An anonymous reader writes "For decades, one of cancer's most powerful weapons has been to corrupt the human immune system. Finally, researchers in Philadelphia have developed a way to turn that weapon against certain cancers, and potentially open the door to a whole new generation of therapies for all manner of cancers. From the article: 'It is hard to believe, but last spring Emma, then 6, was near death from leukemia. She had relapsed twice after chemotherapy, and doctors had run out of options. Desperate to save her, her parents sought an experimental treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, one that had never before been tried in a child, or in anyone with the type of leukemia Emma had. The experiment, in April, used a disabled form of the virus that causes AIDS to reprogram Emma’s immune system genetically to kill cancer cells.'"
Professor Lampe is using gamification in his 200-student lecture classes to make them more interesting. He says big-class lectures can often be as boring for the professor as they are for the students. A little bit of game-type action can spice things up and make classes more interesting. Near the end of the video he points out that gamification is becoming popular for employee training in private enterprise, so why not use the concept in universities and other educational institutions?
Techmeology writes "The BPI has threatened to sue the Pirate Party for allowing people access to The Pirate Bay through its proxy service. The leader of the Pirate Party UK, Loz Kaye said his party would go to court over the issue. Kaye said that he was determined to defend his party's principles even in the face of an expensive legal battle."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Game developer David Bolton writes: 'For my development of Web games, I've hit a point where I need a Virtual Private Server. (For more on this see My Search for Game Hosting Begins.) I initially chose a Windows VPS because I know Windows best. A VPS is just an Internet-connected computer. "Virtual" means it may not be an actual physical computer, but a virtualized host, one of many, each running as if it were a real computer. Recently, though, I've run into a dead end, as it turns out that Couchbase doesn't support PHP on Windows. So I switched to a Linux VPS running Ubuntu server LTS 12-04. Since my main desktop PC runs Windows 7, the options to access the VPS are initially quite limited, and there's no remote desktop with a Linux server. My VPS is specified as 2 GB of ram, 2 CPUs and 80 GB of disk storage. The main problem with a VPS is that you have to self-manage it. It's maybe 90% set up for you, but you need the remaining 10%. You may have to install some software, edit a config file or two and occasionally bounce (stop then restart) daemons (Linux services), after editing their config files.'"
angry tapir writes "Scientists at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia have developed a prototype laser device capable of detecting tiny traces of explosive vapor, an invention that has the potential to put bomb sniffer dogs out of a job. The prototype – a pulsed, quantum laser-based, cavity ring-down spectrometer – is being tested at the US government's Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico."
Hugh Pickens writes writes "AP reports that if disaster strikes a US nuclear power plant, the utility industry wants the ability to fly in heavy-duty equipment from regional hubs to stricken reactors to avert a meltdown providing another layer of defense in case a Fukushima-style disaster destroys a nuclear plant's multiple backup systems. 'It became very clear in Japan that utilities became quickly overwhelmed,' says Joe Pollock, vice president for nuclear operations at the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry lobbying group that is spearheading the effort. US nuclear plants already have backup safety systems and are supposed to withstand the worst possible disasters in their regions, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes. But planners can be wrong. The industry plan, called FLEX, is the nuclear industry's method for meeting new US Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules that will force 65 plants in the US to get extra emergency equipment on site and store it protectively. The FLEX program is supposed to help nuclear plants handle the biggest disasters. Under the plan, plant operators can summon help from the regional centers in Memphis and Phoenix. In addition to having several duplicate sets of plant emergency gear, industry officials say the centers will likely have heavier equipment that could include an emergency generator large enough to power a plant's emergency cooling systems, equipment to treat cooling water and extra radiation protection gear for workers. Federal regulators must still decide whether to approve the plans submitted by individual plants. 'They need to show us not just that they have the pump, but that they've done all the appropriate designing and engineering so that they have a hookup for that pump,' says NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said. 'They're not going to be trying to figure out, "Where are we going to plug this thing in?"'"
Frequent contributor Bennett Haselton writes this week with his favorite novelty science gift items for 2012. Levitation engines, puzzles, optical illusions brought to life, and all of the tips and tricks he's found for getting the products to work correctly. Decorative, whimsical, and not too expensive — except for the items that have earned it by being pretty amazing. Read on for the details, and be sure to mention other good possibilities (Just 14 shopping days left until Christmas) in the comments below.
A couple of weeks ago you had a chance to ask Canonical Ltd. and the Ubuntu Foundation founder, Mark Shuttleworth, anything about software and vacationing in space. Below you'll find his answers to your questions. Make sure to look for our live discussion tomorrow with free software advocate and CTO of Rhombus Tech, Luke Leighton. The interview will start at 1:30 EST.
theodp writes "On September 13, 2010, President Obama called A123 Systems from the Oval Office to congratulate them on opening the nation's first manufacturing facility to mass-produce electric vehicle batteries, which the White House noted was made possible by a $249 million Recovery Act grant the company received the prior August. 'When folks lift up their hoods on the cars of the future,' the President said, 'I want them to see engines and batteries that are stamped: Made in America. And that's what you guys are helping to make happen.' But on Saturday, the assets of A123 Systems were auctioned off to the Wanxiang Group, a large Chinese auto parts maker. Wanxiang agreed to pay $256 million for A123's automotive and commercial operations, including its three factories in the United States. Forbes reports that A123's stock, which closed at 7 cents a share on Friday, is now worthless."
An anonymous reader writes "After more than a decade of research, and a proof of concept in 2010, IBM Research has finally cracked silicon nanophotonics (or CMOS-integrated nanophotonics, CINP, to give its full name). IBM has become the first company to integrate electrical and optical components on the same chip, using a standard 90nm semiconductor process. These integrated, monolithic chips will allow for cheap chip-to-chip and computer-to-computer interconnects that are thousands of times faster than current state-of-the-art copper and optical networks. Where current interconnects are generally measured in gigabits per second, IBM's new chip is already capable of shuttling data around at terabits per second, and should scale to peta- and exabit speeds."
ShipLives writes "Researchers have tested Google's app verification service (included in Android 4.2 last month), and found that it performed very poorly at identifying malware in apps. Specifically, the app verification service identified only ~15% of known malware in testing — whereas existing third-party security apps identified between 51% and 100% of known malware in testing."
SternisheFan writes "As Syria's rebels work to overthrow the tank-equipped Assad regime, they've learned that it helps to have tanks of their own. They deserve bonus points for integrating video game technology. This is no exaggeration. Have a look at the opposition forces' "100 percent made in Syria" armored vehicle, the Sham II. Named for ancient Syria and assembled out of spare parts over the course of a month, the Sham II is sort of rough around the edges, but it's got impressive guts. It rides on the chassis of an old diesel car and is fully encased in light steel that's rusted from the elements. Five cameras are mounted around the tank's outside, and there's a machine gun mounted on a turning turret. Inside, it kind of looks like a man cave. A couple of flat screen TVs are mounted on opposite walls. The driver sits in front of one, controlling the vehicle with a steering wheel, and the gunner sits at the other, aiming the machine gun with a Playstation controller."
An anonymous reader writes "A new study looks at the behavior of birds and found the hatching order of birds influences how they behave in adulthood. The study was conducted by Dr. Ian Hartley and Dr. Mark Mainwaring (LEC), researchers at the University of Lancaster Environment Center. The researchers noticed that the youngest members of the zebra finch broods were more adventurous than their older siblings in later life."
judgecorp writes "Russia, China and other nations have withdrawn proposals to take control over the Internet within their borders. The proposals, handed to the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) on Friday, caused widespread dismay and protest. The WCIT event in Dubai, run by the UN agency ITU, is working on new International Telecommunications Regulations (ITRs) which are due for their first revision since the emergence of the mass Internet. The line-up of nations wanting to formalize their power to restrict the Internet included Russia, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Sudan and Egypt. Their proposal has been withdrawn without explanation, an ITU spokesperson confirmed."