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Science

Similar DNA Molecules Able to Recognize Each Other 84

Chroniton brings us a story about research into DNA which has shown that free-floating DNA strands are able to seek out similar strands without the assistance of other chemicals. From Imperial College London: "The researchers observed the behaviour of fluorescently tagged DNA molecules in a pure solution. They found that DNA molecules with identical patterns of chemical bases were approximately twice as likely to gather together than DNA molecules with different sequences. Understanding the precise mechanism of the primary recognition stage of genetic recombination may shed light on how to avoid or minimise recombination errors in evolution, natural selection and DNA repair. This is important because such errors are believed to cause a number of genetically determined diseases including cancers and some forms of Alzheimer's, as well as contributing to ageing."
Cellphones

The Coming Wave of Gadgets That Listen and Obey 98

dgan brings us a NYTimes piece about the development of speech recognition for common gadgets. Companies such as Vlingo and Yap are marketing their software to cellular carriers to give consumers a hands-free option for tasks like finding directions and text messaging. Quoting: "Vlingo's service lets people talk naturally, rather than making them use a limited number of set phrases. Dave Grannan, the company's chief executive, demonstrated the Vlingo Find application by asking his phone for a song by Mississippi John Hurt (try typing that with your thumbs), for the location of a local bakery and for a Web search for a consumer product. It was all fast and efficient. Vlingo is designed to adapt to the voice of its primary user, but I was also able to use Mr. Grannan's phone to find an address. The Find application is in the beta test phase at AT&T and Sprint. Consumers who use certain cellphones from those companies can download the application from vlingo.com."
Music

Amazon MP3 Store to Go Global in 2008 196

Amazon announced in a press release today their plans to sell DRM-free music worldwide through the Amazon MP3 store beginning later this year. This news is being viewed by some as the latest volley in Amazon's digital music sales war with Apple's iTunes. Since Amazon has completed its plans to offer DRM-free music from all four major record labels (most recently, Sony and Warner), the global availability of the MP3s can only be excellent news for customers.
Upgrades

Vista SP1 Release May Be Near 231

Tokonamu sends a note about the release to a private testing group of a new build of Windows Vista SP1, possibly presaging the imminent release of the long-awaited service pack. Speculation about a Feb. 15 release date has been fueled by a report out of Taiwan, according to the article. Microsoft also issued a new build of Windows XP SP3 this week, but it's getting next to no publicity out of Redmond, what with XP being the main competition for Vista and all.
Linux Business

Lotus Notes 8.5 Will Support Ubuntu 7.0 297

E5Rebel sends in an article from Computerworld.uk article that reports: "IBM believes Linux on the enterprise desktop is finally ready for widespread adoption. To meet future demand it is preparing to deliver its next versions of Lotus Notes enterprise collaboration software and Lotus Symphony office productivity applications for the first time with full support for Ubuntu Linux 7.0... The Ubuntu support for Notes and Symphony were a direct response to demand from customers."
The Internet

The Pirate Bay Tops 10 Million Users 300

An anonymous reader suggests we go over to Slyck for news that The Pirate Bay has cracked 10 million users. The publicity from the upcoming court case probably helped. "Today, The Pirate Bay asserts itself as the self-proclaimed 'World's Largest Tracker' by topping over 10 million peers, while managing over 1 million torrents. Peter Sunde of The Pirate Bay told Slyck, 'We're very happy to be part of all of this and we hope our users keep sharing those files!... And we're looking to break 20 million as well.'"
Privacy

Embedded Microchips In Virtually Everything 186

Microsoft CRM recommends a long AP article laying out the nightmare scenario of RFID chips in everything tracking not only things but people. The darker possibilities of a technology capable of enabling ubiquitous surveillance are not news to this community, but it's not so common to see them spelled out for a wider audience. "Microchips with antennas embedded in virtually everything you buy, wear, drive and read, allowing retailers and law enforcement to track consumer items and consumers wherever they go. Much of the radio frequency identification technology that enables objects and people to be tagged and tracked wirelessly already exists and potentially intrusive uses of it are being patented, perfected and deployed... [A director at FTI Consulting] said:] 'It's going to be used in unintended ways by third parties — not just the government, but private investigators, marketers, lawyers building a case against you.'"

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