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Submission + - EPA Knowingly Allowed Pesticide that Kills Bees (

hether writes: The mystery of the disappearing bees has been baffling scientists for years and now we get another big piece in the puzzle. From Fast Company — "A number of theories have popped up as to why the North American honey bee population has declined--electromagnetic radiation, malnutrition, and climate change have all been pinpointed. Now a leaked EPA document reveals that the agency allowed the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, despite warnings from EPA scientists." Now environmentalists and bee keepers are calling for an immediate ban of pesticide clothianidin, sold by Bayer Crop Science under the brand name Poncho.

Submission + - Scientists Suggest Bar Codes for Human Embryos ( 1

Velcroman1 writes: In futuristic movies like "Aliens 2" and "12 Monkeys," prisoners are bar coded for easy identification. But today's reality is even wilder: Scientists have proposed bar-coding embryos. Researchers from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in Spain have just finished testing a method for imprinting microscopic bar codes on mouse embryos — a procedure they plan to test soon on humans. The venture is meant to avoid mismatches during in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer procedures. But privacy experts and children's rights advocates were instantly concerned by the concept of "direct labeling" of embryos, calling for transparency in the process. "An embryo is a human life, so we have to move forward with this very, very cautiously," said Pam Dixon, executive director for the World Privacy Forum. "Obviously we can't ask the embryo what it wants, so the individual making the donation must consent to this as well as the individual receiving the donation. There's got to be a lot of public discussion." The researchers insist that their technique is perfectly safe, claiming that the bar codes simply evaporate as the embryo develops into a fetus. Dr. Arthur Caplan, the director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said that as long as development is not affected, any improvement on embryo transfer would be extremely beneficial — since mistakes can be heartbreaking.

Submission + - A Bionic Leg that Rewires Stroke Victims' Brains (

waderoush writes: A startup called Tibion in Sunnyvale, CA, has begun selling battery-powered robotic exoskeletons that help stroke victims with one-sided weakness relearn how to stand, sit, walk, and negotiate stairs. The leg isn't a permanent attachment: the company says patients who use the device for 45 minutes a week for four weeks experience significant gains in walking speed that persist and even improve months after the treatment. They believe that the $40,000 device — which includes sensors that respond to subtle signs of user intentions, such a shift in weight — provides feedback that triggers neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to rewire itself to repair damage. (Article includes a video of the reporter testing the robot leg.)

Comment Flamebait (Score 1) 420

Was the purpose of posting this story solely to give /.ers the chance to attack PETA? That's what all comments seem to revolve around.

FWIW, most vegans and/or animal activists I know hate PETA, myself included. They bring a bad name to a good cause.

Comment you don't need much (Score 1) 742

Our soon-to-be-4yo has gcompris, firefox, abiword and an icon to get to the the network drive where all his media is stored. In FF, we've set it up with bookmarks toolbar that shows his favorite web sites -,,, etc. It seems to work well for him. Gcompris really ramped up his mousing skills quickly, and now he's learned how the arrow keys work so can play pretty much any of the games on those sites without help. In addition to games you can also watch videos, print things out, etc.- enough to keep a kid busy for hours if they're interested. He also loves to type in abiword, then delete it all and start again.

Comment Re:Then, why FluMist? (Score 1) 541

For the regular FluMist:
"FluMist® recipients should avoid close contact with immunocompromised individuals for at least 21 days."

For the new H1N1 mist, here is the insert:

The odds of transmitting the virus after receiving the nasal spray are about 2.5 percent.

I totally agree that if you're planning to get vaccinated that waiting a week or two for the shot is a better option. From what I've read most hospitals are having their staff vaccinated against the seasonal flu now, and they have a few more weeks to get the H1N1 vax, so most if not all should be able to wait and avoid the mist.

Comment Re:Where is the summary getting two thirds from? (Score 1) 541

It is our responsibility as parents to look after our children, not the medical establishment or the state. The responsibility of officials, doctors, etc. is to look after public health as a whole. They realize that there will be collateral damage and that some number of adverse events is guaranteed to happen as the number of people inoculated grows, but they believe it's worth it for the public good. It may be a selfish perspective, but in this case I am solely looking at what's best for my child.

It's up to the parent to weigh the risk vs. benefit and make a decision for the child until they are old enough to do that for themselves, same way as you make that call for yourself. In this case, I have looked at the risk of getting the nasal spray/shot for my son and in his age group 4.2% were hospitalized from the vaccine. Also in his age group, 4.5% have been hospitalized from the flu, with the majority of those being children with underlying conditions. Looking at those statistics, along with other collective information about what's in the shots, adverse effects reported, etc. as well as current information on how prevalent flu is in our area, reports on cause of death, etc. I have decided that at this point the risk does not outweigh the benefit he would receive. (This is all based on information from the CDC and the manufacturers of the vaccines, not from any site like Now, this decision is not set in stone and could change at any time, as the situation evolves every day! I am not patently anti-vaccine; a different decision is made for each one available.

As to bias, the medical professionals have an obvious bias too and many of them are similarly ignorant on the subject matter. They may know that statistically vaccines are a net positive, but know little of this particular shot. Because they are busy with the day to day work, they don't have time to read up on the latest information available (or even read the package insert) and are pressured by outside influence such as their employers, the government, media, etc.

IMO health care professionals as a group often think that they know what's best and don't remember that they are in a service position. Some people see them as God, but they are really just trained professionals like those in other areas of the economy. Just as you would with other advice you are given, you get to determine whether you want to follow it.

Now granted, this may not be why most people are avoiding the shots for their kids...


Shuttleworth Suggests 1-Way Valve For User Experience Testing 757

darthcamaro writes "No surprise but Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth has come out swinging in favor of the Linux desktop. Speaking at Linuxcon yesterday he detailed the things that he thinks Linux requires in order to win the desktop wars. Those include: co-ordinated software releases, better quality and design, some user experience testing and oh yeah, a dose of 'shut the f*** up' too. During his keynote, he extended an invitation to any open source application to submit their software for testing by user-experience experts. The sessions would be recorded for posterity, and the developer would not be able to interact with the user. "'If the developer is in the room, they have to say nothing. It's the shut the f*** up protocol,' Shuttleworth said. 'You sit and watch someone struggle with the software that you've so lovingly produced.'"

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