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Biotech

Submission + - Polymer implants could help heal brain injuries (gizmag.com)

cylonlover writes: Using implants made from porous biocompatible materials, scientists have recently been successful in regrowing things such as teeth, tendons and heart tissue, plus bone and cartilage. The materials act as a sort of nanoscale three-dimensional scaffolding, to which lab-cultivated cells can be added, or that the recipient’s own cells can colonize. Now, a Spanish research team has used the same principle to grow new brain tissue – the technique could ultimately be used to treat victims of brain injuries or strokes.
Space

Submission + - Skylon Space plane a step closer (bbc.co.uk)

Dupple writes: The UK company developing an engine for a new type of spaceplane says it has successfully demonstrated the power unit's enabling technology.

Reaction Engines Ltd (REL) of Culham, Oxfordshire, ran a series of tests on key elements of its Sabre propulsion system under the independent eye of the European Space Agency (Esa).

Esa's experts have confirmed that all the demonstration objectives. were met.

REL claims the major technical obstacle to its ideas has now been removed.

"This is a big moment; it really is quite a big step forward in propulsion," said Alan Bond, the driving force behind the Sabre engine concept..

Taking its oxygen from the air in the initial flight phase would mean Skylon could fly lighter from the outset with a higher thrust-to-weight ratio, enabling it to make a single leap to orbit, rather than using and dumping propellant stages on the ascent — as is the case with current expendable rockets.

If such a vehicle could be made to work, its reusability should transform the costs of accessing space.

Ubuntu

Submission + - Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to be Codenamed Brilliant Broccoli (ostatic.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Mark Shuttleworth suggests that vegetables will be used as version release names for Ubuntu once they run out of letters! To start with, he proposed the code name for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS: Brilliant Broccoli!
Privacy

Submission + - Canada prepares for crackdown on BitTorrent movie pirates

dreamstateseven writes: A forensic software company has collected files on a million Canadians who it says have downloaded pirated content. The company, which works for the motion picture and recording industries, says a recent court decision forcing Internet providers to release subscriber names and details is only the first step in a bid to crack down on illegal downloads.

“The door is closing. People should think twice about downloading content they know isn’t proper,” said Barry Logan, managing director of Canipre , the Montreal-based forensic software company.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: cheap ARM-boards not gimped by software?

Gaygirlie writes: "For a while I've been ranting online and offline about the possibilities and prospects cheap, ARM-based boards like e.g. the Raspberry Pi or the Pandaboard could provide, what with giving youngsters cheap computers to learn with, simple home automation systems, cheap HTPCs or TV-connected emulation boxes, always-on video chat systems, and so on and so forth — the possibilities are nearly endless!

These systems, however, are seriously gimped by poorly-designed drivers, constant breakage of features and the generally disheartening lack of support by the SoC manufacturers. I like e.g. the hardware of the Cubieboard at only $49 as it's quite well rounded all around and provides a good selection of connectors for most tasks, but... well, the Mali-400 drivers apparently break all the god damn time (#1), and the video acceleration — features are available only via the proprietary Cedar-library — no GStreamer, no Phonon, no OpenMAX, not a single standard method is available (#2.) A good example of what this means is VLC: VLC only works from console (#3,) no GUI, and since Cedar lacks YUV420 there's no OSD, either! (#1, #2, #3 )

With the above in mind, does anyone know of any boards in the planning where the software is actually guaranteed to work properly, be supported for longer than six months, and offers access to all the capabilities the H/W possess? Also, what are your thoughts on the matter as a whole?"
Crime

Submission + - Google Search Missed for 'Foolproof Suffocation' in Casey Anthony Case

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Orlando Sentinel reports that a google search was made for the term "foolproof suffocation" on the Anthony family's computer the day Casey Anthony's 2-year-old daughter Caylee was last seen alive by her family — a search that did not surface at Casey Anthony's trial for first degree murder. In the notorious 31 days which followed, Casey Anthony repeatedly lied about her and her daughter's whereabouts and at Anthony's trial, her defense attorney argued that her daughter drowned accidentally in the family's pool. Anthony was acquitted on all major charges in her daughter's death, including murder. Though computer searches were a key issue at Anthony's murder trial, the term "foolproof suffocation" never came up. "Our investigation reveals the person most likely at the computer was Casey Anthony," says investigative reporter Tony Pipitone. Lead sheriff's Investigator Yuri Melich sent prosecutors a spreadsheet that contained less than 2 percent of the computer’s Internet activity that day and included only Internet data from the computer’s Internet Explorer browser – one Casey Anthony apparently stopped using months earlier — and failed to list 1,247 entries recorded on the Mozilla Firefox browser that day — including the search for “foolproof suffocation.” Prosecutor Jeff Ashton said in a statement to WKMG that it's "a shame we didn't have it. (It would have) put the accidental death claim in serious question.""
Education

Submission + - Introducing students to rigor 2

An anonymous reader writes: As an engineer who studied in Asia for most of my life, my first exposure to real mathematics was when I arrived at graduate school in the United States. While I did take and enjoy some basic courses in mathematics (like real and functional analysis, measure theory and probability), I had a tough time because I found myself having to train myself in making rigorous proofs/arguments, compared to the engineering approach. I also found that training invaluable in helping me in other aspects of my life (including my engineering job). Now that I am back in my home country with children of my own, I see that the curriculum and approach in mathematics hasn't really changed. Rather than getting them used to thinking and making concrete arguments, they are taught formulae and most of their homework and exams focus on number crunching. So I'd like to ask slashdotters: What books/activities would you recommend for students in the 5th-12th grades (or even earlier) that might get them to appreciate rigor and critical thinking?
Medicine

Submission + - Researchers Investigating Self-Boosting Vaccine (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Vaccines, contrary to opinions from the anti-science crowd, are some of the most effective tools in modern medicine. For some diseases, a single shot is all it takes for lifetime immunity. Others, though, require booster shots, to remind your immune system exactly what it should prepare to fight. Failure to get these shots threatens an individual's health, and the herd immunity concept as well. Scientists are now looking into 'self-boosting' vaccines in order to fix that problem. Some viruses are capable of remaining in the human body for a person's entire lifetime. If researchers can figure out a way to safely harness these, it may be possible to add genes that would create proteins to train the immune system against not just one, but multiple other viruses (abstract). This is a difficult problem to solve; changing the way we do vaccinations will itself have consequences for herd immunity. It also hinges on finding a virus that can survive the immune system without have uncomfortable flare-ups from time to time.

Submission + - Early Human Ancestors Dined on Grass 3.5 Million Years Ago

An anonymous reader writes: New research suggests that early human ancestors began eating grass half a million years earlier than believed. Researchers found that unlike their predecessors who mostly lived on fruit and insects, our ancestors living 3.5 million years ago in central Africa got half their nutrition from tropical grasses and sedges, according to a new study published Nov. 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Google

Submission + - Google says government surveillance growing (informationweek.com)

SternisheFan writes: In a blog post, Google senior policy analyst Dorothy Chou says, " [G]overnment demands for user data have increased steadily since we first launched the Transparency Report." In the first half of 2012, the period covered in the report, Chou says there were 20,938 inquiries from government organizations for information about 34,614 Google-related accounts.

Google has a long history of pushing back against governmental demands for data, going back at least to its refusal to turn over search data to the Department of Justice in 2005.

Many other companies have chosen to cooperate with government requests rather than question or oppose them, but Chou notes that in the past year, companies like Dropbox, LinkedIn, Sonic.net and Twitter have begun making government information requests public, to inform the discussion about Internet freedom and its limits.

According to the report, the U.S. continues to make the most requests for user data, 7,969 in the first six months of the year. Google complied with 90% of these requests. Google's average compliance rate for the 31 countries listed in the report is about 47%.

AMD

Submission + - AMD hires bank to explore sale options (reuters.com)

Dainsanefh writes: Advanced Micro Devices has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co to explore options, which could include a potential sale, as the chipmaker struggles to find a role in an industry increasingly focused on mobile and away from traditional PCs, according to three sources familiar with the situation.
Advertising

Submission + - Online Privacy- Who's in Control? (ghostery.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: I'm writing to ask if you might have some time to speak with me about developing a story on online privacy. It is estimated that online shoppers will spend more than 54 billion dollars this holiday season, accounting for more than 24% of all U.S. retail spending during this time. All of this activity, all of this personal information and choices of people shopping online, are followed by various advertising and tracking companies whose scripts are embedded on these websites in an attempt to track your online behavior-and later target ads to you.
Ghostery is a browser tool that scans pages for scripts, pixels and other elements and notifies the user of the companies whose code is present on the page. Ghostery allows you to see what is happening behind your browser, to learn more about the companies whose code appears on the page (and their practices), and to block the page elements from loading if you so choose. Ghostery gives you the opportunity to exercise choice and helps you understand how companies collect and use your data- often to target ads to you. Ghostery also gives you the ability to opt out of targeting if you wish.
As you know, online privacy has been a popular topic of late and its use in politics was spotlighted in the press in the past few weeks in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and on Bloomberg TV. Below are a few examples of such stories.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/us/politics/tracking-clicks-online-to-try-to-sway-voters.
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/evidon-barackobama-com-has-87-tracking-cookies-X~44TNmcRcqQ7rBtmO0Lgg.html
I encourage you to download Ghostery (free download available at http://www.ghostery.com/ as using it is the best way to get its full effect. In addition to Ghostery’s' unparalleled transparency, it is able to scan pages without disrupting your browsing experience by either slowing down your browser or not allowing your web pages to load completely. Other products on the market simply block tracking, which may cause websites not to function properly. With Ghostery, consumers can see and make their own choices in real time.
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss Ghostery with you and walk you through the download. Please let me know when you might be available to do so. You can reach me by phone or email.
Best regards,
Annie Oberfield
WIT Strategy
aoberfield@witstrategy.com
484-802-6967

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