Bacteria created with first wholly synthetic genome.

Late last week it was announced by the J. Craig Venter Institute that they had created the first synthetic cell, a variant of the bacterium mycoplasma mycoides, which is the micro-organism that causes bovine contagious pleuropneumonia. The project cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $40mus, and involved a team of geneticists sitting down and writing an entire genome of 1.1 million base pairs, using the much smaller genome of related species m.genitalium as a template. Once the smaller genome was understood it then became possible to develop a brand-new one from scratch. The research team then figured out …

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Nevermind, I figured out what it was.

I had originally titled a post about last weekend "''I'm tryin' ta think, but nuttin' happens!'' --Curly, The Three Stooges", but a bit of poking around inside the index file generated by my weblogging application revealed that putting a pair of dashes into the title of a post does something that HTML4 doesn't expect - it thinks that they either start or end a comment in a block of HTML. Carefully looking at the frontpage, I could see where the string of posts was broken because there was a post, then part of a post without the headers, then another part …

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

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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