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Biotech

Insects Rapidly Becoming Resistant To GM Corn 368

DrHeasley writes "BT corn, which contains the DNA for Bacillus thuringensis toxin, was once hailed as the final solution for insect predators on this valuable crop. Now it turns out that insects, and evolution, are smarter than we thought, and the corn that contains the built in pesticide is no longer reliably protected."
Businesses

Ready For Your Payroll Software Update? 105

SEWilco writes "A federal payroll tax reduction for two months is being pushed by the President. Paying less money to the government seems good, but if the law is changed it will change the payroll taxes in January and February. Many of us can well imagine what that will do to the many payroll systems which are already programmed with the 2012 tax rates."

Comment Nuclear not *a* solution, it's *the* solution (Score 2) 324


No "clean" or "renewable" energy source scales the way nuclear can.

No "clean" or "renewable" energy source can provide on-demand base-load power the way nuclear can.

Reliability can be built into nuclear plants in ways that distributed "small" clean power cannot match.

Safety record of nuclear power generation speaks for itself, esp. when context is provided (coal, hydro).

Waste management is an issue that is primarily an engineering challenge, not an obstacle.

Can designs be improved? Certainly, and much work is ongoing in this space (Toshiba, Hyperion, others).

Over the long term, nuclear is the cleanest base-load power source we have, and it is inevitable that more nuclear power plants will be built and brought on-line worldwide.

Comment What will the market bear (Score 5, Informative) 232

Redbox pricing change and Netflix erstwhile split are not really in the same league.

Netflix customers would have had to pay two membership fees monthly with the new Qwikster arrangement, a 60% increase over the prior setup. The key here is that the "service" that customers were paying for and to which they were accustomed, was being substantially modified - into two new services.

Redbox is simply raising their price, by a marginal $0.20 per rental. For heavy renters, this may be significant over the course of a month. But for most normal renters, this increase is tolerable.

Even at one rental per day, the difference over a month is only $6. If this is too much for you, perhaps you shouldn't be renting 30 DVDs a month.

Submission + - Skynet becomes more real every day (washingtonpost.com)

Doofus writes: "An article in yesterday's Washington Post, A future for drones: Automated killing, describes the steady progress the military is making toward fully autonomous networks of targeting and killing machines.

Does this (concern|scare|disgust) any of you?

After 20 minutes, one of the aircraft, carrying a computer that processed images from an onboard camera, zeroed in on the tarp and contacted the second plane, which flew nearby and used its own sensors to examine the colorful object. Then one of the aircraft signaled to an unmanned car on the ground so it could take a final, close-up look.

Target confirmed.

This successful exercise in autonomous robotics could presage the future of the American way of war: a day when drones hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans. Imagine aerial “Terminators,” minus beefcake and time travel.

The article goes on to discuss the dangers of surrendering to fully autonomous killing, concerns about the potential for "atrocities", and the nature of what we call "common sense"."

Comment Save time and money - plant some trees (Score 1) 514

Unless you live in the US Midwest, where grasslands are natural habitat, you should plant some trees on that six acre plot of earth.

In most of the rest of the country, the natural habitat is NOT grassland, its either woodlands, desert, or wetlands.

If you simply must have grass, don't mow it a large portion of the six acres, let it mature into a semi-natural meadow.

Submission + - IE IQ Report a Hoax (slate.com)

Doofus writes: Slashdot — editors, submitters, and commenters alike — were all snowed by the recent "study" about Internet Explorer user community having a lower mean IQ than users of other browsers. The linked story describes the hoax.

CNN, NPR, CNET, London’s Daily Mail, Forbes, and BBC were among the many outlets that ran stories citing the report. But members of the public quickly raised eyebrows over the supposed findings, pointing out that that AptiQuant appeared to have set up its site only last month, the BBC reported Wednesday in a story on the elaborate hoax. Readers also discovered that the photographs used on AptiQuant's page were taken from the site of an established French research company.


Math

Submission + - Incompleteness Theorem made complete? (wordpress.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Kurt Goedel's first incompleteness theorem states that no set of consistent set of rules can be developed to describe the maths of the natural numbers — an earthquake in the world of mathematics when published in the early 1930s. Goedel himself said that this might be straightened out by a better understanding of infinities — and now, reports the New Scientist, UC Berkeley mathematician Hugh Woodin has proposed a theory that does just that — proving Cantor's continuum hypothesis on the way
Security

Submission + - Windows XP PCs Breed Rootkit Infections (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: "Machines running the decade-old Windows XP make up a huge reservoir of infected PCs that can spread malware to other systems, a Czech antivirus company said on Thursday. Windows XP computers are infected with rootkits out of proportion to the operating system's market share, according to data released Thursday by Avast Software, which surveyed more than 600,000 Windows PCs. While XP now accounts for about 58% of all Windows systems in use, 74% of the rootkit infections found by Avast were on XP machines. Avast attributed the infection disparity between XP and Windows 7 to a pair of factors: The widespread use of pirated copies of the former and the latter's better security. Vlcek assumed that many of the people running XP SP2, which Microsoft stopped supporting with security patches a year ago, have declined to update to the still-supported SP3 because they are running counterfeits."
AI

Submission + - Is AI research really about immortality? (newscientist.com)

Doofus writes: In the New Scientist article, Existence: Where did my consciousness come from?, the author references a theory of consiousness proposed by Giuilio Tononi of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The theory, at bottom, is that a human being's consciousness is the result of the brain's "integration" of all available information, both internal and external (e.g., sensory stimuli).

Rather than building machinery to house artificial, programmed intelligences, is the true root of AI research about creating machines complex enough to transfer human consciousness from biological to non-biological, potentially immortal scaffolding?

NASA

Submission + - Followup: Anti-global warming story itself flawed (discovermagazine.com) 1

The Bad Astronomer writes: "As posted earlier on Slashdot, a Forbes Op/Ed claims there is a "gaping hole in global warming" theories, based on a recent paper. However, both the Forbes article and the paper on which it's based are what are seriously flawed. The paper has been excoriated by climate scientists, saying the model used is "unrealistic" and "incorrect", and the author has a track record of using bad models to make incorrect conclusions."

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