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Censorship

Irish Domain Registry Banning Adult Domains 222

Karate Sid writes "An Irish adult website has blogged about the Irish domain registry banning adult domain names, including porn.ie and pornography.ie. The IEDR's reasoning is that the words 'porn' and 'pornography' are offensive and immoral. Of interest is how Sex.ie took legal action against the IEDR — and proved that neither word is offensive — yet still lost the case, as the IEDR are the highest authority in Ireland when it comes to deciding what is and isn't an offensive domain."
Space

Gravitational Waves May Have Been Detected In 1987 221

KentuckyFC writes "In 1987, a physicist called Joe Weber claimed to have detected gravitational waves at the same time that other scientists spotted a supernova called SN1987A. His claims were largely ignored because of calculations showing that gravitational waves could not be strong enough to be picked up by Weber's equipment, a set of giant aluminium cylinders designed to vibrate as the waves passed by. But these calculations were based on first order effects in the way spacetime can be distorted. Now a new analysis shows that second order effects can enhance gravitational waves by four orders of magnitude, but only when certain asymmetries are present. It turns out that SN1987A possesses just the right kind of asymmetries to make this enhancement possible because the supernova wasn't entirely spherical. Which means that Weber, who died in 2000, may have been the first to see gravitational waves after all."
Earth

Is Climate Change Affecting Bushfires? 397

TapeCutter writes "After the devastating firestorm in Australia, there has been a lot of speculation in the press about the role of climate change. For the 'pro' argument the BBC article points to research by the CSIRO. For the 'con' argument they quote David Packham of Monash university, who is not alone in thinking '...excluding prescribed burning and fuel management has led to the highest fuel concentrations we have ever had...' However, the DSE's 2008 annual report states; '[The DSE] achieved a planned burning program of more than 156,000 hectares, the best result for more than a decade. The planned burning of forest undergrowth is by far the most powerful management tool available...' I drove through Kilmore on the evening of the firestorm, and in my 50 years of living with fire I have never seen a smoke plume anything like it. It was reported to be 15 km high and creating its own lightning. There were also reports of car windscreens and engine blocks melting. So what was it that made such an unusual firestorm possible, and will it happen again?"
Privacy

Accessing Medical Files Over P2P Networks 137

Gov IT writes with this excerpt from NextGov: "Just days after President Obama signed a law giving billions of dollars to develop electronic health records, a university technology professor submitted a paper showing that he was able to uncover tens of thousands of medical files containing names, addresses and Social Security numbers for patients seeking treatment for conditions ranging from AIDS to mental health problems. ... The basic technology that runs peer-to-peer networks inadvertently exposed the files probably without the computer user's knowledge, Johnson said. A health care worker might have loaded patient files onto a laptop, for example, and taken it home where a son or daughter could have downloaded a peer-to-peer client onto the laptop to share music."
Censorship

Australian Judge Rules Simpsons Cartoon Rip-off Is Child Porn 612

An anonymous reader was one of several to note a bizarre story in which an Australian judge ruled that drawings can be child porn. In this case, it was knock off drawings of the Simpsons doing naughty things. Good thing they're going to be censoring the Down Undernet soon. Who knows what damage this could cause.
Medicine

Saving 28,000 Lives a Year 263

The New Yorker is running a piece by Atul Gawande that starts by describing the everyday miracles that can be achieved in a modern medical intensive care unit, and ends by making a case for a simple and inexpensive way to save 28,000 lives per year in US ICUs, at a one-time cost of a few million dollars. This medical miracle is the checklist. Gawande details how modern medicine has spiraled into complexity beyond any person's ability to track — and nowhere more so than in the ICU. "A decade ago, Israeli scientists published a study in which engineers observed patient care in ICUs for twenty-four-hour stretches. They found that the average patient required a hundred and seventy-eight individual actions per day, ranging from administering a drug to suctioning the lungs, and every one of them posed risks. Remarkably, the nurses and doctors were observed to make an error in just one per cent of these actions — but that still amounted to an average of two errors a day with every patient. Intensive care succeeds only when we hold the odds of doing harm low enough for the odds of doing good to prevail. This is hard." The article goes on to profile a doctor named Peter Pronovost, who has extensively studied the ability of the simplest of complexity tamers — the checklist — to save lives in the ICU setting. Pronovost oversaw the introduction of checklists in the ICUs in hospitals across Michigan, and the result was a thousand lives saved in a year. That would translate to 28,000 per year if scaled nationwide, and Pronovost estimates the cost of doing that at $3 million.
Medicine

Cold Sore Virus May Be Alzheimer's Smoking Gun 285

Science Daily is reporting that the virus behind cold sores has been found to be a major cause of the insoluble protein plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer's disease sufferers. Researchers believe the herpes simplex virus is a significant factor in developing the debilitating disease and could be treated by antiviral agents such as acyclovir, which is already used to treat cold sores and other diseases caused by the herpes virus. Another future possibility is vaccination against the virus to prevent the development of Alzheimer's in the first place. The research was just published in the Journal of Pathology (abstract).

Feed Macworld: Empty Your Inbox: Gmail tips (macworld.com)

For Gmail fans, Google's Web-based e-mail service offers lots of tricks for organizing your e-mail, clearing out your inbox, and finding e-mail messages fast. These nine tips will get you get organized now.


Feed Science Daily: HIV Peptide's Possible Pathway Into The Cell Revealed (sciencedaily.com)

Theoretical physicists have uncovered what they believe is the long-sought-after pathway that an HIV peptide takes to enter healthy cells. The theorists analyzed two years of biocomputation and simulation to uncover a surprisingly simple mechanism describing how this protein fragment penetrates the cell membrane. The discovery could help scientists treat other human illnesses by exploiting the same molecules that make HIV so deadly proficient.


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