Saturday, January 29, 2011

Will The U.S. Get An "Internet Kill Switch"?

After Egypt, Will U.S. Get 'Internet Kill Switch'? -- PC Magazine

With reports of Egypt's government completing shutting down the Internet in the country, talk about an "Internet kill switch" bill in the U.S. has reemerged. Could it happen here?

The bill in question is the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, a cyber-security measure introduced in June by Sen. Joseph Lieberman. It was an over-arching cyber-security measure that, among other things, would create an office of cyberspace policy within the White House and a new cyber-security center within the Homeland Security Department.

Read more ....

More News On The Possibility Of The U.S. Developing And Installing An "Internet Kill Switch"

Internet ‘Kill Switch’ Legislation Back in Play -- Threat Level
Zombie internet 'kill switch' bill back to haunt the Senate -- Washington Examiner
How Governments Flip the Internet’s Kill Switch -- New York Magazine
So how do you shut off a whole nation's Internet? -- MSNBC
Could Egypt Happen Here? Obama's Internet "Kill Switch" -- Fast Company
Internet Kill Switch: Should the United States Emulate Egypt? -- Aol News
What Could Possibly Go Wrong: An Internet "Off" Switch -- Popular Science
Tunisia, Egypt, Miami: The Importance of Internet Choke Points -- The Atlantic
Egypt's 'Net Shutdown a Wakeup Call for Companies -- PC World

Hidden Chambers In The Great Pyramids

One theory suggests that the Great Pyramid had been built inside-out using an internal spiral ramp, as opposed to an external ramp as had long been suggested. Corbis

Great Pyramid May Hold Two Hidden Chambers -- Discovery News

A 3-D simulation of the 4,500-year-old structure suggests an ancient secret lies beneath the desert sand.

* Two secret chamber housing funereal furniture were discovered at the Great Pyramid of Giza.
* The furniture was intended for use in the afterlife by the pharaoh Khufu, also known as Cheops in Greek.

Read more ....

My Comment: If true .... I could only imagine the treasures inside.

The Future Of Wine

Grapes on the Vine in Mendocino, Calif. Hot Ash via Wikimedia

The Future Of Wine: We Need New Breeds Of Grape -- Popular Science

When news broke last week that archaeologist had unearthed a 6,000-year-old winemaking operation in an Armenian cave, many took it as occasion to pat ourselves on the backs—after all, it’s proof that early humans were more civilized than previously thought, evolved creatures that we are. Unfortunately, in the intervening years our grapes haven’t evolved much at all, leaving our winemaking varieties—most of which have been developed from a single species—extremely susceptible to disease and pathogens.

Read more ....

Friday, January 28, 2011

When Did The Dinosaurs Exactly Die Off?

U of A researcher Larry Heaman with the actual fossil that now throws into questions the KT paradigm. He is sitting in front the laser ablation machine. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Alberta)

Dinosaurs Survived Mass Extinction by 700,000 Years, Fossil Find Suggests -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Jan. 27, 2011) — University of Alberta researchers determined that a fossilized dinosaur bone found in New Mexico confounds the long established paradigm that the age of dinosaurs ended between 65.5 and 66 million years ago.

The U of A team, led by Larry Heaman from the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, determined the femur bone of a hadrosaur as being only 64.8 million years old. That means this particular plant eater was alive about 700,000 years after the mass extinction event many paleontologists believe wiped all non-avian dinosaurs off the face of earth, forever.

Read more ....

My Comment: More evidence is needed .... but it raises a lot of questions.

Drinking In Ancient Greece

Photo: This terra cotta cup was a "designer knock off" with a pattern meant to emulate silver work. This type of cup appeared as people sought escape from harsh economic and social realities, according to Kathleen Lynch, an archeologist with the University of Cincinnati. Courtesy of the excavations of the Athenian Agora

In Vino Veritas: Wine Cups Tell History of Athenian Life -- Live Science

Over centuries, the ancient Athenian cocktail parties went full circle, from a practice reserved for the elite to one open to everyone and then, by the fourth century B.C., back to a luxurious display of consumption most could not afford.

The wine cups used during these gatherings, called symposia, reflect this story, according to Kathleen Lynch, a University of Cincinnati professor of classics.

Read more ....

My Comment:
Drink and merry .... what more can I say.

Lack Of Diversity In Grapes Raises Concerns

(Click on Image To Enlarge)

Lack Of Sex Among Grapes Tangles A Family Vine -- New York Times

For the last 8,000 years, the wine grape has had very little sex. This unnatural abstinence threatens to sap the grape’s genetic health and the future pleasure of millions of oenophiles.

The lack of sex has been discovered by Sean Myles, a geneticist at Cornell University. He developed a gene chip that tests for the genetic variation commonly found in grapes. He then scanned the genomes of the thousand or so grape varieties in the Department of Agriculture’s extensive collection.

Much to his surprise he found that 75 percent of the varieties were as closely related as parent and child or brother and sister. “Previously people thought there were several different families of grape,” Dr. Myles said. “Now we’ve found that all those families are interconnected and in essence there’s just one large family.”

Read more ....

My Comment: Yup .... I need a drink.

Another Look At Thunderstorms

Here the terrestrial gamma ray flash (pink) is 1.98 milliseconds old, and its electron(yellow) /positron(green) beam is reaching altitudes where it may intercept spacecraft, such as NASA's Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope. Credit: NASA

Thunderstorms Create Beams Of Antimatter -- Cosmos

SYDNEY: A space-based telescope has detected beams of antimatter shooting out the top of thunderstorms, in what has been described as an “amazing curiousity of nature”.

The data was collected from NASA's Fermi Gamma Ray SpaceTelescope. In some cases the thunderstorms were thousands of kilometres away, and the beams were detected only after they had travelled along the Earth’s magnetic field and collided with the spacecraft.

Read more ....

Ten Endangered-Species Battles

10 Critical Endangered-Species Battles -- Wired Science

In theory, decisions about flora and fauna habitat are purely scientific. In practice, they're political. And that, in a nutshell, is the reality of the Endangered Species Act, passed in 1973 as part of a historic wave of legislation that both protects America's environmental heritage and provides a framework for settling conflicts.

Some say it does too little; others, that it intrudes too much. The arguments go 'round and 'round, and underscore a fundamental truth: In the Anthropocene Era, people decide nature's fate.

Read more ....

A Cybermap Of The Scientific World

(Image: Computed by Olivier H. Beauchesne @ Science-Metrix, inc. Data from Scopus, using books, trade journals and peer-reviewed journals)

Info-Streams Create Cybermap Of The Scientific World -- New Scientist:

Inspired by an earlier image showing connections among Facebook friends, Olivier Beauchesne of the consulting firm Science-Metrix has now created this global map of scientific collaborations.

Read more ....

My Comment: Impressive map.

Food Inflation Expected To Reach 50% For Some Countries This Year

The world is facing a commodities crisis that could leave millions unable to afford the rising costs of food as population levels soar

Food Prices To Rocket By 50% As Global Hunger Epidemic Causes Riots And Famines -- The Daily Mail

* 'Perfect storm' of issues will bring widespread starvation if nothing is done
* Food prices to rise by 50 per cent over the next decade
* GM crops will be needed to feed the world
* Global population to grow to 9billion by 2050

The cost of food will soar by 50 per cent over the next few decades as the world becomes racked by famine, mass migrations and riots, experts have warned.

The increase will be triggered by the exploding world population, rising cost of fuel and increased competition for water, according to a leading Government think-tank.

Spiralling food prices will push hundreds of millions of people into hunger, trigger mass migration and spark civil unrest, the report warned.

Read more ....

My Comment: A perfect storm of drought, floods, and failing crops is probably going to give many countries a lot of grief this year when it comes to the price of food supplies.

Amazon Sells More E-Books Than Paperbacks Touts More E-Book Sales Than Paperbacks -- Computer World

Third-gen Kindle sold millions in fourth quarter, CEO Bezos says.

Computerworld - said it is selling more Kindle e-books than paperback books. CEO Jeff Bezos said in a fourth-quarter earnings statement Thursday that the e-book-selling milestone "has come even sooner than we expected."

The company said that in all of 2010, it sold 15% more Kindle e-books than paperbacks. In July, reported that it had sold more Kindle e-books than hardcover books. For all of 2010, it sold three times as many Kindle e-books as hardcovers. Free Kindle books are excluded from those figures.

Read more ....

Early Humans Left the Trees 4.2 Million Years Ago

A reconstructed head of Australopithecus afarensis for an exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. John Gurche/Smithsonian

Humans Left Trees 4.2 Million Years Ago -- Discovery News

Wrist bones of human ancestors reveal when humans switched from living in trees to on the ground.

* Fossilized wrist bones suggest humans switched from trees to a terrestrial lifestyle between 4.2 and 3.5 million years ago.
* Tree dwellers experience more stress on the pinky side of their hands while terrestrial species tend to load more stress on the thumb side.
* The timing of the switch coincides with climate and habitat changes and a shift in diet.

Read more ....

My Comment: We've gone a long way in 4.2 million years.

Remembering Space Shuttle Challenger

From CBS News:

(CBS) Friday marks 25 years since the space shuttle Challenger broke apart shortly after takeoff.

"Early Show" co-anchor Jeff Glor took a look back at the tragedy on the broadcast Friday morning.

On Jan. 28, 1986, June Scobee watched the shuttle's 25th liftoff first-hand. Her husband, Dick Scobee was the commander. Scobee was among the six astronauts -- and one teacher -- aboard the shuttle.

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My Comment: I cannot believe that it is 25 years already. Where did the time go.

Marines In Afghanistan Are Getting Use To Using Solar Panels

Marines With ExFOB Marines and sailors of India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment pose with their Afghan national army counterparts in front of a solar power generator at Patrol Base Sparks, in Sangin District, Afghanistan. Photo by Gunnery Sgt. William Price/USMC

Marines in Afghanistan Find That Solar Panels Save Soldiers' Lives -- Popular Science

A battalion of Marines in Afghanistan is going green, using solar panels to reduce their energy consumption and thereby reduce the things they carry — and even save lives.

The Marines and sailors of 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment arrived last October at Forward Operating Base Jackson, outside Sangin, Afghanistan, with an array of solar equipment. The battalion’s generators typically use more than 20 gallons of fuel a day, but the Marines have cut that to 2.5 gallons a day, according to Staff Sgt. David Doty, who maintains the gear.

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My Comment: I just hope that they do not get cloudy days for a long period of time.

Japan On Alert After Volcano's Biggest Eruption In 50 Years

Force of nature: Lightning strikes as Shinmoedake erupts, scattering ash and rocks across a wide swathe of southern Japan

Lightning And Fire: Japan On Alert After Volcano's Biggest Eruption In 50 Years -- The Daily Mail

A one-mile cordon has been established around a volcano on Mount Kirishima after it erupted scattering rocks and ash across southern Japan and sending smoke billowing 5,000ft into the air.

The Meteorological Agency raised the volcanic alert to level 3 as ash today continued to spew from Shinmoedake on Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu, and residents have been banned from going within a mile of the volcano following its worst eruption in 50 years.

Read more

My Comment: Impressive pictures.

Type 1 Diabetes Cure?

Photo: Dr. Roger Unger (left) and Dr. Young Lee found in an animal study that blocking the hormone glucagon might eliminate the symptoms of type 1 diabetes. (Credit: Image courtesy of UT Southwestern Medical Center)

Potential 'Cure' for Type 1 Diabetes? -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Jan. 27, 2011) — Type 1 diabetes could be converted to an asymptomatic, non-insulin-dependent disorder by eliminating the actions of a specific hormone, new findings by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers suggest.

These findings in mice show that insulin becomes completely superfluous and its absence does not cause diabetes or any other abnormality when the actions of glucagon are suppressed. Glucagon, a hormone produced by the pancreas, prevents low blood sugar levels in healthy individuals. It causes high blood sugar in people with type 1 diabetes.

Read more ....

My Comment: Faster please .... much faster.

Slithering Robots Learn To Stand On Their Own Four Feet

A new robot learns to slither, then crawl, before it can walk. Credit: Joshua Bongard

From Live Science:

Robots that evolved from crawling babies into upright adults could help pave the way for better bots.

Using a computer program, researchers at the University of Vermont simulated a population of naive "baby" robots. The robots had to complete various tasks in their virtual environment, such as finding objects and walking toward them. Those robots that performed poorly got deleted, while the best-performing ones remained "alive."

The robots that changed their body forms (like tadpoles growing into frogs) learned to walk more rapidly and developed the most stable gait, the researchers found.

Read more ....

Wikileaks Now Has A Competitor

The website for WiiLeaks-competitor, which launched Thursday after information about the site was itself leaked. OpenLeaks

WikiLeaks Rival Launches New Secret-Spilling Site -- Washington Post

DAVOS, Switzerland -- A former member of the group that created WikiLeaks has launched a rival website with the aim of giving whistleblowers more control over the secrets they spill.

Daniel Domscheit-Berg says the new platform called OpenLeaks will allow sources to choose specifically who they want to submit documents to anonymously, such as to a particular news outlet.

He told reporters Friday that the site will begin testing in several weeks and hopes it will be fully operational later this year.

Read more ....

More News On OpenLeaks

OpenLeaks Site Leaked, Forces Premature Launch of WikiLeaks Rival -- FOX News
OpenLeaks Site Leaked Before Launch -- Information Week
WikiLeaks rival goes live as editors turn on Assange -- Sydney Morning Herald
Wikileaks breakaway site Openleaks gets leaked -- Inquirer
WikiLeaks rival website launches -- Inquirer
WikiLeaks alternative OpenLeaks goes live -- Ars Technica

My Comment: I wish them luck.

Climate In The Past Had An Impact On Europe's Rise And Fall

Tree rings can show environmental changes throughout history, which can be linked to major ups and downs in European history, according to new research. Credit: iStockPhoto

Climate Matched Europe's Rise And Fall -- Cosmos

WASHINGTON: Ancient tree rings show links between climate change and major events in human history, like migrations, plagues and the rise and fall of empires, according to a new study.

The study, which appears in the journal Science , shows moist, balmy temperatures were seen during prosperous Medieval and Roman times, while droughts and cold snaps coincided with mass migrations.

Read more ....

Man's Migration Out Of Africa More Complicated Than Thought

Ancient Tools May Mark Earlier Path Out Of Africa -- Wired Science

The bodies are still missing, but a prehistoric toolkit discovered in the United Arab Emirates has led some archaeologists to propose a more complex scenario for humanity’s emigration out of Africa.

Uncovered at a Jebel Faya rock shelter, just west of the Straits of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the tools are 125,000 years old. Previous estimates placed the dispersal of modern humans from North Africa around 70,000 years ago. If correct, this new study indicates that humans in eastern Africa left earlier, and traveled to Arabia.

Read more ....

My Comment: Time to change the history books.

Energy Efficiency Could Cut World Energy By 70%

Alan Simpson calls the national energy grid 'monumentally inefficient' ... electricity pylons in Suffolk. Photograph: Graham Turner/Guardian

Efficiency Could Cut World Energy Use Over 70 Per Cent -- New Scientist

Simple changes like installing better building insulation could cut the world's energy demands by three-quarters, according to a new study.

Discussions about reducing greenhouse gas emissions usually concentrate on cleaner ways of generating energy: that's because they promise that we can lower emissions without having to change our energy-hungry ways. But whereas new generation techniques take years to come on stream, efficiency can be improved today, with existing technologies and know-how.

Read more ....

My Comment: 70% reduction .... in your dreams.

Using Plants In The Fight Against Terrorism

The Latest Weapon In The Fight Against Terrorism: How Scientists Have Developed Plants That Can Detect Bombs -- The Daily Mail

They provide us with food and are pretty to look at, and now they may even save out lives.

For unlikely as it may seem, scientists have developed plants that can detect bombs.

They have taught plant proteins to change colour when in the presence of certain chemicals.

The implications of the study are not hard to see - ringing an airport security gate, for instance, with such plants could prove a lifesaver should a terrorist approach with an explosive and a whole wall of leaves turn white.

Read more ....

My Comment: Impressive .... very impressive.

Global Warming Will Freeze Britain

Colder, harsher winters similar to last month will become the norm and summers will become cooler and wetter Photo: ALAMY

Climate Change Means We Will Be Skiing In Yorkshire Rather Than Sunbathing Under Palm Trees, Experts Warn -- The Telegraph

We are more likely to be skiing in Yorkshire than basking under palm trees, a leading climate change expert has warned as global warming will actually lead to Britain getting colder.

Dr Simon Boxall, of the National Oceanography Survey, said that while the planet as a whole will get much warmer, this country will see temperatures plunge as the ocean currents and weather patterns around the world change.

At the moment north west Europe, particularly Britain, is warmer than it should be because of the effect of the North Atlantic Drift bringing warm water from the Tropics.

This then warms sea breezes which keep temperatures mild on land.

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My Comment: I live in Canada .... give me global warming any day.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

E-Paper Screens Made Of Real Paper

Andrew Steckl's research is featured on the cover of the November issue of ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. The American Chemical Society (ACS) is the world's largest scientific society. The American Chemical Society (ACS)

Finally, E-Paper Screens Made Of Real Paper! -- Popular Mechanics

In December, electrical engineers at the University of Cincinnati reinvented the wheel. By applying electric fields to nonglass materials, they discovered they could make an e-paper display screen using the unlikeliest of materials—paper.

This discovery has big implications for the future of the screen: Making a display out of regular old paper could maximize affordability, decrease environmental impact and also save space, since a paper screen has the potential to roll up and pull out. So is it time to throw out our retro flatscreens and make room for paper television? Not just yet. The future is exciting, but looking at the essential components of a display screen reveals some big roadblocks on the way to shoving a 78-inch screen into your cup holder.

Read more ....

My Comment: I still prefer old fashion paper.

Super-Tough Robotic Hands Are Now Real (Video)

Video: Scientists Smash A Super-Tough Robotic Hand With A Hammer -- Popular Science

Good news everyone! German robotics researchers have built a hyper-strong hand that can withstand hammer blows! Come and shake the hand that will someday wring our species' collective neck.

Read more ....

My Comment: We are getting to that age when robots are just like us .... but stronger (and probably a bit smarter).

Hubble Telescope Detects The Oldest Known Galaxy

The galaxy was already in existence 480 million years after the Big Bang.

From The BBC:

The Hubble Space Telescope has detected what scientists believe may be the oldest galaxy ever observed.

It is thought the galaxy is more than 13 billion years old and existed 480 million years after the Big Bang.

A Nasa team says this was a period when galaxy formation in the early Universe was going into "overdrive".

The image, which has been published in Nature journal, was detected using Hubble's recently installed wide field camera.

Read more

My Comment: The Hubble telescope .... still going strong after all of these years.

Is Your Next Credit Card Your Cell Phone?

From ABC News:

Apple Reportedly Planning Pay-by-Phone Service for Next Gen iPhones, iPads.

Get ready to retire that worn leather wallet. If some of the country's biggest tech companies have their way, all the plastic cards crammed into your billfold will soon find their way into your phone.

Apple is planning to introduce a service that would let consumers use their iPhones and iPads to purchase products, essentially turning a user's cell phone into a credit or debit card, according to a Bloomberg report.

Read more ....

My Comment: Credit cards, iPhones, Ipads .... what's wrong with paper cash?

Hormone Holds Promise As Memory Enhancer

From Live Science:

Could boosting your memory someday be as simple as popping a pill? Scientists found that rats injected with a hormone could remember better, even two weeks after the memory was formed.

The memory-boosting hormone was IGF2, which plays an important role in brain development. The researchers suggest that a better understanding of how this chemical works (IGF2 is short for insulin-like growth factor 2) might lead to drugs that enhance human brain power, particularly in individuals with Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Read more

My Comment: Faster please .... I am getting older, and my memory is not what it once was.

Report Advocates GM Crops In Food Supply Measures

Top of the crops: Government ministers are keen to embrace GM foods,like this modified soya crop. Photo from The Daily Mail

From The Independent:

Genetically-modified crops are among measures needed to tackle problems with global food supplies that could see prices soar, leading scientists said today.

A new Government-commissioned report warned that there were major failings in the global food system that damages the environment and leaves one billion people hungry.

A further one billion suffer from "hidden hunger" in which nutrients are missing from their diet and the same number are over-consuming, while a third of all food produced is currently wasted.

Read more ....

My Comment: Lacking any other means to grow more crops .... our options are very limited.

Jupiter Scar Likely From Titanic-Sized Asteroid

These infrared images obtained from NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, show particle debris in Jupiter's atmosphere after an object hurtled into the atmosphere on July 19, 2009. (Credit: NASA/IRTF/JPL-Caltech/University of Oxford)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (Jan. 26, 2011) — A hurtling asteroid about the size of the Titanic caused the scar that appeared in Jupiter's atmosphere on July 19, 2009, according to two papers published recently in the journal Icarus.

Data from three infrared telescopes enabled scientists to observe the warm atmospheric temperatures and unique chemical conditions associated with the impact debris. By piecing together signatures of the gases and dark debris produced by the impact shockwaves, an international team of scientists was able to deduce that the object was more likely a rocky asteroid than an icy comet. Among the teams were those led by Glenn Orton, an astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and Leigh Fletcher, researcher at Oxford University, U.K., who started the work while he was a postdoctoral fellow at JPL.

Read more

My Comment: That is one hell of a big scar.

Google Launches The Holocaust Archive

Holocaust Memorial Day: Google Launches Holocaust Archive To Help Keep Memories Of Tragedy Alive -- The Telegraph

Google has partnered with Israel’s Yad Vashem museum, to help digitise the largest collection of Holocaust photos and documents in the world, to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The search giant is working with the Jerusalem-based archive to properly index and store in Google’s cloud 130,000 photographs, some of which are currently available on Yad Vashem’s website, but until now have been difficult to locate and discover online.

Google is also applying the same indexing and optical character recognition (OCR) technology to lots of documents, ranging from visas to survivor testimonials, in order to help people locate more easily online.

Read more ....

My Comment: Once in a while Google gets involved in a good project .... this is one of them. The Yad Vashem's website is here.

How Memories Are Made

Memories Are Made Like This – Sleeping On Them -- The Telegraph

If you want knowledge to stick then it is best to take a nap after absorbing it, claims new research.

Researchers in Germany showed that the brain is better during sleep than during wakefulness at resisting attempts to scramble or corrupt a recent memory.

Their study, published in Nature Neuroscience, provides new insights into the hugely complex process by which we store and retrieve deliberately acquired information – learning, in short.

Read more ....

My Comment: Sleep ... I love to sleep.

Did Humans Leave Africa Earlier Than Thought

This undated handout photo provided by the journal Science shows the Jebel Faya rockshelter from above, looking north, showing eboulis blocks from roof collapse and the location of excavation trenches. (CBS)

Humans May Have Left Africa Earlier Than Thought -- CBS News

New Evidence Suggests Early Humans Exited Africa Much Earlier Than Thought, Entering An Arabian Savannah.

(AP) WASHINGTON - Modern humans may have left Africa thousands of years earlier than previously thought, turning right and heading across the Red Sea into Arabia rather than following the Nile to a northern exit, an international team of researchers says.

Stone tools discovered in the United Arab Emirates indicate the presence of modern humans between 100,000 and 125,000 years ago, the researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

Read more ....

Will Video Games Make U.S. Spies Smarter?

U.S. Spies May Soon Make Smarter Decisions, Thanks to Video Games -- Discover Magazine

Even U.S. intelligence agents make decidedly unintelligent decisions at times. So it may not come as a surprise that the government is willing to invest in any project that could help agencies spot and correct their own decision-skewing prejudices–even if that project is a video game.

Dubbed “Sirius,” the anti-bias project is the brainchild of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), a government agency whose mission statement might as well have come from a spy novel: to invest in “high-risk/high-payoff research programs that have the potential to provide our nation with an overwhelming intelligence advantage over future adversaries.”

Read more ....

My Comment: I am skeptical.

The Dirty Secrets In Using Wind Power

Photo from Mettaefficient

Wind Power's Dirty Little Secrets -- The Daily Bayonet

A California court tells the naked and ugly truth about a proposed PG&E wind farm, the Manzana Wind Project:

We reject the application because we find that the Manzana Wind Project is not cost-competitive and poses unacceptable risks to ratepayers. We find that the proposed cost of the Manzana Wind Project is significantly higher than other resources PG&E can procure to meet its RPS program goal. Moreover, it will subject the ratepayers to unacceptable risks due to potential cost increases resulting from project under-performance, less than forecasted project life, and any delays which might occur concerning transmission upgrades and commercial online date.

Read more ....

My Comment: More evidence on why wind power cannot be relied upon.

Say Hello To 8 Great Unsolved Mysteries

Science's 8 Greatest Unsolved Mysteries: Progress Report -- Popular Science

In the year 2000, PM asked how eight of the most profound questions in science might (optimistically) be answered before the dawn of the 22nd century. So where are we now, a decade later? Here's the skinny on some of science's greatest mysteries—from attaining immortality and the search for alien life to traveling through time.

The advances in science made over the past hundred years have been nothing short of astounding: We've split the atom and gone to the moon, spliced open the genome and saved countless lives with medicines. Yet as far as we've come, we have a long way to go. We continue to grapple with realties beyond our understanding, from the inner workings of our bodies to the intrinsic mechanics of the universe.

Read more ....

My Comment:
I am sure these mysteries will be solved one day .... but not today.

What Can Go Wrong With An Internet "Off" Switch?

Dropped Connection Turning off the Internet could shut down financial networks, and it wouldn't be easy to turn them back on Jamie Sneddon

What Could Possibly Go Wrong: An Internet "Off" Switch -- Popular Science

The last time someone could shut down the Internet was probably in 1969, when it consisted of two computers. But in recent years, concerned with the possibility of a “cyberattack,” Congress has been exploring such an option.

Read more ....

My Comment:
The last paragraph is the best point in this report ....

.... A more subtle (or cash-strapped) cyberterrorist might simply fake a cyberattack that would trick the U.S. itself into flipping the switch. No one really knows what would happen then—not only would e-mails go undelivered, but ATMs, stock exchanges and the flow of funds of all kinds could be disrupted. And then we would still face another challenge: how to turn the thing back on.


Shark Nations Failing On Conservation Pledges

Governments are supposed to "encourage full utilisation of dead sharks" - but fins are targeted.

From The BBC:

Many countries whose fishing fleets catch large numbers of sharks have failed to meet a 10-year-old pledge on conserving the species, a report says.

The wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic and the Pew Environment Group say most of the main shark fishing nations do not manage fisheries well.

Ten years ago, governments agreed a global plan to conserve sharks.

An estimated 100 million sharks are killed each year, with nearly a third of species at risk of extinction.

Read more ....

My Comment:
Shark fin soup is a delicacy that many people love to order (myself included). Until this changes .... and rising prices probably will change people's desire for this delicacy .... sharks will always be threatened with extinction.

NASA Honors Astronauts Lost From Apollo, Shuttles

From ABC News:

NASA marks Day of Remembrance to honor 17 fallen astronauts; Apollo fire, 2 shuttle accidents.

NASA is pausing Thursday to remember the 17 astronauts lost in the line of duty.

The so-called Day of Remembrance — always the last Thursday of January — takes on special meaning this year. Friday marks the 25th anniversary of the shuttle Challenger launch disaster.

Flags will fly at half-staff at NASA centers nationwide Thursday. In addition, NASA officials will lay wreathes at various memorials to honor the dead.

Read more ....

My Comment: They will forever be remembered.

Sharing A Bed with Fido Can Make You Sick

Women are more likely than men to report sleeping in the same bed with their dog, according to a 2005 study by the American Kennel Club. Credit: Dreamstime.

From Live Science:

Sleeping with, kissing and being licked by your pet can make you sick. Although they are not common, documented cases show people contracting infections by getting too cozy with their animals, according to work by researchers in California.

These so-called zoonoses include contracting plague from flea-infested pets, a MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infection, a bacterial infection resistant to multiple strains of antibiotics originating from the canine family, and various parasitic worms.

Read more ....

My Comment: I had a dog for 14 years .... and they are telling me this now.

A Physicist Explains Why Parallel Universes May Exist

From NPR:

Our universe might be really, really big — but finite. Or it might be infinitely big.

Both cases, says physicist Brian Greene, are possibilities, but if the latter is true, so is another posit: There are only so many ways matter can arrange itself within that infinite universe. Eventually, matter has to repeat itself and arrange itself in similar ways. So if the universe is infinitely large, it is also home to infinite parallel universes.

Does that sound confusing? Try this:

Think of the universe like a deck of cards.

Read more ....

My Comment: Reading articles like this one makes me realize how insignificant I am in this universe.

No Leftovers for Tyrannosaurus Rex: New Evidence That T. Rex Was Hunter, Not Scavanger

Artist's rendition of Tyrannosaurus rex. (Credit: iStockphoto)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (Jan. 25, 2011) — Tyrannosaurus rex hunted like a lion, rather than regularly scavenging like a hyena, reveals new research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The findings end a long-running debate about the hunting behaviour of this awesome predator.

Read more ....

My Comment: I feel hungry already.