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Submission + - Scientists Link Autism with Lack of Gut Bacteria

parallel_prankster writes: Scientists at University College Cork (UCC) have found that mice who were raised without bacteria in their gut showed autistic patterns of behavior. Scientists argue that their findings demonstrate the crucial role stomach bacteria plays in the development of normal social behaviour. Professor Ted Dinan, psychiatry professor and a principal investigator in the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC), said the core of their paper argued that animals need a normal range of bacteria in their gut in order for normal social development. Dinan said, “In our studies involving mice, we found animals raised in a germ-free environment (without microbiota in their gut) spent more time interacting with objects than other animals and so have distinctively autistic patterns of behavior.”
He said that the serotonin system, which helps regulate mood, does not develop properly if there is not enough bacteria in the gut. Mice in the study who did not have enough bacteria were less interested in new social situations than mice with a normal level of bacteria.
The scientists said that the bacteria deficient mice behavior resembles social cognition deficits of patients. Children with autism also show repetitive behaviors and scientists pointed out that gut problems are common among those with autism. Scientists weaned bacteria and then added it and this reversed the mice’s social avoidance and repetitive behaviors, but had no impact on social cognition impairments.

Submission + - US Government monitoring Associated Press phone records (ap.org) 1

Picass0 writes: "The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a 'massive and unprecedented intrusion' into how news organizations gather the news."
United States

Submission + - Obama Eyeing Internet ID for Americans 1

Pickens writes: "CBS News reports that the Obama administration is currently drafting the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which will be released by the president in the next few months. "We are not talking about a national ID card," says Commerce Secretary Gary Locke whose department will be in charge of the program. "We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities." Although details have not been finalized, the "trusted identity" may take the form of a smart card or digital certificate that would prove that online users are who they say they are. These digital IDs would be offered to consumers by online vendors for financial transactions. White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt says that anonymity and pseudonymity will remain possible on the Internet. "I don't have to get a credential if I don't want to," says Schmidt. There's no chance that "a centralized database will emerge," and "we need the private sector to lead the implementation of this.""

E3 Continues Downward Spiral 56

Gamasutra is reporting that E3 is continuing its downward spiral due to forced downsizing of the show and limitations placed on attendees. While this year's show will be returning to the LA Convention Hall, the size of the show will still remain artificially small, which some are saying is stifling the spirit of the show. "These changes have in part been made to encourage the event as a more useful business event, but most of those interviewed in TheStreet.com article are critical of its continuing usefulness. 'E3 had much more of an impact when it was a show,' comments IGN.com vice president of games content Tal Blevins. 'The video game industry is about fun and entertainment, and we should have a show that reflects it.'"

Submission + - The Argument Against Renewable Energy (newscientist.com)

InvisblePinkUnicorn writes: "Biologist and climate expert Jesse Ausubel looks at the downsides of renewable energy sources such as the sun, wind, and biomass, and argues in favor of nuclear power as the most environmentally friendly. He calls renewable sources 'boutique fuels' that 'look attractive when they are quite small. But if we start producing renewable energy on a large scale, the fallout is going to be horrible.' In order to minimize the 'rape of nature', the best energy solution is 'increased efficiency, natural gas with carbon capture, and nuclear power.' For comparison, a 1,000 megawatt nuclear power plant would produce the same amount of energy as 1,000 square miles of farmland used for biomass or 60 square miles of solar panels. Using wind turbines to meet the US electricity demands would require 300,000 square miles of land — about the size of Texas. The journal article abstract is also available."

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