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Submission + - AutoCAD Returns to Mac

mkiwi writes: Scientific and engineering Mac users rejoice! The New York Times reports that AutoDesk has announced a new Mac version of AutoCAD to be available in October. The last version of AutoCAD for Mac was released in 1992, and customer support ended in 1994. While it remains to be seen how well the software will perform compared to the PC version, Mac users should expect better graphics drivers and more availability of high-end workstation graphics cards.

How a Key Enzyme Repairs Sun-Damaged DNA 97

BraveHeart writes "Researchers have long known that mammals, including humans, lack a key enzyme — one possessed by most of the animal kingdom and even plants — that reverses severe sun damage. For the first time, researchers have witnessed how this enzyme works at the atomic level to repair sun-damaged DNA. 'Normal sunscreen lotions convert UV light to heat, or reflect it away from our skin. A sunscreen containing photolyase could potentially heal some of the damage from UV rays that get through.'"

Snails On Methamphetamine 93

sciencehabit writes "Science answers the question: What happens when you put a snail on speed? From the article: 'The results suggest that meth improves memory, something that has been previously observed in creatures with large, complex brains like rats and humans. But since the snails store their memories in a simple, three-neuron network, the team hopes that studying the meth effect in these gastropods will help pinpoint how the drug's memory magnification powers work.'"
The Courts

Submission + - Science writer wins libel victory (

krou writes: Simon Singh, a science writer, was accused of libel by the British Chiropractic Association due to an article he wrote in The Guardian in 2008 where he said that 'there was a lack of evidence for the claims some chiropractors made on treating certain childhood conditions such as colic and asthma.' In an initial ruling, the UK High Court ruled that Singh's words were fact, and not opinion, and therefore he could not rely on fair comment as a defence. However, a ruling today has overturned that decision, and has allowed Singh to appeal using the fair comment defence. This is an important victory for science, because if the original ruling had stood, 'it would have made it difficult for any scientist or science journalist to question claims made by companies or organisations without opening themselves up to a libel action that would be hard to win.' Coalition for Libel Reform added: 'This case has brought out of the woodwork the fact that so many other discussions are being killed, from discussions of cardiology to human rights to medicines. We're now pushing ahead for bigger changes to the law so that we have the kind of public interest defence that means it wouldn't have taken two years and £200,000 to find out whether Simon can defend himself.'
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Amazon Kindle2 global wireless review video (

An anonymous reader writes: If you are thinking about buying Kindle2 global wireless or Kindle Dx global wireless you might interest in this Amazon Kindle2 global wireless review video. Like I have mentioned in several posting about reading magazine from the Kindle DX global wireless problem, most of people who buy Kindle DX because they love to see bigger pictures from their e-magazine reader. But be careful ! If you live outside the U.S. The magazine that you have purchased can not display a picture. I don’t know why. So If you are looking for international e-reader maybe Kindle 2 is a better choice than Kindle DX.

Facebook Mafiosi Go To the Mattresses vs. Zynga 102

sympleko writes "Zynga has the lion's share of traffic in Facebook applications, and Mafia Wars is one of their most popular social games. Collapsing under the weight of over 26 million users, Zynga has been scrambling to thwart hard-core gamers who reverse-engineer URLs or script the game to optimize their enjoyment. Many of the workarounds have annoyed users who were accustomed to various game features, and even worse, the hastily-deployed changes have resulted in many players losing access to the game, in-game prizes, or statistics. Fed up with a software company seemingly bent on discouraging people from enjoying their product, a number of tagged players have organized a boycott of all Zynga games. The first 24-hour boycott on Sunday 12/13 resulted in an 11% decline in Daily Active Users, and an emergency thread on Zynga's forums (from which most of the flames were deleted). The current boycott, extending Wednesday through Sunday is being supported by a 428K strong Facebook group. At issue is the social contract between software companies and their devoted user base, as well as the nefarious tactics Zynga has used to raise cash."

Comment Re:Where's the... (Score 1) 507

Allocating personal responsibility is just another way of saying that we assign rewards and punishments to various actions. We use punishments and reward to control people's behavior.

Responsibility is a somewhat less morally neutral term than terms such as reward and punish given that responsibility typically implies a set of obligations and proscriptions that are subject to moral censure or legal consequence.


A New Look At Brain Control 65

one_neuron_two_neuron writes "Researchers at Harvard have taken a new look at how electricity can make neurons fire in the brain. The scientists found some surprising things: if you stick an electrode in the brain and apply current, you don't just make a small group of neurons fire — many neurons fire a long way away from the electrode. That's probably because instead of activating the cell bodies of the neurons, their axons fire. Those axons are the wiring of the brain. Your cerebral cortex is something like a big pile of unwound yo-yos — if you stick an electrode into the cortex, you're much more likely to hit the strings (the axons), and the yo-yo connected to the string can be really far away. So, how will you ever hook up a computer to your brain? This data shows that we need to rethink how to do that with electrical current. If you stick an electrode in one place, neurons in a totally different place will fire. New optogenetic methods (e.g. using viral delivery of proteins) might work. Or possibly we will figure out how to make the brain learn to interpret these sparse, widespread electrical patterns. New optical techniques have made a dramatic impact on neuroscience recently, and this study uses pulsed-laser-scanning microscopy (two-photon microscopy) to take pictures of neurons deep inside the living brain. The academic paper (PDF) is available on the author's site."

Submission + - Gene Therapy Causes Blind Woman to Grow New Fovea (

Al writes: "A woman with a rare, inherited form of blindness is now able to read, thanks to a gene therapy that caused a new fovea--the part of the retina that is most densely populated with photoreceptors--to grow in her eye. The patient suffers from Leber congenital amaurosis, meaning an abnormal protein makes her photoreceptors have a severely impaired sensitivity to light. SAhe received the experimental treatment twelve months ago when physicians injected a gene encoding a functional copy of the protein into a small part of one eye--about eight-to-nine millimeters in diameter. Along with two other patients receiving the same treatment, her eyesight improved after just a few weeks. Now the physicians report that this patient seems to have developed a new fovea, exactly where she received the injection. Because the woman has been effectively blind since birth, the results suggest that the brain is able to adapt to new visual stimuli remarkably quickly."

Submission + - Team Aims to Create Pure Evil AI ( 1

puroresu writes: Scientific American reports on the efforts of Selmer Bringsjord and his team at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, who have been attempting to develop an AI possessed of an interesting character trait: pure evil.

"To be truly evil, someone must have sought to do harm by planning to commit some morally wrong action with no prompting from others (whether this person successfully executes his or her plan is beside the point). The evil person must have tried to carry out this plan with the hope of "causing considerable harm to others," Bringsjord says. Finally, "and most importantly," he adds, if this evil person were willing to analyze his or her reasons for wanting to commit this morally wrong action, these reasons would either prove to be incoherent, or they would reveal that the evil person knew he or she was doing something wrong and regarded the harm caused as a good thing."

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