Saturday, March 31, 2012

Scanner Reveals Inner Workings Of How Our Brains Are Wired

Curvature in this image of a whole human brain turns out to be folding of 2D sheets of parallel neuronal fibers that cross paths at right angles

How Our Brains Are Wired: Scanner Reveals Inner Workings In Stunning New Detail -- The Brain

For a long time it was thought that the brain was a mass of tangled wires, but researchers recently found that its fibers are actually set up like a chess board, crossing at right-angles.

What’s more, this grid structure has now been revealed in amazing detail as part of a brain imaging study by a new state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner.

Van Wedeen, of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), who led study, said: ‘Far from being just a tangle of wires, the brain's connections turn out to be more like ribbon cables - folding 2D sheets of parallel neuronal fibers that cross paths at right angles, like the warp and weft of a fabric.

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My Comment
: The above pic is an amazing image of the brain.

Friday, March 30, 2012

China: No Coup Rumors Please .... Or You Go To Jail

Hundreds of millions of Chinese people use social media websites, despite strict censorship. [Reuters]

China Arrests Over Coup Rumours -- BBC

Chinese police have arrested six people and shut 16 websites after rumours were spread that military vehicles were on the streets of Beijing, officials say.

The web posts were picked up last week by media outlets around the world, amid uncertainty caused by the ouster of top political leader Bo Xilai.

The State Internet Information Office (SIIO) said the rumours had a "very bad influence on the public".

Two popular microblogs have temporarily stopped users from posting comments.

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More News On China's Crackdown On Social Media Websites

China Clamps Down on Social Networking Over Online Rumors
-- New York Times
China mounts online crackdown amid political crisis -- L.A. Times
China punishes popular social media and websites for coup rumors amid political scandal -- Washington Post/AP
China cracks down on websites allegedly spreading coup rumors -- CNN
China cracks down on Internet after coup rumours -- AFP
Websites shut amid China coup talk -- Press Association
China Punishes Websites Over 'Coup Rumours' -- Al Jazeera
China Arrests Six for Web Rumors; Microblogs Ban Comments -- Bloomberg

Stunning Post-Apocalyptic Images Of Cities Around The Globe



At World's End: Artists Reveal Stunning Post-Apocalyptic Images Of Cities Around The Globe -- Daily Mail

From New York City to Beijing, a team of artists are shedding light on what the world would be like at the end of humanity.

In Silent World, artists Lucie and Simon have taken the world's most familiar and populous cities and removed all but one or two people to create the illusion of a lonely world.

In the thought-provoking work, places like the normally bustling Times Square and Tiananmen Square appear absent of their crowds.

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My Comment: It does look very creepy.

Cassini Spacecraft Captures Striking Images Of Three Saturn Moons

The jets emanate from hot fissures known as "tiger stripes" at the south pole

Cassini Spacecraft Captures Saturn Moon Geyser Images -- BBC

The Cassini spacecraft has captured striking images from flying by three moons of Saturn, including new pictures of Enceladus's gushing geysers.

Cassini made its lowest pass yet over the south pole of Enceladus, at at an altitude of 74km (46 miles).

This allowed it to "taste" the jets of water vapour and ice that the moon spews forth into space.

The Nasa probe also made relatively close flypasts of two other Saturnian satellites: Dione and Janus.

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My Comment: The pics are awesome.

A History Of Breast Enlargements


A Brief History Of Breast Enlargements -- BBC

It is 50 years since the first breast enlargement using silicone implants. Today it rates as the second-most popular form of cosmetic surgery worldwide, undergone by 1.5 million women in 2010.

It was spring 1962 when Timmie Jean Lindsey, a mother-of-six lay down on the operating table at Jefferson Davis hospital in Houston, Texas.

Over the next two hours, she went from a B to a C cup, in an operation that made history.

"I thought they came out just perfect… They felt soft and just like real breasts," says Lindsey now aged 80.

"I don't think I got the full results of them until I went out in public and men on the street would whistle at me."

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Death Of A Data Haven

Sealand in all its rusty splendor

Death Of A Data Haven: Cypherpunks, WikiLeaks, And The World's Smallest Nation -- Ars Technica

A few weeks ago, Fox News breathlessly reported that the embattled WikiLeaks operation was looking to start a new life under on the sea. WikiLeaks, the article speculated, might try to escape its legal troubles by putting its servers on Sealand, a World War II anti-aircraft platform seven miles off the English coast in the North Sea, a place that calls itself an independent nation. It sounds perfect for WikiLeaks: a friendly, legally unassailable host with an anything-goes attitude.

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My Comment: Too bad that it did not take off the ground.

Calculating Your Odds To Win The $500 Million Jackpot

$500 Million Jackpot: Calculating Your Odds -- Forbes

The Mega Millions lottery drawing Friday night will deliver a jackpot estimated at $540 million. Your odds of picking the winning combo are 175.7 million to one. Divide one number by the other. That means a ticket is worth $3.07, right? Maybe you should buy as many as you can?

Not so fast. There’s a little more to the math here. You have to allow for not only the long odds that you’ll pick the right numbers but also the short odds that you will be sharing that jackpot.

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My Comment: 175.7 million to one are my odds.

Did Domestication Of Cattle Start 10,500 Years Ago?

This cow's ancestors can be traced back to a small number of wild aurochs, the ancestors of all domestic cattle. The find has implications for understanding the process of domestication, pointing to challenges in first domesticating cattle. Credit: iStockphoto

Origins Of Domestic Cattle Traced Back 10,500 Years -- Cosmos

LONDON: All cattle are descended from as few as 80 animals that were domesticated from wild ox in the Near East some 10,500 years ago, according to a new genetic study.

An international team of scientists were able to conduct the study by first extracting DNA from the bones of domestic cattle excavated in Iranian archaeological sites. These sites date to not long after the invention of farming and are in the region where cattle were first domesticated.

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My Comment: A sobering realization that all cattle 'genetically' comes from what is essentially 80 descendents.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bee Collapse Linked To Controversial Pesticide

Image: Jack Wolf/Flickr

Controversial Pesticide Linked To Bee Collapse -- Wired Science

A controversial type of pesticide linked to declining global bee populations appears to scramble bees’ sense of direction, making it hard for them to find home. Starved of foragers and the pollen they carry, colonies produce fewer queens, and eventually collapse.

The phenomenon is described in two new studies published March 29 in Science. While they don’t conclusively explain global bee declines, which almost certainly involve a combination factors, they establish neonicotinoids as a prime suspect.

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With Google Earth No One Can Hide The Slums


With Google Earth, India Can No Longer Hide Its Shantytowns And "Slumdogs" -- Time/AP

SANGLI — Before Google Earth existed, the slums of Sangli, a city of 550,000 in southwestern India, was acknowledged on government maps by nothing more than some clumsily outlined, empty spaces. But then, from high in the sky, the eye of a satellite saw what no municipal geometer had taken the trouble to show: small islands of huts with dilapidated roofs spread throughout the city.

Thanks to the satellite images available on Google Earth, a full picture of these forgotten slums has emerged. They now have borders; they are mapped; they have an identity. And using these images, Shelter Associates, a Pune-based NGO, has begun rehabilitating the slums. For the first time in their lives, 3,900 families in Sangli are going to be moving into apartments.

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Faster Than 50 Million Laptops

The Cray Jaguar supercomputer can perform more than a million billion operations per second. It takes up more than 5,000 square feet at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the United States. In 2009 it became the fastest computer in the world.

Faster Than 50 Million Laptops -- The Race To Go Exascale -- CNN

(CNN) -- A new era in computing that will see machines perform at least 1,000 times faster than today's most powerful supercomputers is almost upon us.

By the end of the decade, exaFLOP computers are predicted to go online heralding a new chapter in scientific discovery.

The United States, China, Japan, the European Union and Russia are all investing millions of dollars in supercomputer research. In February, the EU announced it was doubling investment in research to €1.2 billion ($1.6 billion).

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My Comment
: Now that is fast.

A Billion Stars In One Picture

Earth sits just in the galactic plane which appears as a very dense but very long strip of stars arcing across the sky. The galactic centre and the surrounding bulge of stars is here pulled out to show more detail

Picture Captures A Billion Stars -- BBC

Scientists have produced a colossal picture of our Milky Way Galaxy, to reveal the detail of a billion stars.

It is built from thousands of individual images acquired by two UK-developed telescopes operating in Hawaii and in Chile.

Archived data from the project, known as the Vista Data Flow System, will be mined by astronomers to make new discoveries about the local cosmos.

But more simply, it represents a fabulous portrait of the night sky.

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Update #1: Milky Way as Never Seen Before -- Sci-News
Update #2: New Milky Way Photo Captures 1 Billion Stars -- Space.com

My Comment: Just a billion stars within our little part of the universe.

Giant Solar Tornado Caught In NASA Video



Monster Solar Tornadoes Discovered -- MSNBC/Discovery News

Tempests measure width of several Earths and swirl at speeds of up to 190,000 miles

For the first time, huge solar tornadoes have been filmed swirling deep inside the solar corona — the sun's superheated atmosphere. But if you're imagining the pedestrian tornadoes that we experience on Earth, think again.

These solar monsters, measuring the width of several Earths and swirling at speeds of up to 190,000 miles per hour, aren't only fascinating structures; they may also trigger violent magnetic eruptions that can have drastic effects on our planet.

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Half Of All U.S. Households Own At Least One Apple Product

The overall ownership rate is 1.6 Apple products per American household, according to a new survey.

Half Of U.S. Households Own At Least One Apple Product -- CNN

(Mashable) -- Apple has taken firm root in America. Just over half of all households in the country own at least one Apple product, a new survey says, showing just how far the reach of the company has come in the last decade.

At the turn of the 21st century, Apple was in rough shape. It had narrowly avoided bankruptcy, and Steve Jobs' return as CEO a few years earlier was turning the company around, but the market share of its products -- then almost exclusively Mac computers -- was dismal, at about 2% worldwide.

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My Comment: Impressive. In my own home I have a Mac and an iPod.

Fossilised Marks Of Raindrops Reveal Ancient Atmosphere

Fossilised imprints left by raindrops in South Africa 2.7 billion years ago. Credit: Wlady Altermann/University of Pretoria

Fossil Raindrops Reveal Ancient Atmosphere -- Cosmos

BRISBANE: The fossilised marks of raindrops that fell 2.7 billion years ago in South Africa have revealed the composition of the Earth's early atmosphere.

According to a new study published in Nature today, the early Earth had an atmosphere with similar air pressure to the present day, but much higher levels of greenhouse gases. The findings, from a time when the Earth already had abundant microbial life, should improve our knowledge of what kinds of extrasolar planets might support life.

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My Comment: In short .... greenhouse gases were abundant during the time.

New Layer of Genetic Information Found

The structure of a ribosome (Credit: Image courtesy of University of California - San Francisco)

New Layer of Genetic Information Helps Determine How Fast Proteins Are Produced -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Mar. 28, 2012) — A hidden and never before recognized layer of information in the genetic code has been uncovered by a team of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) thanks to a technique developed at UCSF called ribosome profiling, which enables the measurement of gene activity inside living cells -- including the speed with which proteins are made.

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Energy Bursts May Be Key to Martial Arts Skills

A new method of studying the energy uses of martial artists could improve training. CREDIT: Sergey Lukyanov, Shutterstock

Ninja Science: Energy Bursts May Be Key to Martial Arts Skills -- Live Science

The energy spent by martial artists can now be analyzed with the help of devices resembling gas masks combined with mini-jetpacks, researchers say.

These findings could help martial artists train to become better fighters, scientists added.

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My Comment: Hmmmm .... many military applications are possible with this science.

Transparent Memory Chips

Video streaming by Ustream
Transparent Memory Chips – The Next Step in Memory Storage -- Sci-Tech Daily

As technology moves forward, things get smaller, faster and now possibly transparent. A team of scientists have developed transparent, flexible memory chips that may one day replace flash drives and other personal data storage devices.

New memory chips that are transparent, flexible enough to be folded like a sheet of paper, shrug off 1,000-degree Fahrenheit temperatures — twice as hot as the max in a kitchen oven — and survive other hostile conditions could usher in the development of next-generation flash-competitive memory for tomorrow’s keychain drives, cell phones and computers, a scientist reported today.

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Do Dolphins 'Resort To Rape'?

Two bottlenose dolphins breaching in evening light, Moray Firth, Inverness-shire, Scotland. The study found dolphins lived in an "open society". Photo: John MacPherson/2020VISION / Rex Features

Dolphins 'Resort To Rape' -- The Telegraph

Dolphins appear to have a darker side, according to scientists who suggest they can resort to 'rape' to assert authority.

Researchers found the marine mammals lead complex social lives, living in an "open society" where regular homosexual and bisexual relationships are found.

The conclusions from the international team of scientists came after they spent the past six years studying the behaviour of 120 bluenose dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia.

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My Comment: Hmmm .... they are acting like humans.

Future Wars Will Be Fought By Hackers

Clarke has seen the future of war and says it will be fought by hackers. Khue Bui

Richard Clarke On Who Was Behind the Stuxnet Attack -- Smithsonian

America's longtime counterterrorism czar warns that the cyberwars have already begun—and that we might be losing.


The story Richard Clarke spins has all the suspense of a postmodern geopolitical thriller. The tale involves a ghostly cyberworm created to attack the nuclear centrifuges of a rogue nation—which then escapes from the target country, replicating itself in thousands of computers throughout the world. It may be lurking in yours right now. Harmlessly inactive...or awaiting further orders.

A great story, right? In fact, the world-changing “weaponized malware” computer worm called Stuxnet is very real. It seems to have been launched in mid-2009, done terrific damage to Iran’s nuclear program in 2010 and then spread to computers all over the world.

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My Comment:
This is a long read .... but it is comprehensive and thoughtful. As to what is my take on the future of war .... in a way I do agree with Mr. Clark's assessment. Future wars will be fought (in some capacity) by hackers who will also have their own "army of ninjas" to use when needed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dolphin's Social Lives More Complicated Than First Thought

Dolphins Lead ‘Complicated’ Social Lives -- ABC News

In what can only be described as “West Side Story” meets “Flipper,” scientists say they’ve discovered that male bottlenose dolphins break out into gangs to protect their females.

The researchers from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, studied more than 120 adult dolphins, with a focus on the males, during a five-year period in Shark Bay, western Australia.

Their findings were published in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B.

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My Comment: It sounds like they are in conflict almost all of the time.

Amazon CEO Finds Apollo 11 Engines In The Atlantic

Photo: The Apollo 11 mission, the first lunar landing mission, launched from the Kennedy Space Center via the Saturn V launch vehicle on July 16, 1969, and safely returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. (Credit: NASA)

Amazon CEO Finds Apollo 11 Engines In Ocean -- CBS

LOS ANGELES - For more than four decades, the powerful engines that helped boost the Apollo 11 mission to the moon have rested in the Atlantic. Now Internet billionaire and space enthusiast Jeff Bezos wants to raise at least one of them to the surface.

An undersea expedition spearheaded by Bezos used sonar to find what he said were the F-1 engines located 14,000 feet deep. In an online announcement Wednesday, the Amazon.com CEO and founder said he is drawing up plans to recover the sunken engines, part of the mighty Saturn V rocket that launched Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on their moon mission.

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What Caused This Mysterious Geologic Structure

Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers snapped this photo from the International Space Station. (ESA/NASA)

Mysterious Geologic Structure Seen From Space -- FOX News/Live Science

A huge, copper-toned formation in West Africa dominates a mesmerizing photo taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.

Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers snapped this hypnotic image of the so-called Richat structure in Mauritania, as the space station flew over the Sahara Desert on the Atlantic Coast of West Africa. Erosion of the various rock layers created the ring-like features that make up the sprawling structure, but the origin of the Richat structure remains somewhat mysterious, geologists have said.

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My Comment: Hmmm .... talk about interesting mysteries.

Telepresence Robots Will Soon Join Doctors On Their Rounds

CtrlWorks' Telepresence Puppet CtrlWorks

Telepresence Robots Will Join Doctors on Their Rounds in Singapore Next Month -- Popular Science

Deploying telepresence robots in a medical setting isn’t exactly a new notion, but a Singapore-based startup is easing the technology into the clinical setting in a clever way. While other telepresence platforms have largely focused on allowing doctors to examine patients and oversee care remotely, CtrlWorks envisions its Puppet as more of a remotely piloted assistant that will reduce doctor workloads, dutifully taking down case notes and filing them in the proper places as a doctor makes his rounds. And next month at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore it will get a chance to prove its value.

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Former DARPA Chief Talks At TED



Former DARPA Chief Regina Dugan Talks Hypersonic Gilders and Hummingbirds at TED -- Popular Science

PopSci’s favorite DARPA head turned Google exec has done her turn at TED, and the video has just hit the wires. Titled “From Mach-20 Glider to Hummingbird Drone,” Dugan’s theme of discouraging the fear of failure is a retrospective on DARPA’s technological milestones and how the nerds at DARPA reached them by believing in impossible things.

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Who Screens The Pilots?

Fly For Fun

Are Airline Pilots Screened For Mental Health? -- Air & Space Smithsonian

The case of the ranting JetBlue captain—who went berserk when his co-pilot locked him out of the cockpit after noticing erratic behavior—got us wondering: how are airline pilots tested for soundness of mind?

Although the Federal Aviation Administration requires physicals every year for commercial pilots under 40 and every six months for those older, the FAA does not require psychological checks. The FAA-approved doctors order testing only if they think a pilot needs it.

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My Comment: After what happened with a JetBlue captain this week .... psychological screenings will probably soon become the norm.

Did Comets Bring Life To Earth?

Photo: The combination of water, energy and amino acids – which bind together to form proteins – could have caused the first chemical reactions which are believed to be the origin of life Photo: ALAMY

Life Brought To Earth By Comets -- The Telegraph

Life on Earth may have been sparked by comets carrying with them the key ingredients for our existence, scientists claim.


NASA scientists have replicated the impact of a comet and demonstrated that amino acids, a building block of life, could have survived the intense heat and shock waves given off in the collision.

The combination of water, energy and amino acids – which bind together to form proteins – could have caused the first chemical reactions and created proteins, the researchers said.

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Google 'To Launch' New GDrive Storage

Google is rumoured to be on the brink of launching 'GDrive', a service that would offer online storage for digital files - a direct rival to startup Dropbox

Google 'To Launch' New GDrive Storage Service In April To Take On Rivals Such As Dropbox -- Daily Mail

* Service 'to launch' in first week of April
* Rival to $4 billion storage start-up Dropbox
* Will allow users to store files such as music and video

Google will launch 'GDrive', an online storage service that will store large files online instead of in PC hard drives, early in April, according to leaks from sources near the company.

The service will be a rival to services such as Dropbox, a 'cloud' storage start-up recently valued at $4 billion.

'I am told the big day is sometime during the first week of April 2012,' said blogger Om Malik, quoting unnamed sources familiar with the company's plans.

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Billions Of Habitable Alien Planets Should Exist

This artist’s impression shows a sunset seen from the super-Earth Gliese 667 Cc. The brightest star in the sky is the red dwarf Gliese 667 C, which is part of a triple star system. The other two more distant stars, Gliese 667 A and B appear in the sky also to the right. Astronomers have estimated that there are tens of billions of such rocky worlds orbiting faint red dwarf stars in the Milky Way alone. CREDIT: ESO/L. Cal├žada

Billions Of Habitable Alien Planets Should Exist In Our Galaxy -- Space.com

here should be billions of habitable, rocky planets around the faint red stars of our Milky Way galaxy, a new study suggests.

Though these alien planets are difficult to detect, and only a few have been discovered so far, they should be ubiquitous, scientists say. And some of them could be good candidates to host extraterrestrial life.

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My Comment: Only billions?

Two Well Known Species Of Sharks Could Be Endangered

Hammerheads are aggressive hunters, feeding on smaller fish, octopuses, squid, and crustaceans. They do not actively seek out human prey, but are very defensive and will attack when provoked. Photograph by Brian J. Skerry

A Case Of Misidentification: Two Sharks Could Be Endangered -- Red Orbit

Confusion of identity between two shark species may threaten the survival of both. A new and unnamed shark species originally discovered off the Eastern United States seaboard discovered by Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center (NSU-OC) has a cousin that shares a striking resemblance: The endangered scalloped hammerhead shark.

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My Comment: I guess if present trends continue .... shark fin soup will be a thing of the past.

Drone Aircraft Are No Longer Restricted To Military Use


Unblinking Eyes In The Sky -- The Economist

Technology and society: Drone aircraft are no longer restricted to military use. They are being built and used by hobbyists, activists and estate agents, among others. What are the implications for safety and privacy?

WHEN environmental activists start using drones to track down Japanese whaling vessels, as they did in December, it is a sure sign that UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) are no longer the sole prerogative of the armed forces. Police around the world are keen to use small pilotless aircraft to help them nab fleeing criminals and monitor crime scenes from above. With price tags of a little more (and, in some cases, a good deal less) than the $40,000 of a patrol car, a new generation of micro-UAVs is being recruited to replace police helicopters costing $1.7m and up.

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My Comment: And this is a trend that will continue to grow.

Military Dating Site Hacked By LulzSec


Hacker Group LulzSec Says It Has Attacked MilitarySingles.com -- L.A. Times

LulzSec appears to be back after many months of lying low. It says it has obtained email addresses and other data about nearly 171,000 users of MilitarySingles.com, a commercial dating site.

The hacker group known as LulzSec appears to be back after many months of lying low, saying it has obtained email addresses and other information about nearly 171,000 users of MilitarySingles.com, a commercial dating site.

The group, which in 2011 went after government agencies and companies including the FBI, CIA, Sony and even PBS, said many of the email addresses include @us.army.mil and other addresses reserved for the military.

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Update: Hackers steal passwords from military dating site -- CNET

My Comment: 171,000 users are inconvenienced .... that is a lot of people.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

U.S. Heavily Dependent On Military Space Technology

Hearings Show Our Dependence On Military Space Technology -- Washington Post

The United States may be falling behind in transportation, education and health care down here on Earth, but its military infrastructure is certainly way ahead when it comes to imagery and communications satellites armed with defensive and offensive capabilities out there in space.

That the United States leads in the militarization of space is apparent from House and Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearings this month on the fiscal 2013 budget of $9.7 billion for military space programs.

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My Comment: Not everyone is optimistic that the U.S. will be able to hold the "high-ground" in the future.

AI Expert Ben Goertzel On Coast To Coast Radio

AI Expert Ben Goertzel On Coast To Coast Radio March 28 -- Kurzweilai

AI expert Dr. Ben Goertzel will be on Coast to Coast AM on March 28, talking about his work in AI and its applications in areas like financial prediction, gaming, and radical life extension. He will also discuss creating benevolent superhuman AI.

Dimitar Sasselov, Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University, will discuss thbreakthroughs in synthetic biology and exoplanetary astronomy, and how they will shed new light on our place in the universe.

The show airs nationwide nightly at 1am-5am EDT/10pm-2am PDT.

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How Jupiter Effects Halley's Comet

Image of 2007 Orionids, showing Orion constellation in the backdrop. (Credit: S. Quirk)

Jupiter Helps Halley’s Comet Give Us More Spectacular Meteor Displays -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Mar. 27, 2012) — The dramatic appearance of Halley's comet in the night sky has been observed and recorded by astronomers since 240 BC. Now a study shows that the orbital influences of Jupiter on the comet and the debris it leaves in its wake are responsible for periodic outbursts of activity in the Orionid meteor showers. The results will be presented by Aswin Sekhar at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester on the 27th of March.

Halley's comet orbits the Sun every 75-76 years on average. As its nucleus approaches the Sun, it heats up and releases gas and dust that form the spectacular tail. This outgassing leaves a trail of debris around the orbit.

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Is Nuclear Fusion Possible?

A prototype of the nuclear fusion system that relies on coils and compressing magnetic fields to produce energy. CREDIT: Derek Lamppa

Nuclear Fusion Is A Real Possibility, New Models Suggest -- Live Science

If new computer simulations pan out in the real world, nuclear fusion, the power source that makes stars shine, may be a practical possibility here on Earth, scientists say.

Simulations at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico revealed a fusion reactor that surpasses the "break-even" point of energy input versus energy output, indicating a self-sustaining fusion reaction. (This doesn't break any laws of physics for the same reason that starting a fire with a match doesn't).

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My Comment: Faster please.

Chocolate Helps People Stay Thin, Study Finds

Photo: (Credit: istockphoto)

Eating Lots Of Chocolate Helps People Stay Thin, Study Finds -- CBS News

(CBS News) What's the best way to stay thin? A new study finds it's exercising and eating a healthy diet full of - chocolate?

Mindless eating: 8 food goofs that pack on pounds

The study found that people who frequently ate chocolate had a lower body mass index (BMI) than people who didn't.

Is it time to ditch fat-free for fudge?

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My Comment: Hard to argue with a position that advocates .... yum yum .... chocolate.

International Space Station Nearly Struck By Space Junk


International Space Station Nearly Struck By Space Junk: Six Astronauts Nearly Had To Abandon Ship After A Piece Of A Russian Rocket Nearly Collided With The International Space Station -- Chicago Tribune/US News and World Report

Sometime Friday afternoon, the six people--including two Americans--aboard the International Space Station got a warning: Head into the nearest Russian Soyuz spacecraft and wait for further instructions, because a chunk of a disabled Russian rocket was hurtling towards them at speeds of over 17,000 miles per hour.

The threat of man-made space debris is increasingly becoming a problem for astronauts and the nearly 700 satellites orbiting earth. NASA estimates there are about 19,000 man-made objects orbiting earth--at orbital speeds, even a tiny particle can destroy satellites or cause serious damage to the space station.

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More News On The Passing Debris That Forced The ISS Crew Into Their Escape Pods

Close encounter: Space station astronauts forced to shelter in escape pods after near miss with debris from Russian rocket -- Daily Mail
Astronauts take refuge in escape capsules as space station threatened by debris -- The Telegraph
Space junk forces astronauts into escape capsules on International Space Station -- CNN
Astronauts scramble for escape pods as space junk threat gets serious -- Christian Science Monitor

Can We Build Robots With Morals?

Artificial Intelligence Pioneer: We Can Build Robots With Morals -- Jewish World Review

Like it or not, we're moving computers closer to autonomy.

Judea Pearl, a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence, won the Association for Computing Machinery's A.M. Turing award earlier this month, considered the highest honor in the computing world.

Pearl developed two branches of calculus that opened the door for modern artificial intelligence, such as the kind found in voice recognition software and self-driving cars.

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My Comment: I am sure that we can build boundaries/morals for robots to function .... but then again .... we can also build robots with morals that are not to our liking.

Military Robot Shaves Human Head



Short-Circuit, Back And Sides: Military Robot Shaves Human Head -- Daily Mail

The drastic change of image that comes with having your head shaved is scary enough – but one man doubled the terror by letting a robot do the job for him.

The prototype robot was a Multi-Arm UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) from U.S company Intelligent Automation Inc (IAI) in Maryland – and is designed to tackle IEDs, check backpacks for bombs and breach doors.

But on this occasion it was armed with multiple clippers to cut the hair of an IAI volunteer, who went through the ordeal to raise money for cancer charity the St. Baldrick's Foundation.

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More News On Robots Being Able To Do tasks Like Cutting Our Hair

Unmanned Robot Ties Knots and Shaves Hair, Won't Cut Off Your Head
-- PC World
Robot shaves man's head for charity -- 9News
Robot barber shaves human head for charity -- MSNBC
Robot barber shaves heads for charity -- Ubergizmo

People Are Becoming More Selfish

Newer Generations Increasingly About “Me,” Study Finds -- Courtesy of the American Psychological Association and World Science Staff

oung Amer­i­cans care less and less about the the en­vi­ron­ment, pol­i­tics, and the world around them in gen­er­al, a study has found; even the idea of seek­ing a mean­ing­ful life is out of fash­ion.

In­stead, mon­ey, im­age and fame are the idols of our time.

“Pop­u­lar views of the mil­len­ni­al genera­t­ion, born in the 1980s and 1990s, as more car­ing, com­mun­ity-oriented and pol­i­tic­ally en­gaged than pre­vi­ous genera­t­ions are largely in­cor­rect, par­tic­u­larly when com­pared to ba­by boomers and Genera­t­ion X at the same age,” said the stu­dy’s lead au­thor, Jean Twenge, a psy­chol­o­gist at San Die­go State Uni­vers­ity and au­thor of the book Genera­t­ion Me. “These da­ta show that re­cent genera­t­ions are less likely to em­brace com­mun­ity mind­ed­ness and are fo­cus­ing more on mon­ey, im­age and fame.”

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My Comment:
I am old enough to concur with these observations and results.

NASA Lauches Five Rockets In Sequence

The red dots over the water show where the five rockets of NASA's ATREX mission will deploy chemical tracers to watch how super-fast winds move some 60 miles up in the atmosphere. Three cameras at different sites will track the cloud tracers. NASA / Larsen

NASA Launches Five-Rocket Science Extravaganza At Last -- MSNBC/Space

ATREX mission studies high-level winds; glowing trails visible in skies over East Coast

At almost literally the last minute, NASA launched five suborbital sounding rockets early Tuesday on a mission to study high-level jet stream winds by creating artificial glowing clouds near the edge of space.

After several delays, the rockets started blasting off from their pads in Virginia just before the close of the day's scheduled launch window at 5 a.m. ET. The launches were held up until the very end by concerns about winds as well as boats that had strayed into the restricted range zone. But all the conditions turned "green" just in time for liftoff.

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My Comment: 5 rockets launched one after another .... that must have been a cool display. When video becomes available, I will post it.

Traumatic Brain Injury -- A U.S. Department Of Defense Special Report



Editor: The U.S. Department of Defense has put together a comprehensive analysis and report on 'Traumatic Brain Injury'. For those who believe that they have suffered a traumatic brain injury, this is a must read for you. The link to this special report is here.

Can Weight-Loss Surgery Cure Diabetes?



New Study: Weight-Loss Surgery May Cure Diabetes -- CBS

Could weight-loss surgery be a cure for type 2 diabetes? That's exactly what a new study, published today by the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests.

The study showed that weight-loss surgery is dramatically more effective in the treatment of type 2 diabetes than a conventional treatment of diet changes and medication. Patients in the study suffered from severe type 2 diabetes, and most went into remission after undergoing one of two bariatric surgeries.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

The Powerful Antioxidant Properties Of Popcorn


Popcorn Has More Antioxidants Than Fruit, Study Says -- FOX News

Long heralded as a low-calorie snack, new research indicates popcorn may actually be good for your health in other ways as well.

Pennsylvania researchers reported popcorn actually contains more healthy antioxidants called polyphenols than fruits and vegetables. The study found that there were 300 mg of polyphenols in a serving of popcorn, compared to 160 mg in a serving of fruit.

Polyphenols have been shown in prior studies to boost cardiovascular health as well as protect against chronic diseases.

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My Comment: But soaking it in butter and salt probably counteracts the positive aspects of popcorn.

How Turbines Can Replace A Heart



Man With No Pulse: How Turbines Can Replace A Heart -- New Scientist

You no longer need a heartbeat to be alive. In a groundbreaking surgery last year, doctors William Cohn and Bud Frazier from the Texas Heart Institute in Houston replaced a dying man's heart with twin turbines, resulting in the first living person without a pulse.

In this short film called Heart Stop Beating, directed by Jeremiah Zagar, you can follow the revolutionary procedure. Compared to artificial hearts that mimic real ones, the device is thought to be much more durable, since it has no flexible membranes or complex twisting mechanisms. "No one has been able to make a self-contained pulsatile device that can last more than two years or so and most wear out sooner," says Cohn.

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My Comment
: 30 years ago this was just a concept and a dream .... today .... reality.

Did Carbon Dioxide Just Save The Earth?

Earth's atmosphere lights up at infrared wavelengths during the solar storms of March 8-10, 2012. A ScienceCast video explains the physics of this phenomenon. Play it!

Carbon Dioxide Just Saved Earth -- Don Surber

God bless the John Amos power plant across the river from Poca, West Virginia, and all the other producers of CO2.

Those tiny molecules of carbon dioxide along with their cousins, nitric oxide, spared life on the planet from becoming crispy critters earlier this month.

It seems the Sun belched its biggest a coronal mass ejection in 7 years and the thermosphere absorbed 26 billion kWh of energy. The thermosphere is part of that invisible cloud of gases that blankets the Earth. Scientists call it the atmosphere.

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Earth’s Upper Atmosphere Absorbed 26 Billion kWh Of Energy



Earth’s Upper Atmosphere Hit by 26 Billion kWh of Energy -- Sci-Tech Daily

As researchers to continue monitor and assess the recent solar activity, new data shows that the thermosphere absorbed 26 billion kWh of energy over a three day period, March 8th -10th.

A recent flurry of eruptions on the sun did more than spark pretty auroras around the poles. NASA-funded researchers say the solar storms of March 8th through 10th dumped enough energy in Earth’s upper atmosphere to power every residence in New York City for two years.

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My Comment: That is a lot of juice.

How George Takei Conquered Facebook

Image courtesy of George Takei

How George Takei Conquered Facebook -- Forbes

George Takei earned his fame on the original Star Trek for playing Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu on the Enterprise, and later Captain Sulu of the Excelsior in the movies. As a Starfleet officer, Sulu was dedicated to peaceful exploration. But when it comes to Facebook, he’s a conqueror. On March 23, 2011, Takei put up his fan page. Now, one year later, he has nearly 1.4 million fans on his Facebook page, who regularly like, share, and comment on his near endless stream of posts, videos and geeky pictures. By way of comparison, Twitter master Star Trek alum Wil Wheaton has a little over 76,000 fans and Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, has a little over 137,000.

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Cool Science Editor: His Facebook page is here.

The Eco-Friendly SuperYacht

Credit: Richard John Sauter

Assuage Your Liberal Guilt With An Eco-Friendly SuperYacht -- Science 2.0

Let's be honest, if you are a Republican, you don't care about the environment because you received your own oil well when you registered to vote. And you like vampire babies. So you do not care about the emissions of your yacht.

But if you are a rich Democrat, things are a little dicier. Buying pretend carbon offsets for a 29,000 square foot house can only get you so far. If you want to own a superyacht too, that's a lot of liberal guilt to agonize over. What to do?

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Editor: For more info on the Ocean Supremacy, go here.

The End Of The Space Shuttle Era



Cool Science News Editor: NPR has a special on the US space shuttle. The selection of stories and info starts here.

Woman, 83, Sues Apple Aafter Walking Into their Glass Door



‘Pane’ & Suffering At The Apple Store -- New York Post

Glassed granny walks smack into $1M suit

For one 83-year-old grandma, the most confusing piece of technology at an Apple Store wasn’t an iPad or iPhone — it was the front door.

Evelyn Paswall, a former Manhattan fur-company vice president, claims the tech company’s signature glass architecture is a menace to little old ladies after she failed to see the glass door at a Long Island location and smashed her face.

Now the Forest Hills, Queens, resident is suing Apple for $1 million, saying the company was negligent for not elderly-proofing the store’s see-through facade.

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My Comment: I have gone to this store on a few occasions .... it is very clear to me that there is a door in front of me. How did she hit her face .... makes no sense to me.

Face-Recognition System Can Sort Through 36 Million Faces Per Second




Video: Face-Recognition System Can Sort Through 36 Million Faces Per Second -- Popular Science

Japanese surveillance software can locate you, wherever you are.

Diginfo brings us news of this Hitachi Kokusai system that can monitor video feeds from around the world in real time, scanning for a particular face. When it finds what it's looking for, it closes in to provide footage of what the person has been doing previously and what he or she is doing next.

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My Comment: In short .... you can run .... but if a camera catches your face .... you cannot hide.

New Hope For Balding Men?

New Discovery Brings Hope For Balding Men -- The Telegraph

Scientists have identified a hair-loss protein in a development that could pave the way for a cure for male-pattern baldness.

The discovery could mean treatments are developed to suppress the protein and to stop baldness, although it would not reverse the effects to reverse hair loss.

Tests were carried out on tissue from the scalps of more than 20 men with male pattern baldness, known as androgenic alopecia (AGA).

The results showed bald areas had levels of the protein PGD2 three times higher than hairy areas.

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My Comment: I say live with it .... at least that is what I have been doing for the past 20 years. But .... if it can be cured and even reversed .... hmmmm .....

James Cameron's Successfully Completes Mariana Trench Pacific Dive



James Cameron Describes Mariana Trench After Pacific Dive -- ABC News

In 1997 James Cameron famously sent the RMS Titanic to the ocean floor. Now he has made an even deeper trip himself: in a submersible called the Deepsea Challenger, he descended to the bottom of the Mariana Trench -- seven miles beneath the western Pacific Ocean, deeper than Mt. Everest is high.

And he lived to tell about it. Today, on a conference call to reporters from the research vessel Mermaid Sapphire, he enthused about the mystery and adventure of being all alone in the darkness, 35,576 feet beneath the surface of the sea.

"I just sat there looking out the window, looking at this barren, desolate lunar plain, appreciating," Cameron said.

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More News On James Cameron's Mariana Trench Pacific Dive

James Cameron Completes Record-Breaking Mariana Trench Dive -- National Geographic
James Cameron on Earth's Deepest Spot: Desolate, Lunar-Like -- National Geographic
Cameron's Historic Dive Cut Short by Leak; Few Signs of Life Seen -- National Geographic
'To hell and back': James Cameron is first solo diver to reach deepest point on Earth - but has to race back to surface after hydraulic failure seven miles down -- Daily Mail
'Titanic' and 'Avatar' director James Cameron reaches ocean's deepest point [Updated] -- L.A. Times
Why James Cameron was forced to surface early -- Christian Science Monitor
James Cameron back on surface after deepest ocean dive -- BBC
James Cameron: 'desolate, lunar landscape' of Mariana Trench after record-breaking dive -- The Telegraph
In Photos: James Cameron’s solo deep dive -- Stark Insider

Is This Finally Proof We're NOT Causing Global Warming?

Evidence that the Earth heated up over a 1,000 years ago was found in a rare mineral called ikaite

Is This Finally Proof We're NOT Causing Global Warming? The Whole Of The Earth Heated Up In Medieval Times Without Human CO2 Emissions, Says New Study -- Daily Mail

* Evidence was found in a rare mineral that records global temperatures
* Warming was global and NOT limited to Europe
* Throws doubt on orthodoxies around 'global warming'

Current theories of the causes and impact of global warming have been thrown into question by a new study which shows that during medieval times the whole of the planet heated up.

It then cooled down naturally and there was even a 'mini ice age'.

A team of scientists led by geochemist Zunli Lu from Syracuse University in New York state, has found that contrary to the ‘consensus’, the ‘Medieval Warm Period’ approximately 500 to 1,000 years ago wasn’t just confined to Europe.

In fact, it extended all the way down to Antarctica – which means that the Earth has already experience global warming without the aid of human CO2 emissions.

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My Comment: Bottom line .... more questions are being raised .... and there are not enough answers.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Which Tablet Runs The Hottest?


New iPad Versus 5 Tablet Competitors: Which Runs Hottest? -- Gadget Lab

You need not fear heat blisters when handling the new iPad. Apple’s new tablet is neither a burn risk, nor even particularly hot in the grand scheme of competing devices.

We know because we tested the iPad against five other tablets.

Sure, the new iPad, like all electronics hardware, heats up when pushed to its limits. This is just a matter of physics. Processors, batteries and back-lit displays generate heat under load.

Consumer Reports proved this when it recorded a temperature of 116 degrees Fahrenheit on the back of the new iPad — this after plugging the tablet into a wall socket and playing a demanding 3-D game, Infinity Blade 2, for 45 minutes. This little stunt spurred a lot of online chatter, but it didn’t explain whether the new iPad’s heat generation is above and beyond that of other tablets on the market.

So Wired decided to investigate.

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My Comment: The results are surprising.

A Look At The Planet Mercury

Purple marks low elevation and white high elevation in this rendering of ancient volcanic plains in Mercury’s northern hemisphere. Images like these suggest the planet had an active geologic past.NASA, JHUAPL, CIW-DTM, GSFC, MIT, Brown University. Rendering by James Dickson and Jim Head.

Smallest Planet Yields Big Surprises -- Science News

Mercury has a complicated inside and an active geologic past.

For starters, the planet’s interior is built differently than anything else scientists have blueprints for. Unlike Earth’s, Mercury’s core — which gobbles up 85 percent of the planet’s radius — consists of three layers instead of two. At the planet’s heart lies a probable solid layer, surrounded by a swirling liquid iron layer, all encapsulated by a third, solid iron-sulfur layer.

The new MESSENGER results were presented on March 21 at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, as well as in two papers appearing online in Science. One paper discusses the gravity measurements leading to the new model of the planet’s interior, and the other describes surface features in the northern hemisphere.

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Top 50 Android Phone Apps

Android is interesting, because it attracts two very different kinds of people.

The Top 50 Android Phone Apps -- The Guardian

Android has overtaken iOS as the UK's most popular smartphone platform. We pick the best of its 450,000 apps, for music fans, children, gamers, shoppers… There's even an antidote for app addiction

There is far more to smartphone life than Apple's iPhone. Google launched its Android software in 2008 and has since sold more than 300m of its smartphones; currently, more than 850,000 are added to that number every day.

More than 450,000 apps are available on Google Play, which is generating more than 1bn app downloads every month. The latest Android smartphones are also viable competitors to the iPhone (stylish and powerful phones from companies such as Samsung, HTC and Sony Ericsson have been flying off the shelves in the UK), but Android apps haven't always had a great press. Android has been criticised on security grounds, with accusations that there are more viruses and malware apps on Google's store than on Apple's App Store. However, Android apps have to ask for explicit permission to access your personal data and phone features, so familiarise yourself with these permissions requests when installing apps and you'll be less at risk.

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Now THAT'S An Engagement Ring!

Groundbreaking: This extraordinary creation claims to be 'the world's first diamond ring'

Now THAT'S An Engagement Ring! Jeweller's $70m Diamond Sparkler Cut Entirely From One 150-Carat Rock -- Daily Mail

A Swiss jewellery company has created a ring made from one enormous chunk of diamond.

Shawish Jewellery, a company based in Geneva, unveiled what they have billed as ‘the world’s first diamond ring’.

The 150-carat ring has been valued at around $70million and took one year to construct.

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My Comment:
$70 million for a rock .... albeit a diamond one .... I have only one word for that .... ouchhh!!!!!