Are hospitals doing all they can to prevent C. difficile infections? Not yet, new study suggests

Science Daily - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 12:48pm
Nearly half of American hospitals aren’t taking key steps to prevent C. difficile, a kind of gut infection that kills nearly 30,000 people annually and sickens hundreds of thousands more – despite strong evidence that such steps work, according to a new study.
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Comcast Drops Bid for Time Warner Cable

Wired News - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 12:43pm

Comcast has dropped its much-criticized plan to acquire Time Warner Cable after federal regulators recommended increased scrutiny of the proposed deal.

The post Comcast Drops Bid for Time Warner Cable appeared first on WIRED.

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Cosmic Rays Could Reveal Secrets of Lightning On Earth

Slashdot - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 12:06pm
sciencehabit writes: Despite Benjamin Franklin's best efforts with a kite and a key, the phenomenon of lightning remains a scientific enigma. Now, researchers have developed a new tool that could help them solve some of lightning's mysteries. By using cosmic rays, space-traveling particles that constantly rain down on our atmosphere, scientists report they can peek inside thunderstorms and measure their electric fields, helping them pinpoint the conditions that cause storms' electrical outbursts. The advance could help researchers predict more precisely when and where lightning is most likely to strike and get people out of harm's way in time.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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New VR Tech Lets You Explore Worlds at the Nanoscale

Wired News - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 12:00pm

A startup is fusing VR and nanotech to make cyberpunk fantasies come true.

The post New VR Tech Lets You Explore Worlds at the Nanoscale appeared first on WIRED.

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How The Cosmic Web Was Spun | Video - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 11:58am
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Review: Asus ZenBook UX305

Wired News - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 11:42am

The sleek and shiny Asus ZenBook UX305 goes for a mere $700, and it performs far better than you'd expect at that price.

The post Review: Asus ZenBook UX305 appeared first on WIRED.

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Where Did Earth’s Water Come From? | Video - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 11:26am
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How Will the Hubble Space Telescope Die? - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 11:09am
While Hubble is healthy now, the telescope is not immortal. Serious problems could conceivably crop up in a number of different Hubble systems.
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Mars Life Search: Iron-Rich Rocks Could Be Key - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 11:04am
A study of Yellowstone's hot springs has revealed new clues about how organic materials might get preserved in similar environments on the Red Planet, bettering our chances of finding possible signs of life.
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Write the Perfect Email to Anyone With This Creepy Site

Wired News - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 11:00am

Crystal is definitely creepy, perhaps useful, and almost certainly a look at how we'll communicate in the future.

The post Write the Perfect Email to Anyone With This Creepy Site appeared first on WIRED.

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Crowdfunded Science Is Here. But Is It Legit Science?

Wired News - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 11:00am

More and more scientists are turning to crowdfunding to get money to run their experiments.

The post Crowdfunded Science Is Here. But Is It Legit Science? appeared first on WIRED.

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An Ode to the Lost World of the Film Projection Booth

Wired News - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 11:00am

One theater owner gave Taylor Umphenour permission to shoot what is now a relic: the 35mm projection booth.

The post An Ode to the Lost World of the Film Projection Booth appeared first on WIRED.

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Finally: A Rolls-Royce for Fancy People

Wired News - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 11:00am

Rolls-Royce has built 25 Phantom Limelight motor cars for the richest and famousest of the rich and famous.

The post Finally: A Rolls-Royce for Fancy People appeared first on WIRED.

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MIT Developing AI To Better Diagnose Cancer

Slashdot - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 9:30am
stowie writes: Working with Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT has developed a computational model that aims to automatically suggest cancer diagnoses by learning from thousands of data points from past pathology reports. The core idea is a technique called Subgraph Augmented Non-negative Tensor Factorization (SANTF). In SANTF, data from 800-plus medical cases are organized as a 3D table where the dimensions correspond to the set of patients, the set of frequent subgraphs, and the collection of words appearing in and near each data element mentioned in the reports. This scheme clusters each of these dimensions simultaneously, using the relationships in each dimension to constrain those in the others. Researchers can then link test results to lymphoma subtypes.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Epic Photos Offer a God-Like View of EDM Festival Chaos

Wired News - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 8:45am

Felix R. Cid splices together hundreds of images from EDM festivals around the world.

The post Epic Photos Offer a God-Like View of EDM Festival Chaos appeared first on WIRED.

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Hubble in Pictures: Astronomers' Top Picks (Photos) - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 7:37am
Top astronomers to handpick the Hubble Space Telescope image that has the most scientific relevance to them.
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NVIDIA Quadro M6000 12GB Maxwell Workstation Graphics Tested Showing Solid Gains

Slashdot - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 7:05am
MojoKid writes: NVIDIA's Maxwell GPU architecture has has been well-received in the gaming world, thanks to cards like the GeForce GTX Titan X and the GeForce GTX 980. NVIDIA recently took time to bring that same Maxwell goodness over the workstation market as well and the result is the new Quadro M6000, NVIDIA's new highest-end workstation platform. Like the Titan X, the M6000 is based on the full-fat version of the Maxwell GPU, the G200. Also, like the GeForce GTX Titan X, the Quadro M6000 has 12GB of GDDR5, 3072 GPU cores, 192 texture units (TMUs), and 96 render outputs (ROPs). NVIDIA has said that the M6000 will beat out their previous gen Quadro K6000 in a significant way in pro workstation applications as well as GPGPU or rendering and encoding applications that can be GPU-accelerated. One thing that's changed with the launch of the M6000 is that AMD no longer trades shots with NVIDIA for the top pro graphics performance spot. Last time around, there were some benchmarks that still favored team red. Now, the NVIDIA Quadro M6000 puts up pretty much a clean sweep.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Good: Companies Care About Data Privacy Bad: No Idea How To Protect It

Slashdot - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 4:36am
Esther Schindler writes: Research performed by Dimensional Research demonstrated something most of us know: Just about every business cares about data privacy, and intends to do something to protect sensitive information. But when you cross-tabulate the results to look more closely at what organizations are actually doing to ensure that private data stays private, the results are sadly predictable: While smaller companies care about data privacy just as much as big ones do, they're ill-equipped to respond. What's different is not the perceived urgency of data privacy and other privacy/security matters. It's what companies are prepared (and funded) to do about it. For instance: "When it comes to training employees on data privacy, 82% of the largest organizations do tell the people who work for them the right way to handle personally identifiable data and other sensitive information. Similarly, 71% of the businesses with 1,000-5,000 employees offer such training. However, even though smaller companies are equally concerned about the subject, that concern does not trickle down to the employees quite so effectively. Half of the midsize businesses offer no such training; just 39% of organizations with under 100 employees regularly train employees on data privacy."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Are bees 'hooked' on nectar containing pesticides?

Science Daily - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 3:41am
Bees are attracted to nectar containing common pesticides, scientists have discovered. This could increase their chances of exposure to high levels of pesticides.
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Researchers in China have created genetically modified human embryos

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 24/04/2015 - 3:18am

Should human embryos be Genetically modified? (credit: Yorgos Nikas/SPL)

A research team in China has created genetically modified human embryos using the gene-editing technique CRISPR/Cas9, according to a report in the online journal Protein & Cell.

The experiments were conducted by a research team led by Junjiu Huang of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China.

Human germline modification is widely considered unethical for both safety and social reasons. Using germline modification techniques to create a human being is prohibited by more than 40 countries and several international human rights treaties.

Responding to the research report, The Center for Genetics and Society (CGS) is calling for a halt to experiments aimed at the creation of genetically modified human beings.

“No researcher has the moral warrant to flout the globally widespread policy agreement against altering the human germline,” commented Marcy Darnovsky, PhD, CGS Executive Director.

“The medical risks and social dangers of human germline modification cannot be overstated. Creating genetically modified human beings could easily lead to new forms of inequality, discrimination, and societal conflict.”

Clinical applications premature

The research tried to head off such concerns by using ‘non-viable’ embryos, which cannot result in a live birth, that were obtained from local fertility clinics, according to an article in Nature News. “The team attempted to modify the gene responsible for β-thalassaemia, a potentially fatal blood disorder, using a gene-editing technique known as CRISPR/Cas9. The researchers say that their results reveal serious obstacles to using the method in medical applications.”

The genetic changes the scientists intended were actually made in only a small number of the embryos they used, and they found a large number of “off target” effects.

Plans for future research

Nonetheless, the researchers don’t plan to give up. According to news reports, at least four other groups in China are currently exploring gene editing of human embryos.

The Protein & Cell paper “demonstrates the enormous safety risks that any attempt to produce a genetically modified human being would entail, and underlines the urgency of working to forestall such efforts,” Darnovsky said. CGS is concerned that the development of gene editing makes germline modification so technically easy that anyone with basic molecular biology training has the capability to attempt it.

“We can no longer consider this a far-off prospect to be dealt with in the future,” Darnovsky said. “We need to act immediately to strengthen the global policy agreements that put human germline modification off limits.”

Abstract of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human tripronuclear zygotes

Genome editing tools such as the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-associated system (Cas) have been widely used to modify genes in model systems including animal zygotes and human cells, and hold tremendous promise for both basic research and clinical applications. To date, a serious knowledge gap remains in our understanding of DNA repair mechanisms in human early embryos, and in the efficiency and potential off-target effects of using technologies such as CRISPR/Cas9 in human pre-implantation embryos. In this report, we used tripronuclear (3PN) zygotes to further investigate CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human cells. We found that CRISPR/Cas9 could effectively cleave the endogenous β-globin gene (HBB). However, the efficiency of homologous recombination directed repair (HDR) of HBB was low and the edited embryos were mosaic. Off-target cleavage was also apparent in these 3PN zygotes as revealed by the T7E1 assay and whole-exome sequencing. Furthermore, the endogenous delta-globin gene (HBD), which is homologous to HBB, competed with exogenous donor oligos to act as the repair template, leading to untoward mutations. Our data also indicated that repair of the HBBlocus in these embryos occurred preferentially through the non-crossover HDR pathway. Taken together, our work highlights the pressing need to further improve the fidelity and specificity of the CRISPR/Cas9 platform, a prerequisite for any clinical applications of CRSIPR/Cas9-mediated editing.

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