1. Electrical stimulation of tissue regeneration in xenopus laevus.

    01 March 2007

    Researchers at the Forstyth Centre for Regenerative and Developmental Biology in Boston, Massachusetts, lead by Dr. Michael Levin have figured out how to trigger tissue regeneration in xenopus tadpoles past the age when they are normally capable of it. After a certain age, the tadpoles are unable to regrow their tails or other organs after amputation, but some nicely nonlinear research shows that it is possible to duplicate the weak electrical field that builds up around sites of major trauma that heralds the regenerative process. This is a phenomenon found in many higher lifeforms, from frogs to deer (the males …

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  2. Sometimes I hate being right.

    01 March 2007

    It seems that Dell Computers is putting the brakes on their new lines of Linux-equipped computers. They've changed their minds, and instead of selling machines with SUSE Linux preinstalled they are actually certifying three models (the Optiplex desktops, Latitude notebooks, and Precision workstations) for use with Linux. If they are going to sell machines running Linux, it's not going to be anytime soon.

    I hate to tell Dell spokescritter Jeremy Bolen, but the Linux community has already certified Dell's hardware under Linux - we've been doing it for years and posting our results.

    Read our lips: We want to buy Dell …

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  3. Dental health update the first.

    28 February 2007

    This morning, as I mentioned previously, I had made an appointment with a local dentist (Dr. Calvin Nguyen; 8622 Lee Highway, Suite A; Fairfax, VA 22031; telephone number 703-876-4600) to have two capped molars checked out because one of them has been giving me no end of trouble. I showed up about an hour early to fill out the requisite paperwork and get things worked out, and then went in for the main show.

    Dr. Nguyen took a pair of x-rays and examined the area. Percussive sensitivity: Minimal. Temperature sensitivity: Ohholyshitstopstopstop...

    No inflammation, no discharge, no bleeding.. just pain that …

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  4. I actually got some sleep after returning home.

    27 February 2007

    After a long day of being utterly unable to concentrate for longer than five minutes at a stretch due to what I suspect is dental work going bad, I finally made it home with Lyssa, who promptly put me to bed to sleep for a couple of pain-free hours. Earlier today I managed to make an emergency appointment with a dentist recommended to me by Hasufin who seems to have more than half a clue for tomorow morning to get my dental work looked at. I'm going to have to pay it out of pocket, but given a choice between …

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  5. _Pattern Recognition_ is being made into a movie.

    27 February 2007

    A heads-up from Lowmagnet brought a slim ray of sunshine to an otherwise unpleasant day: The novel Pattern Recognition by William Gibson is being made into a movie as of late 2006. Make of this what you will, it's listed in IMDB as being in active development, which could mean pretty much anything given how Hollywood works, but They've taken to Gibson's less popular stories (like New Rose Hotel), so there's an excellent chance that this movie will actually wind up being made (though probably not get a theatrical release).

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  6. Bloggers and web board admins are not legally responsible for content posted by their readers or users.

    27 February 2007

    The First Circuit Court of the USA has upheld an important dictate of the Communications Decency Act, which sets a helpful precedent for bloggers and people who run web BBSes. Section 230 of the CDA states that the administrators of public forums which allow people to post are not, in fact, responsible for what their readers or users post. The court case this comes from is Universal Communication Systems v. Lycos, in which people unknown were talking smack on UCS' stock prices. UCS decided to sue Lycos for running the board and not the users of the board (which they …

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  7. For the system administrator or parent that has everything, how about a RAT?

    27 February 2007

    'Remote access tool', that is - a little beastie (usually considered malware, though there are legit incarnations of this sort of software) that hides itself inside a workstation and lets someone connect remotely at any time and go through the system and silently monitor what the user is doing. Crackers have been using them for years for recon before an infiltration attempt, but only recently are the white hats finding uses for them. Such as watching what your kids are up to. Presenting Snoopstick, an all in one package for infecting someone's box with a RAT that lets you keep an …

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