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The Internet

Submission + - Virus on the Man Page of Ars Technica (

Philip writes: "It looks like an add server that Ars Technica is using has a virus on it. When I go to Ars Technica my corporate antivirus MCafee reports that the site has a virus. Here is a copy of my log. I just wanted to get a waring out to all the tech sites. 1/2/2008 2:27:15 PM Script execution blocked iexplore.exe( Script executed by iexplore.exe JS/Exploit-BO (Trojan)"

Submission + - Solar Power Storage - Without Batteries? 3

bbsguru writes: The big advantage of coal or hydroelectric power compared to Wind and Solar (other than typical low cost) has always been the ability to generate power on demand. Now there's news that SolarReserve, a new venture of two US Technology companies, is planning to commercialize a way to stockpile solar energy for release on demand.
From the Article: The "concentrated solar power tower" technology harnesses the sun's energy and stores it using molten salt. The energy is released when a utility requires it. The product is designed to produce up to 500 megawatts of power per year under peak conditions. Lee Bailey, managing director of US Renewables, compared the technology to hydroelectric power plants, but said it has more benefits. "This product is more predictable than water reserves, the supply is free and inexhaustible, and the environmental impact is essentially zero," Bailey said in a statement.
Liquid Sodium solar power? How cool is that!?

Submission + - Can nerves really regenerate?

Roland Piquepaille writes: "People suffering of injury to the brain or spinal cord cannot currently be treated because central nervous system neurons have a very limited capability of self-repair and regeneration. But now, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a potentially promising strategy for encouraging the regeneration of damaged neurons. Their new technique uses "a biodegradable polymer containing a chemical group that mimics the neurotransmitter acetylcholine to spur the growth of neurites." According to the scientists, this method could be used to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's in a few years. But read more for additional references and to see the 'inside front cover' of the December 2007 issue of Advanced Materials which reports about this research work."
United States

Submission + - 57 mpg? That's so 20 years ago 6

maclizard writes: "I wish my car got 57 miles to the gallon.

From the article:
'The CRX HF got an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated 57 mpg gallon in highway driving. Today, the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid Civic you can buy gets an EPA-estimated 34 mpg on the highway. Even today's Honda Civic Hybrid can't match it, achieving EPA-estimated highway mileage of just 45 mpg. The Toyota Prius, today's fuel mileage champ, gets 46 mpg on the highway.'"

Submission + - Larger human brain led to larger penis ( 2

Anonymous Coward writes: "The human penis is comparatively larger than that of the other great apes because of our comparatively larger brains, gynecologist Edwin A. Bowman explains in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. Through millions of years evolution the infant babies' skulls became larger in order to accommodate bigger brains, explained Dr. Bowman. This in turn led to a female pelvis become larger to allow women to give birth to children with larger brains, and this led to the female vagina also becoming less tight."

Submission + - Alexander Graham Bell: Patent Theif? (

DynaSoar writes: "MSNBC is carrying an AP article reviewing a book due out January 7, that claims to show definitive evidence that Bell stole the essential idea for telephony from Elisha Gray Author Seth Shulman shows that Bell's notebooks contain false starts, and then after a 12 day gap during which he visited the US Patent Office, suddenly show an entirely different design, very similar to Gray's design for multiplexing Morse code signals. Shulman claims that Bell copied the design from Gray's patent application and was improperly given credit for earlier submission, with the help of a corrupt patent examiner and aggressive lawyers. Shulman also claims that fear of being found out is the reason Bell distanced himself from the company that carried his name. And if Gray Telephone doesn't seem to roll off the tongue, Shulman also noted that both of them were two decades behind the German inventor Johann Philipp Reis who produced the first working telephony system."

Submission + - SCO Receives Nasdaq Notice Letter (

An anonymous reader writes: This somewhat amusing press release of sorts tells us one of those things we've all been waiting a while for. SCO(X) has announced that: that it received a Nasdaq Staff Determination letter on December 21, 2007 indicating that as a result of having filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel has determined to delist the company's securities from the Nasdaq Stock Market and will suspend trading of the securities effective at the open of business on Thursday, December 27, 2007. PJ at Groklaw has surmised that with effectively zero cash resources left, Novell doesn't stand to get much more than SCO's furniture, if even that. Ding dong, is the wicked witch finally dead yet?

Submission + - Google's Algorithm allows shady tactics (

An anonymous reader writes: Google has been oddly silent about the possibility, but it seems like a very real likelihood that it is possible to damage the google search rankings for your competitor's sites by off site linking schemes that are completely out of the control of the site owners. Now it seems like many black hat seo services will offer the service..... so if you rank 11th for a valuable term, it may be possible to use black hat tactics (or pay a small fee to an expert) to get your competitors knocked out of those coveted top 10 spots.

Submission + - Libraries on Canadian DMCA: Don't restrict rights (

thirty-seven writes: The Canadian Library Association is speaking up in the ongoing debate on copyright reform in Canada. They urge the federal government to keep the rights of consumers in mind when drafting new copyright laws. The CBC article mentions how rigid copyright laws could outlaw the timeshifting of TV shows or backing up a music CD for private use.

The CLA's press release has a list of concerns, including not making Crown copyright more restrictive, specifically naming the American DMCA as something to avoid, and saying:

New copyright legislation must be carefully crafted so that it punishes copyright-infringing behaviour but does not ban devices that might be used to circumvent technological prevention measures.

The Courts

Submission + - Playing Mortal Kombat Used as defense

techpawn writes: "The "Mortal Kombat" explanation that two Colorado teens are using in a murder case won't work as a defense. Two Teens killed a 7 year old emulating moves from the Mortal Kombat video game. "There is no such defense as, 'The video game made me do it.' It won't even act as mitigation at sentencing if these teens are convicted," legal analyst Scott Robinso One of the 17 year old defendants claims he didn't stop due to intoxication. One wonders if he heard "FINISH HER" while drunk.
The Internet

Submission + - Porn Industry to Take on BitTorrent Sites ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: Porn industry representatives gathered at an anti-piracy conference last week to discuss solutions to the ever growing amount of pirated porn that's traded on BitTorrent sites and other P2P-networks.
"Piracy is becoming a serious problem for the adult industry. It is estimated that 5% of all files being shared on public BitTorrent trackers are adult content, and most of these files are copyrighted. In an attempt to stop these sites from spreading their content the porn industry organized an anti-piracy conference."

The Courts

Submission + - FBI Forensic Evidence Discredited

Hugh Pickens writes: "The Washington Post reports that the FBI has abandoned comparative bullet-lead analysis, the technique using chemistry to link crime-scene bullets to ones possessed by suspects on the theory that each batch of lead had a unique elemental makeup, after the National Academy of Sciences said that decades of FBI statements to jurors linking a particular bullet to those found in a suspect's gun or cartridge box were so overstated that such testimony should be considered "misleading under federal rules of evidence." The report added that it found that bullets packaged 15 months apart — a span that assumed separate batches of lead — had the exact composition, potentially undercutting the theory that each batch was unique and that it found that bullets in a single box often had several different lead compositions. NAS says that the flaw is in using a statistical method called chaining (pdf) in which the analyst sequentially compares crime scene bullets to a set of reference bullets assembling them into groups of compositionally indistinguishable bullets which can lead to the formation of artificially large sets of matching bullets. The government has fought releasing the list of the estimated 2,500 cases over three decades in which the FBI performed the flawed analysis."

Submission + - Has Science Become Corrupted?

An anonymous reader writes: Has Science Become Corrupted?

An award winning science author, Gary Taubes has written a book that pans the medical community's treatment of the obesity epidemic. By itself, that isn't particularly worth our time. Diet books are a dime a dozen and we don't cover them on Slashdot anyway.

What is interesting is that it looks like the medical community is behaving in a very unscientific manner. Taubes points out that the current medical orthodoxy has no basis in research. In fact, all the available research points in quite another (more traditional) direction. Here is BoingBoing's take on the story. You can follow the link from there to an excellent podcast of an interview with Taubes on CBC's 'Quirks and Quarks'.

The medical community seems to defer unthinkingly to authority. For instance, when Britain's most respected paediatrician Sir Roy Meadow came up with a crackpot theory (which I thought we have covered on Slashdot but can't find) that sent innocent people to jail, the courts and the medical community bought it hook line and sinker. Of course, he isn't the only one in that boat. Pathologists all over the world have sent innocent people to jail. There's a case in Ontario, Canada right now of a pathologist who screwed up more than twenty cases and sent several people to jail.

People who study expert behavior have found that people need feedback to maintain their expertise. If they don't get the feedback by the nature of the system or because others are too intimidated/lazy to disagree with them, their behavior becomes non-expert. Ericsson points out that surgeons get better as they get older but mammographers don't. Surgeons get feedback immediately. The patient lives or dies. Mammographers may never find out if they are right or wrong.

So, has medicine become a non-science? Is it mostly a non-science? Somewhat? Can physicists feel smug with their repeatable experiments or do they have some 'splainin to do about string theory?

Submission + - Incredible Holmes Comet grows bigger than the sun (

coondoggie writes: "The Sun is no longer the largest object in our solar system. The recently visible-to-the-naked-eye Holmes comet has achieved that distinction today. The comet has a larger gas and dust cloud known as the coma, and consequently it has a larger diameter than the sun according to astronomers at the University of Hawaii. Scientists don't seem to have a guess as to how big it will ultimately become. The Holmes coma's diameter on Nov. 9 was 869,900 miles (1.4 million kilometers), based on measurements by Rachel Stevenson, Jan Kleyna and Pedro Lacerda of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy. The sun's diameter, stated differently by various sources, is about 864,900 miles (1.392 million kilometers)."

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