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Medicine

The $443 Million Smallpox Vaccine That Nobody Needs 290

Hugh Pickens writes "Once feared for its grotesque pustules and 30% death rate, smallpox was eradicated worldwide as of 1978 and is known to exist only in the locked freezers of a Russian scientific institute and the US government. There is no credible evidence that any other country or a terrorist group possesses smallpox, but if there were an attack, the government could draw on $1 billion worth of smallpox vaccine it already owns to inoculate the entire US population and quickly treat people exposed to the virus. The vaccine, which costs the government $3 per dose, can reliably prevent death when given within four days of exposure. David Williams writes that over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433-million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work. So why did the government award a "sole-source" procurement to Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, calling for Siga to deliver 1.7 million doses of the drug for the nation's biodefense stockpile at a price of approximately $255 per dose. 'We've got a vaccine that I hope we never have to use — how much more do we need?' says epidemiologist Dr. Donald A. Henderson who led the global eradication of smallpox for the WHO. 'The bottom line is, we've got a limited amount of money.'"
Education

Survey Finds Cheating Among Students At All GPA Levels 333

An anonymous reader writes "Over a third of undergraduate students admitted to some form of cheating at one of America's top research universities, according to a survey published November in the journal Science and Engineering Ethics (abstract). The researchers expected to find more cheating among the top-performing group — and at the minimum at least some students with excellent grades cheated. Not so. As it turned out, the overall cheating rate was similar to that found in other studies, but the types of cheating and stated reasons for cheating were all over the map. Researchers uncovered one trend among the cheaters: the perception that teaching assistants either ignored or didn't care about cheating."
Networking

Ask Slashdot: Best Wi-Fi Solution For a Hotel? 300

dynamo52 writes "I have been tasked with replacing a managed Wi-Fi system for a mid-sized hotel. They have already selected Comcast to provide a 100mbps connection, which unfortunately must come in at one corner of the ~5-acre property. The hotel plans to provide this service for free, so there is no need for any type of billing management system, though it should be secured enough that the parking lot does not become a free Wi-Fi hotspot. Additionally, there is no ethernet infrastructure in place. The existing APs (hidden away in proprietary encasements) seem to be connected via telephone lines and the owners have strongly indicated they would prefer that no new wiring be installed. Have any Slashdotters implemented similar systems? Specifically, what hardware did you use and what special considerations should I take in designing this system?"
Australia

Sydney Has 10,000 Unsecured Wi-Fi Points 176

daria42 writes "A bunch of researchers have been driving around Sydney, Australia, and scanning for unsecured Wi-Fi networks. You'd think that in this day and age, with all that we've learned about security, that Wi-Fi security would be almost universal ... but the truth is that about 2.6 percent don't even have basic password protection. Extrapolating a little, that adds up to 10,000 unsecured Wi-Fi networks across Sydney alone."
Earth

Cleaning Up Japan's Radioactive Mess With Blue Goo 102

InfiniteZero writes "A clever technology is helping hazmat crews in Japan contain and clean up the contamination caused by the ongoing nuclear disaster there: a blue liquid that hardens into a gel that peels off of surfaces, taking microscopic particles like radiation and other contaminants with it. Known as DeconGel, Japanese authorities are using it inside and outside the exclusion zone on everything from pavement to buildings."
Movies

Why People Should Stop Being Duped By the 3D Scam 394

Phoghat writes "The entertainment and electronics industries keep trying to push 3D on consumers, even though a lot of smart people have caught on to the fact that it is a scam and not innovation as the industry would like you to believe. From the article: 'This is a bad experiment that the industry is forcing consumers to subsidize. And since they can’t create a better product, they’ve simply latched on to 3D as a marketing ploy that the entertainment and electronics industries can use to trick people into thinking that they are getting a superior experience. It’s only working because just enough people are falling for the scam to keep it alive.'"
Shark

US Navy Breaks Laser Record 294

ectotherm writes "The US Navy has broken the existing record for the power of a laser. Their new free-electron laser can burn through 20 feet of steel per second. 'Next up for the tech: additional weaponization. The Navy just awarded Boeing a contract worth up to $163 million to take that technology and package it as a 100 kW weapons system, one that the Navy hopes to use not only to destroy things but for on-ship communications, tracking and detection, too — using a fraction of the energy such applications use now, plus with more accuracy.' Now all we need to do is upgrade the sharks..."
Crime

Assange Has Signed Book Deals Worth $1.5 Million+ 452

cold fjord writes "Julian Assange has signed a major book deal for his autobiography worth more than one million pounds (1.2 million euros, 1.5 million dollars). Assange told Britain's Sunday Times newspaper that the money would help him defend himself against allegations of sexual assault made by two women in Sweden. 'I don't want to write this book, but I have to,' he said. 'I have already spent 200,000 pounds for legal costs and I need to defend myself and to keep WikiLeaks afloat.' The Australian said he would receive 800,000 dollars (600,000 euros) from Alfred A. Knopf, his American publisher, and a British deal with Canongate is worth 325,000 pounds (380,000 euros, 500,000 dollars). Money from other markets and serialisation is expected to raise the total to 1.1 million pounds, he said. Assange is currently out on £240,000 bail under what his lawyer refers to as not so much 'house arrest' as 'manor arrest', fighting extradition to Sweden for questioning. The Telegraph adds, 'Mr Assange said he regarded himself as a victim of Left-wing radicalism. Sweden is the Saudi Arabia of feminism,' he said. 'I fell into a hornets' nest of revolutionary feminism.' .... A full extradition hearing is due in London on February 7th."
Businesses

Obama Says Offshoring Fears Are Unwarranted 763

alphadogg writes "The perception that Indian call centers and back office operations cost US jobs is an old stereotype that ignores today's reality that two-way trade between the US and India is helping create jobs and raise the standard of living in both countries, US President Barack Obama told a gathering of business executives in Mumbai on Saturday. President Obama's remarks come after some moves in the US that had Indian outsourcers worried that the US may get protectionist in the wake of job losses in the country. The state of Ohio, for example, banned earlier this year the expenditure of public funds for offshore purposes. US exports to India have quadrupled in recent years, and currently support tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs in the US, he said in a speech that was also streamed live. In addition, there are jobs supported by exports to India of agriculture products, travel and education services. President Obama, who is in India on a three-day visit, said that more than 20 deals worth about $10 billion were announced on the first day of his visit."
Emulation (Games)

A JavaScript Gameboy Emulator, Detailed In 8 Parts 62

Two9A writes "JavaScript has shed its image of being a limited language, tied to DOM manipulation in a browser; in recent years, new engines and frameworks have given JS a reputation as a language capable of bigger things. Mix this in with the new elements of HTML5, and you have the capacity to emulate a game console or other system, with full graphical output. This series of articles looks in detail at how an emulator is written in JavaScript, using the example of the Gameboy handheld: starting at the CPU, and (as of part 8) running a copy of Tetris."
Media

1928 Time Traveler Caught On Film? 685

Many of you have submitted a story about Irish filmmaker George Clarke, who claims to have found a person using a cellphone in the "unused footage" section of the DVD The Circus, a Charlie Chaplin movie filmed in 1928. To me the bigger mystery is how someone who appears to be the offspring of Ram-Man and The Penguin got into a movie in the first place, especially if they were talking to a little metal box on set. Watch the video and decide for yourself.
Media (Apple)

China's Official Newspaper Pans iPad — Too Locked Down 319

An anonymous reader writes "The People's Daily newspaper, which is the official news organ of the ruling Communist party in China, apparently recently posted a review of the iPad, where it complained about the locked down nature of the device, noting that 'There are many disadvantages. For example you cannot install pirate software on them, you cannot download [free] music, and you need to pay for movies you watch on them.' You would think a country that is in favor of locking down the internet so much would like a locked up device ..."
Education

Simple Virus For Teaching? 366

ed1023 writes "Currently I am teaching a 101 class on computers. It is more of a 'demystifying the black box' type of class. The current topic is computer viruses; I am looking for a virus with which I can infect the lab computers (only connected to local network, no outside network connection) that would be easy for the students to remove by hand. Can the Slashdot community point me in any directions? Is there an executable out there that would work, or do I try to write one myself, or is there one that is written that I can compile myself?"

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