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Apple's Tim Cook "deeply offended" by fresh allegations of factory worker mistreatment

Engadget - 1 hour 46 min ago
Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he's "deeply offended" by fresh allegations of poor working conditions in its Chinese factories. Contractors hired by Apple to assemble its latest products have been criticized before over poor working conditions, and whil...

Scientists Discover That Exercise Changes Your DNA

Slashdot - 1 hour 59 min ago
HughPickens.com writes The human genome is astonishingly complex and dynamic, with genes constantly turning on or off, depending on what biochemical signals they receive from the body. Scientists have known that certain genes become active or quieter as a result of exercise but they hadn't understood how those genes knew how to respond to exercise. Now the NYT reports that scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm have completed a study where they recruited 23 young and healthy men and women, brought them to the lab for a series of physical performance and medical tests, including a muscle biopsy, and then asked them to exercise half of their lower bodies for three months. The volunteers pedaled one-legged at a moderate pace for 45 minutes, four times per week for three months. Then the scientists repeated the muscle biopsies and other tests with each volunteer. Not surprisingly, the volunteers' exercised leg was more powerful now than the other, showing that the exercise had resulted in physical improvements. But there were also changes within the exercised muscle cells' DNA. Using technology that analyses 480,000 positions throughout the genome, they could see that new methylation patterns had taken place in 7,000 genes (an individual has 20–25,000 genes). In a process known as DNA methylation, clusters of atoms, called methyl groups, attach to the outside of a gene like microscopic mollusks and make the gene more or less able to receive and respond to biochemical signals from the body. In the exercised portions of the bodies, many of the methylation changes were on portions of the genome known as enhancers that can amplify the expression of proteins by genes. And gene expression was noticeably increased or changed in thousands of the muscle-cell genes that the researchers studied. Most of the genes in question are known to play a role in energy metabolism, insulin response and inflammation within muscles. In other words, they affect how healthy and fit our muscles — and bodies — become. Many mysteries still remain but the message of the study is unambiguous. "Through endurance training — a lifestyle change that is easily available for most people and doesn't cost much money," says Sara Lindholm, "we can induce changes that affect how we use our genes and, through that, get healthier and more functional muscles that ultimately improve our quality of life."

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BlackBerry's surviving, but not as a smartphone company

Engadget - 2 hours 18 min ago
It's been almost a year since John Chen was appointed to save Blackberry and it's clear that his grand plan has, at least, stopped the company losing money hand over fist. In the Canadian outfit's latest three month report, it reveals that losses hav...

Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

Slashdot - 3 hours 40 min ago
SternisheFan notes that Nebraska and Oklahoma are suing Colorado over marijuana legalization. The attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma sued Colorado in the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, arguing state-legalized marijuana from Colorado is improperly spilling across state lines. The suit invokes the federal government's right to regulate both drugs and interstate commerce, and says Colorado's decision to legalize marijuana has been "particularly burdensome" to police agencies on the other side of the state line. In June, USA TODAY highlighted the flow of marijuana from Colorado into small towns across Nebraska: felony drug arrests in Chappell, Neb., just 7 miles north of the Colorado border have skyrocketed 400% in three years. "In passing and enforcing Amendment 64, the state of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system enacted by the United States Congress. Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining plaintiff states' own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems," says the lawsuit. "The Constitution and the federal anti-drug laws do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local pro-drug policies and licensed distribution schemes throughout the country which conflict with federal laws."

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The MPAA is playing politics to help topple Google

Engadget - 3 hours 41 min ago
Google sees itself as an unbiased index of the web, saying that it only removes results when lawmakers deem them to be illegal. Unfortunately, that's not an argument that holds much sway with the movie studios, still smarting after the heavy-handed S...

Comcast's new customer service fix: use the app to schedule a call

Engadget - 4 hours 31 min ago
Years of being dinged for ineffective and unresponsive customer service may be catching up to Comcast, which is finally responding with some much-needed tweaks. Charlie Herrin became its SVP of Customer Experience in September, bringing new features ...

Kepler Makes First Exoplanet Discovery After Mission Reboot

Slashdot - 4 hours 35 min ago
astroengine writes NASA's Kepler space telescope has detected its first new extrasolar planet after mission engineers were able to save the mission from a premature death after two of the exoplanet hunter's four stabilizing reaction wheels failed last year. Called "K2," the extended mission arose from an "innovative idea" that appears to have given the prolific telescope a new lease on life. "Last summer, the possibility of a scientifically productive mission for Kepler after its reaction wheel failure in its extended mission was not part of the conversation," said Paul Hertz, NASA's astrophysics division director at the agency's headquarters in Washington D.C. "Today, thanks to an innovative idea and lots of hard work by the NASA and Ball Aerospace team, Kepler may well deliver the first candidates for follow-up study by the James Webb Space Telescope to characterize the atmospheres of distant worlds and search for signatures of life."

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When makers festively daydream, they're accompanied by singing LEDs

Engadget - 5 hours 30 min ago
"... Dangerous torches with pages of rules These are a few of my favorite tools" Time to put the soldering iron down, Becky....

The internet's governing body was hacked, too

Engadget - 6 hours 57 min ago
The Sony Pictures hack is getting all of the attention right about now, but it turns out that another prominent organization recently was victim to a security breach as well. Last month, ICANN, the outfit that regulates the internet's domain names an...

Review: The BlackBerry Classic Is One of the Best Phones of 2009

Slashdot - 7 hours 36 sec ago
Molly McHugh writes When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, and I owned a BlackBerry Curve. To me, my BlackBerry was close to being the absolute perfect smartphone. Today, BlackBerry revealed the Classic, a phone that is designed to make me—and everyone who owned a BlackBerry before the touchscreen revolution—remember how much we loved them.

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Instagram purges spam fake accounts, costing celebs millions of followers

Engadget - 7 hours 34 min ago
Instagram has made good on its promise to start purging inactive, fake and spam accounts this December, and it's doing such a great job that users are calling it "Instagram Rapture" or "Instapurge." Celebrities ended up losing a big chunk of their fo...

Microsoft's new Lumia update adds 4K recording and more to a few Windows Phones

Engadget - 8 hours 4 min ago
Some Lumia owners will be able to take photos more quickly these holidays -- and they might be better, too -- now that Microsoft has begun rolling out its latest software update called Denim. We say "some," because only Lumia 830, Lumia 930, Lumia Ic...

FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

Slashdot - 9 hours 33 min ago
v3rgEz writes In a terse form letter responding to a FOIA request, the FBI has confirmed it has an open investigation into Gamergate, the loose but controversial coalition of gamers calling for ethics in gaming journalism — even as some members have harassed and sent death threats to female gaming developers and critics.

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'Minecraft' success helps its creator buy a $70 million mansion

Engadget - 10 hours 7 min ago
It can be difficult for us commoners to fathom just how much money a billion is. So, if you need to see more than just a figure to fully digest the kind of wealth Notch got from selling Minecraft to Microsoft for $2.5 billion (yes, billion with a B),...

Save 'Sports Illustrated' articles anywhere you want, automatically

Engadget - 11 hours 2 min ago
What was that? You wanted to get some recipes going for news-content automation in addition to push notifications to grab an umbrella for tomorrow? Well, lucky you because Time Inc. announced it's adding IFTTT (If This Then That) support for five of ...

Satellite Captures Glowing Plants From Space

Slashdot - 12 hours 4 min ago
sciencehabit writes About 1% of the light that strikes plants is re-emitted as a faint, fluorescent glow—a measure of photosynthetic activity. Today, scientists released a map of this glow as measured by the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, a NASA satellite launched in July with the goal of mapping the net amount of carbon in the atmosphere. The map reveals that tropical rainforests near the equator are actively sucking up carbon, while the Corn Belt in the eastern United States, near the end of its growing season, is also a sink. Higher resolution fluorescence mapping could one day be used to help assess crop yields and how they respond to drought and heat in a changing climate.

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Flickr's removing free-use images from its photo printing service

Engadget - 12 hours 21 min ago
It wasn't long ago that Flickr lamented the "cost of lost good will" its Wall Art service caused, but the photo-minded outfit thinks it has a solution: removing Creative Commons-licensed photos from Wall Art's available photos. What's more, the outfi...

Samsung's ChatOn service will shut down next year -- but not in the US

Engadget - 13 hours 7 min ago
After denying reports that its ChatOn service was close to being disbanded on a region-by-region basis, Samsung has announced in Korea that it's going away. According to Yonhap News, Samsung's statement said it will close up shop on February 1st. It'...

Engadget Daily: Autonomous race cars, bionic arms and more!

Engadget - 13 hours 51 min ago
It turns out that riding in a car going 150 MPH without a driver is pretty fun! Join us as we take a ride in Audi's autonomous concept car. Also, take a look at a DARPA project that allows amputees to control bionic arms with their mind. Check out th...

Investigation: Apple Failing To Protect Chinese Factory Workers

Slashdot - 14 hours 10 min ago
mrspoonsi writes with the findings of an investigation into working conditions at a factory that makes Apple products. Poor treatment of workers in Chinese factories which make Apple products has been discovered by an undercover BBC Panorama investigation. Filming on an iPhone 6 production line showed Apple's promises to protect workers were routinely broken. It found standards on workers' hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were being breached at the Pegatron factories. Apple said it strongly disagreed with the programme's conclusions. Exhausted workers were filmed falling asleep on their 12-hour shifts at the Pegatron factories on the outskirts of Shanghai. One undercover reporter, working in a factory making parts for Apple computers, had to work 18 days in a row despite repeated requests for a day off. Another reporter, whose longest shift was 16 hours, said: "Every time I got back to the dormitories, I wouldn't want to move. Even if I was hungry I wouldn't want to get up to eat. I just wanted to lie down and rest. I was unable to sleep at night because of the stress."

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