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Self-Destructing Bacteria Create Better Biofuels 139

MikeChino writes "Researchers at Arizona State University have genetically engineered cyanobacteria to dissolve from the inside out, making it easy to access the high-energy fats and biofuel byproducts located within. To do this they combined the bacteria's genes with genes from the bacteriaphage — a so-called 'mortal enemy' of bacteria that cause it to explode. Cyanobacteria have a higher yield potential than most biofuels currently being used, and this new strain eliminates the need for costly and energy intensive processing steps."
Hardware Hacking

Physically-Challenged Gamer Hacks Together Custom PS3 Controller 50

Destructoid has a neat post about a gamer whose condition prevents him from using a standard video game controller. With the help of a company called GimpGear, which markets devices for people with limited mobility, he designed and built a custom input device that makes use of fingers, toes, and even sips or puffs of air to control his favorite games. Pictures and a video of the setup are both available in the post.

Submission + - Google Android Runs on Sharp Zaurus

peterzen writes: "A small group of Hungarian hackers have managed to get Google Android running on a Sharp Zaurus SL-C760. In their blog post they've published a step by step guide for setting this baby up so those who were lucky enough to get their hands on a Zaurus can now have a go at it, saving quite a bit of footwork. Networking and the touchscreen doesn't work yet but it's certainly worth a break from the X-mas shopping craze to experiment with the software. I'm now off to the attic to find my Japanese import Zaurus that's laying around somewhere."

Submission + - Study Finds Film Enjoyment Is Contagious 1

Hugh Pickens writes: "My wife I enjoy watching old movies on a big screen tv in our family room where we can close all the doors and shutter the windows to simulate the ambiance of a theater but there has always been something missing from the experience. Now a report from Science Daily says that scientists have proven that the presence of other people may enhance our movie-watching experiences by influencing one another and gradually synchronizing their emotional responses. This mutual mimicry also affects each participant's evaluation of the overall experience — the more in sync we are with the people around us, the more we like the movie. In a series of experiments, researchers had participants watch a video clip. Some of the participants watched alone, some with other people whose expressions could not be seen due to the presence of a partition, and some with other people whose expressions could be seen. The researchers found that people watching a film together appeared to evaluate the film within the same broad mood and another study found that synchrony of evaluations can be traced to glances at the other person during the film and adoption of the observed expressions. "By mimicking expressions, people catch each other's moods leading to a shared emotional experience. That feels good to people and they attribute that good feeling to the quality of the movie," said one researcher."

Submission + - Komodo Spawns New Open Source IDE Project 1

techoon writes: Development tools vendor ActiveState is opening up parts of its Komodo IDE (define) in a new effort called Open Komodo. The Open Komodo effort will take code from ActiveStates freely available, but not open source, Komodo Edit product and use it as a base for the new open source IDE. The aim is to create a community and a project that will help Web developers to more easily create modern Web-based applications.
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - id unveils Rage at QuakeCon 2007 (hothardware.com)

bigwophh writes: "During closed-door briefings at QuakeCon this past weekend, id revealed some details regarding their upcoming game Rage. The game is in simultaneous development for the PC, PS3, Xbox360 and Macintosh, and uses the 'id tech 5' engine which employs a second generation version of id's Megatexture technology. As you'll see in the trailer and screenshots available at HotHardware, Rage will involve a combination of shooting and driving, and the visuals are nothing short of amazing. Unfortunately, id hasn't given a solid release date, saying only that the game will ship "when it's done"."

Submission + - The Physical Hacks at DefCon (physorg.com)

eldavojohn writes: "As we all know, DefCon is occurring in Vegas this weekend but Saturday held a room that focused on possibly the oldest form of hacking — lockpicking. That's right, as software security becomes better and better, the focus may instead shift towards simple hacking tips like looking over someone's shoulder for their password, faking employment or just picking the locks to gain access to the building where machines are left on overnight. This is nothing to sneeze at, "Medeco deadbolt locks relied on worldwide at embassies, banks and other tempting targets for thieves, spies or terrorists can be opened in seconds with a strip of metal and a thin screw driver, Marc Tobias of Security.org demonstrated for AFP ... Tobias says he refuses to publish details of 'defeating' the locks because they are used in places ranging from homes, banks and jewelers to the White House and the Pentagon. He asked AFP not to disclose how it is done." I'm sure all Slashdot readers are savvy enough to use firewall(s) but do you know and trust what locks 'physically' protect your data from hacks like these?"

Submission + - A good look at six open source graphics utilities

An anonymous reader writes: Tis article provide a survey of a number of popular Linux data visualization tools and include some insight into their other capabilities. For example, does the tool provide a language for numerical computation? Is the tool interactive or does it operate solely in batch mode? Can you use the tool for image or digital signal processing? Does the tool provide language bindings to support integration into user applications (such as Python, Tcl, Java programming languages, and so on)? It also demonstrate the tools' graphical capabilities. Finally, it identifies the strengths of each tool to help you decide which is best for your computational task or data visualization.
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Touchscreen Voting Decertified in California (dotloose.com)

bbsguru writes: With the news last week that University of California researchers had found vulnerabilities in every California Certified electronic voting machine, the Cal Secretary of State (who requested the assessment) had until Friday to decide what to do about it. Late Friday, she did: most Touchscreen voting machines are Decertified in California, and may not be used in the Febuary primary elections. The last minute announcement means many counties will be stuck with millions of dollars worth of paperweights. Machines by Diebold and Sequoia are out entirely, those in Orange County that were made by Hart Intercivic are allowed provide new security measures are taken.
Yes, this will end up in court.


Submission + - The Fermi Paradox: Back with a vengeance

nettxzl writes: "(urls fixed) Sentient Developments revisits the Fermi Paradox which is "the contradictory and counter-intuitive observation that we have yet to see any evidence for the existence of Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (ETI) although the size and age of the Universe suggests that many technologically advanced ETI's ought to exist." Sentient Development's blog post on the Fermi Paradox states that "a number of inter-disciplinary breakthroughs and insights have contributed to the Fermi Paradox gaining credence as an unsolved scientific problem" Amongst these are "(1)Improved quantification and conceptualization of our cosmological environment, (2) Improved understanding of planet formation, composition and the presence of habitable zones, (3) The discovery of extrasolar planets, (4) Confirmation of the rapid origination of life on Earth (5) Growing legitimacy of panspermia theories" and more ... So, where is everyone?

Submission + - My neighbours hate me because I'm a programmer (lycos.co.uk) 1

mcrodgers writes: "I'm a programmer in the UK with high-functioning autism (Asburgers) and I'm very sensitive to noise. My neighbours make a lot of noise and one of them, in the flat directly above me, only sleeps for a few hours a night, so he keeps me awake most of the night. All my attempts to complain have been met with hostility, shouting, insults and threats. My landlord doesn't want to get involved and my tennency agreement is about to end. Does anyone else have this kind of problem? How do you deal with it? What can you do when even your other neighbours turn against you because they believe the noisy neighbours are nice people and you're not nice because you complain? Online flaming is bad enough, but what can you do with real life disagreements that can make you homeless?"
Linux Business

Submission + - Advocating Linux / OSS to Management.

An anonymous reader writes: I'm the Senior Developer at a fairly large agency, we're currently a 100% LAMP shop, but I've heard a reliable report through the grapevine that the management a few levels above our office wants to standardize our region on MS .NET. As I'm sure most of you can appreciate, to do such a thing would be... counterproductive, and I could really do with a hand conveying this to a manager whose only real knowledge of Linux is "if it's so good, why would you give it away for free"?

If worst comes to worst, and this decision ends up going ahead, I'll most likely have to continue my career elsewhere, but in the meanwhile, I'd really like to try and save myself from having to go down that route, because I really like this company, it's been a great job with interesting clients and a fantastic work environment. Any advice you can give me, fellow slashdottians?

Submission + - Hackers Extract Main Key to iPhone Unlocking (gizmodo.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: After reverse-engineering Nucleus, the iPhone's radio/multimedia chip RTOS, the iPhone Dev Team has achieved the next big milestone to free the iPhone from the AT&T network: they have extracted the full content of the S-Gold2 chip's NOR memory. Bluntly put, these are the plans for the damn Death Star and "is the main key to achieve true unlocking." They are also calling for donations to help them keep their efforts.

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I think there's a world market for about five computers. -- attr. Thomas J. Watson (Chairman of the Board, IBM), 1943