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Comment Re:Genetically Modified Food. (Score 5, Informative) 183

I have actually done some work for major seed companies. There is no danger of the crops being "100% genetically identical." The industry is very good at protecting their underlying crop lines, the licenses are only for the particular traits. The company which licenses the traits then incorporates it into their own plant lines. Most of the major plant companies have a wide variety (hundreds or thousands) of different plant lines from a wide variety of regions with a pretty complete breeding and growth history-they are very aware of the problems involved with monocultures and work very hard to avoid that. The plant company then picks the seed lines where they think the trait will have the most impact/greatest demand and then they incorporate the trait (and the trait only) into that line. The technical term for this is "introgressing" the trait and they have worked for a long time to develop techniques which are very specific for individual stretches of DNA.

Sometimes (and this is getting more frequent now) they will incorporate more than one trait in a particular plant line. This is a major issue for things like glyphosate tolerant plants. By incorporating multiple modes of herbicide tolerance into a single plant line, the farmer can use a mix of herbicides on the field to make sure that the weeds do not become tolerant to a specific type of herbicide. Similarly, extensive studies are done to make sure that insects do not become resistant to certain traits. One of the primary approaches for this is the use of "refuge" which consists of planting non-insect resistant crop with the insect resistant crop. By having the appropriate mix of the two, you can manage the tolerant insects to prevent losing the effectiveness of the trait. This is also important to the plant company because nobody will purchase the trait if it no longer works. The refuge requirements for a particular trait have a pretty good safety margin included as well to make sure that the trait will continue to be effective.

I respect individual decisions to eat modified crops or not, my family generally eats organic primarily to benefit local growers and give them a better margin in return for a product which is not mass-produced. We like meeting and knowing the farmers who grow our food. Whatever your opinion might be, disinformation and conspiracy theories is not the way to have an intelligent debate. The plant companies are well aware of the risks and it is in their best interest to mitigate them. Having worked with a number of employees from plant companies, all that I have met take their responsibility for feeding the world very seriously and want to do what they can to increase yields, decrease pesticide/herbicide use and protect the food supply.

Comment Re:The Tenuous EULA Claim Apple May Make (Score 1) 621

The biggest problem that I could see would come from the recent decision based on the WOW Glider case. In that case, the court determined that encouraging a user to violate a EULA by selling products (in that case software, this case hardware) was a copyright issue. Given that, it seems that Apple might be able to reach Psystar through a contributory infringement or vicarious infringement approach.

Submission + - The Google Enigma (

porkrind writes: "Nick Carr, of 'Does IT Matter?' fame, has penned an article asking the question of whether Google is a model for other companies to emulate or whether it's too much of an anomaly to be useful in a cross-industry sense. He also asks the question of whether Google's approach to management and innovation (much ballyhooed in many circles) is a cause or result of its success. The answer to whether your company should emulate Google is, perhaps unsurprisingly, "it depends." His analysis and logic leading to that conclusion are definitely a thought-provoking read. His ultimate conclusion is that Google's success is much more attributable to its leading-edge IT operations than any of the hype you may read about in glossy journals."
The Courts

Submission + - RIAA Tries to Stop RICO Class Action 1

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Last month an Oregon woman, victimized by the RIAA for two years, retaliated by bringing a class action for fraud, RICO, malicious prosecution, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, misuse of copyright law, civil conspiracy, and other assorted wrongs, against the record companies, the RIAA, their investigators, and their 'enforcers', in Andersen v. Atlantic. The opening gambit of the record companies, the RIAA, and the enforcers (Settlement Support Center LLC), all of whom are being represented by the same law firm, has been to file a motion to dismiss Ms. Andersen's complaint. The RIAA's unlicensed "investigators", MediaSentry/Safenet, presumably represented by separate counsel, have yet to respond to the amended complaint. Ms. Andersen is the disabled single mother, who together with her 10 year old daughter, had been pursued by the RIAA for two (2) years, despite the fact that neither of them had ever engaged in file sharing."

Submission + - To find DMCA violations you must violate the DMCA (

meese writes: staple is a tool that cryptographically binds data using an All-or-nothing transform. Why might that be interesting? Because it might allow for this scenario: to check for DMCA violations, a content owner would have to violate the DMCA themselves.

The basic transformation is keyless, but all the data is required to reverse it. The tool can also throw away part of its internal key, making the data decipherable only with the key or via brute force attack. If a content publisher, Alice, wants to check for copyright violations by another party, Bob, she could be thwarted: Bob could staple Alice's file with one of his own and discard part of the key. To check for copyright violation, Alice must brute force the stapled file (possibly violating the DMCA), which protects Bob's file. The FAQ has some more detail.

Wireless Networking

Submission + - Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

Andru Edwards writes: "Bluetooth SIG just announced the new spec for Bluetooth, that being Bluetooth 2.1+EDR. Gear Live has a video demo with Mike Foley, Executive Director of Bluetooth SIG, where he shows off all the new Bluetooth 2.1 features. Take a look at what is improved in the new spec, like the ultra-cool near field communication technology, and five times better battery life."

Submission + - Automatic Beer Launching Fridge

gondarlinux writes: "From this site:
Have you ever gotten up off the couch to get a beer for the umpteenth time and thought, "What if instead of ME going to get the BEER, the BEER came to ME???" Well, that was how I first conceived of the beer launching fridge. About 3 months and several hundred dollars later I have a fully automated, remote controlled, catapulting, man-pit approved, beer launching mini-fridge. It holds 10 beers in its magazine with 14 more in reserve to store a full case. It is controlled by a keyless entry system. Pressing unlock will start the catapult rotating and when it is aiming at your target, pressing unlock again will stop it. Then the lock button can be pressed to launch a beer in the selected direction." Here's the video:"
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - MIT Media Lab Turns Game Players Into Designers

Anonymous Coward writes: "The MIT Media Lab is taking a novel approach to game development, and it needs your help. The Restaurant Game is a research project that will algorithmically combine the gameplay experiences of thousands of players to create a new game. In a few months, researchers will apply machine learning algorithms to data collected through the multiplayer Restaurant Game, and produce a new single-player game that will be entered into the 2008 Independent Games Festival. Everyone who plays The Restaurant Game will be credited as a Game Designer. 1,074 games have been played to date, and the researchers are aiming for 10,000. Download for PC or OSX here:"

Submission + - Firefox releases update to fix critical exploit

MGOB writes: "Mozilla published releases this morning to fix a critical security flaw in the Firefox web browser. The problem lies in how Firefox handles writes to the 'location.hostname' DOM property. The vulnerability allows malicious websites to manipulate authentication cookies for third-party sites. A demo/check of the issue can be found here."

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