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Biotech

Apple Gene for Red Color Found 180

FiReaNGeL writes "Researchers have located the gene that controls the red color of apples — a discovery that may lead to bright new apple varieties. 'The red color in apple skin is the result of anthocyanins, the natural plant compounds responsible for blue and red colours in many flowers and fruits,' says the leader of the CSIRO. By identifying master genes that were activated by light, they were able to pinpoint the gene that controls the formation of anthocyanins in apples. 'As well as giving apples their rosy red hue, anthocyanins are also antioxidants with healthy attributes, giving us plenty of reasons to study how the biochemical pathway leading to apple color is regulated,' researchers said."
Security

Vista Hackers Get Busy 215

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft's long-awaited Windows Vista release Thursday for business customers will get more than just the passing attention of network administrators. That's because hackers will be eagerly waiting to do what hackers do best: start some mischief." Some folks on the Black Hat set got a sneak peek at Vista earlier this year, so they've had time to prepare.

Don't Be Rude To This Robot 54

News.com is running an article on an emotionally-responsive dinosaur robot that the Ugobe company has in the works for 2007. Called 'Pleo', the animatronic Apatosaurus will respond to the vocal intonations of its owners. It won't be able to understand vocal commands; instead, its mood will be dictated by the tone of voice used at it. A terse tone can result in a depressed dino. From the article: "Ugobe will try to go beyond selling a walking/talking toy. The company will publish a developers' kit and open its source code, making the Pleo something of a cousin to the Lego Mindstorms kits or the old Radio Shack 64-in-1 electronics kits. Consumers thus will be able to download 'personality modules' and see how their Pleos react to different stimuli ... Ultimately, the company may license the technology so others can build or incorporate robots into their own products. 'We've created a toolset for making lifelike robots,' Ugobe CEO Bob Christopher said."
Supercomputing

Steve Chen Making China's Supercomputer Grid 128

nanotrends writes "Steve Chen was the principal designer of the Cray X-MP supercomputer. He recently created multi-teraflop blade based supercomputers for a Chinese company. He is now creating a supercomputer grid across China and he is working on a bio-supercomputer extension to human brains called THIRD-BRAIN. The THIRD-BRAIN project has significant 3 year and 5 year targets."

Britain's First "Web-Rage" Attack 399

brown-eyed slug writes "The BBC is reporting what is claimed to be Britain's first "web-rage" attack. A man drove seventy miles to assault his victim with a pick-axe handle after they exchanged insults in a Yahoo! chat room." From the article: "Det Cons Christopher Creagh, of the Metropolitan Police, said: 'This is the first instance of a web-rage attack.' Det Sgt Jean-Marc Bazzoni, of Essex Police, added the case demonstrates the importance of protecting one's identity on the internet. 'Mr Jones had posted pictures of his family on the web and had chatted to Gibbons on an audio link,' he said. 'It demonstrates how easily other users can put two and two together and also shows how children could also find themselves in danger.'"

Do Big Screens Make Employees More Productive? 472

prostoalex writes "If your company uses 17" or 19" monitors, 30" monitors will make the employees more productive, Apple-sponsored research says. MacWorld reports: "Pfeiffer's testing showed time savings of 13.63 seconds when moving files between folders using the larger screen — 15.7 seconds compared to 29.3 seconds on the 17-in. monitor — for a productivity gain of 46.45 percent. The testing showed a 65.09 percent productivity gain when dragging and dropping between images — a task that took 6.4 seconds on the larger monitor compared to 18.3 seconds using the smaller screen. And cutting and pasting cells from Excel spreadsheets resulted in a 51.31 percent productivity gain — a task that took 20.7 seconds on the larger monitor versus 42.6 seconds on the smaller screen."" Calling such task-specific speed jolts "productivity gains" seems optimistic unless some measure of overall producivity backs up that claim, but don't mention that on the purchase order request.

China Unblocks Wikipedia 213

ZZeta writes "Even though the information on the site is still scarce, Editor & Publisher is already publishing the scoop: Apparently, Wikipedia has been unblocked in China. From the article: 'Wikipedia reported on its site that it had received word from multiple users in the country on Chinese-forums.com that the site had been restored.'"

Mapping Interior Spaces With Robots And GIS 47

Roland Piquepaille writes "In an article about GIS and Robotics, Directions Magazine reports that architects and other professionals can now use spatially intelligent robots to collect interior space data. With such mapping robots, it's possible to capture accurate data for over 10,000 square meters per day and to easily integrate it with existing software. The article doesn't mention the sources for its illustrations about these robotic systems, so I thought I'd point them out: a company in Maine called Penobscot Bay Media. You'll find more details and pictures about these mapping robots at ZDNet."

Clandestine Internet Censorship in India 134

nooyi86 writes "China and the Middle East block sites in order to suppress political or social dissent. Website blocking in India, on the other hand, is driven by national security-related paranoia, or hate speech that may lead to violence. The state must save its citizens from propaganda of both the extreme right and the extreme left. Shivam Vij has posted a comprehensive profile of Internet censorship in India."

Another Millenium Problem May Have Been Solved 134

S3D writes "After recent verification of the proof of the Poincaré conjecture, another of the Clay Institute's Millenium Problems may have been solved. This new solution is for Navier-Stokes equations under physically reasonable conditions. Navier-Stocks equations describe the motion of fluid substances such as liquids and gases. Penny Smith has posted an Arxiv paper entitled 'Immortal Smooth Solution of the Three Space Dimensional Navier-Stokes System' which may prove the existence of such solutions."

Commodore 64 Confuses Austrian Police 470

toomanyairmiles writes, "It seems that Wolfgang Priklopil, the communications technician who kidnapped Austrian pre-teen Natascha Kampusch, relied on a Commodore 64 as his primary machine. Interestingly this is presenting some problems to the Austrian computer forensics people. Major General Gerhard Lang of the Federal Criminal Investigations Bureau told reporters it would 'complicate investigators' efforts' and would be difficult to transfer the files to modern computers 'without loss.' Could this be the latest in the criminal world's security strategy? Can we expect to see Spectrums, Archimedes, and Atari STs turning up in police investigations soon?"

How Retailers Watch You 257

garzpacho writes, "With $30 billion lost to shoplifting and employee theft last year, retailers are turning to increasingly sophisticated electronic surveillance systems to fight theft. Some systems, like RFID tags, have been well-publicized by privacy advocates. Others are less well known: video surveillance systems are being tied to software that can recognize specific types of activity and identify individuals; and data-mining software is being used to analyze everything from shoppers' habits to irregular register activity." From the article: "Despite this revolution in retail tech, you won't find many stores bragging about their new security tools. No one wants to tip off shoplifters or advertise that they suspect their customers. That's why so much of the technology is hidden in the first place. But another reason stores don't talk much about surveillance is that they know it sparks concerns about privacy. Consumer groups and legislators have opposed the spread of RFID and video surveillance for just that reason."

Space Tourism, Now and to Come 123

bart_scriv writes, "BusinessWeek looks at the latest in space tourism, from a $20 million Soyuz trip to a $200,000 ride via Virgin Galactic. The article looks at existing and planned opportunities, with a slide show of photos and artist's conceptions of vehicles and facilities. From the article: 'Among the other wonders of space is the planned Bigelow Aerospace space hotel. Similar in design to the International Space Station (which has kept a constant human presence in space since 2000), the hotel has a modular design that will allow it easily to expand. The key difference is that the hotel's modules will be inflatable. Bigelow Aerospace launched the Genesis I test module into orbit on July, 2006, and plans to send Genesis II in early 2007.'"

Is National Differential GPS Lost? 109

Nealix writes, "This article at GPSWorld reports that National Differential GPS (NDGPS) is endangered in the 2007 budget. This has ramifications for a variety of government programs such as the Intelligent Transportation System and Positive Train Control by the Department of Transportation. Blind people and robots also benefit from highly accurate GPS navigational capability provided by NDGPS, which appears to work better in the urban canyons. If NDGPS loses, the winner would appear to be the FAA-backed Wide Area Augmentation Service (WAAS). Of course, what would be really cool is to see more GPS sites around the country make DGPS data (RTCM) available over the Internet."

Wi-Fi Fingerprints -- the End of MAC Spoofing? 176

judgecorp writes, "Wireless devices can be identified by variations in their radio signaling, known as their 'transceiverprint,' according to research reported in Techworld. The Canadian researcher, Jeyanthi Hall, related the prints to MAC addresses and got a positive ID for devices connecting to a Wi-Fi network, claiming 95% success with no false positives. Once they work out how to do this without a dedicated signal analyzer and neural network processing, it's the end of MAC spoofing on wireless networks."

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