Help identify the Galagabugs what feast upon the corn

Benny sez, "A friend of mine shot this picture of some Galaga-looking bugs and shared it on Facebook. According to his description they seem oblivious to humans and are attracted to corn plants. Perhaps some happy mutant entomologists out there can help us identify the bugs. We live in Malaysia which has a tropical rainforest climate - perhaps that information will help a little. P.S. please credit the picture to Robert Chua from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia." Read the rest

New hope for a neglected disease

Mamma always said you can do anything you put your mind to. But that's both a blessing and a curse. Science has made some amazing strides in medicine, but where minds—and money—aren't applied, progress sputters.

Chagas is a parasitic disease spread by a bug. Somewhere between 8 and 20 million people—mostly in the Americas—are infected. No one knows for sure. Most of the victims are poor.

A little over 100 years after the parasite that causes Chagas was first discovered, this disease is still difficult to diagnose, treatment regimens are complicated and fraught with side-effects and 20,000 people die from Chagas each year. The best hopes are prevention campaigns, and a new generation of drugs that researchers hope will be easier to take. Read the rest

Fighting spam with captured botnet hosts

Clever spamfighters are allowing botnets to infect one isolated computer, then analyzing the spams it sends to figure out the template used to generate its messages. This template is then propagated to spam-filters:
"This is an interesting approach which really differs by using the bots themselves as the oracles for producing the filters," says Michael O'Reirdan, chairman of the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group, a coalition of technology companies. But he adds that botnets have grown so large that even a 1-minute delay in cracking the template would be "long enough for a very substantial spam campaign".
Funny: this was a sub-plot in True Names, the Hugo-nominated novella that Benjamin Rosenbaum and I published last year.

To beat spam, turn its own weapons against it

(Image: File:Zombie-process.png png, Wikimedia) Previously:Have botnet prices crashed? - Boing Boing Awesomely bad spam - Boing Boing Dream Captcha for spam-free sleep - Boing Boing Paintings inspired by spam subject-lines - Boing Boing Hank Paulson's bailout 419 letter - Boing Boing Boing Boing: The Strange World of Blogspot Spam Blogs Flarf: highfalutin word for spam/wordjunque poetry - Boing Boing Read the rest