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Comment Re:This is not a real problem (Score 1) 256

Not necessarily, at the moment there is a database with the results of the STRs for the 13 (well known) loci that are tested. So if you have access to the database you can make a match for a specific person and fake evidence against them.

But, if you have a second group of 13 loci that are kept secret, and the records for these STRs are NEVER recorded, then anytime evidence needs to be checked, the results from both groups of STRs can be checked. That information would not be kept, so it would be impossible to fake it from a database. Why even limit it to 13 loci? Why not have a list of hundreds of STRs that can be checked to corroborate evidence?

Comment This is not a real problem (Score 3, Informative) 256

At the moment most (if not all) DNA profiling is done by examining STRs. STRs are specific spots in your DNA where a certain pattern of DNA is repeated a number of times. And the number of times it's repeated might be different for you from the STR at that spot from someone else.

So if you check many of these spots, you can make it extremely unlikely that someone else has all of these spots with the same number of repeats as you do. In the US they check 13 loci. And this fake DNA (the stuff they advertise as being possible to make just by looking in the database, with no original genetic material) is just a load of these loci, with the correct number of repeats in there.

The reason it isn't much of a problem is that the technological bottlenecks that made the human genome project such a money pit are close to gone now. Taking a genetic sample and fully sequencing it shouldn't be that much of a problem in the next few years (I mean you can already do it for the price of a coat. To proof against fake evidence, many other SNPs or STRs can be checked instead, as a confirmation. Keeping a list of another 13 STRs to be used as confirmation would be a good start, having the loci known but not recording the results in databases to prevent this kind of counterfeiting.

Comment offtopic (Score 1) 186

I've been living in Sweden for 5 years (originally Irish) and am starting to plan a move to Berlin. Any tips on how to handle a move to Germany, or things to be prepared for?

(I've heard the job situation is not great, but I work in science and find it's generally unaffected as of yet by the economic situation).

Comment Privacy in Sweden (Score 3, Interesting) 108

Sweden has some strange privacy norms. Asking what someone votes for politically is close to a serious faux pa. In fact some people I know have absolutely no idea how their parents or even partners vote. That is a very private thing. But you can look up car owners on a free and public website by registration number, you can go and check tax returns for anyone in Sweden, and see what they earn. On the other hand, religion is another area that you very much leave alone and don't ask about.

Hopefully the IP information will be considered something a little more private, and after the Pirate party did so well in the European elections maybe there is a chance that common sense will prevail and rules like IPRED will be struck down anyway.

Comment I think both methods are viable together. (Score 2, Insightful) 254

I use itunes all the time, and rip my own CDs (and download the albums I own on vinyl), in total I think my library is around 140 gigs. Streaming as an alternative would suck because I would NEVER be able to remember all those albums and artists! I love to browse through the music that has taken years to accumulate and spot something I haven't heard in ages and play it.

If someone deleted my iTunes library I would never be able to get it all again precisely because I would never be able to recall everything in there.

Having said that, streaming services like Spotify are fantastic for their own niche. A lot of people I know that are maybe not as into music as some, use spotify as their sole music source and find that satisfactory. Then you have the great ability to just type in some artist or famous song that you wouldn't like enough to buy or even download, but want to check out.

and there are the communal aspects of it, like making a playlist for a party that anyone who is invited to can add songs to. This is a very useful service I've used a few times to great effect.

Comment What fantastic games these are (Score 1) 153

No nostalgia here either, i recently installed ScummVM on a nokia 770 tablet, and replayed all the monkey Islands, they were absolutely fantastic. There are a lot of good handheld games these days too, but nothing comes close to the level of comedy or cinematics as did Monkey Island.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONmmlOJzE5E

So good!

Comment Re:As to the question of the Nokia N810 (Score 1) 283

I have the Nokia 770, and it's a great ebook reader. I must have read a hundred books on it by now. The only problem is reading in bright sunlight, that's not so fun.

But great battery life, and it plays SCUMMVM so right now I have Full Throttle on it, as well as a few maps, mp3s and maemo mapper for the occasional drive.

Comment What about Spotify? (Score 4, Insightful) 329

I haven't touched last.fm since I got spotify. I've heard it's not available world-wide, but seeingas it's free and legal, surely this is the future of public music?

It has an iTunes-ish inerface, but has access to millions of artists, and the normal selection of radio-stations. As Well as the great features of being able to make and share play-lists with friends or create an open playlist for a party.

Do many people here use it? IS it a known service? And does anyone want an invite?

Comment AFAIK, these kinds of headphones are not new (Score 1) 264

They aren't non-standard either. 3.5mm contact with 4 contacts on it and buttons on the lead have been around for ages, I have no idea who started them or how interoperable they are. I had a pair that came with my Nokia N95, play, stop, forward, reverse, volume, on a standard sized 3.5 mm plug with one extra contact. That actually terminated in the remote which had a socket for any normal 3.5 mm three contact headphones, so you could use your nice sennheisers with the phone instead of the shitty nokia buds.

So has anyone tried the Apple ones with other equipment like phones that support remotes on 3.5mm jacks? I know for a fact Etymotics have a pair of headphones with remote and mic on a 3.5 mm contact.

Comment Re:Missing Option! (Score 1) 1026

No, the biggest thing that Barack Obama will change in his first 100 days is our attitude, and the world's, toward our own president, and toward the American people's ability to choose a leader.

No offence, but if I see a guy shit in his hand and then eat the shit, and then shit in his hand again and eat it again, It would take more than seeing him eat a sandwich to make me forget that he likes to eat shit.

Science

How Small Can Computers Get? Computing in a Molecule 143

ScienceDaily on what the future might bring for atomic-scale computing: "Joachim, the head of the CEMES Nanoscience and Picotechnology Group (GNS), is currently coordinating a team of researchers from 15 academic and industrial research institutes in Europe whose groundbreaking work on developing a molecular replacement for transistors has brought the vision of atomic-scale computing a step closer to reality. Their efforts, a continuation of work that began in the 1990s, are today being funded by the European Union in the Pico-Inside project. ... The team has managed to design a simple logic gate with 30 atoms that perform the same task as 14 transistors, while also exploring the architecture, technology, and chemistry needed to achieve computing inside a single molecule and to interconnect molecules."

Comment Re:I have always been a Sony fanboy... (Score 4, Insightful) 541

Clarification for me please?

I haven't gotten any of the new generation consoles (except a wii). I was thinking of a PS3 over a 360 because friends with 360s said they were a headache to own. Lots of failures, very noisy and occasionally even scratching disks.

Why would a PS3 be less useful than a 360 if all the games are the same and the hardware is better?

News

Smart Rubber Promises Self-Mending Products 122

An anonymous reader writes "French scientists have developed a new rubber that can heal itself after being cut or broken. If two broken ends of the material are pushed together, and left for an hour, they join to become just as stretchy as before. There is even a video of the supposed creation in action. 'Regular rubber gets its strength from the fact that long chains of polymer molecules are coupled, or "crosslinked," in three different ways: through covalent, ionic, and hydrogen bonding between molecules. Of these three bond types, only the hydrogen bonds can be remade once a material is fractured, although normally there are not enough hydrogen bonds for the rubber to re-couple in this way. The solution devised by Leibler and colleagues is to simply get rid of the ionic and covalent bonds. They developed a transparent, yellowy-brown rubber in which crosslinking is performed only by hydrogen bonds.'"
The Internet

Millions in Middle East Lose Internet 304

Shipwack writes "Tens of millions of internet users across the Middle East and Asia have been left without access to the web after a technical fault cut millions of connections. The outage, which is being blamed on a fault in a single undersea cable, has severely restricted internet access in countries including India, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and left huge numbers of people struggling to get online. Observers say that the digital blackout first struck yesterday morning, with Egypt's communications ministry suggesting it was caused by a cut in a major internet pipeline linking it to Europe."

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