The 404 1,442: Where we're all mixed up (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Popcorn Time is just like Netflix, but everything is pirated.

- Polygon examines everything that went wrong with the "Street Fighter" movie.

- People are selling their organs on Facebook.

- In which Jeff attempts to explain cloud-gaming in Titanfall to Justin.… Read more

Working kidney created in bioengineering lab

There just aren't enough donated organs to fill the need. That's why scientists have been dreaming of growing transplantable organs in labs. Scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine have made a step forward by creating a functional rat kidney.

The process is not quite as futuristic as growing a whole organ from scratch. Researchers started with kidneys from dead rats and used a special soap-cleaning process to scrub away the cells. Essentially, this gave them a foundation of a kidney to work with, a blank canvas.… Read more

What impact will Facebook have on organ donations?

Since launching in February 2004, Facebook has proved highly effective at creating opportunities for the average Web user to create campaigns that reach a mass audience. Most recently such opportunities have extended to organ donation, an area that could benefit from the social network's attention -- controversy over its recent initial public offering aside, Facebook's membership is more than 900 million and growing.

Indeed, with demand for healthy organs for transplantation growing worldwide, Facebook has already become a popular channel for people soliciting kidneys, livers and other potentially lifesaving organs. Earlier this month the social network began offering … Read more

5 charged for taking teen's kidney in return for iPhone, iPad

Five people in southern China have been charged for their involvement in allegedly removing a boy's kidney in return for offering him cash to buy an iPhone and iPad.

According to the Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua (by way of Reuters), a 17-year-old boy last April had his kidney removed so he could buy an iPhone and iPad. The defendant who arranged the transplant allegedly received 220,000 yuan (about $35,000) for bringing the boy to a surgeon, who was also charged, along with the person's cohorts. The boy, who now suffers from renal deficiency, received 22,… Read more

Hot nanotubes blast chemo-resistant cancer cells into oblivion

When it comes to cancer cells, a particularly confounding breed called cancer stem cells have proven difficult to kill. Because they divide so slowly, chemo drugs do them little harm, and they appear resistant to heat therapies that are generally good at killing most cells. Some cancer drugs even appear to promote the growth of cancer stem cells.

Now, three years after they found that the heat from 30-second laser blasts can kill kidney cancer stem cells, researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center say the same treatment works to kill breast cancer stem cells as well.

Torti's team … Read more

Mary On Board a comical nagging backseat driver

How do you get from point A to point B without your favorite backseat driver spewing commentary and driving tips? Well, now you can enjoy that familiar nagging even when you're alone in your car.

The new Mary On Board, a humorous dash-top device, gives criticism, driving tips, and navigational "advice" in two languages.

Mary On Board creator Dan Finkelstein said he was inspired by his wife (named Mary) to create a device that would "backseat drive" for him when she wasn't around.

Finkelstein explained that he was distracted by a phone call one day while driving, only to be reminded to move into the right lane by his wife, who was "motioning wildly and saying repeatedly, 'right lane!'"

So Finkelstein, who had been laid off from Unisys after 25 years, took on the task of inventing Mary On Board. The device was developed through the aid of a Utah-based company, Design My Idea.

The device is about as helpful as a Magic 8 Ball when it comes to dispensing actual directions. Instead, it offers about 15 preprogrammed sayings in English or Spanish, including "I so need a brake pedal on my side," "Admit it! You're lost because you wouldn't ask for directions," and "Don't you think you should slow down?"

The gadget retails for $19.95 on the company's Web site and through Things You Never Knew Existed. For every unit purchased, $1 will be donated to the National Kidney Foundation, Finkelstein said.… Read more

Researchers trick the brain to lower blood pressure

Researchers have unveiled encouraging results of the first human randomized control trial of a procedure called therapeutic renal denervation to reduce and control hypertension in patients where medications aren't working. The announcement came at this week's Society of Interventional Radiology's 36th Annual Scientific Meeting in Chicago.

While the study involved only 106 adults and was funded by the manufacturer of the catheter and generator, the procedure--which uses a catheter-based probe to emit high-frequency energy directly into the renal artery to deactivate nerves linked to high blood pressure--does appear to be effective. That's particularly notable because these … Read more

Are the days of kidney dialysis numbered?

There's no gentle way to put it. Chronic kidney failure is ugly and often deadly, and more people in the States are suffering from it every year, with increasing rates of diabetes and hypertension contributing to the problem.

What's more, the treatment that keeps many waiting for kidney transplants alive--dialysis--involves several sessions per week, at several hours per session, during which blood pumps through an external circuit for filtration to replace just 13 percent of kidney function, leaving many patients exhausted both physically and financially.

(The U.S. Renal Data System estimates that dialysis costs roughly $… Read more

Looking back on Demo 09: Hope springs eternal

Last week's Demo 09 conference in Palm Desert, Calif., reminded me of my high-school reunions. The people were familiar but the energy level wasn't quite what it used to be. And like those reunions, there were lots of people who didn't show up.

Demo, which has been around since 1991, is a place for companies large and small--but mostly small--to announce new products. While some products this year were from established companies like Qualcomm and Symantec, most came from start-ups or very small companies that have been laboring in obscurity.

They come to Demo hoping to be … Read more

Tech brings hope to kidney transplant seekers

When President Obama talks about employing technology to improve the health care system, perhaps he's talking about something like the kidney donation software developed by Silverstone Solutions.

Designed by software engineer David Jacobs--whose own brother died of kidney failure--Silverstone's Kidney Paired Donation technology is built around the idea of radically improving the process through which those in need of kidney transplants must go to get what they need. If they are able to at all.

Today, Jacobs said, there are 83,000 Americans waiting for kidney transplants, each of whom has to wait between seven and eleven years … Read more