An anonymous reader writes "The prelimbic region of the prefrontal cortex in the human brain is thought to play a key role in drug addiction, and researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse wanted to see if manipulating cells there had a positive or negative impact on that addiction. They got some rats addicted to cocaine but not before loading them up with light sensitive proteins called rhodopsins that were placed in their prefrontal cortex, attaching to the neurons there. By shining a tuned laser light on to the prefrontal cortex, it was possible to activate and deactivate the cells. By turning them on with the laser, the addictive behavior of the rats was removed. Turning them off, even in non-addicted rats, saw the addictive behavior return or introduced."
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First time accepted submitter mebates writes "Two newly discovered protists, found in the guts of termites, were named after monstrous cosmic entities featured in Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos as an ode to the sometimes strange and fascinating world of the microbe. From the article: 'The single-cell protists, Cthulhu macrofasciculumque and Cthylla microfasciculumque, help termites digest wood. The researchers decided to name them after monstrous cosmic entities featured in Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos as an ode to the sometimes strange and fascinating world of the microbe. 'When we first saw them under the microscope they had this unique motion, it looked almost like an octopus swimming,' says UBC researcher Erick James, lead author of the paper describing the new protists, published in the online journal PLoS ONE.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Linux developers are now working on open-source 3D support for NVIDIA's Tegra in cooperation with NVIDIA and months after the company published open-source 2D driver code. There are early patches for the Linux kernel along with a Gallium3D driver. The Tegra Gallium3D driver isn't too far along yet but is enough to run Wayland with Weston."
First time accepted submitter gkndivebum writes "The latest casualty from the ill-fated acquisition of British company Autonomy by HP appears to be Raymond Lane, who was recently re-elected by only 58.8% of shareholders. Mr. Lane will remain on the board with shareholder Ralph Whitworth as interim chairman. It will be interesting to see where the 'evolution' of the board as articulated by Mr. Whitworth leads."
RougeFemme points out this story at the Times about software that can be used to grade student essays and offer almost instant feedback. "Imagine taking a college exam, and, instead of handing in a blue book and getting a grade from a professor a few weeks later, clicking the 'send' button when you are done and receiving a grade back instantly, your essay scored by a software program. And then, instead of being done with that exam, imagine that the system would immediately let you rewrite the test to try to improve your grade. EdX, the nonprofit enterprise founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to offer courses on the Internet, has just introduced such a system and will make its automated software available free on the Web to any institution that wants to use it. The software uses artificial intelligence to grade student essays and short written answers, freeing professors for other tasks."
First time accepted submitter njnnja writes "With tensions on the Korean peninsula continuing to rise, Anonymous hacked into the government-run North Korean Flickr site to post a 'wanted' poster for NK leader Kim Jong Un. It says that he is wanted for 'threatening world peace' and 'wasting money while his people starve to death.' They also hacked into NK's Twitter account and posted a link to the Flickr page."
An anonymous reader writes "Scribd has revealed it was hacked earlier this week, in what it says appears to have been 'a deliberate attempt to access the email addresses and passwords of registered Scribd users.' The good news is that the company believes less than 1 percent of its users were potentially compromised in the attack, and it has emailed each and every one of them asking them to reset their password. The company has set up a Web form for users to check if they are amongst those affected. We recommend that regardless of what the Web form says, and even if you don't use your Scribd account regularly, you should probably change your password."
New submitter AndyKrish links to the BBC's report that just two days after penning a "leave of presence" in which he says "I am not going away," Roger Ebert — "arguably the world's most famous film critic" — has died of cancer. Ebert was a long-time film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, as well as (most famously along with Gene Siskel) for a string of television shows. In the course of dealing with persistent cancer that affected his thyroid and jaw, and which took away his voice, Ebert became a prolific blogger on movies as well as other topics, and drew on cutting edge technology to regain the power of speech.
First time accepted submitter Patch86 writes "The team behind the Android-based OUYA games console have announced last week that they have begun shipping their first consoles. As the console originated as a Kickstarter project the first consoles will be shipped to backers; the console is due to be released for general sale for the 4th of June with a $99 price tag. As the BBC notes, this is the first of a series of major new entrants into the games console market, with others on the horizon including fellow Kickstarter Android project Gamestick, Nvidia's CES surprise Project Shield, and of course Valve's 'Steambox.'"
An anonymous reader writes "We frequently have guests in our home who ask to use our computer for various reasons such as checking their email or showing us websites. We are happy to oblige, but the problem is many of these guests have high risk computing habits and have more than once infested one of our computers with malware, despite having antivirus and the usual computer security precautions. We have tried using a Linux boot CD but usually get funny looks or confused users. We've thought about buying an iPad for guests to use, but decided it wasn't right to knowingly let others use a computing platform that may have been compromised. What tips do you have to overcome this problem, technologically or otherwise?"
According to an report at CNET, "Encryption used in Apple's iMessage chat service has stymied attempts by federal drug enforcement agents to eavesdrop on suspects' conversations, an internal government document reveals. An internal Drug Enforcement Administration document seen by CNET discusses a February 2013 criminal investigation and warns that because of the use of encryption, 'it is impossible to intercept iMessages between two Apple devices' even with a court order approved by a federal judge." The article goes on to talk about ways in which the U.S. government is pressuring companies to leave peepholes for law enforcement in just such apps, and provides some insight into why the proprietary iMessage is (but might not always be) a problem for eavesdroppers, even ones with badges. Adds reader adeelarshad82, "It turns out that encryption is only half of the problem while the real issue lies in the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act which was passed in 1994.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Facebook has announced "Home" for Android smartphones (and, eventually, tablets). It's something less than a full Facebook mobile operating system, as some expected before the company's presentation, and more like an app update. Facebook also announced the Facebook Home Program, which will work with several carriers and device makers to pre-load Home onto select devices, including ones built by Samsung, Sony, ZTE, and Lenovo. The first "Home" phone will be the HTC First, a $99.99 phone that will ship April 12 from AT&T. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told analysts and journalists assembled for his presentation that Home was designed to reorient the phone and the Facebook mobile experience around people, not apps: "On one level, Home is the next mobile version of Facebook. On the other, it's a change in the relationship with the next generation of computing devices." Home essentially is a custom start screen for your Android phone, replacing the home screen with one centered on Facebook. While users can access other Android apps on the phone, the focus is on those apps that run on the Facebook platform. Home can also be enabled as a lock screen." Reader RougeFemme points out that France Telecom/Orange will be the first carrier in Europe.
Bolex. Their 16 mm and Super 16 mm cameras were the favored tools for indie film makers, low budget TV news operations, and film schools. Sure, there were 8mm and Super 8, but they didn't give you the stunning clarity you could get with 16 mm. Besides that, carrying a Bolex was kind of like telling everyone, "Look at me! I'm a professional moviemaker!" And with the cost of processing 16 mm film back in the late 1960s and early 1970s you pretty much had to be a pro -- or at least have access to a TV station or college film lab if you wanted to do any serious movie experimentation. Obviously, times have changed. You can now buy a fairly serious camcorder at a consumer-level price. Or a DSLR that can do video -- and do depth of field tricks hardly any camcorder can match. Even so, if you are a film junkie, you just might want a Digital Bolex. Thanks to a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, it looks like you might be able to buy one before long. Too bad you can't still get Kodachrome film, which was the perfect film for your Bolex. Ah, well. RAW format digital is more or less the 21st Century equivalent of Kodachrome, so it will have to do.
coondoggie writes "There is no humor in an airport. It's a fact. And while most travelers business or otherwise know that, there are a few out there who haven't gotten the message or perhaps the choose to ignore it. Either way the 'People Say the Darndest Things' or 'What Not to Say at an Airport' section has become one of the more popular destinations on the TSA Blog site." The collected wit and wisdom of airline passengers linked unfortunately does not distinguish between stupidity (claiming that you have a bomb to get through security faster) and seemingly sensible questions that get at the heart of the problems with the current and long-running engagement of Homeland Security Theater. (It's also hard to know whether some passengers might have innocently thought their tone, facial expression, body language or context would have served as notice that they weren't actually threatening murder.)
bshell writes "According to the CBC, there was a massive leak of 'files containing information on over 120,000 offshore entities — including shell corporations and legal structures known as trusts — involving people in over 170 countries. The leak amounts to 260 gigabytes of data, or 162 times larger than the U.S. State Department cables published by WikiLeaks in 2010...In many cases, the leaked documents expose insider details of how agents would incorporate companies in Caribbean and South Pacific micro-states on behalf of wealthy clients, then assign front people called "nominees" to serve, on paper, as directors and shareholders for the corporations — disguising the companies' true owners.' Makes a good read and there are some good interactive components. Perhaps Slashdot readers can figure out how the source of the leak, the D.C.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists got their hands on this data."
Barence writes "Major British retailers such as Argos and Tesco are mis-selling Windows RT devices as Windows 8 PCs, PC Pro has discovered. The confusion over Microsoft's ARM-based version of Windows could lead to consumers buying the wrong machines, and the wrong software to go with them. Argos, for example, recommends Norton Mobile Security as an add-on for its mis-labelled Windows 8 machine, despite that product only working on Android and iOS."
Bruce66423 writes "The BBC reports that Mt.Gox, the main exchange dealing with Bitcoins, has been attacked, and other resources are off line. A scary reminder of how insecure ALL money is in the computer age..." Also at TechWeekEurope. A message at bitcoin storage service Instawallet's site begins "The Instawallet service is suspended indefinitely until we are able to develop an alternative architecture. Our database was fraudulently accessed, due to the very nature of Instawallet it is impossible to reopen the service as-is."
Presto Vivace writes with this snippet from the New York Times: "'In the six months since the Domain Awareness System was unveiled, officials of Microsoft, which designed the system with the New York Police Department, said they have been surprised by the response and are actively negotiating with a number of prospective buyers, whom Microsoft declined to identify.' Don't want this in your city? You might want to let your local leadership know how you feel."
An anonymous reader writes with a link to this "CNET story about arguably the most important technical documents in Apple's early history: the source code, contract letters, schematics and notes for the creation of the Apple II Disk Operating System (DOS). From 1977 and 1978, these documents chronicle Apple's first OS and what made the Apple II into a serious computer for the masses, able to support killer apps like Visicalc and build the PC industry."
cylonlover writes with this tantalizing excerpt from GizMag "Israel-based company Phinergy claims to have developed metal-air battery technology that promises to end the range anxiety associated with electric vehicles. The company's battery currently consists of 50 aluminum plates, each providing energy for around 20 miles (32 km) of driving. This adds up to a total potential range of 1,000 miles (1,609 km), with stops required only every couple of hundred miles to refill the system with water."
twoheadedboy writes "Members of the legal team responsible for prosecution of Aaron Swartz have claimed they received threatening letters and emails, and some had their social network accounts hacked, following the suicide of the Internet freedom activist. Following Swartz's death, his family and friends widely lambasted the prosecution team, who were accused of being heavy-handed in their pursuit of the 26-year-old. He was facing trial for alleged copyright infringement, accused of downloading excessive amounts of material from the academic article resource JSTOR. U.S. attorney for Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz, who headed up the prosecution, and another lead prosecutor, Stephen Heymann, have reportedly become the target of 'harassing and threatening messages,' and their personal information, including home address, personal telephone number, and the names of family members and friends, was posted online. Heymann also received a postcard with a picture of his father's head in a guillotine."
msm1267 writes "Tibetans inside China or in exile, along with Syrians, Iranians and other groups oppressed by autocratic regimes, rely on technology to communicate and organize protests. Yet state-sponsored attackers have infiltrated the devices and platforms used by the oppressed to put their freedom or lives in danger. Groups such as Tibet in Action or Citizen Lab Munk School of Global Affairs have put together resources to help educate and enhance the security of oppressed people."
An anonymous reader writes "Depending on the level of hearing impairment, conventional aids may not be good enough and a hearing implant is the only option. Until now the required surgery to fit them has taken several hours. However, that is about to change. A new implant that can be fitted with outpatient surgery has been developed consisting of a 1.2mm electro-acoustic transducer, which is positioned at the so-called 'round window,' which is where the middle and inner ear connect. It then produces amplified mechanical vibrations that stimulate the auditory nerve. Even though the transducer is tiny, it can reach volumes of up to 120 decibels."
Lucas123 writes "Both Viking and Micron plan to ship cards that combine DRAM and NAND flash on a standard DDR3 DIMM. The cards will have twice as much NAND flash as volatile memory. For example, the non-volatile DIMMs will come in capacities ranging from 4GB of DRAM to 16GB and 8GB of flash to 32GB of flash. Micron also sees its NVDIMM card being used as a storage tier, as cache for RAID systems, system check pointing, full system persistence, data logging, de-duplication and fast access to metadata. Without providing specifics, Viking said the NVDIMM cards will cost roughly a few hundred dollars each, more than a standard DDR3 DIMM module but still inexpensive enough for server and storage admins to consider for boosting application performance."
netbuzz writes "The questioner on Quora asks: 'When is the difference between 99% accuracy and 99.9% accuracy very important?' And the most popular answer provided cites an example familiar to all of you: service level agreements. However, the most entertaining reply comes from a computer science and mathematics student at the University of Texas, Alex Suchman. Here's his answer: 'When it can stop a Zombie Apocalypse.'"