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Biotech

Birdsong Studies Lead To a Revolution In Biology 117

Smithsonian.com covers research that began with the study of birdsong and ended by overturning the common belief that adult animals can't produce new brain cells. "Deconstructing birdsong may seem an unlikely way to shake up biology. But [Fernando] Nottebohm's research has shattered the belief that a brain gets its quota of nerve cells shortly after birth and stands by helplessly as one by one they die — a 'fact' drummed into every schoolkid's skull. [Nottebohm] demonstrated two decades ago that the brain of a male songbird grows fresh nerve cells in the fall to replace those that die off in summer. The findings were shocking, and scientists voiced skepticism that the adult human brain had the same knack for regeneration. ... Yet, inspired by Nottebohm's work, researchers went on to find that other adult animals — including human beings — are indeed capable of producing new brain cells. And in February, scientists reported for the first time that brand-new nerves in adult mouse brains appeared to conduct impulses — a finding that addressed lingering concerns that newly formed adult neurons might not function."
Government

"Right To Repair" Bill Advances In Massachusetts 478

Wannabe Code Monkey sends along an article from the Patriot Ledger about an effort in Massachusetts to pass a "Right to Repair" bill. "Since the advent of congressionally mandated computers in vehicles more than 15 years ago (for emissions), cars have evolved into complex machines that are no longer just mechanical. Computers now monitor and control most systems in the car from brakes to tire pressure and all the electronics and engine fluids... [and] car manufacturers continue to hold back on some of the information that your mechanic needs in order to properly repair your car and reset your codes and warning lights... Massachusetts is now poised to solve this problem and car-driving consumers should pay attention this fall when the Massachusetts Legislature takes up landmark legislation that would force manufacturers to respect the right of consumers to access their own repair information. The legislation, known as Right to Repair, is seen by car manufacturers as a threat to the lucrative service business in their dealerships and they are massing their lobbyists on Beacon Hill in an effort to defeat it."
Space

A Galaxy-Sized Observatory For Gravitational Waves 190

KentuckyFC writes "Gravitational waves squash and stretch space as they travel through the universe. Current attempts to spot them involve monitoring a region of space several kilometers across on Earth for the telltale signs of this squeezing. These experiments have so far seen nothing. But by monitoring an array of pulsars throughout the galaxy, astronomers should be able to see the effects of gravitational waves passing by. They say such an array of pulsars should effectively shimmer as the gravitational waves wash over it, like a grid of buoys bobbing on the ocean. That'll create an observatory that is effectively the size of the entire galaxy. These observations should be capable of monitoring how galaxies and supermassive black holes evolve together, and shed light on the physics of the early universe. Best of all, the next generation of radio-telescope arrays should be capable of making these observations at a cost of around $66 million over ten years. That's a small fraction of the hundreds of millions that Earth-based observatories have already cost."
Education

Heart Monitors In Middle School Gym Class? 950

An anonymous reader writes "My son brought home an order form from his middle school. Apparently the 7th (his grade) and 8th graders are being asked (required?) to purchase their own straps for the heart monitors they're to wear during gym class. I know nothing yet of the device in question, but have left a voice-mail with the assistant principal asking him to call me so I may ask some questions about the program and the device. My tinfoil-hat concern is that the heart rate data will be tied to each child, then archived and eventually used for/against them down the road when applying for insurance, high-stress jobs, etc. 'I see you had arrhythmia during 7th grade pickle ball? No insurance for you' Has anyone heard of such a program, or had their child(ren) take part in it? Does the device transmit to the laptop the overweight gym teacher will be watching instead of running laps with the kids? Perhaps data is downloaded from the device after the class? Or am I just being paranoid? Thanks for any insight."
Government

Congress Mulls Research Into a Vehicle Mileage Tax 792

BJ_Covert_Action writes to let us know that an Oregon congressman has filed legislation to spend $154.5M for a research project into tracking per-vehicle mileage in the US, and asks: "Do we really want the government to track our movement and driving habits on a regular basis?" "US Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) introduced H.R. 3311 earlier this year to appropriate $154,500,000 for research and study into the transition to a per-mile vehicle tax system... Oregon has successfully tested a Vehicle Miles Traveled fee... the [Oregon] report urged a mandate for all drivers to install GPS tracking devices that would report driving habits to roadside RFID scanning devices." Here is the bill (PDF). The article notes that the congressman's major corporate donors would likely benefit with contracts if such a program were begun.
The Courts

Developer Exposes Copyright Infringers On Twitter 164

snitty writes "Wil Shipley, developer of Delicious Library, found some applications on the iTunes App Store that were using without permission some images from his popular desktop application. He outed them on Twitter. The team at Technically Legal broke down the story and the take-home messages for using other people's images."
Security

DHS To Review Report On US Power Grid Vulnerability 138

CWmike writes "The US Department of Homeland Security is looking at a report by a research scientist in China that shows how a well-placed attack against a small power subnetwork could trigger a cascading failure of the entire West Coast power grid. Jian-Wei Wang, a network analyst at China's Dalian University of Technology, used publicly available information to model how the West Coast grid and its component subnetworks are connected. Wang and another colleague then investigated how a major outage in one subnetwork would affect adjacent subnetworks. New Scientist magazine reported on this a week or so ago, and the paper has been available since the spring."
Security

SANS Report Says Organizations Focusing On the Wrong Security Threats 98

yahoi writes "Companies around the world are leaving themselves wide open to Web- and client-side attacks, according to a new report released today by the SANS Institute that includes real attack data gathered from multiple sources. SANS found that most organizations are focusing their patching efforts and vulnerability scanning on the operating system, but they're missing the boat: 60 percent of the total number of attacks occur on Web applications, and many attacks are aimed at third-party applications such as Microsoft Office, and Adobe Flash and other tools. Exacerbating the problem, they're taking twice as long to patch Microsoft Office and other applications than to patch their operating systems."
Programming

Con Kolivas Returns, With a Desktop-Oriented Linux Scheduler 333

myvirtualid writes "Con Kolivas has done what he swore never to do: returned to the Linux kernel and written a new — and, according to him — waaay better scheduler for the desktop environment. In fact, BFS appears to outperform existing schedulers right up until one hits a 16-CPU machine, at which point he guesses performance would degrade somewhat. According to Kolivas, BFS 'was designed to be forward looking only, make the most of lower spec machines, and not scale to massive hardware. i.e. [sic] it is a desktop orientated scheduler, with extremely low latencies for excellent interactivity by design rather than 'calculated,' with rigid fairness, nice priority distribution and extreme scalability within normal load levels.'"
United States

Submission + - Adviser to Obama Believes US Gov't Staged 9/11 (foxnews.com)

reporter writes: "According to a recent report by Fox News, Van Jones is a key adviser to Barack Hussein Obama. Jones is helping the president to create "green jobs", which protect the environment. Unfortunately for Obama, the sordid history of Van Jones has finally caught up with him. A "video surfaced of him referring to Republicans as 'assholes' and it was revealed that he once joined the '9/11 truther' movement, which contended that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks might have been an inside job by the Bush administration."

Jones has achieved the distinction of being the highest ranking government official who actually believes that Washington staged the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Even more dirty laundry indicates that Jones joined a protest march in San Franciso in 1992. During that march, demonstrators "set trash cans afire, smashed car windows and threw rocks at passing motorists. But he clearly reveled in the protest."

A report by the "Wall Street Journal" provides further information about his political extremism.

According to a report issued today by CNN, Jones has resigned. "The Washington Post" provides additional information about the resignation."

Portables (Apple)

Submission + - Thieves Clear Out Apple Store In 31 Seconds 3

theodp writes: "An amazing surveillance tape of a burglary in progress at a NJ Apple Store (YouTube) shows five perps in masks smashing the plate-glass doors at 2:05 a.m., signaling to the security guard that they had a gun, and clearing off the display tables with the efficiency of a Indy 500 pit crew. The take: 23 MacBook Pros, 14 iPhones and 9 iPod touches in 31 seconds flat. Estimated value, based on average selling price: $46,345. No word yet on whether Microsoft's Laptop Hunters have alibis."
Idle

Submission + - Police Swarm Bungie Office over HALO replica rifle (kotaku.com) 1

sv_libertarian writes: A panicked person in Kirkland, WA called local police claiming they saw someone walking down the street with an AK-47, when it was actually an Bungie employee carrying an overgrown model of a HALO sniper rifle. Which resembles an AK-47 as much as a Volkswagen resembles a Formula 1 racer...
Security

Submission + - Wordpress.org Warns of Active Worm Hacking Blogs (wordpress.org)

Erik writes: "Wordpress, the popular open-source Content Management System (CMS) for many thousands of bloggers worldwide, is under attack from a "clever" worm that automatically compromises unpatched versions of the Wordpress system. The particularly nasty bug crawls the web for vulnerable Wordpress installations, installing malware, deleting content, and generally wreaking havoc wherever it can. Today, Wordpress founder Matt Mullenweg eloquently implored Wordpress bloggers to update more frequently. Originally, updating the Wordpress system was a rather laborious process, however newer versions offer fast and simple one-click upgrades. The two most recent versions of Wordpress (2.8.3 and 2.8.4) cannot be attacked by the worm discovered this week, and blogs hosted at Wordpress.com are also apparently immune."

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