Thursday, February 28, 2013

HTC confirms some current devices will get Sense 5, or at least parts of it


Don't get too excited yet, however; details still loom

HTC overnight on its Facebook page publicly confirmed what it first told us some weeks ago (and that we've largely expected anyway) -- that some current phones will receive updates that contain some features of Sense 5, which will make its debut in the coming weeks on the new HTC One.

Devices specifically mentioned were the HTC One X, One X+ and One S -- from the original "HTC One" line of 2012 -- as well as the HTC Butterfly, which was the first 1080p display phone that emerged late in the year.

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'Darkest day': Two police officers killed in line of duty

Butler family via NBC Los Angeles

Detective Elizabeth Butler was killed in the line of duty Tuesday. She is survived by a long-time partner and two young sons.

By Erika Conner, Kyle Bonagura and Lisa Fernandez,

Two Santa Cruz, Calif., police officers were shot to death Tuesday afternoon - the first time in city history that officers were killed in the line of duty. One suspect was also killed.

The two officers who died, Det. Sgt. Loran "Butch" Baker and Det. Elizabeth Butler, had a combined 38 years of experience with the Santa Cruz Police Department.

"We at the Santa Cruz Police Department are like family," Santa Cruz police chief Kevin Vogel said. "I've known both of these officers for a long, long time and there just aren't words to describe how I feel personally about this and how our department is reacting to this horrific, horrific tragedy."

Baker had been with the department for 28 years and leaves behind a wife, two daughters and a son, Adam, who works for the department as a community service officer.

Butler leaves her partner, Peter, and two young sons.

"This is the darkest day in the history of the Santa Cruz Police Department," Vogel said.

Baker and Butler went to an address on North Branciforte Avenue as a part of an investigation Tuesday. Details are unclear, but in making contact with the suspect, Santa Cruz resident Jeremy Goulet, 35, an altercation ensued.

Both detectives were killed at the scene.

After going door-to-door in the community authorities say there are no more outstanding suspects or any danger to the community.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel said the investigation was possibly domestic violence related, but Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak could not confirm what the investigation was about.

A Santa Cruz resident, who declined to give his name, said he was sitting in his house in the 800 block of North Branciforte Avenue when he heard gunfire across the street around 3:30 p.m. Police arrived soon, he said.? That's when a suspect fired at police, hitting the two officers.

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A while later, he heard a "multitude of gunfire" coming from an area nearby. He said police told residents to stay inside and not to leave.

Following the incident, schools in the immediate area were placed on lockdown.

"We need to figure out a way to bring our department together and get through this," Vogel said. "It's a horrible, horrible day for the Santa Cruz Police Department and the community of Santa Cruz."

After the police were killed, a second shooting occurred a half-hour later while police were in pursuit of at least the suspect on Doyle Street. A barrage of gunfire erupted that left Goulet dead on Doyle Street, according to the Sentinel.

Police were on a citywide manhunt for several hours after the initial shooting. The FBI joined the investigation just after 4 p.m. as well as law enforcement from the sheriff's office, Capitola, Watsonville and Scotts Valley police departments and the California Highway Patrol.

NBC Bay Area's George Kiriyama and Bay City News contributed to this report.

This story was originally published on


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ScienceDaily: Most Popular News

ScienceDaily: Most Popular News Most popular science, health, technology and environment news stories, featured on ScienceDaily's home page.en-usWed, 27 Feb 2013 08:34:52 ESTWed, 27 Feb 2013 08:34:52 EST60ScienceDaily: Most Popular News For more science articles, visit ScienceDaily.Ship noise makes crabs get crabby A new study found that ship noise affects crab metabolism, with the largest crabs faring the worst, and found little evidence that crabs acclimatize to noise over time.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 19:40:40 EST help books and websites can benefit severely depressed patients Patients with more severe depression show at least as good clinical benefit from 'low-intensity' interventions, such as self help books and websites, as less severely ill patients, suggests a new article.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 19:40:40 EST, skin and gastrointestinal problems cause a quarter of patients with heart disease and strokes to stop treatment in HPS2-THRIVE trial The largest randomized study of the vitamin niacin in patients with occlusive arterial disease (narrowing of the arteries) has shown a significant increase in adverse side-effects when it is combined with statin treatment.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 19:38:38 EST insulin to learning: Insulin-like molecules play critical role in learning and memory Though it's most often associated with disorders like diabetes, scientists have shown how the pathway of insulin and insulin-like peptides plays another critical role in the body -- helping to regulate learning and memory.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 16:28:28 EST use of medication does not improve symptoms for heart failure patients Among patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, long-term treatment with the medication spironolactone improved left ventricular diastolic function but did not affect maximal exercise capacity, patient symptoms, or quality of life, according to a new study.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 16:27:27 EST and firefighters at higher risk for mental disorders following traumatic events New research suggests that exposure to diverse types of traumatic events among protective services workers is a risk factor for new onset of psychopathology and alcohol use disorders.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 14:12:12 EST method devised for determining atrial fibrillation risk in women Researchers have devised and tested a simple atrial fibrillation risk prediction model, based on six easily obtained factors: A woman's age, height, weight, blood pressure, alcohol consumption and smoking history.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 14:12:12 EST Gloves Dangerous in Winter, Says expert Fingers are one of the first body parts to suffer from the cold and popular fingerless texting gloves can lead to frostbite and in worst cases, amputation, says an expert.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 14:12:12 EST sea turtle could be extinct within 20 years at last stronghold in the Pacific Ocean An international team led by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has documented a 78 percent decline in the number of nests of the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) at the turtle's last stronghold in the Pacific Ocean.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 14:12:12 EST combination therapy shuts down escape route, killing glioblastoma tumor cells Scientists have uncovered an unexpected, but important molecular mechanism of mTOR inhibitor resistance and a novel drug combination that reverses this resistance using low dose arsenic in mice. The mTOR pathway is hyperactivated in 90 percent of glioblastomas, the most lethal brain cancer in adults. The data suggest a new approach for treatment of glioblastoma.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 13:55:55 EST variation behind acute myeloid leukemia treatment success identified Researchers are working to identify genetic variations that may help signal which acute myeloid leukemia patients will benefit or not benefit from one of the newest antileukemic agents.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 13:55:55 EST and the ice age Scientists are discovering how the evolution of ecosystems has to be taken into account when speculating between different geological eras. Go back to the time of the dinosaurs or to the single-celled organisms at the origins of life, and it is obvious that ecosystems existing more than 65 million years ago and around four billion years ago cannot be simply surmised from those of today.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 13:52:52 EST negative attitude can undo effectiveness of exposure therapy for phobias Because confronting fear won?t always make it go away, researchers suggest that people with phobias must alter memory-driven negative attitudes about feared objects or events to achieve a more lasting recovery from what scares them the most.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 13:51:51 EST of using herceptin only for HER2-positive breast cancer challenged New research finds that the protein HER2 plays a role even in breast cancers that would traditionally be categorized as HER2-negative ? and that the drug Herceptin, which targets HER2, may have an even greater role for treating breast cancer and preventing its spread.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 13:51:51 EST design could reduce complications in hip replacement Andrew Murtha, a second-year medical student, hopes to specialize in orthopedic medicine. A unique opportunity to collaborate with experienced researchers not only gave him a head start in his medical career, but also allowed him to develop a new design for an artificial hip that should help reduce post-operative complications.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 13:51:51 EST some, surgical site infections are in the genes An estimated 300,000 U.S. patients get surgical site infections every year, and while the causes are varied, a new study suggests that some who get an infection can blame it partly on their genes.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 13:51:51 EST test holographic technique for restoring vision Researchers are testing the power of holography to artificially stimulate cells in the eye, with hopes of developing a new strategy for bionic vision restoration. Computer-generated holography, they say, could be used in conjunction with a technique called optogenetics, which uses gene therapy to deliver light-sensitive proteins to damaged retinal nerve cells. In conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa (RP), these light-sensing cells degenerate and lead to blindness.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 13:42:42 EST well could help spread disease, water flea study suggests Plentiful food can accelerate the spread of infections, scientists have shown in a study of water fleas. Scientists studying bacterial infections in tiny water fleas have discovered that increasing their supply of food can speed up the spread of infection.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 12:05:05 EST glass possible: In probing mysteries of glass, researchers find a key to toughness Glass doesn't have to be brittle. Scientists propose a way of predicting whether a given glass will be brittle or ductile -- a property typically associated with metals like steel or aluminum -- and assert that any glass could have either quality.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:40:40 EST the (quantum) dots: First viable high-speed quantum computer moves closer Scientists have developed a new method that better preserves the units necessary to power lightning-fast electronics, known as qubits. Hole spins, rather than electron spins, can keep quantum bits in the same physical state up to 10 times longer than before, the report finds.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:40:40 EST discovery could hold key to causes of inherited diseases Fresh insights into the protective seal that surrounds the DNA of our cells could help develop treatments for inherited muscle, brain, bone and skin disorders. Researchers have discovered that the proteins within this coating -- known as the nuclear envelope -- vary greatly between cells in different organs of the body.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:38:38 EST battery completes stretchable electronics package: Can stretch, twist and bend -- and return to normal shape Researchers have demonstrated a stretchable lithium-ion battery -- a flexible device capable of powering their innovative stretchable electronics. The battery can stretch up to 300 percent of its original size and still function -- even when stretched, folded, twisted and mounted on a human elbow. The battery enables true integration of electronics and power into a small, stretchable package that is wirelessly rechargeable.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:38:38 EST element of Huntington's disease discovered: Molecular troika regulates production of harmful protein A three molecule complex may be a target for treating Huntington's disease, a genetic disorder affecting the brain.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:38:38 EST too much? Maybe it's in the blood Bone marrow cells that produce brain-derived eurotrophic factor, known to affect regulation of food intake, travel to part of the hypothalamus in the brain where they "fine-tune" appetite, said researchers in a new article.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:38:38 EST tool for measuring frozen gas in ocean floor sediments Scientists have developed an instrument capable of simulating the high pressures and low temperatures needed to create hydrate in sediment samples.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:34:34 EST vessels 'sniff' gut microbes to regulate blood pressure Researchers have discovered that a specialized receptor, normally found in the nose, is also in blood vessels throughout the body, sensing small molecules created by microbes that line mammalian intestines, and responding to these molecules by increasing blood pressure.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:34:34 EST digital holography allows firefighters to see through flames, image moving people Firefighters now have a new tool that could help save lives. A team of researchers have developed a new technique using digital holography that can "see" people through intense flames -- the first time a holographic recording of a live person has been achieved while the body is moving. The new technique allows imaging through both.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 10:14:14 EST's iron intake may help to protect against PMS In one of the first studies to evaluate whether dietary mineral intake is associated with PMS development, medical researchers assessed mineral intake in approximately 3,000 women in a case-control study.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 10:14:14 EST for an artificial brain: Scientists experiment with memristors that imitate natural nerves Scientists have long been dreaming about building a computer that would work like a brain. This is because a brain is far more energy-saving than a computer, it can learn by itself, and it doesn't need any programming. Scientists are experimenting with memristors -- electronic microcomponents that imitate natural nerves.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 10:14:14 EST becoming a pain in the neck Orthopedic surgeon, spine specialist says excessive leaning head forward and down, while looking at a phone or other mobile device could result in what some people call ?text neck.?Tue, 26 Feb 2013 10:12:12 EST source of human kidney cells created Researchers have successfully generated human kidney cells from human embryonic stem cells in vitro1. Specifically, they produced the renal cells under artificial conditions in the lab without using animals or organs. This has not been possible until now.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 09:21:21 EST that may control the spread of cancer discovered Researchers have uncovered a novel mechanism that may lead to more selective ways to stop cancer cells from spreading. Cancer biologists have identified the role of the protein RSK2 in cancer cell migration, part of the process of cancer metastasis.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 09:21:21 EST component of China's pollution problem: Scale of nitrogen's effect on people and ecosystems revealed It's no secret that China is faced with some of the world's worst pollution. Until now, however, information on the magnitude, scope and impacts of a major contributor to that pollution -- human-caused nitrogen emissions -- was lacking.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 09:21:21 EST technique could be key to improving cancer treatments with targeted therapeutic drugs For scientists to improve cancer treatments with targeted therapeutic drugs, they need to be able to see proteins prevalent in the cancer cells. This has been impossible, until now. Thanks to a new microscopy technique, medical researchers have now observed how clusters of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) -- a protein abundant in lung and colon cancers, glioblastoma and others -- malfunctions in cancer cells.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 09:21:21 EST may have a soft spot, after all The overuse of antibiotics has created strains of bacteria resistant to medication, making the diseases they cause difficult to treat, or even deadly. But now a research team has identified a weakness in at least one superbug that scientists may be able to medically exploit.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 09:21:21 EST observed properties of vacuums: Light particles illuminate the vacuum Researchers have succeeded in showing experimentally that vacuums have properties not previously observed. According to the laws of quantum mechanics, it is a state with abundant potentials. Vacuums contain momentarily appearing and disappearing virtual pairs, which can be converted into detectable light particles.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 09:21:21 EST'Fat worms' inch scientists toward better biofuel production Fat worms confirm that researchers have successfully engineered a plant with oily leaves -- a feat that could enhance biofuel production as well as lead to improved animal feeds.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 09:21:21 EST omega-3 supplements may help prevent skin cancer, new study finds Taking omega-3 fish oils could help to protect against skin cancer, according to new research. Scientists just carried out the first clinical trial to examine the impact of the fish oils on the skin immunity of volunteers.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 09:20:20 EST symptoms common among ICU survivors One in three people who survived stays in an intensive care unit and required use of a mechanical ventilator showed substantial post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms that lasted for up to two years, according to a new study of patients with acute lung injury.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 08:12:12 EST surgery restores pancreatic function by targeting belly fat Researchers have found that gastric bypass surgery reverses diabetes by uniquely restoring pancreatic function in moderately obese patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 08:12:12 EST hear this: Forerunners of inner-ear cells that enable hearing identified Researchers have identified a group of progenitor cells in the inner ear that can become the sensory hair cells and adjacent supporting cells that enable hearing.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 08:12:12 EST fish from antidepressants by using new wastewater treatment technique Researchers have developed a new technique to prevent pharmaceutical residues from entering waterways and harming wildlife.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 08:11:11 EST reinforces learning: Children?s brains transform subconsciously learned material into active knowledge During sleep, our brains store what we have learned during the day a process even more effective in children than in adults, new research shows.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 08:11:11 EST morning sickness lasts all day Severe nausea during pregnancy can be fatal, yet very little is known about this condition. Hormonal, genetic and socio-economic factors may all play a role.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 08:10:10 EST can be a relief When something causes less pain than expected it is even possible for it to feel pleasant, a new study reveals. These findings may one day play a key role in treating pain and substance abuse.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 08:10:10 EST news for stem cell's 'Holy Grail' Scientists have used sugar-coated scaffolding to move a step closer to the routine use of stem cells in the clinic and unlock their huge potential to cure diseases from Alzheimer?s to diabetes.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 08:10:10 EST atlas of the human heart drawn using statistics Researchers in Spain have created a high resolution atlas of the heart with 3-D images taken from 138 people. The study demonstrates that an average image of an organ along with its variations can be obtained for the purposes of comparing individual cases and differentiating healthy forms from pathologies.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 08:10:10 EST at sea can break like matches Medium-sized waves can break wind turbines at sea like matches. These waves occur even in small storms, which are quite common in the Norwegian Sea.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 08:10:10 EST can increase risk of acute pancreatitis A new study shows that cortisone -- a hormone used in certain medicines -- increases the risk of acute pancreatitis. According to the researchers, they suggest that patients treated with cortisone in some forms should be informed of the risks and advised to refrain from alcohol and smoking.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 21:03:03 EST mother's blood pressure may affect future health of children Up to 10 percent of all women experience some form of elevated blood pressure during pregnancy. Researchers now show that mild maternal hypertension early in pregnancy actually benefits the fetus, but that late pregnancy hypertension has negative health consequences for the child.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 20:19:19 EST molecules in the blood might gauge radiation effects after exposure Researchers have identified molecules in the blood that might gauge the likelihood of radiation illness after exposure to ionizing radiation. The animal study shows that radiation predictably alters levels of certain molecules in the blood. If verified in human subjects, the findings could lead to new methods for rapidly identifying people at risk for acute radiation syndrome after occupational exposures or nuclear reactor accidents, and they might help doctors plan radiation therapy for patients.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 20:19:19 EST transcriptome creates a buzz New research delivers a sting in the tail for queen wasps.? Scientists have sequenced the active parts of the genome ? or transcriptome ? of primitively eusocial wasps to identify the part of the genome that makes you a queen or a worker. Their work shows that workers have a more active transcriptome than queens. This suggests that in these simple societies, workers may be the 'jack-of-all-trades' in the colony - transcriptionally speaking - leaving the queen with a somewhat restricted repertoire.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 20:18:18 EST scaffolding protein fascin-1 is hijacked by cancer A protein involved in the internal cell scaffold is associated with increased risk of metastasis and mortality in a range of common cancers finds a meta-analysis. The protein, fascin-1, is involved in bundling together the actin filaments which form the internal scaffolding of a cell and are involved in cell movement.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 20:18:18 EST clot removal devices show promise for treating stroke patients Specialists are treating patients with a new generation of blood clot removal devices that show promise in successfully revascularizing stroke patients, including those with large vessel blockages. The Solitaire Flow Restoration Device and the Trevo device, approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012 to treat stroke caused by the sudden obstruction of a brain blood vessel (acute ischemic stroke) showed improved results over a previous standard and first generation clot-removal device in clinical trials.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 20:18:18 EST instruments inside Curiosity eat Mars rock powder Two compact laboratories inside NASA's Mars rover Curiosity have ingested portions of the first sample of rock powder ever collected from the interior of a rock on Mars. Curiosity science team members will use the laboratories to analyze the rock powder in the coming days and weeks.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 18:56:56 EST diet helps cut risk of heart attack, stroke: Results of PREDIMED study presented Results of a major study aimed at assessing the efficacy of the Mediterranean diet in the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases show that such a diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or tree nuts reduces by 30 percent the risk of suffering a cardiovascular death, a myocardial infarction or a stroke.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 18:15:15 EST levels of several toxic metals found in children with autism Researchers have found significantly higher levels of toxic metals in children with autism, compared to typical children. They hypothesize that reducing early exposure to toxic metals may help lessen symptoms of autism, though they say this hypotheses needs further examination.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 16:22:22 EST good is good for you: Volunteer adolescents enjoy healthier hearts Giving back through volunteering is good for your heart, even at a young age, according to researchers.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 16:22:22 EST shows promise as prostate cancer treatment A recombinant Newcastle disease virus kills all kinds of prostate cancer cells, including hormone resistant cells, but leaves normal cells unscathed, according to a new article. A treatment for prostate cancer based on this virus would avoid the adverse side effects typically associated with hormonal treatment for prostate cancer, as well as those associated with cancer chemotherapies generally.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 15:31:31 EST flight: Two vortex trails with one stroke As of today, the Wikipedia entry for the hummingbird explains that the bird's flight generates in its wake a single trail of vortices that helps the bird hover. But after conducting experiments with hummingbirds in the lab, researchers propose that the hummingbird produces two trails of vortices -- one under each wing per stroke -- that help generate the aerodynamic forces required for the bird to power and control its flight.Mon, 25 Feb 2013 15:31:31 EST


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Italy debt auction to show cost of political crisis

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy will pay the price for its latest political crisis with higher borrowing costs on Wednesday when it sells longer-dated bonds to investors worried about an inconclusive election.

The vote cast over the weekend gave none of the political parties a parliamentary majority, raising the risk of prolonged instability and a rekindling of the euro zone crisis.

The results, notably the dramatic surge of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement of comic Beppe Grillo, left the center-left bloc with a majority in the lower house but without the numbers to control the upper chamber.

"Markets have been underpricing Italian political risk for months and are now struggling to come to terms with an extremely unstable and fluid political situation," said Nicholas Spiro, managing director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy.

After a sell-off in Italian bonds and stocks on Tuesday, investors on tenterhooks in early trade on Wednesday. In the grey market, the yield on the new 10-year bond maturing May 2023 was trading at 4.97 percent after briefly topping 5 percent, up from 4.90 percent late on Tuesday.

If confirmed at the auction, that level would be the highest since September 2012. At the end-January sale, Rome paid 4.17 percent to sell 10-year paper.

"The market is very nervous, every piece of news could trigger a violent reaction," said a Milan trader.

The premium investors demand to hold 10-year Italian bonds over equivalent German Bunds stood at 345 basis points after earlier touching a peak at 350 basis points.

The political stalemate could halt reforms needed to spur growth and help Italy cut its massive 2 trillion euro debt pile.

As stunned parties look for a way forward after the messy result, the treasury will seek to sell between 3 billion and 4 billion euros of a new 10-year bond and between 1.75 and 2.5 billion euros of five-year paper.

"Italy's debt market is facing its most serious challenge since the announcement of the European Central Bank's bond-buying program last summer," said Spiro.

On Tuesday Rome's six-month borrowing costs rose by 0.51 percent compared to a similar sale at the end of January and reached their highest level since October 2012, shortly after the ECB pledged to buy bonds of struggling euro zone countries.

The risk is that the political stalemate may reverse a cautious comeback of foreign investors into Italy's debt that started after by the ECB's bond-buying pledge.

"If political parties are not able to give in the short term a strong signal of change, foreign banks could reduce their activity in the country," Guido Rosa, head of the Italian association of foreign lenders, told Reuters.

The treasury had taken advantage of a benign environment at the beginning of this year to cover more than 20 percent of its total 2013 refunding needs.

(Editing by Anna Willard)


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Music, movie industry to warn copyright infringers

(AP) ? Internet users who illegally share music, movies or TV shows online may soon get warning notices from their service providers that they are violating copyright law. Ignore the notices, and violators could face an Internet slow-down for 48 hours. Those who claim they're innocent can protest ? for a fee.

For the first time since a spate of aggressive and unpopular lawsuits almost a decade ago, the music and movie industries are going after Internet users they accuse of swapping copyrighted files online. But unlike the lawsuits from the mid-2000s ? which swept up everyone from young kids to the elderly with sometimes ruinous financial penalties and court costs ? the latest effort is aimed at educating casual Internet pirates and convincing them to stop. There are multiple chances to make amends and no immediate legal consequences under the program if they don't.

"There's a bunch of questions that need to be answered because there are ways that this could end up causing problems for Internet users," such as the bureaucratic headache of being falsely accused, said David Sohn, general counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington-based civil liberties group. But he added: "There's also the potential for this to have an impact in reducing piracy in ways that don't carry a lot of collateral damage."

The Copyright Alert System was put into effect this week by the nation's five biggest Internet service providers ? Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Cablevision ? and the two major associations representing industry ? the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America.

Under the new program, the industry will monitor "peer-to-peer" software services for evidence of copyrighted files being shared. Each complaint will prompt a customer's Internet provider to notify the customer that their Internet address has been detected sharing files illegally. Depending on the service provider, the first couple of alerts will likely be an email warning. Subsequent alerts might require a person to acknowledge receipt or review educational materials. If a final warning is ignored, a person could be subject to speed-throttling for 48 hours or another similar "mitigation measure."

After five or six "strikes," however, the person won't face any repercussions under the program and is likely to be ignored. It's unclear whether such repeat offenders would be more likely at that point to face an expensive lawsuit. While proponents say it's not the intention of the program, it's possible the alert system will be used to initiate lawsuits.

The number of Internet users subject to the new system is a sizable chunk of the U.S. population. Verizon and AT&T alone supply more than 23 million customers.

For the recording industry, which blames online piracy for contributing to a dramatic drop in profits and sales during the past decade, the new alert system is a better alternative than lawsuits. In December 2008, the Recording Industry Association of America announced it had discontinued that practice ? which had been deeply unpopular with the American public ? and would begin working with the Internet providers on the alert system instead.

"We think there is a positive impact of (alert) programs like this, and that they can put money in the pocket of artists and labels," said Jonathan Lamy, a spokesman for the trade group.

The Motion Picture Association of America estimates some 29 million people have downloaded or watched unauthorized movies or TV shows online, mostly using technology such as BitTorrent, a popular peer-to-peer protocol. Like its counterparts in the music industry, the MPAA says it believes people will stop when they understand it's illegal and are redirected to legal ways of paying for downloads.

The alert system "will help ensure an Internet that works for everyone by alerting families of illegal activity that has occurred over peer-to-peer networks using their Internet accounts and educate them on how they can prevent such activity from happening again," Michael O'Leary, an executive for the MPAA, said in a statement Tuesday.

A primary question is whether the system will generate a significant number of "false positives," or cases in which people are accused of sharing illegal content but aren't. One scenario is if a person doesn't encrypt their wireless connection, leaving it open to a neighbor or malicious hacker that swaps illegal files. Another example might be if a person uploads a "mashup" of songs or brief scenes from a movie ? content that wouldn't necessarily violate the law but could get flagged by the system.

The Center for Copyright Information, which created the alert system, is responsible for producing the methods that companies will be allowed to use to catch pirates, but it said Tuesday it won't release those details publicly. It said the system will rely on humans to review the entire content of every file to make sure it qualifies as material protected under copyright laws.

"This is an imperfect science," said Yoshi Kohno, an associate professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington. "The likelihood of a false positive depends on the diligence of the party doing the investigation."

Bartees Cox, a spokesman for the consumer watchdog group Public Knowledge, says it will watching to ensure the program doesn't evolve into imposing harsher punishments by Internet providers, such as terminating a person's Internet access altogether if they are accused of being a prolific violator.

If a person believes they've been wrongly accused, they will have multiple chances to delete the material and move on without any repercussion. If the problem is chronic, they can pay $35 to appeal ? a charge intended to deter frivolous appeals but also one that can be waived. The center says it won't require proof that a person is financially strapped.

The center's director, Jill Lesser, said the goal is to educate the average Internet user, rather than punish them, and no one will see their Internet access cut off.

"This is the first time the focus has been on education and awareness and redirection to legal and authorized services and not on punitive measures or a carrot-and-stick approach," she said.

Sohn said the effort will be a significant test whether voluntary measures can reduce copyright infringement.

"The long-term challenge here is getting users to change their attitudes and behaviors and views toward copyright infringement, because the technology that enables infringement ? computers, digital technology and the Internet ? that stuff isn't going away," he said.


Follow Anne Flaherty on Twitter at:



Associated Press


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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

AP Source: NCAA found $170K in Shapiro benefits

(AP) ? The NCAA is alleging that former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro was responsible for providing about $170,000 in impermissible benefits to Hurricanes athletes, recruits, coaches and others between 2002 and 2010.

Shapiro allegedly spent more than half that amount ? at least $90,000 ? in an effort to get NFL players Vince Wilfork and Antrel Rolle to sign with a sports agency he was involved with, said the person, who spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday on condition of anonymity because neither Miami nor the NCAA has publicly released the allegations.

Also included in the allegations: That Shapiro spent at least another $56,000 on "meals, entertainment, clothing, jewelry, travel, lodging and cash" on football players, recruits and others. The NCAA alleged that Shapiro spent that on 72 then-players, three recruits and 12 "friends and family members" of those either on the team or being recruited by the school.

Virtually all of the Hurricane players listed as receiving some sort of extra benefit from Shapiro left the program several years ago.

The figures that the NCAA's enforcement staff cited in the notice of allegations add up to a significantly lower total than what Shapiro told Yahoo Sports in 2011, when he estimated his extra-benefit spending spree as going into the "millions of dollars."

If true, the NCAA only listed a sliver of that in the allegations. The figures that were sent to Miami also were described as "approximate total values."

The NCAA said Shapiro also provided extra benefits in the forms of impermissible supplemental compensation to at least three former Miami assistant coaches, along with travel benefits and other items.

Miami received its notice of allegations, ones that included a lack of institutional control for failing to properly monitor Shapiro's activities as a booster, last week. It also includes charges that three former assistant coaches broke what's known as the NCAA's Rule 10.1 ? governing ethical conduct ? by misleading the investigation. Two of those former assistants have asked that their cases be thrown out because of problems the NCAA acknowledged with the way it conducted the probe.

The NCAA's Committee on Infractions wants to hear the case in June.

The Hurricanes have already self-imposed several sanctions, including sitting out two bowl games and a conference football championship game. Miami President Donna Shalala said on two occasions last week that she believes those punishments should be enough, and on Wednesday, the Hurricanes' athletic director echoed those sentiments.

"I would say I agree with everything that was in the two statements by President Shalala," Blake James, Miami's athletic director, told The AP. "I think she was right on in her comments and was very reflective of the general feel of our institution and those involved in this case."

Shapiro is serving a 20-year prison term for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme.

Associated Press


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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Unlimited source of human kidney cells created

Feb. 21, 2013 ? Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have successfully generated human kidney cells from human embryonic stem cells in vitro1. Specifically, they produced the renal cells under artificial conditions in the lab without using animals or organs. This has not been possible until now.

According to IBN Executive Director, Professor Jackie Y. Ying, "This discovery has wide-reaching implications for in vitro toxicology, drug screening, disease models and regenerative medicine. In particular, we are interested in applying our technology to develop predictive in vitro drug testing and renal toxicity models as alternatives to animal testing."

IBN Team Leader and Principal Research Scientist Dr Daniele Zink elaborated, "The kidney is a major target organ for drug-induced toxic effects. Therefore, it is important for pharmaceutical companies to find out early in the development phase whether their drugs would cause nephrotoxicity in humans. However, animal models are of limited predictability, and there is currently no regulatory accepted in vitro assay based on renal cells to predict nephrotoxic effects. A major problem is the lack of suitable renal cells, which may now be resolved through our discovery."

At present, human kidney cells are extracted directly from human kidney samples. However, this method is not efficient because such samples are limited, and the extracted cells die after a few cell divisions in the petri dish. Also, cells obtained from different samples would display variable features, depending on age, gender, health status and other conditions of the donor. Therefore, cells that have been isolated from human samples are of limited suitability for research and applications in industry and translational medicine, which require large cell numbers.

An alternative approach is to use human renal cell lines that have been rendered immortal, i.e. they can be reproduced indefinitely in the lab. However, such cells may not be used in many applications due to safety issues, and their functional features have usually been changed so profoundly that they may no longer be useful toward predicting cell behavior in the human body.

IBN's technique, on the other hand, enables human embryonic stem cells to differentiate into renal proximal tubular-like cells. This particular kidney cell type plays an important role in kidney disease-related processes and drug clearance. Results showed that the renal proximal tubular-like cells generated by IBN were similar to the renal proximal tubular cells isolated from fresh human kidney samples. For example, they displayed very similar gene and protein expression patterns. Also, since human embryonic stem cells may grow indefinitely in cell culture, the IBN researchers have discovered a potentially unlimited source of human kidney cells.

"We are currently adapting our approach to use induced pluripotent stem cells as the source," shared Dr Karthikeyan Narayanan, IBN Senior Research Scientist. "We are also planning to modify our protocol in order to generate other renal cell types from stem cells."

The IBN researchers have tested the renal cells they generated in in vitro nephrotoxicology models developed by the Institute, and have obtained very promising test results. They welcome industry partners to collaborate with IBN on commercializing this technology.

IBN has recently received a grant from A*STAR's Joint Council Office Development Program to further develop predictive in vitro models for liver- and kidney-specific toxicity. This project will be conducted in collaboration with the Experimental Therapeutics Centre, the Bioinformatics Institute and the National University Health System.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

  1. Karthikeyan Narayanan, Karl M Schumacher, Farah Tasnim, Karthikeyan Kandasamy, Annegret Schumacher, Ming Ni, Shujun Gao, Began Gopalan, Daniele Zink, Jackie Y Ying. Human embryonic stem cells differentiate into functional renal proximal tubular?like cells. Kidney International, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/ki.2012.442

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.


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LG buys WebOS from HP to use in smart TVs

Palm's ill-fated WebOS has been bought again, this time by Korean electronics giant LG, ostensibly to support the company's development of smart TVs. But don't expect a Palm TV ? the once-admired OS is more likely to just fade into the background.

The purchase includes the OS itself and most of its critical components, including patents (although not its meager app catalog). Fans of the OS will be happy to hear that the open source projects started by HP will continue as before, albeit under the "stewardship" of LG. Still have a WebOS handset? HP will continue to provide support.

The financial terms of the deal were not announced, suggesting the purchase price was not particularly high; HP would probably like to avoid highlighting a poor return on their investment in Palm. Regardless, neither party believed the transaction would affect either of their stock prices.

HP acquired Palm for $1.2 billion three years ago ? a short time in the business world, but an eternity in software and technology. Palm's WebOS, widely hailed at its 2009 launch as an innovative and powerful alternative to both iOS and Android, was slated to power a new generation of HP consumer devices, none of which ever materialized.

LG states that WebOS was purchased to augment their next wave of smart TVs, and certainly the intuitive interface and patents in Palm's swan song could help with that. The world may be eagerly awaiting an Apple TV set, but in the meantime existing companies are fighting tooth and nail for space in the living room, and a novel and user-friendly OS (as LG seems to be planning) could be a coup.

But a few ideas and interface patents are likely all that can be salvaged from WebOS at this point for LG's purposes. Anyone who's hoping for a second (or third) coming of WebOS in the form of a smart TV will likely be disappointed.

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is


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Investors face another Washington deadline

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Investors face another Washington-imposed deadline on government spending cuts next week, but it's not generating the same level of fear as two months ago when the "fiscal cliff" loomed large.

Investors in sectors most likely to be affected by the cuts, like defense, seem untroubled that the budget talks could send stocks tumbling.

Talks on the U.S. budget crisis began again this week leading up to the March 1 deadline for the so-called sequestration when $85 billion in automatic federal spending cuts are scheduled to take effect.

"It's at this point a political hot button in Washington but a very low level investor concern," said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co. in Lake Oswego, Oregon. The fight pits President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats against congressional Republicans.

Stocks rallied in early January after a compromise temporarily avoided the fiscal cliff, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index <.spx> has risen 6.3 percent since the start of the year.

But the benchmark index lost steam this week, posting its first week of losses since the start of the year. Minutes on Wednesday from the last Federal Reserve meeting, which suggested the central bank may slow or stop its stimulus policy sooner than expected, provided the catalyst.

National elections in Italy on Sunday and Monday could also add to investor concern. Most investors expect a government headed by Pier Luigi Bersani to win and continue with reforms to tackle Italy's debt problems. However, a resurgence by former leader Silvio Berlusconi has raised doubts.

"Europe has been in the last six months less of a topic for the stock market, but the problems haven't gone away. This may bring back investor attention to that," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.


The spending cuts, if they go ahead, could hit the defense industry particularly hard.

Yet in the options market, bulls were targeting gains in Lockheed Martin Corp , the Pentagon's biggest supplier.

Calls on the stock far outpaced puts, suggesting that many investors anticipate the stock to move higher. Overall options volume on the stock was 2.8 times the daily average with 17,000 calls and 3,360 puts traded, according to options analytics firm Trade Alert.

"The upside call buying in Lockheed solidifies the idea that option investors are not pricing in a lot of downside risk in most defense stocks from the likely impact of sequestration," said Jared Woodard, a founder of research and advisory firm in Forest, Virginia.

The stock ended up 0.6 percent at $88.12 on Friday.

If lawmakers fail to reach an agreement on reducing the U.S. budget deficit in the next few days, a sequester would include significant cuts in defense spending. Companies such as General Dynamics Corp and Smith & Wesson Holding Corp could be affected.

General Dynamics Corp shares rose 1.2 percent to $67.32 and Smith & Wesson added 4.6 percent to $9.18 on Friday.


The latest data on fourth-quarter U.S. gross domestic product is expected on Thursday, and some analysts predict an upward revision following trade data that showed America's deficit shrank in December to its narrowest in nearly three years.

U.S. GDP unexpectedly contracted in the fourth quarter, according to an earlier government estimate, but analysts said there was no reason for panic, given that consumer spending and business investment picked up.

Investors will be looking for any hints of changes in the Fed's policy of monetary easing when Fed Chairman Ben Bernake speaks before congressional committees on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Shares of Apple will be watched closely next week when the company's annual stockholders' meeting is held.

On Friday, a U.S. judge handed outspoken hedge fund manager David Einhorn a victory in his battle with the iPhone maker, blocking the company from moving forward with a shareholder vote on a controversial proposal to limit the company's ability to issue preferred stock.

(Additional reporting by Doris Frankel; Editing by Kenneth Barry)


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A roundup of the best photos of the day

It began as a seemingly awkward Jack Nicholson introduction of the very long list on nominees, but the Best Picture denouement?at a very long Oscars ceremony on Sunday turned into a surprise appearance by Michelle Obama, via satellite from the Governors' Ball in Washington, D.C.?where earlier she had sat next to Chris Christie?to introduce and announce the winner,?Argo.?


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Koop, who transformed surgeon general post, dies

FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2002 file photo, former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop testifies in Concord, N.H. Koop, who raised the profile of the surgeon general by riveting America's attention on the then-emerging disease known as AIDS and by railing against smoking, has died in New Hampshire at age 96. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2002 file photo, former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Koop testifies in Concord, N.H. Koop, who raised the profile of the surgeon general by riveting America's attention on the then-emerging disease known as AIDS and by railing against smoking, has died in New Hampshire at age 96. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

FILE - In this May 12, 1997 file photo, former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop discusses the proposed increase of the New Hampshire cigarette tax at the governor's office in the Statehouse in Concord, H.H. Koop, who raised the profile of the surgeon general by riveting America's attention on the then-emerging disease known as AIDS and by railing against smoking, died Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, in Hanover, N.H. He was 96. (AP Photo/Andrew Sullivan, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 1, 1993 file photo, former Surgeon Genera C. Everett Koop, left, sits with then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton during a meeting with more than 100 prominent doctors in the White House in Washington. Koop, who raised the profile of the surgeon general by riveting America's attention on the then-emerging disease known as AIDS and by railing against smoking, died Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, in Hanover, N.H. He was 96. (AP Photo, File)

FILE - In this Aug. 29, 1991 file photo, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop speaks in Washington during a conference for preventing transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis B Virus to patients during procedures by medical personal. Koop, who raised the profile of the surgeon general by riveting America's attention on the then-emerging disease known as AIDS and by railing against smoking, died Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, in Hanover, N.H. He was 96. (AP Photo/Barry Thumma, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 1988 file photo, U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop speaks in Philadelphia. Koop, who raised the profile of the surgeon general by riveting America's attention on the then-emerging disease known as AIDS and by railing against smoking, died Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, in Hanover, N.H. He was 96. (AP Photo/Robert J. Gurecki, File)

With his striking beard and starched uniform, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop became one of the most recognizable figures of the Reagan era ? and one of the most unexpectedly enduring.

His nomination in 1981 met a wall of opposition from women's groups and liberal politicians, who complained President Ronald Reagan selected Koop, a pediatric surgeon and evangelical Christian from Philadelphia, only because of his conservative views, especially his staunch opposition to abortion.

Soon, though, he was a hero to AIDS activists, who chanted "Koop, Koop" at his appearances but booed other officials. And when he left his post in 1989, he left behind a landscape where AIDS was a top research and educational priority, smoking was considered a public health hazard, and access to abortion remained largely intact.

Koop, who turned his once-obscure post into a bully pulpit for seven years during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations and who surprised both ends of the political spectrum by setting aside his conservative personal views on issues such as homosexuality and abortion to keep his focus sharply medical, died Monday at his home in Hanover, N.H. He was 96.

An assistant at Koop's Dartmouth College institute, Susan Wills, confirmed his death but didn't disclose its cause.

Dr. Richard Carmona, who served as surgeon general a decade ago under President George W. Bush, said Koop was a mentor to him and preached the importance of staying true to the science even if it made politicians uncomfortable.

"He set the bar high for all who followed in his footsteps," Carmona said.

Although the surgeon general has no real authority to set government policy, Koop described himself as "the health conscience of the country" and said modestly just before leaving his post that "my only influence was through moral suasion."

A former pipe smoker, Koop carried out a crusade to end smoking in the United States; his goal had been to do so by 2000. He said cigarettes were as addictive as heroin and cocaine. And he shocked his conservative supporters when he endorsed condoms and sex education to stop the spread of AIDS.

Chris Collins, a vice president of amFAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, said many people don't realize what an important role Koop played in the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.

"At the time, he really changed the national conversation, and he showed real courage in pursuing the duties of his job," Collins said.

Even after leaving office, Koop continued to promote public health causes, from preventing childhood accidents to better training for doctors.

"I will use the written word, the spoken word and whatever I can in the electronic media to deliver health messages to this country as long as people will listen," he promised.

In 1996, he rapped Republican presidential hopeful Bob Dole for suggesting that tobacco was not invariably addictive, saying Dole's comments "either exposed his abysmal lack of knowledge of nicotine addiction or his blind support of the tobacco industry."

Although Koop eventually won wide respect with his blend of old-fashioned values, pragmatism and empathy, his nomination met staunch opposition.

Foes noted that Koop traveled the country in 1979 and 1980 giving speeches that predicted a progression "from liberalized abortion to infanticide to passive euthanasia to active euthanasia, indeed to the very beginnings of the political climate that led to Auschwitz, Dachau and Belsen."

But Koop, a devout Presbyterian, was confirmed after he told a Senate panel he would not use the surgeon general's post to promote his religious ideology. He kept his word.

In 1986, he issued a frank report on AIDS, urging the use of condoms for "safe sex" and advocating sex education as early as third grade.

He also maneuvered around uncooperative Reagan administration officials in 1988 to send an educational AIDS pamphlet to more than 100 million U.S. households, the largest public health mailing ever.

Koop personally opposed homosexuality and believed sex should be saved for marriage. But he insisted that Americans, especially young people, must not die because they were deprived of explicit information about how HIV was transmitted.

Koop further angered conservatives by refusing to issue a report requested by the Reagan White House, saying he could not find enough scientific evidence to determine whether abortion has harmful psychological effects on women.

Koop maintained his personal opposition to abortion, however. After he left office, he told medical students it violated their Hippocratic oath. In 2009, he wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, urging that health care legislation include a provision to ensure doctors and medical students would not be forced to perform abortions. The letter briefly set off a security scare because it was hand delivered.

Koop served as chairman of the National Safe Kids Campaign and as an adviser to President Bill Clinton's health care reform plan.

At a congressional hearing in 2007, Koop spoke about political pressure on the surgeon general post. He said Reagan was pressed to fire him every day, but Reagan would not interfere.

Koop, worried that medicine had lost old-fashioned caring and personal relationships between doctors and patients, opened his institute at Dartmouth to teach medical students basic values and ethics. He also was a part-owner of a short-lived venture,, to provide consumer health care information via the Internet.

Koop was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, the only son of a Manhattan banker and the nephew of a doctor. He said by age 5 he knew he wanted to be a surgeon and at age 13 he practiced his skills on neighborhood cats.

He attended Dartmouth, where he received the nickname Chick, short for "chicken Koop." It stuck for life.

Koop received his medical degree at Cornell Medical College, choosing pediatric surgery because so few surgeons practiced it.

In 1938, he married Elizabeth Flanagan, the daughter of a Connecticut doctor. They had four children, one of whom died in a mountain climbing accident when he was 20.

Koop was appointed surgeon-in-chief at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and served as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

He pioneered surgery on newborns and successfully separated three sets of conjoined twins. He won national acclaim by reconstructing the chest of a baby born with the heart outside the body.

Although raised as a Baptist, he was drawn to a Presbyterian church near the hospital, where he developed an abiding faith. He began praying at the bedside of his young patients ? ignoring the snickers of some of his colleagues.

Koop's wife died in 2007, and he married Cora Hogue in 2010.

He was by far the best-known surgeon general and for decades afterward was still a recognized personality.

"I was walking down the street with him one time" about five years ago, recalled Dr. George Wohlreich, director of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, a medical society with which Koop had longstanding ties. "People were yelling out, 'There goes Dr. Koop!' You'd have thought he was a rock star."


Ring reported from Montpelier, Vt. Cass reported from Washington. AP Medical Writers Lauran Neergaard in Washington and Mike Stobbe in New York contributed to this report.

Associated Press


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