From Discover Magazine: Yes, Antibiotics Used on Livestock Do Breed Drug-Resistant Bacteria That Infect Humans | 80beats


The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has got many experts predicting a future in which currently tractable diseases, like tuberculosis, became untreatable again. The popularity of modern antibiotics, ironically, is what is leading to their downfall: antibiotics in consumer products, like soaps, as well as the excessive use of antibiotics by people who have no bacterial infections, help select for strains of bacteria that don’t respond to drugs. Factory-farmed livestock, which receive tremendous doses of antibiotics in their feed, are also a likely breeding ground for resistant bacteria that could potentially infect humans.

Proponents of factory farming have scoffed at such claims [pdf], but now, scientists have provided definitive evidence that this happens: through genetic analysis, they found that a strain of MRSA, already resistant to one family of drugs, had hopped from people to farmed pigs, acquired resistance to another antibiotic being fed to the pigs, and then leapt back into humans, taking its new resistance with it. That strain, called MRSA ST398 or CC398, is now causing 1 out of 4 cases of MRSA in some regions of the Netherlands [pdf], where it arose, and it has also been found across …



from Discover Magazine

From Engadget: Microsoft TechForum unveils three research projects (video)

TechForum is a Microsoft-sponsored shindig where the company can get together, party, and then show off its latest and greatest research projects. First up we’ve got a transparent interactive 3D display which builds on technology from Cambridge University’s HoloDesk project. Next is Holoflector, a “magic mirror” that overlays LCD projections onto your reflection. Both of these two projects rely heavily upon Kinect as more projects find the potential in the little sensor. Finally there’s Illumishare, a pair of overhead projectors / cameras that share a desktop space with a colleague when you need to look at the same thing. After the break you can see all three concepts in action and you can learn a little more about each at our source links.

[Thanks, Lokitoth]

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from Engadget

From Ars Technica: Linux computer the size of a thumb drive now available for preorder

FXI is preparing to launch the Cotton Candy, a tiny computer that looks like a USB thumb drive. The device, which can run either Ubuntu or Android 4.0, has a dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, 1GB of RAM, and a Mali 400MP GPU that allows it to decode high-definition video.

It has a USB plug on one side, which is used to power the system, and an HDMI plug on the other side, which allows it to be plugged into a display. It also has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth radios for connectivity and supporting input devices. The system can boot standalone and operate as a complete computer when plugged into a display. It’s also possible to plug the Cotton Candy into a conventional computer and boot from it like you would from a regular USB mass storage device.

FXI announced today that the Cotton Candy is available for preorder. The standard retail price is $199 plus tax and shipping. The product is expected to ship in March. The small form factor and relatively high specs make the product seem like a compelling choice for enthusiasts who are looking for an ultra-compact Linux system.

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from Ars Technica

From Ars Technica: How RPG fans convinced Nintendo to release two Japanese titles in the US

When Nintendo announced last year that it would not be bringing cult classic Japanese RPG Xenoblade Chronicles to North America, it was no surprise that the decision drew heavy Internet protest from a subgroup of dedicated gamers. After all, groups of gamers are constantly banding together online to demand everything from LAN support in Starcraft II to a Full House game (don’t lose hope, Danny Tanner super-fans!)

But Operation Rainfall, as the Xenoblade protest group came to be known, differed from other grassroots gamer protests in one important way: it worked. Not only has Nintendo given Xenoblade Chronicles a North American release date of April 2, but the company announced last week that The Last Story, another Japanese RPG the group has been pushing to see release in North America, will come across the ocean this summer through publisher XSEED games.

The success of Operation Rainfall shows that a small group of niche gamers can occasionally effect change from a big-name game publisher, as long as they’re willing to keep up the pressure and do a bit of out-of-the-box promotion.

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from Ars Technica

From Wired Top Stories: Microsoft Kinect Games Grocery Shopping at Texas Whole Foods

The Board of Awesomeness is now lugging groceries at a Whole Foods in Texas. Last month, Chaotic Moon Labs’ Board of Awesomeness was one of the stars of CES in Las Vegas. It’s a motorized skateboard tricked out with a Samsung tablet and Microsoft’s Kinect so that it can be steered by hand gestures and voice commands. But it turns out that the Moon Lab had more on its mind than just skateboarding.

from Wired Top Stories

From Wired Top Stories: Video: First Nanorockets Might Shuttle Drugs, Robo-Surgeons

In the movie Fantastic Voyage, a crack surgical team is miniaturized inside a ship. Their mission: to destroy a blood clot in the brain of a Soviet-era informant. Given the relatively vast distances covered inside the body, however, movie makers probably should have equipped vessel with rocket motors instead of propellers — and engineers have now designed nanorockets that would’ve fit the bill.

from Wired Top Stories