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Why Johnny Can't Speak: a Cost of Paywalled Research

dstates Re:Having worked for a Springer journal, (189 comments)

A "just price" might be acceptable, but the publishers have abused the market bundling thousands of journals together into packages for which they charge libraries millions of dollars a year and forbid the librarians from disclosing how much they paid. Charging $40+ per article when the reader cannot even determine in advance whether it will be a useful article and has no way to get their money back if it is not is also not a solution.

about a year ago
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Why Johnny Can't Speak: a Cost of Paywalled Research

dstates Academic co-dependency (189 comments)

The proprietary publishers have established an elaborate co-dependency relationship with academics. Academics depend on journal editorships and citations for promotion. Editors get many perks and prestige as a result of being an editor, but the selection of who becomes the editor is up to the publisher. Reviewers get pre-publication access to results. Yes, the reviewers are supposed to hold the information in confidence, but does pre-publication access help them in thinking about which directions to take in their own work? Absolutely. An extensive web of co-dependence has evolved between the proprietary publishers and the academic community.

Academics generally do not receive royalties from journal articles, but they do from book publications. Who publishes those books? The same publishers that publish the proprietary journals. Who selects which authors will be invited to publish books? The publishers.

Elite institutions and large university systems negotiate discounted and preferred subscription agreements giving their researchers free access to a wide range of journals, which in turn makes it more attractive for academic "stars" to go to those institutions. The faculty at those schools benefit from these favorable access agreements. Are we surprised that University of California faculty voted against open access?

It is also not just speech and language research. The majority of work in fields like cancer research is also published in paywalled journals. Cancer patients may not be able to wait a year before articles appear in open access archives.

The vast majority of academic work is supported by public funding, and charitable foundations support most of what is not government supported. High time to require open access. The academics are not going to do it themselves.

about a year ago
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California Cancels $208 Million IT Overhaul Halfway Through

dstates Re:Government + Consultants = Failure (185 comments)

Ask Mitt Romney about IT consultants. He may have actually outspent Obama on IT, and look where it got him.

about 2 years ago
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Patient Access To Electronic Medical Records Strengthened By New HHS Rules

dstates Re:About time but is it enough (53 comments)

And they will come back at you for a HIPAA privacy violation. Your scenario implies that to save IT complexity and expense, you are willing to risk patient confidentiality. You are not going to come across as a sympathetic defendant, especially when they say the only reason they were looking was to test the system security which they found wanting but were afraid to report to their greedy boss looking for an excuse to fire people.

about 2 years ago
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How Do You Give a Ticket To a Driverless Car?

dstates Re:Isn't it obvious... (337 comments)

Ah yes, the faultless red light camera ticketing the guaranteed to obey the law driverless car. Proof that machines are fallible. Of course, this would probably escalate into a lawsuit between the traffic cam vendor and the driverless car service, both claiming that the other was falsely impugning the reputation of their product...

about 2 years ago
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GE develops ultra-thin, almost-silent cooler for next-gen laptops and tablets

dstates Too bad too late (1 comments)

Too bad that this technology arrived after most laptops and tablets have moved on using efficient processor architectures and other battery life extending technology to reduce power consumption and avoid the need for cooling fans altogether.

about 2 years ago
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GM brings IT dev back in house - self driving Caddy in the works

dstates Future of the car (1 comments)

Smart car of the future - think about a mobile phone with surround sound, heads up display, tactile feedback, climate control and access to a kilowatt of processor power.

more than 2 years ago
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Harris Exits Cloud Hosting, Citing Fed Server Hugging

dstates They did not target startups and small business (95 comments)

Everyone wants to keep their data close to their chest, but only the Feds and Fortune 500 companies have the resources to actually do it. For a startup or small business, cloud services are a god send. Compared to the costs of building a data center and staffing an IT department, a good cloud provider gets you up instantly and expands seamlessly. Harris targeted the wrong audience and/or they could not compete with Amazon.

more than 2 years ago
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Study Says E-prescription Systems Would Save At Least 50k Lives a Year

dstates Re:The begin of the article misleads... (134 comments)

Agree. The IOM study cited in the article is more than a decade out of date and there are many causes of preventable adverse events. In some respects, electronic order entry systems actually confound the allergy and adverse reaction problem because comments about allergies accumulate and are never reviewed. An elderly patient may have mentioned a decade ago that they were "allergic" to some medication because they got a headache after they took it, but once that allergy is on the drug allergy list, no one is going to put themselves on the line and delete it. As a result, the lists of drug allergies tend to accumulate junk over time and may prevent physicians from using the most appropriate medication.

more than 2 years ago
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EFF Launching 'Patent Fail' Campaign

dstates Copyright is the real problem (72 comments)

Copyrights are an increasing problem. Patents expire after 20 years. OK, 20 years is a long time in technology, but they do expire. Copyright is the better part of a century and the line between concept and copy is disappearing. In many areas of science, private multinational corporations hold copyright on almost all of the literature. It is literally impossible for a physician to practice medicine or an engineer to work without copying material from copyright texts in the form of medical orders or design procedures.

more than 2 years ago
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Real-World Outcomes Predicted Using Social Media

dstates Is it the content or the buzz? (93 comments)

The fact that the tweets predict the sales in advance of the movies release or people actually seeing the movie raises an interesting question. Is it the content of the movie or the "buzz" that really matters?

more than 4 years ago
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Slimming Down a Supercomputer

dstates Re:Strange... (64 comments)

Like the fact that the power consumption density is now so high that they need to go to a rack system with water cooling. Back to the good old days of the IBM 360.

more than 4 years ago
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Public School Teachers Selling Lesson Plans Online

dstates Re:*First post.. (590 comments)

Faculty at public universities still own their royalties. School teachers and university faculty are not so different. Both are professionals and both get tenure in most states. If a school district gave a teacher release time and specific instructions to develop a lesson plan, that would be work for hire. Much more frequently, the school district just assumes that the teacher will make preparations on their own time. In that case, it is not work for hire. If you want to pay teachers overtime for all the work they put in at home preparing for class, I am sure a lot of teachers would be happy to see the additional pay. But if the teacher does work on their own time, they should own their intellectual property.

more than 5 years ago
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Public School Teachers Selling Lesson Plans Online

dstates Re:*First post.. (590 comments)

Professors have been writing textbooks and getting royalties for centuries. What is the big deal?

more than 5 years ago
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The Fresca Rebellion

dstates Right to tax (776 comments)

Bottom line on taxes is that the government has the right to tax anything in any amount even to the point of extinction. The logic of taxes is also simple, if you don't want people to do something, increase the tax on it. Europeans don't want to spend all their money importing oil so they tax gasoline out the wazoo and guess what, people do not drive SUVs. We do not want kids to start smoking so we increase the taxes on cigarettes to $4 per pack and guess what, kids are not smoking as much. Association between the introduction of corn based high calorie sweeteners and the onset of the obesity epidemic is pretty strong, and there is a good scientific basis for linking the two (you eat more, you get fat, just like your mother told you). We do not want to pay lots of money taking care of diabetes, heart attack, stroke or kidney failure so it makes sense to tax calories. But don't stop with soda, also tax french fries, donuts and supersize whopper burgers. BTW, the NEJM article specifically does not advocate taxing diet drinks like Fresca.

more than 5 years ago
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ASCAP Wants To Be Paid When Your Phone Rings

dstates Re:Slippery slope on "public performance" (461 comments)

Actually, they are asking the stereo manufacturers to put Doppler radar and a credit card reader into speaker systems so that they can count the number of heart beats listening to a song and bill you accordingly. After all, the Barry Manilow Foundation needs to get paid every time your girlfriend listens to your CD with you.

more than 5 years ago
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Why Doctors Hate Science

dstates Not getting P<0.05 does not mean false (1064 comments)

Just because a trial failed to reach P<0.05 in testing efficacy does not mean the treatment has no benefit. As we learn more and more about patients, we realize that everyone really is unique. The problem is that to conduct a double blind prospective study with good statistical power to test a treatment gets harder and harder as we categorize patients into smaller and smaller groups. At some point, you need to use inference, i.e., doctors need to think hard about the available evidence and make a decision even though we have not had the luxury of accumulating a large cohort of patients to conduct and adequately powered clinical trial. Demanding that standard of care be restricted to only those treatments that have demonstrated efficacy in an adequately powered randomized clinical trial is going to leave anyone with a rare disorder out in the cold, and more importantly, untreated.

Second point. Conducting a randomized clinical trial takes years, sometimes decades. And then you need to replicate the result in an independent trial to be really sure. Restricting standard of care to only those treatments that have demonstrated efficacy is going to make the standard of care lag many years behind the current state of biomedical knowledge. Are you really willing to pass up your physician's best advice on care while you wait for it to work through the trials process?

more than 5 years ago
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Should the United States' New CTO Really Be a CIO?

dstates Be carefule what you ask for... (243 comments)

Be careful what you ask for. Centralizing authority mean centralizing control and potentially restricting citizen access to open government. At one point, the Government Printing Office was arguing that it had a constitutional mandate to run all government websites because this was a form of publication. Anyone who ever had dealings with the GPO knows what a disaster this would have been.

more than 6 years ago

Submissions

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When you can scan the entire Internet in under an hour

dstates dstates writes  |  about a year ago

dstates (629350) writes "A team of researchers at the University of Michigan has realeased Zmap, a tool that allows an ordinary server to scan every address on the Internet in just 45 minutes. This is a task that used to take months, but now is accessible to anyone with a fast internet connection. In their announcement Friday, at the Usenix security conference in Washington they provide interesting examples tracking HTTPS deployment over time, the effects of Hurricane Sandy on Internet infrastructure, but also rapid identification of vulnerable hosts for security exploits. As Washington Post Blog discussing the work shows examples of the rate with which of computers on the Internet have been patched to fix Universal Plug and Play, “Debian weak key” and “factorable RSA keys” vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, in each case it takes years to deploy patches and in the case of UPnP devices, they found 2.56 million (16.7 percent) devices on the Internet and not yet upgraded years after the vulnerability had been described. Zero day exploits just became zero hour."
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Detroit Emergency Dispatch System Failes

dstates dstates writes  |  about a year and a half ago

dstates (629350) writes "For most of Friday, police and firefighters in Detroit were forced to operate without their usual dispatch radio when the emergency dispatch system failed. The radio system used for communication between 911 dispatchers and Detroit's police, fire and EMS crews went down around 5:30 a.m. Friday morning, causing a backlog of hundreds of calls and putting public safety at risk. Michigan State Police allowed Detroit's emergency system to use the state's communication towers, but access was restricted to top priority calls out of fear of overloading the State system.

More than 60 priority 1 calls and more than 170 non-emergency calls were backed up. With no dispatch to communicate if something went wrong and backup was needed, police were forced to send officers out in pairs for safety concerns on priority 1 calls.

Detroit’s new police chief, James Craig, says he's "appalled" that a redundant system did not kick in. The outage occurred only days after Craig took office. The $131 million dollar Motorola system was installed in 2005 amid controversy over its funding. Spokesmen for Motorola said parts of the system were regularly maintained but acknowledged that backup systems had not been tested in the past two years. They said the problem was a hardware glitch in the link between dispatch and the individual radios. As of 9 p.m. Friday Motorola spokesman said that the system was stable and that the company would continue troubleshooting next week."

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Massive security breech at US Federal Government contractors site

dstates dstates writes  |  about 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "SAM (Systems for Awards Management) is a financial management system that the US government requires all contractors and grantees to use. This system has recently been rolled out to replace the older CCR system. Last night, thousands of SAM users received the following message:

"Dear SAM user

The General Services Administration (GSA) recently has identified a security vulnerability in the System for Award Management (SAM), which is part of the cross-government Integrated Award Environment (IAE) managed by GSA. Registered SAM users with entity administrator rights and delegated entity registration rights had the ability to view any entity’s registration information, including both public and non-public data at all sensitivity levels."

From March 8 to 10, any registered user who searched the system could view confidential information including account and social security numbers for any other user of the system. Oops! The Government Services administration says that they have fixed the problem, but this is a serious black eye for the Fed."

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ProPublica Guide to News App Tech

dstates dstates writes  |  about 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "ProPublica, the award winning public interest journalism group and frequently cited Slashdot source has published an interesting guide to app technology for journalism and a set of data and style guides. Journalism presents unique challenges with potentially enormous but highly variable site traffic, the need to serve a wide variety of information, and most importantly, the need to quickly develop and vet interesting content, and ProPublica serves lots of data sets in addition to the news. They are also doing some cool stuff like using AI to generate specific narratives from tens of thousands of database entries illustrating how school districts and states often don't distribute educational opportunities to rich and poor kids equally. The ProPublica team focuses on some basic practical issues for building a team, rapidly and flexibly deploying technology and insuring that what they serve is correct. A great news app developer needs three key skills, the ability to do journalism, design acumen and the ability to write code quickly, and the last is the easiest to teach. To build a team they look to their own staff rather than competing with Google for CS grads. Most news organizations use either Ruby on Rails or Python/Django, but more important than which specific technology you choose, pick a server-side programming language and stick to it. Cloud hosting provides news organizations with incredible flexibility (like how do you increase your capacity ten fold for a few days around the election and then scale back the day after), but they're not as fast as real servers, and cloud costs can scale quickly relative to real servers. Maybe a news app is not the most massive"big data" application out there, but where else can you find the challenge of millions of users checking in several times a day for the latest news, and all you need to do is sort out which of your many and conflicting sources are providing you with straight information? Oh, and if you screw up, it will be very public."
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NASA: huge water loss in the Middle East

dstates dstates writes  |  about 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "Water is a huge global security issue. To understand the middle east, you need to understand that the Golan Heights provides a significant amount of the water used in Israel. Focusing on conflicts and politics means that huge volumes of valuable water are being wasted in the Middle East, and this will only exacerbate future conflicts. Water is a serious issue between India and China. And then there is Africa.US food exports are in effect exporting irrigation water drawn from the Ogallala aquifer. Fracking trades water for energy, and lack of water limits fracking in many parts of th world. Think about it."
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Patient Access to Electronic Medical Records Strengthened by New HHS Rules

dstates dstates writes  |  about 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "The Department of Health and Human Services has released newly revised rules for the Health Information Privacy and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to insure patient access to electronic copies of their electronic medical records. Several years ago, there was a great deal of excitement about personalized health information management (e.g. Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health). Unfortunately, patients found it difficult to obtain their medical records from providers in formats that could easily be imported. Personalized health records were time consuming and difficult to maintain so these initiatives have not lived up to their expectations (e.g. Google Health has been discontinued). The new rules should address this directly and hopefully will revitalized interest personal health information management.

The new HIPAA rules also greatly strengthen patient privacy, the ability of patients to control who sees their medical information, and increases the penalties for leaking medical records information. “Much has changed in health care since HIPAA was enacted over fifteen years ago,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The new rule will help protect patient privacy and safeguard patients’ health information in an ever expanding digital age.”"

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Cool Technology - Smart ice cubes tell you when you have had enough

dstates dstates writes  |  about 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "In just 6 weeks an MIT researcher created smart ice cubes that monitor your drinking. After an alcohol induced blackout motivated a bit of introspection, Dhairya Dand pulled together a coin cell battery, an ATtiny microcontroller, and an IR transceiver molded into gelatin to create self-aware glowing ice-cubes. The cubes glow and beat to the ambient music, but more importantly, they know how fast and how much you are drinking, and they change color from green to orange to finally red as you reach your safe limit. If things go too far, the ice cubes can connect to your smartphone and send a text message for a friend come get you. Of course, you have to remember not to swallow them. Interesting implications for addressing the input side of dieting, weight loss and moderation."
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Hacked review system leads to fake reviews and retraction of scientific papers

dstates dstates writes  |  about 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "Retraction Watch reports that fake reviewer information was placed in Elsevier's peer review database allowing unethical authors to review their own or colleagues manuscripts. As a result, 11 scientific publications have been retracted. The hack is particularly embarrassing for Elsevier because the commercial publisher has been arguing that the quality of its review process justifies its restrictive access policies and high costs of the journals it publishes."
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FCC Moving to Launch Dynamic Spectrum Sharing

dstates dstates writes  |  about 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "The FCC is considering one of the biggest regulatory changes in decades: allowing a newly available chunk of wireless spectrum to be leased by different users at different times and places, rather than being auctioned off to one high bidder. The plan is to open a new WiFi with spectrum in the 3.550 to 3.650 gigahertz band now used by radar systems. Under the proposed rule to be voted on Wednesday, users could reserve pieces of that spectrum in different regions and at different time managed by a central database. Spectrum sharing is a dramatic change with a potential to make bandwidth accessible to many users. The plan has met with mixed reviews from the cellular carriers."
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Google avoids billions in taxes using Bermuda shell companies

dstates dstates writes  |  about 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "Bloomberg reports that Google is using Bermuda shell companies to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes world wide. By routing payments and recording profits in zero tax havens, multinational companies have been avoiding double digit corporate taxes in the US and Europe. Congressional hearings were held in July on the destructive consequences of off shoring profits. Why aren't the US and Europe exerting more diplomatic pressure on these tax havens that are effectively stealing from the US and European treasuries by allowing profits that did not result from activities in Bermuda or the Cayman Islands to be recorded as occurring there?"
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Apple doubles down on fuel cell data center

dstates dstates writes  |  about 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "Apple plans to double the fuel cell generating capacity at its North Carolina data center. Ebay also has a fuel cell powered data center. Fuel cell powered data centers could ultimately become buffers for the power grid relying on the grid mainly for backup power and even selling excess power back to the utilities. Fuel cells offer high efficiency and avoid the ~7% transmission losses for long distance electrical transmission lines, and importantly for data centers, local generation is not susceptible to all the disruptions of the power grid."
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1 million apps, 25 billion downloads, but is the App Store destroying Apple?

dstates dstates writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "Apple built tremendous customer loyalty based on a simple pact, “Buy our stuff, and it will do what you want it to without invading your life”. I.e., we won’t push advertising at you, we won’t push buggy half-baked illogical software at you, and we won’t use our stuff to invade your privacy or sell your data to the highest bidder. Increasingly, the user experience is dominated by third party apps, but these apps do not live up to the quality and design standards Apple has traditionally set for its own products. Apple just passed 1 million app approvals and 25 billion app downloads. Assuming 200 million iPhones have been sold, that comes to something like 125 app downloads per phone. The result of this deluge is a user experience fail. Free downloads dominate paid apps, but more and more freeware is laden with advertising and pushes to upgrade to paid versions. "In app purchases" has become a closely followed metric. I.e. the “without invading your life” part of the deal never really made it to the apps where users now spend the vast majority of their time. Reliability is also suffering. Many apps are buggy, including Apple’s, and even iCloud has crashed repeatedly in recent days. Bottom line, the App Store is destroying Apple’s core value proposition."
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GM brings IT dev back in house - self driving Caddy in the works

dstates dstates writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "Want a good job in IT? Detroit of all places may be the place to be. GM is bringing IT development back in house to speed innovation. Among other initiatives, a self driving Cadillac is planned by mid decade. Ford is also actively developing driver assist technology and is betting big on voice recognition. Ann Arbor has thousands of smart cars wirelessly connected on the road. Think about all those aging baby boomers with houses in the burbs and no desire to move as their vision and reflexes decline. The smart car is a huge market. Seriously, Detroit and SE Michigan have good jobs, great universities, cheap housing and easy access to great sports and outdoors activities."
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Systems engineering your body: antibiotics and obesity

dstates dstates writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "The human body is a complex system, and the bacteria in our gut modifies the way we process food. Taking antibiotics early in life changes which bacteria we carry and appears to increase lifetime risk of obesity. For many years, antibiotics have been added to animal feed to increase weight gain in farm animals. Looks like the same thing happens to us."
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Are teachers headed for obsolescence: OLPC children teach themselves

dstates dstates writes  |  about 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "One Laptop Per Child reports encouraging results of a bold experiment to reach the millions of students worldwide who have no access to primary school. OLPC delivered tablets to two Ethiopian villages in unmarked boxes without instructions or instructors. Within minutes the kids were opening the boxes and figuring out how to use the Motorola Zoom tablets, within days they were playing alphabet songs and withing a few months how to hack the user interface to enable blocked camera functionality. With the Kahn Academy and others at the high school level and massive open online courses at the college level, the teaching profession is under assault as never before."
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Legal fight over access to cell phone passwords

dstates dstates writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is in a legal fight with the FBI over access to passwords that will unlock the data on a cell phone. Earlier this year Google refused to unlock an alleged pimp's Android cellphone even after the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained a search warrant. The problem is that the FBI may have a warrant for a very specific piece of information, but once they have unrestricted access to a person's smartphone, they have access to information about vast swaths of the individual's life. Apple has taken a different strategy burning a unique encryption key into the silicon of each iPhone which neither Apple nor its suppliers retain. As a result, once someone makes 10 unsuccessful unlock attempts on an iPhone, the data is irretrievably gone."
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Patents On Genes: Round Two

dstates dstates writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "An industry has grown up around patents guaranteeing exclusive access to testing of mutations in specific genes, but recently the Supreme Court rejected a biotechnology patent saying laws of nature cannot be patented, and threw the issue of patents on genes back to the lower courts. The Court of Appeals is now preparing to hear arguments on whether genes can be patented. The results will have major implications. On the one hand, restricting access to whole regions of the human genome will stifle scientific progress. On the other, companies like Myriad Genetics and Optimal Medicine use the patents to protect years of work invested in research, but this also means preventing other companies from offering diagnostics based on competing faster and lower cost technologies to analyze mutations in these genes."
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Solar Storm Coming but NASA and NOAA Disagree on How Severe It Will Be

dstates dstates writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "A strong solar storm eruption on July 12, 2012, resulted in a large solar flare, and a wave of plasma stoked by this X-class solar flare, the most intense type, is headed towards Earth. This blast of charged particles, known as a coronal mass ejection (CME), is forecast to ignite a geomagnetic storm on Earth over the weekend. Unfortunately, the two main Federal agencies responsible for monitoring and predicting the consequences of such an event cannot agree on how big an impact the storm will have on earth. NOAA predicts it will be minor, maybe moderate. NASA says it will be moderate to severe. The intensity of the storm matters. If NOAA’s right, and the storm is minor, people living at high latitudes could be treated to some brilliant auroras over the weekend, but otherwise no big deal. If NASA’s right, and the geomagnetic storm is strong to severe, Earth-orbiting satellites could get disoriented and the electrical grid could experience widespread voltage control problems among other issues. I guess we will see soon who is right!"
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Sign the White House petition for open access to research

dstates dstates writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "You paid for it, you should be able to read the results of publicly funded research. The National Institutes of Health have had a very successful open access mandate requiring that the results of federally funded biomedical research be published in open access journals. Now there is a White House petition to broaden this mandate. This is a jobs issue. Startups and midsize business need access to federally funded technology research. It is a health care issue, patients and community health providers need access, not a few scientists in well funded research institutes, and even wealthy institutions like Harvard are finding the prices of proprietary journals unsustainable."
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How a Web Link Can Take Control of Your Phone

dstates dstates writes  |  more than 2 years ago

dstates (629350) writes "Technology Review reports a chilling demonstration at the RSA security conference in which George Kurtz and colleagues from security startup CrowdStrike showed on stage that a real, unmodified Android phone could be hacked by a single web click. Kurtz, acted as a busy user who received a text message asking him to download an update to his phone's software. When he clicked on the link in that message, the phone's browser crashed and the device rebooted. Once restarted, the device appeared unchanged, but a silent, malicious app had been installed that relayed all his phone calls and text messages to the attacker, who could also track his location on a map. The bugs exploited are present in the distributions used by 90% of Android users worldwide."
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