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Medicine

Newly Developed RNA-Based Vaccine Could Offer Lifelong Protection From the Flu 156

An anonymous reader writes "A new experimental flu vaccine made out of messenger RNA that may work for life is now being developed. German researchers said on Sunday that the vaccine, made of the genetic material that controls the production of proteins, protected animals against influenza and, unlike traditional vaccines, it may work for life and can potentially be manufactured quickly enough to stop a pandemic (abstract)."
Security

Building the Ultimate Safe House 289

Hugh Pickens writes "Candace Jackson writes that an increasing number of home builders and buyers are looking for a new kind of security: homes equipped to handle everything from hurricanes, tornadoes and hybrid superstorms like this week's Sandy, to man-made threats ranging from home invasion to nuclear war. Fueling the rise of these often-fortresslike homes are new technologies and building materials—which builders say will ultimately be used on a more widespread basis in storm- and earthquake-threatened areas. For example, Alys Beach, a 158-acre luxury seaside community on Florida's Gulf Coast, has earned the designation of Fortified...for safer living® homes and is designed to withstand strong winds. The roofs have two coats of limestone and exterior walls have 8 inches of concrete, reinforced every 32 inches for 'bunkerlike' safety, according to marketing materials. Other builders are producing highly hurricane-proof residences that are circular in shape with 'radial engineering' wherein roof and floor trusses link back to the home's center like spokes on a wheel, helping to dissipate gale forces around the structure. Deltec, a North Carolina–based builder, says it has never lost a circular home to hurricanes in over 40 years of construction. But Doug Buck says some 'extreme' building techniques don't make financial sense. 'You get to a point of diminishing returns,' says Buck. 'You're going to spend so much that honestly, it would make more sense to let it blow down and rebuild it.''
Transportation

Tesla Model S Named 'Car of the Year' 303

SternisheFan writes with news that Automobile Magazine has named the all-electric Tesla Model S its Car of the Year. Quoting: "We weren't expecting much from the Tesla other than some interesting dinner conversation as we considered 'real' candidates like the Subaru BRZ and the Porsche Boxster. In fact, the Tesla blew them, and us, away. Actually, the Model S can blow away almost anything. 'It's the performance that won us over,' admits editor-in-chief Jean Jennings. 'The crazy speed builds silently and then pulls back the edges of your face. It had all of us endangering our licenses.' Our Model S was of Signature Performance spec, which means its AC induction motor puts out 416 hp and that it blasts to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. ... You'll note that we haven't even discussed Tesla's raison d'etre, which is, in Musk's words, 'To accelerate the advent of electric cars.' That's another credit to the Model S's overall execution and seductive powers. 'The electric motor does not define this car,' says Nelson. But it is, at the end of the day, what makes this very good sport sedan an absolute game changer. The Model S's range, rated by the EPA at 265 miles with the largest battery, finally fits the American conception of driving."
Encryption

Anonymous' WikiLeaks-Like Project Tyler To Launch In December 101

hypnosec writes "A hacker who claims to be a member of the hacking collective Anonymous has revealed that the hacktivist group is working on a Wikileaks-like service dubbed Tyler and that it will be launched on December 21. The Anonymous member revealed that the service will be decentralized and will be based on peer-to-peer service, unlike Wikileaks, thus making Tyler rather immune to closure and raids. The site will serve as a haven for whistleblowers, where they can publish classified documents and information. The hacker said in an emailed interview that 'Tyler will be P2P encrypted software, in which every function of a disclosure platform will be handled and shared by everyone who downloads and deploys the software.'" That sounds like a lot to live up to. Decentralized, attack-resistant and encrypted all sound nice, but I'm curious both about the funding it would take, and whether it matches Wikileaks' own security.
Education

Ask Slashdot: What Were You Taught About Computers In High School? 632

An anonymous reader writes "What was taught to you about computers in High School? Computer use and computer science in schools are regular headlines, but what 'normal' do we compare it to? It's not a shared reference. A special class with Commodore PETs was set up just after I graduated, and I'm only starting to grey. Everybody younger has had progressive levels of exposure. What was 'normal' for our 40-, 30-, and 20-year olds here? And how well did it work for you, and your classmates?" For that matter, what's it like now — if you're in middle or high school now, or know students who are, what's the tech curriculum like?
Games

Entire Cities In World of Warcraft Dead, Hack Suspected 305

hypnosec writes "Entire cities in the World of Warcraft have been destroyed with no one spared, not even the NPCs. About 13:00 GMT, forums on WOW started getting the first comments from users regarding players and NPCs dying on the Ragnaros-EU realm in Orgrimmar. Users of the online game started reporting that Draenor had a similar sight to offer. Some of the other realms where this was reported include Tarren Mill, and Twisting Nether." Also at Joystiq, and (with more screenshots) at WCCF Tech, which reports that "it appears the damage is most severe in World of Warcraft European servers."
Canada

Why Worms In the Toilet Might Be a Good Idea 124

derekmead writes "Billions worldwide still don't have access to proper sanitation, and those that do still require a ton of water and electricity to keep waste flowing. A French company is offering one solution: Use turd-eating worms to compost waste right at the source. Ecosphere Technologies has developed an outhouse that, rather than relying on chemicals like a port-a-john, relies on about a pound of red wiggler worms. A new installation in Quebec uses imported worms, placed inside of a mixture of dung and straw underneath to toilet, to devour feces delivered to them by a conveyor belt system. (When someone uses the toilet, pee filters through sand to wash away, while a pedal allows the user to transport their poo to the worm space.) The whole system uses no water or electricity, and a series of passive vents allegedly keeps the toilet smelling great. The company claims it can be used 10,000 times without servicing, which is far better than what a port-a-potty can boast, although with a current price tag of $40k for the worm system, port-a-potties are still a lot cheaper."
Python

Python 3.3.0 Released 131

An anonymous reader writes "After just over a month of release candidates, the final version of Python 3.3 launched today. This version includes new syntax, including the yield from expression for generator delegation; new library modules, including fault handler (for debugging crashes), ipaddress, and lzma (for data compression using the XZ/LZMA algorithm); a reworked OS and I/O exception hierarchy; the venv module for programmatic access to Python virtual environments; and a host of API changes. The full list of features and the change log are both available."
Portables (Games)

PSVita Hacked, Native Homebrew Loader Coming Soon 50

Busshy writes "Since the release of the PSVita, sales for the portable console have struggled, particularly in Japan. There, the PSP was selling more units until this week, with the release of Hatsune Miku Project Diva F, which has seen PSVita sales quadruple. For the rest of the world, sales are still slow thanks to a dull selection of games. This could soon change, as Yifan Lu, coder of the Kindle Hack and PSX Xperia, has revealed he is now working on a native loader for the PSVita. Basically, it's a Userland Vita Loader for loading unsigned executables on your Vita — in other words, a Homebrew Loader for the PSVita. To calm Sony fears, he claims it is physically impossible to run 'backups' with the exploit. The exploit cannot decrypt or load retail games. At this time, the exploit is unreleased; naturally, he doesnt want Sony to fix it."
GNOME

GNOME 3.6 To Include Major Revisions 327

supersloshy writes "The launch of the GNOME 3 desktop environment sparked heated debate and criticism. GNOME developers have been listening to the concerns of its users and it is rolling out several significant changes in GNOME 3.6. The message tray, often called hard to use, was made much more visible in addition to being harder to accidentally trigger. The "lock" screen can now optionally control your music player, the system volume, and display notifications so you don't have to type in a password. GNOME will also support different input sources directly instead of requiring an add-on program. Nautilus, the GNOME file browser, is also getting a major face lift with a new, more compact UI, properly working search features, a "move to" and "copy to" option as an alternative to dragging and dropping, and a new "recent files" section. These changes, among many others including improvements to system settings, will be present in GNOME 3.6 when it is released later this month. Any other additions or changes not currently implemented by the GNOME team can be easily applied with only one click at the GNOME Extensions website."
Businesses

Lexmark To Exit Inkjet Printer Market 228

Barence writes "Lexmark has announced it will stop making inkjet printers and cut 1,700 jobs as part of a cost-cutting restructuring move. Lexmark will stop all inkjet development worldwide by 2013, and close its Philippines-based inkjet supplies manufacturing plant by 2015. This will provide annual savings of $85 million, rising to $95 million by 2015. The total restructuring cost before tax is expected to be $160 million. The company is also looking into the possible sale of its inkjet-related technology." I know there are some purposes for which inkjets are good (modern home photo printing can be insanely good, and we've featured a lot of cool projects which use inkjets to print sensors, solar cells, antennae, and more), but I get just a little queasy whenever I see an inkjet printer purchased by an innocent friend or family member who doesn't realize quite how much it will end up costing them in the long run.
Biotech

How Long Do You Want To Live? 813

Hugh Pickens writes "Since 1900, the life expectancy of Americans, driven by improved hygiene, nutrition, and new medical discoveries and interventions, has jumped from 47 years to almost 80. Now, scientists studying the intricacies of DNA and other molecular bio-dynamics may be poised to offer even more dramatic boosts to longevity. But there is one very basic question that is seldom asked, according to David Ewing Duncan: How long do you want to live? 'Over the past three years I have posed this query to nearly 30,000 people at the start of talks and lectures on future trends in bioscience, taking an informal poll as a show of hands,' writes Duncan. 'To make it easier to tabulate responses I provided four possible answers: 80 years, currently the average life span in the West; 120 years, close to the maximum anyone has lived; 150 years, which would require a biotech breakthrough; and forever, which rejects the idea that life span has to have any limit at all.' The results: some 60 percent opted for a life span of 80 years. Another 30 percent chose 120 years, and almost 10 percent chose 150 years. Less than 1 percent embraced the idea that people might avoid death altogether (PDF). Overwhelmingly, the reason given was that people didn't want to be old and infirm any longer than they had to be, even if a pill allowed them to delay the inevitable. Others were concerned about issues like boredom, the cost of paying for a longer life, and the impact of so many extra people on planetary resources and on the environment. But wouldn't long life allow people like Albert Einstein to accomplish more and try new things? That's assuming that Einstein would want to live that long. As he lay dying of an abdominal aortic aneurysm in 1955, Einstein refused surgery, saying: 'It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share, it is time to go. I will do it elegantly.'"
The Internet

The Pirate Bay Launches Free VPN 359

bs0d3 writes "The Pirate Bay team is going to be making the RIAA angry, with the launch of a new ad-supported VPN service. PrivitizeVPN is available for free from The Pirate Bay. Instead of earning revenue through subscription as ipredator does, PrivitizeVPN comes packaged to install the Babylon search bar (adware). PrivitizeVPN appears to be available for Windows users only at the moment. The Pirate Bay staff has a long history of promoting services that have no logs; e.g. , you can't get in trouble if your anonymized IP is subpoenaed by government officials. Although PrivitizeVPN is being released silently, with no press coverage, no official statement, and no comments from The Pirate Bay of any kind, people are assuming that PrivitizeVPN will have the same familiar data protection policies. A backup download location has been setup here for people who have limited access to the Pirate Bay domain."
Medicine

Birth Control For Men Edges Closer 407

ananyo writes "Developing oral contraceptives for men has not gone as swiftly as researchers imagined in the early 1970s; they suggested at the time that a 'male pill' was not far off. But researchers now report a new way to make male mice temporarily infertile. Although the treatment is not ready for human use, the method avoids some of the pitfalls of earlier attempts. The technique appears to have a much more specific action than previous methods: it impairs sperm production by blocking a protein called BRDT. This protein was singled out as a potential therapeutic target five years ago because it only occurs in the testes, where it is required for the division of sperm cells. If the approach proves safe in humans, it would be an improvement over hormone-based methods of male contraception, which are not completely effective and cause side effects such as mood swings, acne and a loss of libido (abstract). On the downside, however, the compound 'shrank the mice's testes.'"

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