Friday, May 29, 2009


by Joseph L. Flatley, posted May 29th 2009 at 10:23AM

Are you ready to have your mind blown by some truly incredible gadget news? No, we're not talking about our peek at the Zune HD with none other than Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. In fact, we have spicy hot new Windows licensing details. According to Tech ARP, Microsoft will soon allow end users to downgrade from Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate editions to either Windows Vista Business or Window XP Professional. If that weren't enough, OEMs may now choose to install XP Professional, XP Pro Tablet, or XP Pro X64, instead of Windows Vista Business / Ultimate -- as long as they fulfill a bunch of legalistic requirements regarding activation markers, certificates of authenticity, Windows Vista Logo criteria, and other stuff you probably don't care about. It looks like the repudiation of Windows Vista is continuing apace... and we're guessing that it doesn't stop until it results in a series of war crimes tribunals in The Hague. (We can dream, can't we?)

Cancer Patient Held At Airport For Missing Fingerprints

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday May 28, @02:58PM 
from the john-doe dept.
A 62-year-old man visiting his relatives in the US was held for four hours by immigration officials after they could not detect his fingerprints because of a cancer drug he was taking. The man was prescribed capecitabine, a drug used to treat cancers in the head, neck, breast, and stomach. Some of the drug's side-effects include chronic inflammation of the palms or soles of the feet, which can cause the skin to peel or bleed. "This can give rise to eradication of fingerprints with time," explained Tan Eng Huat, senior consultant in the medical oncology department at Singapore's National Cancer Center. "Theoretically, if you stop the drug, it will grow back, but details are scanty. No one knows the frequency of this occurrence among patients taking this drug and nobody knows how long a person must be on this drug before the loss of fingerprints," he added.

Hackers Breached US Army Servers

Posted by timothy on Thursday May 28, @04:08PM 
from the fine-line-between-clever-and-stupid dept.
SecurityThe MilitaryUnited States
An anonymous reader writes"A Turkish hacking ring has broken into 2 sensitive US Army servers, according to a new investigation uncovered by InformationWeek. The hackers, who go by the name 'm0sted' and are based in Turkey, penetrated servers at the Army's McAlester Ammunition Plant in Oklahoma in January. Users attempting to access the site were redirected to a page featuring a climate-change protest. In Sept, 2007, the hackers breached Army Corps of Engineers servers. That hack sent users to a page containing anti-American and anti-Israeli rhetoric. The hackers used simple SQL Server injection techniques to gain access. That's troubling because it shows a major Army security lapse, and also the ability to bypass supposedly sophisticated Defense Department tools and procedures designed to prevent such breaches."
  • military
  • usa
  • it
  • security
  • story

: Acoustic "Superlens" Could Make Subs Invisible

Posted by kdawson on Friday May 29, @09:04AM 
from the bending-it dept.
The MilitaryScience
Al writes"Nicholas Fang and colleagues at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created the first acoustic superlens, which could be used to create high-resolution ultrasound images, and perhaps ultimately make subs and ships invisible to sonar. Researchers have previously developed materials that bend light in ways that appear to violate the laws of physics, creating so-called optical superlenses. The acoustic superlens consists of an aluminum array of narrow-necked resonant cavities filed with water — the dimensions of the cavities are tuned to interact with ultrasound waves. When ultrasound waves move through the array, the cavities resonate and the sound is refocused."
  • !subtitles
  • ninja
  • !subwoofer
  • science
  • military
  • story

Hardware: French Fusion Experiment Delayed Until 2025 or Beyond

Posted by timothy on Friday May 29, @06:10AM 
from the time-travel-will-patch-things-up dept.
An anonymous reader writes"The old joke is that fusion is the power of the future and always will be. But it's not looking so funny for ITER, an EU10 billion fusion experiment in France. According to Nature News, ITER will not conduct energy-producing experiments until at least 2025 — five years later than what had been previously agreed to. The article adds that the reactor will cost even more than the seven parties in the project first thought:'...Construction costs are likely to double from the 5-billion (US$7-billion) estimate provided by the project in 2006, as a result of rises in the price of raw materials, gaps in the original design, and an unanticipated increase in staffing to manage procurement. The cost of ITER's operations phase, another 5 billion over 20 years, may also rise.'"
  • science
  • fusion
  • iter
  • hardware
  • power
  • story

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Carbohydrate Restriction May Slow Prostate Tumor Growth

ScienceDaily (May 28, 2009) — Restricting carbohydrates, regardless of weight loss, appears to slow the growth of prostate tumors, according to an animal study being published this week by researchers in the Duke Prostate Center.

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Dementia Drugs May Put Some Patients At Risk

ScienceDaily (May 28, 2009) — Side effects associated with several commonly-prescribed dementia drugs may be putting elderly people at risk, says Queen's University Geriatrics professor Sudeep Gill.

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'Glowing' Transgenic Monkeys Carrying Green Fluorescent Protein Gene Pave Way For New Disease Models

ScienceDaily (May 28, 2009) — A transgenic line of monkeys carrying a gene encoding green fluorescent protein fully integrated into their DNA has been created for the first time. The research, published in the journal Nature, marks the first such feat in non-human primates and paves the way for developing new models of human diseases.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Build an $800 Gaming PC

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday May 26, @11:52PM

from the fast-as-you-like dept.
Hardware HackingGames
ThinSkin writes"Building a computer that can handle today's games doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. In fact, you can build one for less than $800, especially given that many hardware manufacturers have cut costs considerably. Loyd Case over at ExtremeTech shows gamers how to build an $800 gaming PC, one that features an overclockable Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 and a graphics-crunching EVGA 260 GTX Core 216. The computer exceeded expectations in gaming and synthetic tests, and was even overclocked well over spec at 3.01GHz."

How are Social Security numbers generated? Are they recycled?

Prudenville, Michigan
Dear Dan:
We wanted to go straight to the source on this one, so we headed to the Social Security Administration (SSA) web site. Once there, we made a beeline for the FAQ section and got down to business.

First, we focused our search by selecting the "Social Security Numbers and Cards" topic. After a moment or two of browsing, we spotted "Is there any significance to the numbers assigned in the Social Security number?" The answer explained that the first three digits of a Social Security number are assigned based on the geographical location of the person obtaining a number. The remaining six digits are "more or less randomly assigned."

Next, we returned to the FAQ, searching for an answer to your second question. Lo and behold, we found "Are Social Security numbers re-assigned after a person dies?" In the answer, the SSA states it does not re-assign numbers after the original holder's death. So far, over 400 million SSNs have been issued, and about 6 million new numbers are assigned annually. Apparently there are enough numbers left to last for several generations.

Cognitive Psychologists Show Conversations Lower Visual Abilities

August 1, 2005 — A study showed that the part of the brain that controls vision becomes less active when people focus on something visually while having a conversation -- underscoring the hazards of talking on your cell phone while driving. Human factors experts say hands-free phones do not lower risk. Drivers on the phone are four times more likely to have accidents.

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White House To Appoint "Internet Czar"

Posted by timothy on Tuesday May 26, @09:36AM

from the with-enough-czars-all-things-are-possible dept.
SecurityGovernmentThe InternetUnited States
An anonymous reader writes"The Washington Post reports that President Obama is set to appoint a 'Cybersecurity czar with a broad mandate': 'The adviser will have the most comprehensive mandate granted to such an official to date and will probably be a member of the National Security Council but will report to the national security adviser as well as the senior White House economic adviser, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deliberations are not final. The announcement will coincide with the long-anticipated release of a 40-page report that evaluates the government's cybersecurity initiatives and policies. The report is intended to outline a "strategic vision" and the range of issues the new adviser must handle, but it will not delve into details, administration officials told reporters last month.' Cynics are expecting the appointee to be a lawyer for the RIAA."

Brazilian RC helicopter cellphone delivery service busted

by Tim Stevens, posted May 26th 2009 at 8:22AM

What do you do when your cellphone-smuggling carrier pigeons get caught on their way to the big house? Why, you go higher tech, of course. Those texting-crazed Brazlian ultra-max prisoners hatched a new plot to fly a radio controlled helicopter up over the wall of a prison, dropping diaper-swaddled handsets into the awaiting hands of criminal non-masterminds on the inside. Unfortunately for them, police foiled the plan when they pulled over the accomplices on the outside, confiscating the chopper, a suite of phones, and arresting the four who were paid just $5,000 to get the plan airborne. Our suggestion for their next attempt? Jetpacks.

Virus Tamed To Attack Cancer, Cancer Drugs To Treat Alcoholism

Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Monday May 25, @02:04PM

from the and-alcohol-to-treat-the-common-cold dept.
ScienceDaily is reporting that scientists at Oxford University seem to have adapted a virus so that it attacks cancer cells but does not hurt healthy cells."Adenovirus is a DNA virus widely used in cancer therapy but which causes hepatic disease in mice. Professor Len Seymour and colleagues found that introducing sites into the virus genome that are recognized by microRNA 122 leads to hepatic degradation of important viral mRNA, thereby diminishing the virus' ability to adversely affect the liver, while maintaining its ability to replicate in and kill tumor cells."Relatedly, cancer drugs already approved for use may be cross-functional as a treatment for alcohol addiction."Now, the researchers show that flies and mice treated with erlotinib also grow more sensitive to alcohol. What's more, rats given the cancer-fighting drug spontaneously consumed less alcohol when it was freely available to them. Their taste for another rewarding beverage -- sugar water -- was unaffected."

Menopause Transition May Cause Trouble Learning

ScienceDaily (May 26, 2009) — The largest study of its kind to date shows that women may not be able to learn as well shortly before menopause compared to other stages in life. The research is published in the May 26, 2009, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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New Memory Material May Hold Data For One Billion Years

ScienceDaily (May 26, 2009) — Packing more digital images, music, and other data onto silicon chips in USB drives and smart phones is like squeezing more strawberries into the same size supermarket carton. The denser you pack, the quicker it spoils. The 10 to 100 gigabits of data per square inch on today's memory cards has an estimated life expectancy of only 10 to 30 years. And the electronics industry needs much greater data densities for tomorrow's iPods, smart phones, and other devices.

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