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+ - Profits! Profits! Profits! Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a Real Business

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "According to Steve Ballmer, Amazon.com is not a real business. “They make no money,” Ballmer said on the Charlie Rose Show. “In my world, you’re not a real business until you make some money. I have a hard time with businesses that don’t make money at some point.” Ballmer’s comments come as Amazon posted a $437 million loss for the third quarter, disappointing Wall Street. "If you are worth $150 billion," Ballmer added, "eventually somebody thinks you’re going to make $15 billion pre-tax. They make about zero, and there’s a big gap between zero and 15." Fired-up as ever, LA Clippers owner Ballmer's diss comes after fellow NBA owner Mark Cuban similarly slammed IBM, saying Big Blue is no longer a tech company (Robert X. Cringely seems to concur). "Today, they [IBM] specialize in financial engineering," Cuban told CNBC after IBM posted another disappointing quarter. "They're no longer a tech company, they are an amalgamation of different companies that they are trying to arb[itrage] on Wall Street, and I'm not a fan of that at all.""

+ - More brainlessness from Ebola experts and government operatives

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "A doctor, having just returned from Guinea where he was frequently exposed to ebola, wandered about New York City for days, thus ignoring government protocols that required him to limit his contact with outsiders.

Lo and behold, 9 days after his return he is diagnosed with Ebola.

However, this isn't the worst of it. The police, after securing the doctor's apartment, removed their gloves and masks used to protect them and dumped them in an ordinary street trash container on a public street."

Comment: Should be VERY USEFUL for gene & stem cell the (Score 1) 45

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48226945) Attached to: Detritus From Cancer Cells May Infect Healthy Cells

This should be REALLY USEFUL - for gene therapy and stem cell therapy.

One of the big problems with such therapies is how to deliver the modified genes or regulators to the target cells, without converting them to something that would be rejected or otherwise have unintended markers or modifications.

One approach is to deliver genes or regulatory chemicals via a modified virius or using viral capsid proteins to construct an "injector". (A family of methods for turning harvested somatic cells into toti/pluri/multi/unipotent stem cells consists of inserting four regulatory proteins - by inserting about four GENES THAT CODE FOR THEM via a modified virus.)

Now here we have a a method, already used by the body, to transport RNA signalling snippets and other factors from one cell into another, by a sending cell creating virus-like carrier particles that destination cells readily accept and absorb.

THAT looks like an IDEAL basis for building a carrier for regulatory factors to switch cell modes on and off, or to tote new genetic material into a target cell for incorporation, to correct genetic errors or supply lost genes:

  1) Make fake exosomes carrying the message you want to deliver.
  2) Inject them into the tissue you want to affect.
  3) Rewrite the state or code of the target cells.
  4) Cure disease (or otherwise augment the patient's health).
  5) PROFIT!

Comment: But I bet it's descended from a virus. (Score 1) 45

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48226881) Attached to: Detritus From Cancer Cells May Infect Healthy Cells

Viruses by definition contain genetic code from outside the host organism.

On the other hand, just as some organelles (i.e. mitochondria, chloroplasts) are apparently the remnant of a microbial infection or ancient symbiosis that became integrated, there are several cellular mechanisms that are apparently remnants of an ancient retrovirus infection, where the bulk of the viral genome was lost but one of its mechanisms was retained and adapted to perform some useful new function.

I'd be willing to bet this is another example of such an

Comment: Not necessarily. (Score 1) 45

by Ungrounded Lightning (#48226835) Attached to: Detritus From Cancer Cells May Infect Healthy Cells

No, you'd have to be inbred with the cancer 'donor' to not reject their cancer as readily as you'd reject an organ transplant from them.

Not necessarily.

These things aren't carrying the full-blown genome. They're carrying little bits of it - like regulatory switches (or something that functions like that). They ought to be able, occasionally, to covert another person's cells JUST FINE without also marking them as any more foreign than an equivalent cancer naturally arising in that person.

+ - Verizon Injects Unique IDs into HTTP Traffic

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Verizon Wireless, the nation's largest wireless carrier, is now also a real-time data broker. According to a security researcher at Stanford, Big Red has been adding a unique identifier to web traffic. The purpose of the identifier is advertisement targeting, which is bad enough. But the design of the system also functions as a 'supercookie' for any website that a subscriber visits."

+ - Ask Slashdot: Bitcoin over Tor is a bad idea?->

Submitted by jd
jd (1658) writes "Researchers studying Bitcoin have determined that the level of anonymity of the cryptocurrency is low and that using Bitcoin over Tor provides an opportunity for a Man-in-the-Middle attack against Bitcoin users. (I must confess, at this point, that I can certainly see anonymity limitations helping expose what machine is linked to what Bitcoin ID, putting users at risk of exposure, but I don't see how this is a function of Tor, as the paper implies.)

It would seem worthwhile to examine both the Tor and Bitcoin protocols to establish if there is an actual threat there, as it must surely apply to any semi-anonymous protocol over Tor and Bitcoin has limited value as a cryptocurrency if all transactions have to be carried out in plain sight.

What are the opinions of other Slashdottians on this announcement? Should we be working on an entirely new cryptocurrency system? Is this a problem with Tor? Is this a case of the Scarlett Fish (aka: a red herring) or something to take seriously?"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Are you too happy? Facebook is the answer. (Score 1) 253

by Futurepower(R) (#48217833) Attached to: We Need Distributed Social Networks More Than Ello

Who needs social networks online?

Facebook solves a very serious problem. Are you too happy? Is it uncomfortable being happier than everyone else? Facebook is the answer. Read Facebook use predicts declines in happiness, new study finds. Or download the scientific paper.

+ - Google might poach Windows Phone's biggest app developer->

Submitted by Molly McHugh
Molly McHugh (3774987) writes "Rudy Huyn is a French app developer and an avid fan of Windows Phone. Huyn has created more than 20 apps for Microsoft’s mobile operating system, and including mobile apps for Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Wikipedia, 9gag, Secret, and Dropbox. He has also created his own apps like Fuse and TV Show. With a developer showing this much commitment, you’d think Microsoft would have taken notice and hired him. Not quite."
Link to Original Source

+ - Microsoft exec opens up about Research lab closure, layoffs->

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg (971356) writes "It's been a bit over a month since Microsoft shuttered its Microsoft Research lab in Silicon Valley as part of the company's broader restructuring that will include 18,000 layoffs. This week, Harry Shum, Microsoft EVP of Technology & Research, posted what he termed an "open letter to the academic research community" on the company's research blog.http://blogs.msdn.com/b/msr_er/archive/2014/10/21/harry-shum-open-letter-to-academic-research-community.aspx In the post, Shum is suitably contrite about the painful job cut decisions that were made in closing the lab, which opened in 2001. He also stresses that Microsoft will continue to invest in and value "fundamental research"."
Link to Original Source

+ - Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin at Tsinghua University in Beijing 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Abby Phillip reports at the Washington Post that that Mark Zuckerberg just posted a 30-minute Q&A at Tsinghua University in Beijing in which he answered every question exclusively in Chinese — a notoriously difficult language to learn and particularly, to speak. "It isn't just Zuckerberg's linguistic acrobatics that make this a notable moment," writes Philip. "This small gesture — although some would argue that it is a huge moment — is perhaps his strongest foray into the battle for hearts and minds in China." Zuckerberg and Facebook have been aggressively courting Chinese users for years and the potential financial upside for the business. Although Beijing has mostly banned Facebook, the company signed a contract for its first ever office in China earlier this year. A Westerner speaking Mandarin in China — at any level — tends to elicit joy from average Chinese, who seem to appreciate the effort and respect they feel learning Mandarin demonstrates. So how well did he actually do? One Mandarin speaker rates Zuckerberg's language skills at a seventh grader's speech: "It's hard not see a patronizing note in the Chinese audience's reaction to Zuckerberg's Mandarin. To borrow from Samuel Johnson's quip, he was like a dog walking on its hind legs: It wasn't done well, but it was a surprise to see it done at all.""

Comment: Re:Exinction (Score 1) 127

This seems like circular logic. First one has to define what a "Neanderthal" is before answering that question.

Yep. A lot of taxonomy is like that.

In the process of classifying things they're trying to find or define sharp boundaries on a subject matter that is actually a continuum.

I recall, in my first encounters with the subject, trying to get a coherent definition of the distinctions between species, genus, family etc.. The instructor was utterly uanble to provide one. (Of course this WAS at the junior-high level.)

DNA technology is also substantially revamping the whole field. Previously they had to infer what genes various organisms had by observing their expressions in morphology - which makes it hard to track genes that are there but "turned off". Now that they can actually sequence the DNA (or the expressed protiens when the sample is too old for DNA and RNA to survive) a lot of the classifications are getting rearranged.

Was Neanderthal a species, or something more akin to a colorform? What constitutes extinction when a branch that once interbred with another dies out, but leaves behind a substantial amount of its DNA? Did the two branches actually "speciate", i.e. separate to the point where the COULDN'T interbreed, or at least couldn't produce viable crossbreed offspring that could produce offspring of their own in turn? Or was it just that they mostly DIDN'T interbreed? Were they like the races of the current human species (clusters of different traits but one big gene pool), like horses and donkeys (where crossbreeds are easy but mostly infertile), or like fully-speciated organisms that might try but just can't produce offspring? Did they go extinct, or did most of their traits just gradually (or suddenly, as in a near-extinction event where all the copies of a gene were in the places where everybody died off) get lost from the geneome of the one big human family?

Seems to me it's mostly a matter of definition and partly a subject for more research.

Don't ask me for an authoritative definition. I'm just another observer, not a taxonimist. B-)

"It is easier to fight for principles than to live up to them." -- Alfred Adler

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