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Submission + - How is patent for cannabinoid granted in 2014 to GWPharma? (

An anonymous reader writes: A patent for CBD treatment of non-responsive epilepsy has been granted to GWPharma (owner of patent for synthetic THC — Sativex) in June of 2014. However, Sanjay Gupta's "Weed" documentary shows that this treatment was developed far earlier by a group in Colorado. As far as my understanding of patents goes, they should only be granted for a "novel" application. Not counting the fact that marijuana derivatives have been used as medicine for thousands of years, clearly this application is not new. Couldn't this patent be challenged in court?

Submission + - Toyota And Tesla Getting Together Again?

cartechboy writes: Tesla and Toyota have already worked together a few times. That factory that Tesla builds the electric Model S in? Yeah, it bought that from Toyota. The Toyota RAV4 EV? Yeah, the battery and software tuning was done by Tesla. Now it sounds like Tesla and Toyota might have another significant project in the pipeline in the next two or three years. Tesla CEO Musk said such a project could be "on a much higher volume level" than the firms last project with Toyota, the RAV4 EV. Toyota currently has a 2.4 percent stake in Tesla Motors and has sold 2,130 RAV4 EVs through August. For its part, Toyota has no comment regarding Musk's comment about the future project. Given Toyota's stance on electric cars, Musk's comment is a bit confusing. So what exactly will this joint project be?

Submission + - The exoplanets that never were

StartsWithABang writes: In 1992, scientists discovered the first planets orbiting a star other than our Sun. The pulsar PSR B1257+12 was discovered to have its own planetary system, and since then, exoplanet discoveries have exploded! But before that, in 1963, decades of research led to the much-anticipated publication and announcement of the first exoplanet discovered: around Barnard's star, the second-closest star system to Earth. Unfortunately, it turned out to be spurious, and that in itself took years to uncover, an amazing story which is only now fully coming to light!

Submission + - Paypal Jumps into Bitcoin with Both Feet (

retroworks writes: BBC, WSJ, Bloomberg, Forbes and several other business sites are buzzing with Paypal's incorporation of Bitcoin transactions. According to Wired, Paypal will be "the best thing ever to happen to bitcoin" Paypal-owned Braintree not only brings 150 million active users in close contact with Bitcoin, it signals "mainstreaming" similar to cell phone app banking, perceived as experimental just a few years ago.

Meanwhile Wired News reports on "someone's efforts" to expose or unmask Bitcoin guru Satoshi Nakamoto...

Submission + - DARPA targets complex software algorithm vulnerabilities (

coondoggie writes: Talk about finding a needle in a haystack. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency says it wants to develop sophisticated code that can find faults in key algorithms used to anchor major software packages that for example implement hash tables or conduct password checks.

Submission + - Unpopular Programming Languages That Are Still Lucrative ( 1

Nerval's Lobster writes: In theory, learning less-popular programming languages could end up paying off big—provided the programmers who pursue them play their proverbial cards right. And as with any good card game, there’s a considerable element of chance involved: In order to land a great job, you need to become an expert in a language, which involves a considerable amount of work with no guarantee of a payoff. With that in mind, do you think it's worth learning R, Scala, Haskell, Clojure, or even COBOL (the lattermost is still in use among companies with decades-old infrastructure, and they reportedly have trouble filling jobs that rely on it)? Or is it better to devote your precious hours and memory to popular, much-used languages that have a lot of use out there?

Submission + - Former World Leaders to Meet with UN to Discuss Drug Decriminalization (

EwanPalmer writes: Several former world leaders and members of the United Nations are set to call upon governments around the world to decriminalize drugs.

Former presidents of Brazil, Columbia and Switzerland are among the former leaders who have united to call for proper regulation of drug use and possession, along with Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, former Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour.

A report, released by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, says it is time to "break the taboo" and admit the way on drugs is a "failure" as well as recommending new major reforms for drug prohibition. The Commissioners are also set to meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson to discuss the proposals mentioned in the report.

Submission + - PayPal billionaire takes a shine to nuclear fusion startup (

Dimetrodon writes: Through his venture capitalist firm Mithril Capital, Peter Thiel, co-founder of online payment processor PayPal has contributed more than $1 million to a $1.5 million investment in nuclear fusion start-up Helion Energy. The company, which is headed up by NASA fellow and fusion expert Dr. David Kirtley and Fusion Engine inventor Dr. John Slough, is aiming to develop smaller scale fusion reactors capable of displacing large diesel generators that are used in areas where fuel must be shipped in.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Viable Alternative to Lavabit 1

rizole writes: As we learnt earlier today, Lavabit, an encrypted email provider, was shut down by it's owner. Pointing a finger that the US Government he writes:

I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.

What alternative email provider would you recommend Edward Snowden now gets an account with?

Submission + - Silent Circle follows Lavabit by closing encrypted e-mail service (

Okian Warrior writes: Silent Circle shuttered its encrypted e-mail service on Thursday, in an apparent attempt to avoid government scrutiny that may threaten its customers' privacy. The company announced that it could "see the writing on the wall" and decided it best to shut down its Silent Mail feature. The company said it was inspired by the closure earlier Thursday of Lavabit, another encrypted e-mail service provider that alluded to a possible national security investigation.

Submission + - Back to 'The Future of Programming'

theodp writes: Bret Victor's The Future of Programming (vimeo) should probably be required viewing this fall for all CS majors — and their professors. For his recent DBX Conference talk, Victor took attendees back to the year 1973, donning the uniform of an IBM systems engineer of the times, delivering his presentation on an overhead projector. The 60's and early 70's were a fertile time for CS ideas, reminds Victor, but even more importantly, it was a time of unfettered thinking, unconstrained by programming dogma, authority, and tradition. "The most dangerous thought that you can have as a creative person is to think that you know what you're doing," explains Victor. "Because once you think you know what you're doing you stop looking around for other ways of doing things and you stop being able to see other ways of doing things. You become blind." He concludes, "I think you have to say: 'We don’t know what programming is. We don’t know what computing is. We don’t even know what a computer is.' And once you truly understand that, and once you truly believe that, then you’re free, and you can think anything.”

Submission + - Vision chip restores sight to blind man (

jobiwankanobi writes: A man left blind by a devastating eye disease has been able to read letters, tell the time and identify a cup and saucer on a table after surgeons fitted him with an electronic chip to restore his vision.

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