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Submission + - Stopping Spam by Authenticating all Email

Michael G. Kaplan writes: Preventing spam would be much easier if all email were authenticated – currently an impossibility because at a minimum this would require the perfect ongoing manual participation of every domain administrator in the world. Universal email authentication will only become a reality by obviating the need for this manual participation. This might be possible via a method that allows the email sending computers to autonomously apply authenticating digital signatures.

Comment DNA microarrays are likely highly superior (Score 2, Interesting) 71

DNA microarrays (also know as DNA chips) can already identify every virus ever discovered, and it can even identify undiscovered viruses by recognizing genetic sequences that are highly conserved among viruses. This type of chip first proved its worth in 2003 when it was used to identify SARS. The New York Times interviewed the inventor Joseph DeRisi about it:

We had just finished building the full version of our ViroChip, when we read about SARS in the newspapers. We literarily begged the C.D.C. to send us samples of the virus. Once we had it, we immediately put it onto a chip. In less than 24 hours we confirmed that this was a novel coronavirus. We confirmed the ViroChip’s finding by subsequently sequencing this virus’s genome. This had never in history happened before.

It is not yet evident what, if any, advantage this other chip that hopes to identify viruses by their size will have.

Comment Study only applies to focal brain injury (Score 5, Informative) 347

Of the 54 patients examined in the study most had suffered either from traumatic brain injury or anoxic brain injury. Anoxic brain injury for the most part means your heart had stopped for a prolonged period of time (although other things such as severe prolonged hypoglycemia or carbon monoxide can do the same thing). Anoxic brain injury is a diffuse process and its course is highly predictable. Depending on the severity of the initial event with anoxia patients will either improve after a relatively short period of time or they never will. Of all of the 'miracle' re-awaking cases that have occurred (extremely rare cases of people waking up to a severely disabled state) none of them have been by someone who has suffered anoxia.

Traumatic brain injury has a less predictable course as some of the parts of the brain are destroyed while other parts can be relatively undamaged. Of the five patients in the study who were found with some brain activity all of them were traumatic brain injury cases.

Schiavo suffered anoxic brain injury due to cardiac arrest. These patients never need fancy brains scan as their external findings accurately reflect what has happened to their entire brain. The current New England Journal of Medicine article actually serves to support that anoxia patients have no cognition.

Comment is a criminal scam (Score 5, Informative) 184

The New York Times recently did an extensive article on this scam.

The entire basis of their operation is to fool people into paying for something advertised as free. They claim that their site discloses its fees, but the disclosure is still discrete enough to fool massive numbers of people.

Any site where you make a purchase should disclose the fact that you are making a purchase with at least the level of clarity that you encounter on a reputable site such as Also a service that advertises itself as "free" should never be allowed to charge -- even if they gratuitously disclosed their fee (which they don't) it would still be a bait an switch scam.

Comment No, it is completely unjustifiable (Score 1) 520

Using the DROID as an example:

The DROID with no contract is $560.

Math with the current termination fee: $200 for the phone + $175 to immediately break your contract = $375 (You save $185 over the no-contract price)

Math with the new termination fee: $200 for the phone + $350 to immediately break your contract = $550 (You save $10 over the no-contract price)

Either way you save more than simply buying the phone without a contract. The new fee is high, but I can understand their reasoning.

Why do you blindly accept Verizon's word that the true cost of the DROID is $560? I don't know how much the DROID cost to manufacture, but the components of an iPhone 3GS cost $179. Assume the same for the DROID and toss in a generous amount for Motorola's assembly and R&D and I will guesstimate that Motorola can easily sell these things at $300 each and still make a reasonable profit.

Verizon wants to make it effectively impossible for people to leave so they slap on a ridiculous extra $260 to what they paid for each DROID and they announce that a no-contract phone costs $560. All of a sudden the price-gouging termination fees they charge for their plans are 'justified'.

Oh yeah, and if you pay the ridiculous termination fee you must trash your DROID as it is carrier locked. You don't even own the phone you paid for.

This is just another reminder of why we desperately need Net Neutrality to apply to wireless carriers -- Motorola would then be selling unlocked DROIDs directly to users regardless of cell phone provider. The retail price of the DROID would be determined by the open market in competition with every other model of cell phone.

Comment Most of the anti-virus products performed well. (Score 1) 344

If you look at the PDF of the report that the article references you will see that many of the products were completely successful at identifying and at least neutralizing the tested malware. The reason why none of them rated "very good" is because some of the programs required you to reboot your computer to remove some specific malware programs while for others the use of a boot CD was required. The report also criticizes when some anti-virus programs leave some non-malicious components behind instead of eliminating 100% of the program.

The article gives the impression that the programs are failing to combat the malware, but the criticism is more about the convenience of the malware removal process. And yeah, I think it is a nice thing to completely remove a piece of malware but the report doesn't explain why it is so tragic if some anti-virus programs sometimes fail to remove some of the non-malicious components of the malware.

Comment iPhone users must be protected from confusion! (Score 1) 121

Apple rejected Google Voice because it would "duplicate features that come with the iPhone". Google Latitude was rejected "in order to avoid confusion with Maps on the iPhone".

Don't you realize how dangerously confused iPhone users might become if they have access to this free navigation program?

Comment What "protein biomarker" are they talking about? (Score 2, Informative) 18

Cancer can affect the levels of various proteins in the blood: prostate cancer can raise prostate specific antigen, carcinoembryonic antigen is associated with colon and other cancers, alpha-fetoprotein is associated with liver and other cancers... the list goes on and on.

The problem is that these proteins are produced by normal cells but cancer cells often produce them in excess. The ability to detect these proteins has never been a problem. The problem is that they often only reach a very high level when the cancer has spread. The only protein used in cancer screening is prostate specific antigen and the benefit of this test is very contentious as its use has resulted in many a false negative and false positive diagnosis.

A real discovery would be to identify a blood marker that is useful for screening. It must be sensitive enough to enable detection while the cancer is curable but still maintain a very low false positive rate - as of today this doesn't exist for any cancer.

Comment You are completely wrong, at least 85 died (Score 5, Informative) 541

"151 dead from Swine Flu in Mexico", on recounting, turned out to be 6.

I don't know where your non-cited figure of "6" deaths from the original swine flu outbreak in Mexico came from, but maybe it was from a misinterpretation of a report detailing the deaths of 7 patients at a single tertiary care hospital in Mexico city during a single month. The New England Journal of Medicine article that detailed the fate of the 98 patients acutely ill with the swine flu in that hospital at that time also references that 85 people in Mexico were known to have died as of May out of 4910 confirmed cases, a fatality rate of 1.7%.

Fortunately only Mexico during the initial outbreak reported such a high fatality rate. This is very fortunate as almost no young person in the world had any kind of immunity to this strain. In all likelihood when you come down with it you will be 'lucky' enough to only have to suffer a few days of bed-bound misery.

I'm a healthy skeptic.

Skepticism is good, but you've jumped way beyond that into conspiracy theories and paranoia.

I'll stick with preventative measures, as opposed to a shot that may or may not be effective this season

Doing nothing does not count as a preventative measure. It is true that usually with the seasonal flu vaccine scientists must guess months beforehand what strains to put in the vaccine and since they don't always guess right the vaccine is usually only about 70% effective, but as for pandemic H1N1 the vaccine is an excellent match and it should give almost everyone who gets it protection.

Comment The best/fairest solution to allocate bandwidth: (Score 1) 501

The concept of "unlimited" plans is obviously a fiction, but there are problems presented by selling customers a fixed monthly data allotment because people who download at off peak hours will unfairly pay as much as someone who downloads during peak hours, and regardless of the time of day someone who downloads from a cell site with a huge excess of capacity will be penalized just as much as someone who downloads from a cell site that is breaking under overwhelming demand.

The best solution is for the cell phone companies to sell customers 'shares' of bandwidth. It would work something like this:

With your cell phone plan you own one 'share' of bandwidth and you are allowed to download 10 Gb/month of peak demand data. You have an unlimited monthly allotment of non-peak data that you can download.

Say that the cell phone company defines 'peak' data usage as anytime an individual customer for an individual cell site is unable to download at a rate of at least one Mbps.

Now say a given cell site has a capacity of 10 Mbps. If two different customers are accessing this site simultaneously (each has one share) then each one will be able to download at a rate of 5 Mbps. This cell site obviously has a lot of excess capacity - neither of these two users will have eaten into their 10 Gb/month data allotment.

Now say that the same cell site has twenty users - each user's share will come out to 0.5 Mbps of bandwidth. The data that is being downloaded will be deducted from their 10 Gb/month allowance because the available bandwidth per share is now less than one Mbps.

What happens when a user exceeds their monthly allotment? They get throttled down to... well let's say 0.5 shares. Now when they download they will only get 0.25 Mbps at the same time that other users are getting 0.5 Mbps from the same site.

Users who want more capacity can purchase more shares from the wireless provider.

The cell sites should give real-time feedback to the smartphones when the cell site is operating at peak capacity and deducting from their 10 Gb/month limit.

The FCC will need to put out some rules to prevent the usual predictable abusive wireless provider behavior. We don't want AT&T to suddenly charge you one dollar per Mb that you use in excess of the 10 Gb/month limit. In my view it is criminal when companies generate revenue via 'gotchas' instead of honest practices.

Comment Re:Don't expect too much from this treatment (Score 1) 99

Sorry, I meant curatively resect. I may have been too bold to even suggest that by removing half the brain it might be possible to cure GBM. GBM can never be cured, and it is not even clear if currently practiced 'palliative' resections extend life. Anyway therapies that use antibodies to target antigens expressed on target cells are promising, but the idea of requiring focused light to target glioblastoma cells that are sprinkle around the brain is pretty futile.

Comment Don't expect too much from this treatment (Score 3, Insightful) 99

The article states that "cultured human GMB cells" were "killed up to 80 percent... after 5 minutes of exposure to focused white light".

How exactly are you going to expose a malignant tumor that has diffusely infiltrated the parenchyma of the brain to focused white light? You can't surgically resect a GBM unless you are willing to remove an entire cerebral hemisphere. If you scooped out part of it and exposed the remaining cavity to white light you would barely effect any of the remaining tumor.

Now if brain tumors only occurred in petri dishes then this treatment would result in a brief remission.

Comment WiFi Hotspot@home should be universal (Score 1) 300

T-Mobile offers a service called Hotspot@home whereby a WiFi enabled cell phone will automatically receive and place calls over your home WiFi. This would enable everyone to make and receive limitless free phone calls while at home and subsequently shift a lot of the burden off of the cell phone network, and everyone would have perfect reception in their house.

This should also be a free service included with every cell phone plan - it is only because of the cell phone oligopoly that T-Mobile is able to charge you a monthly fee for the right to NOT use their network, and similar abuses explain why other carriers won't even allow this option. We need network neutrality.

Comment AT&T wants to hold onto the big cash (Score 5, Informative) 220

More like how important it is to AT&T not to have network neutrality codified into regulation. This move is only to mollify the FCC and get them off their backs so they can still double-dip by charging companies running popular sites for "preferential" (read non-degraded) access to AT&T subscribers.

AT&T is trying to mollify the FCC so that they can maintain multiple other abusive practices that would be eliminated if the same network neutrality standard that is applied to wired connections is applied to the cell phone networks. The wireless providers don't want to become mindless providers of bandwidth.

-They want to be able to charge $0.20 for each text message.

-They want to force you to purchase a phone from them. They will justify their high rates by explaining that they are subsidizing your phone but even after you've paid off your phone after 1-2 years they will still force you to pay the same inflated rate. If you leave the network you can't take your phone with you because the phone YOU paid for is locked to their network.

-They want to be able to force you to purchase a data plan with certain WiFi phones.

-They want to continue to cripple phones that offer highly desired features unless they can charge for them (e.g. gps chips are common in cell phones but users are not allowed access to the information unless you give the wireless provider cash).

The list goes on and on. I hope that the American public and the FCC isn't fooled by this bone that AT&T tossed our way.

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