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News

Assange Could Face Execution Or Guantanamo Bay 973

An anonymous reader writes "WikiLeaker-in-chief Julian Assange faces the real danger of being executed or languishing in the US prison camp at Guantánamo Bay if, as a result of his extradition to Sweden, he ends up in the hands of the Americans, his lawyers argue. In a skeleton summary of Assange's defence, posted online, Assange's lawyers argue that it is likely that the US would seek his extradition 'and/or illegal rendition' from Sweden. In the United States 'there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantánamo Bay or elsewhere,' his lawyers write."
Biotech

New Tech Promises Cheap Gene Sequencing In Minutes 121

Zothecula writes "Sequencing an entire genome is currently a highly complex, time-consuming process – the DNA must be broken down into segments and replicated, utilizing chemicals that destroy the original sample. Scientists from Imperial College London, however, have just announced the development of a prototype device that could lead to technology capable of sequencing a human genome within minutes, at a cost of just a few dollars. By contrast, when sequencing of the genome of Dr. James Watson (co-discoverer of the structure of DNA) was completed in 2007, it had taken two years and cost US$1 million."
Cellphones

Pee On Your Phone STD Test 208

Shakrai writes "British health officials are hard at work on a new app that will allow users to pee into their cell phones and find out within minutes if they have an STD. From the article: 'Doctors and technology experts are developing small devices, similar to pregnancy testing kits, that will tell someone quickly and privately if they have caught an infection through sexual contact. People who suspect they have been infected will be able to put urine or saliva on to a computer chip about the size of a USB chip, plug it into their phone or computer and receive a diagnosis within minutes, telling them which, if any, sexually transmitted infection (STI) they have. Seven funders, including the Medical Research Council, have put £4m into developing the technology via a forum called the UK Clinical Research Collaboration.'"
Cellphones

'Cellphone Effect' Could Skew Polling Predictions 836

Ponca City writes "A good deal of polling data suggest that Republicans may win the House of Representatives in today's mid-term elections. However, Nate Silver writes in the NY Times that there are several factors that could skew the election, allowing Democrats to outperform their polls and beat consensus expectations. Most prominent is the 'cellphone effect.' In 2003, just 3.2% of households were cell-only, while in the 2010 election one-quarter of American adults have ditched their landlines and rely exclusively on their mobile phones, and a lot of pollsters don't call mobile phones. Cellphone-only voters tend to be younger, more urban, and less white — all Democratic demographics — and a study by Pew Research suggests that the failure to include them might bias the polls by about 4 points against Democrats, even after demographic weighting is applied. Another factor that could skew results is the Robopoll effect, where there are significant differences between the results shown by automated surveys and those which use live human interviewers — the 'robopolls' being 3 or 4 points more favorable to Republicans over all. It may be that only adults who are extremely engaged by politics (who are more likely to be Republican, especially this year) bother to respond to robocalls. Still, when all is said and done, 'more likely than not, Republicans will indeed win the House, and will do so by a significant margin,' writes Silver. 'But just as Republicans could beat the consensus, Democrats could too, and nobody should be particularly shocked if they do.'"
Classic Games (Games)

Typewriter Hacked To Play Zork 77

UgLyPuNk writes "Typewriters that can type by themselves are one thing. Typewriters that can type by themselves and play Zork are totally different — the stuff that dreams are made of (at least the dreams of little girls who spent hours in front of a Commodore 64 telling the machine to GO NORTH and such)."
Image

British Pizza Chain To Install Cones of Silence Screenshot-sm 122

itwbennett writes "British pizza chain Pizza Express is installing iPod docks and soundproof domes in booths of their new iPizzeria stores. 'The idea is that you can plug in your iPod and play whatever music you like without disturbing other diners,' says blogger Peter Smith. 'But I'm sure it'd work for talking about government secrets and other spy stuff, too.'"
Patents

Who Invented the Linux-Based Wireless Router? 154

mtaht writes "I've just had the interesting experience of being deposed to talk about one of the first embedded, Linux-based, wireless routers. Our (free!) 1998 publication of how to make one predates patent #7035281, filed September 13, 2000, by someone else. Their patent was recently granted and is now being disputed in court, in part using our how-to as an example of prior art. The lawsuit continues; the case goes before a judge shortly, and a jury trial if necessary is scheduled for the spring. I find myself plagued with the question: So... who invented the embedded Linux based wireless router? What relevance does 'who' have, when there is such an enormous confluence of ideas from thousands of people? What constitutes invention, anyway?"
Power

Batteries Smaller Than a Grain of Salt 68

An anonymous reader writes "Lithium-ion batteries have become ubiquitous in today's consumer electronics — powering our laptops, phones, and iPods. Research funded by DARPA is pushing the limits of this technology and trying to create some of the tiniest batteries on Earth, the largest of which would be no bigger than a grain of sand. These tiny energy storage devices could one day be used to power the electronics and mechanical components of tiny micro- to nano-scale devices."
Medicine

Woman Develops Peanut Allergy After Lung Transplant 146

An anonymous reader writes "A woman in need of a lung transplant got her new lungs from someone with a peanut allergy who died of anaphylactic shock. Seven months after the surgery, the woman was at an organ transplant support group when she ate a peanut butter cookie and had a violent allergic reaction. So how had the woman's new lungs brought along a peanut allergy? A blog post dives into the medical details and explains that immune cells in the donated lungs couldn't have lived in the new body for long enough to cause the reaction... however, if they encountered an allergen (i.e. something peanuty) shortly after being transplanted, they could have trained the woman's native immune cells to respond."
Google

Google Rolls Out Chrome 7 292

An anonymous reader writes "Google on Tuesday released a new stable version of its internet browser, Chrome 7. The latest update is part of Google's promise in July to release a new stable version of Chrome about every six weeks. Chrome 7 comes with hundreds of bug fixes, an updated HTML5 parser, the File API, and directory upload via input tag. It is available in the stable and beta channels for Windows, Mac, and Linux. 'The main focus was the hundreds of bug fixes,' Jeff Chang, a Google product manager, wrote in a blog post."
Open Source

US Elections Dominated By Closed Source. Again. 403

An anonymous reader writes "Another American election is almost here, and while electronic voting is commonplace, it is still overwhelmingly run by closed source, proprietary systems. It has been shown that many of these systems can be compromised (and because they are closed, there may be holes we simply cannot know about). Plus they are vulnerable to software bugs and are often based on unstable, closed-source operating systems. By the inherent nature of closed software, when systems are (optionally!) certified by registrars, there is no proof that they will behave the same on election day as in tests. The opportunities for fraud, tampering and malfunction are rampant. But nonetheless, there is very little political will for open source voting, let alone simple measures like end-to-end auditable voting systems or more radical approaches like open source governance. Why do we remain in the virtual dark ages, when clearly we have better alternatives readily available?"
Television

Antenna Arrays Could Replace Satellite TV Dishes 183

Zothecula writes "There was a time not so very long ago when people who wanted satellite TV or radio required dishes several feet across. Those have since been replaced by today's compact dishes, but now it looks like even those might be on the road to obsolescence. A recent PhD graduate from The Netherlands' University of Twente has designed a microchip that allows for a grid array of almost-flat antennae to receive satellite signals."
Science

CERN LHC Reaches Its Goals For 2010 90

Anonymous Dupaeur writes "The goals for the first run of the most powerful particle collider (and the most energetic storage ring since ISR) were recently surpassing the 10^32 level of luminosity, with a destructive 15 MJ energy per-beam. This is a significant milestone, opening the way to collect more and more data. The current plan is to stop the proton collisions soon, and provide an ion (Pb) beam and conclude this year with a X-mass break. The next year is expected to bring at least one inverse femtobarn of data, which is achievable with such beam power. After that, the entire accelerator complex will be shut down for a year, due to budget costs for science in Europe."
Government

Careful What You Post, the FBI Has More of These 761

jamie writes "A comment posted to a website got its author's *friend's* car an unwanted aftermarket addon. The Orion Guardian ST820, a GPS tracking device, was attached to the underside of the car by the FBI. No warrant required. The bugged friend, a college student studying marketing, was apparently under suspicion because he's half-Egyptian. As Bruce Schneier says, 'If they're doing this to someone so tangentially connected to a vaguely bothersome post on an obscure blog, just how many of us have tracking devices on our cars right now ...' The ACLU is investigating." This follows up on our earlier mention of the same student, who turned the tracking device over to the FBI.

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