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Comment: Re:Science fiction is not about the future... (Score 2) 210

by slack-fu (#38976897) Attached to: The Science Fiction Effect

Frankenstein, for example, never exactly explains in concrete terms exactly how the monster was brought to life, or how it survived, or what it ate, or actual and exact process undertaken to reproduce the experiment.

I think you need to read the book again, Shelley goes into great detail on how the monster survived and ate, although your points on the experiment are true.

Earth

Fatal Explosion At Russian Hydroelectric Dam 336

Posted by kdawson
from the price-of-green dept.
stadium writes "An oil-filled transformer exploded at the Sayano-Shushenskaya power plant in Siberia, destroying three turbines and bringing down the ceiling of the turbine hall, which then violently flooded. The dam itself did not sustain any damage. It is unclear how many people were killed, but with 12 confirmed deaths and as many as 64 still missing (all presumed dead), this is a serious incident. The huge transformer had enough oil in it to produce a three-mile-long oil spill slowly moving downriver. BBC News reports with three separate videos. The dam produces a quarter of the total energy of RusHydro (whose stock thus took a steep dive at London Stock Exchange) and also feeds the world's largest aluminum smelter. The damages will take years to repair."
Patents

Doctors Fight Patent On Medical Knowledge 205

Posted by kdawson
from the no-not-patent-medicine dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Doctor's groups, including the AMA and too many others to list, are supporting the Mayo Clinic in the case Prometheus v. Mayo. The Mayo Clinic alleges that the patents in question merely recite a natural phenomenon: the simple fact that the level of metabolites of a drug in a person's body can tell you how a patient is responding to that drug. The particular metabolites in this case are those of thiopurine drugs and the tests are covered by Prometheus Lab's 6,355,623 and 6,680,302 patents. But these aren't the only 'observational' patents in medicine — they're part of a trend where patents are sought to cover any test using the fact that gene XYZ is an indicator for some disease, or that certain chemicals in a blood sample indicate something about a patient's condition. There are even allegations that certain labs have gone so far as to send blood samples to a university lab, order testing for patented indicators, then sue that university for infringement. Naturally, Prometheus Labs sees this whole story differently, arguing that the Mayo Clinic will profit from treating patients with knowledge patented by them. They have their own supporters, too, such as the American Intellectual Property Law Association." Prometheus doesn't seem to be a classic patent troll; they actually perform the tests for which they have obtained patents.
Security

Calif. Politican Thinks Blurred Online Maps Would Deter Terrorists 597

Posted by timothy
from the fuzzy-logic-feels-warm-and-soft dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "California Assemblyman Joel Anderson plans to introduce a bill to force Google Earth and similar services to blur images of so-called 'soft targets' like schools, hospitals, churches and government buildings to protect them from terrorists. 'All I'm trying to do is stop terrorists,' said Anderson. 'I don't want California to be helping map out future targets for terrorists.' Concerns that detailed satellite imagery and photographs available on Web services could help terrorists plan attacks are not new, with reports that terrorists have used such imagery to carry out attacks in Iraq and Israel, and an Indian court is considering a ban on Google Earth following reports that its imagery played a part in the Mumbai terrorist attacks."
Microsoft

Microsoft Asks For a Refund From Laid-Off Workers [updated] 424

Posted by timothy
from the sorry-for-any-inconvenience dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The large print giveth, the small print taketh away. Microsoft, which recently laid off 1400 employees, is now claiming that some of those lucky schmoes were inadvertently overpaid on their severance package. A letter from the company, which was subsequently circulated on the internet, states: 'We ask that you repay the overpayment and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to you.' Microsoft has confirmed the authenticity of the letter, but it's not known what the amounts in question are, or how many of the 1400 were affected." Update: 02/24 14:00 GMT by T : VinylRecords writes "Well, now Microsoft has recanted, saying that the situation has resulted in unfortunate amounts of bad press and public relations. 'This was a mistake on our part,' said a Microsoft spokesman in an e-mailed statement. 'We should have handled this situation in a more thoughtful manner.'"
Space

UN Plans Asteroid Response Framework 152

Posted by samzenpus
from the where's-bruce-willis dept.
chrb writes "The Association of Space Explorers, a non-profit group of people who have completed at least one Earth orbit in space, has presented a report to the United Nations titled Asteroid Threats: A Call for Global Response. The UN will now meet in February to discuss the issue and try to define a global political framework for dealing with asteroid-based threats to the Earth."

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