24 Nov 2020

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Zoomquilt

This 2004 project is garnering interest from users who have found it for the first time. You might also like Zoomquilt2, from 2007, and Arkadia, from 2015.

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24 Nov 2020 10:40pm GMT

'I Should Have Loved Biology'

James Somers, in a long essay: I should have loved biology but I found it to be a lifeless recitation of names: the Golgi apparatus and the Krebs cycle; mitosis, meiosis; DNA, RNA, mRNA, tRNA. In the textbooks, astonishing facts were presented without astonishment. Someone probably told me that every cell in my body has the same DNA. But no one shook me by the shoulders, saying how crazy that was. I needed Lewis Thomas, who wrote in The Medusa and the Snail: "For the real amazement, if you wish to be amazed, is this process. You start out as a single cell derived from the coupling of a sperm and an egg; this divides in two, then four, then eight, and so on, and at a certain stage there emerges a single cell which has as all its progeny the human brain. The mere existence of such a cell should be one of the great astonishments of the earth. People ought to be walking around all day, all through their waking hours calling to each other in endless wonderment, talking of nothing except that cell." I wish my high school biology teacher had asked the class how an embryo could possibly differentiate -- and then paused to let us really think about it. The whole subject is in the answer to that question. A chemical gradient in the embryonic fluid is enough of a signal to slightly alter the gene expression program of some cells, not others; now the embryo knows "up" from "down"; cells at one end begin producing different proteins than cells at the other, and these, in turn, release more refined chemical signals; ...; soon, you have brain cells and foot cells. How come we memorized chemical formulas but didn't talk about that? It was only in college, when I read Douglas Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach, that I came to understand cells as recursively self-modifying programs. The language alone was evocative. It suggested that the embryo -- DNA making RNA, RNA making protein, protein regulating the transcription of DNA into RNA -- was like a small Lisp program, with macros begetting macros begetting macros, the source code containing within it all of the instructions required for life on Earth. Could anything more interesting be imagined? [...]

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24 Nov 2020 10:01pm GMT

Apple Security Chief Maintains Innocence After Bribery Charges

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A grand jury in California's Santa Clara County has indicted Thomas Moyer, Apple's head of global security, for bribery. Moyer is accused of offering 200 iPads to the Santa County Sheriff's office in exchange for concealed carry permits for four Apple employees. Moyer's attorney says that he did nothing wrong, and notably Apple is standing behind its executive. "We expect all of our employees to conduct themselves with integrity," an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. "After learning of the allegations, we conducted a thorough internal investigation and found no wrongdoing." Also indicted were two officials in the office of Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith. These officials are accused of soliciting the alleged bribe. California law gives sheriffs broad discretion to decide who gets permits to carry concealed weapons in the state. Smith has previously faced accusations that her office deliberately withheld permits to carry concealed weapons until applicants did favors for Smith. A June investigation by NBC Bay Area found that donors to Smith's re-election campaign were 14 times more likely to get concealed carry permits than those who didn't donate. A press release from Smith's office described the indictments as "a difficult time for our organization." Jeff Rosen, the Santa Clara district attorney responsible for the indictments, said that the donation of 200 iPads was scuttled at the last minute after Rosen obtained a search warrant in the case. According to LinkedIn, Moyer is responsible for "strategic management of Apple's corporate and retail security, crisis management, executive protection, investigations and new product secrecy." While two individuals in Sheriff Smith's office were indicted, no charges have been filed against Smith herself. Rosen says the investigation is ongoing. A common prosecutorial strategy is to focus on lower-ranking employees first in order to pressure them to provide evidence against their boss.

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24 Nov 2020 10:00pm GMT

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CDC celebrates Biden transition, expects “rebuilding,” more press briefings

"This is what we've been waiting for," senior CDC official says.

24 Nov 2020 8:29pm GMT

SpaceX Starlink engineers take questions in Reddit AMA—here are highlights

Expanded beta is coming in January, and there's no plan for data caps.

24 Nov 2020 7:18pm GMT

Apple security chief maintains innocence after bribery charges

Sheriff's office allegedly sought 200 iPads in trade for concealed carry permits.

24 Nov 2020 6:33pm GMT

01 Jan 2009

feedLinux.com :: Features

A new year, a new Linux.com

Many of you have commented that our NewsVac section hasn't been refreshed since the middle of last month. Others have noticed that our story volume has dropped off. Changes are coming to Linux.com, and until they arrive, you won't see any new stories on the site.

01 Jan 2009 2:00pm GMT

31 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Android-powered G1 phone is an enticing platform for app developers

The free and open source software community has been waiting for the G1 cell phone since it was first announced in July. Source code for Google's Android mobile platform has been available, but the G1 marks its commercial debut. It's clearly a good device, but is it what Linux boosters and FOSS advocates have long been anticipating?

31 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

30 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Municipalities open their GIS systems to citizens

Many public administrations already use open source Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to let citizens look at public geographic data trough dedicated Web sites. Others use the same software to partially open the data gathering process: they let citizens directly add geographic information to the official, high-quality GIS databases by drawing or clicking on digital maps.

30 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT