ananyo writes "With Texas pouring millions of dollars into developing adult stem-cell treatments, doctors there are already injecting paying customers with unproven preparations, supplied by an ambitious new company. Celltex Therapeutics 'multiplies and banks' stem cells derived from people's abdominal fat and its facility in Sugar Land opened in December 2011 and houses the largest stem-cell bank in the United States. But Nature has uncovered evidence that the company is involved in the clinical use of the cells on US soil, which the FDA has viewed as illegal in other cases."
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coondoggie writes "The Near Space Corporation this week said it would begin developing a $6.9 million phase of what it says is the first commercial high altitude balloon flight facility in the country. Commercial balloon flights to near space will be launched – though the company didn't say when — from the new facility in Tillamook, Oregon, including several of those reserved through the NASA's Flight Opportunities Program."
An anonymous reader writes "China's State Council has released a proposal for a grain law that establishes legislation restricting research, field trials, production, sale, import and export of genetically engineered grain seeds, the first initiative in the world that deals with GE food legislation at state law level. Monsanto had tried and failed to commercialize GE wheat in Canada. Now they were hoping China would become the first guinea pig, opening the gate to genetic experiments with staple crops."
bs0d3 writes "Scientists need your help in the search for life beyond Earth. The SETI Institute is asking the public to join in its hunt for signals from intelligent civilizations out there in the universe. Anyone can register on the new website, SETI Live, to help analyze data from SETI's radio telescope devoted to scanning the heavens for signals from E.T.."
pigrabbitbear writes "The most recent bombshell of confidential documents dropped by infamous watchdog organization Wikileaks is already looking to have an enormous impact on our understanding of government security practices. Specifically, intimate details on the long-suspected fact that the U.S. has been paying a whole lot of money to have private corporations spy on citizens, activists and other groups and individuals on their ever-expanding, McCarthy-style naughty list. But perhaps more importantly, the docs demonstrate something very interesting about the nature of U.S. government intelligence: They haven't really got much of it."
the_newsbeagle writes "Millionaire adventurer Chris Welsh, the driving force behind Virgin Oceanic, wants to name his sub "Scarlett" after Scarlett Johansson—that's how sexy this vehicle is. Welsh plans to pilot the experimental, cutting-edge sub to the bottom of the Mariana Trench sometime this year, in what would be only the second human descent to the deepest spot in the world's oceans (the first trip down was in 1960). This inside account of the Virgin Oceanic mission describes a team fueled by ego, science, and derring-do, and explains how their high-tech sub could usher in a new kind of marine exploration. The article also tells the story of an adventure on the high seas last summer, when Welsh & co visited the trench to test some robotic deep-sea landers... and ran smack into a typhoon."
ananyo writes "Primitive fleas were built to sup on dinosaur blood in the Jurassic period, more than 150 million years ago. The potential host–parasite relationship has been uncovered thanks to a set of beautifully preserved fossils found in China. Today, the varied group of parasitic insects known as fleas frequently infests mammals and birds. But little is known about their origins. Researchers have now extended the history of the parasites by at least 60 million years. Whereas modern fleas range from 1 to 10 millimeters in length, the Jurassic and Cretaceous species were between 8 and 21 millimeters. The Jurassic and Cretaceous fleas also lacked the spring-legged, jumping specializations of modern species, and their siphoning mouthparts were armored structures studded with saw-like projections, unlike the smooth jaws of modern fleas."
Peter Eckersley writes "EFF has released version 2 of the HTTPS Everywhere browser extension for Firefox, and a beta version for Chrome. The Firefox release has a major new feature called the Decentralized SSL Observatory. This optional setting submits anonymous copies of the HTTPS certificates that your browser sees to their Observatory database allowing them to detect attacks against the web's cryptographic infrastructure. It also allows us to send real-time warnings to users who are affected by cryptographic vulnerabilities or man-in-the-middle attacks. At the moment, the Observatory will send warnings if you connect to a device has a weak private key due to recently discovered random number generator bugs."
dcblogs writes "External forces who work on the customer's data center or supply equipment to it, including manufacturers, vendors, factory representatives, installers, integrators, and other third parties were responsible for 50% to 60% of abnormal incidents reported in a data center, according to Uptime Institute, which has been collecting data since 1994. Over the last three years, Uptime found that 34% of the abnormal incidents in 2009 were attributed to operations staff, followed by 41% in 2010, and 40% last year. Some 5% to 8% of the incidents each year were tied to things like sabotage, outside fires, other tenants in a shared facility. But when an abnormal incident leads to a major outage that causes a data center failure, internal staff gets the majority of blame. 'It's the design, manufacturing, installation processes that leave banana peels behind and the operators who slip and fall on them,' said Hank Seader, managing principal research and education at Uptime."
The Bad Astronomer writes "We have leap days every four years because the Earth's day and year don't divide evenly. But there's more to it than that... a lot more. A year isn't exactly 365.25 days long, and that leads to needing more complicated math and rules for when we do and don't have a leap year. If you've ever wanted to see that math laid out, now's your chance, and it only comes along every four years. Except every hundred years. Except every four hundred years."
sciencehabit writes "The big bang created a lot of matter—along with the same amount of antimatter, which wiped out everything and brought the universe to an untimely end. That's what accepted theoretical physics tell us—though things clearly didn't work out that way. Now, results from a U.S. particle smasher are providing new evidence for a subtle difference in the properties of matter and antimatter that may explain how the early universe survived."
An anonymous reader writes "Internet freedom and innovation are at risk of being stifled by a new United Nations treaty that aims to bring in more regulation, Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt has warned. In a question-and-answer session at Mobile World Congress 2012 on Tuesday, Schmidt said handing over control of things such as naming and DNS to the UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU) would divide the internet, allowing it to be further broken into pieces regulated in different ways. 'That would be a disaster... To some, the openness and interoperability is one of the greatest achievements of mankind in our lifetime. Do not give that up easily. You will regret it. You will hate it, because all of a sudden all that freedom, all that flexibility, you'll find it shipped away for one good reason after another,' Schmidt said. 'I cannot be more emphatic. Be very, very careful about moves which seem logical, but have the effect of balkanising the internet,' he added, urging everyone to strongly resist the moves."
suraj.sun writes "Microsoft on Wednesday made the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 available for download to the general public. Built with touch computing and apps in mind, Windows 8 is crucial to Microsoft's efforts to make inroads against Apple and Google in the red-hot tablet market, where the company is significantly behind rivals. Windows 8 marks the biggest change to the OS since the aforementioned 95 flavor (which, shockingly, turns 17 this year). With Windows 8 comes the introduction of a Metro-style interface, inspired by the lovely and intuitive presentation found in Windows Phone. In it, apps and functions are pinned to tiles and, to interact with those apps, you simply tap those tiles. The former Start Menu has been replaced by a full-screen view of tiles that you can scroll through horizontally. You can pin applications, shortcuts, documents, webpages and any number of other things, customizing the interface in any way you like — so long as what you like is rectangular and only extends from left to right." MrSeb wrote on with info on generating a USB stick installer from the available images, and itwebennet with details about IE10.
An anonymous reader writes "Symantec has identified a Malware embedded into a Iranian recipe app for Android that destroys images stored on a camera by stamping the cardboard image of Khomeini on it. The controversy stems from a bizarre February 1 ceremony that sought to recreate Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's triumphant return to Tehran in 1979 after 14 years of exile. Immediately fueling a firestorm of ridicule drawing a cult following online. The threat only appears to be focused in App for Farsi and only in third party app markets, according to Symantec."
Hugh Pickens writes writes "In a breakthrough in negotiations with the secretive communist nation the Guardian reports that North Korea has agreed to suspend nuclear activities and to a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests. According to U.S. State department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, North Korea has agreed to allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment and confirm disablement of its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon. In return for the moratorium on nuclear activities at this key site, the United States has agreed to finalize a package of 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance to North Korea. There will be intensive monitoring to assure the delivery of such assistance is made to those in need, and not diverted to the military or government elites."