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Robotics

Elder-Assist Robotic Suits, From the Real Cyberdyne 121

Tasha26 writes "No, not the one which will end up building terminator robots. BBC's Click brings news of a Japanese company, Cyberdyne, which is in the process of building different robotic suits to assist the elderly in accomplishing simple body tasks such as walking and lifting. Even though still in R&D, this video (@3m15s) shows a pretty promising future for the elderly."
Biotech

Scientists Write Memories Directly Into Fly Brains 137

TheClockworkSoul writes "Researchers at the University of Oxford have devised a way to write memories onto the brains of flies, revealing which brain cells are involved in making bad memories. The researchers said that in flies, just 12 brain cells were responsible for what is known as 'associative learning.' They modified these neurons by adding receptors for ATP, so that the cells activate in the presence of the chemical, but since ATP isn't usually found floating around a fly's brain, the flies generally behave just like any other fly. Most interestingly, however, is that the scientists then injected ATP into the flies' brains, in a form that was locked inside a light-sensitive chemical cage. When they shined a laser on the fly brains, the ATP was released, and the 'associative learning' cells were activated. The laser flash was paired with an odor, effectively giving the fly a memory of a bad experience with the odor that it never actually had, such that it then avoided the odor in later experiments. The researchers describe their findings in the journal Cell."
Apple

Apple Takes Action Over Australian Logos 425

sams67 writes "Australian supermarket Woolworth is on the receiving end of an action from Apple over Woolworth's new logo. The green, highly stylized 'W' logo could at best be described as 'apple-like.' As outlined in the article, Apple is taking similar action in Australia against music festival promoter, Poison Apple, and pay TV provider Foxtel, over their fruit-related logos."
Hardware

Sony Ericsson Develops Contact Headphones 173

TechnologyResource writes "Sony Ericsson has just introduced the MH907 headphones. The headphones will pause or play your music based on contact; eliminating the use of a pause or stop button. Removing one ear bud will pause the music. Removing both ear buds will stop the music. Both ear buds have to be in your ear to play the music. According to Sony Ericsson, this will allow you to 'play your music and answer phone calls just by inserting the buds into your ear or taking them out.'"
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.'"
Input Devices

New Logitech Dark Field Mice Operate On Glass 225

Slatterz writes "Logitech has introduced new mice that use two lasers rather than one to work on a variety of previously unusable surfaces. The first laser picks out imperfections in the surface of a tabletop while the second laser focuses on microscopic imperfections highlighted and uses those to direct the cursor. The technique, dubbed dark field microscopy, allows mice to be used on almost any surface, including glass (as long as it is more than 4mm thick)."
The Media

Comcast Seeking Control of Both Pipes and Content? 241

techmuse writes "Reuters reports that Comcast may be attempting to use its huge cash reserves to purchase a large media content provider, such as Disney, Viacom, or Time Warner. This would result in Comcast controlling both the delivery mechanism for content, and the content itself. Potentially, it could limit access to content it owns to subscribers to its own services, thus shutting out competing services (where they still exist at all)."
Security

Malware Found On Brand-New Windows Netbook 250

An anonymous reader alerts us to an interesting development that Kaspersky Labs stumbled across. They purchased a new M&A Companion Touch netbook in order to test a new anti-virus product targeted at the netbook segment, and discovered three pieces of malware on the factory-sealed netbook. A little sleuthing turned up the likely infection scenario — at the factory, someone was updating Intel drivers using a USB flash drive that was infected with a variant of the AutoRun worm. "Installed along with the worm was a rootkit and a password stealer that harvests log-in credentials for online games such as World of Warcraft. ... To ensure that a new PC is malware-free, [Kaspersky] recommended that before users connect the machine to the Internet, they install security software, update it by retrieving the latest definition file on another computer, and transferring that update to the new system, then running a full antivirus scan."
Cellphones

Verizon Tells Cops "Your Money Or Your Life" 593

Mike writes "A 62-year-old man had a mental breakdown and ran off after grabbing several bottles of pills from his house. The cops asked Verizon to help trace the man using his cellphone, but Verizon refused, saying that they couldn't turn on his phone because he had an unpaid bill for $20. After an 11-hour search (during which time the sheriff's department was trying to figure out how to pay the bill), the man was found, unconscious. 'I was more concerned for the person's life,' Sheriff Dale Williams said. 'It would have been nice if Verizon would have turned on his phone for five or 10 minutes, just long enough to try and find the guy. But they would only turn it on if we agreed to pay $20 of the unpaid bill.' Score another win for the Verizon Customer Service team."
United States

Biden Reveals Location of Secret VP Bunker 550

Hugh Pickens writes "Fox News reports that 'Vice President Joe Biden, well-known for his verbal gaffes, may have finally outdone himself, divulging potentially classified information meant to save the life of a sitting vice president.' According to the report, while recently attending the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, an annual event where powerful politicians and media elite get a chance to cozy up to one another, Biden told his dinnermates about the existence of a secret bunker under the old US Naval Observatory, which is now the home of the vice president. Although earlier reports had placed the Vice-Presidential hide-out in a highly secure complex of buildings inside Raven Rock Mountain near Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania, Fox News reports that the Naval Observatory bunker is believed to be the secure, undisclosed location former Vice President Dick Cheney remained under protection in secret after the 9/11 attacks. According to the report, Biden 'said a young naval officer giving him a tour of the residence showed him the hideaway, which is behind a massive steel door secured by an elaborate lock with a narrow connecting hallway lined with shelves filled with communications equipment.' According to Eleanor Clift, Newsweek magazine's Washington contributing editor 'the officer explained that when Cheney was in lock down, this was where his most trusted aides were stationed, an image that Biden conveyed in a way that suggested we shouldn't be surprised that the policies that emerged were off the wall.' In December 2002, neighbors complained of loud construction work being done at the Naval Observatory, which has been used as a residence by vice presidents since 1974. The upset neighbors were sent a letter by the observatory's superintendent, calling the work 'sensitive in nature' and 'classified' and that it was urgent it be completed on a highly accelerated schedule."
Security

Work Resumes On Virtual Fence With Mexico 259

Hugh Pickens writes "Work resumed this week on the five-year project to link a chain of tower-mounted sensors and other surveillance equipment over most of the 2,000-mile border with Mexico. The network of cameras, radar, and communications gear is intended to speed deployment of US Border Patrol officers to intercept illegal immigrants, drug smugglers and other violators, yielding greater 'operational control' over the vast and rugged area. A $20M pilot project for the Secure Border Initiative, or 'SBInet,' carried out in the Bush administration, was generally considered a colossal IT failure. Since that time the DHS has given the prime contractor, Boeing, another $600M. The government says it has learned many lessons and made many changes in the program since the previous pilot rushed off-the-shelf equipment into operation without testing. The Obama administration has lowered the cost estimate for the 5-year project by $1.1B, to $6.7B, mainly by deferring work on the most difficult 200 miles of the border, in southwest Texas."
Earth

Antarctic Ice Is Growing, Not Melting Away, At Davis Station 633

schwit1 writes "A report from The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research says that Antarctic ice is growing, not melting away. Ice core drilling in the fast ice off Australia's Davis Station in East Antarctica by the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Co-Operative Research Centre shows that last year, the ice had a maximum thickness of 1.89m, its densest in 10 years. The average thickness of the ice at Davis since the 1950s is 1.67m. A paper to be published soon by the British Antarctic Survey in the journal Geophysical Research Letters is expected to confirm that over the past 30 years, the area of sea ice around the continent has expanded."
Books

Amazon Culls "Offensive" Books From Search System 470

Miracle Jones writes "Amazon has instituted an overnight policy that removes books that may be deemed offensive from their search system, despite the sales rank of the book and also irrespective of any complaints. Bloggers such as Ed Champion are calling for a 'link and book boycott,' asking people to remove links to Amazon from their web pages and stop buying books from them until the policy is reversed. Will this be bad business for Amazon, or will their new policies keep them out of trouble as they continue to grow and replace bookstores?"
Biotech

Doctors Will Test Gene Editing On HIV Patients 263

Soychemist writes "Some people have a mutation that makes them highly resistant to HIV, and scientists think that they can give that immunity to anyone with a new type of gene therapy. The first human trials will start at the University of Pennsylvania this week. Researchers will draw blood from people with drug-resistant HIV, clip the CCR5 gene out of their T-cells with a nuclease enzyme, grow the modified cells in a dish, and then return 10 billion of them to the patient's bloodstream. Those cells will be immune to the virus, and they will keep the patient's T-cell count up even if the rest are destroyed. 'We will see if it is safe and if those cells inhibit HIV replication in vivo,' said the lead researcher. 'We know they do in the test tube.'"

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