SoyChemist writes: "When an FDA committee decided that blockbuster oncology drug Avastin should not be used to treat breast cancer because the risks outweigh the benefits, shares of Genentech stock plummeted. Rather than reciting financial figures, Business Week reporter Arlene Weintraub took a step back and painted a detailed picture of how the biotech company is trying to skirt major industry problems within the field of autoimmune disease research. Wired Science provided further analysis, explaining the importance increasing the variety of avoiding me too drugs, not rushing research, and using a personalized medicine approach."
AcidAUS writes: In its rush to digitize the corpus of human knowledge, Google inadvertently created a new type of "digital" database. Digital bookworms reading some books on Google Book Search have been surprised to find large chunks of pages blocked by manicured paws clad in pink finger condoms.
reporter writes: "According to a report by CNN, a court in Saudi Arabia has declared that the victim of a gang rape shall be punished by (1) 200 lashes of a whip and (2) 6 months in prison. The U.S. State Department, which is normally quite vociferous in condemning human-rights abuses in Russia and other authoritarian states, issued a very restrained assessment of this outrageous judicial verdict against the rape victim. "In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said U.S. officials had 'expressed our astonishment' at the sentence, though not directly to Saudi officials. 'It is within the power of the Saudi government to take a look at the verdict and change it,' he added."
What kind of idiot is running the show in Washington?"
An anonymous reader writes: What If Gmail Had Been Designed by Microsoft?
Today I want to ponder the question: what if Microsoft, not Google, had created Gmail? What would be the differences in that web mail client for users today? What if we apply some of the same design rules that brought us Hotmail, for instance?
stern writes: "The fossil remains of a giant claw have been found in Germany. Scientists believe it came from a sea scorpion 8 feet long, about 390 million years ago. I appreciate we are supposed to save the environment and all, but sometimes you have just got to thank God for extinction. Deeply distressing illustration available at http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn12941/dn12941-1_351.jpg"
SadSoupDragon writes: Through general code-hackery, I have stumbled upon a nasty little bug in the most recent version of Flash Player (and every other version I've tried so far). This happened when I made a mistake in creating an in-memory SWF file, loaded it via flash.display.Loader, and extracted an asset from it as a Sound object. The sound plays, but the Flash Player audio engine keeps playing past the end of the sound — As a result, you actually hear a buffer overflow. The usual result is nasty bleeps and bloops (not unlike loading a Spectrum or C64 game) coming out of your speakers, which you can even record and save as a raw sound file to view the data. My browser usually crashes seconds later, yet another symptom of buffer-related security badness.
It's bad enough that a simple SWF file can bring the browser down, but the really scary thing is what could be done with the data accessed (I know that at least a SWF program could analyse the spectrum of this data and send it back to a server) — or worse still, if an in-memory SWF could be crafted in such a way that it overruns the buffer with executable code, as many of the worst software exploits do.
I've written a proof of concept which you can download the source of here, or try the compiled nastiness for yourself.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The future is hazy for the legendary Arecibo radio observatory in Puerto Rico, a 'jewel of space instruments'. The New York Times reports that the National Science Foundation, which pays for the observatory's operation, has slashed Arecibo's annual budget from $10.5 million to $8 million, and may close it altogether in four years, imperiling its historic work, including its detection of the near-Earth asteroid KW4 eight years ago. "The planetary science community is in danger of losing one of its instrumental crown jewels," Donald K. Yeomans, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told the House subcommittee on space and aeronautics."
Unprotected Coward writes: I was just about to make an online purchase for a hardware product when I discovered the vendor (a self-titled "leading" seller for the US university market) does not even use SSL to encrypt the credit card form data (yes, I checked the HTML source, the form POST is to a non https URL). I am angry and frustrated that in 2007 this still happens with big stores (and I don't even want to imagine what application-level vulnerabilities they may have).
Besides writing them, should I call Visa or Mastercard? I thought it was mandatory for online merchants to use SSL and other basic security measures. Is it all hopeless?
Leighton Woodhouse writes: "Hi, my name is Leighton Woodhouse and I'm the Communications Director at Brave New Films. Last week, we had an experience with our latest YouTube video release that we thought you might be interested in hearing about.
The editors at Digg.com temporarily banned Brave New Films from posting on their site, and YouTube flagged our latest video as inappropriate for minors. We've been penalized for submitting "Adult Content" to each of the web sites.
What did we post? Clips from FOX News.
A little background: Brave New Films is the producer of "OutFoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism." Following on the success of that feature length documentary, BNF has been busy producing short online videos highlighting FOX's flagrant biases and the speciousness of its claim to be a real news organization. The series is called "FOX Attacks."
We've produced videos focused on FOX's racism, its warmongering, its global warming denial, and numerous other issues. Our latest video, which has garnered well over half a million views and counting, focuses on FOX's technique of driving up ratings by featuring explicit sexual content, frequently in stories denouncing the moral depravity of the "liberal media" for broadcasting that very material. The video, as you will see, masquerades as adult entertainment:
You might wonder, as we did: Are the editors at Digg and YouTube just clueless, and incapable of understanding parody? After all, we weren't posting actual "adult content," just content lifted from FOX News programs that we facetiously labeled X-rated. Right?
Apparently not, according to one such Digg editor, who patiently explained to us that "that submission was Adult content. Yes, it was against our TOS, even though it was broadcast on FOX."
We thought we were doing parody, but apparently we weren't. According to Digg, FOX News IS porn. No irony necessary.
Our question is: Could Digg have banned BNF to cozy up to the News Corp., owner of FOX News, which they're rumored to be courting for a possible acquisition?
Our privileges have now been reinstated at Digg, after we were forced to promise that we wouldn't post FOX News' inappropriate content again. And after a minor rebellion by Digg users, Digg founder Kevin Rose was even forced to post a personal apology for censoring us.
YouTube, however, still has our sample of FOX News' footage behind an adult content firewall.
If you're interested in learning more about this story, please let me know. We'd like people to learn about this ridiculous episode, and I'm happy to help however I can."
funkboy writes: "Transmeta has finally won their longstanding patent Litigation with Intel, resulting in Intel licensing their LongRun technology and significant financial benefits for Transmeta, as well as sending their stock price through the roof."
Enselic writes: After almost three years since the release of GIMP 2.2, the GIMP developers have just announced the release of GIMP 2.4.
The release notes speaks of scalable bitmap brushes, redesigned rectangle/ellipse selection tools, redesigned crop tool, a new foreground selection tool, a new align tool, reorganized menu layouts, improved zoomed in/zoomed out image display quality, improved priting and color management support and a new perspective clone tool.
MrDrBob writes: "Love it or hate it, version 2.4 of our Marmite-favoured graphics editor has been released, and includes quite a few big changes. The selection tools have been rewritten from scratch, including a new way of selecting things with round corners, as requested by web designers. Better zooming code means that whole lines of your image will no longer disappear when zoomed out, and new colour management code should be welcomed by digital photo artists.
The GIMP also includes a new Tango-style icon set, which goes hand-in-hand with the redesigned website.
Unfortunately, GEGL integration still isn't anywhere to be found, but perhaps it'll make it in a later release."
Richard Stallman writes: "The BBC invited me to write an article for their column series, The Tech Lab, and this is what I sent them. (It refers to a couple of other articles published in that series.) But the BBC was unwilling to publish it with a copying permission notice, so I have published it here."