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Science

Scientists Turn Docile Mice Into Ruthless Hunters (the-scientist.com) 76

BenBoy writes: A couple of years ago, a story surfaced about smarter mice: Scientists Create Super-intelligent Mice, Discover They're Also Very Laid Back. Well, implicit challenge accepted! 2017 brings us a report from Cell, via The Scientist: "Neural circuits in the amygdala are responsible for predatory behavior in mice, according to a study published January 12 in Cell. Using optogenetics, a technique that uses light to turn neural circuits on and off, a group of researchers led by neuroscientist Ivan de Araujo of Yale University was able to turn docile mice into ruthless hunters. Earlier research revealed that the amygdala, an almond-shaped brain structure most commonly linked to fear, was active when rats were hunting and feeding. To see whether this brain region was actually controlling predatory behavior, Araujo and colleagues decided to use optogenetics to selectively activate specific neurons in mice, with light. When the researchers activated the amygdala, docile mice attacked everything from bottle caps to live insects. Even when there was no prey in sight, the mice displayed feeding behavior -- moving their jaws and lifted their paws as if holding a piece of food. Once the light was switched off, the animals went back to peacefully strolling around their cages." Nuclear death-mice are, we assume, right around the corner.

Comment Re: Who cares? (Score 1) 502

because its a giant scam you imbecile.

Duh? That's why everyone wants something done about it. Externalizing pollution to get an easy subsidy isn't merely a scam, it's an old and obvious scam.

The trouble is, everyone does it. If I tell you to stop scamming everyone, then you'll tell me to stop scamming everyone. It's all well and fine for me to try to stop paying for your subsidy, but you better keep on paying mine!

Comment Re:I still don't get it. (Score 1) 128

How was it NOT extortion before the law?

I haven't found the text of the law to read, but I can guess.

I used to work for a place where, in the late 1980s and early 1990s we would occasionally sell ransomware to clients who had iffy credit. Pay your bill every month, and we'd send you an update to our software. Stop paying or don't install your update, and a time bomb would go off: it fails to start. The software's data wasn't encrypted or anything, but it was in a proprietary undocumented form, so it was effectively unusable. (Unless you set back your machine's clock, which would have some annoying consequences for data entry speed.)

I think what we were doing would probably be considered ransomware to most people.

The reason I wouldn't call that extortion, is that the client would agree to it beforehand (and without any coercion or duress) and they would get something of value (our software) in exchange that they previously didn't have. Don't wanna do it? Don't sign the license agreement. (Yes, back in those days, a license was actually a real contract, and customers would sign it and we'd put it in a filing cabinet. No after-the-fact "surprise! you didn't really buy this in spite of having thought so at the time you parted with your money!")

I think what we were doing would probably not be considered extortion to most people. (But I'm still glad I don't do that anymore.)

Comment Re:liability, permits, hazmat, max hours on duty, (Score 2) 97

At many truck stops youll see a kiosk for OO's (owner-operators) to browse available jobs.

And remember, if you don't like what you find in the mission computer, you can always go to the bar. At the bar, there's oftentimes someone hanging around waiting to offer a job to anyone who walks in. Maybe they'll hit you up to move some shadier cargo/contraband, or they'll offer pirate bounties, or they might even try to recruit you from freight missions to doing combat missions for the military!

For the latter, make sure you have upgraded all your truck's weapons and gotten your combat rating and legal status up. Also, get expanded fuel tanks. Invariably there will be some deep strike mission far from any good place to refuel. So you'll either have to have big tanks, or you'll have to hunt enemy truckers to take their fuel to get you back home.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 63

The whole point of NSLs is that there is no prior judicial oversight; there's no court to defy. I'm not saying they wouldn't be punished somehow, but it wouldn't be contempt of court. These things exist because there's some law that imposes a prior restraint on the receiver's speech. If it were to end up in court, you'd hear words like "first" and "amendment" long before you hear words like "contempt."

Comment "Sources?" (Score 1) 75

Did this sentence..

Eighty-four percent of Americans with online access through three sources -- home broadband, smartphone and tablet computer -- say they like having so much information available.

..strike anyone else as a weirdly alien concept of what the word "source" means? It's so incomprehensible, that I can't even say for sure that it's wrong!

Comment Re:Here's an idea (Score 4, Insightful) 220

...or bands that we find via something like YouTube. That's the real reason the RIAA is trying to squeeze Google. They don't like the deal they got with Apple's iTunes, and don't want to be even *more* left behind. They failed to embrace online digital distribution when customers initially clamored for it, tried to sue their way out of it being possible, and now are scrambling to try and figure out how to claw their way back to the same type of margins they once had when they controlled distribution and marketing.

Comment Re:Not people: It's a computer problem (Score 1) 394

So the day they make your particular fetish or recreational substance / entertainment / political stance / religion / etc. a crime...

You're an optimist, and overstating the safety and benevolence of this program. Quit sugar-coating it, you apologist! ;-)

Peoples' fetish, substance, etc is already illegal, somewhere. And since no government (including UK) has shown itself to have the ability to store things securely (it's almost as though they employ people), it is reasonable to assume the data is (or eventually will be) globally available.

UK citizens aren't just making a decision to totally and completely trust trust their own government forever. They are also deciding that they already fully trust the Russian government, the Chinese government, the Saudi government, criminals, etc and that they will always be able to trust those parties.

UK is declaring that this is one big happy world without any adversarial relationships, and that "security" is a totally obsolete concept.

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