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United Kingdom

NHS To Give Volunteers "Synthetic Blood" Made In a Laboratory Within Two Years 57 57

schwit1 writes: The NHS plans to test artificial blood made from human stem cells in patients and hopes to start transfusing people with artificial blood by 2017. The trials will take place in Cambridge and If successful could lead to the mass production of artificial blood. The Independent reports: "A long-awaited clinical trial of artificial red blood cells will occur before 2017, NHS scientists said. The blood is made from stem cells extracted from either the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies or the blood of adult donors. The trial, thought to be a world first, will involve small transfusions of a few teaspoons of synthetic blood to test for any adverse reactions. It will allow scientists to study the time the manufactured red blood cells can survive within human recipients. Eventually, it is hoped that the NHS will be able to make unlimited quantities of red blood cells for emergency transfusions."

Comment Government doesn't get data security, generally (Score 5, Informative) 142 142

My family is visiting D.C. this summer, and in order to take a tour of a government facility (Capitol Hill, Congress, Dept. of Engraving, etc.) you need to apply through your congressional representative's office.

The "official and only" way to apply for a tour is to fill in and return, by email, unencrypted, a non-protected Excel spreadsheet with full names, SSNs, and other personally-identifiable information for your entire tour group (family) in one page of the spreadsheet.

Basically, if you want a tour, you must be willing first to roll over and put your goods out for anyone to sniff. No exceptions.

I was sick to my stomach over the idiocy of it all.

Comment AT&T DSL mystery tied to faulty CFL ballast (Score 4, Interesting) 227 227

I had a friend who was bemoaning how his "crappy" AT&T DSL service would flake out every evening at about the same time, and he'd had techs out to replace his DSL modem twice, re-do the wiring to his house, everything! He asked me whether I was happy with TWC (I wasn't), because he was fed up and was going to switch.

We got talking in general. I asked him whether he'd also done any renovating around his house, no matter what type. He admitted that he'd recently replaced all of his exterior house lights with CFL equivalents, and I asked him whether any were on timers, sensors, etc. He admitted that there was an exterior flood light on a light sensor.

I asked him if that sensor turned on that lamp about the same time of day his DSL service flaked out. His expression dropped. He replaced that one light with an incandescent, and the problem went away.

Transportation

Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars and the Possibility of a Robot Car Bomb 239 239

Rick Zeman writes Wired has an interesting article on the possibility of selectable ethical choices in robotic autonomous cars. From the article: "The way this would work is one customer may set the car (which he paid for) to jealously value his life over all others; another user may prefer that the car values all lives the same and minimizes harm overall; yet another may want to minimize legal liability and costs for herself; and other settings are possible. Philosophically, this opens up an interesting debate about the oft-clashing ideas of morality vs. liability." Meanwhile, others are thinking about the potential large scale damage a robot car could do.

Lasrick writes Patrick Lin writes about a recent FBI report that warns of the use of robot cars as terrorist and criminal threats, calling the use of weaponized robot cars "game changing." Lin explores the many ways in which robot cars could be exploited for nefarious purposes, including the fear that they could help terrorist organizations based in the Middle East carry out attacks on US soil. "And earlier this year, jihadists were calling for more car bombs in America. Thus, popular concerns about car bombs seem all too real." But Lin isn't too worried about these threats, and points out that there are far easier ways for terrorists to wreak havoc in the US.

Comment Pretty clever use of available I/O options (Score 4, Interesting) 25 25

I have to hand it to this individual for definitely thinking outside-the-box and hooking up three types of systems using interfaces you'd not expect to be used in this manner, and coming up with something which is (at least in his case) useful.

This was very gratifying to watch.

Stats

Actual Results of Crimean Secession Vote Leaked 557 557

An anonymous reader writes "Forbes reported on Monday that The President of Russia's Council on Civil Society and Human Rights very briefly and supposedly by accident posted the actual results of the Crimean secession vote. According to the blog post, which has since been taken down, only 30% of Crimeans participated in the vote instead of the 83% participation officially advertised by Russia, and of that 30% only half voted for secession, which means that 15% of all Crimeans voted for secession rather than the 82% officially reported by Russia. There is no way for this claim to be verified as no foreign observers were allowed during the voting process. The vote is reportedly being conducted again during the 'May 11 referendum on the status of the so-called People's Republic of Donetsk.'" We've had a lot of discussion over the years about election methods and transparency; it would be interesting to hear from Ukranian readers in particular on this topic.
The Courts

Supreme Court Rules For Monsanto In Patent Case 579 579

Pigskin-Referee writes in with news of the Supreme Court's decision in a dispute between Monsanto and an Indiana farmer over patented seeds. "The Supreme Court has sustained Monsanto Co.'s claim that an Indiana farmer violated the company's patents on soybean seeds that are resistant to its weed-killer. The justices, in a unanimous vote Monday, rejected the farmer's argument that cheap soybeans he bought from a grain elevator are not covered by the Monsanto patents, even though most of them also were genetically modified to resist the company's Roundup herbicide. Justice Elena Kagan says a farmer who buys patented seeds must have the patent holder's permission. More than 90 percent of American soybean farms use Monsanto's 'Roundup Ready' seeds, which first came on the market in 1996."
Education

Alaskan Middle Schoolers Phish Their Teachers 215 215

lukej writes "In Ketchikan, Alaska a small group of unidentified students gained access to school owned computers by using phishing techniques on their teachers. The then used the elevated access to remotely control their peers computers. Fortunately the school administrators seem to have a taken a realistic and pragmatic viewpoint of the situation, although no official punishment has yet been determined. '"Kids are being kids," (Principal) Robinson said, adding that he was surprised something like this had not already occurred. "They're going to try to do what they try to do. This time we found out about it."'" And no one got arrested.
Music

V&A Scraps Napalm Death Gig For Fear Decibel Levels Will Damage Sculptures 79 79

An anonymous reader writes "The Victoria and Albert Museum has cancelled an 'experimental' concert by a death metal rock band amid fears that the high decibel levels could destroy some of its most treasured artefacts, including Ming vases and priceless sculptures. The British band planned to play inside a specially-constructed ceramic sculpture with the idea that the piece would explode under the force of hits such as Order of the Leech and Fear, Emptiness, Despair" I believe this "death metal rock" is known as "grindcore." Maybe they should book Manowar next.
Microsoft

Will Microsoft Sell Off Its Entertainment Division? 404 404

An anonymous reader writes "Forbes analyst Adam Hartung has predicted that Microsoft will sell off its entertainment division, which includes Xbox, in the coming years. He even goes so far as to list Sony or Barnes & Noble as potential buyers. Lets forget how crazy this sounds for a moment and focus on the reasons why Hartung believes such a sale will happen. It basically comes down to Windows 8, and how poorly it is selling. Combine that with falling sales of PCs, the Surface RT tablet not doing so great, the era of more than one PC in the home disappearing, and Microsoft has a big problem. The problem not only stems from the PC market not growing, but because Microsoft relies so heavily on Windows and Office for revenue. With that in mind, Hartung believes Steve Ballmer will do anything and everything to save Windows, including ditching entertainment and therefore Xbox."

A man is known by the company he organizes. -- Ambrose Bierce

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