ananyo writes "DNA strands can be coaxed to fold up into shapes in a matter of minutes, reveals a study published in Science (abstract). The finding could radically speed up progress in the field of DNA origami. DNA origami involves using short DNA strands to hold a longer, folded strand in place at certain points, like sticky tape. Until now, assembling the shape has involved heating the DNA and allowing it to cool slowly for up to a week. But researchers at the Technical University of Munich in Germany have worked out that for most of the cooling period, nothing happens. But when a crucial temperature is reached, the whole structure forms suddenly. The researchers now aim to design nanostructures with optimal folding temperatures close to 37 C, the temperature at which mammalian cell cultures are grown, so that DNA machines could one day be used in biological settings."
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Hugh Pickens writes "David Crane and Robert F.Kennedy Jr. write in the NY Times that with residents of New Jersey and New York living through three major storms in the past 16 months and suffering sustained blackouts, we need to ask whether it is really sensible to power the 21st century by using an antiquated and vulnerable system of copper wires and wooden poles. Some have taken matters into their own hands, purchasing portable gas-powered generators to give themselves varying degrees of grid independence. But these dirty, noisy and expensive devices have no value outside of a power failure and there is a better way to secure grid independence for our homes and businesses: electricity-producing photovoltaic panels installed on houses, warehouses and over parking lots, wired so that they deliver power when the grid fails. 'Solar panels have dropped in price by 80 percent in the past five years and can provide electricity at a cost that is at or below the current retail cost of grid power in 20 states, including many of the Northeast states,' write Crane and Kennedy. 'So why isn't there more of a push for this clean, affordable, safe and inexhaustible source of electricity?' First, the investor-owned utilities that depend on the existing system for their profits have little economic interest in promoting a technology that empowers customers to generate their own power. Second, state regulatory agencies and local governments impose burdensome permitting and siting requirements that unnecessarily raise installation costs. While it can take as little as eight days to license and install a solar system on a house in Germany, in the United States, depending on your state, the average ranges from 120 to 180 days."
An anonymous reader writes "Anil Dash has an insightful post about cutting through the social media hype to see all of the social functionality we've lost on the web over the past decade. 'We've lost key features that we used to rely on, and worse, we've abandoned core values that used to be fundamental to the web world. To the credit of today's social networks, they've brought in hundreds of millions of new participants to these networks, and they've certainly made a small number of people rich. But they haven't shown the web itself the respect and care it deserves, as a medium which has enabled them to succeed. And they've now narrowed the possibilities of the web for an entire generation of users who don't realize how much more innovative and meaningful their experience could be. ... We get bulls*** turf battles like Tumblr not being able to find your Twitter friends or Facebook not letting Instagram photos show up on Twitter because of giant companies pursuing their agendas instead of collaborating in a way that would serve users. And we get a generation of entrepreneurs encouraged to make more narrow-minded, web-hostile products like these because it continues to make a small number of wealthy people even more wealthy, instead of letting lots of people build innovative new opportunities for themselves on top of the web itself.'"
Press2ToContinue writes "According to a NASA news release, 'Twin lunar-orbiting NASA spacecraft that have allowed scientists to learn more about the internal structure and composition of the moon are being prepared for their controlled descent and impact on a mountain near the moon's north pole at about 2:28 p.m. PST (5:28 p.m. EST) Monday, Dec. 17. Ebb and Flow, the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission probes, are being sent purposely into the lunar surface because their low orbit and low fuel levels preclude further scientific operations. The duo's successful prime and extended science missions generated the highest resolution gravity field map of any celestial body. The map will provide a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed and evolved. Both spacecraft will hit the surface at 3,760 mph (1.7 kilometers per second). No imagery of the impact is expected because the region will be in shadow at the time.' That's too bad; observing the impacts could provide valuable feedback. For example, a spectrographic analysis of the impact dust cloud could reveal additional density and compositional element information for the lunar polar surfaces." Emily Lakdawalla at the Planetary Society has more information about the violent end to GRAIL's mission. If the probes were going to hit the surface of the Moon vertically, they would probably leave a crater about 3 or 4 meters in diameter. However, they are actually coming in at a very slight angle: 1.5 degrees from the horizontal, though the mountain itself has a 20-degree slope. Despite the darkness at the impact site, NASA will attempt to monitor the crashes using the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
An anonymous reader writes "The United States said today that it will not sign an international telecommunications treaty thanks to the inclusion of Internet-related provisions. According to the BBC, the U.K. and Canada have also pledged not to sign the treaty in its current form, while delegates from Denmark, the Czech Republic, Sweden, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Costa Rica, and Kenya also have reservations."
brindafella writes "Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, recorded a spoof speech about the Mayan calendar apocalypse several days ago, for radio station "Triple J". Gillard said in part, 'Whether the final blow comes from flesh eating zombies, demonic hell beasts or from the total triumph of K-pop, if you know one thing about me it is this: I will always fight for you to the very end.' The speech has been picked up in China on Sina Weibo (China's Twitter) and has achieved well over 23,000 repeats, without anyone picking up the irony." This comes on the heels of the online version of China's Communist Party newspaper picking up an Onion story about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un being named the "Sexiest Man Alive."
illtud writes "It appears that the Metropolitan Police in London have been recording the frequency of the mains supply for the past 7 years. With this, they claim to be able to pick up the hum from any digital recording and tell when the recording was made. From the article: 'Comparing the unique pattern of the frequencies on an audio recording with a database that has been logging these changes for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year provides a digital watermark: a date and time stamp on the recording.'"
CowboyRobot writes "A new targeted attack campaign with apparent Korean ties has been stealing email and Facebook credentials and other user-profile information from Russian telecommunications, IT, and space research organizations. The attackers are grabbing email user accounts and passwords from Outlook, as well as information about the victims' email server."
alphadogg writes "Japanese police are looking for an individual who can code in C#, uses a 'Syberian Post Office' to make anonymous posts online, and knows how to surf the web without leaving any digital tracks — and they're willing to pay. It is the first time that Japan's National Police Agency has offered a monetary reward for a wanted hacker, or put so much technical detail into one of its wanted postings. The NPA will pay up to $36,000, the maximum allowed under its reward system. The case is an embarrassing one for the police, in which earlier this year 4 individuals were wrongly arrested after their PCs were hacked and used to post messages on public bulletin boards. The messages included warnings of plans for mass killings at an elementary school posted to a city website."
symbolset writes "Enthusiasm about Google's Kansas City fiber project is overwhelming. But in the Emerald City, the government doesn't want to wait. They have been stringing fiber throughout the city for years, and today announced a deal with company Gigabit Squared and the University of Washington to serve fiber to 55,000 Seattle homes and businesses with speeds up to a gigabit. The city will lease out the unused fiber, but will not have ownership in the provider nor a relationship with the end customers. The service rollout is planned to complete in 2014. It is the first of 6 planned university area network projects currently planned by Gigabit Squared."
cayenne8 writes "I've been a staunch advocate of NOT joining Facebook or Twitter or the other social networks to protect my privacy and to not voluntarily give all my personal information away to corporate America, or even the Government. However, I'm beginning to look into making money through various means on the side, one of them being photography/videography. With these mediums, being seen is critically important. Having a business facing site on Facebook/Google+ and even using Twitter can be great for self promotion, and can open up your business to a huge audience. If you were to open your FB and other social network accounts with business ONLY information, and keep your personal information (name, image, etc) off the Facebook account...will this keep your personal privacy still from them, or are their algorithms good enough to piece together who you are from the business only sites? Is the payoff worth the potential trade-off for generating potential customers for your business and guiding them to your primary website?"
An anonymous reader writes "The FreeBSD Foundation has posted blog article article talking about the remarkable surge in donations they've received in the last three days following a recent Slashdot article reporting on weak fundraising this year. Deb Goodkin reports that the FreeBSD Foundation, as with many non-profits, receives more than 50% of its annual funds at the end of the US tax year, but that the Foundation has never seen this rate of donations before, and will hit a new record for unique donors this year. She comments that it was Slashdot readers that made the difference! She does, however, appeal for further donations noting that they have a long way to go on their full goal."
jfruh writes "Over the past couple of years, you may have noticed a rash of often high-quality infographics by third parties appearing on your favorite websites. These images are offered to Web publishers free of charge, with the only request being a link back to the creator's own site. But when one blogger got an odd email from a the creator of infographic he put on his site two years ago, he did some digging and discovered that he had inadvertently helped some shady characters do SEO spamming."
MrSeb writes "If you've gone shopping for a power supply any time over the last few years, you've probably noticed the explosive proliferation of various 80 Plus ratings. As initially conceived, an 80 Plus certification was a way for PSU manufacturers to validate that their power supply units were at least 80% efficient at 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of full load. In the pre-80 Plus days, PSU prices normally clustered around a given wattage output. The advent of the various 80 Plus levels has created a second variable that can have a significant impact on unit price. This leads us to three important questions: How much power can you save by moving to a higher-efficiency supply, what's the premium of doing so, and how long does it take to make back your initial investment?"
hackingbear writes "One of the Chinese Web censorship's central features has long been blocking searches for the names of top leaders to maintain their public images. Sina Weibo, China's largest microblog service, unblocked searches for the names of many top political leaders in a possible sign of looser controls a month after new senior officials were named to head the ruling party, though a number of other senior leaders are still blocked on Weibo, including Premier Web Jiabao. That (President) Xi might be leading by example on softening Web censorship could be a promising sign for future reforms. It isn't on a major shift, but it could portend one."