Scribbles on the margins of science.
GOING UP: Fingerprint hackers
Hackers have published what they claim is a genuine copy of the fingerprint of German interior minister Wolfgang Schäuble, to protest against his plans to compile biometric data for the whole country.
GOING DOWN: Spiteful hackers
Another hacker group has been criticized for a less noble prank in which they hijacked the online forum of the Epilepsy Foundation, adding strobing graphics that triggered seizures in some users.
1979 is the year in which the World Health Organization declared smallpox officially extinct.
87% of Scottish participants in a recent public survey conducted by the Society for General Microbiology in Reading, UK, had never heard of this medical triumph.
40% of 16–24-year-olds in the survey did not even know what microbes are.
On The Record
“I know a lot about sheep and cattle; I don't know much about satellites. But I would say it is a fuel cell off some stage of a rocket.”
James Stirton, whose farm in Australia was hit by some space debris last year, clearly knows more about space aeronautics than he thinks.
Sources: The Register, Wired, Society for General Microbiology, Reuters
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Sidelines. Nature 452, 514 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/452514a