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Medicine

New Flu Strain Appears In the US and Mexico 315

Combat Wombat writes with this excerpt from Reuters: "A strain of flu never seen before has killed up to 60 people in Mexico and also appeared in the United States, where eight people were infected but recovered, health officials said on Friday. Mexico's government said at least 20 people have died of the flu and it may also be responsible for 40 other deaths. [The government] shut down schools and canceled major public events in Mexico City to try to prevent more deaths in the sprawling, overcrowded capital. ... Close analysis showed the disease is a mixture of swine, human and avian viruses, according to the CDC. Humans can occasionally catch swine flu from pigs but rarely have they been known to pass it on to other people. Mexico reported 1,004 suspected cases of the new virus, including four possible cases in Mexicali on the border with California.
Spam

Opting Out Increases Spam? 481

J. L. Tympanum writes "I used to ignore spam but recently I have been using the opt-out feature. Now I get more spam than ever, especially of the Nigerian scam (and related) types. The latter has gone from almost none to several a day. Was I a fool for opting out? Is my email address being harvested when I opt out? Has anybody had similar experience?"
Books

Copyright Lobby Targets "Pirate Bay For Books" 356

An anonymous reader writes "TTVK, a Finnish national copyright lobby, is threatening a book rental service called Bookabooka for allegedly running the 'Pirate Bay for Books.' Bookabooka however does not offer a torrent tracker service, nor does it enable a user in any way to download eBooks; it simply provides a place for book owners to rent textbooks to each other via the traditional mail service. It is mandatory that all textbooks must be originals. The service is used by a lot of School and University students, and it does not handle the shipping or returns of the textbooks. Nevertheless, the Finnish book publishers' association (Suomen Kustannusyhdistys) is convinced the service is breaching the copyright laws and threatening their business. TTVK has given Bookabooka until Friday to cease operations or face a lawsuit. Bookabooka's founders have vowed to keep the service online and ignore the threat."
Image

Robotic Penguins 118

Corporate Troll writes "Robotic penguins were unveiled by German engineering firm Festo this week. Using their flippers, the mechanical penguins (video) can paddle through water just like real ones, while larger helium-filled designs can "swim" through the air. The penguins are on show at the Hannover Messe Trade Exhibition in Germany. Each penguin carries 3D sonar which is used to monitor its surroundings and avoid collisions with walls or other penguins."
Security

New Mega-Botnet Discovered 257

yahoi writes "According to the DarkReading article, 'Researchers have discovered a major botnet operating out of the Ukraine that has infected 1.9 million machines, including large corporate and government PCs mainly in the US. The botnet, which appears to be larger than the infamous Storm botnet was in its heyday, has infected machines from some 77 government-owned domains — 51 of which are in the US government. Researchers from Finjan who found the botnet say it's controlled by six individuals, and includes machines in major banks.'"
Linux Business

"Good Enough" Computers Are the Future 515

An anonymous reader writes "Over on the PC World blog, Keir Thomas engages in some speculative thinking. Pretending to be writing from the year 2025, he describes a world of 'Good Enough computing,' wherein ultra-cheap PCs and notebooks (created to help end-users weather the 'Great Recession' of the early 21st century) are coupled to open source operating systems. This is possible because even the cheapest chips have all the power most people need nowadays. In what is effectively the present situation with netbooks writ large, he sees a future where Microsoft is priced out of the entire desktop operating system market and can't compete. It's a fun read that raises some interesting points."
Security

Intel Cache Poisoning Is Dangerously Easy On Linux 393

Julie188 writes "A researcher recently released proof-of-concept code for an exploit that allows a hacker to overrun an Intel CPU cache and plant a rootkit. A second, independent researcher has examined the exploit and noted that it is so simple and so stealthy that it is likely out in the wild now, unbeknownst to its victims. The attack works best on a Linux system with an Intel DQ35 motherboard with 2GB of memory. It turns out that Linux allows the root user to access MTR registers incredibly easily. With Windows this exploit can be used, but requires much more work and skill and so while the Linux exploit code is readily available now, no Windows exploit code has, so far, been released or seen. This attack is hardware specific, but unfortunately, it is specific to Intel's popular DQ35 motherboards."
Space

Scientists Discover Exoplanet Less Than Twice the Mass of Earth 201

Snowblindeye writes with this excerpt from the European Southern Observatory: "Well-known exoplanet researcher Michel Mayor today announced the discovery of the lightest exoplanet found so far. The planet, 'e,' in the famous system Gliese 581, is only about twice the mass of Earth. The team also refined the orbit of the planet Gliese 581 d, first discovered in 2007, placing it well within the habitable zone, where liquid water oceans could exist. Planet Gliese 581 e orbits its host star — located only 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra ('the Scales') — in just 3.15 days. 'With only 1.9 Earth-masses, it is the least massive exoplanet ever detected and is, very likely, a rocky planet,' says co-author Xavier Bonfils from Grenoble Observatory. Being so close to its host star, the planet is not in the habitable zone. But another planet in this system appears to be. ... The planet furthest out, Gliese 581 d, orbits its host star in 66.8 days. 'Gliese 581 d is probably too massive to be made only of rocky material, but we can speculate that it is an icy planet that has migrated closer to the star,' says team member Stephane Udry. The new observations have revealed that this planet is in the habitable zone, where liquid water could exist. '"d" could even be covered by a large and deep ocean — it is the first serious "water world" candidate,' continued Udry."
Microsoft

The History of Microsoft's Anti-Competitive Behavior 361

jabjoe writes "Groklaw is highlighting a new document from the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (PDF) about the history of Microsoft's anti-competitive behavior. Quoting: 'ECIS has written it in support of the EU Commission's recent preliminary findings, on January 15, 2009, that Microsoft violated antitrust law by tying IE to Windows. It is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time that the issue of Microsoft's patent threats against Linux have been framed in a context of anti-competitive conduct.' The report itself contains interesting quotes, like this one from Microsoft's Thomas Reardon: '[W]e should just quietly grow j++ share and assume that people will take more advantage of our classes without ever realizing they are building win32-only java apps.' It also has the Gates 1998 Deposition."
Power

Developing Battery Replacement Infrastructure For Electric Cars 369

FathomIT sends in a NY Times profile of Shai Agassi, owner of a company named Better Place, who is working to build the infrastructure to support large numbers of small-scale charging spots for electric cars, as well as fast, automated battery swap stations. "The robot — a squat platform that moves on four dinner-plate-size white wheels — scuttled back and forth along a 20-foot-long set of metal rails. At one end of the rails, a huge blue battery, the size of a large suitcase, sat suspended in a frame. As we watched, the robot zipped up to the battery, made a nearly inaudible click, and pulled the battery downward. It ferried the battery over to the other end of the rails, dropped it off, picked up a new battery, hissed back over to the frame and, in one deft movement, snapped the new battery in the place of the old one. The total time: 45 seconds."
Medicine

Study Claims 8.5% of Young Gamers "Pathologically Addicted" 296

schnucki brings word of new research which claims roughly one in twelve American children between the ages of eight and 18 are "pathologically addicted" to video games. The study, conducted by Douglas Gentile, director of the National Institute on Media and the Family at Iowa State University, says that "pathological status was a significant predictor of poorer school performance even after controlling for sex, age, and weekly amount of video-game play." However, Professor Cheryl Olson, who has conducted her own research into video game use, questioned Gentile's methodology, saying, "The author is repurposing questions used to assess problem gambling in adults; however, lying to your spouse about blowing the rent money on gambling is a very different matter from fibbing to your mom about whether you played video games instead of starting your homework."
Image

Biotech Company To Patent Pigs 285

Anonymous Swine writes "Monsanto, a US based multinational biotech company, is causing a stir by its plan to patent pig-breeding techniques including the claim on animals born by the techniques. 'Agricultural experts are scrambling to assess how these patents might affect the market, while consumer activists warn that if the company is granted pig-related patents, on top of its tight rein on key feed and food crops, its control over agriculture could be unprecedented. "We're afraid that Monsanto and other big companies are getting control of the world's genetic resources," said Christoph Then, a patent expert with Greenpeace in Germany. The patent applications, filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization, are broad in scope, and are expected to take several years and numerous rewrites before approval.'"
Google

Google Brings 3D To Web With Open Source Plugin 191

maxheadroom writes "Google has released an open source browser plugin that provides a JavaScript API for displaying 3D graphics in web content. Google hopes that the project will promote experimentation and help advance a collaborative effort with the Khronos Group and Mozilla to create open standards for 3D on the web. Google's plugin offers its own retained-mode graphics API, called O3D, which takes a different approach from a similar browser plugin created by Mozilla. Google's plugin is cross-platform compatible and works with several browsers. In an interview with Ars Technica, Google product manager Henry Bridge and engineering director Matt Papakipos say that Google's API will eventually converge with Mozilla's as the technology matures. The search giant hopes to bring programs like SketchUp and Google Earth to the browser space."
The Courts

RIAA Brief Attacks Free Software Foundation 554

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA has requested permission to file a response to the amicus curiae brief filed by the Free Software Foundation in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, the Boston case against a Boston University grad student accused of having downloaded some song files when in his teens. In their proposed response, the RIAA lawyers personally attacked The Free Software Foundation, Ray Beckerman (NewYorkCountryLawyer), and NYCL's blog, 'Recording Industry vs. The People.' The 9-page response (PDF) — 4 pages longer than the document to which it was responding — termed the FSF an organization 'dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, and modifying computer programs,' and accused the FSF of having an 'open and virulent bias against copyrights' and 'blatant bias' against the record companies. They called 'Recording Industry vs. The People' an 'anti-recording industry web site' and stated that NYCL 'is currently subject to a pending sanctions motion for his conduct in representing a defendant' (without disclosing that plaintiffs' lawyers were 'subject to a pending motion for Rule 11 sanctions for their conduct in representing plaintiffs' in that very case)."
Networking

Should Network Cables Be Replaced? 524

Jyms writes "As technology changes, so hubs routers and switches are upgraded, but does the cabling need replacing, and if so, how often? Coax gave way to CAT 5 and CAT 5e replaced that. If you are running a 100Mbit/s network on old CAT 5, can that affect performance? Do CAT 5(e) cables get old?"

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