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Submission + - Ralph H. Baer, a father of video gaming, dies at 92 ( 1

SternisheFan writes: At the dawn of the television age in 1951, a young engineer named Ralph Baer approached executives at an electronics firm and suggested the radical idea of offering games on the bulky TV boxes.

“And of course,” he said, “I got the regular reaction: ‘Who needs this?’ And nothing happened.”

It took another 15 years before Mr. Baer, who died Dec. 6 at 92, developed a prototype that would make him the widely acknowledged father of video games. His design helped lay the groundwork for an industry that transformed the role of the television set and generated tens of billions of dollars last year.

Mr. Baer “saw that there was this interesting device sitting in millions of American homes — but it was a one-way instrument,” said Arthur P. Molella, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. “He said, ‘Maybe there’s some way we can interact with this thing.’”

Submission + - The shrinking Giant Red Spot of Jupiter (

schwit1 writes: Jupiter's trademark Great Red Spot — a swirling storm feature larger than Earth — is shrinking. This downsizing, which is changing the shape of the spot from an oval into a circle, has been known about since the 1930s, but now these striking new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope images capture the spot at a smaller size than ever before.

How soon until it's blamed on climate disruption or the sequester?

Submission + - Master Counterfeiter Walks Free After Printing Millions of Fake $20 Bills

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Rhonda Schwartz reports that master counterfeiter Frank Bourassa has been allowed to walk free after turning over a huge quantity of fake US $20 bills that authorities say are “not detectable by the naked eye.” “I’m safe, absolutely,” says Bourassa after paying a $1,500 fine in Montreal, Canada, and spending only a month and a half in jail after Canadian authorities agreed that they would not extradite him to the United States for prosecution. “They can’t do nothing about that." Bourassa’s fake $20 first showed up in Troy, Michigan in 2010 and US and Canadian authorities spent almost four years tracking the source to Bourassa. “To detect the counterfeit on this one is very difficult,” says RCMP investigator Dan Michaud. Bourassa says he spent two years studying the details about currency security on the website of the US Secret Service to learn how to produce his fake money. Although special security features were added to US $100 bills in 2010, security features added to the $20 in 2003 have not been updated since then. US bills are “the easiest of them all” to counterfeit says Bourassa, because they are not printed on polymer. “Even third world countries in Africa have polymer bills already." The RCMP and the US Secret Service raided Bourassa’s home, but he still had a card to play because authorities did not know where the remainder of his special paper and fake twenties was hidden. In the end, Bourassa agreed to turn over the remaining fakes and paper in return for a deal his lawyer worked out with Canadian prosecutors that let him walk free. Bourassa regards his accomplishment as a complete victory over the United States government. "It was, like, screw you."

Submission + - Industrious dad finds the genetic culprit in his daughters mysterious disease (

bmahersciwriter writes: Hugh Rienhoff has searched for more than a decade for the cause of a mysterious constellation of clinical features in his daugther Bea: skinny legs, curled fingers and always the specter that she might have a high risk of cardiovascular complications. He even bought second hand lab equipment to prepare some of her genes for sequencing in his basement. Now, he has an answer.

Submission + - Researchers Use Stem Cells To Grow New Teeth (

bonch writes: Scientists from the College of Dental Medicine at Nova Southeastern University have successfully grown new teeth from stem cells. After extracting stem cells from existing oral tissue, the cells are molded into the shape of a tooth using a polymer scaffold. Using this method, teeth have already been successfully grown in mice and monkeys, with human clinical trials under way.

Submission + - Malware Running on Graphics Cards

lcubo writes: Malware writers constantly seek new methods to obfus-
cate their code so as to evade detection by virus scanners.
Two code-armoring techniques that pose significant chal-
lenges to existing malicious-code detection and analysis
systems are unpacking and run-time polymorphism. In this
paper, we demonstrate how malware can increase its ro-
bustness against detection by taking advantage of the ubiq-
uitous Graphics Processing Unit. We have designed and
implemented unpacking and run-time polymorphism for a
GPU, and tested them using existing graphics hardware. We
also discuss how upcoming GPU features can be utilized to
build even more robust, evasive, and functional malware.

What Happens To a Football Player's Neurons? 176

An anonymous reader writes "It seems like every week there's a new story about the consequences of all those concussions experienced by football players and other athletes — just a few days ago, the NY Times reported that some athletes diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease may actually have a neural disease brought on by head trauma. But missing in these stories is an explanation of what head trauma actually does to the brain cells. Now Carl Zimmer has filled in the gap with a column that takes a look at how neurons respond to stress, and explains how stretching a neuron's axon turns its internal structure into 'mush.'"

GPUs Helping To Lower CT Scan Radiation 77

Gwmaw writes with news out of the University of California, San Diego, on the use of GPUs to process CT scan data. Faster processing of noisy data allows doctors to lower the total radiation dose needed for a scan. "A new approach to processing X-ray data could lower by a factor of ten or more the amount of radiation patients receive during cone beam CT scans... With only 20 to 40 total number of X-ray projections and 0.1 mAs per projection, the team achieved images clear enough for image-guided radiation therapy. The reconstruction time ranged from 77 to 130 seconds on an NVIDIA Tesla C1060 GPU card, depending on the number of projections — an estimated 100 times faster than similar iterative reconstruction approaches... Compared to the currently widely used scanning protocol of about 360 projections with 0.4 mAs per projection, [the researcher] says the new processing method resulted in 36 to 72 times less radiation exposure for patients."

Comment Re:Would this be a good time for a union? (Score 1) 211

There is a wide range of classifications for people who do not like unions.

Nah, there's just two:

1. Business owners
2. Frikkin Morons

The problem isn't unions, the problems is people. As proven by Enron, Worldcom, and the credit swap bubble that collapsed last year. But funny enough, you don't find these same Frikkin Morons ranting on how all business is bad because some businesses are bad.


10 Forces Guiding the Future of Scripting 190

snydeq writes "InfoWorld examines the platforms and passions underlying today's popular dynamic languages, and though JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, Groovy, and other scripting tools are fast achieving the critical mass necessary to flourish into the future, 10 forces in particular appear to be driving the evolution of this development domain. From the cooption of successful ideas across languages, to the infusion of application development into applications that are fast evolving beyond their traditional purpose, to the rise of frameworks, the cloud, and amateur code enablers, each will have a profound effect on the future of today's dynamic development tools."

Repairing Genetic Mutations With Lasers? 65

Roland Piquepaille writes "German researchers at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU) think they've proved that genetic information can be controlled by light. The group studied the interaction between the four DNA bases — adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T) — by using femtosecond time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy. The researchers think that they've demonstrated that DNA strands differ in their light sensitivity depending on their base sequences. The team thinks that it might be possible in the future to repair gene mutations using laser radiation. One of the project leaders said that 'it might even be possible under some circumstances to make transistors from DNA that would work through the hydrogen bonds.' It's not the first time I've heard about DNA computing, but this new approach looks promising."

Machines Almost Pass Mass Turing Test 580

dewilso4 writes "Of the five computer finalists at this year's Loebner prize Turing Test, at least three managed to fool humans into thinking they were human conversationalists. Ready to speak about subjects ranging from Eminem to Slaughterhouse Five and everything in between, these machines are showing they we're merely a clock cycle away from true AI. '... I was fooled. I mistook Eugene for a real human being. In fact, and perhaps this is worse, he was so convincing that I assumed that the human being with whom I was simultaneously conversing was a computer.' Another of the entrants, Jabberwacky, can apparently even woo the ladies: 'Some of its conversational partners confide in it every day; one conversation, with a teenaged girl, lasted 11 hours.' The winning submission this year, Elbot, fooled 25% of judges into thinking he was human. The threshold for the $100K prize is 30%. Maybe next year ..."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - RIAA Site Wiped by Hackers (

quantumghost writes: Apparently someone was using SQL injections to slow the RIAA site, when someone upped the ante and did a SQL "DROP"....

Someone apparently used SQL injection to wipe, and we do mean wipe, the website of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) clean of content. (In case they've fixed the site, click the empty "Who We Are" statement above to see what their homepage looked like at the time of this writing.) Since the RIAA is usually chasing after pirates of copyrighted and copy-protected material, call it ... well, call it what you will. It started on Reddit, where a link to a really slow SQL query was posted. The post said "This link runs a slooow SQL query on the RIAA's server. Don't click it; that would be wrong."
Full link:

The Courts

Submission + - Sony Exec Admits RIAA Lawsuits Are A Money Pit (

Billosaur writes: "Interesting testimony came out of the first RIAA lawsuit to go to trial in Duluth, Minnesota (Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas). Under cross-examination yesterday, Jennifer Pariser, the head of litigation for Sony BMG, admitted that the RIAA's lawsuit campaign is a gigantic net loss for the music industry. The admission occurred during questioning regarding the damages Sony BMG was seeking against the defendant; as with all these suits, the RIAA is seeking punitive damages only, but Pariser could not in fact come up with a figure as to how much was actually being lost to downloading in this case or any other. Further, she did not know how many people were alleged to have downloaded music from the defendant. She was rather vague on the number of lawsuits that had actually been filed, but did admit that the record comapnies have spent millions on them and have recouped very little."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Taxman goes browsing on eBay

Martin writes: Gotta love the taxman, The Canada Revenue Agency has won a Federal court order requiring Ebay Canada LTD. to turn over personal information about all of its high-volume sellers. The CRA wants to confirm that these high-volume sellers reported the income they made from their online sales in 2004 and 2005. Anyone that has more than $1000/month in sales should be prepared for a reach around.

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