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Submission + - Scientists Find A "Weak Spot" In HIV That May Pave the Way to a Vaccine (futurism.com)

iONiUM writes: Research conducted by a team from the National Institutes of Health reported a new vulnerable site on HIV for vaccines to target. It is based on an antibody from the blood of an HIV-infected patient that binds with the virus and also prevents it from infecting a cell.

A recent press release reports that a team of scientists led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has discovered a new “weak spot” in HIV that vaccines can target. The area, called the fusion peptide, is a simple structure of eight amino acids that helps the virus fuse with a cell.

According to the study, the team used a particularly powerful antibody, called VRC34.01, taken from the blood of an unnamed HIV-positive patient that caught the weak spot in the virus. It’s not only capable of binding with the virus through the fusion peptide but also preventing it from infecting an entire cell.

Biotech

Submission + - US court sides with gene patents (nature.com) 2

ananyo writes: "Gene patents have been upheld in a landmark case over two genes associated with hereditary forms of breast and ovarian cancer.
The lawsuit against Myriad Genetics, a diagnostic company, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, that holds patents on the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, has bounced from court to court since 2010. In a 2-1 decision today, a federal appeals court reaffirmed their latest decision that genes represent patent-eligible matter. As noted before on slashdot, the case will have major implications for cancer researchers, patients and drug makers."

Hardware

Submission + - Go for it on fourth down? Ask Coach Watson (networkworld.com)

jbrodkin writes: "If humans can't beat a computer at "Jeopardy!" why should we trust them to make the right call on fourth down in the Super Bowl? That was the fundamental question asked by some researchers at the recent MITSloan Sports Analytics Conference. With thousands of variables to consider on the basketball court or other fields of play, it only makes sense to let computers handle questions of strategy, says Tarek Kamil, whose company built a chip-containing basketball which takes 6,000 measurements per second. "Fifty years from now, we're going to laugh about how we used to give coaches this much responsibility," he says. The conference also saw the debut of a new sports stock exchange called StarStreet that lets “investors” buy shares in LeBron James and Tom Brady, rather than Microsoft or Google. While previous attempts to build a Wall Street-like sports stock market have failed, StarStreet believes it has hit upon the right model to enable sound investments without causing a market “crash.”"
Facebook

Submission + - Facebook may bust up the SMS profit cartel (cnn.com) 3

AndyAndyAndyAndy writes: " Fortune has a very interesting article today about wireless providers and their exorbitant profit margins for SMS handling, especially when looking at modern data plans.

'Under the cell phone industry's peculiar pricing system, downloading data to your smartphone is amazingly cheap — unless the data in question happens to be a text message. In that case the price of a download jumps roughly 50,000-fold, from just a few pennies per megabyte of data to a whopping $1000 or so per megabyte.'

A young little application called Beluga caught the attention of Facebook, which purchased the company yesterday.

The app aims to bring messaging under the umbrella of data plans, and features group messaging, picture and video messaging, and integration with other apps.

The author argues that, if successful, Beluga (or whatever Facebook ends up calling it) could potentially be the Skype/Vonage or Netflix-type competitor to the old-school cellular carriers and their steep pricing plans."

Education

Submission + - Software Engineering Teaching - Best Practices

solutiontech writes: "As an instructor at a community college, teaching Software Engineering Technology (SET) to mostly recent graduates from high school (with some adult learners in the mix). We have the traditional 2 semester per academic year, with 4 month (15 week) semesters, where students typically take 4 or 5 courses pertaining to SET, with 1 to 4 hours per week for a given course. There are exams, and assignments/projects with due dates. There are always those students who can easily master material in under 15 weeks, but there is a growing subset of students who need more time (distracted, disinterested, poor work habits, work outside of school, or simply they need more time to digest topics, etc.), and thus, end up doing a poor to mediocre job of proving their understanding in 15 weeks of time. Can the slashdot community (educators, students) offer their opinions on how to solve this situation? Is it right to give these students D's or F's after 15 weeks, or can these students get A's or B's by simply allowing more time to learn? Is it even possible to run a "Montessori" style approach where students learn and advance at their own pace, within the rigid confines of a traditional college 2 semester per year environment?"
Technology

Apple Creating Cloud-Based Mac? 204

hostedftp writes "In speculation news making the rounds — Apple's recent activities in the Cloud has been leading to conclusions of the what the innovative giant plans to unleash in 2011. The most recent news of Apple applying and securing a patent for a network-boosted OS has made speculators believe Apple is going to launch a Cloud-based operating system for the Mac."
Power

Fujitsu Eyes Wireless Gadget Charging For 2012 158

angry tapir writes "Researchers at Fujitsu Laboratories have developed a wireless charging system that they say can simultaneously charge a variety of portable gadgets over a distance of several centimeters without the need for cables. The system, which will be detailed at a technical conference in Japan this week, could begin appearing in mobile phones and other products as soon as 2012, the company said. Fujitsu's system is based on magnetic resonance in which power can be wirelessly sent between two coils that are tuned to resonate at the same frequency."
Privacy

Mississippi Passes Law To Ban Traffic Light Cameras 629

DaGoatSpanka writes with news that Mississippi Governer Haley Barbour signed a bill into law on Friday which instituted a ban on automated cameras that would snap pictures of motorists when they ran red lights. "The new law says the two cities that already have the cameras, Jackson and Columbus, must take them down by Oct. 1. Other cities and counties are banned from starting to use them." We've discussed situations in the past where cities looked at such cameras as "profit centers," and even tampered with their traffic light timing to catch more motorists. Now, in Mississippi, the contractors who installed the cameras are unhappy, since they received a cut of the ticket revenue generated by the cameras. However, lawmakers overwhelming voted to get rid of them (117-3 in the House, 42-9 in the Senate), because "the cameras were an invasion of privacy and their constituents thought they had been unfairly ticketed."
Censorship

Dealing With a Copyright Takedown Request? 547

George Maschke writes "I recently received a takedown notice from a corporate lawyer demanding that I remove a post on my Web site's message board. It purportedly lists the first 75 of 567 questions on the MMPI-2 paper-and-pencil psychological test. It seems to me that such posting of a limited amount copyrighted material for discussion purposes on a public-interest, non-profit Web site falls within the scope of the fair use exemption of US copyright law. I have thus declined to remove the post. I believe that the corporation in question is seeking to chill public discussion of its test, which applicants for employment with many governmental agencies are required to complete. I would be interested in this community's thoughts on the matter."
Security

Botnet Worm Targets DSL Modems and Routers 272

CoreDuo writes "The people who bring you the DroneBL DNS Blacklist services, while investigating an ongoing DDoS incident, have discovered a botnet composed of exploited DSL modems and routers. OpenWRT/DD-WRT devices all appear to be vulnerable. What makes this worm impressive is the sophisticated nature of the bot, and the potential damage it can do not only to an unknowing end user, but to small businesses using non-commercial Internet connections, and to the unknowing public taking advantage of free Wi-Fi services. The botnet is believed to have infected 100,000 hosts." A followup to the article notes that the bot's IRC control channel now claims that it has been shut down, though the ongoing DDoS attack on DroneBL suggests otherwise.
The Courts

Obama DOJ Sides With RIAA 785

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The Obama Administration's Department of Justice, with former RIAA lawyers occupying the 2nd and 3rd highest positions in the department, has shown its colors, intervening on behalf of the RIAA in the case against a Boston University graduate student, SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, accused of file sharing when he was 17 years old. Its oversized, 39-page brief (PDF) relies upon a United States Supreme Court decision from 1919 which upheld a statutory damages award, in a case involving overpriced railway tickets, equal to 116 times the actual damages sustained, and a 2007 Circuit Court decision which held that the 1919 decision — rather than the Supreme Court's more recent decisions involving punitive damages — was applicable to an award against a Karaoke CD distributor for 44 times the actual damages. Of course none of the cited cases dealt with the ratios sought by the RIAA: 2,100 to 425,000 times the actual damages for an MP3 file. Interestingly, the Government brief asked the Judge not to rule on the issue at this time, but to wait until after a trial. Also interestingly, although the brief sought to rebut, one by one, each argument that had been made by the defendant in his brief, it totally ignored all of the authorities and arguments that had been made by the Free Software Foundation in its brief. Commentators had been fearing that the Obama/Biden administration would be tools of the RIAA; does this filing confirm those fears?"
Programming

Blizzard Asserts Rights Over Independent Add-Ons 344

bugnuts writes "Blizzard has announced a policy change regarding add-ons for the popular game World of Warcraft which asserts requirements on UI programmers, such as disallowing charging for the program, obfuscation, or soliciting donations. Add-ons are voluntarily-installed UI programs that add functionality to the game, programmed in Lua, which can do various tasks that hook into the WoW engine. The new policy has some obvious requirements, such as not loading the servers or spamming users, and it looks like an attempt to make things more accessible and free for the end user. But unlike FOSS, it adds other requirements that assert control over these independently coded programs, such as distribution and fees. Blizzard can already control the ultimate functionality of add-ons by changing the hooks into the WoW engine. They have exercised this ability in the past, e.g. to disable add-ons that automate movement and facilitate 'one-button' combat. Should they be able to make demands on independent programmers' copyrighted works, such as forbidding download fees or advertising, when those programmers are not under contract to code for Blizzard? Is this like Microsoft asserting control over what programmers may code for Windows?"

Firefox Beta Touts Advanced Engine, Solves 8 Flaws 493

nandemoari writes "Mozilla may be this year's winner in the 'browser battles' as they ready the next beta version of their tour-de-force, Firefox 3.1. Mozilla is resolving eight critical vulnerabilities found in the current version of Firefox — a move sure to garner applause from devoted Firefox users. As this year's crop of new browsers emerges, enhanced features are becoming secondary to one thing: speed. Mozilla is nearly ready to release the next beta version of Firefox 3.1 to the public for testing, and insiders predict that it will outpace even Safari 4, which has been the fastest browser in wide release since its beta began last week." It looks like they also will be upping the next major release to v3.5 to better show the significance of the release.
Image

Outliers, The Story Of Success Screenshot-sm 357

TechForensics writes "Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, is subtitled "the story of success." It is a book that purports to explain why some people succeed far more than others. It suggests that a success like Bill Gates is more attributable to external factors than anything within the man. Even his birth date turns out to play a role of profound importance in the success of Bill Gates and Microsoft Corporation." Look below for the rest of Leon's review.
Google

Outage Knocks Gmail Offline For Many Users 209

Many readers noted an outage affecting Google's gmail service last night. Firmafest points to a statement from Google, according to which only a small subset of users were affected. According to reader CaptHarlock, mail itself remained accessible through IMAP clients, and the chat feature via external applications. jw3 asks "Of course, gmail is just one of the many providers of web-based e-mails. When I look around, almost everyone seems to be using them nowadays. So — what do you do? Do you trust that the site of your web-based e-mail provider will never go down? Do you make backups of all your e-mails?" (Some readers still seem to be unable to reach the site, too.)

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