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“Control-Alt-Hack” game lets players try their hand at computer security

July 24, 2012 5:28 pm | by Hannah Hickey | News | Comments

Do you have what it takes to be an ethical hacker? Can you step into the shoes of a professional paid to outsmart supposedly locked-down systems? "Control-Alt-Hack", a new card game developed by University of Washington computer scientists, gives teenage and young-adult players a taste of what it means to be a computer-security professional defending against an ever-expanding range of digital threats.

Federal panel supports Kansas biosecurity lab project

July 15, 2012 2:20 pm | by John Milburn, Associated Press | News | Comments

A government-backed committee of the National Research Council issued a report Friday saying the United States would have adequate biosecurity protections even if plans for a proposed $1.14 billion lab in Kansas are scaled back.

Nuclear weapons' surprising contribution to climate science

July 13, 2012 8:47 am | News | Comments

Nuclear weapons testing may at first glance appear to have little connection with climate change research. But key Cold War research laboratories and the science used to track radioactivity and model nuclear bomb blasts have today been repurposed by climate scientists.

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Can fracking pollute water? Study tries to answer

July 13, 2012 3:51 am | by Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

A drilling company in southwestern Pennsylvania has given researchers at National Energy Technology Laboratory access to a commercial drilling site, a move that may provide some of the first solid answers to a controversial question: Can gas drilling fluids migrate and pose a threat to drinking water?

Study: Natural gas “much-needed tool” in climate battle

July 10, 2012 2:54 pm | News | Comments

The conclusion of a new study by Cornell University Professor Lawrence M. Cathles shows that, no matter the timeframe considered, substituting natural gas energy for all coal and some oil production provides about 40% of the global warming benefit that a complete switch to low-carbon sources would deliver. And, it would be a far quicker option than going to sources like nuclear or solar.

DARPA creates program to promote robotic actuation efficiency

July 5, 2012 7:41 am | News | Comments

Humans and animals have evolved to consume energy very efficiently for movement. If robotic actuation can be made to approach the efficiency of human and animal actuation, the range of practical robotic applications will greatly increase. To help this progression, DARPA has created the M3 Actuation program with the goal of achieving a 2,000% increase in the efficiency of power transmission and application.

FDA panel sees little use for metal-on-metal hips

July 2, 2012 6:38 am | by Matthew Perrone, AP Health Writer | News | Comments

Government health experts said Thursday there are few reasons to continue using metal-on-metal hip implants, amid growing evidence that the devices can break down early and expose patients to dangerous metallic particles. The devices were originally marketed as a longer-lasting alternative to older ceramic and plastic models. But recent data from the U.K. and other foreign countries suggests they are more likely to deteriorate.

Exxon's CEO: Climate, energy fears overblown

June 27, 2012 12:58 pm | by Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer | News | Comments

In a speech Wednesday, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson said fears about climate change, drilling, and energy dependence are overblown. He acknowledged that burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet, but said society will be able to adapt and dependence on other nations for oil is not a concern as long as access to supply is certain.

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New telescope to be in South Africa, Australia

May 30, 2012 2:26 pm | by Donna Bryson, Associated Press | News | Comments

South Africa and Australia had competed fiercely against each other for the Square Kilometer Array telescope project, which will become the world’s biggest instrument when built. Recently, the consortium overseeing the effort decided to award it to both countries, with South Africa getting the lion’s share of the radio dishes.

New Google data shows Microsoft's piracy problems

May 25, 2012 6:21 am | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

According to recent data released by Google, the search engine giant has logged more than 2.5 million requests in the last 11 months to remove links believed to be violating Microsoft’s copyrights. This exceeded the number of complaints about material produced by entertainment companies pushing for tougher online piracy laws.

Commercial space race gets crowded behind SpaceX

May 24, 2012 12:24 pm | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

NASA has hired Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to deliver cargo to the International Space Station, but will eventually add astronauts. And the space agency is hiring other companies, too. Several firms—at least eight—think they can make money in space and are close enough to Musk's company to practically surf in his spaceship's rocket-fueled wake.

More doctors are ditching the old prescription pad

May 18, 2012 6:33 am | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. government has been pushing doctors to e-prescribe, in part because it can be safer for patients. Now, more than a third of the nation's prescriptions now are electronic, and starting this year, holdouts will start to see cuts in their Medicare payments.

FDA advisers recommend approving weight loss drug

May 11, 2012 9:35 am | by Linda A. Johnson, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Advisers to government health regulators late Thursday recommended that they approve sales of what would be the first new prescription weight-loss drug in the U.S. in more than a decade, despite concerns over cardiac risks.

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ICANN offers refunds to domain name applicants

May 9, 2012 6:03 am | News | Comments

The organization behind a major expansion of Internet address suffixes is offering full refunds to companies and organizations affected by a weeks-long delay in taking proposals.

Internet group: Quality over speed in new domains

May 8, 2012 2:59 pm | by Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Three weeks ago, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers abruptly shut down a system for letting companies and organizations propose new suffixes, after it discovered a software glitch that exposed some private data. At the time, ICANN planned to reopen the system within four business days. But the system remains suspended.

Study: Bandwidth caps create uncertainty, risky decisions

May 7, 2012 7:26 am | News | Comments

Many U.S. Internet service providers have fallen in line with their international counterparts in capping monthly residential broadband usage. But according to a recent study conducted with the help of Microsoft Research, these pricing models offer few tools for consumers to manage their data usage, and lead to uninformed decisions.

First of two papers on lab-made bird flu published

May 3, 2012 5:09 am | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Four months ago the U.S. government sought to block publication of two studies about how scientists created an easily spread form of bird flu. Now a revised version of one paper is seeing the light of day with the government's blessing. The second paper, which is more controversial because it involves what appears to be a more dangerous virus, is expected to be published later.

How biotech will benefit from new patent laws

May 1, 2012 5:48 pm | News | Comments

Industrial biotechnology companies rely heavily on patents to attract investment to fund R&D. The recent America Invents Act stands to have a significant impact on technology innovators such as biotech firms, and two recently published papers from patent law experts help explain the extent of these shifts.

Nanotechnology meets safety, ethics in medical community

April 30, 2012 3:50 am | News | Comments

Engineers are developing new and innovative ways of coating medical materials with nano-sized particles of silver, an element that has long been known for its antimicrobial properties. However, a recent paper from the University of Notre Dame highlights the fact that a vast majority of bacteria are actually neutral, or even beneficial. Overuse of nanosilver might harm their useful functions in daily life, the paper reports.

Hubbub over content rights greets Google Drive

April 26, 2012 1:55 pm | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Shortly after Tuesday's release of the long-awaited Google Drive service, technology blogs and Twitter users were picking apart a legal clause that made it sound as if all the users' content stored in Google Drive automatically would become the intellectual property of Google Inc. As it turns out, the worries are probably unfounded.

Solar panels cause clashes with homeowner groups

April 25, 2012 8:37 am | by Ray Henry, Associated Press | News | Comments

The government wants you to install solar panels at your house, and will even give you a tax break to do it. But your neighbors? Maybe not. Homeowners associations around the country have banned or severely restricted the installation of solar panels, and the solar industry has pushed back to halt the practice.

A divided Congress confronts a rising cyberthreat

April 23, 2012 8:44 am | by Donna Cassata and Richard Lardner, Associated Press | News | Comments

As cyber attacks worsen and the tactics employed by hackers grow more nefarious, Congress is being asked to consider legislation to improve defenses for government, municipal, and corporate networks. However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups are applying pressure from the other side, saying the rules would cost money without improving risk.

FDA issues draft guidance on nanotechnology

April 22, 2012 1:41 pm | News | Comments

The U.S. government has issued its initial draft guidelines on the use of nanotechnology, particularly nanoparticles, in food and cosmetic products. These recommendations, intended to help guarantee consumer safety within these two industries, do not extend to the other products that fall under Food and Drug Administration oversights, such as drugs and medical devices.

Verizon to auction spectrum worth billions

April 19, 2012 5:57 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Spectrum rights are the lifeblood of the wireless industry, since they're necessary to operate wireless networks. On Wednesday, Verizon Wireless said it will auction a parcel of radio frequencies potentially worth billions of dollars in an industry scrambling to offer consumers more cellular broadband.

Digital manufacturing leaders Stratasys and Objet to merge

April 18, 2012 5:52 am | News | Comments

Stratasys, Inc., a manufacturer of 3D printers and production systems for prototyping and manufacturing applications, and privately-held Objet Ltd., a manufacturer of 3D printers for rapid prototyping, have approved a definitive merger agreement under which the companies would combine in an all-stock transaction worth approximately $1.4 billion.

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