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[#] Sun Apr 19 2009 14:16:00 EDT from Soulskill

Subject: Stem Cell Treatment To Cure the Most Common Cause of Blindness

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The Times Online reports that researchers from the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London and Moorfields eye hospital have developed stem cell therapy that can treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness. They are currently moving the treatment through the regulatory approval process, and clinical trials are expected to start within two years. Quoting: "Under the new treatment, embryonic stem cells are transformed into replicas of the missing cells. They are then placed on an artificial membrane which is inserted in the back of the retina. ... [Professor Pete Coffey, director of the London Project to Cure Blindness] said the treatment would take 'less than an hour, so it really could be considered as an outpatient procedure. We are trying to get it out as a common therapy.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/MgBNTfE3DEQ/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 19 2009 15:38:00 EDT from Soulskill

Subject: Making a Game of the News

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As traditional news media struggles to find a new method and business model for dissemination over the internet, some are suggesting that news-related games could be an avenue worth pursuing. Rather than using such games solely as entertainment, journalists could make some of their reports more educative and interactive, allowing readers to choose which threads of a story they would like to follow. Georgia Tech is currently running a research blog to better understand how games and journalism can interact. "The point to consider here is that the two processes do not have to be mutually exclusive, and may even be complementary. Just a couple of years ago, we were wondering if the blogosphere was trivializing journalism; now, most of us, including traditional journalists, are willing to accept the fact that the two can not only live in harmony but also play off of each other. Similarly, online games could help break down complex topics, and stimulate audience interest in the more mundane ones."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/Bzmuxv0cLSk/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 19 2009 16:56:00 EDT from Soulskill

Subject: British Spy Agency Searches For Real-Life 'Q'

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suraj.sun writes with this quote from the Associated Press:"Britain's domestic spy agency — MI5 — is hunting for its very own 'Q,' of sorts. MI6's sister organization, which carries out surveillance on terror suspects inside Britain and gives security advice to the government, is searching for someone to lead its scientific work. Projects could include everything from developing counterterrorism technology to tackling a biological or chemical attack. 'Looking for a chief scientific adviser to lead and coordinate the scientific work of the security service so that the service continues to be supported by excellent science and technology advice,' MI5's Web site ad reads. MI5 has long had a roster of scientific staff tasked with developing high-tech gadgets, but an official said the service now wants a high-profile figure to lead pioneering work in technology and science. The adviser's work will focus chiefly on creating sophisticated new tools to help security service officers carry out surveillance and analysis work, said a government security official, who requested anonymity to discuss the work of MI5."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/ri3Y4-5n2CI/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 19 2009 18:17:00 EDT from Soulskill

Subject: Telepresence --- Our Best Bet For Exploring Space

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Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute recently wrote an opinion piece for the NY Times discussing the limitations of our space technology. He makes the harsh point that transporting human beings to other star systems isn't a reasonable goal even on a multi-generational time frame. However, advances in robotics and data gathering could instead bring the planets and stars to us, and do it far sooner. Quoting: "Sending humans to the stars is simply not in the offing. But this is how we could survey other worlds, around other suns. We fling data-collecting, robotic craft to the stars. These proxy explorers can be very small, and consequently can be shot spaceward at tremendous speed even with the types of rockets now available. Robot probes don't require life support systems, don't get sick or claustrophobic and don't insist on round-trip tickets. ... These microbots would supply the information that, fed to computers, would allow us to explore alien planets in the same way that we navigate the virtual spaces of video games or wander through online environments like Second Life. High-tech masks and data gloves, sartorial accessories considerably more comfortable than a spacesuit, would permit you to see the landscape, touch objects and even smell the air."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/UavwBGpgZ0k/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 19 2009 19:22:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: Reflections On the Less-Cool Effects of Filesharing

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surpeis writes "This snub is an attempt to point the finger at something I feel has been widely ignored in the ever-lasting debate surrounding (illegal) filesharing, now again brought in the spotlight by the Pirate Bay trial. I should state that I am slightly biased, as I have been running my own indie label for some years, spanning about 30 releases. It's now history, but it was not filesharing that got the best of us, just for the record." (surpeis's argument continues below.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/QDu-ej7MNik/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 19 2009 20:30:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: Rugged Linux Server For Rural, Tropical Environment?

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travalas writes "Last year I moved to Rural Bangladesh. My work is pretty diverse, everything from hacking web apps to designing building materials. Increasingly a Linux VM on my MacBook Pro is insufficient due to storage speed/processing constraints and the desire to interface more easily with some sensor packages. There are a few issues that make that make a standard server less than desirable. This server will generally not be running with any sort of climate control and it may need to move to different locations so would also be helpful if it was somewhat portable. The environment here is hot, humid and dusty and brutal on technology and power is very inconsistent so it will often be on a combination of Interruptible Power Supply and solar power. So a UPS is a must and low power consumption desirable, so it strikes me that an Integrated UPS a la Google's servers would be handy. Spec wise it needs to be it needs to be able to handle several VM's and some other processor storage intensive tasks. So 4 cores, 8GB of ram and 3-4 TB of SATA storage seems like a place to start for processing specs. What sort of hardware would you recommend without breaking the bank?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/3a3OaJW5MKA/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 19 2009 21:36:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: 12 Small Windmills Put To the Test In Holland

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tuna writes "A real-world test by the Dutch province of Zeeland (a very windy place) demonstrates that small windmills are a fundamentally flawed technology (PDF of tests results in Dutch, English summary). Twelve much-hyped micro wind turbines were placed in a row on an open plain. Their energy yield was measured over a period of one year (April 1, 2008 — March 31, 2009), the average wind velocity during these 12 months was 3.8 meters per second, slightly higher than average. Three windmills broke. The others recorded ridiculously low yields, in spite of the optimal conditions. It would take up to 141 small windmills to power an average American household entirely using wind energy, for a total cost of 780,000 dollars. The test results show clearly that energy return is closely tied to rotor diameter, and that the design of the windmill hardly matters."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/CfbjTg0jqME/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 19 2009 22:42:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: Anonymous Network I2P 0.7.2 Released

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Mathiasdm writes "The Invisible Internet Project, also known as I2P, has seen its 0.7.2 release (download). I2P uses multiple encryption layers, and routing through several other computers to hide both sender and receiver of messages. On top of the network, regular services such as mail, browsing, file sharing and chatting are supported. This release (and all of the releases since 0.7) is at the start of a new development period, in which the I2P developers wish to spread the word about the secure network. This new release includes performance improvements, a first edition of an experimental new desktop interface and security improvements (by limiting the number of tunnels a single peer can participate in)."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/DDk-MSe570I/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 19 2009 23:59:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: J.G. Ballard Dies at Age 78

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jefu writes "J.G. Ballard, an author (of science fiction and other fiction) has died. His works include some of the strangest and most compelling novels ever, including 'The Crystal World,' 'Crash' and 'The Atrocity Exhibition.' For a truly weird read, try his 'Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race," compared with Alfred Jarry's "The Crucifixion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race.'" Here is Ballard's obituary at the BBC.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/LdpDS68H8rE/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 19 2009 03:39:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: Looking To Spammers To Solve Hard AI Problems

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An anonymous reader writes "With bots getting closer to beating text-based CAPTCHAs for good, New Scientist points out that when they do, OCR technology will at least have advanced. The article goes on to suggest that whatever kind of reverse Turing Test that comes next should be chosen to motivate spammers to solve other pressing AI problems, such as image recognition. Are there any other problems that criminal crowdsourcing could help with?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/BTkuyAqj6-I/article.pl

[#] Mon Apr 20 2009 01:16:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: Cornell Grad Students Go Ballooning (Again)

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ballooner writes "A group of Cornell University graduate students are attempting to break the Amateur Radio Ballooning duration record this weekend. The project is a continuation from last year when some other Cornell grad students broke the altitude record. The progress of the team can be tracked via their Twitter feed or by monitoring their APRS beacons. For all the HAMs out there, downlinks are available on a 30m wavelength, too."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/cNCbs9iTP6E/article.pl

[#] Mon Apr 20 2009 04:07:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: eReader.com Limits E-book Sales To US Citizens

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An anonymous reader writes "eReader.com seems to have begun applying distribution restrictions to its library. I first noticed that there was a FAQ page about distribution restrictions this morning. When I tried to order a few books this afternoon I simply couldn't — a large banner on the order confirmation told me the books had distribution restrictions. I checked a number of titles but it seems a large number of books are no longer available to non-US citizens like me. It is interesting to note that this policy change got implemented shortly after Barnes&Noble purchased Fictionwise. I have no idea if the new owners are behind this new policy but it seems crazy to restrict sales of ebooks. I've bought dozens of ebooks from eReader the past 4 years. I still have 15 dollar store credit but cannot buy any of the books I am interested in." (Right now, the link that should display these new geographic restrictions returns an error message that says the page is being updated.) Sounds like Barnes & Noble is taking its cues from Apple.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/3ZYW46FCEl8/article.pl

[#] Mon Apr 20 2009 07:09:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: Nexr-Gen Nuclear Power Plant Breaks Ground In China

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An anonymous reader writes "The construction of first next-generation Westinghouse nuclear power reactor breaks ground in Sanmen, China. The reactor, expected to generate 12.7 Megawatts by 2013, costs 40 billion Yuan (~US$6 billion; that's a lot of iPods.) According to Westinghouse, 'The AP1000 is the safest and most economical nuclear power plant available in the worldwide commercial marketplace, and is the only Generation III+ reactor to receive Design Certification from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).' However, Chinese netizens suspect China is being used as a white rat to test unproven nuclear technologies (comments in Chinese)."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/7bw9M40bhhQ/article.pl

[#] Mon Apr 20 2009 07:09:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: Next-Gen Nuclear Power Plant Breaks Ground In China

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An anonymous reader writes "The construction of first next-generation Westinghouse nuclear power reactor breaks ground in Sanmen, China. The reactor, expected to generate 12.7 Megawatts by 2013, costs 40 billion Yuan (~US$6 billion; that's a lot of iPods.) According to Westinghouse, 'The AP1000 is the

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/7bw9M40bhhQ/article.pl

[#] Mon Apr 20 2009 10:13:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: Skin-Based Display Screens From Nanotech Tattoos

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destinyland writes "Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York is developing flexible nanotubes inserted under the skin to create a handheld display — inside your hand. They wirelessly receive data and display reminders and text messages, and the concept has also been broadened to suggest endlessly programmable digital tattoos, while Netherlands-based Royal Philips Electronics is also exploring the concept of the body as 'a platform for electronics and interactive skin technologies'." That middle link is quite old, but is still loaded with interesting links.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/hAp0hekl0aY/article.pl

[#] Mon Apr 20 2009 10:13:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: Skin-Based Display Screens From Nanotech Tattoos

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

destinyland writes "Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York is developing flexible nanotubes inserted under the skin to create a handheld display — inside your hand. They wirelessly receive data and display reminders and text messages, and the concept has also been broadened to suggest endlessly programmable digital tattoos, while Netherlands-based Royal Philips Electronics is also exploring the concept of the body as 'a platform for electronics and interactive skin technologies'." That middle link is quite old, but is still loaded with interesting links.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/hAp0hekl0aY/article.pl

[#] Mon Apr 20 2009 07:09:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: Next-Gen Nuclear Power Plant Breaks Ground In China

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

An anonymous reader writes "The construction of first next-generation Westinghouse nuclear power reactor breaks ground in Sanmen, China. The reactor, expected to generate 12.7 Megawatts by 2013, costs 40 billion Yuan (~US$6 billion; that's a lot of iPods.) According to Westinghouse, 'The AP1000 is the safest and most economical nuclear power plant available in the worldwide commercial marketplace, and is the only Generation III+ reactor to receive Design Certification from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).' However, Chinese netizens suspect China is being used as a white rat to test unproven nuclear technologies (comments in Chinese)." Update: 04/20 07:28 GMT by T : As several readers have pointed out, this plant will generate much more than 12.7 Megawatts -- more like 1100 MWe.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/7bw9M40bhhQ/article.pl

[#] Mon Apr 20 2009 04:07:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: eReader.com Limits E-book Sales To US Citizens

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

An anonymous reader writes "eReader.com seems to have begun applying distribution restrictions to its library. I first noticed that there was a FAQ page about distribution restrictions this morning. When I tried to order a few books this afternoon I simply couldn't — a large banner on the order confirmation told me the books had distribution restrictions. I checked a number of titles but it seems a large number of books are no longer available to non-US citizens like me. It is interesting to note that this policy change got implemented shortly after Barnes&Noble purchased Fictionwise. I have no idea if the new owners are behind this new policy but it seems crazy to restrict sales of ebooks. I've bought dozens of ebooks from eReader the past 4 years. I still have 15 dollar store credit but cannot buy any of the books I am interested in." (Right now, the link that should display these new geographic restrictions returns an error message that says the page is being updated.) Sounds like Barnes & Noble is taking its cues from Apple.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/3ZYW46FCEl8/article.pl

[#] Mon Apr 20 2009 01:16:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: Cornell Grad Students Go Ballooning (Again)

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

ballooner writes "A group of Cornell University graduate students are attempting to break the Amateur Radio Ballooning duration record this weekend. The project is a continuation from last year when some other Cornell grad students broke the altitude record. The progress of the team can be tracked via their Twitter feed or by monitoring their APRS beacons. For all the HAMs out there, downlinks are available on a 30m wavelength, too."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/cNCbs9iTP6E/article.pl

[#] Sun Apr 19 2009 23:59:00 EDT from timothy

Subject: J.G. Ballard Dies at Age 78

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

jefu writes "J.G. Ballard, an author (of science fiction and other fiction) has died. His works include some of the strangest and most compelling novels ever, including 'The Crystal World,' 'Crash' and 'The Atrocity Exhibition.' For a truly weird read, try his 'Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race," compared with Alfred Jarry's "The Crucifixion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race.'" Here is Ballard's obituary at the BBC.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



http://rss.slashdot.org:80/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/LdpDS68H8rE/article.pl

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