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posted by n1 on Saturday April 19, @12:13AM   Printer-friendly

The NY Times reports

Scientists have moved a step closer to the goal of creating stem cells perfectly matched to a patient's DNA in order to treat diseases, they announced on Thursday, creating patient-specific cell lines out of the skin cells of two adult men.

The LA Times reports

The work, reported Thursday in the journal Cell Stem Cell, comes 11 months after researchers in Oregon said they had produced the world's first human embryo clones and used them to make stem cells. Their study, published in Cell, aroused skepticism after critics pointed out multiple errors and duplicated images.

Stem cells advances have been dogged by allegations of fraud and irreproducibility.

posted by janrinok on Friday April 18, @11:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the a-push-in-the-right-direction dept.

Someone at Google has hinted that they are considering giving a boost in search engine results to sites that use encryption.

In a move that experts say could make it harder to spy on Web users, Google is considering giving a boost in its search-engine results to websites that use encryption, the engineer in charge of fighting spam in search results hinted at a recent conference. The executive, Matt Cutts, is well known in the search world as the liaison between Google's search team and website designers who track every tweak to its search algorithms.

Cutts also has spoken in private conversations of Google's interest in making the change, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person says Google's internal discussions about encryption are still at an early stage and any change wouldn't happen soon.

A Google spokesman said the company has nothing to announce at this time.

posted by janrinok on Friday April 18, @09:16PM   Printer-friendly

For those of you who thought Debian Stable wasn't stable enough, Michael Larabel over at Phoronix is reporting that Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" is being turned into an LTS release.

Regular security support for Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" was set to end after next month, but now the Debian developers have decided to provide security support for this 2011 Debian Linux release until February 2016 - marking five years since the original Debian 6.0 release.

posted by janrinok on Friday April 18, @07:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the from-one-mogul-to-another dept.

The BBC reports:

The boss of one of Europe's largest media companies has strongly criticised Google in an open letter printed in a German newspaper. Axel Springer publishes more than 200 newspapers and magazines including German papers Die Welt and Bild. It also has a significant online presence and television and radio interests.

Mathias Dopfner, chief executive of Axel Springer, says his company is afraid of Google and its power. He also asks in the letter, addressed to Google boss Eric Schmidt, whether Google intends to create a superstate where anti-trust and privacy laws don't apply.

Google has not commented on the letter.

posted by janrinok on Friday April 18, @06:09PM   Printer-friendly
from the bigger-problem-than-first-thought dept.

From Testing for reverse Heartbleed courtesy of Schneier's blog:

"Anything that speaks TLS using OpenSSL is potentially vulnerable, but there are two main classes of client apps that are worth mentioning:

  1. Traditional clients are things like web browsers, apps that use HTTP APIs [snip]
  2. Open agents are clients that can be driven by an attacker but don't reside on an attacker's machine. If you can direct some remote application to fetch a URL on your behalf, then you could theoretically attack that application. The web is full of applications that accept URLs and do something with them; any of these have the potential to be vulnerable [snip]"

The main conclusion so far is that one has to purge all flawed versions of OpenSSL from all computers: server or client makes no real difference, firewalls make no real difference either as the bug now works both inbound and outbound.

There is also a Reverse Heartbleed Tester.

posted by janrinok on Friday April 18, @04:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the I-saw-what-you-did-there,-and-you,-and-you-too dept.

Developed for the military, wide-area surveillance is on the cusp of deployment in American cities along with a whole host of other real-world and computerized tracking systems. The idea behind wide-area surveillance is to record everything in all directions from an "eye in the sky" like a blimp or a UAV so that police and other people with access to police systems can 'rewind' time and inspect everything that happened before, during and after in the vicinity of an event of interest, like a robbery (or more nefariously, like the daily movements of a reporter meeting with a government whistleblower).

Explaining that a test deployment in Compton had been kept confidential from the public, an LA County Sheriff who supervised the project said that, "A lot of people do have a problem with the eye in the sky, the Big Brother, so in order to mitigate any of those kinds of complaints, we basically kept it pretty hush-hush."

posted by janrinok on Friday April 18, @03:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-too-good-to-be-true dept.

A colorful twist to mostly dry experiments on turning to alternate sources for fuel, the Navy used a radio controlled (RC) airplane to test a fuel that essentially came from seawater. Curious they choose an Army plane (P-51 Mustang) and not a Navy plane like the Hellcat or Wildcat fighter.

From a related article

Essentially, on a very basic level, what the Navy is doing is extracting CO2 and Hydrogen from the seawater, and then recombining it into hydrocarbon chains, and then liquefying that (via a metal catalyst) into synthetic fuel. The type of synthetic fuel that can be made can vary, but jet fuel (similar to diesel) and petroleum-type fuels, like what was run in that little model plane, and, yes, that same sort of fuel could potentially be run in your normal old gasoline car with minimal or no modifications.

While there is a cost, it takes over 23,000 gallons of sea water to make one gallon of fuel, the Navy feels it could be a viable product within 7-10 years.

The Navy is saying they feel that the system could be commercially viable in 7-10 years or so, and resulting fuel would cost between $3-$6/gallon, which is not bad at all, really - that's essentially on par with current costs for fuels we pull out of the ground.

posted by LaminatorX on Friday April 18, @01:23PM   Printer-friendly
from the Law-and-Disorder-on-the-Electronic-Frontier dept.

The earlier, bigger part of hacking history often had congregations as protagonists. From CCC in the early 80s to TESO in the 2000s, through LoD, MoD, cDc, L0pht, and the many other sung and unsung teams of hacker heroes, our culture was created, shaped, and immortalized by their articles, tools, and actions.

Why don't we see many hacker groups anymore? And why is that that the few which are around, such as Anonymous and its satellite efforts, do not have the same cultural impact as their forefathers?

posted by LaminatorX on Friday April 18, @11:41AM   Printer-friendly
from the Chessboard-of-the-Gods dept.

From arstechnica comes the following report.

A federal judge issued an order today decreeing that Google's court battle against a "patent troll" owned by its competitors must be fought out in California, not in Texas.

The ruling is a substantial victory for Google because venue matters a great deal in patent litigation. The search giant was facing the possibility of fighting a powerful trolling entity in the Eastern District of Texas, considered a district friendly to patent holders. The patent-holding company in this case is the Rockstar Consortium, which was formed when Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Ericsson, and Blackberry teamed up to spend $4.5 billion to buy the patents belonging to Nortel, a bankrupt Canadian telecom company.

posted by martyb on Friday April 18, @11:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the now-ask-him-about-statistics dept.

The Guardian has published an op-ed by Edward Snowden elaborating on his reason for questioning Vladimir Putin on Russia's surveillance policies. To critics who claim Putin had co-opted Snowden for his own political goals, he points out that you can't call someone to account for lying to the public unless they are first on the record lying to the public.

The Guardian also makes available a copy of the video and documents Russia's use of SORM to perform surveillance during the Sochi Winter Olympics.

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