explosivejared writes "The Federal Communications Commission is likely to impose a new regulation on the largely unregulated cable television industry, the first of what may be more to come. Under a proposed rule circulating at the FCC, cable companies such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable would have to slash the price they charge smaller television programmers to lease access on spare cable channels, a move the FCC says would open up cable viewers to a wider diversity of shows. In addition, the FCC is contemplating a national ownership cap that would prevent one company from having more than 30 percent of all cable subscribers." TechDirt has a jaundiced view of FCC chairman Martin's animus against the cablecos.
amigoro writes with the happy news that a possible vaccine against HIV is nearing readiness for clinical trials. The compound could provide a 'double whammy' by not only inoculating the patient against future infection, but destroying an HIV infection in progress. "The vaccine is an artificial virus-like particle whose outer casing consists of the TBI (T- and B cell epitopes containing immunogen) protein constructed by the researchers combined with the polyglucin protein. This protein contains nine components stimulating different cells of the immune system: both the ones that produce antibodies and the ones that devour the newcomer."
I'd agree with your concerns if they actually were creating really new life. The trouble is, that's just a marketing line. They're just doing what "genetic engineering" meant before the term got watered down. These days, genetic engineering means taking an existing life form and adding or modifying one or two genes within it. The impression I got when I first heard about the concept (and which you seldom hear anymore) was that of considering the entire genome of an organism, deciding what can stay and what should go, and what the removed stuff should be replaced with. I get the impression that "synthetic biology" is just a term trying to get back to that original concept.
rbgrn writes "A123 Systems claims to have invented a Lithium Ion battery that not only can discharge at very high rates of current but can be recharged very quickly without damage to the cells or overheating. From their website: 'A unique feature of A123Systems' M1 cells is their ability to charge to high capacity in 5 minutes or less. That's a significant improvement over traditional Li Ion, which typically requires more than 90 minutes to reach a similar level of charge.' Using this technology, General Motors has announced a plug-in hybrid SUV and Venture Vehicles is developing a fully electric 3 wheel vehicle. Politics aside, the main technological hurdle to mass adoption of electric cars has been a fuel station replacement when driving distances beyond a single charge worth of range. Will we finally be seeing high current recharge stations in the next decade?"
el crowbar sent us a link to an MSNBC article detailing NASA's plans for a moon base. The permanently staffed structure could begin construction sometime in 2010, with six-month duty rotations the norm by 2025. Interestingly, the space agency is looking far afield for technical expertise. Consultants on the project include individuals from Caterpillar, Norcat, Boeing, and other manufacturing concerns. Right now the only detail for placement and purpose is 'on the rim of a crater near one of the poles', but the article outlines a few other ideas that enterprising individuals have in mind for a moon base. Besides helium-3 mining and lunar hotels, do you have any good ideas for a moon base startup?
nz17 writes "Gamasutra has a preview of its upcoming interview with Dave Mitchell, Director of Marketing for Microsoft's Game Developer Group. In the interview Mitchell dismisses Linux on the PS3 as a game creators' solution and has said, 'What we [at XBox] are focused on doing is providing great tools at a free or low price point that are going to enable consumers to be absolutely successful at creating games for both the Windows and the Xbox 360 platforms.'"
dthomas731 writes, "After reading Ed Foster's blog about how the Embroidery Software Protection Coalition (ESPC) is suing grandmothers over using pirated digitized designs, I thought you might want to call your own grandmothers and tell them they are going to be needing a lawyer. And the ESPC is very serious. On the ESPC faq page they scare these grandmothers by telling them even if they didn't know the software was pirated, that 'Unfortunately, when it comes to copyright violations, ignorance is no defense.'"
Krishna Dagli writes to mention a BusinessWeek article about a move by Facebook to open up to the public. Up until now, in order to join Facebook you had to be an alumnus from certain High Schools, Colleges, or companies. Soon, individuals living in any one of 500 'geographic regions' can sign up. From the article: "People who joined Facebook because it was primarily a school-focused network may feel that it's losing a key distinction. As with the 'news feed' announcement, reception to this overhaul will come down to how well Facebook communicates. For the average student at New York University, for instance, little changes. The only people who can browse his profile before were other NYU students and that will stay the same. The change simply allows for 500 new groups to form that all operate independently on the Facebook platform. No one can browse all 9 million registered users."
I've been unemployed lately. As such, I've had some free time on my hands. I've been playing with the new Google Web Toolkit. So far, I've written an AJAX scientific calculator. It's still in development, so come help me test it out. I need data on how different browsers work with it, too. I'm making substantial changes to it every day, so come back again to see if an error you found is fixed.
I haven't been posting very often lately because I've been spending all weekend getting Alien Assault Traders to finally work on my server. I have tried several times to get this working on my home machine previously, never with good results (mostly because quite a lot of the MySQL packages for Fedora core 3/4 are buggy/broken). Anyway, it works now.