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Avoiding the Word "Evolution" 895

jakosc tips us to a disturbing article in PloS Biology on the avoidance of the word "Evolution" in scientific papers and grants. From the paper: "In spite of the importance of antimicrobial resistance, we show that the actual word 'evolution' is rarely used in the papers describing this research. Instead, antimicrobial resistance is said to 'emerge,' 'arise,' or 'spread' rather than 'evolve.' Moreover, we show that the failure to use the word 'evolution' by the scientific community may have a direct impact on the public perception of the importance of evolutionary biology in our everyday lives... It has been repeatedly rumored (and reiterated by one of the reviewers of this article) that both the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation have in the past actively discouraged the use of the word 'evolution' in titles or abstracts of proposals so as to avoid controversy."

Journal Journal: Prototype Prose

Every day I make political speeches muffled by shower curtains. I pound invisible podiums as I shout for imaginary people to stand up for their beliefs and live their dreams. The water is moved by the tears in my eyes while my soul spills out from my trembling mouth. "We can make a difference!" I cry to the tiles. I want them to understand that i'm following my dream when I beg them to stand up and spread their wings flap with the force of all they've ever yearned for and carry humanity into th

Submission + - Operation Falcon and the Encroaching Police State

Deltronica writes: According to Information Clearinghouse, the police state feared by many is being carried out right under our noses. From TFA: "The Bush administration has carried out three massive sweeps in the last two years, rolling up more than 30,000 minor crooks and criminals, without as much as a whimper of protest from the public. Operation Falcon is the clearest indication yet that the Bush administration is fine-tuning its shock-troops so it can roll up tens of thousands of people at a moment's notice and toss them into the newly-built Halliburton detention centers. This should be a red flag for anyone who cares at all about human rights, civil liberties, or simply saving his own skin. " The full article can be found here.

Submission + - Documentary on DRM, Piracy, Released for Free

iSeal writes: The "On Piracy" documentary team have just released version 1.0 of their documentary, free for the download. In it, they interview figureheads of various agencies including the president of CRIA (Canadian RIAA), the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association (Canadian MPAA), as well as the head of Creative Commons Canada, Michael Geist, youths off the street, indy labels, band members, etc. Streaming downloads are up, and the DVD ISO is being legitimately distributed via bittorrent.

IE and Firefox Share a Vulnerability 207

hcmtnbiker writes with news of a logic flaw shared by IE 7 and Firefox 2.0. IE 5.01, IE 6, and Firefox are also affected. The flaw was discovered by Michal Zalewski, and is easily demonstrated on IE7 and Firefox. The vulnerability is not platform-specific, but these demonstrations are — they work only on Windows systems. (Microsoft says that IE7 on Vista is not vulnerable.) From the vulnerability description: "In all modern browsers, form fields (used to upload user-specified files to a remote server) enjoy some added protection meant to prevent scripts from arbitrarily choosing local files to be sent, and automatically submitting the form without user knowledge. For example, '.value' parameter cannot be set or changed, and any changes to .type reset the contents of the field... [in this attack] the keyboard input in unrelated locations can be selectively geared toward input fields by the attacker."

Ramanujian's Deathbed Problem Cracked 205

Jake's Mom sends word of the serendipitous solution to a decades-old mathematical mystery. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin have unraveled a major number theory puzzle left at the death of one of the twentieth century's greatest mathematicians, Srinivasa Ramanujan. From the press release: "Mathematicians have finally laid to rest the legendary mystery surrounding an elusive group of numerical expressions known as the 'mock theta functions.' Number theorists have struggled to understand the functions ever since... Ramanujan first alluded to them in a letter written [to G. H. Hardy] on his deathbed, in 1920. Now, using mathematical techniques that emerged well after Ramanujan's death, two number theorists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have pieced together an explanatory framework that for the first time illustrates what mock theta functions are, and exactly how to derive them."

Comment Applications and hinderances (Score 1) 167

This is one of those innovations that lends so much to the imagination. 360 degree vision, while it would take a while to get used to, becomes possible; New types of vision (I hate to say it, but think "Predator") are in the foreseeable future. Other brain interfaces such as bionic controllers or inter-brain communication become more concrete than fantasy. However, a few questions come to mind concerning the ability of the brain to interpret this data. We are providing the optic nerve with a digital image transformed into analog neural impulses. The brain has complicated systems of filtering that allow us to recognize movement, depth, shading, object isolation and recognition, and many other things we as humans commonly take for granted. How well does the brain process this information compared to what it normally receives from the eye? Can it adapt to gain the same (maybe more advanced) filtering system if it is hindered at first? I think these are important questions to ask, but I'm sure they will be answered with time and research. In any case, it is very exciting to me that our ability to create hardware and software that emulate human biological functions is increasing. Does anyone know if this article is related to the recent optic nerve experiment where RAM was used as optical interfaces with nodes representing nerves that clustered as they were excited?

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In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle