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Base Funding Goal: $2,000
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Updated: 2015-11-13

Funding period:
2015-07-01 to 2015-12-31

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posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @07:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the maybe-save-a-life dept.

Biofilms frequently coat the surfaces of catheters, and of various medical implants and prostheses, where they can cause life-threatening infections. New research at the Sahlgrenska Academy show that coating implants with a certain "activator" can prevent Staphylococcus aureus, the leading cause of hospital-acquired infections, from forming biofilms.

Biofilms are mats of bacteria similar to the plaque that grows on teeth. Biofilms frequently coat the surfaces of catheters, and of various medical implants and prostheses, where they can threaten lives or lead to failure of the implants.

Antibiotics are impotent against biofilms. Now Gothenburg researchers Jakub Kwiecinski, Tao Jin and collaborators show that coating implants with "tissue plasminogen activator" can prevent Staphylococcus aureus, the leading cause of hospital-acquired infections, from forming biofilms.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @06:01PM   Printer-friendly
from the just-goat-on-with-it dept.

China's western Shaanxi Province is known for rugged windswept terrain and its coal and wool, but not necessarily its science. Yet at the Shaanxi Provincial Engineering and Technology Research Center for Shaanbei Cashmere Goats, scientists have just created a new kind of goat, with bigger muscles and longer hair than normal. The goats were made not by breeding but by directly manipulating animal DNA—a sign of how rapidly China has embraced a global gene-changing revolution.

Geneticist Lei Qu wants to increase goatherd incomes by boosting how much meat and wool each animal produces. For years research projects at his lab in Yulin, a former garrison town along the Great Wall, stumbled along, Qu's colleagues say. "The results were not so obvious, although we had worked so many years," his research assistant, Haijing Zhu, wrote in an e-mail.

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posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @04:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the build-your-own dept.

Imagination Technologies has launched a Kickstarter campaign for what it calls "the ultimate IoT-in-a-box development kit". The full $106-122 kit includes a Ci40 dev board, two Clicker expansion boards, and three Click sensor boards. Tom's Hardware reports:

Imagination is far from a brand new startup that needs its own Kickstarter campaign, but we've seen other large companies before, such as Sony or Canonical, try to launch their own crowdfunding campaigns as a way to safely prototype certain products (and simultaneously gauge interest in the product). They can also use the campaigns as a marketing tool.

The Creator Ci40 board, which acts as the "hub" that connects other pieces from the IoT package, has a dual-core and dual-threaded 550 MHz MIPS InterAptiv CPU and an Ensigma connectivity engine that supports 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 (Smart and Classic).

The developer board also comes with 256 MB of DDR3 RAM, 512 MB of NAND flash, one microSD card, and a dedicated TPM chip for storing encryption keys securely. The Creator Ci40, as well as the Clicker expansion boards, also support 6LoWPAN low-power wireless communication, which they use to communicate with each other through standards such as Thread.

The IoT in a box package can include two MikroElektronika Clicker expansion boards as well, which come with a 32-bit Microchip microcontroller, a USB connector, two LEDs and push buttons, a reset button, a mikroProg connector, and the headers for interfacing with external electronics. The expansion boards are AAA battery-powered so they can function as standalone devices, too.

Imagination also offers three types of MikroElektronika Click sensor boards in its complete IoT kit: one board for measuring temperature, one for detecting motion, and another for controlling a relay.

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posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @02:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the give-a-hoot-don't-pollute dept.

The All Energy Forum at last week's ANS Meeting in Washington D.C. was an eye-opener for many reasons, not the least being my underestimation of the amount of new hydroelectric power that could be installed in America without building a single new dam.

Almost 90% of America's low-carbon energy sources come from hydropower (21%) and nuclear power (67%), which together avoid almost a billion tons of CO2 emissions each year. If we are to achieve any of the low-carbon goals we have set out for 2030 and beyond, hydropower must increase significantly and nuclear has to maintain it's share of power, and even increase slightly by 2030.

David Zayas, Senior Manager at the National Hydropower Association (NHA), says that the goal is to double hydropower over the next few decades, adding 60 GW by 2030, producing an additional 300 billion kWhs of electricity each year.

The premise is that most dams in America don't produce power, and that adding that capability would account for the increase.

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posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @01:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the science-debunks-finger-pointing dept.

El Reg reports

The skeleton of a six-year-old infant unearthed in Austria is challenging the theory that syphilis was imported into Europe from the New World by the ship's crew of Christopher Columbus.

The well-preserved remains (above) were found in a cemetery in St. Pölten, some 65km west of Vienna, by a team from the city's Medical University. Several of the child's teeth display "lesions suggestive of or consistent with congenital syphilis", according to the research published in Anthropologischer Anzeiger.

These include "mulberry molar" and "Hutchinson's teeth". The former is a molar with "alternating nonanatomic depressions and rounded enamel nodules on its crown surface". The latter is where "permanent incisors have a screwdriver-like shape, sometimes associated with notching of the incisal edges".

Critically, carbon dating aged the skeleton to sometime between 1390 and 1440 AD, with a "mean" of 1415 AD. Since Columbus didn't sail off to the New World until 1492, "syphilis was probably not introduced to Europe by Columbus' returning crew", the researchers conclude. The first recorded outbreak of the disease in Europe was in Naples in 1494 or 1495. If the Treponema pallidum bacteria had already been present in the Old World for many years, then this event may ultimately have been attributed to Columbus's men simply because of a co-incidence of date. (They returned from their first voyage in 1493.)

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @11:24AM   Printer-friendly
from the precursor-to-skelegrow dept.

University of Southampton scientists are developing a new type of drug that may help bones heal faster by activating a stem cell regeneration gene:

Using bone samples from people undergoing hip replacement surgery, the researchers were able to show that the drug – a protein that activates a molecular pathway called the 'Wnt' pathway – causes stem cells found within bones to divide and to turn into more bone cells.

Dr Nick Evans, Associate Professor in Bioengineering at the University of Southampton and lead author of the study, says: "Bone fractures are a big problem in society, especially in older people. It is getting worse as more people get older and their risk of fracture increases. Most fractures heal completely by themselves, but a surprising number, around 10 per cent, take over six months to heal, or never heal at all. In the worst cases this can lead to several surgical operations, or even amputation.

"Through our research, we are trying to find ways to chemically stimulate Wnt signaling using drugs. To achieve this, we selectively deliver proteins and other molecules that change Wnt signalling specifically to stem cells, particularly in the bone. This may help us find cures for many diseases, including bone disease, and speed up bone healing after fracture."

However the researchers found that if the Wnt pathway was switched on too long, the regenerative effect was lost or, even reversed. "This is why it is particularly important to develop technologies for timed and targeted delivery, which is what we have done in this research," Nick added. The research is published in the journal Stem Cells.

More about the Wnt signaling pathway and PubMed search for WNT3A.

Transient Canonical Wnt Stimulation Enriches Human Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cell Isolates for Osteoprogenitors [abstract]

[...] Wnt stimulation resulted in an increase in the frequency of skeletal stem cells marked by the STRO-1bright/Glycophorin A phenotype. Osteogenesis was elevated in stromal cell populations arising from BMMNCs transiently stimulated by Wnt3A protein, but sustained stimulation inhibited osteogenesis in a concentration-dependent manner. These results demonstrate that Wnt stimulation could be used as a therapeutic approach by transient targeting of stem cell populations during early fracture healing, but that inappropriate stimulation may prevent osteogenesis.

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posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @09:47AM   Printer-friendly
from the lighter-side-of-life dept.

Unusually heavy winter rains have flooded the town of Chertsey, west of London, twice in the past three years. Only its old center—a raised plot on the bank of the River Thames where Anglo-Saxon monks built an abbey in the seventh century—has remained consistently dry. For most residents, the rising waters, often stinking with sewage, have come as an unwelcome surprise after centuries of a relatively dry, stable climate. They seem to have forgotten, or perhaps never knew, this telling fact about the place they call home: In Old English, Chertsey means "Ceorot's island."

The name harkens back to the Early Medieval Period, when Germanic tribes began to settle, and name, many of the places dotting maps of modern Britain. Back then, water was ubiquitous. Sediment deposits dating to this era paint a picture of overtopped riverbanks and runoff rushing down slopes. "Anglo-Saxon England was a water world," says Richard Jones, a landscape historian at the University of Leicester. He studies how early English settlers used place names, or toponyms, to encode practical information about their watery environment. For instance, Byfleet, a village in southern England, indicates a "tidal creek," or "estuary"; Buildwas, in the west, describes "land subject to rapid flooding and draining"; and Averham, in the east, a "settlement at the floods."

What does it mean for North Piddle, Shitterton, Crapstone, and Scratchy Bottom?

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @08:11AM   Printer-friendly
from the another-tech-pioneer-passed-away dept.

Chuck Forsberg died on September 24, 2015, in Portland, Oregon. He was 71.

Chuck was a man of many accomplishments. He exhibited a multi-faceted persona that friends, family, loved ones and even Chuck would acknowledge, was at times quirky and contradictory.

Chuck Forsberg was:

  • An intellectual genius, who always seeded his ideas, accomplishments and creations with a stiff measure of pragmatic common sense.
  • A technical engineer who was as comfortable writing the English language as he was writing computer code or designing electronic circuits.
  • Someone who couldn't remember people's names or faces, but retained the complex details of electronic circuits he had designed 40 years earlier.
  • That rare engineer who combined expertise and proficiency in both software and hardware engineering.
  • A self-taught and self-described "know-it-all" on nutrition and diet, while conceding being as much as 200 pounds overweight.

Chuck was the author of ZMODEM:

a file transfer protocol developed by Chuck Forsberg in 1986, in a project funded by Telenet in order to improve file transfers on their X.25 network. In addition to dramatically improved performance compared to older protocols, ZMODEM also offered restartable transfers, auto-start by the sender, an expanded 32-bit CRC, and control character quoting, allowing it to be used on networks that might "eat" control characters. ZMODEM became extremely popular on bulletin board systems (BBS) in the early 1990s, displacing earlier protocols such as XMODEM and YMODEM.

Ahh, memories of the days of using Procomm Plus on a 1200 baud N81 connection.

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posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @06:31AM   Printer-friendly
from the get-this-all-sewn-up dept.

As far as I can remember, PHP has always had a terrible reputation at handling very heavy (or asynchronous) tasks. For a long while if you wanted to parallelize long tasks you had to resort to forking through pcntl_fork which had its own issues, and you couldn't really handle the results of those tasks properly, etc.

As such, a habit has kind of developed where we go straight for more intricate solutions such as queuing (which just delays your task if anything), React PHP, or even using another language altogether. But PHP can do threading, and more importantly it's a lot easier than you probably think.

In this article I'm going to dive into the pthreads extension (short for POSIX Threads). It has been around for a while (since 2012) but I feel like too many people forget it exists or assume it is going to be painful to use – mostly because the official documentation is rather slim about it.

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posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @04:54AM   Printer-friendly
from the staunch-the-bleeding dept.

"The abuse of the system is real, and media reports are validating what we have argued against for years, including the fact that Americans are training their replacements."

(Grassley-Durbin Bill press statement, Nov 11)

There has been much ado about the H1-B and L1 visa programs for foreign workers, with some in favor, and some against. What is pretty clear though, is that abuses do happen.

Now Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) have introduced legislation to try and curb some of these abuses. Among other things, their bill proposes to prohibit companies with more than 50 employees of hiring H1-B employees if the company already employs more than 50 percent of H1-B and L1 visa holders, and to establish a wage floor for L1 workers.

Working conditions of similarly employed American workers may not be adversely affected by the hiring of the H-1B worker, including H-1B workers who have been placed by another employer at the American worker's worksite. In addition, it explicitly prohibits the replacement of American workers by H-1B or L-1 visa holders.

Full text of the bill here (pdf), supporting statement by IEEE USA here.

Given election times and all, what chance do you think this bill has to make it into legislation?

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posted by n1 on Wednesday November 25, @03:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the god's-work dept.

The Vatican has charged five people, including Italian journalists in connection with leaked documents exposing corruption in the Church:

Two journalists and three former Vatican officials have been formally charged with "criminal misappropriation" and other crimes, the Vatican says, in a case tied to allegations of financial misdeeds by Catholic Church officials.

Those arrested include Spanish Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda and Francesca Immacolata Chaouqui, who served on a special Vatican commission on economic reform that was assembled by Pope Francis shortly after he was elected in 2013. Vatican police arrested the pair earlier this month; Chaouqui was released after a brief detention, due to her cooperation with the authorities.

Also facing charges are Vallejo's secretary, Nicola Maio, as well as Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi — two journalists who published books this month that promise a rare glimpse into scandals and corruption in the Roman Catholic Church. Fittipaldi's book, Avarice, is currently No. 3 on the list of bestsellers on Amazon's Italian site, just behind Nuzzi's Way of the Cross. Nuzzi was also involved in the original "Vatileaks" scandal of 2012, when he published a book containing private Vatican documents and letters. Some say that scandal contributed to Pope Benedict's resignation.

In the current case, the reporters and Vatican officials formed an "organized crime association," according to the Holy See Press Office.

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Wednesday November 25, @01:43AM   Printer-friendly
from the run-as-root dept.

Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden have created analog and digital electronics circuits inside living plants. The group at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics (LOE), under the leadership of Professor Magnus Berggren, have used the vascular system of living roses to build key components of electronic circuits.

The article featured in the journal Science Advances demonstrates wires, digital logic, and even displays elements -- fabricated inside the plants -- that could develop new applications for organic electronics and new tools in plant science.

Plants are complex organisms that rely on the transport of ionic signals and hormones to perform necessary functions. However, plants operate on a much slower time scale making interacting with and studying plants difficult. Augmenting plants with electronic functionality would make it possible to combine electric signals with the plant's own chemical processes. Controlling and interfacing with chemical pathways in plants could pave the way to photosynthesis-based fuel cells, sensors and growth regulators, and devices that modulate the internal functions of plants.

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Wednesday November 25, @12:02AM   Printer-friendly
from the upstart dept.

TIME Magazine reports:

With eleven days left to go before TIME's 2015 Person of the Year poll[1] come to a close, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the upstart candidate for president, holds a wide lead over global notables among TIME readers even as he trails Hillary Clinton in voter polls and fights a long-shot battle for the Democratic nomination.

The self-described "democratic socialist" currently leads Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist, with 11% in the TIME reader poll compared with her 5%. Sanders also leads Pope Francis and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama and is far ahead of entertainers like Adele (2%) and Jennifer Lawrence (1.7%).

[...] Hillary Clinton has earned 1.3 % of the vote.

[...] Sanders is also beating Donald Trump in the reader poll.

[...] Voting on the reader's choice poll ends Dec. 4 at 11:59 p.m. and the winner will be announced Dec 7.

[1] JavaScript-driven

While TIME says that Hillary's popularity in national voter polls is still higher than Bernie's, they fail to mention that Hillary's numbers are slipping while Bernie's numbers continue to climb.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday November 24, @10:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the anybody-surprised? dept.

From ZDnet:

If Comcast thinks you're downloading copyrighted material, you can be sure it'll let you know. But how it does it has raised questions over user privacy. The cable and media giant has been accused of tapping into unencrypted browser sessions and displaying warnings that accuse the user of infringing copyrighted material -- such as sharing movies or downloading from a file-sharing site.

Jarred Sumner, a San Francisco, Calif.-based developer who published the alert banner's code on his GitHub page, told ZDNet in an email that this could cause major privacy problems. Sumner explained that Comcast injects the code into a user's browser as they are browsing the web, performing a so-called "man-in-the-middle" attack. (Comcast has been known to alert users when they have surpassed their data caps.) This means Comcast intercepts the traffic between a user's computer and their servers, instead of installing software on the user's computer.

A Comcast spokesperson said in an email on Monday that this is "not new," adding that engineers "transparently posted an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) white paper about it" as early as 2011, which can be found here.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday November 24, @08:54PM   Printer-friendly
from the US-should-follow-suit dept.

The Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama announced on a press conference that the government has cut taxes to zero for small businesses whose annual turnover is between 0 – 50.000.000 Albanian LEK, or around 36,400 Euros.

"All businesses that have an annual turnover no more than 36,000 Euros in a fiscal year, will not pay any tax. While any other business that has a turnover between 36,000 – 58,200 Euros (Approximate value), while remain subject to VAT, while the tax on profit while drop from 7.5% to 5%.

Shqip should be easy enough to learn...

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