PCM2 writes: "New Scientist reports that, like checkers before it, the Rubik's Cube has now been 'solved' via computer analysis. According to scientists at Boston's Northeastern University, any Rubik's Cube position can be returned to a fully-solved state in just 26 moves. Pretty amazing for an object that has a reported 43 quintillion combinations — but then again, not necessarily surprising if you've ever watched a Rubik's Cube competition."
aalobode writes: If you have ever lived under India's bureaucracy, you will know that any interaction with a government entity — to pay taxes, get married, get a license etc., pass through customs — will cost you in time and money. Even the smallest of public services requires a bribe or other inducement. Frequently, the officials are unavailable for business until the amount is paid. The keepers of the keys to these kingdoms of privilege are the "babus", those clerks and officers trained in officiousness and inefficiency since the days of the British East India Company. Today, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of independence, the London Times has an article http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/a rticle2237920.ece on efforts in the southern state of Karnataka to computerize such services. Using the internet, a farmer gets a driving license in 5 minutes without paying a quarter of his income in bribes. Such attempts to stamp out corruption are spreading through India but, the question arises, can they succeed in a country where so few are connected to the power grid and the internet?
GSASoftware writes: "Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a serious, as-yet incurable neurological disease which causes blindness, paralysis and other serious symptoms. In a new development, a neuroimmunology researcher in Montreal has developed a therapeutic DNA vaccine. The cause of the disease is not fully understood, but it appears to be auto-immune. If a DNA vaccine can be an effective therapy for this auto-immune disease, is it possible that DNA vaccines could treat other auto-immune diseases like Crohn's, eczema, and others?"
PCM2 writes: "Scientists from Nasa say that Mars has warmed by about 0.5C since the 1970s. This is similar to the warming experienced on Earth over approximately the same period. Since there is no known life on Mars it suggests rapid changes in planetary climates could be natural phenomena."
Cheeziologist writes: In an interview on Fox News today, Jack Thompson, notorious critic of the supposed effects of video games on children and young adults, claimed that "he [the gunman] immersed himself in counter-strike [and] half-life" and that it was the influence of these video games that caused the gunman to open fire on the Virginia Tech campus, killing approximately 30 people.
Zgonjko writes: BBC reports, among other news channels, about a shotting this morning at Virginia Tech University, in Blacksburg. It appears that a lone gunman oppened fire first at a dormitory, then at an Engineering building a couple of hours later. He is presumed to be one of the dead, which authorities say number at least 20, with at least another 20 injured. A horrible tragedy like this one is sure to stir up the debate on gun rights, one year before the US election.