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Submission + - Best-selling drug in the U.S. is an antipsychotic (blogspot.com)

Kas Thomas writes: "The latest sales figures are out, and they show that in Q4 of 2012 the best-selling drug in the U.S., in terms of dollar volume, is Abilify, an atypical antipsychotic that's now widely prescribed as an adjunct for depression and other ills. How did it get to be No. 1? Largely through illegal sales tactics. In 2007, Bristol-Myers Squibb paid $515 million in a settlement with the U.S. government based on Justice Department findings that BMS paid doctors (and flew them to resorts) to prescribe the drug for off-label as well as on-label uses, among other marketing shenanigans (described at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2007/September/07_civ_782.html)."
Games

Roger Ebert On Why Video Games Can Never Be Art 733

Roger Ebert has long held the opinion that video games are not and can never be considered an art form. After having this opinion challenged in a TED talk last year, Ebert has now taken the opportunity to thoughtfully respond and explain why he maintains this belief. Quoting: "One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite an immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them. She quotes Robert McKee's definition of good writing as 'being motivated by a desire to touch the audience.' This is not a useful definition, because a great deal of bad writing is also motivated by the same desire. I might argue that the novels of Cormac McCarthy are so motivated, and Nicholas Sparks would argue that his novels are so motivated. But when I say McCarthy is 'better' than Sparks and that his novels are artworks, that is a subjective judgment, made on the basis of my taste (which I would argue is better than the taste of anyone who prefers Sparks)."
Earth

Submission + - LatLng Is The New Address 1

theodp writes: With the location land rush in full swing, TechCrunch's Erick Schonfeld declares it's time for an open database of places and calls on the Big Dogs of location — Twitter, Google, Foursquare, Gowalla, SimpleGeo, Loopt, Citysearch, etc. — to make it so. An open database that maps latitude and longitude coordinates to businesses, points of interest, and even people's homes should just be part of the basic fabric of the mobile Web. Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley was enthusiastic about the idea, says Schonfeld, while Twitter founder Jack Dorsey was a little bit more lukewarm and cautious. Time for Larry and Sergey to invite the Families to a sit-down at 37.423021,-122.083739?
Government

Feds Question Big Media's Piracy Claims 261

WrongSizeGlass writes "CNET is reporting that the GAO's study of big media's piracy claims has raised some questions. (Here are the study's summary, highlights [PDF], and full report [PDF].) 'After spending a year studying how piracy and illegal counterfeiting affects the United States, the Government Accountability Office says it still doesn't know for sure.... The GAO said that most of the published information, anecdotal evidence, and records show that piracy is a drag on the US economy, tax revenue, and in some cases potentially threatens national security and public health. But the problem is, according to the GAO, the data used to quantify piracy isn't reliable.'"
GUI

Making Closed Software Act Like It's Open 157

The Installer writes "Researchers from the University of Washington have managed to add customization and accessibility options to proprietary software without ever touching the source code. Rather than alter program code, Prefab looks for the pixels associated with the blocks of code used to paint applications to a screen, grabs hold of them, and alters them according to whatever enhancements the user has chosen to apply. Any user input is then fed back to the original software, still running behind the enhanced interface."
Medicine

Science Attempts To Explain Heaven 692

Hugh Pickens writes "Lisa Miller writes in Newsweek about the thesis that heaven is not a real place, or even a process or a supernatural event, but rather something that happens in your brain as you die. The thesis is based, in part, on a growing body of research around near-death experience. According to a 2000 article by Bruce Greyson in The Lancet, between 9 and 18 percent of people who have been demonstrably near death report having had an NDE. Surveys of NDE accounts show great similarities in the details, describing: a tunnel, a light, a gate or a door, a sense of being out of the body, meeting people they know or have heard about, finding themselves in the presence of God, and then returning, changed. Scientists have theorized that NDEs occur as a kind of physiological self-defense mechanism when, in order to guard against damage during trauma, the brain releases protective chemicals that also happen to trigger intense hallucinations. This theory has gained traction after scientists realized that virtually all the features of an NDE can be reproduced with a stiff dose of ketamine, a short-acting, hallucinogenic, dissociative anesthetic. 'I came out into a golden Light. I rose into the Light and found myself having an unspoken interchange with the Light, which I believed to be God,' wrote one user of his experience under ketamine. 'Dante said it better,' writes Miller, 'but the vision is astonishingly the same.'"
Wikipedia

Print-On-Demand Publisher VDM Infects Amazon 190

erich666 writes "In recent months a flood of so-called books have been appearing in Amazon's catalog. VDM Publishing's imprints Alphascript and Betascript Publishing have listed over 57,000 titles, adding at least 10,000 in the previous month alone. These books are simply collections of linked Wikipedia articles put into paperback form, at a cost of 40 cents a page or more. These books seem to be computer-generated, which explains the peculiar titles noted such as 'Vreni Schneider: Annemarie Moser-Pröll, FIS Alpine Ski World Cup, Winter Olympic Games, Slalom Skiing, Giant Slalom Skiing, Half Man Half Biscuit.' Such titles do have the marketing effect of turning up in many different searches. There is debate on Wikipedia about whether their 'VDM Publishing' page should contain the words 'fraud' or 'scam.' VDM Publishing's practice of reselling Wikipedia articles appears to be legal, but is ethically questionable. Amazon customers have begun to post 1-star reviews and complain. Amazon's response to date has been, 'As a retailer, our goal is to provide customers with the broadest selection possible so they can find, discover, and buy any item they might be seeking.' The words 'and pay us' were left out. Amazon carries, as a Googled guess, 2 million different book titles, so VDM Publishing is currently 1/35th of their catalog, and rapidly growing."
Space

Exotic "Electroweak" Star Predicted 68

astroengine writes "A new type (or phase) of star has been characterized by Case Western Reserve University scientists in a paper submitted to Physical Review Letters. The 'electroweak' star is a stellar corpse too massive to be a quark star, yet too light to collapse into a black hole. It crushes and burns the quarks inside, generating an outward radiation pressure that acts against gravity. Interestingly, the interior is predicted to be a 'Big Bang factory,' forcing the electromagnetic and weak forces to collapse as one (hence 'electroweak') — a condition that hasn't been seen elsewhere in our universe since moments after the Big Bang." The article notes that the first calculations on electroweak stars pegged them as an intermediate stage on the way to a black-hole collapse, lasting at most a second. The new calculations suggest that electroweak stars could persist for millions of years.
Biotech

Magnetism Can Sway Man's Moral Compass 586

Hugh Pickens writes "Discovery News reports that scientists have identified a region of the brain which appears to control morality and discovered that a powerful magnetic field can scramble the moral center of the brain, impairing volunteers' notion of right and wrong. 'You think of morality as being a really high-level behavior,' says Liane Young, a scientist at MIT and co-author of the article. 'To be able to apply (a magnetic field) to a specific brain region and change people's moral judgments is really astonishing.' Young and her colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging to locate an area of the brain just above and behind the right ear known as the right temporo-parietal junction (RTPJ), which other studies had previously related to moral judgments. Volunteers were exposed to transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for 25 minutes before reading stories involving morally questionable characters, and being asked to judge their actions. The researchers found that when the RTPJ was disrupted volunteers were more likely to judge actions solely on the basis of whether they caused harm — not whether they were morally wrong in themselves. The scientists didn't permanently remove the subjects' moral sensibilities and on the scientists' seven point scale, the difference was about one point, averaging out to about a 15 percent change, 'but it's still striking to see such a change in such high level behavior as moral decision-making.' Young points out that the study was correlation; their work only links the RTJP, morality, and magnetic fields, but doesn't definitively prove that one causes another."
Government

Will ACTA Be Found Unconstitutional? 260

DustyShadow writes "Harvard's Jack Goldsmith and Lawrence Lessig have an interesting op-ed in Friday's Washington Post, arguing that it would be constitutionally dubious for President Obama to adopt the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) as an executive agreement. '[T]he Obama administration has suggested it will adopt the pact as a "sole executive agreement" that requires only the president's approval. ... Joining ACTA by sole executive agreement would far exceed these precedents. The president has no independent constitutional authority over intellectual property or communications policy, and there is no long historical practice of making sole executive agreements in this area. To the contrary, the Constitution gives primary authority over these matters to Congress, which is charged with making laws that regulate foreign commerce and intellectual property.'"
Math

Perelman Urged To Accept $1m Prize 421

krou writes "The Warm Home charity in St. Petersburg, Grigory Perelman's home-town, has urged the math genius and recluse to accept the $1m Millennium Prize for solving the Poincaré conjecture, and donate it to charities. Perelman has refused to accept the award, telling one reporter through the closed door of his flat, 'I have all I want,' and another who managed to call him on his mobile, 'You are disturbing me. I am picking mushrooms.'"
Linux Business

Can Ubuntu Save Online Banking? 462

CWmike writes with a pointer to this ComputerWorld mention of an interesting application of Live CDs, courtesy of Florida-based regional bank CNL: "Recognizing that most consumers don't want to buy a separate computer for online banking, CNL is seriously considering making available free Ubuntu bootable 'live CD' discs in its branches and by mail. The discs would boot up Linux, run Firefox and be configured to go directly to CNL's Web site. 'Everything you need to do will be sandboxed within that CD,' [CNL CIO Jay McLaughlin] says. That should protect customers from increasingly common drive-by downloads and other vectors for malicious code that may infect and lurk on PCs, waiting to steal the user account names, passwords and challenge questions normally required to access online banking." (But what if someone slips in a stack of doctored disks?)
Anime

Submission + - The otaku side of New York - Cosplay in the City (examiner.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In New York you can find anything. Tall buildings, great restaurants, a 20-year old former high school football player dressed as Ash from Pokemon, a self-proclaimed "Akiba-style" maid... It's all part of the decidedly otaku culture of cosplay.

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