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Firefox

Mozilla Combines Social API and WebRTC 44

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the neckbeards-in-hi-def dept.
theweatherelectric writes "Mozilla has put together a demo which combines WebRTC with Firefox's Social API. Over on Mozilla's Future Releases blog, Maire Reavy writes, 'WebRTC is a powerful new tool that enables web app developers to include real-time video calling and data sharing capabilities in their products. While many of us are excited about WebRTC because it will enable several cool gaming applications and improve the performance and availability of video conferencing apps, WebRTC is proving to be a great tool for social apps. Sometimes when you're chatting with a friend, you just want to click on their name and see and talk with them in real-time. Imagine being able to do that without any glitches or hassles, and then while talking with them, easily share almost anything on your computer or device: vacation photos, memorable videos — or even just a link to a news story you thought they might be interested in – simply by dragging the item into your video chat window.'"

1 World Trade Center Becomes the Tallest Building In NYC 407

Posted by Soulskill
from the touching-the-sky dept.
darthcamaro writes "On 9/11, terrorists took the lives of thousands of Americans — and removed a pair of icons from the New York City skyline. For the last 10+ years, The Empire State Building was the tallest building in NYC, but that changed today. 'Poking into the sky, the first column of the 100th floor of 1 World Trade Center will bring the tower to a height of 1,271 feet, making it 21 feet higher than the Empire State Building.'"
Biotech

Treating Depression With Electrodes Inside the Brain 237

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-waiting-on-a-tasp dept.
cowtamer writes "CNN has a writeup on a method of treating depression with implanted electrodes. If this works, we may be seeing a lot more of this type of technology in the future. '[The patients] were lightly sedated when the holes were drilled and the electrodes implanted, but they were awake to describe what they experienced. Several patients reported profound changes just minutes after the stimulator was turned on. One said the room suddenly seemed brighter and colors were more intense. Another described heightened feelings of connectedness and a disappearance of the void.' While I haven't looked into any of the academic literature on this, it seems that yet another Larry Niven Prediction has come true!"
Communications

How Mailinator Compresses Its Email Stream By 90% 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the ever-faster-ever-smaller dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Paul Tyma, creator of Mailinator, writes about a greedy algorithm to analyze the huge amount of email Mailinator receives and finds ways to reduce its memory footprint by 90%. Quoting: 'I grabbed a few hundred megs of the Mailinator stream and ran it through several compressors. Mostly just stuff I had on hand 7z, bzip, gzip, etc. Venerable zip reduced the file by 63%. Not bad. Then I tried the LZMA/2 algorithm (7z) which got it down by 85%! Well. OK! Article is over! Everyone out! 85% is good enough. Actually — there were two problems with that result. One was that, LZMA, like many compression algorithms build their dictionary based on a fixed dataset. As it compresses it builds a dictionary of common sequences and improves and uses that dictionary to compress everything thereafter. That works great on static files — but Mailinator is not a static file. Its a big, honking, several gigabyte cache of ever changing email. If I compressed a million emails, and then some user wanted to read email #502,922 — I'd have to "seek" through the preceding half-million or so to build the dictionary in order to decompress it. That's probably not feasible.'"
Medicine

Cystic Fibrosis Gene Correction Drug Approved by the FDA 264

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the living-is-expensive dept.
tguyton writes "The good news: the FDA just approved the distribution of the first drug to treat the underlying cause of Cystic Fibrosis, called Kalydeco by Vertex Pharmaceuticals. The bad news: this drug will only affect 4% of patients with the disease in the U.S. From the article: '[Affected patients] with the so-called G551D mutation have a defective protein that fails to balance the flow of chloride and water across the cell wall, leading to the buildup of internal mucus. The vast majority of cystic fibrosis patients have a different genetic defect, in which the protein does not reach the cell wall. Vertex is developing another drug to try and address that problem. Study data for that drug is expected later this year.' Hopefully the research involved will be applicable to finding treatments for other genetic diseases." Further bad news: "...executives said Kalydeco would cost $294,000 for a year's supply, placing it among the most expensive prescription drugs sold in the U.S."
Books

For Texas Textbooks, a Victory For Evolution 626

Posted by timothy
from the evolving-attitude dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Texas Board of Education has unanimously come down on the side of evolution. In an 8-0 vote, the board today approved scientifically accurate high school biology textbook supplements from established mainstream publishers — and did not approve the creationist-backed supplements from International Databases, LLC."
Microsoft

Ex-Microsoft CTO Writes $625 Cookbook 176

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the one-helluva-ramen-packet dept.
carusoj writes "Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft's first CTO, made his mark in the tech world. Now he's cemented his place in the world of cooking and food science with the publication of a groundbreaking six-volume, 2,438-page cookbook. Some of the techniques in Myhrvold's Modernist Cuisine are intimidating, to put it mildly, calling for such daunting ingredients as liquid nitrogen and equipment such as centrifuges and rotor-stator homogenizers. But Myhrvold and his co-authors insist that the majority of recipes can be made in a conventional home kitchen — with a few recommended, inexpensive extras such as a digital gram scale and water bath for sous vide cooking." Dear Bosses: When you see the centrifuge on my March expense report, please note that this is a legitmate business expense. If you're still curious, we ran a story a couple years ago on Nathan's Kitchen Lab.
Books

Hollywood's Growing Obsession With Philip K. Dick 244

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the can-we-call-him-pip dept.
bowman9991 writes "Even after Blade Runner, A Scanner Darkly, Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck, Impostor, and Next, it appears Hollywood's lust for movies based on Philip K. Dick material continues. The Adjustment Bureau, starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, and Terence Stamp, is the latest, and features some classic Dick themes, including the fragile nature of reality and a fight against a world controlled and manipulated by powerful unseen entities. When Congressman David Norris meets the love of his life after a political defeat, he must peel back the layers of reality to discover why a mysterious group is so desperate to make sure they never meet again. He is up against the agents of fate itself — the men of The Adjustment Bureau. The Adjustment Bureau adaptation follows news that Terry Gilliam will adapt Dick's novel The World Jones Made, that Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said and Ubik are being adapted, and that a remake of Total Recall is being developed by the ironically named Original Films Studio."
Earth

Alaskans Prepare For Volcanic Eruption 293

Posted by kdawson
from the anchorage-is-downwind dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mount Redoubt, or Redoubt Volcano, is an active stratovolcano in the largely volcanic Aleutian Range of Alaska. The once quiet volcano has begun to roar once again. Its last eruption was in 1989 and geologists suggest that the next one is upon us. Alaskans who lived through the earlier eruption are stocking up on breathing masks and goggles. Starting on Friday, January 23 2009, the level of seismic activity increased markedly, and on Sunday AVO raised the Aviation Color Code to ORANGE and the Volcano Alert Level to WATCH. On the basis of all available monitoring data AVO regards that an eruption similar to or smaller than the one that occurred in 1989-90 is the most probable outcome. We expect such an eruption to occur within days to weeks." From the AP article: "Alaska's volcanoes are not like Hawaii's. 'Most of them don't put out the red river of lava,' said the observatory's John Power. Instead, they typically explode and shoot ash 30,000 to 50,000 feet high — more than nine miles — into the jet stream. 'It's a very abrasive kind of rock fragment,' Power said. The particulate has jagged edges and has been used as an industrial abrasive. 'They use this to polish all kinds of metals,' he said." The server for the Alaska Volcano Observatory appears to be overloaded and is unresponsive.
Google

Google's GeoEye-1 Takes Its First Pictures 152

Posted by timothy
from the seattle's-beauty-would-damage-the-sensors dept.
Kev92486 writes "I was scanning through my RSS feeds today and happened upon an article about Google's GeoEye-1 imaging satellite which launched on Sept 6. Intrigued as to what the quality of the image was like, I decided to check it out only to find that the first picture was actually of my college campus, Kutztown University (Pennsylvania).
I had to make sure I was reading the article correctly as Kutztown is not a very large or well known campus. I'm not sure as to why they chose Kutztown for their first pictures. I would be interested if anybody could provide some sort of insight as to what process was used to select the first test location. Was the satellite simply in a convenient orbit to snap pictures of Kutztown?"
Update: 10/09 20:56 GMT by T : HotHardware has its own article up on GeoEye-1, if you'd like your words and pictures in the same place.

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