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13 Sep 22:53

iPhone 5C pre-orders available from Apple, carriers, and retailers

by Andrew Cunningham
Pre-order your iPhone 5Cs now! Or don't. No one's forcing you either way.
Andrew Cunningham

As it promised during Tuesday's announcement, Apple has officially begun accepting pre-orders for the sort-of-new iPhone 5C in its online store as of 12:01am PT today. In case you missed the announcement on Tuesday (and our subsequent hands-on experience with the device), the iPhone 5C is mostly an iPhone 5 on the inside, but it comes in five colorful plastic shells rather than the black and white aluminum bodies of last year's flagship.

The phone starts at $99 with a two-year contract for a 16GB model, and $199 with a two-year contract for a 32GB model (both models are also available unlocked for $549 and $649, respectively). Customers in the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and the UK who order their phones now should begin receiving them on September 20th, the same day that Apple is due to release the higher-end iPhone 5S.

If you don't want to order directly from Apple, you have a few different options. One is to order directly from your mobile carrier, which in the US probably means you'll be buying from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile. Several retailers are also planning to offer pre-orders, and some of them will give it to you for below Apple's suggested retail price—Wal-Mart will sell you an iPhone 5C on Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint for $79 on-contract, for example (you'll also be able to get an iPhone 5S for $189 on the 20th, $10 less than Apple's standard starting price). Other major retailers like Best Buy and Radio Shack should also be accepting in-store pre-orders when they open this morning.

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30 May 22:43

Parents have gastric bypass; children’s DNA may receive the benefits

by John Timmer

Gastric bypass surgeries would, at first glance, seem to tackle the problems of obesity through simple physics: with a smaller stomach, there's only so much food a person can ingest. Actual results are anything but simple, however. Long before any significant weight loss occurs, patients who have the surgery show a remarkable reversal in many aspects of type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors. This suggests the body responds physiologically to the altered food intake itself rather than its impact on obesity.

New research shows that the effects may go beyond the patients themselves. A study has been tracking women who have had kids both before and after these surgeries, and it reveals that the children also see changes in how their bodies handle fats and sugars (as well as in markers of cardiovascular health). The researchers have found that the offspring may be benefiting from epigenetic inheritance, in which the parent's surgery influences how the DNA they inherit is interpreted by their cells.

Epigenetics and hunger

Epigenetics has become a rather confusing topic, in part because it has become an umbrella term that covers two very different phenomena. In general, epigenetics describes traits that are maintained without any changes in the underlying DNA sequence. The phenomenon can both occur over the course of a single individual's lifetime and, in rare cases, it can span generations.

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24 Apr 21:25

BitTorrent Sync creates private, peer-to-peer Dropbox, no cloud required

by Jon Brodkin

BitTorrent today released folder syncing software that replicates files across multiple computers using the same peer-to-peer file sharing technology that powers BitTorrent clients.

The free BitTorrent Sync application is labeled as being in the alpha stage, so it's not necessarily ready for prime-time, but it is publicly available for download and working as advertised on my home network.

BitTorrent, Inc. (yes, there is a legitimate company behind BitTorrent) took to its blog to announce the move from a pre-alpha, private program to the publicly available alpha. Additions since the private alpha include one-way synchronization, one-time secrets for sharing files with a friend or colleague, and the ability to exclude specific files and directories.

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