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Biotech

Submission + - Electric Stimulation Helps Stroke Patients Recover (technologyreview.com)

Al writes: "Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, have discovered that delivering an electric current through parts of the brain damaged by a stroke can help patients recover more motor ability. The team delivered "transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)"--in conjunction with physical therapy--to 20 patients who had suffered a stroke on average 2.5 years previously. While it's not yet clear exactly how tDCS improves motor function after stroke, one theory is that it helps repair an imbalance in the interactions between the two hemispheres of the brain. If one side is damaged by stroke, it can no longer effectively inhibit the healthy side, which in turn leads to increased inhibition of the stroke-damaged hemisphere. This is supported by the fact that they delivered stimulation to both hemispheres of the brain, using one direction of current to increase brain activity on the damaged side, and the reverse current to inhibit activity on the healthy side."
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft responds to FixOutlook.org (msdn.com)

arhhook writes: "FixOutlook.org is an effort consisting of over 20,999 people using Twitter to steer Microsoft away from using Mircosoft Word as the default email editor.

From FixOutlook.org:
Microsoft has confirmed they plan on using the Word rendering engine to display HTML emails in Outlook 2010. This means for the next 5 years your email designs will need tables for layout, have no support for CSS like float and position, no background images and lots more. Want proof? Here's the same email in Outlook 2000 & 2010.

Microsoft has developed a response defending their plan, and FixOutlook.org has a has also shot back"

Encryption

Submission + - Breakthru Allows Calculations on Encrypted Data 2

BBCWatcher writes: Can data be encrypted in a way that allows any calculation to be performed on the scrambled information without unscrambling it? It's a simple concept that sounds impossible, but if it were possible businesses and individuals could then protect their secrets yet still perform Web searches, medical studies, financial risk assessments, and many other tasks. Computer scientists call this idea "fully homomorphic encryption," and it was first envisioned 30 years ago by Ronald Rivest, one of RSA's coinventors. Rivest and two coauthors thought it was probably impossible. However, Craig Gentry at IBM Research recently discovered a solution, although at present the solution requires too much computing horsepower for common adoption. Nonetheless, Rivest now predicts the remaining engineering problems will be solved, yielding fully homomorphic encryption products and services. Crypto experts believe this breakthrough will make encryption much more convenient and more widespread.
Portables

Submission + - Asus Floats Out Eee PC 1005HA Seashell Netbook (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: "Asus has launched yet another addition to their successful Eee PC product line, this time taking queues from the ultra-thin, ultra-light craze going with the likes of the Macbook Air. The Eee PC 1005HA Seashell is a 10-inch Atom-based netbook, weighing in at less than three pounds and only 1.4-inches thick. If you're the type that needs to access external ports more frequently, appreciate longer battery life (well over 6 hours in real-world active usage) and the ability to swap batteries, the 1005HA may just be the netbook you've been looking for."
Google

Submission + - Cutting Google Out Of Mobile (bnet.com) 1

Michael_Curator writes: "The upshot of Opera Unite, according to HP's Billy Hoffman, is that HTML 5 can be used to support temporary peer-to-peer networks running within browsers that exist only as long as those browsers are open. This foreshadows a day when users can keep their collaboration and documents off the cloud and out of Google's organizing grasp. Google wants to federate everything, but mobile operators can offer fragmentation in the form of enhanced peer-to-peer services, turning the tables on Google in the process."
Space

Submission + - Buzz Aldrin's Plan for NASA (popularmechanics.com)

FleaPlus writes: Apollo 11 astronaut (and MIT Astronautics Sc.D.) Buzz Aldrin suggests a bolder plan for NASA (while still remaining within its budget), which he will present to the White House's Augustine Commission; he sees NASA heading down the wrong path with a "rehash of what we did 40 years ago" which could derail future exploration and settlement. For the short-term, Aldrin suggests canceling NASA's troubled and increasingly costly Ares I, instead launching manned capsules on commercial Delta IV, Atlas V, and/or SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets. In the medium-term, NASA should return to the moon with an international consortium, with the ultimate goal of commercial lunar exploitation in mind. Aldrin's long term plan includes a 2018 comet flyby, a 2019 manned trip to a near-earth asteroid, a 2025 trip to the Martian moon Phobos, and one-way trips to colonize Mars.
Quake

Submission + - Id Software bought out by Bethesda (ZeniMax Media) 1

atari2600 writes: Bethesda Softworks parent ZeniMax Media said Wednesday that it has acquired Id Software, the creator of legendary computer games such as Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein. Bethesda's hit titles include The Elder Scrolls series and Fallout. The acquisition by ZeniMax Media joins together two of the finest, most respected videogame developers in the world, combining the first person shooter (FPS) expertise of id Software with acclaimed role playing game (RPG) developer Bethesda Game Studios — creators of the 2008 Game of the Year, Fallout 3, and the 2006 Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Bethesda Softworks will publish the titles of id Software other than upcoming releases previously committed to other publishers.
Power

Submission + - G.M. Opens its Own Battery Research Laboratory (technologyreview.com) 1

Al writes: "Bankrupt automaker G.M. has taken a significant step towards reinventing itself by opening a battery laboratory in Michigan on a site that once churned out internal combustion engines. The new facility lets G.M. engineers simulate all kinds of conditions to determine how long batteries will last once they're inside its vehicles. Battery packs are charged and discharged while being subjected to high and low temperatures as well as extremes of humidity. Engineers can also simulate different altitudes by placing the packs in barometric chambers. The facility has also been designed so that engineers located in New York and Germany and at the University of Michigan can perform experiments remotely. Despite its financial troubles, G.M. has committed to producing the Volt and is already working on second- and third-generation battery technology at the new lab."
Privacy

Submission + - Supreme Court Won't Hear Case Over Computer Tech's (techdirt.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Supreme Court Won't Hear Case Over Computer Tech's Right To Search Your Computer A few years back, we wrote about the case where a guy was arrested for possessing child pornography after techs at Circuit City found child porn on his computer, while they were installing a DVD player. The guy insisted that the evidence shouldn't be admissible since the techs shouldn't have been snooping through his computer — and a lower court agreed. The appeals court, however, reversed, noting that the guy had given Circuit City the right to do things on his computer — including testing out the newly installed software (which is how the tech claims he found the video). The guy appealed to the Supreme Court, who has declined to hear the case, meaning that the ruling stands for the time being. So, basically, if you hand your computer over to someone else for repairs, at least in some jurisdictions, they may have pretty free reign in terms of what they're allowed to access on your computer. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090608/1357565168.shtml
Government

Submission + - Are IT suppliers to blame for government data brea (itpro.co.uk)

nk497 writes: "A director with the UK Home Office has said that the never-ending stream of government data breaches is often the fault of external IT consultants. John Collington described last year's loss of a data stick with information on all UK prisoners as "genuine human error," and said that despite this, the "Home Office was vilified in the press," with headlines calling the department "incompetent" — even though the error was made by the consultancy firm.

"It's the MoJ that have blundered, it's HMRC that have blundered... it's rarely the supplier that's blamed," Collington said. So, who should get the blame?"

Software

Submission + - The Anti-ODF Whisper Campaign (groklaw.net)

eldavojohn writes: Groklaw is examining the possibility of an anti-ODF whisper campaign and the effects it has had on the ODF and OOXML Wikipedia articles. In the ODF article, Alex Brown bends the truth to make it seem like no one is supporting ODF and that it is a flawed and incomplete standard. From the conclusion, 'So what is one to do? You obviously can't trust Wikipedia whatsoever in this area. This is unfortunate, since I am a big fan of Wikipedia. But since the day when Microsoft decided they needed to pay people to "improve" the ODF and OOXML articles, they have been a cesspool of FUD, spin and outright lies, seemingly manufactured for Microsoft's re-use in their whisper campaign. My advice would be to seek out official information on the standards, from the relevant organizations, like OASIS, the chairs of the relevant committees, etc. Ask the questions in public places and seek a public response. That is the ultimate weakness of FUD and lies. They cannot stand the light of public exposure. Sunlight is the best antiseptic.'
Music

Submission + - Camara Goes on Offense Against the RIAA

whisper_jeff writes: Ars has an excellent write up outlining how Kiwi Camara (Jammie Thomas(-Rasset)'s new lawyer) is taking a page from the "The Best Defense is a Good Offense" book and going on the attack against the RIAA. Not content to just defend his client, he is laying siege against the RIAA's entire campaign and beginning the work of dismantling it from the bottom up, starting with questioning whether they actually do own the copyrights that were allegedly infringed. And, if you're thinking this is good for everyone who's been harrassed by the RIAA, you'd be right — Camara, along with Harvard Law professor, Charles Nesson, plan to file a class action suit seeking to force the RIAA to return all the (ill-gotten) money they've earned from their litigation campaign. To paraphrase NewYorkCountyLawyer, could this be a sign of the end?
Cellphones

Submission + - Why iPhone Owners Hate AT&T 1

Hugh Pickens writes: "Daniel Ionescu has a story on PCWorld on why the iPhone's exclusive carrier in the US (at the moment) is the company that iPhone users love to hate. Reason 1: AT&T's signal coverage quality across the country leaves much to be desired, including those in some densely populated areas. "The iPhone 3G S can work on the much faster HSDPA network, with speeds up to 7.2 Mbps, but AT&T will start rolling this network technology only later this year and will complete the transition is 2011," writes Ionescu. Reason 2: MMS and tethering have been on the top of iPhone users' wish lists for a long time and while MMS is promised for later this summer, tethering won't be available until later in the year and given that the network is already strained by the influx of iPhone users as well as notebooks with built-in 3G connectivity, it is hard to imagine how AT&T's network will support data-hungry tethering. Reason 3: Existing users will have to shell out a hefty price for an early upgrade. Reason 4: Although Apple holds tight control of new apps through its App Store, AT&T plays a crucial role crippling Skype and SlingPlayer by their terms of service. "Both Skype and SlingPlayer for iPhone work only via Wi-Fi, although theoretically these tasks could be performed over a strong 3G network as well. But that would have a put a much larger strain on AT&T's network, which was already shook up at the South by South West Festival just a couple of months ago.""
Education

Submission + - Engineer Stereotype - Team Player or Expert Loner?

Hugh Pickens writes: ""Industrial advisory boards are always saying engineers come to the workplace with good technical skills but they don't work well on team projects," says Paul Leonardi at Northwestern University. Trained as an ethnographer, Leonardi studied more than 130 undergraduate engineering students observing lab sessions and group project work time to study the culture of undergraduate engineering and found that when students entered engineering schools, they already had an idea of what an engineer should be from television programs and other media. "There's a stereotype that engineers do things by themselves," Leonardi says. "So when students are asked to work in teams, they think, am I going to be disadvantaged? When I go to the workplace am I not going to be as valuable?" Leonardi and his colleagues often saw groups splitting up group work, even if they were specifically asked to work on it together at the same time. To combat this, professional societies often say that engineering schools should put more team-based projects into curriculum, but Leonardi argues that isn't enough. "The change we need is helping to put new kinds of stereotypes and images of what it means to be an engineer into the culture so students can reflect on those and think about changing their work practices to align with what we really want engineers to be," Leonardi says. "It's important for organizations to get involved with engineering education, providing internships and co-op opportunities, because it allows students to see early on other images of engineering so they can see that there are images of engineers out there other than the expert loner.""

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