield Centre for Robotics have demonstrated that a swarm of 40 robots can carry out simple fetching and carrying tasks. This is done by grouping around an object and working together to push it across a surface. They believe that this could provide opportunities for us mere humans to harness such power to do all sorts of things like safety — what like catching falling workers perhaps? Youtube action here."
Science

Berkeley Scientists Plan To 'Jurassic Park' Some Extinct Pigeons Back To Life 209

Posted by Soulskill
from the hold-on-to-your-butts dept.
phenopticon writes "Researchers at Berkeley are attempting to revive the extinct passenger pigeon in order to set up a remote island theme park full of resurrected semi-modern extinct animals. (Well, maybe not that last part.) Quoting: 'About 1,500 passenger pigeons inhabit museum collections. They are all that's left of a species once perceived as a limitless resource. The birds were shipped in boxcars by the tons, sold as meat for 31 cents per dozen, and plucked for mattress feathers. But in a mere 25 years, the population shrank from billions to thousands as commercial hunters decimated nesting flocks. Martha, the last living bird, took her place under museum glass in 1914. ... Ben Novak doesn't believe the story should end there. The 26-year-old genetics student is convinced that new technology can bring the passenger pigeon back to life. "This whole idea that extinction is forever is just nonsense," he says. Novak spent the last five years working to decipher the bird's genes, and now he has put his graduate studies on hold to pursue a goal he'd once described in a junior high school fair presentation: de-extinction. ... Using next-generation sequencing, scientists identified the passenger pigeon's closest living relative: Patagioenas fasciata, the ubiquitous band-tailed pigeon of the American west. This was an important step. The short, mangled DNA fragments from the museums' passenger pigeons don't overlap enough for a computer to reassemble them, but the modern band-tailed pigeon genome could serve as a scaffold. Mapping passenger pigeon fragments onto the band-tailed sequence would suggest their original order."

Comment: Re:Hence it's behind a firewall (Score 1) 249

by lengel (#42264053) Attached to: Zero Day Hole In Samsung Smart TVs Could Have TV Watching You

Since the article is very light on details there is no way to be sure, but I assume the attack vector came in through the web browser. I honestly can't imagine this TV having open ports to be directly attacked from the outside. Why would it need these? On top of this I also would suspect the LAN to have a firewall that should also be blocking any ports left open on the TV for whatever reason.

Comment: Re:Headers (Score 3, Insightful) 562

by lengel (#41979275) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: AT&T's Data Usage Definition Proprietary?

A bushel is a bushel, a head is a head, a pound is a pound, and a gigabyte is a gigabyte.

Except when it's a gibibyte. Chances are his router uses 1024 bytes per KB, and AT&T are using 1000 bytes per KB.

No wonder it is proprietary information.

Except by my math, this only accounts for a 2.4% difference.

Earth

Organics Can't Match Conventional Farm Yields 452

Posted by timothy
from the that's-what-they-want-you-to-think dept.
scibri writes "A comprehensive analysis published in Nature (abstract) suggests that organic farming could supply needs in some circumstances. But yields are lower than in conventional farming, so producing the bulk of the globe's diet will still require chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The meta-analysis reviewed 66 studies comparing the yields of 34 different crop species in organic and conventional farming systems. The researchers included only studies that assessed the total land area used, allowing them to compare crop yields per unit area. Many previous studies that have showed large yields for organic farming ignore the size of the area planted — which is often bigger than in conventional farming. Crop yields from organic farming are as much as 34% lower than those from comparable conventional farming practices, though in some cases, notably with strawberries and soybeans, the gap is as small as 3%."
Government

Multi-Target Photo-Radar System To Make Speeding Riskier 506

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-finish-building-that-stealth-buick dept.
mrquagmire writes with this excerpt from Engadget: "Go easy on the gas, Speed Racer, because Cordon is on its way. Developed by Simicon, this new speed sensor promises to take highway surveillance to new heights of precision. Unlike most photo radar systems, which track only one violator at a time, Simicon's device can simultaneously identify and follow up to 32 vehicles across four lanes. Whenever a car enters its range, the Cordon will automatically generate two images: one from wide-angle view and one closeup shot of the vehicle's license plate. It's also capable of instantly measuring a car's speed and mapping its position, and can easily be synced with other databases via WiFi, 3G or WiMAX."

Comment: My interpretation (Score 1) 373

by lengel (#37872322) Attached to: The RMS Tour Rider

How I read the VERY long post:

Free, free, free (keep repeating over and over again, the "postercomments" compression filter does not allow me to produce the visual effect)

Buy my book.

Free, free, free (keep repeating over and over again, the "postercomments" compression filter does not allow me to produce the visual effect)

NASA

How To Deflect an Asteroid With Today's Technology 264

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-use-the-phasers dept.
Matt_dk writes "Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart is among an international group of people championing the need for the human race to prepare for what will certainly happen one day: an asteroid threat to Earth. Schweickart said the technology is available today to send a mission to an asteroid in an attempt to move it, or change its orbit so that an asteroid that threatens to hit Earth will pass by harmlessly. But what would such a mission entail?"
Medicine

Ultrasound As a Male Contraceptive 599

Posted by kdawson
from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.
TeslaBoy writes "The BBC has an article about using ultrasound aimed at the testicles as a reversible male contraceptive. This can last for six months. With a grant of $100,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, researchers at the University of North Carolina will push ahead with more clinical trials, fine tuning, and safety tests."
Image

Oil Leak Could Be Stopped With a Nuke 799 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the lesser-of-two-disasters dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico could be stopped with an underground nuclear blast, a Russian newspaper reports. Komsomoloskaya Pravda, the best-selling Russian daily, reports that in Soviet times such leaks were plugged with controlled nuclear blasts underground. The idea is simple, KP writes: 'The underground explosion moves the rock, presses on it, and, in essence, squeezes the well's channel.' It's so simple, in fact, that the Soviet Union used this method five times to deal with petrocalamities, and it only didn't work once."

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