ChromeAeonium writes "Shortly after the events in Rothamsted Research in the UK, where a publicly funded trial of wheat genetically engineered to repel aphids was threatened by activists with destruction and required police protection, another publicly funded experiment involving genetically engineered crops faces possible destruction (original in Italian). The trial, which is being conducted by researchers at the University of Tuscia in Italy on cherries, olives, and kiwis genetically engineered to have traits such as fungal disease resistance, started three decades ago. When field research of GE plants was banned in Italy in 2002, the trial received an extension to avoid being declared illegal, but was denied another in 2008, and following a complaint from the Genetic Rights Foundation, now faces destruction on June 12th, despite appeals from scientists. The researchers claim that the destruction is scientifically unjustifiable (only the male kiwis produce transgenic pollen and their flowers are removed) and wish to gather more information from the long running experiment."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
MarkWhittington writes "While the official target of NASA's space exploration program remains exploring Earth approaching asteroids, the case for a return to the moon has been made from a variety of quarters. The most recent attempt to make a case for the moon is in a paper, titled Back to the Moon: The Scientific Rationale for Resuming Lunar Surface Exploration, soon to be published in the journal Planetary and Space Science."
A University of Colorado-Boulder team has uncovered extremophile microbes in the rocky, high-altitude Atacama desert on the Chile-Argentina border "which seem to have a different way of converting energy than their cousins elsewhere in the world." According to the researchers, "[T]hese are very different than anything else that has been cultured. Genetically, they’re at least 5 percent different than anything else in the DNA database of 2.5 million sequences." It's an exciting frontier for biologists in part because of the recurring interest in the possibility that life has existed (or does exist) on Mars; the dry, volcanic Atacama is often compared to the Martian surface.
First time accepted submitter WindyWonka writes "Google and AOL were sued for patent infringement Thursday, accused of violating two former British Telecom patents via Google's search 'snippets' and by Google AdSense and Advertising.com ad serving technology. Incredibly, the lawsuit by apparent patent troll Suffolk Technologies asserts that every Google search result 'snippet' display violates one patent, and that another really broad server patent is violated every time Google and AOL serve up ads."
An anonymous reader writes "Version 3.0 of MorphOS has been released. It's the independent PPC OS designed for outdated Apple systems like G4 PowerBooks (5,6; 5,7; 5,8; or 5,9) and eMacs (1.25 GHz/1.42 GHz) and PPC Mac Minis, and some G4 PowerMac models (depends on graphics hardware). It further runs on discontinued and niche Genesi desktop systems (Pegasos) and the stunted 128-megabyte-of-RAM tiny Efika. MorphOS is a nice-looking, low-resource, and nimble OS that can't match the capabilities of current Windows, Mac, and Linux. Its installation/live CD is free without caveat, and runs for 30 minutes at a time, as many times as you like. You may purchase MorphOS to remove the time limit. A particular weakness of MorphOS is its lack of support for wireless networking."
theodp writes "GeekWire reports on a newly-surfaced Microsoft patent application for 'Targeting Advertisements Based on Emotion', which describes how information gleaned from Kinects, webcams, online games, IMs, email, searches, webpage content, and browsers could be used to build an 'Emotional State Database' of individuals' emotions over time for advertisers to tap into. From the patent application: 'Weight-loss product advertisers may not want their advertisement to appear to users that are very happy. Because, a person that is really happy, is less likely to purchase a self-investment product that leverages on his or her shortcomings. But a really happy person may purchase electronic products or vacation packages. No club or party advertisers want to appear when the user is sad or crying. When the user is emotionally sad, advertisements about club parties would not be appropriate and may seem annoying or negative to the user. Online help or technical support advertisers want their advertisements to appear when the user is demonstrating a confused or frustrated emotional state.'"
New submitter SouthSeaDragon writes "I'm a computer professional who has performed most of the functions that could be expected over a 39 year career, including hardware maintenance and repair, sitting on a 800 support line, developing a help desk application from the ground up (terminal-based), writing a software manual, plus developing and teaching software courses. In recent years, I've worked for computer software vendors doing pre-sales support generally for infrastructure products including applications, app servers, integration with Java based messaging and ESB product and most recently a Business Rules product. I was laid off recently due to a restructuring and am now trying to figure out the next phase. With the WIA displaced worker grants now available I am attempting to figure out what training would be good to pursue. I am hearing that 'the Cloud' is the next big thing, but I'm also looking into increasing my development skills with a current language. I wonder what the readers might suggest for new directions."
New submitter toxygen01 writes "Neal Stephenson, sci-fi writer mostly known for his books Snowcrash and Cryptonomicon, takes on revolutionizing virtual sword fighting with help of crowdfunding. Inspired by the little-known fictional universe of 'Mongoliad,' an interactive book he is collaborating on, his company is trying to develop hardware (low-latency motion controller) and software for realistic medieval sword fighting. From what is promised, it will try to be open for other developers by having API and SDK available for further modding." Very few Kickstarter drives have a steel longsword as one of the rewards for investing.
jones_supa writes with this news, straight from The Irish Times: "Rovio, the Finnish company behind Angry Birds, is considering moving its headquarters to Ireland, chief executive Mikael Hed has said. Rovio employs approximately 400 people, mostly in Finland, but Rovio is in contact with IDA Ireland about establishing headquarters here. The reason for the move would be corporation tax rate, which in Finland is 24.5%, while Ireland's rate is 12.5%. Companies such as Google and Facebook have also set up European headquarter operations in Dublin for the same reason. Hed said that if the decision was made to move to Ireland, the company would then decide exactly what elements of its operations would move. 'If we did make that decision then it would be a natural thing to do to have some production [in Ireland] also.'"
Argon writes with an excerpt from Liliputing of interest to Android users: "'The folks behind the Linaro open source software project have put a little time into tweaking Google Android to use the gcc 4.7 toolchain. The result is a version of Android that can perform many tasks between 30 and 100 percent faster than the version of Android Google 4.0 Google currently offers through the AOSP (Android Open Source Project).' Adds Argon: "Note that there are CPU optimizations only since they have only access to binary blobs for GPU code."
First time accepted submitter Jizzbug writes "The X Window System made release X11 7.7 last night (June 9th): 'This release incorporates both new features and stability and correctness fixes, including support for reporting multi-touch events from touchpads and touchscreens which can report input from more than one finger at a time, smoother scrolling from scroll wheels, better cross referencing and formatting of the documentation, pointer barriers to control cursor movement, and synchronization fences to coordinate between X and other rendering engines such as OpenGL.'"
OceanMan7 writes "My 7-year-old son is getting very interested in microscopic things — from bacteria to parameciums (paramecia?) Not being a biologist, I would appreciate advice on what type of microscope to get. I'd be operating it and he viewing with supervision. I'd like something better than a toy and plan to buy it used, if possible. Extra points if it's stereo and also allows me to view opaque objects at low magnification."
New submitter Progman3K writes "Richard Stallman, father of the FSF, had his bag containing his laptop, medicine, money and passport stolen after his talk at the University of Buenos Aires on Friday, June 8." Adds reader jones_supa, excerpting from the same linked story: "As a result of this occurrence, he was forced to cancel his talk in Cordoba, and it's still unknown how this will impact the rest of his speaking engagements throughout the world."
Hugh Pickens writes "PC Magazine reports that journalist Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Outliers, has stirred up quite a controversy in tech circles with his off-the-cuff remarks that history will remember Bill Gates fondly while Steve Jobs slips into obscurity. Gladwell likened Gates' charitable work to the German armaments maker Oskar Schindler's famous efforts to save his Jewish workers from the gas chambers during World War II, and added that because of Gates there's a reasonable shot we will cure malaria. 'Gates, sure, is the most ruthless capitalist. And then he decides, he wakes up one morning and he says, "Enough." And he steps down, he takes his money, takes it off the table ... and I think, I firmly believe that 50 years from now, he will be remembered for his charitable work,' said Gladwell. 'And of the great entrepreneurs of this era, people will have forgotten Steve Jobs. Who's Steve Jobs again?' For all his dismissal of Jobs' legacy, however, Gladwell remains utterly fascinated with him. 'He was an extraordinarily brilliant businessman and entrepreneur. He was also a self-promoter on a level that we have rarely seen,' said Gladwell. 'What was brilliant about Apple, he understood from the get-go that the key to success in that marketplace was creating a distinctive and powerful and seductive brand.' Gladwell concludes that the most extraordinary moment in the biography of Jobs is when Jobs is on his deathbed and it's over and he knows it. 'And on, I forget, three, four occasions, he refuses the mask because he is unhappy with its design. That's who he was. Right to the very end, he had a set of standards. If he was going to die, dammit, he's going to die with the right kind of oxygen mask. To him it was like making him send his final emails using Windows.'"
New submitter nagalman writes "There is a very powerful video out that takes the audio of words from Neil deGrasse Tyson, receiver of the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, and meshes it with powerful images of the history and successful outcomes of NASA. Through Penny4NASA, Dr. Tyson is pressing for the budget of NASA to be doubled from 0.5% to 1% of the federal budget in order to spur vision, interest, dreams, public excitement, and innovation into science and engineering. With Kansas stating that 'evolution could not rule out a supernatural or theistic source, that evolution itself was not fact but only a theory and one in crisis, and that Intelligent Design must be considered a viable alternative to evolution,' and North Carolina's legislature circulating a bill telling people to ignore climate science, maybe it's time we start listening to experts who have a proven record of success, rather than ideology that has only been 'proven' in the mind of elected politicians."