An anonymous reader writes “Nintendo is investigating potential copyright infringement by Nokia during some video demos of their N900 phone, which can be seen emulating Nintendo games. Nintendo spokesman Robert Saunders says: ‘We take rigorous steps to protect our IP and our legal team will examine this to determine if any infringement has taken place.’ In the video, Nokia says, ‘Most publishers allow individual title usage, provided that the user is in possession of the original title.’”
necro81 writes “The NY Times is reporting on a new report from Osram, a German lighting manufacturer, which has calculated the total lifecycle energy costs of three lightbulb technologies and found that both LEDs and CFLs use approximately 20% the energy of incandescents over their lifetimes. While it is well known that the newer lighting technologies use a fraction of the energy of incandescents to produce the same amount of light, it has been unproven whether higher manufacturing energy costs kept the new lighting from offering a net gain. The study found that the manufacturing and distribution energy costs of all lightbulb technologies are only about 2% of their total lifetime energy cost — a tiny fraction of the energy used to produce light.” The study uses the assumption that LEDs last 2.5 times longer than CFLs, and 25 times longer than incandescents.
buchner.johannes writes “I was fed up with the general consensus that Linux is oh-so-secure and has no malware. After a week of work, I finished a package of malware for Unix/Linux. Its whole purpose is to help white-hat hackers point out that a Linux system can be turned into a botnet client, by simply downloading BOINC and attaching it to a user account, to help scientific projects. The malware does not exploit any security holes, only loose security configurations and mindless execution of unverified downloads: I tested it to be injected by a PHP script (even circumventing safe mode), so that the Web server runs it; I even got a proxy server that injects it into shell scripts and makefiles in tarballs on the fly, and adds onto Windows executables for execution in Wine. If executed by the user, the malware can persist itself in cron, bashrc and other files. The aim of the exercise was to provide a payload so security people can ‘pwn’ systems to show security holes, without doing harm (such as deleting files or disrupting normal operation). But now I am unsure of whether it is ethically ok to release this toolkit, which, by ripping out the BOINC payload and putting in something really evil, could be turned into proper Linux malware. On the one hand, the way it persists itself in autostart is really nasty, and that is not really a security hole that can be fixed. On the other hand, such a script can be written by anyone else too, and it would be useful to show people why you need SELinux on a server, and why verifying the source of downloads (checksums through trusted channels) is necessary. Technically, it is a nice piece, but should I release it? I don’t want to turn the Linux desktop into Windows, hence I’m slightly leaning towards not releasing it. What does your ethics say about releasing such grayware?”
superglaze and several other readers noted a piece up on ZDNet.co.uk reporting that last summer a pub in the UK was fined £8,000 after a customer downloaded copyrighted material on its Wi-Fi connection. According to the article, whose source was the Wi-Fi hotspot provider, it was a civil action and the pub was not identified because its owner had not given permission to release the details. Techdirt is skeptical as to whether or not the reported fine happened, given the sketchiness surrounding the details. If true, the ruling seems baffling to UK legal experts, according to ZDNet: “Internet law professor Lilian Edwards, of Sheffield Law School, told ZDNet that companies that operate a public Wi-Fi hotspot should ‘not be responsible in theory’ for users’ illegal downloads under ‘existing substantive copyright law.’” In a follow-up article, Prof. Edwards cautions that such hotspot operators should “watch out for the pile of copyright infringement warnings coming your way.”
krou writes “To celebrate its 350th anniversary, the Royal Society has released a number of historic science papers and made them available online via its Trailblazing website. Among the papers are Benjamin Franklin’s notes on his kite-flying experiment, a paper on black holes co-written by Professor Stephen Hawking, manuscripts from Sir Isaac Newton showing ‘that white light is a mixture of other colours,’ and a few other interesting details such as ‘a gruesome account of a 17th century blood transfusion.’”
jvillain writes “India is about to pull the plug on 25 million cell phones in the name of fighting terrorism and fraud. ‘The ban by India’s Department of Telecommunications has been unfolding gradually since Oct. 6, 2008, six weeks before the attacks in Mumbai killed 173 people and wounded 308. A memo then directed service providers to cut off cellphone users whose devices didn’t have a real IMEI — or unique identity number — in the interests of “national security.” Since then, the move has picked up steam as a way to circumvent terrorists using black market, unregistered cellphones. The Mumbai attackers kept in touch with each other via cellphones and used GPS to pinpoint their attacks, which started Nov. 26, 2008, and went on for three days. The telecommunications department has issued warnings and deadlines through 2009 but has announced this one is for real, telling operators to block cellphones without valid IMEI numbers. Previously, it warned companies to stop importing them and customers to stop buying them.’”
miller60 writes “‘Google is seeking to patent a system that provides precision cooling inside racks of servers, automatically adjusting to temperature changes while reducing the energy required to run chillers.’ The cooling design uses an adjustable piping system featuring ‘air wands’ that provide small amounts of cold air to components within a server tray. The cooling design, which could help Google reduce the power bill for its servers, reinforces Google’s focus on data center innovation as a competitive advantage. Check out the patent application and a diagram of the system.”
Hugh Pickens writes “The Telegraph reports that scientists have created the first artificial meat by extracting cells from the muscle of a live pig and putting them in a broth of other animal products where the cells then multiplied to create muscle tissue. Described as soggy pork, researchers believe that it can be turned into something like steak if they can find a way to ‘exercise’ the muscle and while no one has yet tasted the artificial meat, researchers believe the breakthrough could lead to sausages and other processed products being made from laboratory meat in as little as five years time. ‘”What we have at the moment is rather like wasted muscle tissue. We need to find ways of improving it by training it and stretching it, but we will get there,” says Mark Post, professor of physiology at Eindhoven University. “You could take the meat from one animal and create the volume of meat previously provided by a million animals.” Animal rights group Peta has welcomed the laboratory grown meat announcing that “as far as we’re concerned, if meat is no longer a piece of a dead animal there’s no ethical objection while the Vegetarian Society remained skeptical. “The big question is how could you guarantee you were eating artificial flesh rather than flesh from an animal that had been slaughtered. It would be very difficult to label and identify in a way that people would trust.”"
jtavares2 writes “In what is being dubbed as Throttlegate, scours of users on many message boards have been complaining about inexplicably aggressive throttling policies on their Dell Latitude E6500 and E6400 laptops which cause its CPUs to be throttled to less than 5% of its theoretical maximum even while in room temperatures. In many cases, the issue can triggered just by playing a video or performing some other trivial, but CPU intensive, task. After being banned [PDF] from the Dell Forums for revealing ‘non-public information,’ one user went so far as to write and publish a 59-page report [PDF] explaining and diagnosing the throttling problem in incredible detail. Dell seems to be silent on the issue, but many users are hoping for a formal recall.”
When people breathe in carbon dioxide, they start to panic. It happens in mice and other animals, too, as the body responds to the threat of suffocation. Now, in a study in Cell, researchers have connected a particular gene to that response in the brain.
The gene, called ASIC1a, is connected to a protein found in abundance in the amygdala, the area scientists believe to be the brain’s fear center. In their new study … the researchers show that mice lacking this gene don’t freeze in place–a commonly used indicator of rodent fear–to the extent that normal mice do when the team pumped CO2 into their enclosure. But when Wemmie and colleagues injected a virus containing the ASIC1a gene into the amygdala of the mice, they acted like normal mice, freezing up when exposed to elevated CO2 [ScienceNOW Daily News].
In other experiments, the team found that the amygdala becomes more acidic with CO2 exposure, and that this change in pH causes an electrical current in amygdala neurons of mice—unless those mice lacked the ASIC1a gene. “The amygdala has been thought of as part of the fear circuitry of the brain,” said researcher John Wemmie…. “Now we see it isn’t just part of a circuit, it is also a sensor” [LiveScience].
The same kinds of pathways could be responsible for panic responses in people, and so Wemmie’s work could prove invaluable to those trying to treat anxiety in humans. But, he says, the study suggests that the old-fashioned wisdom to take a few deep breaths has scientific validity. “Brain pH is very sensitive to breathing — if one breathes deeper for a time in a controlled way, one can actually reduce acidity” [LiveScience], and thus perhaps quiet the clanging of alarm bells in the amygdala.