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Submission + - Terry Pratchett Considers Assisted Suicide Process (

cHALiTO writes: "Beloved science fiction and fantasy writer Terry Pratchett has terminal early-onset Alzheimer's. He's determined to have the option of choosing the time and place of his death, rather than enduring the potentially horrific drawn-out death that Alzheimer's sometimes brings. But Britain bans assisted suicide, and Pratchett is campaigning to have the law changed. As part of this, he has visited Switzerland's Dignitas clinic, an assisted suicide facility, with a BBC camera crew, as part of a documentary will include Britain's first televised suicide. Pratchett took home Dignitas's assisted suicide consent forms."

Submission + - New technique to help develop MMORPG content? (

ShipLives writes: Researchers have developed a new method that can predict MMORPG player behavior. The tool could be used by the game industry to develop new game content, or to help steer players to the parts of a game they will enjoy most. Don't think it should replace user feedback, but pretty cool data-driven approach. Ideally, could help developers make good decisions about new games/expansions.

Submission + - The Modern Day Renaissance Man (

Kilrah_il writes: Not Exactly Rocker Science has an interesting piece about Erez Lieberman Aiden, a scientist that is frequently hopping from one field to another, including "molecular biology, linguistics, physics, engineering and mathematics." This is in contrast to the prevailing trend of specializing in a specific field. "... I think a huge amount of invention is recognising that A and B go together really well, putting them together and getting something better. The limiting step is knowing that A and B exist. And that’s the big disadvantage that one has as a specialist – you gradually lose sight of the things that are around. I feel I just get to see more." Read on to see how failure to map antibodies led to an important discovery of the 3D folding of DNA and how the study of irregular verbs created a new scientific field.

Submission + - China to Construct 50sq-mile City on Idaho ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: China National Machinery Industry Corporation (Sinomach for short) plans to construct a "technology zone" south of Boise Airport which would ultimately be up to 50 square miles in size. The Chinese Communist Party is the majority owner of Sinomach, so the 10,000 to 30,000 acre "self-sustaining city" that is being planned would essentially belong to the Chinese government. "Idaho is the last state that should say we do not want to do business with Asia," Idaho Lt. Gov. Brad Little said last year. "Asia is where the money is." So will all of this "foreign investment" really bring jobs back to the American people? According to Dr. Jerome Corsi, the U.S. government has already set up 257 "foreign trade zones" across America. These "foreign trade zones" will apparently be given "special U.S. customs treatment" and will be used to promote global free trade....

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Mobile Security and Management

Stiffo90 writes: I am currently working for internal IT at a larger company, and with the steadily growing usage of smartphones we have become acutely aware of the security risk they pose.
To my knowledge there are currently no proper encryption software for Windows Phone 7, nor Android or Symbian, and the iPhone encryption is next to useless. Have any of you found good solutions, or for that matter, any solutions for the encryption problem?
Besides the encryption concern, there’s the matter of remote management of company phones, anti-virus and anti-spyware. Taking a look in the various appstores you find a heap of apps labeled “anti-virus” or “anti-spyware”, but what actually works? What software is WORTH the license, and easy enough to use that the end-user doesn’t need to care about it, leaving all of the work to IT?
As a company of several hundred employees, we are also in need of a good management system that can remote deploy and update software, track in case of theft and run remote scans.

Comment A bit of perspective (Score 1) 236

It's important to note that this project was neither independent driven by the student nor was it through the student's high school - he was working as a student in a larger, well established lab. To provide some prospective, in biology it's very common for students (high school or undergraduate) to come in a work in a lab for short periods of time (particularly during the summer). We typically give them introductory projects and they're very heavily mentored (honestly, they typically slow down research more than they help - but we need to get them excited as the next generation of scientists and it's a great recruitment tool for graduate schools); the project described as the in the article is a perfect example. These articles are great because it highlights research and excites students about science. Unfortunately these summaries also hurt us as it makes it appear that discoveries like the one described (which is very premature) are easy and that 'regular scientists' are simply holding back (as evident by a few of the comments already posted here on Slashdot). Kudos to the Mr. Zhang but let's keep in mind that this isn't some student working out of his garage.
First Person Shooters (Games)

Submission + - Garry's Mod catches pirates the fun way (

UgLyPuNk writes: A few hours ago, Garry Newman – the creator of Garry’s Mod – asked, quite innocently, whether anyone was unable to shade polygon normals.

He received a few comments, mostly jokes, but a quick look at Google suggests that there are indeed a few people who are experiencing problems with their game.

you can hear Newman’s chuckling from here. Not the normal response to a wide-spread bug report, but this is no normal bug. It seems that the developer has deliberately enabled an error in GMod, which will only affect people who have pirated the game.

Comment Re:News flash (Score 5, Informative) 757

As someone with a PhD in Immunology, I couldn't agree with you more. While an undergraduate in the 1990s, quite a few of my classmates who were graduating with a BS in Biochemistry left for non-science professions such as banking and consulting because the pay was much better - those that 'remained in science' were mostly pre-med. Of my friends who left science, all were making over $100,000 per year before I finished my PhD. Of my friends who remained in science, all were making well under $100,000 within five years - though that's a bit unfair since the average pay for a graduate student was ~$20,000. Those who left immediately for industry were making around $50k after five years.

I attended a graduate program at a top university (the Immunology program is consistently ranked in the top 10), and of my class only 2 out of 9 (includes me) continued on for a post-doc. The rest went into scientific writing, consulting, teaching, and most into law. With the exception of Biophysics, my friends in the Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Microbiology, and Genes and Development programs report similar experiences. Some of the reason for leaving science was burn out - low pay, long hours; not to mention everyone knew that a post-doc position was worse (which is very much a sink or swim environment). Pay for a post-doc ranges anywhere from $40k - $50k, with no retirement in most places. A post-doc is about a 5 year position, though many people do two post-docs. In comparison, everyone of my graduate school classmates who went into consulting or law were making well, well over $100k per year, with better work hours, with retirement, and with vacation. FYI, as a post-doc, at a top institution, in our three lab group we had 37 post-docs, 4 staff scientists, and two graduate students - 32 of the post-docs/fellows were foreign (though several had received their green card), all 4 of the staff scientists were initially foreign (two green cards, two citizens), and one of the graduate students were foreign. Some of the post-docs/fellows stayed here in the US, some left. The Ph.D. tend to stay, the MDs tend to leave as they can't practice medicine here without a residency.

So you stick it out, worked your 80 hours per week (seriously - it's not forced, but you're competing with the world), and happen to have a Nature, Science, or Cell paper. Let's say you get hired as an assistant professor (for the record, there's nothing 'assistant' about being an 'assistant' professor - it simply means you haven't gone up for tenure review yet. An associate professor is tenured). Pay can vary wildly at top institutions, but starting pay is $90k - $110k per year. This is at a top institution who are recruiting the top post-docs, teaching colleges and second tier research institutions pay less. Industry pay tends to vary quite a bit, but the quality of the people and the positions vary quite a bit as well (the range I've seen is ~$60k - $125k per year. The work hours get better, but not by much (especially before tenure).

For science you have $20k of 5 years of graduate school (no retirement), ~$50k of 6 years of post-doc (assuming only one post-doc, not a safe assumption... oh, and usually no retirement), and you manage to get a top faculty position... $100k. Average age of first faculty position is ~40 (younger if you're foreign by the way given the differences in the educational systems), while working 60-80 hours per week. Compare with all of my peers that peeled off into consulting, law, banking or business who were making far more, far sooner, with vacation, with benefits, with bonuses, with retirement, with a better work schedule the choice is clear. With that said, I love my job (and in fairness, my peers who left science love their jobs), but I'm certainly not encouraging my children to go into science.

Comment Talk to your advisor (Score 1) 1

I saw your journal entry through the firehose. I have a doctorate in immunology, run a lab at the NIH, and train both doctoral candidates and post-docs; though I have no experience with the computational science field beyond bioinformatics. In my field the question you're asking is an important part of the doctoral education as students are expected to publish. If you believe you have a story, talk with your advisor - which, in my field at least, you'll need to do eventually as s/he will be listed as the senior author on the paper. As your advisor should be very heavily involved in your training and research, this shouldn't be a problem. In addition to reading the literature individually, we all regularly attend weekly journal clubs where we review a current paper. This is a critical component of doctoral training. Not only does reading educate you to new ideas within the field, but it exposes you to how papers should be written and the general theme of each journal (For example, Nature Immunology has a slightly different focus than Immunity). A PhD is not simply about working the bench, or in your case, writing code - undergraduates are highly talented. A PhD candidate should have an acute awareness of the field, how their work impacts it, and how to promote the story.

Submission + - Hack is Wack is Hacked

An anonymous reader writes: Snoop Dogg is putting is rapper muscle behind Symantec to fight Cybercrime at a new site It should be no surprise that this has caught the attention of the security community. The Register already reported about one XSS bug found, and SecurityAccord has found yet another redirect bug. The irony, both of them RickRoll the visitors. You have to wonder just how many attacks the site is fighting off...

Submission + - VISA Pulls Plug on ePassporte, Porn Webmasters (

tsu doh nimh writes: Credit card giant VISA International has suspended its business with ePassporte, an Internet payment system widely commonly used to pay adult Webmasters and a raft of other affiliate programs. A number of adult Webmaster forums are up in arms over the move because many of their funds are now stranded. Visa has been silent on the issue so far, but points to an e-mail from ePassporte founder Christopher Mallick saying the unexpected move by Visa wouldn't strand customers indefinitely. Mallick co-directed Middle Men, a Paramount film released in August that tells the story of his experience building one of the world's first porn site payment processing firms, as well as the Russian mobsters, porn stars and FBI agents he ran into along the way. Interestingly, the speculation so far is that Visa cut ties with ePassporte due to new anti-money laundering restrictions in the Credit Card Act of 2009, which affects prepaid cards and other payment card instruments that can be reloaded with funds at places other than financial institutions.

Submission + - 10 Old Tech Ideas That Are New Again ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: There are very few new ideas in technology---but timing is everything. If you looked through old issues of Red Herring, Fast Company, or Wired from the late ‘90s, you’d find plenty of ideas that crashed and burned in the dot-com era, but have taken off 10 years later. With this theme in mind, Xconomy has published a top 10 list of old tech ideas that are new again. They range from daily-deal websites like Groupon and Web-on-TV efforts from Boxee, Google, and Apple, to e-book readers, smartphones, and even nanotech---which has been rebranded as energy and materials companies. In most cases, market timing was the key difference between success and failure.

Submission + - Target to sell Facebook "credits" as gift cards (

Julie188 writes: Target will begin selling Facebook's virtual currency as gift cards on September 5, becoming the first brick-and-mortar retailer to do so. Facebook Credit gift cards will be available in $15, $25 and $50 denominations at the retailer’s 1,750 stores. That's right, you can now spend real dollars to get fake ones so you can buy imaginary items for games like FarmVille, Bejeweled and 150 other FB games or apps. If that interests you, please contact me. I have some swamp land in Florida I'd like to show you ...

Submission + - Advertising Standards Authority gets online power (

deltaromeo writes: I am against censorship, so I am against this new power being given..

"The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is extending its remit to cover the online realm.
It means that online marketing and ads will, from 1 March 2011, be subject to the same strict advertising rules as traditional media.
The ASA will also have the power to ban marketing statements on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Last year, the body received over 3,500 complaints but over half of the adverts were outside of its remit."

On the plus side, the ASA decisions in the past have nearly always been based on common sense and they don't over-zealously ban advertisements or fine the company unless they are truly misleading. They are independent at the moment but who knows when the gov't might decide to take control or exert it's influence on the ASA...and decide that the anti-authoritarian tone of your website is inciting hatred, and then order the removal of all links pointing to your site (a link can be considered an ad, they aren't going to investigate whether you paid for it or not), effectively silencing you. It will be a nightmare to police, with affiliate / ad servers / advertiser all often in different countries and outside their governance..

Submission + - Senate Trying To Slip Internet Kill Switch Past Us (

sanermind writes: Sensing Senators don’t have the stomach to try and pass a stand-alone bill in broad daylight that would give the President the power to shut down the Internet in a national emergency, the Senate is considering attaching the Internet Kill Switch bill as a rider to other legislation that would have bi-partisan support.

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