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Science

Russians Find "New Bacteria" In Lake Vostok 147

tverbeek writes "Russian scientists believe they have found a new type of bacteria in the sub-glacial Lake Vostok. From the article: 'The samples obtained from the underground lake in May 2012 contained a bacteria which bore no resemblance to existing types, said Sergei Bulat of the genetics laboratory at the Saint Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics. "After putting aside all possible elements of contamination, DNA was found that did not coincide with any of the well-known types in the global database," he said. "We are calling this life form unclassified and unidentified," he added.'"
Medicine

Genetically Engineering Babies a Moral Obligation, Says Ethicist 840

Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that Oxford Professor Julian Savulescu, an expert in practical ethics, says that creating so-called designer babies could be considered a 'moral obligation' as it makes them grow up into 'ethically better children' and that we should actively give parents the choice to screen out personality flaws in their children such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence as it means they will then be less likely to harm themselves and others. 'Surely trying to ensure that your children have the best, or a good enough, opportunity for a great life is responsible parenting?' writes Savulescu, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics. 'So where genetic selection aims to bring out a trait that clearly benefits an individual and society, we should allow parents the choice. To do otherwise is to consign those who come after us to the ball and chain of our squeamishness and irrationality.' Savulescu says that we already routinely screen embryos and fetuses for conditions such as cystic fibrosis and Down's syndrome and couples can test embryos for inherited bowel and breast cancer genes. 'Whether we like it or not, the future of humanity is in our hands now. Rather than fearing genetics, we should embrace it. We can do better than chance.'"
Biotech

Extinct Mammoth, Coming To a Zoo Near You 312

Techmeology writes "Professor Akira Iritani of Kyoto University plans to use recent developments in cloning technology to give life to the currently extinct woolly mammoth. Although earlier efforts in the 1990s were unsuccessful due to damage caused by extreme cold, Professor Iritani believes he can use a technique pioneered by Dr Wakayama (who successfully cloned a frozen mouse) to overcome this obstacle. This technique will enable Professor Iritani to identify viable cell nuclei, and transfer them to egg cells of an African elephant which will carry the mammoth for a 600 day pregnancy."
Space

Earth-Like Planets In Our Neighborhood 171

goran72 sends in a story out of the Chicago AAAS meeting contending that Earth-like planets with life-sustaining conditions may be spinning around stars in our galactic neighborhood — we just haven't found them yet. "'So I think there is a very good chance that we will find some Earth-like planets within 10, 20 or 30 light years of the Sun,' astrophysicist [Alan Boss]... told his AAAS colleagues meeting here since Thursday. ... The images from those new planets, he added, should identify 'light from their atmosphere and tell us if they have perhaps methane and oxygen. That will be pretty strong proof they are not only habitable but actually are inhabited. I am not talking about a planet with intelligence on it. I simply say if you have a habitable world. ... Sitting there, with the right temperature with water for a billion years, something is going to come out of it. At least we will have microbes,' said Boss."
Earth

Drilling Hits an Active Magma Chamber In Hawaii 251

Smivs writes "The BBC are reporting that drillers looking for geothermal energy in Hawaii have inadvertently put a well right into a magma chamber. Molten rock pushed back up the borehole several meters before solidifying, making it perfectly safe to study. Magma specialist Bruce Marsh says it will allow scientists to observe directly how granites are made. 'This is unprecedented; this is the first time a magma has been found in its natural habitat,' the Johns Hopkins University professor told BBC News. 'Before, all we had to deal with were lava flows; but they are the end of a magma's life. They're lying there on the surface, they've de-gassed. It's not the natural habitat.' It is hoped the site can now become a laboratory, with a series of cores drilled around the chamber to better characterise the crystallisation changes occurring in the rock as it loses temperature."
Security

Lenovo Service Disables Laptops With a Text Message 257

narramissic writes "Lenovo plans to announce on Tuesday a service that allows users to remotely disable a PC by sending a text message. A user can send the command from a specified cell phone number — each ThinkPad can be paired with up to 10 cell phones — to kill a PC. The software will be available free from Lenovo's Web site. It will also be available on certain ThinkPad notebooks equipped with mobile broadband starting in the first half of 2009. 'You steal my PC and ... if I can deliver a signal to that PC that turns it off, hey, I'm good now,' said Stacy Cannady, product manager of security at Lenovo. 'The limitation here is that you have to have a WAN card in the PC and you must be paying a data plan for it,' Cannady added."

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