Saturday, March 24, 2012

Is Space Junk A Threat To National Security?


Space Clutter a Growing Concern for Pentagon -- Military.com/Stars and Stripes

Space may be the final frontier, but it’s turning into a rough neighborhood — a limited number of Earth orbits increasingly crowded with satellites and littered with debris that can destroy valuable space assets.

Overcrowding in space is now a national security threat, experts say. U.S. Defense and State Department officials are grappling with the challenge of cleaning up the mess and encouraging “best practices” without compromising national defense.

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My Comment: Hmmmm .... one can only imagine the mess that will be produced if an armed conflict did occur in space. One side may win the war .... but be unable to use space for years (if not longer) because of the debris fields.

Cyber And Drone Attacks Are Changing Warfare

The new look of drone-enabled war. Reuters.

Cyber and Drone Attacks May Change Warfare More Than the Machine Gun -- Ross Andersen, The Atlantic

From state-sponsored cyber attacks to autonomous robotic weapons, twenty-first century war is increasingly disembodied. Our wars are being fought in the ether and by machines. And yet our ethics of war are stuck in the pre-digital age.

We're used to thinking of war as a physical phenomenon, as an outbreak of destructive violence that takes place in the physical world. Bullets fly, bombs explode, tanks roll, people collapse. Despite the tremendous changes in the technology of warfare, it remained a contest of human bodies. But as the drone wars have shown, that's no longer true, at least for one side of the battle.

Read more ....

My Comment: Cyber and drone attacks may change warfare!?!?!?! I say that it has already changed warfare.

George Clooney's Satellites Document The Atrocities In Sudan



George Clooney's Satellite Spies Reveal Secrets Of Sudan's Bloody Army -- The Guardian

Actor and activist funds a hi-tech project that is tracking troops and warning civilians of attacks

Nathaniel Raymond is the first to admit that he has an unusual job description. "I count tanks from space for George Clooney," said the tall, easygoing Massachusetts native as he sat in a conference room in front of a map of the Sudanese region of South Kordofan.

Close by, pins and ink scrawlings on the map detail the positions of Sudanese army forces and refugee populations in the troubled oil-producing province, where the Sudanese army is carrying out a brutal crackdown.

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My Comment: I support this project wholeheartedly. Someone has to focus and document the atrocities that are occurring in the Sudan, and thank God it is someone like George Clooney.

The Satellite Sentinel Project website is here.

More Advancements In Body Armor

MetCel's body armor inserts protect soldiers against the blunt-force trauma of a bullet hitting body armor. CREDIT: MetCel

Startup's Hybrid Body Armor Softens Blow to Troops -- Live Science

Modern body armor capable of stopping bullets still can't protect a soldier from the full force of a bullet's impact — a body trauma responsible for most U.S. military gunshot injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan. That battlefield danger has driven one U.S. startup to create a lightweight, protective material worn under body armor, similar to how ancient warriors once wore padding beneath their chain mail or plate armor.

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My Comment: Faster please.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Is Nothing Off Limits?

Ear we go: Adverts could soon be produced according to environmental conditions such as background noise, if Google's patent becomes reality

Is Nothing Off Limits? Now Google Plans To Spy On Background Noise In Your Phone Calls To Bombard You With Tailored Adverts -- Daily Mail

* Patent also describes using other environmental factors such as air temperature to produce ads

Adverts could soon be tailored according to the background noise around you when using your smartphone, if a patent application by Google becomes reality.

The search engine giant has filed for a patent called ‘Advertising based on environmental conditions’.

As that title implies, it’s not just background sounds that could be used to determine what adverts you seen on your mobile phone. The patent also describes using ‘temperature, humidity, light and air composition’ to produced targeted adverts.

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My Comment: Makes you wonder if the NSA and other intelligence agencies are already using this technology to spy on certain individuals ... or are getting ready to do so.

Building A Better Brain For Memory (Video)

Bacteria May Help To Beef Up Our Immunity

A new study finds that a little bacteria is actually a good thing for the immune system. (Getty Images)

Bacteria Help Body Beef Up Immunity, Study Says -- ABC News

When it comes to bacteria, many people have a pretty simple view: Germs are bad, and our lives should be as free of them as possible.

But an alternate idea suggests just the opposite: Germs are a necessary part of a healthy immune system, helping our body's defenses beef up and fight future illnesses. When a person's exposure to germs is decreased, problems may arise.

The idea is called the hygiene hypothesis. For years, scientists have suspected that it played a role in how diseases affect people in the modern hand-sanitized world, but they never had any specific evidence.

But a new study from researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston has changed that.

Read more ....

My Comment: OK ... bring on those germs.

Weather Records Tumble By The Thousand As US Swelters



Weather Records Tumble By The Thousand As US Swelters And Global Warming Wins Converts -- The Telegraph

Think the drought's getting bad? You should be in Spicewood, 35 miles northwest of Austin, Texas. In January it became the first town to run out of water in an acute dry spell in the state. Now a 7,000 gallon tanker has to roll into own each day to bring the stuff of life – there's a ration of just 50 gallons a day per household – and the regional water utility expects this to go on for months.

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My Comment: A look at the drought in Texas.

Facebook Threatens Bosses Who Ask For Facebook Passwords From Job Applicants


Facebook Privacy Chief Fires Warning Shot At Bosses Who Demand Access -- The Guardian

Social networking site warns against employers who ask for the passwords of job applicants, saying legal action is possible

Facebook has hit out at the practice of employers asking for access to the accounts of their staff and potential hires.

The social network's chief privacy officer Erin Egan called the practice "distressing" and threatened legal action against companies that violate its users' privacy.

Read more ....

My Comment: So much for privacy.

The Psychological Impact Of Holding A Gun

U.S. Army Pfc. Samuel Corsolini uses his weapon's scope to provide security as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter takes off after unloading U.S. and Afghan troops during a vehicle interdiction to disrupt Taliban activities as part of Operation Pranoo Verbena in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, March 16, 2012. Corsolini is a gunner assigned to the Company F, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Daniel Schroeder

Holding A Gun Makes You Think Others Are Too -- Science Blog

Wielding a gun increases a person’s bias to see guns in the hands of others, new research from the University of Notre Dame shows.

Notre Dame Associate Professor of Psychology James Brockmole, who specializes in human cognition and how the visual world guides behavior, together with a colleague from Purdue University, conducted the study, which will appear in an upcoming issue of Journal of Experimental Psychology: Perception and Performance.

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My Comment: We have been conditioned to expect the worse when we see guns .... holding it into our hands will probably only reinforce this impression.

New Theory On Size Of Black Holes

Image from a simulation when the inclination is 150 degrees with full 3D rendering. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Leicester)

New Theory On Size Of Black Holes: Gas-Guzzling Black Holes Eat Two Courses At A Time -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Mar. 23, 2012) — Astronomers have put forward a new theory about why black holes become so hugely massive -- claiming some of them have no 'table manners', and tip their 'food' directly into their mouths, eating more than one course simultaneously.

Researchers from the UK and Australia investigated how some black holes grow so fast that they are billions of times heavier than the sun.

Read more ....

My Comment: Let`s just say that they are big and heavy.

The 2012 Heat Wave

2012 Heat Wave NASA

The 2012 Heat Wave: "Almost Like Science Fiction" -- Popular Science

Today is World Meteorological Day, and there's no better time to take a serious look at our meteorological surroundings than right now, here in North America. All across the continent, records have been smashed: from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic, a heat wave like nothing we've ever seen before is hitting the U.S. and Canada, while out west, Oregon has gotten a new record for snowfall. Just what is going on here?

This past Wednesday broke records all across the Midwest and Northeast. Some stats:

Read more ....

My Comment: I live in Montreal .... and yes .... we also broke records here.

Europe Launches Heaviest Ever Craft Into Space

An automated craft laden with supplies for the International Space Station (ISS) headed into space in the heaviest launch ever undertaken by Europe. The 20-tonne vessel, named after a 20th-century Italian physicist, Edoardo Amaldi, was taken aloft by a heavyweight version of the Ariane 5 launcher Photo: AFP/GETTY

Europe Launches Heaviest Ever Craft Into Space -- The Telegraph

Europe has undertaken its heaviest ever launch after an automated craft the size of a double decker bus, laden with supplies for the International Space Station, blasted off into space.

The 20-ton vessel, named after 20th-century Italian physicist, Edoardo Amaldi, blasted off atop a heavyweight version of the Ariane 5 launcher at 01:34am (0434 GMT) from the launch pad in French Guiana.

"Mission accomplished," Jean-Yves Gall, the head of Arianespace satellite launch operator, said shortly after lift-off.

About an hour later the vessel separated from the launcher and went its orbit flight path in what Gall said was picture perfect execution.

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My Comment:
The part of this report that I found interesting was the following ....

.... Laden with rubbish, the craft will then detach and burn up in a controlled destruction over the southern Pacific.

Hmmm .... so that's how they get rid of the trash.

Air Force Space Command Is Looking For A Few Good Cyber Warriors

AF Cyber Boss Wants High Quality Troops -- Military.com

The Air Force’s top cyber commander warned Thursday that the military may have a tough time finding all the qualified people it needs to stay ahead in the increasingly important world of attacking and defending networks.

Gen. William Shelton, head of Air Force Space Command, said that only a small percentage of people graduate with technical college degrees every year in the U.S. and of those an even smaller percentage are eligible to get the security clearance they’d need to become Defense Department or government cyber-operators.

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Update: The cyber war after next -- DoD Buzz

My Comment: For more info on Air Force Space Command, go here.

On a side note .... 'Hacktivists' stole 58% of thieved data in 2011.

This Months Solar Flare 'Likely Knocked' Military Satellites Offline

An M7.9 class flare. A solar flare is an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots. Flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events.

Solar Flares Likely Knocked Military Satellites Offline -- US News and World Report

Solar storms earlier this month may have caused military satellites to reboot.

Despite being made to withstand radiation emitted from solar flares, a storm caused by the sun earlier this month may have temporarily knocked American military satellites offline, according to General William Shelton, head of the Air Force's Space Command.

The energy particles associated with two solar storms March 9 and 10 may have caused what are called "single event upsets" on military satellites. "The timing is such that we say this was likely due to [solar radiation]," Shelton told reporters at a Defense Writers Group breakfast Thursday. Although it's impossible to tell exactly what caused the events—essentially a temporary reboot of satellite instrumentation software—solar storms are known to wreak havoc on satellites.

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Update:
General: Recent solar storm interfered with Air Force satellite -- Stars and Stripes

My Comment: An event like this makes you appreciate on why emp weapons are feared by the military.

Germany Unprepared For A Major Nuclear Disaster

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Germany Unprepared For Major Nuclear Disaster -- Spiegel Online

If a nuclear disaster comparable to Fukushima were to hit a German nuclear plant, authorities would be unprepared to handle it, and scientific projections show that radiation would likely spread much further than previous estimates. But government agencies have done little to address the problem. Critics call the delay a "scandal."

The projected catastrophe would begin on the cold winter's day of Dec. 1, 2010. In the scenario envisioned by scientists, fuel elements begin melting at the Philippsburg 2 nuclear power plant in the southwestern German state of Baden-W├╝rttemberg. Engineers release pressure to prevent the plant from exploding, and for the next 25 days, radioactive clouds move north toward the Rhine Valley, over the cities of Speyer and Hockenheim, toward Mannheim and Heidelberg.

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My Comment
: Hmmmm .... I doubt that anyone can really be prepared for a major nuclear disaster.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Apple's iPhone 5 Will Launch This Summer

White iPhone 4S: The new iPhone 5 will have a much bigger 4.6-inch screen, and will launch this summer, according to sources in Korea

Apple's iPhone 5 Will Have Much Bigger 4.6-Inch Screen, Say Korean Suppliers - And Will Launch In Summer -- Daily Mail

* Screen would make new phone same size as Android rival Galaxy S2
* Leak from unnamed Korean source
* Release date 'in second quarter' this year

The new iPhone 5 will have a much bigger 4.6-inch screen, and will launch this summer, according to sources in Korea.

The leak, reported in a business newspaper in Korea, would make the new iPhone the same size as its cult Android rival the Galaxy S2.

Read more ....

My Comment:
Yup .... this will be my next phone.

Mapping The Brain

The Brain Atlas Allen Institute for Brain Science

Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen Invests $300 Million Into Mapping the Brain -- Popular Science

Paul Allen’s commitment to tackling big questions in neuroscience grows larger still. The Microsoft co-founder has already contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to brain science, much of it to the establishment of the Allen Brain Institute, a nonprofit charged with building a massive database of information about the brain. Now, seemingly from a frustration with the slow pace of discovery elsewhere in the field, Allen has committed another $300 million over the next decade to expanding his institute to include it’s own lab for neuroscience investigation.

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My Comment:
That is going to be a very impressive data base.

Americans Now Watch More Online Movies Than DVDs

Monthly streaming subscription services like Netflix account for 94% of all paid online movie consumption. Netflix

Americans Now Watch More Online Movies Than DVDs -- CNN

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. movie buffs will pay to watch more movies online in 2012 than they will on physical video formats like DVD. That historic first marks a tipping point for Hollywood -- and its business model.

The stat comes a report that research firm IHS iSuppli released late Thursday. Online views, or paid "transactions," will hit 3.4 billion this year, compared with 2.4 billion for physical copies, according to IHS's forecast.

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My Comment:
I am one of those who now watches his shows and movies on my computer screen.

Have Americans Forgotten About AIDS?



The Global Epidemic the U.S. Forgot -- Yahoo News/ABC

Like a brush fire, The HIV/AIDS epidemic has spread across the world over the last 30 years, picking up steam in certain areas and losing steam in others. Why?

While rates of infection in Western nations have gone down, there has been an explosion of cases in sub-Saharan Africa, India, China and parts of Russia.

In this two week Around the World special, Christiane Amanpour takes an in depth look at the illness that has defined an era, a disease that strikes fear in all of us.

Read more ....

My Comment: Americans have not forgotten about AIDS .... it is just that other issues have taken precedent.

Here Come The Water Wars

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Water Wars Between Countries Could Be Just Around The Corner, Davey Warns -- The Guardian

Energy secretary tells conference that growing pressure on water resources could worsen existing war and lead to new ones

Water wars could be a real prospect in coming years as states struggle with the effects of climate change, growing demand for water and declining resources, the secretary of state for energy and climate change warned on Thursday.

Ed Davey told a conference of high-ranking politicians and diplomats from around the world that although water had not been a direct cause of wars in the past, growing pressure on the resource if climate change is allowed to take hold, together with the pressure on food and other resources, could lead to new sources of conflict and the worsening of existing conflicts.

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My Comment: Conflicts and wars over water is nothing new in human history. All empires and great powers have always had their main cities near sources of water .... whether by the sea and/or by a major river. Cutting off these sources of water will guarantee conflict and war, and with water becoming a precious resource in the 21rst century .... wars over fresh water will probably be the eventual outcome.

Special Note: The above image (click on the image to expand it) sums up the world's water situation perfectly.

Update:
U.S. intelligence: Looming water woes will add to global instability -- McClatchy News

Polio Alert For Pakistan


Polio Virus In Pakistan: WHO Warns Of Travel Ban -- DAWN

ISLAMABAD, March 20: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned Pakistan that if the polio virus was not contained, it could face serious consequences such as travel and visa restrictions and sanctions imposed by countries across the world.

Dr Bruce Aylward, Assistant Director-General of Polio, Emergencies and Country Collaboration, WHO, told Dawn after a press conference organised by country office of WHO that lately the global community had been expressing its anxiety over the widespread prevalence of the virus in Pakistan.

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Watch The Northern Lights Live On The Web

A still image of what the aurora show will look like through the Slooh Space Camera during the live webcast. CREDIT: Slooh Space Camera

Light Show: Watch Auroras Live On Web -- Space.com

The sun has been causing a commotion lately, sending out a barrage of solar storms that have fired up Earth's auroras, to the delight of those who live in far northern latitudes. Now, with the help of a webcam in Alaska, those who live outside of the usual range of the northern lights will get a chance to watch their eerie dance.

The Slooh Space Camera, located outside of Fairbanks, Alaska, will be streaming live starting at 11:00 p.m. PDT (2:00 a.m. EDT) today, March 22 (06:00 UTC March 23), with astronomer Bob Berma on-site to commentate throughout the show.

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CSN Editor:
The Slooh Space Camera website is here.

Seven Brilliant Lectures By Richard Feynman (Video)


Watch A Series Of Seven Brilliant Lectures By Richard Feynman -- io9

Richard Feynman was obviously famous for his work as a physicist, but he's also widely regarded as one of the most lucid and effective lecturers to ever address an audience. So renowned, so readily accessible were his presentations, that his introductory physics lectures (which he delivered to undergraduates at Caltech) have since been immortalized in the form of a three-volume set called, quite simply, The Feynman Lectures.

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My Comment: I always loved his books and videos. It's good to see 7 of them together.

Why Women Moan During Sex


Why Women Moan During Sex -- CNN

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex weekly on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.
All you have to do is watch nearly any depiction of female orgasm on screen to get an idea of how a woman is “supposed” to react during sex.

From "When Harry Met Sally" to "Sex and the City" to your basic porn film, women in the throes of passion aren’t just shouting their ecstasy from the rooftops - they’re moaning with pleasure. Loudly.

But is this just cinematic license, or is there really something to noisy sex?

Read more ....

My Comment: No comment ....

How Many X-37Bs Are There?


Just How Many X-37Bs Are There? -- Defense Tech

So Air Force Space Command boss Gen. William Shelton gave us a tiny bit more insight into the service’s super secret space spycraft, the X-37B, when he said that it’s doing its super secret — and year-long — mission excellently and that there’s no need for a bigger version of it or to increase the size of the X-37B fleet.

What was really interesting about his comments, was the fact that he wouldn’t say just how big the fleet is. Keep in mind that the service has said that it’s got two of the mini-shuttles for a while now, but Shelton’s response to a question about the size of the fleet raised more questions than it answered.

Read more ....

Update: Air Force Will Continue to Launch Mysterious X-37B Space Plane (Updated) -- National Defense

My Comment: There are only two, but if the Air Force had the budget .... hmmmm .....

James Cameron Heading To The Bottom Of The Mariana Trench

James Cameron emerges from the hatch of Deepsea Challenger during testing of the submersible in Jervis Bay, south of Sydney, Australia in 2012. Photo: AFP

James Cameron Descends To The Bottom Of The Mariana Trench -- The Telegraph

James Cameron, the multi-millionaire Hollywood film director behind Titanic and Avatar, is heading to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in person armed with hi-tech 3D cameras and lights that will capture the moment for cinemagoers.

Fewer people have reached the deepest point in the world's oceans than have walked on the moon, but the obscure worms and tiny crustaceans that reside there are receiving an unlikely visitor.

Cameron set out from the tiny Pacific island of Guam for the Mariana Trench, and is descending more than seven miles straight down in a lime green reinforced submersible, the first ever solo mission to the lowest point on Earth.

Cameron’s 24ft long vertical capsule, The Deepsea Challenger, weighs 11 tons and was built amid great secrecy in Australia over the last eight years.

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My Comment:
Good luck.

Red Meat Halves Risk Of Depression

The Australian government recommends eating 65 -100g of lean, red meat three to four times a week Photo: ALAMY

Red Meat Halves Risk Of Depression -- The Telegraph

Women who reduce lamb and beef in their diets are more likely to suffer depression, according to the new study.

Experts admitted surprise at the findings because so many other studies have linked red meat to physical health risks.

The team made the link after a study of 1000 Australian women.

Professor Felice Jacka, who led the research by Deakin University, Victoria, said: "We had originally thought that red meat might not be good for mental health but it turns out that it actually may be quite important.

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My Comment: As one who enjoys a good steak .... I agree.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why Taking A Vacation Is Good For You


The Benefits Of Taking Time Off -- US News And World Report/Inside Science

Taking a vacation may not only make you happy, but increase your job performance.

(ISNS)—Rae and Bruce Hostetler not only work very hard, they also relax just as well. Numerous vacations help the suburban Indianapolis couple to maintain their health and emotional well-being—and it's no surprise to health care professionals.

"Rest, relaxation, and stress reduction are very important for people's well-being and health. This can be accomplished through daily activities, such as exercise and meditation, but vacation is an important part of this as well," said primary care physician Natasha Withers from One Medical Group in New York. Withers lists a decreased risk of heart disease and improved reaction times as some of the benefits from taking some time off.

"We also know that the mind is very powerful and can help with healing, so a rested, relaxed mind is able to help the body heal better," said Withers.

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My Comment: How can I disagree with that.

NSA Chief Denies To Congress That They Are Conducting Domestic Spying

NSA Chief Denies Domestic Spying But Whistleblowers Say Otherwise -- Threat Level

In a rare break from the NSA’s tradition of listening but not speaking, NSA chief General Keith Alexander was grilled Tuesday on the topic of eavesdropping on Americans in front of a House subcommittee.

The questioning from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) was prompted by Wired’s cover story this month on the NSA’s growing reach and capabilities, but leaves Americans with as many questions about the reach of spy agency’s powers as they had before Alexander spoke.

Alexander denied, in carefully parsed words, that the NSA has the power to monitor Americans’ communications without getting a court warrant.

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My Comment: The NSA chief is very careful with his words .... it appears that he has his own definition of spying and eavesdropping.

The Titanic As You've Never Seen It Before

Mapping out the wreck: The ship was four days into its journey from Southampton to New York when it sunk in the middle of the night on April 14, 1912

The Titanic As You've Never Seen It Before: A Century After It Sank, Stunning New Hi-Tech Images Reveal Doomed Ship On Ocean Floor -- Daily Mail

The sinking of the Titanic is one of the 20th century's great dramas, a mystery that has confounded scientists and historians for decades.

There is still an aura of mysticism that remains around that fateful ship and new photos that will be published in the April 2012 edition of National Geographic Magazine provides for the first time a sense of what the wreck looks like today.

These new photographs, shot using state-of-the-art technology by independent research group Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, provide a greater understanding of what happened on that fateful April 15, 1912.

Read more ....

My Comment:
A hundred years anniversary coming up .... I can imagine the parties that will be breaking out around the world on that day.

U.S. Navy Opens A 'Hunger Games' Arena For Military Robots

The Tropical High Bay, part of the Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research, is a 60' by 40' greenhouse that contains a re-creation of a southeast Asian rain forest. In the Tropical High Bay, temperatures average 80 degrees with 80 percent humidity year round. CREDIT: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Navy Opens 'Hunger Games' Arena For Military Robots -- Live Science

A new U.S. Navy lab can track every movement of battlefield robots as they struggle to survive arenas built to resemble scorching deserts, wave-pounded shores and tropical rain forests.

The lab's biggest environment has high-speed video cameras that automatically swivel to follow up to 50 ground robots, flying drones and even human soldiers. Such intense surveillance of man-made survival settings may remind science fiction readers of "The Hunger Games" — a popular book series turned Hollywood film(s) where "game makers" construct huge, naturalistic arenas to feature reality television displays of battles to the death.

Read more ....

Update: The Navy's New Autonomous Research Lab is a 'Hunger Games' Arena for Robots -- Popular Science

My Comment: Hmmmm .... so The "Hunger Games" may not be so sci-fi afterall.

How Quake-Prone Is The Mexico?



Mexico Earthquake: How Quake-Prone Is The Region? -- Christian Science Monitor

Mexico earthquake history shows that the same faults that caused Tuesday's Mexico earthquake can produce even bigger events, like one that struck in 1985.

Authorities in Mexico are surveying that damage following a magnitude 7.4 quake that struck the country just after noon on Tuesday local time.

The quake was centered some 31 miles north-northeast of the city of Ometepec, in a mountainous region dotted with villages. The rupture occurred at a depth of about 12 miles, according to estimates from the US Geological Survey's Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo.

Read more ....

Here Comes The U.S. Navy's Robot Jellyfish



Robotic Jellyfish Fuelled By Hydrogen Invented -- BBC

Engineers in the US say they have invented a hydrogen-powered robot that moves through water like a jellyfish.

Development of the robot, nicknamed Robojelly, is in the early stages but researchers hope it could eventually be used in underwater rescue operations.

Writing in Smart Materials and Structures, Yonas Tadesse said the jellyfish's simple swimming action made it an ideal model for a vehicle.

Being fuelled by hydrogen means, in theory, it will not run out of energy.

Mr Tadesse, the lead author of the study, said: "To our knowledge, this is the first successful powering of an underwater robot using external hydrogen as a fuel source."

Read more ....

More News On The US Navy's Development Of The Robot Jellyfish

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water: American scientists unleash robotic jellyfish -- Daily Mail
Jellyfish-Inspired Robot Runs on Hydrogen -- Discovery News
Robotic jellyfish may never run out of energy -- MSNBC
Ocean-powered robotic jellyfish could theoretically run forever -- Gizmag
Jellyfish inspires latest ocean-powered robot -- e! Science News
Robot jellyfish fuelled by hydrogen -- Physics World
Robot jellyfish sucks up power from the water -- New Scientist
Robojelly is a robot jellyfish -- UberGizmo
When the Earth is uninhabited, this robotic jellyfish will still be roaming the seas -- io9

Illegal Logging Makes Billions

Brazil's deforestation rate has risen and fallen in recent years, as enforcement has changed

Illegal Logging Makes Billions For Gangs, Report Says -- BBC

Illegal logging generates $10-15bn (£7.5-11bn) around the world, according to new analysis from the World Bank.

Its report, Justice for Forests, says that most illegal logging operations are run by organised crime, and much of the profit goes to corrupt officials.

Countries affected include Indonesia, Madagascar and several in West Africa.

The bank says that pursuing loggers through the criminal justice system has made a major impact in some nations, and urges others to do the same.

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My Comment: Make a few makes .... and then spend more to repair the damage. That's the problem with uncontrollable logging.

China Bans The F-Word

Rumours circulated online that the driver of the Ferrari 458 Italia, which can cost as much as £169,545, was the son of a high-ranking government official

China Bans The F-word: Censors Block Ferrari From Social Networks To Suppress Rumours Party Official’s Son Was Involved In An Accident -- Daily Mail

Censors in China have banned internet users from searching the word Ferrari to suppress rumours the son of a senior party official was killed in high-speed car crash.

All references to the Italian supercar company were mysteriously removed from China's online search engines in the early hours this morning.

The ban came after speculation that a young man killed on Sunday when the Ferrari 458 he was driving split in two near Baofusi Bridge, in Beijing, was in fact the son of senior Communist party official.

Read more ....

More News On China Censoring The 'Ferrari' Word

Why Chinese Censors Banned ‘Ferrari’ From Internet Search -- Jalopnik
‘Ferrari’ banned from internet search in China after 458 Italia crash -- In Auto News
Online restrictions after China Ferrari crash - media -- BBC
Secrecy of mysterious Ferrari crash fuels speculation in Beijing -- Globe And Mail
Ferrari Crash Cover Up and China’s Filthy Rich Kids -- ABC News
China hopes to drive traffic away from Ferrari users -- The Guardian

Females Achieve Sexual Pleasure And Orgasm By Working Out


Females Achieve Orgasm and Sexual Pleasure By Working Out -- Sci-Tech Daily

It looks like time at the gym may be more satisfying for women than a hot date. A new study from the University of Indiana confirms that women can achieve an orgasm, often called “coregasm,” simply by working out.

While not unheard of, reports of “coregasm” have circulated in the media for years, these are the first confirmed findings authored by Debby Herbenick, co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion in Indiana University’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and J. Dennis Fortenberry, M.D., professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Center for Sexual Health Promotion affiliate. The findings are published in a special issue of Sexual and Relationship Therapy.

Read more ....

My Comment: I guess this is a new spin on the term "I's going for a work-out".

Neuroscience: Ethics And National Security

(credit: MGM)

Neuroscience, Ethics, And National Security: The State Of The Art -- Kurzweilai

U.S. military and intelligence communities fund and utilize an array of neuroscience applications, generating profound ethical issues, say researchers from Wake Forest University and theUniversity of Pennsylvania.

Neuroscience offers possibilities for cutting edge, deployable solutions for the needs of national security and defence, but are, or at least should be, tempered by questions of scientific validity, consequential ethical considerations, and concern for the relationship between science and security, according to the researchers.

Read more ....

Check Out How You Are Being Tracked On The Web

Cool Science Editor: Check out how you are being tracked .... try this!.

Military Funding Of Brain Research Raises Ethical Issues

The Future Soldier Initiative. CREDIT: U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Design and Engineering Center in Massachusetts.

Military-Funded Brain Science Sparks Controversy -- Live Science

Brain research and associated advances such as brain-machine interfaces that are funded by the U.S. military and intelligence communities raise profound ethical concerns, caution researchers who cite the potentially lethal applications of such work and other consequences.

Rapid advances in neuroscience made over the last decade have many dual-use applications of both military and civilian interest. Researchers who receive military funding — with the U.S. Department of Defense spending more than $350 million on neuroscience in 2011 — may not fully realize how dangerous their work might be, say scientists in an essay published online today (March 20) in the open-access journal PLoS Biology.

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My Comment: You know that this research is important when the U.S. Department of Defense spends more than $350 million on neuroscience in 2011 alone.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

60 Minutes Interview: Billionaire Entrepreneur Elon Musk And His Company SpaceX

Is Your TV Watching You?

The new Samsung HDTV has hard-wired camera and microphone, plus face recognition and other unprecedented features.

Is Your TV Watching You? Latest Models Raise Concerns -- MSNBC

Samsung’s 2012 top-of-the-line plasmas and LED HDTVs offer new features never before available within a television including a built-in, internally wired HD camera, twin microphones, face tracking and speech recognition. While these features give you unprecedented control over an HDTV, the devices themselves, more similar than ever to a personal computer, may allow hackers or even Samsung to see and hear you and your family, and collect extremely personal data.

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My Comment: I guess CIA Director Petraeus was onto something.

Is The iPad3 Overheating?

Selling like hot cakes: people wait on a street in front of an Apple store for the new iPad. Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

New iPad Runs Hotter Than Skin Temperature, Say Reports -- The Guardian

Tests by Dutch technology site suggest 'iPad 3' can get hotter than 32C, as new iPad sales top 3m in three days.

The "new iPad" – AKA iPad 3 – operates at a higher temperature than its predecessor, according to tests. And it's got people complaining in support forums that it feels "hot" – which appears to be because when it starts running warm, it goes above normal skin temperature.

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My Comment: Oh oh.

Virgin Galactic Gets It`s 500th Customer

Actor Ashton Kutcher is set to go into orbit on board Richard Branson's pioneering space ship, the Virgin Galactic Photo: Reuters/EPA

Ashton Kutcher To Be Propelled Into Orbit Aboard Virgin Galactic -- The Telegraph

Actor Ashton Kutcher is set to go into orbit after becoming the 500th customer to sign up for Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson's pioneering space ship, the British tycoon said Monday.

The newly-single star, who split from actress Demi Moore in November, is "thrilled" to join the line for the Virgin Galactic service, which is in its "final stages" of flight tests, Branson wrote on his blog.

"I gave Ashton a quick call to congratulate and welcome him," wrote the multi-millionaire entrepreneur, known for his trademark publicity stunts.

"He is as thrilled as we are at the prospect of being among the first to cross the final frontier (and back!) with us and to experience the magic of space for himself."

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My Comment: If I had the money .... I would sign up.

How Satellites Are Locating Ancient Human Settlements

The MIT software looks for signs of ancient settlements including earth disturbed by collapsing mud huts, and lighter areas of earth created by disturbed soil

Satellites Identify Thousands Of Small Hills As Ancient Human Settlements -- Christian Science Monitor

Now, two scientists have figured out a more efficient way of locating these sites, via their footprints, from space.

Ancient humans have changed the landscape around their settlements in such ways that even today archaeologists can distinguish between "lived in" spots and those never occupied by humans.

Now, two scientists have figured out a more efficient way of locating these sites, via their footprints, from space.

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More News On How Satellites Are Locating Ancient Human Settlements

A missing chapter in history? New satellite technique finds 9,000 ancient settlements dotted across what is now Syria -- Daily Mail
Satellites expose 8,000 years of civilization -- Nature
Satellite Views Reveal Early Human Settlements -- Discovery News
Satellites spy 1000s of ancient human settlements -- CBS/Live Science
Ancient sites spotted from space, say archaeologists -- BBC
Researchers Discover Thousands Of Early Human Settlements In Syria -- IBTimes
Using Space Satellites to Spot Ancient Cities -- Smithsonian

Robots And Kids

Robots Could Be Future Playmates For Kids -- Live Science

As technology continues to improve, humanlike robots will likely play an ever-increasing role in our lives: They may become tutors for children, caretakers for the elderly, office receptionists or even housemaids. Children will come of age with these androids, which naturally raises the question: What kind of relationships will kids build with personified robots?

Children will view humanoid robots as intelligent social and moral beings, allowing them to develop substantial and meaningful relationships with the machines, new research suggests.

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My Comment: My best friend is my robot .... oh oh.

How "Seeing Around Corners" May Become The Next 'Superpower'



Why Seeing Around Corners May Become Next 'Superpower' -- Live Science

Superman had X-ray vision, but a pair of scientists has gone one better: seeing around corners.

Ordinarily, the only way to see something outside your line of sight is to stand in front of a mirror or similarly highly reflective surface. Anything behind you or to the side of you reflects light that then bounces off the mirror to your eyes.

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My Comment: There are multiple applications for this technology.

Porsche 918 Spyder On Display

Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

An Exclusive Ride In The World’s First Plug-In Hybrid Supercar -- Autopia

NARDO, Italy – There’s a digital clock mounted above the door of Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser’s office counting down the days until the launch of Porsche 918 Spyder. It’s a constant reminder of what Walliser and his team have been tasked with. They’re reinventing the supercar for the 21st century and we’ve traveled all the way to the high-security Nardo Test Track for an exclusive ride in the world’s first plug-in hybrid supercar.

This is most definitely not a Prius.

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More News On The Porsche 918 Spyder

Porsche Unleashes 918 Spyder Hybrid Prototype on the Racetrack -- Daily Tech
Early Porsche 918 Spyder prototype hits the track -- Slash Gear
Porsche 918 Spyder: The first ride in the future game changer -- Autoweek
Porsche 918 Spyder Prototype Looks Like a Skunkworks Supercar -- AutoGuide
Porsche 918 Spyder Development Progressing -- GTSpirit
Porsche 918 hybrid supercar rolls out of our dreams, onto the tarmac -- Endgadget
Development of Porsche 918 plug-in hybrid supercar progressing nicely -- AutoBlog Green
Report: Porsche Rolling Out Plug-In Hybrid Panamera Next Year -- Automobile
Porsche Panamera Plug-In Hybrid in 2013 -- Autoevolution

Robotic Subs May One Day Span The Oceans

A mine-hunting robot is lowered from the U.S.S. Avenger into the Strait of Malacca, May 2011. Photo: U.S. Navy

Navy Chief: Robotic Subs Might Span Oceans. (Someday.) -- Danger Room

It’s been the Navy’s dream for years: undersea drones that can swim entire oceans. But it’s been thwarted by science’s inability to build propulsion and fuel systems for a journey of that length. Still, the Navy’s top officer and its mad scientists think that some recent research could help turn the dream into an ocean-crossing reality.

“I’m very much desirous of that end-state, cross-ocean, as feasible,” Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, told reporters on Friday. “There are a few propulsion systems that can give you that range — 30-day, 45-day. The fuel needed, regrettably, is extensive, and that drives the size, so we’re not there yet.”

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My Comment: This is one of the Navy’s many dream .... undersea drones that can swim entire oceans.

Are Terror Groups Using Computer Games To Plot Attacks?

A scene from the popular video game "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3." (Activision)

The Real Call of Duty: Terror Gangs 'Using Computer Games To Plot Atrocities Securely Online' -- Daily Mail

* Claims come a month after government announced plans to monitor all online communications
* Players reportedly choose realistic war games to mask their plotting as harmless gamers' chatter
* Jihadis may even be using the ultra-realistic violent simulations as training for planned atrocities

Islamic extremists are using realistic war-based action games such as Call Of Duty to plot terrorist attacks in secret, it was claimed today.

With security services monitoring phone calls, emails and online messages, fanatics are reportedly using the online chat functions of video games to make plans in private.

Users can log into the games in groups to compete against each and, it is claimed, chat securely without arousing the attention of police and MI5.

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More News On Terror Groups Using Video Games To Plot Attacks

Game fanatics -- The SUN
Terrorists use online games like 'Call of Duty' to plot attacks -- FOX News/The SUN
Terrorists Using Call of Duty To Plot Attacks -- Game Revolution
Extremists practice terrorism in console games -- The Inquirer
Apparently Terrorists Are Using Xbox Live To Plan Attacks -- ITProPortal
Sun reports terrorists using Call of Duty as training tool, global threat levels reduced -- PCGamer
Call of Duty 'used by terrorists to plan attacks' -- Digital Spy

Neil deGrasse Tyson - We Stopped Dreaming



Neil deGrasse Tyson Makes The Case For Doubling The NASA Budget -- The Next Big Future

The 2008 bank bailout of $750 billion was greater than all the money NASA had received in its half-century history; two years’ U.S. military spending exceeds it as well. Right now, NASA’s annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar. For twice that–a penny on a dollar–we can transform the country from a sullen, dispirited nation, weary of economic struggle, to one where it has reclaimed its 20th century birthright to dream of tomorrow.

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The Science of Rail Guns



The Science Of Rail Guns -- io9 News

Ubiquitous in science fiction, rail guns are a hot area of military research in real life too. But will we ever really get to use them the way people in science fiction do? And could rail guns be used for a non-violent reason — inexpensively launching payload into space?

Halo Reach ends with your Spartan taking up a mounted rail gun to destroy an incoming Covenant ship. Rail guns are the basis for a funny aside in Mass Effect 2. They're used in Babylon 5 and Stargate Atlantis and The Last Starfighter. And they're a devastating hand-held weapon in the Metal Gear Solid and Quake series. Now, let's discover the real science behind rail guns.

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My Comment: An adequate review.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Meet The Man Who Broke The Bank At Three Casinos

Wilk

The Man Who Broke Atlantic City -- The Atlantic

Don Johnson won nearly $6 million playing blackjack in one night, single-handedly decimating the monthly revenue of Atlantic City’s Tropicana casino. Not long before that, he’d taken the Borgata for $5 million and Caesars for $4 million. Here’s how he did it.

Don Johnson finds it hard to remember the exact cards. Who could? At the height of his 12-hour blitz of the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, last April, he was playing a hand of blackjack nearly every minute.

Dozens of spectators pressed against the glass of the high-roller pit. Inside, playing at a green-felt table opposite a black-vested dealer, a burly middle-aged man in a red cap and black Oregon State hoodie was wagering $100,000 a hand. Word spreads when the betting is that big. Johnson was on an amazing streak. The towers of chips stacked in front of him formed a colorful miniature skyline. His winning run had been picked up by the casino’s watchful overhead cameras and drawn the close scrutiny of the pit bosses. In just one hand, he remembers, he won $800,000. In a three-hand sequence, he took $1.2 million.

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My Comment: My pockets are empty and my luck is not that great. Sighhh .... best stick to buying my weekly $5 loto ticket.

Nodding Disease



Mysterious Nodding Disease Debilitates Children -- CNN

Pader, Uganda (CNN) -- Pauline Oto still wears her faded yellow and green school dress, but she hasn't been to school for years and she can't comprehend what to do with the pen the community nurse has just given her.

"Write on my hand," says the nurse. Pauline just sits on the reed mat, her legs pulled to one side, and stares. She has just had an attack and can't speak. She struggles to comprehend her surroundings.

Pauline, 13, has been struck by the dreaded nodding disease. Her mother, Grace Lagat, says it will take her at least four hours to recover from the seizures, and after each attack she seems less like the daughter she remembers.

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My Comment: This has potential global implications.

The Quest: Energy, Security And The Re-Making Of The Modern World (Video)

Spring Arrives With Equinox Tuesday

This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth's surface taken on January 4, 2012. Image: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring

Spring Arrives With Equinox Tuesday, Earliest In More Than A Century -- Scientific American

Spring is arriving early in a meteorological sense in the Eastern U.S., and in an astronomical sense, making its earliest arrival since 1896.

Across much of the United States, this has been an unusually mild winter, especially for those living east of the Mississippi. Not a few people have noted that spring seems to have come early this year. Of course, in a meteorological sense that could be true, but in 2012 it will also be true in an astronomical sense as well, because this year spring will make its earliest arrival since the late 19th century: 1896, to be exact.

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My Comment: I live in Montreal, and we broke the temperature record for today.

Hebrew University To Post Albert Einstein's Complete Archives Online



Albert Einstein's Complete Archives To Be Posted Online -- The Guardian

Hebrew University releases initial 2,000 documents including unseen letters, postcards and research notes.

Albert Einstein's complete archives – from personal correspondence with half a dozen lovers to notebooks scribbled with his groundbreaking research – are going online for the first time.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which owns the German Jewish physicist's papers, is pulling never-before seen items from its climate-controlled safe, photographing them in high resolution and posting them online – offering the public a nuanced and fuller portrait of the man behind the scientific genius.

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More News On Hebrew University To Post Albert Einstein's Complete Archives Online

Archive puts original Einstein manuscripts online
-- MSNBC
Never-before seen items from Albert Einstein’s archives to be revealed online -- Washington Post/AP
Original Einstein manuscripts posted online -- USA Today
And Here You Have It, Ladies and Gentlemen, E=MC2 and Other Einstein Archive Treasures -- The Atlantic
Everything Really is Relative: Einstein’s Personal Papers Now a Click Away -- Time
Albert Einstein Was Sort of an Average Guy for a Genius, Archives Reveal -- Atlantic Wire
Einstein the scientist, dreamer, lover: online -- Reuters
Albert Einstein papers show physicist as lover, dreamer -- Christian Science Monitor