SoyChemist writes: "When an FDA committee decided that blockbuster oncology drug Avastin should not be used to treat breast cancer because the risks outweigh the benefits, shares of Genentech stock plummeted. Rather than reciting financial figures, Business Week reporter Arlene Weintraub took a step back and painted a detailed picture of how the biotech company is trying to skirt major industry problems within the field of autoimmune disease research. Wired Science provided further analysis, explaining the importance increasing the variety of avoiding me too drugs, not rushing research, and using a personalized medicine approach."
reporter writes: "According to a report by CNN, a court in Saudi Arabia has declared that the victim of a gang rape shall be punished by (1) 200 lashes of a whip and (2) 6 months in prison. The U.S. State Department, which is normally quite vociferous in condemning human-rights abuses in Russia and other authoritarian states, issued a very restrained assessment of this outrageous judicial verdict against the rape victim. "In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said U.S. officials had 'expressed our astonishment' at the sentence, though not directly to Saudi officials. 'It is within the power of the Saudi government to take a look at the verdict and change it,' he added."
What kind of idiot is running the show in Washington?"
stern writes: "The fossil remains of a giant claw have been found in Germany. Scientists believe it came from a sea scorpion 8 feet long, about 390 million years ago. I appreciate we are supposed to save the environment and all, but sometimes you have just got to thank God for extinction. Deeply distressing illustration available at http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn12941/dn12941-1_351.jpg"
SadSoupDragon writes: Through general code-hackery, I have stumbled upon a nasty little bug in the most recent version of Flash Player (and every other version I've tried so far). This happened when I made a mistake in creating an in-memory SWF file, loaded it via flash.display.Loader, and extracted an asset from it as a Sound object. The sound plays, but the Flash Player audio engine keeps playing past the end of the sound — As a result, you actually hear a buffer overflow. The usual result is nasty bleeps and bloops (not unlike loading a Spectrum or C64 game) coming out of your speakers, which you can even record and save as a raw sound file to view the data. My browser usually crashes seconds later, yet another symptom of buffer-related security badness.
It's bad enough that a simple SWF file can bring the browser down, but the really scary thing is what could be done with the data accessed (I know that at least a SWF program could analyse the spectrum of this data and send it back to a server) — or worse still, if an in-memory SWF could be crafted in such a way that it overruns the buffer with executable code, as many of the worst software exploits do.
I've written a proof of concept which you can download the source of here, or try the compiled nastiness for yourself.
Unprotected Coward writes: I was just about to make an online purchase for a hardware product when I discovered the vendor (a self-titled "leading" seller for the US university market) does not even use SSL to encrypt the credit card form data (yes, I checked the HTML source, the form POST is to a non https URL). I am angry and frustrated that in 2007 this still happens with big stores (and I don't even want to imagine what application-level vulnerabilities they may have).
Besides writing them, should I call Visa or Mastercard? I thought it was mandatory for online merchants to use SSL and other basic security measures. Is it all hopeless?
funkboy writes: "Transmeta has finally won their longstanding patent Litigation with Intel, resulting in Intel licensing their LongRun technology and significant financial benefits for Transmeta, as well as sending their stock price through the roof."
Enselic writes: After almost three years since the release of GIMP 2.2, the GIMP developers have just announced the release of GIMP 2.4.
The release notes speaks of scalable bitmap brushes, redesigned rectangle/ellipse selection tools, redesigned crop tool, a new foreground selection tool, a new align tool, reorganized menu layouts, improved zoomed in/zoomed out image display quality, improved priting and color management support and a new perspective clone tool.
MrDrBob writes: "Love it or hate it, version 2.4 of our Marmite-favoured graphics editor has been released, and includes quite a few big changes. The selection tools have been rewritten from scratch, including a new way of selecting things with round corners, as requested by web designers. Better zooming code means that whole lines of your image will no longer disappear when zoomed out, and new colour management code should be welcomed by digital photo artists.
The GIMP also includes a new Tango-style icon set, which goes hand-in-hand with the redesigned website.
Unfortunately, GEGL integration still isn't anywhere to be found, but perhaps it'll make it in a later release."
Richard Stallman writes: "The BBC invited me to write an article for their column series, The Tech Lab, and this is what I sent them. (It refers to a couple of other articles published in that series.) But the BBC was unwilling to publish it with a copying permission notice, so I have published it here."