Saturday, January 2, 2010

Champagne Is Good for Your Heart, Study Suggests -- But Only In Moderation

Champagne toast. (Credit: iStockphoto/Carolyn De Anda)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Dec. 31, 2009) — Research from the University of Reading suggests that two glasses of champagne a day may be good for your heart and circulation. The researchers have found that drinking champagne wine daily in moderate amounts causes improvements in the way blood vessels function.

Read more ....

100 Years Ago: The Amazing Technology Of 1910

From Live Science:

The dawn of 2010 promises more amazing developments in the world of technology. Already, tourists can visit space, for a price, nearly everything and everyone is going digital, and medical science continues to test the boundaries of what makes us truly human.

One full century ago, the new technologies that had people talking were considered just as groundbreaking. Electricity led the charge of developments that were changing the way people lived every day, with transportation and chemistry not far behind.

As the clocks of 1909 ticked towards 1910, more exciting inventions were just around the corner.

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Six Wacky Robots From 2009 (photos)

From CNET:

Nurse robot Riba

What could be scarier than waking up in a hospital with a giant teddy bear robot nurse at your bedside? Perhaps a giant Hello Kitty robot nurse. But I digress.

Riba, short for Robot for Interactive Body Assistance, can lift elderly patients from wheelchairs and beds. Developers at Japan's state-run Riken research center are calling it the world's first robot to lift people in its arms.

Read more ....

Have Books Turned Their Last Page?

Watch CBS News Videos Online

From CBS News:

Industry Experts Weigh In on How the Rise of E-Readers and E-Books Will Change the Publishing World.

(CBS) The era of the physical "book" may be ending.

This holiday season, says its E-reader, the Kindle, was its most-gifted item ever. And on Christmas Day, according to, E-books actually outsold physical books on the site.

Craig Berman, vice president of global communications at, said, "The best-selling, most wished for, most gifted product across the millions of products we have on Amazon is Amazon Kindle, our wireless e-reader."

Read more ....

Advancing Through A Decade

Science shed light on mysteries of evolution, dark matter and the deep ocean.

From The BBC:

The noughties saw the discovery of key characters in the story of our own evolution, the full catalogue of the human genome and an enhanced understanding of mysterious dark matter.

The biggest physics experiment in the world switched on, broke down, and got up and running once again.

Here, some of the leading scientists at the forefront of the past decade's most significant research tell us what it all really means.

Read more ....

Obama Set to Launch Vision For NASA

From USA Today:

WASHINGTON — President Obama will chart a course for NASA within weeks, based on the advice of a handful of key advisers in the administration and Congress.

Obama, who met Dec. 16 with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, hasn't said when or how he'll announce his new policy.

The announcement likely will come by the time the president releases his fiscal 2011 budget in early February, because he must decide how much money the space agency should get.

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Concern As China Clamps Down On Rare Earth Exports

A neodymium magnet, commonly used in motors, loudspeakers and other appliances. Neodymium is a rare earth element. ALAMY

From The Independent:

Neodymium is one of 17 metals crucial to green technology. There’s only one snag – China produces 97% of the world’s supply. And they’re not selling.

Britain and other Western countries risk running out of supplies of certain highly sought-after rare metals that are vital to a host of green technologies, amid growing evidence that China, which has a monopoly on global production, is set to choke off exports of valuable compounds.

Read more ...

Cracking The Majorana Code

From New Scientist:

A brilliant but fiercely eccentric Sicilian nuclear physicist writes a string of suicide notes, then disappears. He is never seen again. Yet he was carrying his passport and enough cash to start a new life.

Were the notes a clever decoy?

For decades, João Magueijo, a professor of theoretical physics at Imperial College London, has been obsessed by the story behind Ettore Majorana's disappearance.

"He's been with me throughout my scientific career as a shadow I've never been able to shake off," Magueijo declares in the prologue to A Brilliant Darkness. And so, to lay the ghost to rest, he has conducted his own investigation.

Read more ....

Best Space Probe Photographers Of The Decade -- From Discovery News

Stuck in the Sand, But Enjoying the View -- On the other side of Mars, Opportunity's twin rover Spirit is stuck in a sand trap within Gusev Crater. Before getting stuck, Spirit had lost the use of one of its wheels and it was suffering bouts of memory loss. But it's not all bad news. While stuck, Spirit has been carrying out limited science activities, uncovering evidence for ancient water under its wheels. Image: Sunrise on Mars as witnessed by Mars Rover Spirit (NASA/JPL)

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What And When Is Death?

From The New Atlantis:

All living things die. This is not new and it has nothing to do with technology. What is new in our technological age, however, is an uncertainty about when death has come for some human beings. These human beings, as an unintended consequence of efforts to prevent death, are left suspended at its threshold. Observing them in this state of suspension, we, the living, have a very hard time knowing what to think: Is the living being still among us? Is there still a present for this person or has the long reign of the past tense begun: Is he or was he? The phenomenon is popularly known as “brain death,” but the name is misleading. Death accepts no modifiers. There is only one death. Has it occurred or not? Alive or dead?

Read more ....

Lithium-Air Batteries Could Displace Gasoline In Future Cars

Argonne researcher Lynn Trahey loads a coin-sized cell on a testing unit used to evaluate electrochemical cycling performance in batteries. (Credit: Photo by Wes Agresta / Courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Dec. 31, 2009) — In excess of seven million barrels of gasoline are consumed by vehicles in the United States every day. As scientists race to find environmentally sound solutions to fuel the world's ever-growing transportation needs, battery researchers are exploring the promise of lithium-air battery technology.

Read more ....

10 New Year's Resolutions To Keep You Alive

From Live Science:

Americans spend billions every year on a dizzying array of health schemes, but much of that money goes toward treatments and pills that do little if any good, or that mask underlying health issues by alleviating symptoms temporarily.

Meanwhile, some of the best approaches to health care are cheap and within your grasp, if only you can find the will to make some lifestyle changes.

If you're searching for a good New Year's resolution, here are 10 to pick from, along with the scientific reasons why you may want to actually keep them.

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Britain Facing One Of The Coldest Winters In 100 Years, Experts Predict

Parts of Scotland have had snowcover for nearly three weeks

From The Telegraph:

Britain is bracing itself for one of the coldest winters for a century with temperatures hitting minus 16 degrees Celsius, forecasters have warned.

They predicted no let up in the freezing snap until at least mid-January, with snow, ice and severe frosts dominating.

And the likelihood is that the second half of the month will be even colder.

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Ex-Googler Lee Sees Apple Tablet Debut In January

Kai-fu Lee (Credit: Google)

From CNET:

Sure, every blogger worth his salt has weighed in on the long-rumored Apple tablet that may or may not be--its possible size, shape, specs, debut date, and on and on. Now offering up a perspective on the matter is a high-profile tech industry executive, Kai-fu Lee, who until recently was the head of Google's China operations.

It seems that Lee, who's now working to foster entrepreneurship in China, wrote on his Chinese language blog earlier this week that Apple CEO Steve Jobs will be releasing a tablet PC in January, and expects to produce a voluminous 10 million in the first year, according to the IDG News Service and other media outlets.

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Twitter Co-Founder Tackles Mobile Payments

Photo: Willo O'Brien, a designer and illustrator, demonstrates Square on her iPhone in San Francisco, Dec. 18, 2009. (AP Photo/Russel A. Daniels)

From CBS News/AP:

Square's First Product Is Tiny Credit Card Terminal that Plugs into an iPhone.

Jack Dorsey revolutionized online socializing by co-founding Twitter in 2006. Now he wants to transform the way people exchange money.

Dorsey is leading a new startup called Square. Its first product resembles a cube: a tiny credit card terminal that plugs into the headphone jack of an iPhone. The goal is to make it easier to complete a credit card transaction, whether you're a street vendor selling T-shirts or an individual settling a lunch tab with a friend.

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Google Loses Canadian Groovle Domain Name Claim

From The BBC:

A Canadian company behind a search engine called has won a case filed against it by online search giant Google.

Google said the domain name used by the small business, 207 Media, was too similar to its own, but mediators the National Arbitration Forum disagreed.

In the complaint, Google asked for the judges to rule that 207 Media transfer the domain name over to it.

But three judges appointed by the forum refused the request.

They said the name was not similar enough to confuse people and the word 'groovle' was more closely linked to "groovy" or "groove" rather than Google.

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Swine Flu Less Contagious Than Other Pandemic Strains

From USA Today:

MILWAUKEE (AP) — How contagious is swine flu? Less than the novel viruses that have caused big world outbreaks in the past, new research suggests.

If someone in your home has swine flu, your odds of catching it are about one in eight, although children are twice as susceptible as adults, the study found. It is one of the first big scientific attempts to find out how much the illness spreads in homes versus at work or school, and who is most at risk.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Once In A Blue Moon ... Stargazers Savour Spectacular Lunar Eclips On New Year's Eve

I see a blue moon rising. The moon above the University of Kansas, in the U.S.

From The Daily Mail:

Stargazers seeing out 2009 were treated to a spectacular 'blue moon' last night.

Blue moons occur about once every two and a half years, which is the origin of the saying 'once in a blue moon'. Furthermore a blue moon falling precisely on December 31st is extremely unusual.

The last time it happened was in 1990, and the next time won't be until 2028.

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DNA Analysed From Early European

Photo: The ancient skeleton was unearthed in 1954 at Kostenki in Russia (Courtesy of Vladimir Gorodnyanskiy)

From the BBC:

Scientists have analysed DNA extracted from the remains of a 30,000-year-old European hunter-gatherer.

Studying the DNA of long-dead humans can open up a window into the evolution of our species (Homo sapiens).

But previous studies of this kind have been hampered by scientists' inability to distinguish between the ancient human DNA and modern contamination.

In Current Biology journal, a German-Russian team details how it was possible to overcome this hurdle.

Read more

Thursday, December 31, 2009

No Rise of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Fraction In Past 160 Years, New Research Finds

New research finds that the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades, contrary to some recent studies. (Credit: iStockphoto)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Dec. 31, 2009) — Most of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activity does not remain in the atmosphere, but is instead absorbed by the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems. In fact, only about 45 percent of emitted carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere.

However, some studies have suggested that the ability of oceans and plants to absorb carbon dioxide recently may have begun to decline and that the airborne fraction of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions is therefore beginning to increase.

Read more ....

The Volcano Tourists: Mayon Threatens To Erupt... But Officials Stunned As Snap-Happy Visitors Defy Ban To See The Eruption

Lethal: Lava cascades down the Mount Mayon volcano in 2006

From The Daily Mail:

When a volcano erupts most people take to the hills and get as far away as possible.

But officials in the Philippines have expressed their amazement at the stupidity of tourists who are flocking in their thousands to fields around a dangerous volcano so they can photograph its spectacular lava flows.

Scientists say that Mount Mayon volcano is on the brink of erupting and anyone within a five-mile radius would probably be killed by lava raining down on them if it did.

Read more ....

High-Tech Tipples: The Future Of Cocktails

Mixing up a scientific taste sensation (Image: Staff Hood Gamma)

From New Scientist:

IT WOULD be lovely to have access to chromatography," Spike Marchant tells me wistfully. As a science journalist, it's the kind of remark I expect to hear from the people I interview. But Marchant isn't a scientist, he's a bartender.

A very special breed of bartender, mind you. What Heston Blumenthal, Ferran Adrià and others have done for food, Marchant and his colleagues are aiming to do for booze. "We're not scientists but we use the ideas of scientists," says Tony Conigliaro, the creative force behind 69 Colebrook Row, a cosy cocktail bar in north London where I have come to learn about, and taste, the future of cocktails.

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Are New TSA In-Flight Restrictions Pointless?

Spaceport security was tight in the sci-fi movie Total Recall. Unfortunately, modern-day airport security doesn't have this level of scanning technology (yet) (Columbia Pictures).

From Discovery News:

On Christmas Day, Nigerian wannabe terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab set fire to his pants on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it was on its final approach to Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The fire was sparked when Abdulmutallab failed to detonate a homemade mix of explosives that were carried on board the aircraft concealed in the crotch of his underwear.

Read more ....

Blue Moon To Occur New Year's Eve


New Year's Eve brings us the second of two full moons for North Americans this month. Some almanacs and calendars assert that when two full moons occur within a calendar month, that the second full moon is called the "blue moon."

The term has a very interesting history, riddled with misconceptions and errors. More on that lower down. First, what will (and won't) happen:

The full moon that night will likely look no different than any other full moon (other than the fact that a partial eclipse will occur across most of Europe, Africa, and Asia).

Read more ....

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 Gears Up For Explosion Of 3D

Will everyone be wandering around in 3D specs?

From BBC:

If 2009 was dominated by touch technology then 2010 looks set to be the year of 3D.

3D has been one of the biggest hits of the cinemas this year and it is likely to continue its stride into other mediums during 2010, experts agree.

TV manufacturer LG wants to sell nearly half a million 3D-ready TV sets next year as the World Cup kicks off in the format.

Meanwhile laptops and games consoles are also getting a 3D makeover.

Acer has already released what it is claiming is the world's first 3D-capable laptop, and most agree it will be the first of many.

Read more ....

The World In 2020: A Glimpse Into The Future

'People were more connected than ever, accessing video, music, mail (the 'e' soon became redundant), the web, books, news (with no distinction between papers, websites or television) and magazines whenever they liked, wherever they liked'

From The Independent:

Ten years ago we thought wireless was another word for radio, Peter Mandelson's career was over – and only birds tweeted. So what will life be like a decade from now?

Society: The quiet life is just an illusion, by Julian Baggini

Britain will be a strangely optimistic place at the start of the third decade of the millennium. Strange, because the 2010s had become known as the Decade of Austerity, with its apt acronym, DOA.

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The Decade We Learned The Language Of Life

From The Guardian:

How the mapping of the 3bn letters of the human genome sparked a new age of biology that is only just beginning.

It was the decade that launched a new age of science, and it came as no surprise. Researchers had foreseen the rise of biology in the 1990s and expected nothing less than a transformation of modern medicine and giant leaps in our knowledge of life on Earth.

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Billions Face Identity Fraud Threat After Hackers Crack Secret Mobile Phone codes Read more:

Danger: There are fears half the world’s population could be left
vulnerable to crime including identity fraud

From The Daily Mail:

Billions could have their mobile phone calls intercepted and recorded after computer hackers cracked the secret code used to protect 80 per cent of the world’s users.

The code was posted on the internet by German scientist Karsten Nohl, who said he organised the breach to demonstrate the weakness of mobiles’ security measures.

He claims an eavesdropper could be listening to calls within 15 minutes with just a laptop and two network cards.

Read more ....

2009 Review: Top Videos Of The Year

From New Scientist:

The best of New Scientist's video coverage, including a tiny hovering robot, bionic penguins, software that can make home movies look professional, plasma ejections from the sun.

Read more

'Goldilocks' Zone Bigger Than Once Thought

Some scientists think we don't have to look past our own solar system to find
a world that could support life. NASA/JPL-Caltech

From Discovery News:

To find worlds within the "Goldilocks" zone, where conditions to support life are just right, look no further than our own solar system.

The holy grail for finding worlds beyond Earth that are hospitable to life has been planets just the right distance from their mother stars where liquid water can exist on the surface -- the so-called "Goldilocks" zone.

But scientists now say this elusive zone where conditions are not too hot and not too cold for life to exist is far bigger than originally thought.

Read more ....

NASA Narrows Robotic Missions To 3 Contenders

From Wired Science:

NASA on Tuesday selected three finalists to be the agency’s next cheap, robotic exploration mission. Depending on which wins, a probe will head for Venus, the moon, or a near-Earth object no later than 2018.

The latter two missions would include the return of samples, while the Venusian lander would test the planet’s composition much like the Phoenix Lander did on Mars. The NASA anointing means that the teams proposing the excursions will have some money to make more detailed plans.

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Where Did San Francisco's Sea Lions Go?

Russia Plans to Save Earth From Rogue Asteroid; ‘No Nuclear Explosions,’ Space Chief Promises (Updated)

From The Danger Room:

Vlad Putin, we’re sorry we ever made fun of you. In an interview today with Voice of Russia radio, Russia’s space agency chief said discussions would begin soon over a plan to save the world from a collision with a massive asteroid.

It’s not clear how, exactly, the Russians plan to deflect Apophis, a chunk of rock the size of two and a half soccer fields that was first discovered by astronomers in 2004. Anatoly Perminov, the space agency head, promised that there would be “no nuclear explosions” and that everything would be done “on the basis of the laws of physics.”

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The US Virtual Economy Is Set To Make Billions

Photo: Ten of the top 15 apps on Facebook are social games.

From BBC:

Virtual goods such as weapons or digital bottles of champagne traded in the US could be worth up to $5bn in the next five years, experts predict.

In Asia, sales are already around the $5bn mark and rapidly growing.

For many, virtual goods are one of the hottest trends in technology and are fuelling huge growth in the social gaming sector.

"This is just an exploding part of the gaming business right now, said venture capitalist Jeremy Liew.

"It is the most exciting area in gaming," he said.

Read more ....

Convert An Address To Latitude And Longitude

From Wired/How To Wiki:

You can pinpoint any place on Earth using a single set of coordinates: latitude and longitude.

These coordinates, often called a lat-long or latlon, look like a string of numbers. At first glance, it's confounding that anyone would take a human-readable address and turn it into a bunch of numbers that are nonsensical to most people outside the field of cartography. But once you have those numbers, you'll be able to plug them into a web map, GPS or other mapping device and find what you're looking for in an instant -- no matter where on the planet it is.

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What Happened To The Hominids Who Were Smarter Than Us?

A sketched reconstruction if the Boskop skull done in 1918. Shaded areas depict recovered bone. Courtesy the American Museum of Natural History

From Discover Magazine:

The Boskops had big eyes, child-like faces, and an average intelligence of around 150, making them geniuses among Homo sapiens.

In the autumn of 1913, two farmers were arguing about hominid skull fragments they had uncovered while digging a drainage ditch. The location was Boskop, a small town about 200 miles inland from the east coast of South Africa.

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Eight Spin-Offs From Space

Credit: NASA

From Cosmos:

SYDNEY: Sending people and high-tech robots into space is not cheap and NASA gets through vast sums of money. This financial year alone the U.S. space agency requested more than A$20 billion in funding. How do they justify the expense? One way is to highlight the many technologies developed for the space program, but which now benefit society.

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The Year In Energy

Credit: Roy Ritchie

From The Technology Review:

Liquid batteries, giant lasers, and vast new reserves of natural gas highlight the fundamental energy advances of the past 12 months.

With many renewable energy companies facing hard financial times ("Weeding Out Solar Companies"), a lot of the big energy news this year was coming out of Washington, DC, with massive federal stimulus funding for batteries and renewable energy and programs such as Energy Frontier Research Centers and Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy ("A Year of Stimulus for High Tech").

Read more ....

HMS Ark Royal Becomes First Royal Navy Ship To Sign Up To Twitter

Messages posted online includes information about a chemical training exercise, complete with images of the crew in protective suits and respirators

From The Daily Mail:

It was a Government warning to loose-lipped members of the British public during the Second World War: 'Careless Talk Costs Lives'.

The slogan was the centrepiece of a high-profile campaign to warn people about the danger of unwittingly giving titbits of valuable information to enemy sympathizers.

But it appears Royal Navy sailors today are less likely to heed the message.

Read more ....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cockroaches Offer Inspiration For Running Robots

Researchers at Oregon State University are using studies of guinea hens and other animals such as cockroaches to learn more about the mechanics of their running ability, with the goal of developing robots that can run easily over rough terrain. (Credit: Image courtesy of Oregon State University)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Dec. 29, 2009) — The sight of a cockroach scurrying for cover may be nauseating, but the insect is also a biological and engineering marvel, and is providing researchers at Oregon State University with what they call "bioinspiration" in a quest to build the world's first legged robot that is capable of running effortlessly over rough terrain.

Read more ....

The 9 Strangest News Stories Of 2009

From Live Science:

Weirdness takes many forms, and 2009 had its share of weird events. Here's a look back at the strangest news stories of the year drawn from the realms of pseudoscience, the paranormal, media hype, outright lies and the just plain strange.

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More Attacks Expected On Facebook, Twitter In 2010

From CNET News:

Social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can expect more attention from cybercriminals in 2010, according to a new report (PDF) released Tuesday by McAfee Labs. Also at risk are users of Adobe Systems products including Acrobat Reader and Flash. And move over Microsoft; the security firm predicts that Google's Chrome OS will "create another opportunity for malware writers to prey on users."

Read more ....

9 Astronomy Milestones In 2009

An artist's impression shows the smallest and fastest-orbiting exoplanet known, CoRoT-7b, which was the first known exoplanet with a density similar to that of Earth. HO / AFP - Getty Images

From MSNBC/Space:

Among the discoveries: most massive black hole and water on the moon.

This year provided plenty of cosmic eye-openers for astronomers and casual stargazers alike.

Neighborhood planets such as Mercury and Jupiter received makeovers in both a scientific and literal sense. The discovery of water on the moon and Mars provided clues to the past, not to mention hints for the future of space exploration. A class of newly-detected "Super-Earth" planets around alien stars may ultimately prove more habitable than Earth. And a growing fleet of existing, new and revived space telescopes promises another stellar year ahead.

Read more

How Algal Biofuels Lost A Decade In The Race To Replace Oil

From Wired Science:

For nearly 20 years, a government laboratory built a living, respiring library of carefully collected organisms in search of something that could grow quickly while producing something precious: oil.

But now that collection has largely been lost.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory scientists found and isolated around 3,000 species algae from construction ditches, seasonal desert ponds and briny mashes across the country in a major bioprospecting effort to find the best organisms to convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into fuel for cars.

Read more ....

Near The Edge Of The Solar System, Voyager 2 Finds Magnetic Fluff

From Discover Magazine:

After three-plus decades of exploring the gas giants, passing the orbit of Pluto, and reaching points beyond, Voyager 2 has found something interesting near the edge of the solar system: surprisingly magnetic fluff. Researchers document their findings in this week’s Nature.

Of course, this fluff isn’t made from the dust bunnies you find under your bed, the ‘Local Fluff’ (a nickname for the Local Interstellar Cloud) is a vast, wispy cloud of hot hydrogen and helium stretching 30 light-years across [Discovery News]. Astronomers already knew this fluff was out there near the boundary area between our solar system and interstellar space. What surprised them is that the fluff is much more magnetized than they’d expected.

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How To Create A Designer Baby

From Popular Mechanics:

Increasingly sophisticated genetic tests make it possible for parents to choose their baby’s traits. Here are three ways babies are born to specifications.

For just an extra few thousand dollars, women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) could one day choose to have a baby boy with perfect vision, an aptitude for sports and a virtual lock on avoiding colon cancer. Fertility clinics in the U.S. currently offer not only to screen for diseases, but also to choose gender. They are not yet offering any further customization, but that could change as genetic mapping gets faster and easier.

Read more ....

The Lithium Rush

From Technology Review:

In the Bolivian Andes lies a vast salt flat that may shape the future of transportation.

Nearly four kilometers above sea level in the Bolivian Andes lies the Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat. But there is more to this ­surreal, moonlike landscape than meets the eye. Flowing in salt-water ­channels beneath the surface is the world's largest supply of lithium--and, possibly, the future of transportation. Lithium is the key ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries that will power the electric vehicles that will soon be rolling off production lines worldwide. Demand for the metal is expected to double in the next 10 years, and Bolivia, with an untapped resource estimated at nine million tons by the U.S. Geological Survey, is being called a potential "Saudi Arabia of lithium."

Read more ....

Top Scientists Share Their Future Predictions

Neo (Keanu Reeves) in a still from The Matrix

From Times Online:

From virtual brains and Matrix-like thought connections to disease-making bacteria, what the next decade could bring.

Nothing much is going to happen in the next 10 years. Of course, that’s not counting the diesel-excreting bacteria, the sequencing of your entire genome for $1,000, massive banks of frozen human eggs, space tourism, the identification of dark matter, widespread sterilisation of young adults, telepathy, supercomputer models of our brains, the discovery of life’s origins, maybe the disappearance of Bangladesh and certainly the loss of 247m acres of tropical forest.

As I said, just another decade really.

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Would You Be Happy To Take The 'Naked' Body Scan?

From The Daily Mail:

Fears over airport security could leave millions of passengers facing the indignity of a 'naked' body scan and paying higher fares to fund it.

Hi-tech body scanners can see through clothes to detect hidden weapons or explosives such as those used in the failed Christmas Day plot.

Read more ....

A Decade Of Scientific Discovery

Dr Henry Gee, Senior Editor at Nature Magazine, holding the only cast of the Homo Floresiensis
Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith

From The Telegraph:

What were the most exciting scientific developments of the past 10 years – and what comes next?

Colin Blakemore - Professor of Neuroscience at the Universities of Oxford and Warwick and president of the Motor Neurone Disease Association

"My scientific moment of the last decade came on February 12, 2001, when the journal Nature published the 'working draft' of the entire three-billion-letter sequence of human DNA. One third of that massively expensive international enterprise – comparable in its significance to splitting the atom, or discovering radioactivity – was produced at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, near Cambridge.

Read more ....

Why Some Continue To Eat When Full: Researchers Find Clues

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Dec. 28, 2009) — The premise that hunger makes food look more appealing is a widely held belief -- just ask those who cruise grocery store aisles on an empty stomach, only to go home with a full basket and an empty wallet.

Prior research studies have suggested that the so-called hunger hormone ghrelin, which the body produces when it's hungry, might act on the brain to trigger this behavior. New research in mice by UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists suggest that ghrelin might also work in the brain to make some people keep eating "pleasurable" foods when they're already full.

Read more ....

Why Men Cheat: A Year Of Philandering

Photo: Tiger Woods and Wife

From Live Science:

Like years past, this one has been a whopper for high-profile philanderers. Psychologists aren't surprised, as guys are wired to want sex, a lot, and are more likely than gals to cheat. The behavior may be particularly likely for men with power, researchers say, though they point out that despite the genetic propensity to sleep around, cheating remains a choice, not a DNA-bound destiny.

The list of powerful individuals whose marital transgressions came out this year includes Tiger Woods, David Letterman, former senator John Edwards and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

Read more ....

Flying Blind: The Disappearance Of Flight 188

From Slate:

You've heard of planes that vanished into thin air? Here's a truer, scarier story: On Oct. 21, 2009, two pilots flying from San Diego to Minneapolis vanished into cyberspace.

Their plane was fine. Ground controllers tracked it the whole time. The passengers and flight attendants in the main cabin noticed nothing unusual. And the pilots' bodies stayed planted in their seats as though they were flying the aircraft. But they weren't flying it. Their minds had been sucked into a pair of laptops.

Read more ....

War Is Peace: Can Science Fight Media Disinformation?

From Scientific American:

In the 24/7 Internet world, people make lots of claims. Science provides a guide for testing them.

When I saw the statement repeated online that theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking of the University of Cambridge would be dead by now if he lived in the U.K. and had to depend on the National Health Service (he, of course, is alive and working in the U.K., where he always has), I reflected on something I had written a dozen years ago, in one of my first published commentaries:

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