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Biotech

Extinct Ibex Resurrected By Cloning 238

The Telegraph is reporting that for the first time an extinct animal has been brought back via cloning. The Pyrenean ibex, a type of mountain goat, was declared officially extinct in 2000, but thanks to preserved skin samples scientists were able to insert that DNA into eggs from domestic goats to clone a female Pyrenean ibex. While the goat didn't survive long due to lung defects this gives scientists hopes that it will be possible to resurrect extinct species from frozen tissue. "Using techniques similar to those used to clone Dolly the sheep, known as nuclear transfer, the researchers were able to transplant DNA from the tissue into eggs taken from domestic goats to create 439 embryos, of which 57 were implanted into surrogate females. Just seven of the embryos resulted in pregnancies and only one of the goats finally gave birth to a female bucardo, which died seven minutes later due to breathing difficulties, perhaps due to flaws in the DNA used to create the clone."

Comment Re:I wouldn't recommend BASIC (Score 1) 799

To be more fair, Python is not hard if you use just basic features. No one has to use list comprehension to manage data on a list.

However, and that's a BIG however, there's still nothing in the python world that matches the ease of creating a GUI app like VB has. Hell, using some IDEs like Qt Creator makes GUI programming easier even for C/C++. And a GUI is what most non-programmers believe a "program" is.

Anyway, I'd still ask the kid for a project, which would pretty much dictate the technology to be used. A good programmer knows many languages and uses the best for the task.

To get attention, one could start by getting an Arduino and making a led blink. That's the electronics "hello world". You can use either Wiring or simple C (without pointers) to do that, and with a program skeleton in place, there's lots to be learned.

Science

50 Years of Domesticating Foxes For Science 347

gamebittk writes "In 1959, Soviet scientist Dmitri Belyaev set out to breed a tamer fox that would be easier for their handlers in the Russian fur industry to work with. Much to the scientist's shock, changes no one had expected emerged after just 10 generations. The foxes began behaving playfully, were smaller in size, and even changed color — much like dogs." Belyaev died in 1985, but the experiment continued (PDF) in his absence, and to this day provides strong evidence to parts of evolutionary theory. The experiment eventually branched out to involve other species as well.
Programming

An Open Source Compiler From CUDA To X86-Multicore 71

Gregory Diamos writes "An open source project, Ocelot, has recently released a just-in-time compiler for CUDA, allowing the same programs to be run on NVIDIA GPUs or x86 CPUs and providing an alternative to OpenCL. A description of the compiler was recently posted on the NVIDIA forums. The compiler works by translating GPU instructions to LLVM and then generating native code for any LLVM target. It has been validated against over 100 CUDA applications. All of the code is available under the New BSD license."

Comment Google's strategy may be more sound than it seems (Score 1) 161

If you think a deep further, with a LOT of imagination, one could envision another scenario:

It's possible Google is preparing for a non net-neutrality world, in which it would have to pay for the vast amount of bandwidth that it's clients use. Actually, Google is one of the first targets of those who wish to double-charge for bandwith (charge for users and providers at the same time).

In this world, a sensible way out of that cash-hole is for Google to be an ISP on its own. For that purpose, it could acquire dark fiber and try to acquire wireless spectrum (or lobby the FCC to make some unlicensed spectrum bands). With those at hand, it could make devices which are capable of forming mesh networks (if Android support that in the future, which is not unlikely). Those networks would then be connected by fiber over long distances. As such, how to get enough coverage to have a reliable mesh network? One answer it to make available a Google Phone which would have a great appeal if it could make free calls through Google Voice. That would ensure quite good acceptance from users.

That's it. A simple scenario. Seems quite possible to me, though I'm not an expert on the economics required to make it a reality (though if there's one company with enough resources to make it happen, that company is Google).

Note: the words marked with bold indicate topics which were discussed at a number of times right here on Slashdot.

Comment Get That! (Score 1) 296

Get that OLPC!

Finally a true sub-$100 "laptop". One which is not vaporware like the OLPC.

Yes, I know there are real OLPCs out there, but until I can get my hands on one, it's still vapor as far as I can tell.

By the way, not making the OLPC available for anyone but governments to buy was one (among many) of the biggest mistakes you did. You simply closed yourself to your own community.

Comment Re:Happened with me (Score 1) 264

Not really... the fact is that my budget didn't really allow that kind of backup, and each user was responsible for his/her own backups locally. Server-wise, I did my own backups of important files, though I wanted to have some sort of redundancy on hard drives in case of a hard drive failure, which would allow me a quicker return from downtime. I'd guess that's what the RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks) term stands for.

The problem of files disappearing ended when I disabled RAID. It most probably started because it was software RAID, not hardware, though what caused it to unsync is still a mistery to me (even though I suspect a power outage or peak or something like that, like when a tree fell over a nearby transmission line). But the problem was very real, seen when comparing the directories of both the drives, where I could see different filesets.

Anyway, I do not pretend to say that RAID is a bad thing. It is good, if used correctly. Though it is still another layer of complexity, which can overwhelm someone who isn't used to it (I wasn't allowed any courses on RAID... hell, even on sysadmin stuff I wasn't formally taught, though I was the best the company had).

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