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Scientists Learn To Fabricate DNA Evidence 256

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that it is possible to fabricate blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor, and even to construct a sample of DNA to match someone's profile without obtaining any tissue from that person — if you have access to their DNA profile in a database. This undermines the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases. 'You can just engineer a crime scene,' said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper. 'Any biology undergraduate could perform this.' The scientists fabricated DNA samples in two ways. One requires a real, if tiny, DNA sample, perhaps from a strand of hair or a drinking cup. They amplified the tiny sample into a large quantity of DNA using a standard technique called whole genome amplification. The other technique relies on DNA profiles, stored in law enforcement databases as a series of numbers and letters corresponding to variations at 13 spots in a person's genome. The scientists cloned tiny DNA snippets representing the common variants at each spot, creating a library of such snippets. To prepare a phony DNA sample matching any profile, they just mixed the proper snippets together. Tania Simoncelli, science adviser to the American Civil Liberties Union, says the findings were worrisome. 'DNA is a lot easier to plant at a crime scene than fingerprints,' says Simoncelli. 'We're creating a criminal justice system that is increasingly relying on this technology.'"
The Media

Murdoch Demands Kindle Users' Info 433

In yet another move to display how antiquated and completely ignorant of digital culture he is, Rupert Murdoch has started demanding that Amazon hand over user info for all Kindle users. This demand comes right after Murdoch just finished negotiating a larger share of revenue from Amazon sales. At least Amazon hasn't decided to comply with this request yet. "'As I've said before, the traditional business model has to change rapidly to ensure that our journalistic businesses can return to their old margins of profitability,' Murdoch said. 'Quality journalism is not cheap, and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalizing its ability to produce good reporting.'"

Comment IEEE? (Score 1) 201

The paper has tons of English grammar mistakes and typos. I also noticed several semantic mistakes, like calling p2p clients "networks", and using the word "swamp" when they obviously meant "swarm". They also repeated the "this won't work against FTP/email/DVD-in-mail" paragraph at least 3 times in the first two pages.

Doesn't IEEE have some quality standard for their publications?

Anyways, I got bored of reading this thing after the first few pages (maybe that was their intent?). In short, they propose a custom p2p content distribution system, or augmentation of existing p2p software. The main servers would do the management, and users would do the decentralized distribution part.

Their system adds some sort of authorization mechanism: after purchasing something you get a receipt, and you use that to connect to the network via a (company-controlled) bootstrap node. You have to continuously refresh your auth token against this node. And somehow this token lets anyone recognize a legal/illegal download request. And the poisoning part is there to stop clients that skip the authentication process (both producers and consumers). Does anyone feel like examining their method in detail?

Comment Performance (Score 1) 80

Actually, this game is already decently playable on a (amd) 486. And flies on a P200. What you're seeing is dosbox emulation overhead.

I disagree with your "so poorly optimized" statement. This thing does 3d with texturized surfaces and large view distance, AI, and who knows what else, all in SOFTWARE. It even has realtime ambient lighting - and still runs fine on a 486! For me, Daggerfall has the most awesome sw engine I've ever seen.

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