Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "Standford's School of Medicine brings us an update in the latest achievements towards in-vitro neuron generation via re differentiation of specialized cells (skin cells in this case.) This important progress follows on last year's success in inducing this change with mice skin cells.
The importance of this line of research lies in that the process does not need to first de-differentiate the skin cells into a kind of stem cells known as induced pluripotent stem cells. By skipping this phase, the process avoids potential problems in the body's rejection of the iPS cells.
Amazingly, the transformation occurs with the added presence of 4 proteins (one more protein than need to induce the effect in mice) over several weeks (compared to a few days in mice.) Research continues as the study highlights the significant differences in mice and human neural cells as well as the success rate of transformation (2-4% for human cells, 20% for mice.) The resultant cells aren't yet as capable as naturally derived neurons; generating less-robust electrical signals." Link to Original Source top
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "A study, performed by team of researchers representing various biology and wildlife organizations in the Czech Republic, has noted that Red Foxes show preference for performing 'mousing' (or pouncing) attacks in a roughly north-eastern compass direction. The paper, published in the Biology Letters under Royal Society Publishing (with the free, full text available) speculates that the Fox may have a heretofore unheard of ability to use the Earth's magnetic field as a sort of ‘range finder.’
The technique of mousing is to jump high in the air to surprise the prey (physorg's coverage of the paper includes a video of the technique. Most importantly the attack is often carried out on prey under deep foliage coverage and even tunneling through snow (helping rule against visual perception.)
The study was carried out across 592 jumps-attacks by 84 wild red foxes in 65 localities in the Czech Republic. The study controlled for time of day, season, sex of the fox, age of the fox, and the human observer (23 experienced biologist took part in the study.) Even the direction of the wind was accounted for, which is important for discounting smell and auditory senses in the success probability of attacks (independent of finding a target for attack.) The end result showed that 74% of successful attacks in high cover were confined to a cluster centered about 20 clockwise of magnetic north with a 15% secondary cluster at due south, while attacks in other directions were largely unsuccessful. The Red Foxes preferences tended toward the more successful clusters. If the paper's proposed "magnetic targeting system" is indeed responsible, it would be the first such discovered biological use of magnetic alignment in mammals under the context of hunting." Link to Original Source top
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "Over 170 years after Charles Babbage first described his Analytical Engine, one man seeks to build it in details faithful to its creator's design. That man is John Graham-Cumming, who you may remember for his successful campaign to get Alan Turing an apology from the British Government or maybe you'd better know him for the open source POPFile email filter. Once built, the engine will be donated to a museum. But, in order to fund the construction of this steam-powered mechanical computer, an online pledge has been established. By signing, users pledge to donate at least $10 if enough signatures are reached. The process only requires a name and an email address and has already reached a phenomenal 3,479 signatories. If build, perhaps we can finally see Ada Lovelace's program run on the the machine it was built for. Slashvertisement? No, this is a Slashdrive!" Link to Original Source top
Rat Lung Successfully Regenerated and Transplanted
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "Nature Medicine brings us news of the latest success in the regeneration of the gas exchanging tissues of the lungs of a rat. Led by Harald C. Ott, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston used decellularization to produce a cellular scaffolding to serve as the basis of the transplant lungs. You may recall the previous achievements in use of this cellular scaffolding technique by Yale University. This latest announcement comes with the excellent news that the rat's airway and respiratory muscles performed the necessary ventilation (as a normal rat's would,) and that they provided gas exchange for up to 6 hours after extubation, up from the previous 2 hours. They eventually failed due to capillary leakage resulting in the accumulation of fluids in the lungs. Although there's much work to be done, as not all the cell types found in the lung were regenerated, Ott and his team remain optimistic and estimated we might see regenerated organs for use in human patients within 5 to 10 years.
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "Physorg.com brings us news of a Synthetic Genome, produced by the J. Craig Venter Institute, being used in an existing bacterial cell for the first time. Using a combination of biological hosts, the technique produces short strings of DNA by machine which inserting them into yeast to be stitched together via DNA-repair enzymes. The medium sequences are passed into E. Coli and back into yeast. After three rounds, a genome of three million base pairs was produced.
Specifically, the genome of M. mycoides was synthesized from scratch. This synthetic genome was then inserted into the cells of a bacteria known as Mycoplasm capricolum. The result is a cell, driven by a Syntehtic Genome, producing not the protiens of Mycoplasm capricolum, but of M. mycoides. The institute has far reaching plans for it's synthetic life program, including designing algae that can capture carbon dioxide, make new hydrocarbons for refineries as well as making new chemicals or food ingredients and to speed up vaccine production." Link to Original Source top
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "It was announcement today that the 2009 Nobel prize in Peace will be awarded to President Obama. The committee has been quoted in declaring the award was "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." Exact details are scarce as this story continues to develope. Additional information on the Nobel Prize may be found here." Link to Original Source top
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "Valve has announced the availability of a complete suite of publishing and development tools in a new set of advanced features delivered in Steamworks, available free of charge to developers and publishers worldwide. Part of the new Steamworks suite, the Custom Executable Generation (CEG) technology, compliments already existing anti-piracy solution offered in Steamworks. A customer friendly approach to anti-piracy, CEG makes unique copies of games for each user allowing them to access the application on multiple machines without install limits and without having to install root kits on their PC.
New support for in-game downloadable Content(free or paid,) and matchmaking through a robust lobby system, shipped and tested in Left 4 Dead.
The Steamworks services are offered free of charge to developers and publishers around the world. In addition to the services added in this extension, Steamworks offers support for Steam Achievements, Steam Community, Auto Updating, Statistics, Steam Cloud and more. The Steamworks service is also fully integrated with Steam, but games using the Steamworks API do not have to use the Steam delivery platform." top
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "Ars Technica brings us news from a University of Texas research group which has developed a potentially major advance for prosthetic muscles. Carbon nanotube aerogel sheets stretch both in thickness and width when electric current is pumped into them. The current causes adjacent bundles of nanotubes to repel each other, forcing the gel as a whole to expand. While artificial muscles are not new, this construct holds amazing properties that place it far beyond any previous artificial muscle, even surpassing biological muscles in several categories while only falling just short of biological muscles in one.
With a surprisingly low density of about 1.5 mg/cm3 (cm-cubed, nearly as light as air,) just one gram of this material can cover an area of over 30 m2 (m-squared.) Their thickness can be reduced 400-fold, decreasing their overall volume. Their amazingly elastic, while having appropriate properties of hardness. The properties of the material remain relatively stable From 25C to over 1200C, far beyond what is possible for biological muscles.
While the artificial muscle is temperature-independent and superelastic and has high isometric stress-generation capability, they doesn't measure up to biological muscles in at least one way. Maximum work achieved for every cycle is 30 J/kg, while biological muscles can achieve 40 J/kg. Still, this remains a potent advancement for prosthetics today and perhaps holds great potential for artificial enhancement tomorrow." Link to Original Source top
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "Ars Technica brings us news on the Wii homebrew front. As you may recall, recently firmware version 3.3 was released and countered the popular Twilight Hack. The update would check for corrupted save files and delete them, eliminating the ability to use the file for launching homebrew apps. However, already new holes have been found which allow the user to mask the altered save file as a normal file and continue use of the homebrew apps as usual." top
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "Oscar Pistorius, a 21-year-old South African double-amputee sprinter, has won his appeal filed with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. This overturns a ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations, and allows Mr. Pistorius the chance to compete against other able-bodied athletes for a chance at a place on the South African team for the Beijing Olympics. He currently holds the 400-meter Paralympic world sprinting record, but must improve on his time by 1.01 seconds to meet the Olympic qualification standard. However, even if Pistorius fails to get the qualifying time, South African selectors could add Oscar to the Olympic 1,600-meter relay squad." top
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "Ars Technica heralds the coming of the creature editor for the highly anticipated Spore. A previously promised downloadable demo of the creature editor from the September 7th due game, will be available June 17th. Furthermore, a full version of the creature editor will appear as a standalone product at the same time for $10. ComputerandVideogames.com further illuminates the features of the creature editor, in a their article. According to EA:
"The demo lets players shape, paint and play with an unlimited number of creatures, using 25 percent of the creature-making parts from Spore. Gamers can then share these creations with their friends, including seamless uploads to YouTube."
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "Tired of hearing about Uwe Boll and his terrible game movies? Well, computerandvideogames.com brings us some interesting news. Uwe Boll has dismissed an online petition asking him to stop making movies for its palty 18,000 signitures. However, he says if the petition reaches one million, he will stop working on movies." top
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "Ars Technica brings us an insight from Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock. Stardock has recently the surprisingly well recieved and highly rated Sins of a Solar Empire. Mr. Wardell has come to the conclusion that the pirates don't matter. This runs in striking contrast to Call of Duty 4 developer Infinity Ward's recent proclamation of troubling signs of PC slowing due to piracy. While having no CD copy protection, Sins of a Solar Empire has sold 200,000 copies in the first month of release and landed the #2 spot in Feburary best seller charts, just behind CoD 4 (sans Wal-Mart numbers.)
The way to make money in the world of PC gaming, according to Wardell, is to make sure many systems can play your games, while continuing to make them attractive. Find a market where people want to buy and support the games, and don't go by what the magazines and the blogs seem to think are the big name titles. Don't let people who aren't your audience control the titles you make, and ignore piracy.
The reason why we don't put copy protection on our games isn't because we're nice guys. We do it because the people who actually buy games don't like to mess with it. Our customers make the rules, not the pirates. Pirates don't count.
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "The Associated Press brings us news of a flood in the Grand Canyon. This flood is no ordinary flood, however. This is a man-made flood released from the Glen Canyon Dam. The Dam is releasing four to five times its normal amount of water over the course of a three day artificial flood. Scientists are conducting this massive experiment in order to document and better understand the complex relation of the aquatic habitats, natural floods, and the sediment they bring. Floods no longer bring sediment to these parts of the canyon as the Dam keeps it locked up and released in small, drawn out intervals. The Dam prevents the floods from bringing the sediments into replenish the sandbars and allow the river to maintain its warm, murky habitat rather than a cool, clear one. It is thought that this cool clear environment brought on by the dam is responsible for helping to extinguish 4 species of fish and push 2 more towards the brink. It is hoped that this terra-reformation experiment will positively impact the habitat and fish populations, warranting further artificial floods at an increased rate of every one to two years rather than the time span between the two previous floods and this one of 8 and 4 years." top
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "Ars technica brings us an overview of the FCC Hearing on how to address concerns that Comcast and other ISPs degrade P2P traffic. The article, with MP3 audio clippings of the exchange, addresses Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen's assertion that "Comcast does not block any Web site, application, or Web protocol, including peer to peer services. Period. Doesn't happen." as well as his 6 limitations to what they are doing. While net neutrality advocates where in strong attendance, Ars seems to think Cohen stole the show." top
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "One of only two US new organizations invited to the event, CNN bring us a look into North Korea's Primary Nuclear Facility with an included video report. CNN comments on the dilapidated state of the facility as well as North Korea's current position on the "Axis of Evil." Given a view of the dismantling of the facility, CNN also reflects on the recent news of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra landing in Pyongyang; the first time a major U.S. cultural group has visited North Korea since the war in the early '50s." top
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "Ars Technica brings us news of a disgruntled Washington D.C. Comcast customer who has filed a lawsuit against Comcast over claims of false advertising. The complaint seeks punitive damages, class-action status, and attorneys' fees. The customer claims Comcast advertised "unfettered access to all the content, services, and applications that the Internet has to offer." This may all sound familiar, but it's no dupe: Slashdot covered a remarkably similar previous lawsuit brought against Comcast by a Californian customer back in November. While Comcast would confirm reception of, but not comment on, the lawsuit, Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas has stated: "To be clear, Comcast does not, has not, and will not block any Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services, and no one has demonstrated otherwise."" top
Dr. Eggman (932300) writes "Beyond3D brings us news of Intel's latest acquisition: the game development house Offset Software. Pre-GDC rumors supposed that Intel was possibly talking about purchasing game developer Crytek. While questions abound as to why Intel would purchase a small game developer, working on a promising 3D engine and game, some would point to Intel's enigmatic new graphics architecture, Larrabee. After all, what good would a graphics architecture, with tailor-made API, be without an impressive game/demo to take advantage of it and show it off?"