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Submission + - Europe's Highest Court Rules Embryonic Stem Cells (

SanguineTeddy writes: Europe's Court of Justice ruled that, "The use of human embryos for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes which are applied to the human embryo and are useful to it is patentable. But their use for purposes of scientific research is not patentable." It added: "A process which involves removal of a stem cell from a human embryo at the blastocyst [early embryo] stage, entailing the destruction of that embryo, cannot be patented." European scientists are complaining that the research they conduct will now be appropriated by other countries and re-imported at a later date; they are also worried that companies will be less likely to invest in European research as a result.

Comment Stockmarkets don't always go up - in fact... (Score 1) 450 "Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh and Mike Staunton of the London Business School examined* the record of 16 stockmarkets which were in continuous operation over the course of the 20th century. In itself, this selection showed survivorship bias by excluding the likes of Russia and China. The academics found that only three other countries could match the American record of having no 20-year periods with negative real returns. Other investors were far less lucky. Japanese, French, German and Spanish investors all suffered instances where they had to wait 50-60 years to earn a positive real return; in Italy and Belgium, the waiting period stretched to 70 years. It was no good following the famous advice to "put the shares in a drawer and forget about them"; the furniture would not have lasted that long." I'd recommend reading the whole article, but long story short, the belief that the stockmarket over the long run always goes up is based off nothing more than confirmation bias, really. So this strategy of investing in the stockmarket could actually come back to bite them in the ass. Although a one-off gift of, say, a billion dollars, might be "pissed away" relatively quickly, at least the money would definitely be used and reach those who need it.

Submission + - Lasers used to spot disease (

SanguineTeddy writes: "Portable devices with painless laser beams could soon replace X-rays as a non-invasive way to diagnose disease. Researchers say that the technique could become widely available in about five years.The method, called Raman spectroscopy, could help spot the early signs of breast cancer, tooth decay and osteoporosis. Scientists believe that the technology would make the diagnosis of illnesses faster, cheaper and more accurate."
United States

Submission + - Russians Had Nuke In Washington, DC Embassy ( 1

krou writes: An interesting little piece by Hugh Sidey, writing for Time: during a dinner with President Kennedy in Palm Beach, Kennedy commented that "[the Russians] have an atom bomb on the third floor of the embassy": 'Aware of J.F.K.'s love of spy stories, I said something like, "Sure, why not?" No, Kennedy continued, it was his understanding that the Soviets had brought the components of an atomic device into the building in inspection-free diplomatic pouches and assembled it in the upstairs attic. "If things get too bad and war is inevitable," he said, "they will set it off and that's the end of the White House and the rest of the city." I laughed. Still suspending his bite of fish, Kennedy said, "That's what I'm told. Do you know something that I don't?" No sign of mirth. The conversation moved on.'

Comment Re:Wrong wrong wrong (Score 1) 457

To be fair, this might be a bit simplistic - a lot of the time, the law is corrupt, filled with loopholes, or just plain immoral. So, if you claim to be on the side of right and good, there are plenty of reasons you might not follow the law. For example, if you look to Blackstone and Cicero, Blackstone says that a judge is: ‘sworn to determine, not according to his own private judgment, but according to the known laws and customs of the land; not delegated to pronounce a new law, but to maintain and expound the old one...If it be found that the former decision was manifestly absurd or unjust, it is declared, not that such a sentence was bad law, but that it was not law; that is, that it is not the established custom of the realm, as has been erroneously determined.’ (Blackstone, Commentaries) Cicero also holds that there is a distinction between "true law" (natural law) and the laws that humans create, and that when there is a difference, humans are justified in not following human law. Personally, I think it's pretty simple in this case - this company is not doing "good works," for the reason that many of the above commenters have noted (collateral damage, etc). That said, I think it's a bit too easy to dismiss out-of-hand all illegal actions as immoral (not even going to get into civil disobedience here, since I don't think it's relevant, but my only point is that there is a place in this conversation for exceptions to the law)

University Offers Class In Zombie Studies 118

Young people at The University of Baltimore will be able to study the zombie condition thanks to the newly available English 333. Students in the class will watch 16 classic zombie films and read zombie comics. Instead of writing a final research paper they may write a script or draw storyboards for their own zombie movie. Unfortunately the class doesn't seems to cover brain appreciation.

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