Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mars Orbiter Back Up And Running Again Following Computer Glitch

This artist's concept of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter from 2006 features the spacecraft's main bus facing down, toward the red planet. The large silver circular feature above the spacecraft bus is the high-gain antenna, the spacecraft's main means of communicating with both Earth and other spacecraft. NASA/JPL

From Christian Science Monitor:

Mars orbiter spontaneously rebooted itself and stopped gathering information last week. However, last Saturday, the Mars orbiter began collecting data again and appears to be back on track, high above the Red Planet.

A powerful NASA spacecraft around Mars has bounced back yet again Saturday, resuming its study of the Red Planet three days after a recurring computer glitch temporarily waylaid its mission.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter started gathering science data again on Sept. 18, NASA officials announced. On Sept. 15, the orbiter put itself into precautionary "safe mode" — a sort of spacecraft hibernation — after spontaneously rebooting for unknown reasons.

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Mankind's First Genocide?

An archaeologist uncovers a skeleton from the Uruk colony's remains. Was this person killed by his/her own people? Photo courtesy Professor Clemens Reichel

New Discoveries Hint At 5,500 Year Old Fratricide At Hamoukar, Syria -- The Independent

Five years ago, archaeologists found the “earliest evidence for large scale organized warfare in the Mesopotamian world.” Using slings and clay bullets a – likely Uruk – army took over the city of Hamoukar, burning it down in the process. Now, new discoveries at a nearby settlement shed more light on the 3500 BC battle – and raise more questions. If the invading army was from Uruk, did they kill their own people? If so, why?

Hamoukar is a city that flourished in northern Syria since at least 4000 BC. They traded in obsidian and in later times copper working became increasingly important to the city’s economy. Thousands of clay sealings – once used to lock doors or containers and impressed with stamp seals – were found at the ancient site. They tell of a bureaucratic system that was almost as complex as our own.

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NASA Budget Likely to Remain In Limbo Until After Election Day, Lawmakers Say

To the Launch Pad Space Shuttle Discovery crawled toward Launch Pad A this week, preparing for its final flight in November. via Flickr/ forthebirds (CC licensed)

From Popular Science:

Apparently, space doesn’t sell in an election year. Lawmakers are saying Congress is unlikely to make any spending decisions about NASA until after November 2, according to several reports.

Congress has been debating the space agency’s future in fits and starts since the beginning of the year, when President Obama first proposed shifting its priorities. Lawmakers balked at his plans and offered their own budget suggestions, which have been bandied about through the summer. Still, competing House and Senate bills remain in play, and they’re unlikely to get resolved in the next two weeks, when Congress goes on fall break to concentrate on the midterm elections.

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Scientists Develop New 'Photonic' Chip That Could Make Quantum Computers A Reality

Image: Quantum computers will be able to conduct far more complex calculations than current computers

From The Daily Mail:

Scientists have developed a computer chip that could pave the way for a new generation of powerful 'quantum' computers.

The photonic chip, built by scientists from Bristol’s Centre for Quantum Photonics, uses light rather than electricity to pass information.

The breakthrough could lead to 'quantum' computers capable of performing complex calculations and simulations that are impossible for today's computers.

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Aurora Saturnalis: Halos At The Poles Of The Ringed Planet

From New Scientist:

Saturn was already the solar system's undisputed lord of the rings. Now newly processed images from the Cassini spacecraft are revealing previously unseen halos of infrared auroral light above the planet's poles.

Auroras on Saturn form like those on Earth, when charged particles in the solar wind stream down the planet's magnetic field towards its poles, where they excite gas in the upper atmosphere to glow. Some auroras on the ringed planet are also triggered when some of its moons, which are electrically conducting, move through the charged gas surrounding Saturn.

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Malaria Passed From Gorillas To Humans

The parasite passes from one human to another via a female Anopheles mosquito which hands it on when the insect takes a blood meal. Hemera

From Discovery News:

The parasite that causes the most lethal strain of malaria among humans crossed the species barrier from gorillas, scientists reported on Wednesday.

Plasmodium falciparum is the deadliest of the five known strains of malaria parasites, causing several hundred million cases each year, of which around a million are fatal.

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LHC Finds 'Interesting Effects'

From The BBC:

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider say they are getting some fascinating early results as they get set to probe new areas of physics.

The giant machine on the Franco-Swiss border is studying the fundamental nature of matter by smashing together proton particles at near light-speed.

Its CMS detector is reported to have seen "new and interesting effects".

These effects concern the particular paths taken by the debris particles as they move away from the impacts.

Read more ....

Friday, September 24, 2010

Groundwater Depletion Rate Accelerating Worldwide

Global map of groundwater depletion, measured in cubic meters of water per year. (Credit: Image courtesy of American Geophysical Union)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (Sep. 23, 2010) — In recent decades, the rate at which humans worldwide are pumping dry the vast underground stores of water that billions depend on has more than doubled, say scientists who have conducted an unusual, global assessment of groundwater use.

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Hard-Hitting Sports Hold Dangers For Teen Athletes

More teen football players are going to the emergency room for concussions. Credit: M. Pappas.

From Live Science:

West Orange, Texas, high school football player Reggie Garrett had just thrown his second touchdown pass of the game Friday night when he jogged to the sidelines, gave a coach a low-five and collapsed.

Just over an hour later, doctors at Memorial Hermann Baptist Orange Hospital declared the 17-year-old senior dead.

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How To Do (Almost) Everything With A Kindle 3

Photo of third-generation Kindle. Courtesy

From Gadget Lab:

Amazon’s Kindle can do a lot more than just buy and read Amazon-sold e-books. This is often a surprise. I usually wind up in conversations where someone says “I’d like to try a Kindle, but it can’t _______.” Usually, it can.

I was actually surprised when I bought my Kindle not just by how much it could do, but by how well it did it. The Kindle suffers from two things: 1) it’s never going to do everything that a full-fledged computer or even a color touchscreen tablet can do; and 2) the Kindle 3 has improved on a whole slew of features that were either poorly implemented in or entirely absent from earlier iterations of the Kindle.

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Neandertals Blasted Out Of Existence, Archaeologists Propose

TRINKETS OF SURVIVAL Human-made items, such as these pendants fashioned from animals' teeth, appeared in a Russian cave shortly after volcanic eruptions around 40,000 years ago wiped out Neandertal populations in the area, researchers say.Golovanova et al.

From Science News:

Modern humans may have thrived thanks to geographic luck, not wits.

Neandertals didn’t get dumped on prehistory’s ash heap — it got dumped on them. At least three volcanic eruptions about 40,000 years ago devastated Neandertals’ western Asian and European homelands, spurring a rapid demise of these humanlike hominids, says a team led by archaeologist Liubov Golovanova of the ANO Laboratory of Prehistory in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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Air Force's Space-Based Surveillance Satellite Launches Tomorrow, To Scan For Space Junk

Space Debris NASA

From Popular Science:

A massive collection of spacecraft parts, dead satellites, and spent rocket stages circle high above the Earth in a sort of “floating landfill.” According to recent estimates, about 4 million pounds of space junk currently orbit the Earth, including some 20,000 pieces of debris larger than 10 centimeters.

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BlackBerry Maker 'To Unveil 'BlackPad' Tablet To Take On iPad Next Week'

The Blackpad has not been officially released yet but some technology bloggers say these pictures are what it is likely to look like

From The Daily Mail:

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) is set to unveil its version of a tablet computer to take on the iPad next week, it was claimed today.

The BlackPad, as it has been nicknamed, will be launched before the end of the year and will have a seven-inch touch screen and at least one built-in camera, a source told the Wall Street Journal.

And it is claimed that RIM will unveil the device at a developers' conference in San Francisco next week.

Read more ....

Robots On TV: Rescue Bot Knows, Um, What You Mean

From New Scientist:

A robot that can understand plain English and manage a complicated to-do list could soon be the hero of search and rescue missions.

Most robots that can recognise speech only respond to pre-determined instructions. For example, some powered wheelchairs respond to spoken directions, but only when certain words are spoken clearly. In the real world, that's not how humans communicate. Our speech is peppered with "disfluencies" – the "umms", "ahs" and stutters of everyday language. If we want to successfully speak to robots in real-life situations – such as search and rescue missions, where noise and stress might get in the way of clarity – robots need to understand these complications.

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Mars Methane Mystery: What's Making The Gas?

This image shows concentrations of Methane discovered on Mars. Click to enlarge this image. NASA

From Discovery News:

Methane in Mars' atmosphere lasts less than a year meaning something -- either geologic or biological -- keeps belching it out.

A six-year study of methane in Mars' atmosphere shows the planet is far from dead, though whether it is merely geologically active or host to microbial life is unknown.

An Italy-based team of researchers combed through billions of measurements taken by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor to compile seasonal maps of the gas, a simple chemical compound that appears in minute quantities in Mars' carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere.

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Artificial Human Brain Being Built In A Lab

Credit: Wikimedia

From Cosmos:

BIRMINGHAM: Researchers have developed an artificial bit of human brain to help them study Alzheimer's and other diseases, a huge improvement over animal models.

Mike Coleman and his team from Aston University, Birmingham, have developed artificial brain tissue that responds to some chemicals like human brains do. Their findings were presented at the British Festival of Science in Birmingham.

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Neandertals Were Able To 'Develop Their Own Tools'

From The BBC:

Neanderthals were keen on innovation and technology and developed tools all on their own, scientists say.

A new study challenges the view that our close relatives could advance only through contact with Homo sapiens.

The team says climate change was partly responsible for forcing Neanderthals to innovate in order to survive.

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Watch And Learn How Music Videos Are Triggering A Literacy Boom

A group of people watched television at a slum in Gulbai Tekra, an area in the city of Ahmedabad in India. (Jaydeep Bhatt)


Tiny, sun-soaked Khodi on the western coast of India’s Gujarat state is the kind of village where cattle still plough the fields and women fill clay pots with water from the village well. In the past few years, however, the town has been changing: Thatched mud huts are slowly giving way to sturdy, single-story concrete blocks; farmers conduct their business on cellphones. The state buses, which until a decade ago were only filled with men, are now crammed with women. Enrollment in the local school has soared.

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Ocean Cooling Contributed to Mid-20th Century Global Warming Hiatus

Iceberg in the icefjord near the city of Ilulissat in Greenland. While the temperature drop was evident in data from all Northern Hemisphere oceans, it was most pronounced in the northern North Atlantic, a region of the world ocean thought to be climatically dynamic. (Credit: iStockphoto/Anders Peter Amsn├Žs)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (Sep. 23, 2010) — The hiatus of global warming in the Northern Hemisphere during the mid-20th century may have been due to an abrupt cooling event centered over the North Atlantic around 1970, rather than the cooling effects of tropospheric pollution, according to a new paper appearing Sept. 22 in Nature.

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Itsy Bitsy Spider's Web 10 Times Stronger Than Kevlar

The web of the Darwin's bark spider (Caerostris darwini), can span some square feet (2.8 square meters) and is attached to each riverbank by anchor threads as long as 82 feet (25 meters). Credit: Matjaz Kuntner.

From Live Science:

Scientists have found the toughest material made by life yet — the silk of a spider whose giant webs span rivers, streams and even lakes.

Spider silks were already the toughest known biomaterials, able to absorb massive amounts of energy before breaking. However, researchers have now revealed the Darwin's bark spider (Caerostris darwini) has the toughest silk ever seen — more than twice as tough as any previously described silk, and more than 10 times stronger than Kevlar.

Read more ....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Amazing Sight in the South Pacific


A yacht was traveling in the south Pacific when the crew came across a weird sight. Look at these photos and try to imagine the thrill of experiencing this phenomenon.

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Editor's Note

Updating my computers, regular blogging will resume tomorrow.

How Change of Seasons Affects Animals and Humans

The equinox, on Wednesday evening, marks the beginning of fall and less daylight for the Northern Hemisphere. The change can have profound effects on animals and is also partially responsible for fall foliage. Credit: Dreamstime.

From Live Science:

Tomorrow (Sept. 22) at 11:09 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, the center of the sun will cross Earth's equator, marking the autumnal equinox, and the start of fall in the Northern Hemisphere.

For a brief period, days and nights around the world each last close to 12 hours (day and night are not exactly equal, as the term “equinox” is meant to imply). Then, as the Earth continues its path around the sun, days become shorter and nights lengthen, with the change becoming more pronounced in the higher latitudes, but remaining nonexistent at the equator.

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Boeing Wins Bid to Build Vulture, The Solar Spyplane That Stays Aloft For Five Years

SolarEagle Boeing's SolarEagle will fly continuously for five years under DARPA's Vulture II program. Boeing

From Popular Science:

Boeing’s spyplane development wing won an $89 million contract this week to build the SolarEagle unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, designed to fly continuously for five years at 65,000 feet.

As the winner of Darpa’s Vulture II program, the plane really only has to fly for one to three months by 2014, however.

Read more ....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Black Strings: Black Holes With Extra Dimensions

Five-dimensional black strings evolve into black holes connected by black string filaments, in this computer simulation. Credit: Pretorius/Lehner

From Live Science:

Meet the Bizarro universe version of a black hole: a black string.

These hypothetical objects might form if our universe has hidden extra dimensions beyond the three of space and one of time that we can see, scientists say. A new study of five-dimensional black strings offers a glimpse into how these strange objects might evolve over time – if indeed they exist at all.

Read more ....

Germany's North Sea Wind Turbines Attracting Sea Strangers

An aerial view of the offshore energy park Alpha Ventus in the North Sea, about 45 kilometres (27 miles) north of the island of Borkum, April 27, 2010. "Alpha Ventus," the first German wind park in the North Sea, has become home to a new biotope. On the foundations of the turbines, which began operating this spring, scientists have found oysters, crabs, sea anemones, and mussels. (Ingo Wagner/Pool/Reuters)

From ABC News/Spiegel Online:

A slew of non-native marine species have made their home on the Alpha Ventus wind turbines off the German coast in the North Sea. Scientists say the oysters and crabs, among others, have not affected the structures.

"Alpha Ventus," the first German wind park in the North Sea, has become home to a new biotope. On the foundations of the turbines, which began operating this spring, scientists have found oysters, crabs, sea anemones, and mussels.

Read more ....

The Pill At 50: Maybe Not The Best Birth Control For 2010

The birth control pill's simplicity helped it beat out competition - diaphragms, timed intercourse - in 1960. But today having to take a pill daily is a major shortcoming. TIM MATSUI / Getty Images

From Philadelphia Inquirer:

The Pill turned 50 this year. Is it aging gracefully?

There's no doubt that it revolutionized contraception after Food and Drug Administration approval in 1960. It offered women a safe, effective way to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Women chose it over less reliable methods such as timed intercourse and the diaphragm.

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Reprogrammable Card Can Be Many Credit Cards In One

Card 2.0 The Multi-Account credit card lets you toggle between different accounts at the same bank. Dynamics Inc.

From Popular Science:

A pair of new computerized credit cards can re-program their own magnetic stripes and hide their account numbers, providing added security for bank customers who don’t want to carry lots of plastic inside RFID-proof metal wallets.

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Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin

Exercise has been shown to be ineffective when it comes to losing weight – dieting is a better route Photograph: Getty

From The Guardian:

Got a few pounds to lose? Cancel the gym membership. An increasing body of research reveals that exercise does next to nothing for you when it comes to losing weight. A result for couch potatoes, yes, but also one that could have serious implications for the government's long-term health strategy

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Steve Jobs In Email Pissing Match With College Journalism Student

From Gawker:

Steve Jobs is known for replying to random emails sent to his personal Apple email address. Well, a college journalism student from Long Island emailed him about a problem she had with Apple's PR department. Jobs' response? "Leave us alone."

Long Island University senior Chelsea Kate Isaacs, 22, emailed Jobs Thursday with a complaint: Her journalism professor had assigned her a story on a new initiative at her college to buy iPads for all incoming students. She wanted to get a quote from Apple about the use of iPads in academic settings. But when she repeatedly called Apple's PR department, leaving six voice messages, they never got back to her.

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Brain Matter Linked To Introspective Thinking

Views of the inflated cortical surface showing areas of brain grey matter correlating with introspective accuracy. Credit: Science/AAAS

From Cosmos:

WASHINGTON: People with a greater capacity for introspection have more grey matter in certain regions of their brains, according to a recent study.

Comparing the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans from the brains of 32 research subjects, scientists established a link between introspective ability and the size and structure of a small area of the anterior prefrontal cortex - the part of the brain associated with ‘higher-thinking’ skills.

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The Water Of Life: A Small World With Huge Potential

Frozen assets: icy geysers from the south polar region of Enceladus. AFP / Getty Images

From The Independent:

In the icy oceans of Enceladus, one of Saturn's tiny moons, scientists believe that there is proof that aliens exist. So why are there no plans to return to this mysterious miniature world?

In the future, swooping low over a lonely ice-moon of distant Saturn, an unmanned spacecraft will manoeuvre carefully, for it will be in a fragile orbit around a small world of feeble gravity.

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How Should San Francisco Plan For Sea-Level Rise?

BAY CITY: Sea-level rise due to climate change may imperil coastal development.
Mila Zinkova, courtesy WikiCommons

From Scientific American:

A 1,400-acre swath of salt flats along the western edge of San Francisco Bay has become the latest site for a development dispute that promises to become increasingly common in coastal U.S. cities: Whether new waterside growth makes sense when sea levels are rising.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.—A 1,400-acre swath of salt flats along the western edge of San Francisco Bay has become the latest site for a development dispute that promises to become increasingly common in coastal U.S. cities: Whether new waterside growth makes sense when sea levels are rising.

Read more ....

Incredible Pictures Of New York City At Night

On the front: The cover of Hawkes' book New York At Night. The 43-year-old spent 15 weeks putting his collection together

New York By Night: British Photographer's Astounding Scenes Of The Big Apple... Taken From The Open Door Of A Helicopter -- The Daily Mail

It is one of the most distinctive skylines on Earth.

But cloaked in a blanket of darkness, New York's numerous landmarks take on an almost ethereal quality.

Captured at night from around 1,000ft above the ground, these spectacular aerial images offer a striking portrait of one of the world's most vibrant cities, showing it as it has rarely been seen before.

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Pope's Astronomer Would Baptize Aliens

Will Smith delivered an alien baby in the movie "Men in Black." But would he baptize it? Amblin Entertainment

From FOX News:

One of the pope’s astronomers would happily baptize an alien if asked -- “no matter how many tentacles it has.”

Guy Consolmagno, a trained astronomer and planetary scientist at the Vatican’s observatory, discussed a slew of topics at the British Science Festival in Birmingham last weekend, noting that the Vatican was more up to date with the latest scientific developments than most realized.

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Penn Study Shows Why Sleep Is Needed To Form Memories

From Science Codex:

PHILADELPHIA – If you ever argued with your mother when she told you to get some sleep after studying for an exam instead of pulling an all-nighter, you owe her an apology, because it turns out she's right. And now, scientists are beginning to understand why.

In research published this week in Neuron, Marcos Frank, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, postdoctoral researcher Sara Aton, PhD, and colleagues describe for the first time how cellular changes in the sleeping brain promote the formation of memories.

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Sharks Photographed Eating A Whale

Great white shark feeding on a dead Bryde's Whale off Seal Island, Cape, South Africa Photo: ALISON KOCK / SPECIALIST STOCK / BARCROFT MEDIA

From The Telegraph:

Incredible pictures have caught the moment that several Great White Sharks ate a dead whale.

The Great White was seen feeding on a dead Bryde's Whale on September 11, 2010 in Seal Island, Cape, South Africa.

Almost 30 sharks took the opportunity to have lunch when they spotted the whale, giving animal lovers and wildlife experts an extraordinary insight into their feeding behaviours.

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RIM Readies Its Answer To iPad

From The Wall Street Journal:

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. could unveil its new tablet computer—as well as the operating system that will power it—as early as next week at a developers' conference in San Francisco, said people familiar with RIM's plans.

The tablet, which some inside RIM are calling the BlackPad, is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of this year, these people said. It will feature a seven-inch touch screen and one or two built-in cameras, they said.

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Secrets Of Apple's Customer Success

Photo: The Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City is one of the company's flagship stores in terms of both customer traffic and architecture and design. (Credit: Marguerite Reardon/CNET)

From CNET:

Hardware manufacturers liberally take cues from Apple products, so why not its approach to customers?

For the seventh straight year, Apple has topped its competitors in the PC industry in the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), achieving a score of 86 out of 100. Its Apple's highest ranking since the annual survey began in 1995.

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Feds’ Requests For Google Data Rise 20 Percent

From Threat Level:

The number of U.S. government requests for Google data rose 20 percent in the last six months, according to data released by the search giant Monday.

U.S. government agencies sent Google 4,287 requests for data on Google users and services from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2010, an average of 23.5 a day. That’s compared to 3,287 for July 1 to Dec. 31, 2009, the company reported Tuesday in an update to its unique transparency tool.

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Twitter Users Including Sarah Brown Hit By Malicious Hacker Attack

An example of the "mouseover" code exploit being used on Twitter: this example is harmless but many others are not. Source:

From The Guardian:

Bug in new-look site exploited to redirect viewers on if they just hover over a link - but users of third-party software are safe (updated)

Update: the flaw has been fixed, and Twitter now says it is safe to use again.

Sarah Brown is among thousands of Twitter users who have been hit by malicious use of a security flaw in the redesigned Twitter site.

The wife of the former prime minister Gordon Brown, who has more than a million followers on Twitter, unknowingly sent a link which contained malicious code that would redirect anyone who moved their mouse over it - but didn't click it - to a Japanese hard-core pornography site.

Read more ....

Britain Vulnerable To Space Nuclear Attack Or 'Solar Flare' Storm, Conference Told

Dr Fox highlighted warnings from scientists that essential infrastructure such as satellites, could be paralysed by a once-in-a-century solar flare. Photo: NASA

From The Telegraph:

Rogue states such as North Korea and Iran could use nuclear weapons to attack Britain’s vital communications and electricity networks from space, a security conference heard.

In a stark warning, Dr Liam Fox warned countries that sought nuclear capabilities could attack Britain from the upper atmosphere instead of through more traditional “nuclear strikes”.

Read more ....

Video: Spanish Designer Demonstrates Spray-On Clothing

From Popular Science:

High fashion meets high tech with this new spray-on clothing designed by a Spanish fashionisto. The design team also hopes to use the technology for spray-on bandages and hygienic upholstery.

Manel Torres worked with scientists at Imperial College London to invent the silly-string-like spray, announced just in time for Fashion Week.

Read more ....

Six Ways That Artists Hack Your Brain

From New Scientist:

Since humankind first put brush to canvas, artists have played with the mind and the senses to create sublime atmospheres and odd impressions. It is only recently, with a blossoming understanding of the way the brain deconstructs images, that neuroscientists and psychologists have finally begun to understand how these tricks work.

Read more ....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hot Atmosphere Of Venus Might Cool Interior Of Earth’s Sister Planet

Temperature distribution within Venus and local mobilization at the surface. (Credit: DLR)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (Sep. 21, 2010) — The heat in the atmosphere of Venus, induced from a strong greenhouse warming, might actually have a cooling effect on the planet's interior. This counter-intuitive theory is based on calculations from a new model presented at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) in Rome.

Read more ....

Kids Who Own Dogs Are More Active

From Live Science:

When little Johnny or Molly asks for a puppy for their birthday, parents may want to give in. New research in England suggests children whose families own dogs are more active than those without a furry friend running around.

The research could have implications for childhood obesity in the United States, where 17 percent of 2- to 19-year-olds are obese, according to a 2007-2008 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among 6- to 19-year-olds, obesity has tripled over the past two decades, according to the CDC.

Read more ....

10 Bizarre Locations & Unsolved Mysteries

From The List Blog:

Many strange and unexplained events have occurred in modern history.
These events are often based around an unsolved murder, bizarre
landmark, unexplained attack, or archeological discovery. This list will be
examining some bizarre locations and unsolved mysteries.

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Twitter: The New Stage For Hacker Hijinks

Among the many Twitter pages found to be spreading a worm this morning was the Whitehouse. (Credit: Websense Labs)

From CNET:

Generating a news frenzy usually reserved for Apple product launches, pranksters turned Twitter into wormville this morning. The fast-spreading exploits proved two things: Twitter is undoubtedly now a mainstream service, and it's joined the ranks of big-time tech companies as a target for hackers.

Security experts interviewed by CNET say the messaging service has done a fair job of protecting itself so far, but will have to be more careful with its coding if it wants to be trusted for news aggregation, integration on corporate sites, and as a useful international communication tool.

Read more ....

Life On Earth May Have Had An Icy Start

From The Danger Room:

Tracks in ice could have served as a safe environment — much like a cell — for the first life on Earth to replicate and evolve.

A new study adds plausibility to the ‘RNA World’ hypothesis that argues life began with a single stranded molecule capable of self-replication.

Read more ....

A Miracle! Science Claims It Has Figured Out How Sea Was Parted For Israelites

Charlton Heston as Moses in Cecil B DeMille's film The Ten Commandments (1956). Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext/Paramount

From The Guardian:

Researchers reconstruct wind and wave combinations that could have produced dry path across sea described in Exodus.

It was a miracle of the ages, the parting of the Red Sea for the Israelites. Now modern science is claiming a feat that if true is almost as miraculous – figuring out how Moses may have done it and where.

Read more ....

Earth And Moon 'Bombarded With Large Asteroids 3.9bn Years Ago'

A lunar topographic map of the Moon Photo: NASA

From The Telegraph:

Any life which may have existed on Earth 3.9 billion years ago would have been wiped out in a devastating asteroid strike, new analysis of Moon craters indicates.

Earth and its satellite were bombarded with large asteroids during the solar system’s “turbulent youth”, striking new topographical maps show.

The impacts would have been powerful enough to evaporate any water on our planet and destroy any early organisms.

Read more ....

Graceful, Slim HRP-4 Humanoid Robot Unveiled; Destined for Menial Labor

Work It As its brother the HRP-2 looks on in the background, Japan's new humanoid robot, HRP-4, shows off its moves. Kawada Industries via YouTube

From Popular Science:

Japan’s newest RoboCop-looking humanoid robot practices yoga, tracks faces and objects and, in what seems to be a robo-requirement these days, pours drinks.

The industrial HRP-4 robot was designed to coexist with people, and its “thin athlete” frame is meant to be more appealing, according to Kawada Industries, which built the robot with Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.

Read more ....

Kazakhstan To Join Russia-Ukraine Space Program

Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Klyuyev. © RIA Novosti. Grigoriy Vasilenko

From RIA Novosti:

Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Russia will work together as part of the Cosmotrans space cooperation project, Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Andriy Klyuyev said on Thursday.

The project provides for the joint use of Kazakhstan's Baikonur space center.

Kazakhstan and Ukraine signed a space cooperation agreement during Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's recent visit to Ukraine.

Read more