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Biotech

Submission + - Protien in HIV functions as resistor

TwilightXaos writes: "Leor Weinberger and Thomas Shenk, two researchers at Princeton, have discovered a new model for how the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) enters and exits dormancy. They claim it functions as a resistor, this is in contrast to other types of regulation models found in other viruses and animals. From the abstract:

Here we show that a dissipative feedback resistor, composed of enzymatic interconversion of the transactivator, converts transactivation circuits into excitable systems that generate transient pulses of expression, which decay to zero. We use HIV-1 as a model system and analyze single-cell expression kinetics to explore whether the HIV-1 transactivator of transcription (Tat) uses a resistor to shut off transactivation. The Tat feedback circuit was found to lack bi-stability and Tat self-cooperativity but exhibited a pulse of activity upon transactivation, all in agreement with the feedback resistor model.

The research could lead to an effective treatment of the HIV virus, and has the possibility of increasing understanding of other viruses like herpes.
Additionally hindu.com has a article on the findings."
Communications

Submission + - Undersea cable repair via 19th century technology

An anonymous reader writes: Workers are relying on 19th century technology to fix a very 21st century problem — disruption of the Internet traffic that tech-savvy Asia relies on. "No electronics involved," said John Walters, general manager of Global Marine, one of the firms engaged in the repairs. "It's an old and traditional technique. After arriving at the scene they survey the ocean bottom to assess whether the contour has changed, and the degree of sediment movement. Then the traditional tools are brought out. A rope with a grapnel on the end is played out, down into the depths, and towed over the sea floor until tension registers on a graph on the ship, indicating contact has been made with the cable. Today's fibre optic cables are just 21 millimetres in diameter. The grapnel is a metal tool about 18 by 24 inches (46 by 61 centimetres) which includes a cutter, like a fine razor blade, and a grabbing tool. As tension increases and the cable is slowly pulled up, it is cut, grabbed, and half of it is hoisted to the surface. Dropping the grapnel, dragging the sea bed and recovering the cable can take about 16 hours, Walters said. "It is a tried and tested method." Once the severed half of the cable is on board the boat, debris is cleared from the damaged end, it is tested, sealed and the end boiled off. Then it is attached to a buoy on the water surface while the process is repeated for the second half of the cable before both halves are spliced together and dropped back to the ocean floor. Even before the Boxing Day earthquake, Global Marine had faced a busy year, with about 20 repairs after damage from fishermen or anchors. All those ruptures were fixed using the old grapnel method, he said.
Databases

Submission + - Need a non-MS HR database (soon!)

bbrecht writes: My UK-based employers were on the verge of buying a .NET-based HR "solution" which would have locked us into IE and MS SQL Server. I've managed to get it delayed for a week or so while I come up with some Open alternative(s). Something that works with MySQL and Firefox, maybe? I've found some names (Orange HRM, Snowdrop, Intellect, ...) but haven't much time to sort wheat from chaff. Who out there has had good / bad experiences with less-proprietary HR databases and front-ends?
Google

Submission + - The thing that cannot be Googled

tetsuo29 writes: So, I'm dissecting a Perl script that a co-worker wrote and not being very familiar with Perl, I have no idea yet what the line "$| = 1;" means. In trying to google for it, I've discovered that "$|" cannot be searched for by Google. Try it. It doesn't even return the standard page that says:

Your search — "[search terms]" — did not match any documents

Suggestions:

        * Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
        * Try different keywords.
        * Try more general keywords.

The results page is the equivalent of Google nothingness. Now, I think that "$|" is somehow related to CGI.pm and therefore probably CGI in general, but still shouldn't the brilliant coders at Google be able to code for this and index this as a search term so that clueless dolts like me can google for it to find out what it means?

So, I ask you Slashdotters:

    * What does '$| = 1;' mean in Perl?
    * Is there a way to google for that term?
    * Has anyone else found any text that Google will return 'Google nothingness' as I've described it?
Power

Submission + - Wireless Power is finally here

oxide7 writes: "Wireless battery technology was unveiled at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show by Powercast LLC, promising to set consumers free from power cables and heavy power adapters. The company claims its Powercaster and Powerharvester modules can recharge batteries in consumer devices smaller than a cellphone using RF broadcasts from up to a meter away."
Security

Submission + - Security Theater, With Ads

yali writes: Security experts like Bruce Schneier have criticized America's airport screening system as a lot of security theater and not much else. Well, what happens when the theater starts running ads? CNN reports that, following a pilot program at LAX, the TSA is getting ready to sell ad space in those ubiquitous gray X-ray trays in order to raise revenue. Is it right for a government agency to foist advertisements on a captive audience? And once the TSA becomes dependent on ad revenue, will it get that much harder to convince them to roll back ineffective procedures?
The Internet

Submission + - Desperate House Gamers Launches Site for Women

An anonymous reader writes: January 12, 2007 — While the world of video gaming still remains a male-dominated one, gaming amongst females is on the rise. Yet despite the growing numbers of so-called "girl gamers", little marketing is directed or tailored towards their particular perspective. To address this gap, Desperate Housegamers (DHG) is announcing the launch of its female-oriented gaming site, dedicated to all aspects of gaming. Boasting the same features found on most gaming sites, such as game and gadget reviews, DHG caters to the female perspective while acknowledging that women are just as interested in gaming as men.

As with men, female gamers can be found in every age group. One of the fastest growing segments of the market is made up of women over the age of 18, who currently represent 38% of the gaming market — a larger segment than that represented by under-18 males, according to the Electronic Software Association. Casual games, such as Bejeweled or Tetris, are largely responsible for the boom in gaming by women over 18. Younger women often enjoy games typically thought of as "boy games", but are frequently overlooked or misunderstood by marketers.

"Female gamers of every stripe exist out there," says DHG founder Mike Krakauskas, "but they're largely ignored by the gaming industry. Most existing gaming sites are very male-oriented, from their design to their content." DHG aims to give female gamers a place they feel comfortable, and where they won't have to battle their male counterparts for respect. DHG also intends to provide female gamers with a forum where they can express their views and voice their opinions, as well as simply socialize with likeminded women.

About Desperate Housegamers: The Desperate Housegamers website can be found at www.desperatehousegamers.com. Updated daily with news features, articles and reviews, DHG provides gamers with the latest gaming information tailored specifically for women. Features include community forums as well as a live voice chat room where women can discuss anything from gaming to general chit-chat.
The Internet

Submission + - Jail for EU p2p file sharers?

An anonymous reader writes: The European Parliament will vote at the end of this month on a controversial directive to criminalise infringements of all intellectual property rights (trademark, copyright, patents, etc). Some deputies has tabled amendments to require jail for non-commercial copyright infringements, such as internet filesharing. One of those deputies is Janelly Fourtou, the wife of Jean-René Fourtou, boss of Vivendi-Universal. Other amendments intends to criminalise "attempting, aiding or abetting and inciting" copyright infringements, which could render illegal all filesharing software. Recently, a court in Japan found the software author of Winny guilty of aiding copyright infringements.
Movies

MPAA Caught Uploading Fake Torrents 579

An anonymous reader writes "The MPAA and other anti-piracy watchdogs have been caught trapping people into downloading fake torrents, so they can collect IP addresses, and send copyright infringement letters to ISPs. The battle between P2P networks and copyright holders seems to be a never ending battle. It will be interesting to see how much the anti-piracy groups practices change once they begin begin selling movies and TV shows legally on bittorrent.com."
Patents

IBM Breaks Patent Record, Wants Reform 130

An anonymous reader writes "IBM set the record for most patents granted in a year for 2006. At the same time, IBM points out that small companies earn more patents per capita than larger enterprises and pushes for reform to address shortcomings in the process of patenting business methods: 'The prevalence of patent applications that are of low quality or poorly written have led to backlogs of historic proportions, and the granting of patents protecting ideas that are not new, are overly broad, or obvious.' And the company has been committing itself to a new patent policy: 'Key tenets of the policy are that patent quality is the responsibility of the applicant; that patent applications should be open to public examination and that patent ownership should be transparent; and that business methods without technical content should not be patentable.'"
Slashdot.org

Submission + - Cheap Geographic Web Site Load Balancing

David Tiberio writes: "I have about 20 geographically dispersed web hosting accounts averaging $10 per month. I load balance my traffic on these servers with DNS failover. My total cost is about $300 per month for the entire setup including DNS failover service. I have 100% uptime, and fast performance, separating apps and media on different datacenters. Users go to their nearest datacenter. Here's how I did it."
Movies

Submission + - Blu-ray says NO to porn, porn says NO to Blu-ray

Sarusa writes: If this is true, it's Beta vs VHS all over again and HD-DVD may be the foregone winner of the format wars. First, Heise reports (summarized from the German by sgknox.com) that Digital Playground (NSFW), who were committed to Blu-ray last year, are now producing HD-DVD titles instead. No Blu-ray disk manufacturer would make their disks because Sony doesn't want porn on Blu-ray (just as with Betamax). Second, as reported by tgdaily, the porn industry at CES overwhelmingly favors HD-DVD because it's much cheaper and easier to produce. As noted in the tgdaily article, porn was a huge factor in VHS winning the VHS/Beta format wars even though most people don't like to acknowledge it. Porn, like gaming, pushes tech adoption.
Television

Submission + - Senator to FCC: no broadcast flag for you!

Flag waver writes: Senator John Sununu (R-NH) will introduce legislation that will prevent the FCC from creating technology mandates for the consumer electronics industry. As a result, the FCC would be hamstrung in its efforts to revive the broadcast flag. '"The FCC seems to be under the belief that it should occasionally impose technology mandates," Sununu said in a statement. "These misguided requirements distort the marketplace by forcing industry to adopt agency-blessed solutions rather than allow innovative and competitive approaches to develop."' Sen. Sununu previously tried without success to remove the broadcast flag provisions from the massive telecommunications bill that died before reaching the Senate floor during the last Congress.
Security

Submission + - What constitutes "something you have?"

Steve Cerruti writes: "My credit union is implementing multi-factor authentication for online banking. They are following guidelines provided by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council as outlined in Authentication in an Internet Banking Environment (PDF). As you are already required to enter a password, "something you know" is covered. "Something you are" has significant technical hurdles while "something you have" is familiar to credit unions in the form of ATM cards.

My credit union chose to implement "something you have" as a two dimensional lookup table that they email to an address you supply when you initially log in to the online banking service, further access is blocked until you enter a code from the table. New Measures to Make Online Access Safer describes the plan and a short video (FLV) provides further details.

Their plan can best be compared to single use scratch off cards. However, I am unsure of what constitutes "something you have" in this example. If someone has the capacity to log into your online banking account, it would seem an email account would be equally subject to access. It would therefore be possible for the authorized owner and the attacker to both possess the table simultaneously. Does this system provide multi-factor authentication or is it simply a convoluted mechanism for sharing yet another secret?

Off topic questions:
Is depending on near instantaneous access to email a reasonable thing to do?
If you were dealing with this situation, would you implement a Firefox extension or a cell phone application to reduce the level of effort for banking access?"
Space

Submission + - Black diamonds come from space

Roland Piquepaille writes: "Two teams of U.S. researchers have found that carbonados — or black diamonds — come from outer space. Helped with funds from the National Science Foundation (NSF), they discovered nitrogen and hydrogen in these porous black diamonds found only in Brazil and the Central African Republic. And these elements are not found in conventional diamonds extracted from mines from volcanic rocks. They think these carbonados were part of asteroids which landed on Earth about 3 billion years ago. Read more for additional explanations and a picture of such a not-so-pretty diamond."

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