Saturday, January 9, 2010

30,000-Year-Old Child's Teeth Shed New Light On Human Evolution

Virtual 3D reconstruction of four deciduous and one permanent teeth assessed for linear, surface, and volumetric tissue proportions. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Bristol)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Jan. 8, 2010) — The teeth of a 30,000-year-old child are shedding new light on the evolution of modern humans, thanks to research from the University of Bristol published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The teeth are part of the remarkably complete remains of a child found in the Abrigo do Lagar Velho, Portugal and excavated in 1998-9 under the leadership of Professor João Zilhão of the University of Bristol. Classified as a modern human with Neanderthal ancestry, the child raises controversial questions about how extensively Neanderthals and modern human groups of African descent interbred when they came into contact in Europe.

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Record–Breaking Snow And Cold Reminiscent Of The Late '70s

White areas show where snow covers the ground completely as of Jan. 5, 2010. Credit: NOAA

From Live Science:

If this winter's record-breaking snowfalls and bitter cold remind you of your childhood, perhaps you grew up when disco was alive and well.

"People who were around in the late '70s remember several winters similar to this," said Deke Arndt, who was a child of the 70s and now makes his living by monitoring climate data for the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

For those who don't recall those years, this winter may seem unprecedented. It's not.

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2010 Will See A Blizzard Of Television Innovations

From Times Online:

Las Vegas TV manufacturers and broadcasters are trying to bring the magic back to the living room.

Soon through your TV set you will be able to watch immersive 3D, talk to your grandma, browse all your favourite websites and update Facebook.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week a blizzard of TV innovations were unveiled to bring high tech 3D, video chat and internet capabilities to the humble box in the corner.

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What Keeps Time Moving Forward? Blame It On The Big Bang

From Scientific American:

A timely Q&A with physicist Sean Carroll about how our one-way trip from past to future is entangled with entropy and the origin of the universe.

Physicists often describe the fabric of the universe we inhabit as four-dimensional spacetime, comprising three dimensions of space and one of time. But whereas we spend our days passing freely through space in any direction we wish (gravity and solid obstacles permitting), time pushes us along, willingly or not, in a single predetermined direction: toward the future.

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Hovering Drone Draws Rave Reviews At CES

An AR. Drone helicoptor at the International Consumer Electronics Show

From AFP:

LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Hovering silently a few feet off the ground it looks like a flying saucer out of a Steven Spielberg film.

But it's no alien device. It's a new toy called the AR.drone from French company Parrot -- a small remote-controlled helicopter which is piloted using an Apple iPhone or an iPod Touch through a Wi-Fi connection.

A demonstration of the miniature helicopter, or quadricopter for its four propellers, drew rave reviews at the opening here of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) as it flew around the heads of exhibitors and journalists.

The pilot maneuvers the drone using the accelerometer in an iPhone or iPod.

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My Comment: The military applications for this tech are obvious.

Firm Unveils X-rated Tobot

Engineer-inventor Douglas Hines adjusts the head of his
company's "True Companion" sex robot, Roxxxy

From AFP:

LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Roxxxy the sex robot had a coming out party Saturday in Sin City.

In what is billed as a world first, a life-size robotic girlfriend complete with artificial intelligence and flesh-like synthetic skin was introduced to adoring fans at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.

"She can't vacuum, she can't cook but she can do almost anything else if you know what I mean," TrueCompanion's Douglas Hines said while introducing AFP to Roxxxy.

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A Deluge Of Devices For Reading And Surfing

Televisions at Samsung’s booth at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Isaac Brekken for The New York Times

From The New York Times:

LAS VEGAS — You’ve heard of’s Kindle. And you probably know that Apple is likely to introduce a tablet computer this year. Soon you may also be hearing about the Alex, the Que proReader and the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid.

Those products are part of a new wave of slender touch-screen tablets and electronic reading devices that dozens of companies, both well known and unknown, brought to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

Some of these gadgets allow people to read for long periods of time without eye strain and without killing the batteries. Others focus on allowing their owners to surf the Web, watch video and play casual games without being tethered to a bulky laptop and its traditional keyboard.

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Coral Reefs Are Most Fecund Cradles Of Diversity

From New Scientist:

Coral reefs have generated more new kinds of animal than all other marine habitats put together. So concludes an analysis of the earliest fossils of more than 6000 sea-floor invertebrates, which found that reefs "gave birth" to close to 6 in 10 of the groups studied.

Coral reefs house a striking number and variety of organisms. Debate has raged since the 1970s over whether they provide the ideal conditions for new species to emerge or simply attract them from other habitats. Until now, the latter argument has tended to prevail.

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Sarkozy's 'New Year's Wish': Investigate Google

Image: Nicholas Sarkozy, president of France has a strong link to the creative community. His wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, is a well-known singer and songwriter. (Credit: Screenshot by Greg Sandoval/CNET)

From CNET:

It's doubtful that they would admit it, but U.S. studio chiefs and music moguls must dream that their country will one day elect a president like Nicolas Sarkozy.

Few of the world's leaders are as aggressive in protecting copyright as the president of France, and he proved it again Thursday during a speech to members of the country's creative community when he endorsed some controversial pro-copyright proposals.

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Skiff E-Reader And Amazon Kindle DX

From The Next Big Future:

The Skiff Reader, the first e-reader to integrate the upcoming Skiff Service, is a state-of-the-art device that is simple and easy-to-use.

It features the largest and highest-resolution electronic-paper display yet unveiled in a consumer device, at 11.5" in size (measured diagonally) and a resolution of 1200 x 1600 pixels (UXGA). Skiff has signed a multi-year agreement with Sprint (NYSE:S) to provide 3G connectivity for Skiff’s dedicated e-reading devices in the United States. Plans are underway to have the Skiff Reader available for purchase later this year in more than 1,000 Sprint retail locations across the U.S., as well as online at Availability, pricing, additional distribution channels and other details will be disclosed at a later date. the Skiff Reader will also support wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi.

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China And India Displacing OECD Oil Consumption

From Future Pundit:

Writing in a comment on a post at The Oil Drum Gregor Macdonald very succinctly sums up an energy future where China, India, and other rapidly developing countries gradually displace OECD countries as oil purchasers.

High oil prices are more painful to the OECD/Developed world user than the Developing world user. In the Developing world coal accounts for the largest chunk of BTU consumption, and the marginal utility to the new user of oil is high. In other words, the OECD user is embedded in a system where the historical consumption pattern has been to use much more oil per capita. But in the developing world, just a small amount of oil to the new user of oil is transformational. It will be the developing world therefore that will take oil to much, much higher prices in the next decade. They will use small amounts per capita, but the aggregate demand will be scary high. After all, the developing world's systems are not leveraged to oil. They are new users of oil--and unlike us, aren't married to a system that breaks from high oil prices.

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What Came First In The Origin Of Life? New Study Contradicts the 'Metabolism First' Hypothesis

Image of what would be a "compound genome". Different molecules (in various colours) join the globule or corpuscle, which divides once it reaches a critical size. (Credit: Image provided by Doron Lancet)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Jan. 9, 2010) — A new study published in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences rejects the theory that the origin of life stems from a system of self-catalytic molecules capable of experiencing Darwinian evolution without the need of RNA or DNA and their replication.

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Looks Matter More In A City

From Live Science:

For women, looks may matter more if they live in the city than in rural areas, a new study finds.

The results, which are based on body shape rather than overall beauty, showed that in cities the most attractive gals had higher social and psychological well-being. That same link wasn't found for country residents.

The researchers suggest with higher population densities, cities offer more potential friends and sexual partners, allowing city folks to be choosier and so theoretically able to select the cream of the crop to associate with.

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Peer-To-Peer Review: How ‘Climategate’ Marks The Maturing Of A New Science Movement, Part I

From Watt's Up With That?:

How a tiny blog and a collective of climate enthusiasts broke the biggest story in the history of global warming science – but not without a gatekeeper of the climate establishment trying to halt its proliferation.

It was triggered at the most unlikely of places. Not in the pages of a prominent science publication, or by an experienced muckraker. It was triggered at a tiny blog – a bit down the list of popular skeptic sites. With a small group of followers, a blog of this size could only start a media firestorm if seeded with just the right morsel of information, and found by just the right people. Yet it was at this location that the most lethal weapon against the global warming establishment was unleashed.

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Research On Cocaine Reveals Gene-Altering Roots Of Addiction

A man prepares bundles of cocaine in his house to be sold in a neighborhood in Venezuela. Researchers are getting closer to understanding how the drug changes genes in the brain to cause addiction. Photograph by: Edwin Montilva / Reuters, National Post

From The Montreal Gazette/Reuters:

Prolonged exposure to cocaine can cause permanent changes in the way genes are switched on and off in the brain, a finding that may lead to more effective treatments for many kinds of addiction, U.S. researchers said.

A study in mice by Ian Maze of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and colleagues found that chronic cocaine addiction kept a specific enzyme from doing its job of shutting off other genes in the pleasure circuits of the brain, making the mice crave the drug even more.

Read more

Great Gizmos At Vegas Electronics Show

Watch CBS News Videos Online

From CBS News: Senior Editor Natali Del Conte Highlights Flashy Products at the Consumer Electonics Show.

(CBS) From 3-D televisions to the latest in computers, the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has it all.

The event has so much that Natali Del Conte, senior editor of, returned to "The Early Show" Friday to highlight more of the latest gizmos and gadgets from this year's show -- after showcasing several on Thursday.

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No More Power Lines?

Sign of the past? Superconductor cables could replace transmission lines,
such as these in Los Banos, Calif. Newscom/file

From The Christian Science Monitor:

Buried super-cooled electrical cables may replace towering transmission lines and carry solar and wind energy efficiently over long distances.

Abundant solar and wind power lies across America’s vast plains and deserts, but getting that distant renewable energy to cities without wrecking vistas and raising lawsuits over transmission lines is a sizable hurdle for green-leaning utility companies. Thousands of miles of towering electrical lines will be needed before big alternative-energy projects can take hold. Yet such power lines portend years of legal snarls over the not-in-my-backyard problem.

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'Grey Goo' Food Laced With Nanoparticles Could Swamp Britain

Photo: Prince Charles derided nanoparticles as 'grey goo' food

From The Daily Mail:

Britain is on the brink of a massive expansion in foods containing controversial 'grey goo' nanoparticles, according to the former head of the Food Standards Agency.

Low-calorie chocolate and beer that doesn't go flat could be on sale within just five years, Lord Krebs said last night.

However, he and other peers believe there will be no requirement for the hi-tech products to be labelled as containing nanoparticles - microscopic compounds that can worm their way into the brain, liver and kidneys with unknown consequences.

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You Won't Find Consciousness In The Brain

Consciousness in action? It is tempting to think that's what is going on - but wrong
(Image: Hans Neleman/Getty)

From New Scientist:

MOST neuroscientists, philosophers of the mind and science journalists feel the time is near when we will be able to explain the mystery of human consciousness in terms of the activity of the brain. There is, however, a vocal minority of neurosceptics who contest this orthodoxy. Among them are those who focus on claims neuroscience makes about the preciseness of correlations between indirectly observed neural activity and different mental functions, states or experiences.

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Hominids Went Out of Africa On Rafts

From Wired Science:

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Human ancestors that left Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago to see the rest of the world were no landlubbers. Stone hand axes unearthed on the Mediterranean island of Crete indicate that an ancient Homo species — perhaps Homo erectus — had used rafts or other seagoing vessels to cross from northern Africa to Europe via at least some of the larger islands in between, says archaeologist Thomas Strasser of Providence College in Rhode Island.

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'Wildlife In Crisis' In Frozen UK

From The BBC:

Britain's wildlife is being pushed to "the brink of a crisis" as sub-zero temperatures continue to grip the nation, according to conservationists.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is organising emergency feeding of several threatened species, including bitterns and cirl buntings.

The RSPB is also asking people to feed garden birds, which are struggling to find food in the freezing weather.

The harsh winter could hit bird numbers "for many years to come", they warn.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Warmer Climate Could Stifle Carbon Uptake By Trees, Study Finds

A surprising new CU-Boulder study indicates subalpine forests in the West will soak up less carbon dioxide as the climate warms and the growing seasons lengthen. (Credit: Image courtesy Steve Miller, CIRES)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Jan. 8, 2010) — Contrary to conventional belief, as the climate warms and growing seasons lengthen subalpine forests are likely to soak up less carbon dioxide, according to a new University of Colorado at Boulder study.

As a result, more of the greenhouse gas will be left to concentrate in the atmosphere.

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As Elvis Turns 75, Celebrity Worship Alive And Well

From Live Science:

If Elvis were alive, he'd be 75 on Friday. While his musical style and gyrations may have been unique, Elvis Presley's stardom and swooning fans can be explained by simple psychology, trends in technology and pop culture, and a look at our ancestors, all of which reveals why celebrity worship is on the rise.

"The Elvis phenomenon is only a case study of a wider psychological phenomenon," said James Houran, a clinical psychologist and president of 20/20 Skills, a human resources company.

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Why "Green" Wine Is Catching On

From CBS News:

California Wineries Try To Set An Example Of What's Possible With Existing Technologies.

(AP) John Conover was looking for the best place to grow the Napa Valley's famous cabernet sauvignon grapes. Turns out the same southwest-facing, sunny hillside that gives him great grapes also raises a mean crop of solar panels.

"We wanted to be as green as we can be," says Conover, a partner in the Cade winery, which is on track for Gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

Green wine is catching on.

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Got A New Computer? Install These Nine Programs Right Away

New computer? Feed it a healthy diet of powerful software.
Heather McKinnon/The Seattle Times/Newscom

From Christian Science Monitor:

’Tis the season for a new computer. Whether Santa sneaked a PC under the tree or you’ve decided to install Windows 7 onto an older machine, millions of Americans this month will be booting up a fresh start.

What better time to get your computer on a healthy diet of lean but powerful software and to throw out the bloated junk food that comes preinstalled on many machines? Here are some free programs that’ll help your new PC chug along for many winters to come.

(Disclaimer: While most of the Monitor’s software suggestions cover both PCs and Macs, Apple fans will need to sit this article out.)

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Microsoft Unveil HP Slate Just Weeks Before Launch Of Apple Tablet

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer holds the Hewlett-Packard slate PC during his keynote speech.

From The Daily Mail:

Microsoft and HP have unveiled a new touch-screen tablet computer they hope will overshadow a similar device that Apple is expected to launch this month.

To add insult to injury Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer referred to the gadget as a 'slate.' Technology pundits think Apple will call their gadget 'iSlate' after filing for the trademark.

The 10inch HP tablet is a touch screen computer that runs Windows 7.

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Robot Border Guards To Patrol Future Frontiers

Walls alone won't seal US borders (Image: KPA/Zuma/Rex Features)

From New Scientist:

A MIGRANT makes a furtive dash across an unwalled rural section of a national border, only to be confronted by a tracked robot that looks like a tiny combat tank - with a gimballed camera for an eye. As he passes the bug-eyed droid, it follows him and a border guard's voice booms from its loudspeaker. He has illegally entered the country, he is warned, and if he does not turn back he will be filmed and followed by the robot, or by an airborne drone, until guards apprehend him.

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Crack New Scanner Looks For Bombs Inside Body Cavities

From The Danger Room:

The “underpants bomber” has renewed calls for new and more invasive security measures. Already, there’s a push to install scanners that show travelers’ naked bodies through clothing, using either millimeter wave or backscatter X-ray imaging. But even those scanners might not have caught the terrorist who nearly brought down Northwest flight 253.

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Thieves Use Google Earth To Find And Plunder Wineries' Solar Panels

Solar-Powered Vineyards "Just leave me in peace to tend to my wine" Langetwins Winery and Vineyards

From Popular Science:

Google's "do no evil" motto fails to halt heartless bandits.

Hot on the heels of news about Google's new energy venture comes this sorrowful tale about renewable energy. NPR reports on enterprising thieves who used Google Earth to do evil, and specifically to find California wineries with solar panels for the taking.

Yes, even the criminal underworld has embraced clean tech in the 21st century. Many thieves have reportedly used trucks to simply crash winery gates and steal up to 70 panels at a time. Local sheriff deputies speculate that online tools such as Google Earth might make it particularly easy to locate possible targets -- more than 400 panels worth over $1,000 each were stolen from Napa Valley vineyards in 2009.

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Coral Reefs Are Evolution Hotspot

The reefs are centres of evolution as well as biodiversity.

From The BBC:

Coral reefs give rise to many more new species than other tropical marine habitats, according to a new study.

Scientists used fossil records stretching back 540 million years to work out the evolution rate at reefs.

They report in the journal Science that new species originate 50% faster in coral reefs than in other habitats.

The team says its findings show that the loss of these evolution hotspots could mean "losing an opportunity to create new species" in the future.

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Greatest Finds Of The Year

From The Independent:

It’s been another fascinating and prolific 12 months in archaeology, with discoveries - ranging from a multi-million pound medieval gold hoard to a lost Roman city, a “missing link” in human evolution and a prehistoric erotic figurine - coming thick and fast from the four corners of the globe.

They’ve been made by all from hard-working heritage experts, after years of slaving at the archaeological coal-face, to fluky amateurs on their very first treasure hunt.

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How Earth Survived Its Birth: New Simulation Reveals Planet Migration Prevents Plunge Into Sun

New simulations show that variations in temperature can lead to regions of outward and inward migration that safely trap planets on orbits around their sun. (Credit: iStockphoto/Kirill Putchenko)

From Live Science:

Science Daily (Jan. 8, 2010) — For the last 20 years, the best models of planet formation -- or how planets grow from dust in a gas disk -- have contradicted the very existence of Earth. These models assumed locally constant temperatures within a disk, and the planets plunge into the Sun. Now, new simulations from researchers at the American Museum of Natural History and the University of Cambridge show that variations in temperature can lead to regions of outward and inward migration that safely trap planets on orbits.

Read more

Polar Bears Forced To Land And Water

Polar bears depend on sea ice for hunting, breeding and denning. The bears wait for seals to pop up through breathing holes in the ice, but since the ice is melting earlier and earlier in the year, polar bears are shifting there habitat to land and water, and may be missing out on hunting opportunities. Credit: USGS

From Live Science:

As Arctic sea ice melts, polar bears are changing their habitat, shifting from their preferred ice hunting grounds to land and open water, according to a new long-term study.

The findings have implications for people as well as polar bears, since the shift makes it more likely that humans will encounter these large animals on land, the researchers say.

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Dark Roasted Blend: Weird & Wonderful Things in 2009

From The Dark Roasted Blend:

Promoting "sense of wonder" and intense exploration of our world and beyond, shamelessly cynicism- and nihilism- free, "Dark Roasted Blend" is happy to serve our readers since 2006. As a sort of overview, but mostly trying to highlight the themes and articles of 2009 that you might have missed, here is a roundup of the most popular and interesting posts on DRB (arranged by months):

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Top 10 Places You Can’t Go

#1: RAF Menwith Hill

RAF Menwith Hill is a British military base with connections to the global ECHELON spy network. The site contains an extensive satellite ground station and is a communications intercept and missile warning site and has been described as the largest electronic monitoring station in the world. The site acts as a ground station for a number of satellites operated by the US National Reconnaissance Office, on behalf of the US National Security Agency, with antennae contained in a large number of highly distinctive white radomes, and is alleged to be an element of the ECHELON system. ECHELON was reportedly created to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War in the early 1960s, but since the end of the Cold War it is believed to search also for hints of terrorist plots, drug dealers’ plans, and political and diplomatic intelligence. It has also been involved in reports of commercial espionage and is believed to filter all telephone and radio communications in the nations which host it – an extreme violation of privacy.

From List Verse:

The world is full of secret and exclusive places that we either don’t know about, or simply couldn’t visit if we wanted to. This list takes a look at ten of the most significant places around the world that are closed to the general public or are virtually impossible for the general public to visit.

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100 Quotes Every Geek Should Know

Image by Wikimedia user Xander.

From Geekdad:

One thing that every geek can do is quote their favorite geek-culture media, whether it’s movies, books, television, theater or music. The GeekDads have tried to compile a list of such quotes for your enjoyment. This list is certainly not definitive. Indeed, it’s only the beginning! Feel free to add your own (clean) ones in the comments below.

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Aboriginal Folklore Leads To Meteorite Crater

Researchers are using Aboriginal dreaming stories and Google Maps to
find new meteorite impact craters. Credit: Google Maps

From Cosmos:

SYDNEY: An Australian Aboriginal 'Dreaming' story has helped experts uncover a meteorite impact crater in the outback of the Northern Territory.

Duane Hamacher, an astrophysicist studying Aboriginal astronomy at Sydney's Macquarie University, used Google Maps to search for the signs of impact craters in areas related to Aboriginal stories of stars or stones falling from the sky.

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Samsung 9000 Series 3-D TV Is No Thicker Than a Pencil

Samsung LED9000: It's a bit slim

From Popular Science:

Samsung is going whole hog into 3-D with their newly announced TV lineup, but at the top is the 9000 series: an LED-backlit panel that's just 0.3 inches thin. And on its remote. a color touchscreen that can carry broadcast TV while you watch a Blu-ray disc.

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China Threatens To Slam Brakes On Price Of Lead

E-bikes were a feature of the Beijing Olympic Games last year, but reclassifying some of them as motorcycles will have an impact far beyond sales figures

From Times Online:

After a surge of more than 125 per cent, the price of lead ends the year in limbo — its future at the mercy of Chinese bureaucracy, the stroke of a pen and the legal status of 100 million electric bicycles.

The cycles in question, known as “e-bikes”, are battery-enhanced machines that are the darlings of the modern, urban Chinese. More than 20 million were sold this year, putting a vast army of commuters, unable to afford cars or motorcycles — and without licences — on the roads at a sedate maximum speed of 12 km/h (7½ mph).

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Whistleblower Web Site Goes Dark, Seeks Funding

From FOX News:

A Web site that for years has let anonymous whistleblowers break stories of corruption and government malfeasance has gone dark and is expected to remain offline until it finds funds to support its operations and fend off lawsuits.

A Web site that for years has let anonymous whistleblowers break stories of corruption and government malfeasance has gone dark and is expected to remain offline until it finds funds to support its operations and fend off lawsuits.

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Hubble Telescope Captures Earliest Images Of Universe - When It Was Just A 'Baby' At 600 Million Years

Deep space time: the Hubble picture shows the earliest ever seen galaxies which are circled in the boxes in the inset images on the left

From The Daily Mail:

The Hubble telescope has captured the earliest image yet of the universe - just 600 million years after the Big Bang.

It is the most complete picture taken in near-infrared light of the early universe, showing the first infant star clusters.

To give some perspective, the light left these galaxies 8billion years before our own Sun and Earth had even formed.

Scientists released the 'baby pictures' at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Read more ....

Thursday, January 7, 2010

First Earth-Like Planet Spotted Outside Solar System Likely A Volcanic Wasteland

How similar is exoplanet CoRoT-7b to Earth? The newly discovered extra-solar planet (depicted in the above artist's illustration) is the closest physical match yet, with a mass about five Earths and a radius of about 1.7 Earths. Also, the home star to CoRoT-7b, although 500 light years distant, is very similar to our Sun. Unfortunately, the similarities likely end there, as CoRoT-7b orbits its home star well inside the orbit of Mercury, making its year last only 20 hours, and making its peak temperature much hotter than humans might find comfortable. (Credit: ESO/L. Calcada)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Jan. 7, 2010) — When scientists confirmed in October that they had detected the first rocky planet outside our solar system, it advanced the longtime quest to find an Earth-like planet hospitable to life.

Rocky planets -- Earth, Mercury, Venus and Mars -- make up half the planets in our solar system. Rocky planets are considered better environments to support life than planets that are mainly gaseous, like the other half of the planets in our system: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

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Vampires Among Us: From Bats To Psychics

Films such as Daybreakers are examples of the
public's fascination with vampires. Credit: Lionsgate

From Live Science:

The new film "Daybreakers," which opens Friday, is set in 2019, after a global virus outbreak has transformed most of the world's population into vampires. This is not good news for the small remaining population of humans, who become the sole source of blood. Vampires are of course very popular in books and on the silver screen, especially recently. But are they real?

The answer depends on how literally you define "vampire."

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What An Anti-Climax: G-Spot Is A Myth

While 56% of women overall claimed to have a G-spot,
they tended to be younger and more sexually active.

From Times Online:

A sexual quest that has for years baffled millions of women — and men — may have been in vain. A study by British scientists has found that the mysterious G-spot, the sexual pleasure zone said to be possessed by some women but denied to others, may not exist at all.

The scientists at King’s College London who carried out the study claim there is no evidence for the existence of the G-spot — supposedly a cluster of internal nerve endings — outside the imagination of women influenced by magazines and sex therapists. They reached their conclusions after a survey of more than 1,800 British women.

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The Rise Of Robodoc

The Acrobot Robot, which helps orthopaedic surgeons
to carry out computer navigated partial knee replacements

From The Independent:

Many operations are becoming less invasive and more efficient due to the growth of cyber-surgery. Nina Lakhani on a British medical success story.

While surgeons are often criticised for their brusque bedside manner, few could accurately be described as robots. This is going to change as surgical consultations increasingly involve robotic systems to help diagnose, plan operations and reassure patients.

The development of robotic systems, both active and passive, is enabling surgeons to use keyhole techniques in hard-to-reach areas not previously thought possible. Britain is at the forefront of many advances. Collaborations between NHS surgeons, universities and private companies enable Britain to develop robotics more quickly and cheaply than North American and European counterparts.

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Using A Mobile Phone May Improve Memory And Stave Off Alzheimer's Disease

Mobile phones may stave off Alzheimer's Disease Photo: GETTY

From The Telegraph:

Talking on a mobile telephone can improve memory and protect the mind from Alzheimer's disease, according to new research.

Tests suggested that exposure to radiation from the devices had a beneficial effect on the mind and could even reverse the effects of Alzheimer's.

The surprise findings contradict some previous studies that have suggested mobiles can cause Alzheimer's and brain cancer.

Read more ....

Solar System May Be More Compact Than Thought

A cloud of comets surrounds the main disc of the solar system - new research suggests the cloud may be more compact than previously thought (Illustration: T Pyle/SSC/JPL-Caltech/NASA)

From The New Scientist:

The solar system may be significantly more compact than previously thought, according to a new computer simulation of the cloud of comets that enshrouds the solar system. The work suggests the cloud may not contain as much material as once suspected, which could resolve a long-standing problem in models of how the planets formed.

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Galileo Space Navigation System To Be Ready In 2014

Photo: Use of basic Galileo services will be free,
while high-accuracy capabilities will be restricted to paying users

From Deutsche Welle:

After much delay, the European Commission has awarded contracts for work to start on building the highly-anticipated Galileo space navigation system. The first 14 satellites will be built by a German company.

The European Commission announced on Thursday that the long-delayed Galileo project, the European alternative to the American GPS satellite navigation system, will begin operation in 2014.

The Commission has awarded the German company OHB System AG a 566 million euro (813 million dollar) contract to build the first 14 satellites for the EU's new space-based navigation system.

Read more ....

Skiff E-Reader Has Some New Tricks

From Popular Mechanics:

LAS VEGAS—The barrage of new products from CES includes a number of e-Ink devices, all lining up to dislodge the Kindle from its perch at the top of the market. Among the double fistful of readers for sale in 2010 will be the Skiff Reader, a sleek 11.5-inch device that has received a healthy share of buzz in the past few days. We've refrained from writing about Skiff until now because it's backed by Hearst, Popular Mechanics' own parent company, and because over the past year we've been sharing ideas on the device with the company's development team. (As you can see from the photo, we've created sample content for Skiff that will be shown this week in Las Vegas.)

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Tripping The Light Fantastic: 66 Black Holes Found 'Dancing' The Galactic Night Away

Hubble Space Telescope images of two small galaxies colliding to form one

From The Daily Mail:

It is the ultimate dance routine but get too close and it may be your last.

A team of astronomers have discovered 33 pairs of 'waltzing' black holes in distant galaxies which will eventually combine to form one.

Nearly every galaxy has a central super-massive black hole with a mass up to a billion times the mass of the Sun and galaxies often collide.

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97 Reasons To Quit Smoking



1. You won't have to pay more and more and more and more each year.
Yup, taxes will almost certainly continue to go up. New Jersey, Vermont, and Connecticut are among the states leaning harder on smokers for revenue, but even some tobacco-growing states are beginning to milk the coffin-nail cash cow. Lawmakers' reasoning: There is evidence that price increases cause smokers to reduce consumption. And the medical costs of smoking are astronomical—a huge burden to the states.

2. You'll inhale fewer germs.
New research suggests cigarettes are crawling with germs, which can be inhaled along with the smoke. It’s not clear if the germs can make you sick, but the yuck factor is undeniable.

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Physicists Beginning To See Data From The Large Hadron Collider

Last month the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider began recording proton-proton collisions at a record energy of 2.36 trillion electron volts. Image courtesy of the ATLAS experiment. (Credit: Image courtesy of Iowa State University)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Jan. 7, 2010) — Three Iowa State University physicists who took winter trips to the Large Hadron Collider for meetings and experimental work are starting to see real data from the planet's biggest science experiment.


The multibillion-dollar collider made international news on Sept. 10, 2008, when it sent its first beam of protons around 17 miles of underground tunnel near Geneva, Switzerland. But breakdowns in the machine's high-current electrical connections forced a complete shutdown for more than a year of repairs and tests.

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