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Medicine

Meet the Doctor Trying To Use the Blood of Ebola Survivors To Create a Cure 33

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 21

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 4, Informative) 359

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.

Linux

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:von Neumann probes (Score 1) 388

by c (#48636493) Attached to: The Dominant Life Form In the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

A real head-scratching conundrum about the universe is explaining why it's not already overrun with self-replicating robots.

Because the need/urge to reproduce and expand your territory is a biological imperative which would have to be taught to robots?

Because an biological lifeform smart enough to make immortal intelligent robots might just be smart enough not to also make them infinitely self-replicating?

Because the universe is big enough and hostile enough to make unbounded expansion less than a sure thing?

Comment: Re:Is a lame Seth Rogen flick worth dying for? (Score 4, Interesting) 220

by c (#48635267) Attached to: Hackers' Shutdown of 'The Interview' Confirms Coding Is a Superpower

My question is whether a Hollywood B movie is a cause worth anyone -- our military and diplomatic people, civilians movie goers -- risking their lives?

I hate to quote celebrities, but George Clooney makes a good point:

"With the First Amendment, you're never protecting Jefferson; it's usually protecting some guy who's burning a flag or doing something stupid."

Comment: Re:Home of the brave? (Score 1) 586

by c (#48625231) Attached to: Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

Yes, I'd go to the mall. I have a better chance of being killed in an accident driving to the mall.

I will bet your chances of being killed in a mall go way up if there are specific threats against that mall.

Absolutely. If there's specific threats against that mall, there's going to be a fuckton of heavily armed law enforcement types swarming the place. Anybody with a grasp of statistics and/or current events should know that's a situation to avoid.

Comment: Re:Opposite of the reaction they should have (Score 1) 586

by c (#48622449) Attached to: Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release

The ONLY people in the whole world who really care about this two-bit movie are the North Koreans. They're not going to pull off any real terrorist attacks.

Sony is a Japanese corporation. Japan is, if you glance at a map, within spitting distance of North Korea. North Korea is well known for being collectively batshit insane, and for pulling some bad stuff on Japan with less cause.

I wouldn't be making bets either way on this one...

Comment: Re:Yeah, that'll work. Sure. (Score 1) 388

by c (#48622343) Attached to: Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

Unfortunately, many (small) websites are hosted on a shared server with one IP for multiple domains. The name is required in the URL else it simply does not work.

It's required in the HTTP Host header, but close enough.

I'm aware that it won't work for everyone, but in this particular discussion we're talking about sites that nobody in their right mind should ever be sharing a server with, nor do I believe a site like the Pirate Bay would want to get pinned down to a specific server.

In any case, if Sony decides to have a go at a small website, they're pretty much screwed irrespective of web server configuration.

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: Yeah, that'll work. Sure. (Score 1) 388

by c (#48618065) Attached to: Sony Leaks Reveal Hollywood Is Trying To Break DNS

A huge number of people already barely use DNS. They go to places like "The Pirate Bay" by entering "The Pirate Bay" in the Google Search window, and following the first link or two that they find. So, if Google indexes 194.71.107.27 or there's a Wikipedia link to it (since, you know, that'd be newsworthy), the effect of a DNS ban has little impact on the original discovery of the site URL.

Some (stupid) ISP's already take care of this search mechanism... enter a bad URL, go right to a search page. Most browsers will also be more than happy to help out.

It'll break bookmarks, but once you know something exists, has value to you, and you know how to find it, it's nothing more than an inconvenience.

In other words, delisting doesn't work for longer than it takes a new URL to propagate.

Taking over the hostname would last a little longer, but news travels fast.

You know you've been spending too much time on the computer when your friend misdates a check, and you suggest adding a "++" to fix it.

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