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+ - Hints of Life's Start Found in a Giant Virus->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In the world of microbes, viruses are small — notoriously small. Pithovirus is not. The largest virus ever discovered, pithovirus is more massive than even some bacteria. Most viruses copy themselves by hijacking their host’s molecular machinery. But pithovirus is much more independent, possessing some replication machinery of its own. Pithovirus’s relatively large number of genes also differentiated it from other viruses, which are often genetically simple — the smallest have a mere four genes. Pithovirus has around 500 genes, and some are used for complex tasks such as making proteins and repairing and replicating DNA. “It was so different from what we were taught about viruses,” Abergel said.

The stunning find, first revealed in March, isn’t just expanding scientists’ notions of what a virus can be. It is reframing the debate over the origins of life."

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+ - Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast to Make THC 1

Submitted by meghan elizabeth
meghan elizabeth (3689911) writes "How do you get weed without the weed? By genetically engineering yeast to produce THC, of course.
Once theorized in a stoner magazine column more than a decade ago, a biotech startup working in Ireland is actively trying to transplant the genetic information that codes for both THC and another cannabinoid called CBD into yeast so that "marijuana" can be grown in a lab—no plants necessary."

+ - Common Fuel Cell Myths Debunked->

Submitted by thejman78
thejman78 (1330135) writes "Most fuel cell vehicle myths and misconceptions stem from a single seven year old article in The New Atlantis magazine. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and DOE, fuel cells will cost $30-$50 per kw-hr of output by 2017, depending on production volume. To put this number in perspective, Tesla battery packs are estimated to cost over $200 per kw-hr of output today and may fall to $140-175 per kw-hr by 2017. In all likelihood, fuel cell vehicles will cost less than battery electric vehicles by the end of the decade (barring some major decrease in battery costs, of course)."
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+ - Grandmother buys old building in Japan, finds 55 classic arcade cabinets->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A grandmother agreed to purchase an old building in Chiba, which is just outside of Tokyo. When her family arrived to check out the contents of the building it was discovered that the first two floors used to be a game center in the 1980s. Whoever ran it left all the cabinets behind when it closed, and it is full of classic and now highly desirable games.

In total there are 55 arcade cabinets, most of which are the upright Aero Cities cabinets, but it’s the game boards that they contain that’s the most exciting discovery."

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+ - Ninety-nine percent of the ocean's plastic is missing 3

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Millions of tons. That’s how much plastic should be floating in the world’s oceans, given our ubiquitous use of the stuff. But a new study finds that 99% of this plastic is missing. One disturbing possibility: Fish are eating it. If that’s the case, “there is potential for this plastic to enter the global ocean food web,” says Carlos Duarte, an oceanographer at the University of Western Australia, Crawley. “And we are part of this food web.”"

+ - UK media now allowed to report secret trials.

Submitted by hazeii
hazeii (5702) writes "Following some pretty heroic efforts here in the UK, we are now allowed to know a secret trial is taking place. We aren't allowed to know who is being tried, or for what (except it's "terrorism related"). And the media are still barred from reporting the outcome (even if the unnamed defendants "AB" and "CD" are found innocent).

More from the BBC, the Guardian, and plenty of other sources."

+ - GPS Fitness Data Sold to Oregon Transportation Dept

Submitted by nullchar
nullchar (446050) writes "The Oregon Department of Transportation has signed up for the Strava Metro GPS service for $20,000 USD. Strava is a mobile fitness app used by cyclists and runners to track their performance with GPS. Strava says the data set of over 300 billion GPS points it has collected worldwide are anonymized and aggregated to protect privacy. Oregon wishes to use the data to enhance it's bike lanes.

The active.com article poses some interesting questions (beware annoying "More:" links between every paragraph):

Strava pulls in position and speed data so accurately that it can often be used to identify what lane a cyclist is using on a particular road. With such accuracy, could the government use Strava data to figure out if a cyclist ran a stop sign or a stoplight? Could it be used in the event of an accident involving a vehicle to map a cyclist's behavior prior to a collision? This is just speculation, as the data is intended to be anonymous.

It would be easy for them to create a database of Strava's user-created "segments" to identify "hot spots" where cyclists may be riding in especially aggressive fashion. In his piece in Bicycling magazine on the Strava-related death of Kim Flint in 2010, David Darlington compared some of the site's "KOM" segments to illegal street racing. He even showed how easy it is to identify cyclists breaking the law by finding several KOM segment leaders who recorded speeds in excess of the posted speed limit.

"

+ - Google Fiber: No Charge For Peering, No Fast Lanes->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Addressing the recent controversy over Netflix paying ISPs directly for better data transfer speeds, Google's Director of Network Engineering explains how their Fiber server handles peering. He says, 'Bringing fiber all the way to your home is only one piece of the puzzle. We also partner with content providers (like YouTube, Netflix, and Akamai) to make the rest of your video’s journey shorter and faster. (This doesn't involve any deals to prioritize their video ‘packets’ over others or otherwise discriminate among Internet traffic — we don't do that.) Like other Internet providers, Google Fiber provides the ‘last-mile’ Internet connection to your home. Meanwhile, content providers spend a lot of money (many billions of dollars) building their own networks to transport their content all the way to those ‘last-mile’ connections. In that process, the content may run into bottlenecks — if the connections between the content provider and our network are slow or congested, that will slow down your access to content, no matter how fast your connection is. So that your video doesn't get caught up in this possible congestion, we invite content providers to hook up their networks directly to ours. This is called ‘peering,’ and it gives you a more direct connection to the content that you want.'"
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+ - Curiosity Rover may have brought dozens of microbes to Mars->

Submitted by bmahersciwriter
bmahersciwriter (2955569) writes "Despite rigorous pre-flight cleaning, swabbing of the Curiosity Rover just prior to liftoff revealed some 377 strains of bacteria.
"In the lab, scientists exposed the microbes to desiccation, UV exposure, cold and pH extremes. Nearly 11% of the 377 strains survived more than one of these severe conditions. Thirty-one per cent of the resistant bacteria did not form tough, protective spore coats; the researchers suspect that they used other biochemical means of protection, such as metabolic changes."
While the risk of contaminating the red planet are unknown, knowing the types of strains that may have survived pre-flight cleaning may help rule out biological 'discoveries' if and when NASA carries out it's plans to return a soil sample from Mars."

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+ - Water Cannons Used Against Peaceful Anti-TTIP Protestors: The Next ACTA Revolt?->

Submitted by Glyn Moody
Glyn Moody (946055) writes "The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), potentially the world's biggest trade agreement, has been negotiated behind closed doors for nearly a year now. Apart from what we learn from a few official releases — and an increasing number of leaks — we still don't really know what is being agreed in the name of 800 million people in the US and EU. When a peaceful anti-TTIP protest was held outside yet another closed-doors meeting in Belgium, the local police sent in the water cannons and arrested nearly 300 people in what seems an extreme over-reaction. Will TTIP turn into the next ACTA revolt?"
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+ - Is a $5,000 cable a waste of money?->

Submitted by MattSparkes
MattSparkes (950531) writes "Manufacturers claim digital and analogue cables costing thousands of dollars per metre can offer better sound/image quality. Are they right? This piece speaks to cable manufacturers, engineers and psychologists, and carries out a listening test, to get to the bottom of it. Are they worth the money? Short answer, no."
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Comment: Re:Not Uncommon for Portland (Score 2) 332

by windwalker13th (#46801707) Attached to: Why Portland Should Have Kept Its Water, Urine and All
I don't remember the exact details and I can't find the articles on the stupid website of the Oregonian but basically the process was sleazy. There was something about the way they awarded the contracts for the caping was inappropriate. The issue that I think pissed off the people trying to keep the reservoirs uncovered was that the Portland Water Bureau didn't bother filing the paperwork for an exemption from the Department of Homeland Security which then forced the City of Portland to cap/discontinue use of the open air reservoirs. Rochester NY which has the same kind of open air reservoirs applied for and was granted exemptions to keep their open air reservoirs. Yet in Portland despite the outcry to keep the reservoirs uncovered, didn't bother filing the paperwork to keep that option open.

Comment: Not Uncommon for Portland (Score 5, Interesting) 332

by windwalker13th (#46801593) Attached to: Why Portland Should Have Kept Its Water, Urine and All
This is not the first time that Portland has emptied a reservoir. This is the only time that it has made national news. One of the times that they drained the reservoir was for when somebody was attempting to pee in it and it was unclear if the intoxicated individual had actually urinated into the reservoir.

The reservoirs in Portland are a bit of a contentious subject. We Portlanders greatly appreciate our open air reservoirs however the City Water Bureau does not. Despite a large public outcry to keep our open air reservoirs our water department despite saying that they were working to keep our reservoirs, did not file for a waiver from the department of homeland security to keep the reservoirs open air. While most Portlanders recognize the importance of controlling access to our water supply we wish that the water department listened to public comment more and acted less like a dictator.

+ - Do backups on Linux no longer matter?-> 5

Submitted by cogcritter
cogcritter (3614357) writes "In June of 2009, the dump/restore utilities version 0.4b42 for Linux's ext3 filesystem were released. This was the last version where incremental dumps could actually be used. A bug introduced in 0.4b43, one year later, causes restore to fail when processing an incremental backup unless, basically, no directory deletions occurred since the level 0 part of the backup set was taken.

The bug is certainly present in Debian Wheezy, and comments in Debian's defect tracking system suggest that the bug has permeated out into other distros as well.

How can Linux's backup/restore tools for its popular ext2/ext3 filesystem be broken for 3+ years, and nobody seems to care? Does nobody take backups? Or do they not use incremental backups? How many people are going to find themselves scrambling when they next NEED to restore a filesystem, and find themselves in possession of long-broken tools?

Just in case this article is where some hapless sysadmin ends up, the workaround is to go to dump.sf.net, go to the files section, pull down the 0.4b42 version and build it for yourself. For me, I think going forward I'm going to switch to filesystem mirroring using rsync."

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+ - Land Rover's Transparent Hood Is The Kind Of Automotive Tech That Excites Us 1

Submitted by cartechboy
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Land Rover's Transparent Hood Is The Kind Of Automotive Tech That Excites Us

When we were kids, we were promised flying cars in the future, like The Jetsons . Well, now it's the future, and we don't have any flying cars. But Land Rover just unveiled some crazy new technology called the Transparent Hood system. It's brilliant in its simplicity, and yet quite complex in its implementation. Using a web of camera images and projectors, the Transparent Hood system projects the area just in front of and underneath the nose of the vehicle onto a head-up display along the lower portion of the windshield. Not only is this obviously breathtaking, but when it comes to off-roading—or parking in tight urban spaces—this could change the game. It will allow drivers to see precisely what's below them and immediately in front of them allowing precise placement of the vehicle's front wheels. The system also displays key vehicle data including speed, incline, roll angle, steering position, and drive mode. People, this is the future, and the future is now."

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