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Biotech

Submission + - Battle Brewing Over Labeling of Genetically Modified Food (nytimes.com)

gollum123 writes: For more than a decade, almost all processed foods in the United States — cereals, snack foods, salad dressings — have contained ingredients from plants whose DNA was manipulated in a laboratory. Regulators and many scientists say these pose no danger. But as Americans ask more pointed questions about what they are eating, popular suspicions about the health and environmental effects of biotechnology are fueling a movement to require that food from genetically modified crops be labeled, if not eliminated. The most closely watched labeling effort is a proposed ballot initiative in California that cleared a crucial hurdle this month, setting the stage for a probable November vote that could influence not just food packaging but the future of American agriculture. Tens of millions of dollars are expected to be spent on the election showdown. It pits consumer groups and the organic food industry, both of which support mandatory labeling, against more conventional farmers, agricultural biotechnology companies like Monsanto and many of the nation’s best-known food brands like Kellogg’s and Kraft.
Medicine

Submission + - People Born With Certain "Personality Genes" May Live Longer (medicaldaily.com)

An anonymous reader writes: People who are outgoing, optimistic, easygoing, and have a good sense of humor and a large social network are likely to live longer than others who don't possess these personality traits, according to new research.

The study reveals how saying "It’s in their genes" could refer to more than just genetic variations that give a physiological advantage like having high levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol because people with positive personality traits appear to live longer than those who do not.

Businesses

Submission + - Dark days ahead for Facebook and Google? (blogmaverick.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Dallas Mavericks owner and media entrepreneur Mark Cuban thinks he knows the reason for Facebook's disappointing
IPO; smart money has realized that "mobile is going to crush Facebook", as the world's population
increasingly access the Internet mostly through smartphones and tablets. Cuban notes that the limited screen real estate hampers the branding and ad placement that Google and Facebook are accustomed to when serving to desktop browsers, while phone plans typically have strict data limits, so subscribers won't necessarily take kindly to
YouTube or other video ads. Forbes' Eric Jackson likewise sees a generational shift to mobile that will produce
a new set of winners at the expense of Facebook and Google.

The Internet

Submission + - Reddit Founder Leads Charge for a "Bat Signal for the Internet" (internetdefenseleague.org)

TheGift73 writes: "Beyond the Blackout

The Internet Defense League takes the tactic that killed SOPA & PIPA and turns it into a permanent force for defending the internet, and making it better. Think of it like the internet's Emergency Broadcast System, or its bat signal!

The Plan

When the internet's in danger and we need millions of people to act, the League will ask its members to broadcast an action. (Say, a prominent message asking everyone to call their elected leaders.) With the combined reach of our websites and social networks, we can be massively more effective than any one organization."

Games

Submission + - Are Porn and Games Basically the Same Thing? (ign.com)

silentbrad writes: IGN published an article, today, discussing an editorial from CNN: Pornography and videogames are pretty much the same thing, according to a sensational and terrifying editorial published on CNN today called ‘The Demise of Guys: How Videogames and Porn are Ruining a Generation’. Games and porn are not only equal, they are equally damaging to young men, destroying their ability to connect with women, and therefore threatening the future of our entire species. ... The article, by psychologist Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan argues that young men are “hooked on arousal, sacrificing their schoolwork and relationships in the pursuit of getting a tech-based buzz”. ... Zimbardo, has danced this jig before. At the Long Beach TED conference last year he told a delighted audience that “guys are wiping out socially with girls and sexually with women.” He added that young men have been so zombiefied by games and porn that they are unable to function in basic human interactions. “It’s a social awkwardness like a stranger in a foreign land”, he said. “They don’t know what to say. They don’t know what to do.”
Google

Submission + - Google Now Searches JavaScript (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: Google has been improving the way that its Googlebot searches dynamic web pages for some time — but it seems to be causing some added interest just at the moment. In the past Google has encouraged developers to avoid using JavaScript to deliver content or links to content because of the difficulty of indexing dynamic content. Over time, however, the Googlebot has incorporated ways of searching content that is provided via JavaScript.
Now it seems that it has got so good at the task Google is asking us to allow the Googlebot to scan the JavaScript used by our sites.
Working with JavaScript means that the Googlebot has to actually download and run the scripts and this is more complicated than you might think. This has led to speculation of whether or not it might be possible to include JavaScript on a site that could use the Google cloud to compute something. For example, imagine that you set up a JavaScript program to compute the n-digits of Pi, or a BitCoin miner, and had the result formed into a custom URL — which the Googlebot would then try to access as part of its crawl. By looking at, say, the query part of the URL in the log you might be able to get back a useful result.

Bitcoin

Submission + - Hacked Bitcoin Financial Site Had No Backups (bitcointalk.org)

An anonymous reader writes: A fortnight ago the Bitcoin financial website Bitcoinica was hacked and the hacker stole $87,000 worth of Bitcoins. At the time the owner promised that all users would have their Bitcoins and US dollars returned in full, but one of the site developers has just confirmed that they have no database backups and are having difficulty figuring out what everyone's account balance should actually be. A failure of epic proportions for a site holding such large amounts of money.
Government

Submission + - Federal Goverment Employees retirement plan victim of 'cyber attack' (tsp.gov) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Participants in the Thrift Savings Plan, the 401k-like retirement savings plan for U.S. Federal Government Employees, were informed of a confirmed hacking incident that resulted in unauthorized access to the personal information of 123,201 TSP participants and payees. The incident occurred in July of 2011, when a computer belonging to Serco, a third party service provider used in support of the TSP, was subjected to a "sophisticated hacking incident" resulting in unauthorized access. The FBI informed FRTIB (the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board) and Serco of this incident in April 2012. The 'plan news update' has an FAQ detailing the incident, and the full press release can be found in a PDF here. Affected parties have been notified, and appropriate measures including "credit consultation and continuous credit monitoring" via a third party for one year. Considering the press release indicates data accessed includes "Names, addresses, and Social Security numbers... in some cases... financial account numbers and routing numbers... and some TSP related informaiton..." is this response sufficient? What more could or should be done?
Technology

Submission + - Aging eyes stymie biometric iris scans (nature.com)

scibri writes: The iris scanners that are used to police immigration in some countries, like the UK, are based on the premise that your irises don't change over your lifetime. But it seems that assumption is wrong.

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame have found that irises do indeed change over time, enough so that the failure rate jumps by 153% over three years. While that means a rise from just 1 in 2 million to 2.5 in two million, imagine how that will affect a system like India's — which already has 200 million people enrolled — over 10 years.

Businesses

Submission + - Curt Schilling Fires Entire Staff At Video Game Company (ibtimes.com)

redletterdave writes: "On Thursday, former Boston Red Sox pitcher and tech entrepreneur Curt Schilling fired his entire staff at 38 Studios, his Rhode Island-based video game company, leaving more than 300 employees without jobs because the company couldn't repay its debt to the state. 38 Studios failed to pay Rhode Island's economic development agency $1.1 million, which was due last week, and also failed to meet payroll for its staff in both its Providence office and its Maryland subsidiary, Big Huge Games."
The Military

Submission + - Fire May Leave US Nuclear Sub Damaged Beyond Repair

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "AP reports that a fire that swept through a nuclear-powered submarine in dry dock at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has caused such extensive extensive damage to its forward compartments that the 22-year-old Los Angeles class attack submarine might have to be scrapped. "These submarines were designed decades ago. So they're no longer state of the art," says analyst Loren Thompson. "If this vessel returns to service, I will be amazed." The fire broke out while the Miami was on a 20-month stay at the shipyard for an overhaul, and it took firefighters from more than a dozen agencies twelve hours to put out the fire, described as intense, smoky, and a "hot scary mess." "It takes a lot of guts to go into a burning building. But the idea of going into a submarine full of hot toxic smoke — that's real courage," said US Rep. Chellie Pingree after meeting with the shipyard commander. Firefighters isolated the flames so they would not spread to nuclear propulsion spaces at the rear of the submarine. There was nuclear fuel on board the sub, but the reactor has been shut down for two months and was unaffected. Rear Admiral Rick Breckenridge says an investigation has been launched into what caused the fire, but he expects that investigation to take a long time to complete and wouldn't say if human error has been ruled out as a cause of the fire, or if the focus is on mechanical issues."
Earth

Submission + - 'Asian Brown Cloud' Threatens U.S. (sciencemag.org) 1

sciencehabit writes: China and India are some of the world's top polluters, with countless cars, factories, and households belching more than 2 million metric tons of carbon soot and other dark pollutants into the air every year. The pall hanging over the region has come to be known as "the Asian brown cloud." These pollutants aren't just bad news for the countries themselves. A new study reveals that they can affect climate thousands of kilometers away, warming the United States by up to 0.4C by 2024, while cooling other regions.

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