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Verizon Outbids AT&T For Nationwide 5G Wireless Spectrum
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 05:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's can-you-hear-me-now department:
Verizon has agreed to pay $3.1 billion for wireless spectrum holder Straight Path Communications, beating out rival AT&T, which had offered to buy Straight Path for $1.6 billion in stock. Verizon's acquisition will give it access to the frequencies necessary to build a 5G network across the U.S. The Verge reports: The news that AT&T was aiming to buy the Glen Allen, VA-based Straight Path was first reported last month, prompting a bidding war between the carriers that the WSJ describes as "unusually intense." Straight Path's purchase gives Verizon access to millimeter wave frequencies that are set to be used by 5G networks across the United States, making it a useful purchase from the start. Experts have also noted that the company's owner may also be afforded even more spectrum in future auctions with the FCC, potentially giving Verizon access to the entire 39GHz band down the line.

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Windows 10 On ARM Will Support x86 Apps From Outside the Store
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 05:01 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's emulation-at-its-finest department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Liliputing: First announced last year, Microsoft provided an update on Windows 10 ARM at the MS Build developer conference today. And the company confirmed that not only would Windows 10 ARM be able to run legacy apps developed for computers with x86 processors but you'd be able to just download any old Win32 app from the internet, install it, and run it on a computer running Windows 10 ARM. In other words, Windows 10 S runs on devices with ARM or x86 processors, but only supports Windows Store apps. Windows 10 ARM only runs on devices with ARM chips... but supports apps from pretty much any source. Developers don't need to convert their software in any way, because Windows 10 ARM includes a built-in emulation layer that allows Win32 apps to run on an ARM-powered system. But Microsoft demonstrated how you could download a common program like 7zip from the internet and simply install it on a device with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. Of course, developers can also package software optimized for ARM as Universal Windows Platform apps for distribution in the Windows Store. But they don't necessarily have to.

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Expiring Section 702 of FISA Helped US Conclude Russia Hacked Election To Help Trump, NSA Chief Says
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 03:42 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's now-we-know department:
Dustin Volz, reporting for Reuters: A top U.S. intelligence official said Thursday a controversial surveillance law that allows the broad electronic spying of foreigners played a major role in understanding Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. The statement from Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the U.S. National Security Agency, may bolster efforts by intelligence agencies to fully preserve the authority, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, before it expires at the end of the year. Privacy advocates have for years said Section 702 allows for excessively broad surveillance, including warrantless access to some American communications, and should be reformed to include new curbs. "I would highlight much, not all, much of what was in the intelligence community's assessment, for example, on the Russian efforts against the U.S. election process in 2016, was informed by knowledge we gained through (Section) 702 authority," Rogers said. Rogers said allowing the statute to expire on Dec. 31, unless Congress votes to reauthorize it, would degrade U.S. intelligence agencies' ability to provide "timely warning and insight" on a variety of criminal and national security threats.

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German Publishers' Lawsuit Against Google May Backfire
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 03:42 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's two-steps-forward-three-steps-back department:
jowifi writes: VG Media, a German publishing company, filed a lawsuit against Google claiming Google's use of snippets in their search results infringed the publishers' copyrights. However, the suit may backfire because the Berlin court is now reviewing the law itself to determine if it is even valid. The question arose because Germany did not submit the rule for review by the EU before enacting it, violating an EU Directive. If the law is invalidated, the decision could present problems for a proposed EU-wide directive that is similar to the German rule. Germany's rule had a rough start when it was implemented in 2014. Google refused to pay fees to publishers, instead allowing them to opt in to having snippets shown. One publisher declined to opt in, but changed their mind after traffic from Google dropped 40% and traffic from Google News dropped 80%. Handelsblatt Global explains why Germany decided not to notify the EU about the draft of this law: "While typically a formality, notification reviews of national laws by Brussels can take up to two years or more. In 2013, Germany did not submit the copyright law for notification, citing a Justice Ministry argument that the law's scope was so limited, it didn't fall under the E.U.'s notification requirement."

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Cloudflare Declares War On a Patent Troll With a $50,000 Bounty
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 02:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's no-bullshit department:
Internet security company Cloudflare has declared war on a company called Blackbird that consists of a group of lawyers who file patent lawsuits against tech and retail firms. In a blog post titled "Standing Up to a Dangerous New Breed of Patent Troll," Cloudflare called Blackbird's business model destruction and unethical, and announced a $50,000 bounty to anyone who would help invalidate Blackbird's patents. Fortune reports: "There's no social value here. There's no support for a maligned inventor. There's no competing business or product. There's no validation of an incentive structure that supports innovation. This is a shakedown where a patent troll, Blackbird Tech, creates as much nuisance as it can so its attorney-principals can try to grab some cash. Cloudflare does not intend to play along," said the blog post. While patent trolling has been around for years -- and is a particular bug bear of the tech industry -- Cloudflare says Blackbird's model of trolling involves a new and unethical twist. Specifically, the company says Blackbird's lawyer-executives are violating their professional obligations by buying the claims of potential clients and engaging in questionable fee-splitting arrangements. Here is how Cloudflare, which says it is filing complaints with the state bars of Massachusetts and Illinois, explains it: "Blackbird's 'new model' seems to be only that its operations set out to distort the traditional Attorney-Client relationship. Blackbird's website makes a direct pitch of its legal services to recruit clients with potential claims and then, instead of taking them on as a client, purchases their claims and provides additional consideration that likely gives the client an ongoing interest in the resulting litigation. In doing so, Blackbird is flouting its ethical obligations meant to protect clients and distorting the judicial process by obfuscating and limiting potential counterclaims against the real party in interest."

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New Windows Look and Feel, Neon, Is Officially the 'Microsoft Fluent Design System'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 02:21 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's all-in-one department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Earlier this year, pictures of a new Windows look and feel leaked. Codenamed Project Neon, the new look builds on Microsoft Design Language 2 (MDL2), the styling currently used in Windows 10, to add elements of translucency and animation. Neon has now been officially announced, and it has an official new name: the Microsoft Fluent Design System. The switch from "design language" to "design system" is deliberate; Fluent is intended to define more than just the appearance, but also the interactivity. Though visually there are common elements, the system is designed to work across virtual/augmented reality, phones, tablets, desktop PCs, games consoles, using mice, keyboards, motion controllers, voice, gestures, touch, and pen, with the interactivity and input optimized to each particular form factor. Fluent is described as having five "fundamentals": light, depth, motion, material, and scale. "Light" means that the interface should avoid distracting and strive to ensure that attention is drawn to where it needs to be. With "depth," Fluent apps will make greater use of layering and the relationships between objects and interface elements. Fluent will use "motion" to indicate relationships and connections between elements, establishing context. Microsoft is using "Material" to mean making best use of the screen space and giving room to content. "Scale" means building interfaces that can go beyond two dimensions, and go beyond the size of a screen, to embrace new form factors and input methods as they arrive.

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Director of National Intelligence Warns of IoT Security Threats
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 01:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's shape-of-things-to-come department:
According to Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, IoT devices may be used to shut down US intelligence operations in the future. From a report: At an open hearing today, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) heard testimony on the worldwide threat assessment of the US intelligence community. Coats' opening statements included a warning of the dangers of poor smart device security as well as the continued inevitability of Russian cyber threats. Coat's testimony lists these concerns first, with Russia topping the list of enemy actors. Coats says that the Kremlin has taken a much more aggressive "cyber posture," which "was evident in Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 US election." Coats' report (PDF) also says that Russian actors have conducted attacks on critical infrastructure networks, even going so far as to pretend to be third parties hiding behind false online personas. "Russia is a full-scope cyber actor that will remain a major threat to US Government, military, diplomatic, commercial, and critical infrastructure," says Coats in the written version of his statement. The document notes that China, Iran and North Korea, as well as terrorists and criminals, are also threats. Coats also spoke at length about "smart" devices, which have increased the number of vectors that hostile actors can attack. The denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that we already see will only become more prevalent. These botnets use weakly-protected IoT devices to overwhelm websites and other networks. "In the future," Coats says in his report, "state and non-state actors will likely use IoT devices to support intelligence operations or domestic security or to access or attack targeted computer networks."

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'The Traditional Lecture Is Dead'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 01:01 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's changing-paradigm department:
Rhett Allain, an Associate Professor of Physics at Southeastern Louisiana University, writing for Wired: What is the traditional lecture? It is a model of learning in which a teacher possesses the knowledge on a given topic and disseminates it to students. This model dates to the beginning of education, when it was the only way of sharing information. In fact, you occasionally still see the person presenting the lecture called a reader, because way back before the internet and even the printing press, a teacher would literally read from a book so students could copy it all down. Now, don't get me wrong. The traditional lecture model worked wonderfully for eons. But it is an outdated idea (free pass for adblockers). Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a college physics course with a professor giving a traditional lecture. Now open your eyes. Did you envision The Best Physics Lecture EVAR? I doubt it. You probably pictured someone droning on and on in front of a chalkboard or PowerPoint presentation. No way that is more engaging or interesting than an episode of The Mechanical Universe , and if you're a teacher who uses traditional lectures, just stop and play the show instead. Everyone will be better off. You may think by now that I think most physics professors are dolts. I promise that's not the case. But traditional lectures simply aren't effective. Research shows students don't learn by hearing or seeing, they learn by doing, a model often called active learning. Physics faculty should start thinking about how they can go beyond just a traditional lecture. There are some easy things they can do (or students can ask them to do) to make learning more engaging. First, make students read the book outside of class, rather than in class. If your lecture merely covers the material in the textbook, why make students buy the textbook? Now, you may put a different spin on the material, but still. You're merely repeating what students can read on their own. Let them do that on their own time, and use the classroom for experiments and demonstrations and so forth.

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Amazon Is the 2nd Most Popular App Among Teens, Says Study
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 11:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's what-teens-want department:
An anonymous reader writes: When it comes to apps they're using these days, teens and millennials say Snapchat is king -- no surprise there. But second place? It's not Instagram: It's Amazon. This is according to a survey -- The 2017 Love List Brand Affinity Index, run by Conde Nast and Goldman Sachs -- that asked 2,345 U.S. millennial and Gen Z shoppers about their fashion, retail and consumer preferences. The survey skewed towards younger consumers. One question asked which apps they were using currently that they weren't using a few months ago: Snapchat and Amazon came in first and second. (Other popular apps -- Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest -- came in third, fourth and fifth respectively.) "Users are looking for efficiency, speed and convenience, and Amazon hits all those buckets," said Conde Nast chief marketing officer Pam Drucker Mann told CNBC. On a side note, it appears people generally don't have many gripes with Amazon. Early results of our poll from Wednesday suggests Amazon is the last company (of the five tech giants) whose services people are keen on ditching. Also, regardless of how some of us feel about Snapchat, the company seems to be a hit among teenagers.

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Man To Pay $300,000 In Damages For Hacking Employer
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 11:41 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's guilty-as-charged department:
An anonymous reader writes: A former private security officer in California must pay nearly $319,000 in damages for attacking his employer's computer systems. Yovan Garcia accessed payroll records at Security Specialists, which provides private security patrols, to inflate the number of hours he had worked. He later hacked the firm's servers to steal data and defaced its website. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald said Garcia had used the stolen data to help set up a rival business. Security Specialists first noticed issues with Mr Garcia's pay records in July 2014, about two years after he joined. In one example, they showed he had worked 12 hours per day over a two-week period and was owed 40 hours of overtime pay, when in fact he only worked eight hours per day.

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NYU Accidentally Exposed Military Code-breaking Computer Project To Entire Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 10:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's what's-happening department:
An anonymous reader writes: A confidential computer project designed to break military codes was accidentally made public by New York University engineers. An anonymous digital security researcher identified files related to the project while hunting for things on the internet that shouldn't be, The Intercept reported. He used a program called Shodan, a search engine for internet-connected devices, to locate the project. It is the product of a joint initiative by NYU's Institute for Mathematics and Advanced Supercomputing, headed by the world-renowned Chudnovsky brothers, David and Gregory, the Department of Defense, and IBM. Information on an exposed backup drive described the supercomputer, called âoeWindsorGreen,â as a system capable of cracking passwords.

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Apple is Bringing iTunes To the Windows Store
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 10:21 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's omg department:
Tom Warren, writing for The Verge: Apple is planning to bring its iTunes desktop app to the Windows Store. In a surprise announcement at the Build developer event today, Microsoft revealed it has been working with Apple to get iTunes listed in the Windows Store. It might not sound like an important addition, but iTunes is one of the most searched for apps that's currently missing in the Windows Store. USA Today veteran columnist, summing up the announcement, "Microsoft announces that iTunes (incl Apple Music and full support for iPhone) is coming to the Windows Store. Big get for Microsoft." Microsoft's communication head, summing up the situation, "Didn't see that one coming, did you!"

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Snap CEO Evan Spiegel Is Not Afraid of Facebook
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 08:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tearing-to-pieces department:
An anonymous reader writes: Snap CEO Evan Spiegel addressed on Wednesday what many have been hoping he would address for months: What he thinks about Facebook and the fact the social giant is copying all of Snapchat's best features. On Snap's Q1 earnings call Wednesday, Spiegel was asked bluntly: "Does Facebook scare you? Why or why not?" Spiegel laughed. Then talked about how important it is to be creative. Then said this: "At the end of the day, just because Yahoo, for example, has a search box, it doesn't mean they're Google." Fun fact: Yahoo is an investor in Snap.

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Microsoft Announces Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the Next Major Update To Desktop OS
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 08:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department:
At its developer conference on Thursday, Microsoft announced that the next major update to its desktop operating system will be called Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. It will be made available in September later this year. The update will come with several new features: Timeline, Pick Up Where You Left Off, Clipboard, OneDrive Files On-Demand, and Story Remix app among others. Timeline is a new feature that improves the Task View area to provide a list of apps and workspaces that you were using previously or on other devices. Think of it like a time machine for resuming old sessions. Timeline also combines with a new Pick Up Where You Left Off feature to let you resume sessions and apps on multiple devices. A report adds: "With Files On-Demand, you can access all your files in the cloud without having to download them and use storage space on your device. You don't have to change the way you work, because all your files -- even online files -- can be seen in File Explorer and work just like every other file on your device," says Jeff Teper, corporate vice president, Office, OneDrive and SharePoint teams. [...] Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will continue the use of Project Neon, which now has an official name of "Microsoft Fluent Design System." It is important to note that this design focus is not a Windows 10 FCU feature, but something Microsoft intends to implement in apps across platforms and device types. End users should start to experience it more with FCU, however. [...] Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will come with a new app called "Windows Story Remix." This app is designed to help users transform their existing photos and videos. This tool can be used to create stories from content in a fun way.

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Ubuntu Arrives in the Windows Store, Suse and Fedora Are Coming To the Windows Subsystem For Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 08:51 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's going-forward department:
At its Build developer conference today, Microsoft announced that Ubuntu has arrived in the Windows Store. From a report: The company also revealed that it is working with Fedora and Suse to bring their distributions to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) in Windows 10. At the conference last year, Microsoft announced plans to bring the Bash shell to Windows. The fruits of that labor was WSL, a compatibility layer for running Linux binary executables (in ELF format) natively on Windows, which arrived with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update released in August 2016. Microsoft also partnered with Canonical to allow Ubuntu tools and utilities to run natively on top of the WSL. By bringing Ubuntu to the Windows Store, the company is now making it even easier for developers to install the tools and run Windows and Linux apps side by side. Working with other Linux firms shows that Microsoft's deal with Canonical was not a one-time affair, but rather part of a long-term investment in the Linux world.

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Keylogger Found in Audio Driver of HP Laptops, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 07:31 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's security-woes department:
An anonymous reader writes: The audio driver installed on some HP laptops includes a feature that could best be described as a keylogger, which records all the user's keystrokes and saves the information to a local file, accessible to anyone or any third-party software or malware that knows where to look. Swiss cyber-security firm modzero discovered the keylogger on April 28 and made its findings public today. According to researchers, the keylogger feature was discovered in the Conexant HD Audio Driver Package version 1.0.0.46 and earlier. This is an audio driver that is preinstalled on HP laptops. One of the files of this audio driver is MicTray64.exe (C:windowssystem32mictray64.exe). This file is registered to start via a Scheduled Task every time the user logs into his computer. According to modzero researchers, the file "monitors all keystrokes made by the user to capture and react to functions such as microphone mute/unmute keys/hotkeys."

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Amazon To Build Homeless Shelter In Its New Seattle Headquarters
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 06:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's do-your-part department:
Amazon is trying to do its part to help the homelessness problem in its hometown of Seattle. The company announced on Wednesday that it would donate more than 47,000 square feet of space within its newest Seattle headquarters building as a permanent location to house homeless people. CNNMoney reports: "Mary's Place does incredible, life-saving work every day for women, children, and families experiencing homelessness in the Seattle community," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. "We are lucky to count them as neighbors and thrilled to offer them a permanent home within our downtown Seattle headquarters." Amazon is partnering with local nonprofit Mary's Place to create 65 rooms, which will house more than 200 homeless people every night. The new Mary's Place shelter will open in early 2020. It will also have a resource center like those the nonprofit offers in North Seattle and White Center, where 40-plus local nonprofits and volunteers work with staff to help families obtain employment and permanent housing.

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New IoT Malware Targets 100,000 IP Cameras Via Known Flaw
Posted by News Fetcher on May 11 '17 at 02:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's tape-over-your-webcam department:
Researcher Pierre Kim has found a new malware, called Persirai, that has been infecting over 100,000 Chinese-made, internet-connected cameras. According to Trend Micro, the malware has been active since last month and works by exploiting flaws in the cameras that Kim reported back in March. CSO Online reports: At least 1,250 camera models produced by a Chinese manufacturer possess the bugs, the researcher went on to claim. Over a month later in April, Trend Micro noticed a new malware that spreads by exploiting the same products via the recently disclosed flaws. The security firm estimates that about 120,000 cameras are vulnerable to the malware, based on Shodan, a search engine for internet-connected hardware. The Persirai malware is infecting the cameras to form a botnet, or an army of enslaved computers. These botnets can launch DDoS attacks, which can overwhelm websites with internet traffic, forcing them offline. Once Persirai infects, it'll also block anyone else from exploiting the same vulnerabilities on the device. Security firm Qihoo 360 has also noticed the malware and estimated finding 43,621 devices in China infected with it. Interestingly, Persirai borrows some computer code from a notorious malware known as Mirai, which has also been infecting IoT devices, such as DVRs, internet routers, and CCTV cameras, but by guessing the passwords protecting them.

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Buzz Aldrin To NASA: Retire the International Space Station ASAP To Reach Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '17 at 11:30 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's deal-or-no-deal department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Space.com: If NASA and its partner agencies are serious about putting boots on Mars in the near future, they should pull the plug on the International Space Station (ISS) at the earliest opportunity, Buzz Aldrin said. "We must retire the ISS as soon as possible," the former Apollo 11 moonwalker said Tuesday (May 9) during a presentation at the 2017 Humans to Mars conference in Washington, D.C. "We simply cannot afford $3.5 billion a year of that cost." Instead, Aldrin said, NASA should continue to hand over activities in low Earth orbit (LEO) to private industry partners. Indeed, the space agency has been encouraging that move by awarding contracts to companies such as SpaceX, Orbital ATK and Boeing to ferry cargo and crew to and from the ISS. Bigelow Aerospace, Axiom Space or other companies should build and operate LEO space stations that are independent of the ISS, he added. Ideally, the first of these commercial outposts would share key orbital parameters with the station that China plans to have up and running by the early 2020s, to encourage cooperation with the Chinese, Aldrin said. Establishing private outposts in LEO is just the first step in Aldrin's plan for Mars colonization, which depends heavily on "cyclers" -- spacecraft that move continuously between two cosmic destinations, efficiently delivering people and cargo back and forth.

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A Baffling Brain Defect Is Linked to Gut Bacteria, Scientists Say
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '17 at 08:52 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's frontier-of-human-biology department:
Gina Kolata from The New York Times writes about a baffling brain disorder that is linked to a particular type of bacteria living in the gut (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternate source) The new study, published on Wednesday in Nature, is among the first to suggest convincingly that these bacteria may initiate disease in seemingly unrelated organs, and in completely unexpected ways. The researchers studied hereditary cerebral cavernous malformations -- blood-filled bubbles that protrude from veins in the brain and can leak blood or burst at any time. When Dr. Mark Kahn, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, began this work, the microbiome was the last thing on his mind. Dr. Kahn and his colleagues studied cerebral cavernous malformations as part of a larger effort to understand the development and function of blood vessels. Three genes have been linked to the disorder, and Dr. Kahn and his colleagues tried to figure out what these mutations really do. The scientists were able to mimic the condition in mice by deleting a gene that is mutated in many patients. A year ago, the scientists moved to a new building, and something unexpected happened. The experimental mice stopped developing the brain malformations. Dr. Kahn's student, Alan T. Tang, had been deleting the gene by injecting a drug into the abdomens of the mice. Sometimes a mouse would get an infection that would lead to an abscess, and bacteria leaked from the gut into the blood. In the new building, only those mice still developed the brain defect. The other gene-deleted mice did not. He and his colleagues finally identified the culprit: Gram-negative bacteria, named for the way they stain, that carry a molecule in their cell walls, a lipopolysaccharide. Without a functioning gene, the lipopolysaccharide can signal veins in the brain to form blood bubbles.

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