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Biotech plan may hit snag in funding

Initiative must wait in line for dollars, GOP lawmakers say
By PAUL GORES
pgores@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Dec. 8, 2004

Republican lawmakers say Gov. Jim Doyle’s plans for a $375 million biomedical and technology research institute might have a hard time getting funding.

With Wisconsin facing a projected budget deficit of $1.6 billion, Doyle’s initiative to bolster the state’s position in biotechnology will have to get in line with everything else that needs money, some legislative leaders say.

“With the state’s limited dollars, it’s going to be extremely tough,” said state Rep. Dean Kaufert of Neenah, who is co-chairman of the Assembly’s Joint Committee on Finance. “I mean, the governor’s going to have to pull one out of his hat as far as coming up with some funds (for) this program.”

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Tech firms, FBI to fight 'phishing' scams

Digital PhishNet project hopes to snare scam artistsBy Andy Sullivan

Updated: 2:16 p.m. ET Dec. 8, 2004WASHINGTON - Internet companies and law-enforcement agencies said Wednesday they will work together to track down online scam artists who pose as banks and other legitimate businesses, a practice known as "phishing."

Businesses will be able to notify the FBI and other authorities instantly when they see a new phishing attack -- a necessary move when pursuing fly-by-night scam artists who close up shop quickly, participants in the Digital PhishNet project said.

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Synchronization A Growing Problem for Microchips

Time is money, especially to the semiconductor industry. Electronics manufacturers use extremely sophisticated equipment to churn out the latest microchips, but they have a timing problem. It's very difficult to get all the fabrication tools in a manufacturing line to agree on the time. Components within a single tool can disagree on the time by as much as two minutes, because of a lack of synchronization.

According to a report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and International SEMATECH, the timing deficiencies will become important as device dimensions and tolerances continue to shrink. In particular, timing becomes critical as firms advance e-manufacturing concepts such as real-time automation and intelligent control.

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Software Tool Finds 'Needles' in Data 'Haystacks'

Software Tool Finds 'Needles' in Data 'Haystacks'

X-ray data collected with a scanning electron microscope from a nickel-aluminum alloy. Pure aluminum is represented by blue, pure nickel by red and nickel-aluminum alloys by colors in between. The green dot in the upper left shows a contaminant particle of chromium identified with the NIST software that occupied only one pixel of the microscope's scanning area. The sample measures about 160 micrometers across.

When looking for a needle in a haystack, it's helpful to know what a needle looks like. A new software tool developed by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) makes it possible to find chemical 'needles' in data 'haystacks' without having to know anything about the 'needle' in advance.

The NIST software should be especially useful for analyzing ultrapure metals—recently shown to have superior strength, corrosion-resistance and other properties—and for monitoring nanoscale semiconductor fabrication. Commercial X-ray detector manufacturers already have included the method used in the software into their products.

Described in the November issue of the Journal of Microscopy*, the software works with scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) and improves the analysis of X-ray data. SEMs raster a beam of electrons across a sample and then detect X-rays emitted in response. X-rays of specific energies (the equivalent of colors for visible light) are emitted by specific elements, making SEMs an excellent tool for mapping the chemical composition of samples. The lateral and depth resolutions of SEM/X-ray analysis range from 100 nanometers to 5 micrometers, depending on specimen composition and SEM beam energy.

Nist

X-ray data collected with a scanning electron microscope from a nickel-aluminum alloy. Pure aluminum is represented by blue, pure nickel by red and nickel-aluminum alloys by colors in between. The green dot in the upper left shows a contaminant particle of chromium identified with the NIST software that occupied only one pixel of the microscope's scanning area. The sample measures about 160 micrometers across.

Image credit: D. Bright, D. Newbury/NIST


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Canada: Researchers invent energy-saving computer chip

New microchip is 10 times smaller and 100 times more energy efficient than currently used chips

University of Alberta researchers have designed a computer chip that uses about 100 times less energy than current state-of-the-art digital chips.

The greatly reduced energy consumption of this novel technology offers promise for many small devices with relatively low power needs. This technology could one day eliminate the need to recharge cellphones, help introduce smaller, ultra-high-speed communications systems, and advance the use of implantable health care devices, such as drug delivery chips. Research and development is ongoing before this technology can be implemented in products.

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Tougher Cyber-Security Measures Urged

Industry Alliance Pushes for a Higher Profile for Computer Vulnerabilities

By Brian Krebs
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, December 8, 2004; Page E05

A group representing technology industry executives yesterday called on the Bush administration to step up efforts to protect the nation's computer and Internet infrastructure, and it proposed that the top official in charge be given a higher profile.

The Cyber Security Industry Alliance urged the federal government to elevate the position of national cyber-security director to the assistant secretary level. The director now reports to an assistant secretary who is responsible for both cyber and physical security threats.

"There is not enough attention on cyber-security within the administration," said Paul B. Kurtz, the alliance's director and a former senior cyber-security official in the Bush administration. "The executive branch must exert more leadership."

The alliance, an industry advocacy group that includes representatives from companies that sell cyber-security software, hardware and services, urged Bush to use his second term to focus more attention on cyber-security.

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MIT, Columbia begin new energy experiment

MIT and Columbia University students and researchers have begun operation of a novel experiment that confines high-temperature ionized gas, called plasma, using the strong magnetic fields from a half-ton superconducting ring inside a huge vessel reminiscent of a spaceship. The experiment, the first of its kind, will test whether nature’s way of confining high-temperature gas might lead to a new source of energy for the world.

First results from the Levitated Dipole Experiment (LDX) were presented at a meeting of the American Physical Society the week of Nov. 15. Scientists and students described more than 100 plasma discharges created within the new device, each lasting from 5 to 10 seconds. X-ray spectroscopy and visible photography recorded spectacular images of the hot, confined plasma and of the dynamics of matter confined by strong magnetic force fields.

A dedication for LDX, the United States’ newest approach to nuclear fusion, was held in late October. Fusion energy is advantageous because its hydrogen fuel is practically limitless and the resulting energy would be clean and would not contribute to global warming as does the burning of fossil fuels.

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Japan gets intellectual on property rights

Costly rise in competition spurs patent defense efforts

By MAYUMI NEGISHI
Staff writer

From the witness stand, patent manager Hiroshi Ikeda of Asia Manufacturing Co. stares at a copy of a critical e-mail. In it, AMC managers instruct engineers to procure 10 samples of a golf club grip marketed by Sports Grip Co. of the United States for "reverse engineering."

Miku Mehta, a Japan-based U.S. patent lawyer playing the role of bailiff, swears in Japanese patent manager Yoshiomi Ohara in a mock trial in November in Minato Ward, Tokyo. The trial was presided over by U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte.

"Reverse engineering is not the same as copying," Ikeda insists.

AMC is a fictional Japanese sporting goods company accused of copying closed-pore technology patented by a fellow fictional company -- SGC of the U.S. -- in a mock trial for a 2 billion yen patent infringement lawsuit.

The two-day demonstration, held last month in Tokyo, was observed by 146 intellectual property managers from 115 Japanese companies, including Hitachi Electronics, Ltd., Fuji Photo Film Co., Fujitsu Ltd., Fuji Xerox Co., Sony Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp.

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Device may be new pathway to the brain

Researchers invent system that helps with balance, sight
By JOE MANNING
jmanning@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Dec. 7, 2004

The tongue. It wiggles and waggles and shapes words conveying our brain's thoughts.

It also sends signals to the brain. And by manipulating those signals electronically, Wisconsin scientists say they may be able to help chronically dizzy patients walk again, help Navy divers find their way in murky waters and help the blind to see.

"It's a great mystery as to how that process takes place, but the brain can do it if you give it the right information," said Mitch Tyler, a biomedical engineer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Tyler is one of the founders of a new company called Wicab Inc., which is raising $3 million from investors to conduct clinical trials of the BrainPort system next spring. The product will be tested on patients with severe balance problems. The device stimulates the area of the brain associated with vision and is being tested on humans as a necessary step to seek U.S. approval of the product. The company is hoping to get the OK to sell the device in a year.

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Scaffolds for Stem Cells

By Corie Lok
Innovation News
December 2004

Despite the high hopes surrounding stem cells’ potential to form replacement tissue for medical use, biologists are still struggling in the lab to get these finicky cells to transform into the needed tissues. Now Cartilix, a startup in San Carlos, CA, is offering a technology that might help: polymer materials that direct the growth and development of stem cells.

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Nuclear electrolysis to produce Hydrogen from water

Researchers Use Nuclear Power to Produce Hydrogen, Power Fuel Cells

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) and Ceramatec Inc. of Salt Lake City have demonstrated the feasibility of using nuclear energy to efficiently produce hydrogen from water.

. . .

Such a high-temperature system has the potential to achieve overall hydrogen production efficiencies in the 45 to 50 percent range, compared to approximately 30 percent for conventional electrolysis

Improvements in solid oxide electrolyzer design made by Ceramatec will enable a three-fold decrease in equipment size, allowing greatly reduced capital costs. The federal lab developed the system concept design and performed the feasibility testing.

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Researchers explore brains, computer communication

With neurons being grown on silicon chips, Michael Gross a science writer in residence at the school of crystallography, Brikbech college, University of London investigates the possibility of direct communication between man and machine.

THIS summer, the ubiquitous Microsoft corporation announced that it had secured a U.S patent covering the use of the human body as a conductor in connections with electronic appliances.

Newspaper readers were quick to respond with suggestions of possible consequences (A fatal error occurred. Your body will be shut down. All unsaved blood may be lost, but in reality it is far from clear what device exactly is to be plugged directly into its buyer, as the corporation acknowledges that it doesn't have a specific product relating to that patent.

One researcher who has been studying possible connections between silicon electronics and biological cells for over two decades is Peter Fromher , a director at the Max Planek institute for biochemistry at Martinseried near Munich, Germany. In 1983 he drew a cartoon showing an unhappy computer user interfacing with the machine via a keyboard on one side, and a much happier user with the wire from the computer plugged directly into his head on the other.

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Kazaa Can Track Users, Trial Witness Says

By Susan B. Shor
TechNewsWorld
12/07/04 9:46 AM PT

According to computer scientist Leon Sterling, Sharman should be able to stop piracy or at least report it to the music industry. On cross examination, he acknowledged that he didn't know how long it would take to develop such technology or how expensive it would be.

As an Australian court considers whether Kazaa's parent company should be forced to pay damages for the file sharing that goes on over its peer-to-peer (P2P) network, questions persist about the effectiveness of the music industry's enforcement efforts.

Today, the Federal Court in Sydney heard from Leon Sterling, chairman of Software Innovation and Engineering for the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering in the University of Melbourne.

He said that Sharman Networks should be able to track who is using its Kazaa software and what they are doing.

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OutFront Et Tu, Nathan?

OutFront Et Tu, Nathan?
Tomas Kellner, 10.04.04
Former Microsoft honcho Nathan Myhrvold enforces patents against alleged infringers--like Microsoft.

During his 13 years at Microsoft Nathan Myhrvold, chief technology officer, helped develop the Windows operating system and opened the Microsoft Research labs. In 1999, when he left to "spend time in Montana digging up dinosaurs," he was worth $650 million in Microsoft stock and earned a spot on The Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans.

Myhrvold has a new business these days--aiding patent challenges against companies, including his old employer. His firm, called ThinkFire, is a licensing gun for hire, helping clients assert rights to their intellectual property. In just three years ThinkFire has engaged $350 million in licensing deals for such clients as Lucent, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Ciena, NEC and a dozen others. ThinkFire generally works on a contingency fee, keeping a quarter of the royalties it reaps. So are Myhrvold and other patent firms that have popped up in recent years stifling innovation? "The way the world works, there could well be somebody making tremendous amounts of money off your idea," says Myhrvold, who has his name on 17 Microsoft patents. "If they are--well, damn, it's worth asking for some."

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Molecular chains line up to form protopolymer

First observation of extended chains of molecules that exhibit a strong interaction without forming chemical bonds

A new chemical state, designated a "protopolymer," has been observed by Penn State researchers in chains of phenylene molecules on a crystalline copper surface at low temperature. Protopolymers form when monomers, small molecules that link together chemically to form long chains, align and interact without forming chemical bonds. The novel structures were discovered by Paul S. Weiss, professor of chemistry and physics at Penn State and Gregory S. McCarty, a graduate student at time of discovery and now a research assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics. While surface-mediated pairing and other interactions have previously been seen on metal surfaces, this is the first observation of extended chains of molecules that exhibit a strong interaction without forming chemical bonds.

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State of Wisconsin Adopts Cape Clear Web Service

Cape Clear in US
e-government rollout

07.12.2004 - Dublin-based web services firm Cape Clear has been selected to rollout a technology infrastructure integration solution for the US State of Wisconsin.

Cape Clear’s enterprise service bus (ESB) will e used to integrate a variety of applications, systems and data across the State to reduce IT costs while at the same time increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the State’s IT infrastructure.

The State of Wisconsin was faced with a common IT dilemma; the need to reduce expenditures, while improving the efficiency of existing programs, which encompass government-to-government, government-to-business, and government-to-citizen initiatives.

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California Starts Creating State Agency for Stem Cell Funding Decisions

Creating $3 billion stem cell agency no small feat

PAUL ELIAS

Associated Press


IRVINE, Calif. - Californians voted by a wide margin last month to pass a landmark $3 billion initiative to fund stem-cell research. That may have been the easy part.

Now, a state agency must be created from scratch to decide who gets the money from Proposition 71 and who will benefit financially from any scientific breakthroughs produced from the huge, taxpayer-funded gift.

Scientists and bureaucrats gathered Monday to begin hashing out the issues at a forum sponsored by the National Science Foundation at the University of California, Irvine. But political wrangling had already begun, over matters such as who will lead the state agency and how best to ensure that the state gets its fair share of any financial windfall.

Meanwhile, in Sacramento, state Sen. Deborah Ortiz, D-Sacramento, introduced legislation Monday to "reform" the proposition.

Her proposed law would require drugs developed with state money be made affordable for the poor, and would guarantee that California share in any profits realized by companies who benefit from the publicly supported research.

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Intelligence Community Looks at Convera Software

By Doug Beizer
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, November 29, 2004; Page E04

Software provider Convera Corp. of Vienna was awarded $800,000 by a CIA-funded private-venture group to expedite the development of its search-and categorization capability.

The private venture group In-Q-Tel of Arlington and Menlo Park, Calif., is looking for technology that can be used to quickly index and search for potential terrorist information.

With the award, part of a potential $1.4 million contract, Convera will continue developing search solutions that let the intelligence community extract very specific details from massive amounts of incoming data.

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GE Healthcare's UK pact expected to create state jobs

Phill Trewyn
More than $250 million in contracts secured by GE Healthcare as part of an $8 billion health information network initiative in the United Kingdom is expected to create about 25 new jobs in Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

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Brain electrodes help patients play video games in UW study

Think, think, shoot, score!
Brain electrodes help patients play video games in UW study
By JOHN FAUBER
jfauber@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Dec. 4, 2004

With electrodes implanted directly on their brains, two Madison patients were able to control a computer cursor and play a basic video game just by thinking about it.

The accomplishment highlights an amazing new technology that in the last year has created the distinct possibility that severely disabled people may soon be able to communicate and even regain movement by tapping directly into the brain and training it to bypass damaged nerve cells.

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2 Stem Cell Options Presented

By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 4, 2004; Page A01

The panel of experts that advises President Bush on bioethical issues heard descriptions yesterday of two new laboratory techniques that may give scientists a way to get large numbers of medically promising stem cells without creating or killing human embryos.

The two proposals were greeted enthusiastically, with several panel members saying the techniques, still in the experimental stage, may hold the promise of solving one of the most contentious bioethical dilemmas of the past decade.

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Bush Signs Internet Access Tax Ban

The Associated Press
Friday, December 3, 2004; 4:35 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- State and local governments will be barred from taxing connections that link people to the Internet for the next three years under legislation signed Friday by President Bush.

The measure blocks taxation of all types of Internet connections, from traditional dial-up services to high-speed broadband lines.

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Making Use Of Fat In Stem Cell Research

Researchers Hope Stem Cells In Fat Will Help To Restore Blood Flow

POSTED: 1:49 pm EST December 3, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS -- Could the fat on our bodies be put to good use?

Some Indiana scientists, though not interested in your waistline, are looking into your stem cells to further research in a controversial medical debate.

Dr. Keith March and his team of researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine hope to find a possible lifesaver within fat.

"It just happens that the cells that are found in many places in the body that have repair functions also happen to be found in fat, and that, of course, is a place that we are largely willing and able to get rid of extra abundance of," March said.

Researchers are actually finding those repairing cells, called stem cells, in human fat tissue taken from liposuctions. Scientists also plan to harvest fat from a special herd of pigs prone to obesity, WTHR-TV in Indianapolis reported.

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Seattle:Center to study child medical ethics

Children's Hospital project is first of its kind in the country

By JULIE DAVIDOW
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

Can a terminally ill 7-year-old decide he doesn't want any more medical treatment?

Are pediatricians obligated to tell parents when a teenager has a sexually transmitted disease?

Should a 10-year-old be consulted before being enrolled in a clinical research trial?

Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center announced yesterday the creation of a new center to examine these and other ethical dilemmas posed by children's health care.

The Center for Pediatric Bioethics, the first of its kind in the country, will receive $340,000 a year for two years in federal funding, plus $1 million from Children's to get started.

"If you look around the country there are lots of centers for bioethics, but all of them tend to be devoted more toward general issues," said Dr. Doug Diekema, director of medical ethics at Children's Hospital and interim head of the new center. "There really is no concentrated center for the study of purely pediatric issues."

In July, the center will be the host of a pediatric bioethics conference as a sort of unofficial kickoff.

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Temporary rules to allow tax credits

Bill's sponsor targets small state firms and hopes to find big fish
By KATHLEEN GALLAGHER
kgallager@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Dec. 2, 2004

Temporary rules went into effect Thursday for a new state law that provides tax credits for investments in young Wisconsin companies and funding for four regional technology-transfer centers.

The rules maintain the Legislature's intent by ensuring that most of its benefits will flow to small, emerging Wisconsin companies, said Sen. Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield), who sponsored the original bill.

"We wanted to create a lot of minnows in the stream to see if we can grow some of those minnows into fish, and among the fish we're looking for a whopper - we're looking for that big walleye," Kanavas said.

The Department of Commerce made the temporary rules because the tax credits were scheduled to be effective Jan. 1, but the Legislature would not be meeting before then to approve them, said Cory Nettles, secretary of commerce. The rules are subject to the Legislature's approval.

The state will begin offering in January a 25% tax credit - a dollar-for-dollar reduction of taxes owed - to investors in young, Wisconsin companies deemed qualified for the program by the Department of Commerce.

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Hooters Can't Stop Restaurant From Copying Waitress Uniforms

Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Hooters of America Inc., the restaurant chain that is best known for the low-cut T-shirts worn by its waitresses, can't stop another restaurant from using similar outfits, a federal judge said.

U.S. District Judge Anne Conway in Orlando, Florida, yesterday threw out a claim by Hooters that Ker's WingHouse was stealing its restaurant designs and waitress outfits. Conway also ordered Hooters to pay Ker's WingHouse $1.2 million on a counterclaim.

``Hooters does not own the sole right to use attractive young women to sell chicken wings,'' said Don Conwell, a lawyer who represented Largo, Florida-based Ker's WingHouse, in an interview.

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Music industry turns to Napster

THE recording industry has turned to its former arch-nemesis, the founder of online music file-swapping service Napster, to help it beat the piracy that it once accused him of spawning.

US record giant Universal Music Group (UMG) has signed a deal with Snocap, a company set up by Napster creator Shawn Fanning, now 24, to license its music for distribution over Snocap's user-to-user file-sharing system.

The company hopes the system will eventually achieve the ambitious goal of allowing everyone to profit from online music distribution, one of the most thorny problems facing music producers.

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Japanese firms on the offensive to protect their patents

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: Despite the traditional Japanese aversion to lawsuits, electronics innovators are taking legal action to prevent others muscling in on their turf

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , TOKYO
Saturday, Dec 04, 2004,Page 12

Advertising In Japan, where public confrontation is considered extremely distasteful, lawsuits have traditionally been something to avoid. So much for tradition. Threatened by the rapid advance of low-cost manufacturers in South Korea and Taiwan, Japanese companies are dropping their aversion to litigation and heading to court to protect their patents.

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The web - past, present and future

Internet luminaries gathered in Boston on Wednesday to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), honour its founder, director and the web's inventor Tim Berners-Lee.

Speakers at the gathering recounted, in sometimes excruciating detail, the events leading to the creation of the web and the W3C, which has promoted a long line of key web standards, including HTML and XML.

Experts, including representatives of leading technology firms, also looked forward to future developments backed by the W3C, including the Semantic Web, which will allow users to access and connect more types and sources of data online.

Early backers of the web were on hand to recount the early days of the internet, which Berners-Lee invented in 1989 while working at Cern, the European Particle Physics Laboratory, as a way to manage and connect research information stored on different machines.

In presentations, some funny, some flat, speakers described the early days, when Berners-Lee and others jetted between France, the UK and the US in a dizzying series of conferences and meetings to evangelise the web and drum up support for a group to steward its development.

Among the early challenges faced by web supporters was getting Cern, in 1993, to relinquish intellectual property claims to HTML and other technology invented at the lab that was integral to spreading the web in the world at large, according to Berners-Lee.

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New study discovers why “persister” cells never say die

NU biologist isolates gene making infections drug-resistant

Contact Genevieve Haas at 617 373 5470

(12-4-04) BOSTON, Mass. – Northeastern University today announced that biologist Kim Lewis has discovered the gene that prevents antibiotics from successfully destroying infections within biofilm. For years, scientists have struggled to understand why a certain type of infection – known as biofilms – are often resistant to antibiotics. Biofilms contain cells that are identical to the infecting cells, but are not corrupted and destroyed by antibiotics. Lewis discovered these “persister” cells, contain a gene (HipA) that generates a toxin (the ReIE toxin) which puts the cell into hibernation and because antibiotics must work on growing cells to destroy them, the hibernating cells can outlast the antibiotic and then repopulate the infection.

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New Method of Introducing PNA into Cells

PITTSBURGH--By exploiting an HIV protein that readily traverses cell membranes, Carnegie Mellon University scientists have developed a new way to introduce a gene-like molecule called a peptide nucleic acid (PNA) directly into live mammalian cells, including human embryonic stem (ES) cells. The work, published online December 2 in Chemical Communications, http://www.rsc.org/is/journals/current/chemcomm/ccadvarts.htm, holds considerable promise in genetic engineering, diagnostics and therapeutics.

"Our results show that PNAs could be effectively delivered into mammalian cells without requiring delivery vehicles," said Danith Ly, an assistant professor of chemistry in the Mellon College of Science (MCS) at Carnegie Mellon. Ly worked with leading author and graduate student Anca Dragulescu-Andrasi on this research.

Until now, getting PNAs into living cells has been difficult. While other laboratories have developed ways to shuttle PNAs into cells, these methods remain largely ineffective and limited to small-scale experimental setups, according to Ly. "We found that our modified PNAs were not only taken up by cells, but they also were localized predominantly in the cell nucleus, a specialized compartment in the cell where messenger RNAs are made," Ly said.

Messenger RNA (mRNA), the genetic information that is translated into proteins, is the target of an emerging field called antisense therapy.

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GE Healthcare: Super Scanner

The magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) machines that most hospitals use provide only a picture of anatomy—revealing a mass in the brain, for example, but not its precise chemical composition. A new, much more powerful MRI scanner developed by GE Healthcare for the University of Illinois at Chicago can show concentrations of sodium, phosphorus, oxygen, and other elements in the brain.

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Waisman Clinical BioManufacturing Facility

A Place Like No Other

By Nicole Resnick

There's a relatively new tenant on the western edge of the neighborhood known as the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, and in the short time since opening its doors to the public, the Waisman Clinical BioManufacturing Facility (WCBF) already has to play an important role in the growth of local, national and even international industry.

Located in the north tower of the Waisman Center at the western edge of the UW campus alongside UW Hospital and Clinics, the WCBF provides a unique resource not only to its university partners but also to the state of Wisconsin.

Business Development Manager John Keach and WCBF Director Derek Hei, in one of the facility's many labs.

"Our focus is to assist our customers in transferring early stage discoveries from the lab into a clinical trial," says John Keach, business development manager of the WCBF.

As a facility that specializes in efficiently transitioning research into clinical trials, the WCBF decreases the time and cost associated with this stage of development. "We serve as the bridge between the lab and the clinic, and we help university and outside investigators understand what they need to do to make this leap," he says.

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Thomson Integrates Derwent World Patents Index Data into End-User Workflows

The Thomson Corporation has announced that customers can now leverage Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI) data, along with full-text patent office data, in their intellectual property workflows through enhancements made to Delphion productivity and analysis tools. A new development is inclusion of DWPI records in Work Files, personalized lists of patents that can be shared and annotated, in an effort to enable groups of users to collaborate on research findings. In addition to enhanced patent titles and abstracts written in English, DWPI data gives researchers the ability to view only one record per invention, eliminating the duplication created by multiple patent publications.

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Federal Circuit Begins Announcing Panel Composition One Week Early

Some patent law experts have noticed an internal rift in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in the area of claim construction. Some of the CAFC judges generally decide claim construct based on an "ordinary meaning" approach while others generally rely on patent documents such as the specification and prosecution history to determine the meaning of claims. UPenn Professor Polk Wagner has even created a Federal Circuit Predictor to predict the outcome of a claim construction apeal based on the appellate panel.

. . .

Now, in a public experiment, the Federal Circuit has begun to post the composition of panels the Thursday prior to the week of oral argument.

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See-through Circuits Speed Up

See-through displays and electronic paper require semiconductor devices that are transparent and flexible. Today's transparent semiconductors are not nearly as fast and durable as traditional electronics, however.

Researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology have moved transparent semiconductors forward with an indium gallium zinc oxide mixture that can be deposited on plastic, is transparent, and potentially performs one to three orders of magnitude better than today's plastic transistors.

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DNA Makes Nanotube Transistors

Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have harnessed the self-assembly abilities of DNA to construct field-effect transistors from carbon nanotubes.

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Microsoft Sues More Spammers

By Elizabeth Millard
NewsFactor Network
December 2, 2004 1:22PM

Microsoft has filed seven more lawsuits against spammers, this time targeting those who violate the "brown-paper wrapper" provision of the CAN-SPAM law, which sets rules for sexually oriented e-mail solicitations. "We want to know who's hitting the 'send' button on this stuff," says a Microsoft lawyer.

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Trademark Lawsuits: The Price of Online Griping

Companies sue to close 'gripe sites'

Tresa Baldas
The National Law Journal
12-02-2004

Scores of disgruntled customers who criticize businesses on Internet "gripe sites" are finding themselves entangled in costly court battles with companies charging trademark infringement.

But the courts aren't buying the trademark argument, and have consistently upheld the free speech rights of people who vent about companies on the Internet. Critics charge that companies are merely attempting to wear down defendants through costly litigation.

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Japan: Researchers ‘tap’ mushrooms for rubber

Ten pounds yield one pound of allergy-free material
Updated: 12:27 p.m. ET Dec. 2, 2004

TOKYO - Japanese researchers say they have produced rubber from a natural substance extracted from an edible, wild mushroom commonly found in the country.

Researchers at Gunma University, west of Tokyo, have not only produced rubber from the chichitake mushroom but the end-product has the advantage of not containing a protein that can cause allergies, said Hiroshi Mitomo, head of the research team at the university's biological and chemical engineering department.

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Harsh Words for the President's Council on Bioethics

The Mind-Body Problem
Watching the President's Council on Bioethics.
By William Saletan

Two hundred years from now, nobody will remember George W. Bush. Nobody will remember what was happening in Iran, Iraq, or Ukraine. What they will remember is that this was the beginning of the age of biotechnology, the self-transformation of what we presently think of as the human race.

That's the subject to which the President's Council on Bioethics is devoting itself today and tomorrow in a series of deliberations about the beginning, end, and manipulation of life. The council is a ridiculous paradox: an almost completely ignored and powerless body that happens to be debating the most consequential events of our day. It's meeting in Washington's Decatur Carriage House, a building so small that there's seating for fewer than 50 observers. Still, less than half the seats are taken.

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Germany: Four Blades are Better than Three

Energizer Wins Case on Gillette Patent
Thursday December 2, 12:31 pm ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A German court ruled on Thursday that Energizer Holdings Inc.'s (NYSE:ENR - News) four-bladed Quattro razor does not infringe Gillette Co.'s (NYSE:G - News) European patent on three-bladed progressive exposure.

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Talon Robot

Army to deploy robots that shoot
Published: December 1, 2004, 12:23 PM PST
By Michael Kanellos
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

Next year, the U.S. Army will give robots machine guns, although humans will firmly be in control of them.

The Army next March will begin to deploy Talon robots from Waltham, Mass.-based Foster-Miller. The robots will be mounted with M240 or M249 machine guns, said a Foster-Miller spokesman. The units also can be mounted with a rocket launcher. Defense agencies have been testing an armed version of the Talon since 2003.

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Quasi-Embryonic Stem Cells

Zapped human eggs divide without sperm

A trick that persuades human eggs to divide as if they have been fertilised could provide a source of embryonic stem cells that sidesteps ethical objections to existing techniques. It could also be deployed to improve the success rate of IVF.

“Embryos” created by the procedure do not contain any paternal chromosomes – just two sets of chromosomes from the mother – and so cannot develop into babies. This should remove the ethical objections that some people have to harvesting from donated human embryos. There are high hopes that stem cells, which can develop into many different cell types, could be used to treat a range of diseases.

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Good results with only one egg in in-vitro fertilization

Nearly as many women who received only one embryo at a time gave birth as women who received two embryos. At the same time the risk of giving birth to twins is minimized. These are the findings of a major study from the Sahlgrenska Academy, at Göteborg University in Sweden.

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Findings Show How Toxic Proteins Rob Alzheimer's Patients of Memory

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Researchers at Northwestern University have discovered a molecular mechanism -- a tiny protein attacking nerve cells -- that could explain why the brain damage in early Alzheimer's disease results in memory loss and not other symptoms such as loss of balance or tremors.

The research team, led by William L. Klein, professor of neurobiology and physiology, found that toxic proteins, called "amyloid §-derived diffusible ligands" (ADDLs, pronounced "addles"), from the brain tissue of individuals with Alzheimer's disease specifically attack and disrupt synapses, the nerve cell sites responsible for information processing and memory formation.

These results, which show that only particular neurons and synapses are targeted by the neurotoxins, were published Nov. 10 in the Journal of Neuroscience. An understanding of how ADDLs disrupt synapses without killing neurons could lead to the development of new therapeutic drugs capable of reversing memory loss in patients who are treated early, in addition to preventing or delaying the disease.

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Pfizer has replacement for cholesterol drug in pipeline

Pfizer has replacement for cholesterol drug in pipeline

By Nicole Ostrow
and Susan Decker Bloomberg News
Posted December 1 2004

Pfizer Inc., the maker of the world's biggest-selling drug, may be the first to produce a single medication designed to reduce "bad" cholesterol and elevate "good" cholesterol.

Pfizer officials meeting investors in Groton, Conn., Tuesday detailed plans to combine Lipitor to cut bad cholesterol and torcetrapib to raise good cholesterol. The company wants to sell the new drug by the time its Lipitor patents expire at the end of 2010. In a trial that began Tuesday in Wilmington, Del., India's Ranbaxy Laboratories Inc. asked a judge to nullify the patents and clear the sale of a generic version of Lipitor.

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Marking Estoppel: CAFC Vacates but Leaves Possibility

Marking Estoppel: CAFC Vacates but Leaves Possibility
Slip Track Systems v. Metal Lite (Fed. Cir. December 1, 2004) (unpublished) ("Slip Track III").

In a long-running dispute involving patents directed to earthquake resistant wallboard structures that permit a wallboard to slide vertically with respect to the supporting wall studs, the Federal Circuit vacated the district court's infringement holding.

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Overture and Google Settle with Geico Over Trademark Dispute

Overture Services has settled a lawsuit brought by insurance giant Geico, ending a battle in an ongoing war over the commercial use of trademarked terms in Web search results.
Yahoo subsidiary Overture confirmed on Wednesday that it settled out of court with Geico on Friday, but a company representative would not elaborate. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

"Geico and Overture have agreed to a settlement, and their claims against each other in the litigation have been dismissed," Geico spokeswoman Janice Minshall wrote in an e-mail.

Geico had filed suit in May against Overture Services and Google, charging the two commercial search giants with violating its trademarks when selling advertisements linked to its name in search results.

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