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Pope Denounces Some Biotech as Affront to 'Human Dignity' 1158

eldavojohn writes "Today in a speech the pope denounced human cloning, embryonic stem cell research and artificial insemination, citing them as a violation of 'human dignity.' That said, the pope did 'appreciate and encourage' research on stem cells from non-embryonic cells in the human body. The pope encouraged the Vatican to be a leading voice in the philosophy and discussion of bioethics. 'Church teaching certainly cannot and must not weigh in on every novelty of science, but it has the task to reiterate the great values which are on the line and to propose to faithful and all men of good will ethical-moral principles and direction for new, important questions,' Benedict said."

Bees Can Optimize Internet Bottlenecks 128

prostoalex writes "Georgia Tech and University of Oxford scientists claim bees can help up develop a better Internet traffic algorithms. By observing bees, the researchers noticed that bees pass back information on route quality. 'On a basic level, the honeybee's dilemma is a tale of two flower patches. If one patch is yielding better nectar than the other, how can the hive use its workforce most efficiently to retrieve the best supply at the moment? The solution, which earned Austrian zoologist Karl von Frisch a Nobel Prize, is a communication system called the waggle dance.' Any practical applications of that? Well, apparently ad servers, serving banners across a variety of servers, can report back on the time it took to generate the page."

Submission + - Wii owners get the shaft on Guitar Hero 3 1

Jeezus Kriist writes: "The Wii version of Guitar Hero 3 seems to suffer from a lack of effort. The most pressing problem being the sound. There is a distinct lack of surround sound from the game, and more than that there seems to be only monorail sound available. If you set the game to surround, only the center channel works, and if you set it to stereo it plays the same sound out of both channels. Who puts out a music game without testing the audio configuration?! Add to that the poor graphics which seem to have been ported straight over from the PS2 version. There are no star power animation effects, which kinda take the fun out of star power. I don't think it would have been that difficult to build the "low-res" (as in not the high-res 360 and PS3 graphics) graphics for the Wii version and then port them down to the PS2. ...and why can't I buy a Wii guitar controller without the game?! I've seen several complaints on several message boards, but I've yet to see anything from a source that can get some mass attention drawn to this problem, and I really think it needs it. I know that I feel pretty ripped off, and I doubt I'm the only one. Activision needs to fix this, or suffer the wrath of the next-gen system with the (currently) largest user base, which also just happens to be built around casual games like guitar hero. I've noticed some problems with the timing of the notes as well... You can tell me I just suck, but set the Wii version to easy, and then get back back to me about how many times notes you hit just didn't register. :P I don't care if you post this or not, I just want enough attention brought up about this that ACtivision can't ignore it."

Submission + - Which Console? 1

tomandlu writes: "My 8 year old son has been left some money by his grandfather with strict instructions to spend it on something for himself. So he wants to buy a new games console (we have a PS2). And he wants my advice as to whether he should get an XBox, a Wii or a PS3 — and I have no idea what to tell him...

Between the three choices, we have the underpowered but well-liked Wii, the fault-prone XBox, and the great-hardware-shame-about-the-games-and-backwards-compatibility PS3.

Is the last accusation valid? How does the XBox compare? In fact, how does the range of quality games compare across the different consoles altogether? If it's the best short-term choice, can the Wii sustain long-term interest from both gamers and developers? What, above all, do I tell my son, and what damn console should we get?

I await your collective wisdom..."

Robotic Cannon Loses Control, Kills 9 580

TJ_Phazerhacki writes "A new high tech weapon system demonstrated one of the prime concerns circling smarter and smarter methods of defense last week — an Oerlikon GDF-005 cannon went wildly out of control during live fire test exercises in South Africa, killing 9. Scarily enough, this is far from the first instance of a smart weapon 'turning' on its handlers. 'Electronics engineer and defence company CEO Richard Young says he can't believe the incident was purely a mechanical fault. He says his company, C2I2, in the mid 1990s, was involved in two air defence artillery upgrade programmes, dubbed Projects Catchy and Dart. During the shooting trials at Armscor's Alkantpan shooting range, "I personally saw a gun go out of control several times," Young says. "They made a temporary rig consisting of two steel poles on each side of the weapon, with a rope in between to keep the weapon from swinging. The weapon eventually knocked the pol[e]s down."' The biggest concern seems to be finding the glitches in the system instead of reconsidering automated arms altogether."

Pentagon Urges Space-Based Solar Power 552

eldavojohn writes "The Pentagon issued a report indicating that space-based solar power 'has the potential to help the United States stave off climate change and avoid future conflicts over oil by harnessing the Sun's power to provide an essentially inexhaustible supply of clean energy.' The report, from the Pentagon's National Security Space Office, calls for funding the development of space-based solar power culminating in 'a platform in geosynchronous orbit bigger than the international space station and capable of beaming 5-10 megawatts of power to a receiving station on the ground.' The Pentagon's interest in such an effort stems from the need to acquire energy on the battlefield, which today often comes at a painful premium."
The Internet

FCC Weighs Net Access Charge Decision 86

An anonymous reader writes "The FCC is considering a request from AT&T to lift restrictions on the types of charges they can level against competitors that use their infrastructure. The organization had previously allowed that for Verizon by virtue of a deadlock, and Ma Bell now hopes to see similar treatment. 'All the requests have been strongly opposed by smaller rivals such as Sprint Nextel, Time Warner Telecommunications and XO Communications. These competitors argue that they have few alternatives to get access to the high-speed lines they need, and are being charged more and more by the dominant carriers.'"

Powerful Blast Confuses Astronomers 330

eldavojohn writes "Astronomers are still speculating as to what could have caused an abnormally strong five millisecond burst to be detected six years ago when it completely saturated their recording equipment. From the article: 'The burst was so bright that at the time it was first recorded it was dismissed as man-made radio interference. It put out a huge amount of power (10exp33 Joules), equivalent to a large (2000MW) power station running for two billion billion years.'"

200,000 Elliptical Galaxies Point the Same Way 448

KentuckyFC sends us to arXiv, as is his wont, for a paper (abstract; PDF preprint) making the claim that 200,000 elliptical galaxies are aligned in the same direction; the signal for this alignment stands out at 13 standard deviations. This axis is the same as the controversial alignment found in the cosmic microwave background by the WMAP spacecraft.

Happy System Administrator Appreciation Day 256

An anonymous reader writes "Today is the 8th annual System Administrator Appreciation Day. It is always the last Friday in July and is the one day that SysAdmins are supposed to get the respect they deserve to be getting the other 364 days of the year. Today is the day that we wish everyone would considering the daunting tasks, small budgets, and ridiculous timelines that many SysAdmins face all year. Please thank them for everything they do for you and for your business. If you think you have a great SysAdmin today would be the day to nominate them for SysAdmin of the Year. 'The idea for System Administrator Day was inspired by a print ad for a Hewlett-Packard laser jet printer. The ad showed lines of employees bringing gifts for the IT guy who made the purchase. System Administrator Appreciation Day has, over the years, garnered support from many organizations."

Businesses Scramble To Stay Out of Google Hell 303

whoever57 writes "Forbes has up an article on the consequences of being dumped into a claimed 'supplemental index', also known as 'Google Hell'. It uses the example of Skyfacet, a site selling diamonds rings and other jewelery, which has dropped in Google's rankings and saw a $500,000 drop in revenue in only three months after the site owner paid a marketing consultant to improve the sites. The article claims that sites in the supposed 'supplemental index' may be visited by Google's spiders as infrequently as once per year. The problem? Google's cache shows that Google's spiders visited the site ss recently as late April. 'Google Hell is the worst fear of the untold numbers of companies that depend on search results to keep their business visible online. Getting stuck there means most users will never see the site, or at least many of the site's pages, when they enter certain keywords. And getting out can be next to impossible--because site operators often don't know what they did to get placed there.'"

Submission + - Why Diet Sodas Taste Lousy

anthemaniac writes: Okay, so that lack of sugar is part of it. But if you're one of those who tolerate the sub-par taste of diet sodas or still drink the sugary variety because you can't stand the diet drinks, some good news. Scientists have found a key to why sugary drinks taste better. From the article: 'Swillers of diet and regular soda are also influenced by a subtle factor called mouth-feel. Mouth-feel refers to a food or beverage's body, fullness and thickness, the scientists say, and the presence of high-fructose corn syrup in regular soda and its absence in diet might be a distinguishing factor for discerning drinkers.' The result might lead new ingredients that would make diet drinks more palatable.

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