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Submission + - Carnivorous Plant Ejects Junk DNA (

sciencehabit writes: The carnivorous humped bladderwort, found on all continents except Antarctica, is a model of ruthless genetic efficiency. Only 3% of this aquatic plant's DNA is not part of a known gene, new research shows. In contrast, only 2% of human DNA is part of a gene. The bladderwort, named for its water-filled bladders that suck in unsuspecting prey, is a relative of the tomato. The finding overturns the notion that this repetitive, non-coding DNA, popularly called "junk" DNA, is necessary for life.
Your Rights Online

Submission + - Stricter COPPA laws coming in July (

Velcroman1 writes: The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was enacted in 1998. In 2011, the FTC beefed up the measure, preventing sites from collecting personal information from kids such as name, location and date of birth without a parent's consent. This July, new amendments for kids under 13 will go into effect, approved by the FTC in December. The rules are targeted at sites that market specifically to kids. However, even a site like Facebook could be fined for allowing minors to post self-portraits, audio recordings of their voice, and images with geo-location data. There are also new restrictions on tracking data, with cookies or a unique identifier that follow registrants from one site to another.">About time, said Denise Tayloe, the CEO of PRIVO, a company that makes an age-verification system called PrivoLock."Somebody damn-well better do something to communicate with parents [so they] understand what their kids are doing," Tayloe said.
Your Rights Online

Submission + - Doing Hard Time for Hacking Doesn't Actually Require Any Hacking (

derekmead writes: It's hard to know what to make of Andrew Auernheimer. The 27-year-old grey hat, known in the hacker community as "Weev," was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay a $75,000 fine to AT&T on Monday morning for his involvement in a 2010 incident involving iPads on the carrier's network. However, as Weev himself points out and tech bloggers confirm, he is being punished as a hacker who never actually did any hacking — not technically speaking, anyways.

So if Weev isn't a hacker, is he another activist, like Aaron Swartz, who's been swept up by too strict hacking laws? Or is he more of a rabblerouser, like Matthew Keys, the Reuters employee who helped Anonymous deface the Los Angeles Times's website? Or is he really a regular old criminal like the court says he is? The ambiguity here places Weev in a growing line-up of digital usual suspects, from Swartz to Keys, boy-men whom the government wants to make examples of and whom the internet freedom community, for better or worse, is eager to embrace as heroes.

United States

Submission + - First Successful Test of the Navy's Newest Anti-missile Interceptor (

fishmike writes: U.S. forces said they had destroyed a target in the first successful test of the Navy's newest anti-missile interceptor, designed to protect allies from attacks by countries like North Korea and Iran.

A target ballistic missile was downed near Hawaii late on Wednesday by the latest Raytheon Co-built Standard Missile-3 interceptor, the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said.

The advanced interceptor is key to the next phase of an anti-missile shield being built by the United States in and around Europe.

Submission + - Netherlands first country in Europe with net neutrality (

TheGift73 writes: "On 8 May 2012 The Netherlands adopted crucial legislation to safeguard an open and secure internet in The Netherlands. It is the first country in Europe to implement net neutrality in the law. In addition, it adopted provisions protecting users against disconnection and wiretapping by providers. Digital rights movement Bits of Freedom calls upon other countries to follow the Dutch example."

Submission + - Japanese scientists use particle accelerator to create salt-resistant rice (

MrSeb writes: "An unfortunate and little reported side effect of last year’s Japanese earthquake and tsunami is that thousands of acres of farmland were contaminated with seawater. Rice is a staple crop in Japan, and it requires large amounts of water to grow. The salt in seawater, however, stunts or outright kills the plant. Researchers out of Riken Nishina Centre near Tokyo have been looking at the problem, and it just so happens they have a particle accelerator laying around. Mutations naturally accumulate over time (this is evolution), but this rate is far too slow for meaningful research. Past efforts in inducing mutations have relied on X-rays or gamma radiation to cause mutations in crops, but a particle accelerator should be able to accomplish the same thing much faster. Dr. Tomoko Abe is leading the research and hopes that the particle accelerator will prove superior to traditional methods. Initial results indicate this approach can produce 10-100 times more mutations. After bombarding 600 seeds in her particle accelerator, Dr. Abe has created 250 mutant strains that were able to grow in salt water and produce fertile seeds of their own. The next step is to replant the most successful specimens and begin sorting out the traits that make them grow so well. With enough testing, Dr. Abe hopes to be able to generate an edible strain of rice in four years that can grow in a high-salt environment. If this research is a success, the effects could reach much farther than northern Japan; there are many coastal locations around the world that could benefit from a more hearty strain of salt-resistant rice."

Comment Re:i'm going to get modded troll... (Score 1) 402

Like I said, it's nearly impossible to assimilate for the person who was raised in another country. Far too many things are ingrained at early age; the best we can do is consciously mimic the norms of the new society, but that kind of self-control tends to be blown away in stressful situations.

That is not to say that one doesn't acquire a lot of new habits. Not all things are that deeply ingrained, and even old dog can learn new tricks. The result is that most people who have lived for several decades in another country still don't look like natives there, but they also become different from the norm in their country of origin, sufficiently so that it is immediately evident from their behavior if they ever visit that country.

It's especially funny when it's a person from the "returnee" category who is disparaging the culture from which they've returned - there was one coworker of mine like that, who returned from the States after living there for 17 years. Every time he went on another rant about how stupid and soulless Americans are, speaking Russian with a definite American accent (occasionally slipping into English when he couldn't remember the Russian word for what he wanted to say), and accompanying it with distinctly American hand gestures, I couldn't help but chuckle.

The real criteria for assimilation is the second generation, children who were either born in the new country, or arrived there as kids. In families who want to assimilate, such children usually do so, and, short of appearance, you'd be hard pressed to tell any difference between them and the natives. This happens naturally even if their parents are mostly ambivalent about the whole thing.

In families that consciously resist integration, the parents actively preclude their children from assimilating by restricting their social circle to children of other similarly-minded immigrants, speaking to them only in their native language (and reprimanding them if they speak local language at home or in other social settings restricted to their cultural group), trying to limit their access to local mass media and products of local culture (TV shows, music, movies etc), and so on.

Comment Re:If you want to be free (Score 1) 340

you make some very good points. i was about to post a similar objection (i.e. that the android model is similar to shareware / freeware and the black hats can exploit that so it's "caveat emptor") but your post stopped me in my tracks. i still abhor the iphone marketing model. maybe something like a peer-review process could solve this...

Comment _full_disclosure_SMARTRONIX_is_a_good_company_ (Score 1) 197

I created a slashdot account just to make this comment_

i've been a lurker for years..

*FULL DISCLOSURE* I used to work for smartronix, so yes i know some of the employees, and processes that go through getting the government contracts.

basically, they have main office in maryland, and they send contractors to various locations to do work. i moved up to lexington park, to work at NAWCAD naval air base. there we worked on classified and non-classified projects.

there is a long process for submitting bids, and there is a strict process for getting approvals from the government for these bids.

yes, there is a lot of overhead involved. i don't know the full financials.

i worked as many things there. UNIX admin/NT admin/SUN/DEC/Secure HP unix admin. then i moved onto writing documentation, and requirements for other projects. i finally ended up doing a lot of web-development for a dHMTL based project.

that was a few years ago. i suspect things haven't changed that much there.

they were a first class company when i worked them (i left another less reputable company)..and they had serious/smart and dedicated workers. even the president had technical knowledge, and would get involved in the project work.

i know they are coming under a lot of scrutiny for this project, and i'm sure they'll come through.

i've moved to another company know in a different state, but if i need a job, i know i can go back there, and not have to worry if they are doing good work or not.

i was always treated fairly, they treated their employees like family, and i NEVER had an issue once while i was there..



Comment What I find hilarious... (Score 1) 270

Is that people seem to be buying into your implication that the previous administration's FCC was somehow AGAINST Network Neutrality...

There is no comparison, this being a good example, and anyone who suggests otherwise is smoking something.

Are you just trying to be funny or do you honestly believe this? Inquiring minds want to know...


Submission + - Archeologists Find Earliest Musical Instruments

Hugh Pickens writes: "The NY Times reports the discovery of a bone flute carved some 35,000 years ago that they say represents the earliest known flowering of music-making in Stone Age culture. The five hole flute made from a hollow bone of a griffon vulture was found at Hohle Fels Cave in the hills west of Ulm and is "by far the most complete of the musical instruments so far recovered from the caves" in a region where pieces of other flutes have been turning up in recent years. A three-hole flute carved from mammoth ivory was uncovered a few years ago at another cave, as well as two flutes made from wing bones of a mute swan but until now the artifacts appeared to be too rare and not as precisely dated to support wider interpretations of the early rise of music. "These finds demonstrate the presence of a well-established musical tradition at the time when modern humans colonized Europe," says Nicholas J. Conard of the University of Tübingen. A replica is yet to be made of the recent discovery, but the archaeologists found that a replica of the ancient three-hole flute produced a range of notes comparable in many ways to modern flutes. "The tones are quite harmonic," says Friedrich Seeberger, a German specialist in ancient music and archeologists expect the five-hole flute with its larger diameter to "provide a comparable, or perhaps greater, range of notes and musical possibilities." Scientists speculate that the Stone Age music "could have contributed to the maintenance of larger social networks, and thereby perhaps have helped facilitate the demographic and territorial expansion of modern humans.""

Submission + - The Hovercraft is 50 years old today

cyclomedia writes: "Fifty years ago today Christopher Cockerell created the first prototype of a practical hovercraft on a sunday afternoon in his kitchen using two tins, some kitchen scales and an air blower. The hovercraft went on to be the trendy new mode of transport through the sixties but remains in little use today except in military and coastguard applications, where being able to cross marshes, ice and boggy terrain is needed. Indeed the US military still maintains a fleet of some 80 tank carrying hovercraft for just this purpopse."

Submission + - Mapping Every Single Connection in the Human Brain (

SoyChemist writes: "Even the best fMRI images can't provide scientists a 3D image of the brain that has high enough resolution to really understand how it works. Jeff Lichtman and his collaborators at Harvard have built a gadget that slowly peels back one layer of cells at a time and photographs them with a scanning electron microscope. They hope to create a wiring diagram for the big grey organ, which will give researchers far greater insight into how our minds develop and function."

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