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Biotech

Monsanto Executive Wins World Food Prize 271

sfcrazy writes "A top Monsanto executive has won the prestigious World Food Prize. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the award where Robert T. Fraley, the executive vice president and CTO of Monsanto, won the prize along with two other scientists from Belgium and the US. The award was given for devising a method to insert genes from another organism into plant cells, which could produce new genetic lines with highly favorable traits."
Microsoft

Microsoft Kills Xbox One Phone-Home DRM 547

One of the biggest criticisms of Microsoft's recently-announced Xbox One console was that it would require an internet connection once every 24 hours in order to keep playing games. Enough people complained about the DRM, and Microsoft listened. Today, they announced that they're removing the phone-home requirement. "After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360." They've also scrapped the game trading and resale system they'd built, which allowed publishers to set their own rules with regard to used game sales. "There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360." Unfortunately, that also means users won't be able to take advantage of the good parts of the original system, such as trading and gifting games without needing the disc, or sharing games with remote family members. "While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds." Also noteworthy: they've dropped region-locks as well.
GNU is Not Unix

MySQL Man Pages Silently Relicensed Away From GPL 243

An anonymous reader writes "The MariaDB blog is reporting a small change to the license covering the man pages to MySQL. Until recently, the governing license was GPLv2. Now the license reads, 'This software and related documentation are provided under a license agreement containing restrictions on use and disclosure and are protected by intellectual property laws. Except as expressly permitted in your license agreement or allowed by law, you may not use, copy, reproduce, translate, broadcast, modify, license, transmit, distribute, exhibit, perform, publish, or display any part, in any form, or by any means. Reverse engineering, disassembly, or decompilation of this software, unless required by law for interoperability, is prohibited.'"

Comment Re:Isn't this what we would expect. (Score 1) 117

The first result of that search reports a measurement of the time of divergence between two species of bacteria between 120 and 160 million years with a substitution rate in protein-coding DNA of 0.7-0.8 million years which is remarkably similar to that observed in the nuclear genes of mammals, invertebrates, and flowering plants.

Comment Re:Isn't this what we would expect. (Score 0) 117

This is no evolution. Evolution can't show its effects in such a short time span. We're just seeing existing species eating the trash that we're dumping into the ocean.

It seems that any change to the ecological status quo is regarded as a problem or disaster. We know from the historical record that nothing in nature stays in a steady state. We know that changes in ecology are often boom bust cycles that eventually find an equilibrium

The problem is that most of the “changes in ecology” that happened in the last two centuries boil down to the human species consistently and predictably expanding into new territories and displacing any other species originally living there. This phenomenon is a complete novelty in the historical record, and the only possible equilibrium it can eventually lead to is the survival of a very limited amount of species: ours, the domestic ones that we need to eat, and the ones that live on our dejections. These bacteria apparently belong to the latter group.

Comment Re:Windows users are chumps. (Score 1) 140

And what did I say? CD-ROM drives were common, burners not so. About the affordability and ubiquity of burnt CDs, I should know too, as I was in high school in those years, piracy was rampant, and burnt CDs were the only kind of CD that a lot of people had at home, for $10 was still quite less than the $100 a pressed CD used to cost here.

Of course, I do not accept, condone or encourage piracy.

Comment Re:Windows users are chumps. (Score 3, Informative) 140

I challenge what Wikipedia says; I was there in 1995, and for new computers that shipped with Windows '95 having a CD-ROM drive was the norm and not the exception. Installing Windows '95 from floppy disks required a very tall pile of them, and I know few people who can recount the experience of installing the OS out of them. CD burners were much rarer, but using burnt CDs coming from a third party was commonplace.

Comment Re:FIrst Post Maybe? (Score 1) 549

In fact, in real socialist states, the idea is that you cannot own real estate. Your house gets assigned to you, and when you leave it you give it back. So everyone would get equal treatment and opportunities. In reality, what happened is that members of the upper bureaucracy were assigned big houses while regular people got anonymous sleep points. So the class structure was there, with bureaucracy replacing aristocracy/bourgeoisie.
Lord of the Rings

Dotcom Alleges Megaupload Raid Was Part of Deal To Film The Hobbit 112

c0lo writes "Kim Dotcom alleges, in an 20 min interview with the Australian public television, that Megaupload was offered up by the New Zealand's PM 'on a silver platter' as part of negotiations with Warner Brothers executives for shooting The Hobbit in New Zealand. He promises that he'll substantiate the claims in court. He also says that the extradition case the U.S. government is weak and the reason behind the latest delay in extradition hearing (postponed from August this year to March next year) is an attempt to bleed Dotcom dry of his money. Also interesting, Dotcom says that the latest debacle of the massive scale online online surveillance by U.S. spy agencies has triggered an 'explosion' of interest in mega.co.nz, the 'cloud storage' site with user generated encryption."

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