Saturday, April 21, 2012

New Smart Weapons Will Not Use GPS

DARPA Seeks To Wean Smart Weapons Off GPS With Hybrid Inertial Navigation System-On-A-Chip -- Military & Aerospace

ARLINGTON, Va., 18 April 2012. Navigation and guidance experts at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., are trying to reduce the military's reliance on Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite guidance for advanced munitions, mid- and long-range missiles, and other weapons by creating a navigation-system-on-a-chip that combines traditional and atomic inertial guidance technology.

Read more ....

More News On DARPA Research To Fins An Alternative To GPS For Smart Weapons

DARPA wants navigation chip to guide smart weapons
-- Defense Systems
C-SCAN For GPS-Denied Areas -- Shadow Spear
DARPA exploring miniature, atomic sensor systems as alternative to GPS -- Network World
New sensor sought to enable military missions in GPS-denied areas -- Physorg
Wanted: Atomic inertial navigation system -- UPI

My Comment: I guess advances in jamming GPS signals are raising concerns in some quarters.

Why Did Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle Test Failed?

An artist's rendering of the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2. (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency / April 20, 2012)

Pentagon Releases Results Of 13,000-Mph Test Flight Over Pacific -- L.A. Times

The results are in from last summer’s attempt to test new technology that would provide the Pentagon with a lightning-fast vehicle, capable of delivering a military strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour.

In August the Pentagon's research arm, known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, carried out a test flight of an experimental aircraft capable of traveling at 20 times the speed of sound.

Read more ....

Update: DARPA releases cause of hypersonic glider anomaly -- AP

My Comment: Now we know why the test failed .... but with no money in the budget for additional tests, it looks like this research is going to be put on hold for now.

iPhone 5 Rumors

Apple iPhone 5 'To Be Cased In Liquidmetal' -- The Telegraph

Apple’s next iPhone will be cased in ‘Liquidmetal’, according to reports.

The iPhone 5, likely to be released later this year, is expected to be cased in a ‘metallic glass’, otherwise known as Liquidmetal, says a Korean news outlet citing ‘industry sources’.

The case is expected to be 20 times stronger than the current encasement. According to The Register, ‘metallic glass is a metal alloy, but one with the disordered structure of glass’. The material has been around since the 1990s, but since a new breakthrough in ‘superspeed pulse mould technology’, this type of glass, which is as tough as metal, can now be used for phone casings.

Read more ....

Mining The Asteroids

Sean Connery in 1981's 'Outland,' a British thriller that takes place at a mining colony on a Jupiter moon. Warner Bros. Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

A Quixotic Quest to Mine Asteroids -- Wall Street Journal

A new company backed by two Google Inc. GOOG -0.54% billionaires, film director James Cameron and other space exploration proponents is aiming high in the hunt for natural resources—with mining asteroids the possible target.

The venture, called Planetary Resources Inc., revealed little in a press release this week except to say that it would "overlay two critical sectors—space exploration and natural resources—to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP" and "help ensure humanity's prosperity." The company is formally unveiling its plans at an event Tuesday in Seattle.

Read more

My Comment: There is only one problem with this plan on mining the asteroids .... it's how will we get there.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sweden's Stonehedge

Could this megalithic structure, known as Ales Stenar, be much older than we thought? Getty images

Swedish Stonehenge? Stone Structure Spurs Debate -- Discovery News

A series of 59 boulders placed at a seaside cliff in Sweden might represent Stonehenge's "sister" site.

* An ancient stone structure in Sweden may be 1,500 years older than previously thought.
* New analysis suggests the stones represent an ancient astronomical calendar.
* Some researchers argue the stones were placed with the same underlying geometry of Stonehenge.

Ancient Scandinavians dragged 59 boulders to a seaside cliff near what is now the Swedish fishing village of Kåseberga. They carefully arranged the massive stones -- each weighing up to 4,000 pounds (1,800 kilograms) -- in the outline of a 220-foot-long (67-meter) ship overlooking the Baltic Sea.

Read more

Some Facts On The U.S. Secret Service

Secret Service agents surround President Barack Obama during a visit to the Port of Tampa on April 13. Getty

Decoding The Secret Service -- Discovery News

Why football players make for good recruits and other facts about these secret protectors, now facing a prostitution scandal.

* Some Secret Service agents are involved in a prostitution scandal in Colombia.
* It’s a long road from Secret Service recruit to Presidential protection, and most agents never get close to the President.
* Agents work long hours with lots of travel, and divorce rates are high.

A recent scandal involving Colombian prostitutes and the Secret Service has drawn new attention to an agency that has long been shrouded in mystery and dominated by romantic images of sculpted men wearing sunglasses and earpieces.

While investigations into the late-night carousing continue, the scandal offers an opportunity to look inside the very secret organization.

Read more ....

'Huge' Water Resource Exists Under Africa

'Huge' Water Resource Exists Under Africa -- BBC

Scientists say the notoriously dry continent of Africa is sitting on a vast reservoir of groundwater.

They argue that the total volume of water in aquifers underground is 100 times the amount found on the surface.

The team have produced the most detailed map yet of the scale and potential of this hidden resource.

Writing in the journal Environmental Research Letters, they stress that large scale drilling might not be the best way of increasing water supplies.

Read more

Pentagon And State Support Lifting Some Controls On U.S. Satellite Exports

The Star Fighters -- Washington Free Beacon

Administration report warns that loosening exports on space technology could boost China’s space warfare capabilities.

China is building space weapons designed to defeat U.S. and allied long-range missiles, and U.S. plans to loosen controls on satellite exports likely will boost Beijing’s space warfare programs, according to a Obama administration report made public on Wednesday.

The report warned that if the U.S. government relaxes controls on satellite exports and related items, “China would purchase and acquire more of these items, and in turn, further reduce the technological edge of the United States’ and its allies’ space assets,” the report said.

Read more

DoD, State Want Easier Satellite Exports; PRC Still Banned From Launching US Birds -- Aol Defense

My Comment: My prediction .... the White House will proceed with lifting the many controls that are in place to limit critical technology transfers .... and then a a few years from now .... we will be writing and reading stories on how did China get access to US space tech and info.

Amozon's Cloud Uses 1% Of The Internet

An Amazon data center in Sterling, Virginia. Photo: Eric Hunsaker/Flickr

Amazon’s Secretive Cloud Carries 1 Percent Of The Internet -- Wired Enterprise

Amazon’s cloud computing infrastructure is growing so fast that it’s silently becoming a core piece of the internet.

That’s according to an analysis done by DeepField Networks, a start-up that number-crunched several weeks’ worth of anonymous network traffic provided by internet service providers, mainly in North America.

They found that one-third of the several million users in the study visited a website that uses Amazon’s infrastructure each day.

Read more ....

Better Hair Transplants On The Horizon?

Bioengineered follicles can grow hair (as seen on the mouse’s head) when transplanted into normally hairless mice, a new study shows. Takashi Tsuji/Tokyo University of Science

Engineering Better Hair Transplants -- Science News

Cell-based approach to new follicles takes hold in skin.

A hair-raising trick may lead to better hair transplants. Engineered hair follicles patched into skin can be coaxed to connect to surrounding tissue and to grow hair in an organized way, a study in mice finds.

Unlike current hair transplant methods, which simply move existing hair follicles from one area of the scalp to another to cover a bald region, the approach would spur the creation of new hair follicles from existing cells.

Read more ....

My Comment: Being one who has been losing his hair for a while .... faster please.

Where Do Brain Waves Come From?

Pablo Picasso Photo: REX FEATURES

Where Do Brain Waves Come From?: Extract From Jonah Lehrer's Imagine -- The Telegraph

From surfing backwards to improvising a complex song, Jonah Lehrer explains why creativity lies within us all - and the fascinating science that can help us access it.

The search for emotion shapes the way the virtuoso classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma approaches every concert. He doesn’t begin by analysing his part or by glancing at what the violins are supposed to play. Instead, he reviews the complete score, searching for the larger story. “I always look at a piece of music like a detective novel,” Ma says. “Maybe the novel is about a murder. Well, who committed the murder? Why did he do it? My job is to retrace the story so that the audience feels the suspense. So that when the climax comes, they’re right there with me. It’s all about making people care about what happens next.”

Read more ....

Who Laid These Eggs?

Eggs-traordinary: A man looks at one of the dinosaur eggs, which number around 40 so far

Eggs-Traordinary: 40 Gigantic dinosaur Eggs Dating Back 60Million Years Found In Chechnya - but What Laid Them Is A Mystery -- Daily Mail

* The eggs are between 25cm and a metre in height

Geologists in Russia's volatile Chechnya region have discovered what they believe to be fossilised dinosaur eggs laid by one of the huge extinct reptiles that roamed the Earth more than 60million years ago.

'We've found about 40 eggs so far, the exact number has not been established,’ said Said-Emin Dzhabrailov, a geologist at the Chechen State University.

‘There could be many more lying under the ground.’

Read more

My Comment: Wow .... these dinosaurs must have been huge .... correction .... super huge.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Robot Prostitutes?

Photo: SEX TOURISM: Are sex robots the future, like in Steven Spielberg's AI Artificial Intelligence?

Robot Prostitutes 'The Future Of Sex Tourism' -- Sydney Morning Herald

The future of sex tourism lies in robot prostitutes, two New Zealand researchers have theorised.

Management professor Ian Yeoman, a futurist with an interest in tourism, and sexologist Michelle Mars from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, have looked to how red light districts might operate in the year 2050.

Read more ....

My Comment: Probably a discount will be involved (for the robots).

Nissan Unleashes 'BatMobile' DeltaWing Concept Car

This is the dramatic moment Nissan unleashed its flame-throwing 'Batmobile' in Europe for the first time

Like A Bat Out Of Hell: Nissan Unleashes 'BatMobile' DeltaWing Concept Car For Fire-Breathing Test Drive -- Daily Mail

Flames belched from the exhausts of Nissan's DeltaWing as it blasted round Norfolk's Snetterton race track on its first test drive.

The Deltawing is a revolutionary vehicle many have likened to the BatMobile.

The ultra-aerodynamic prototype will race at Le Mans this year and could change motorsport forever, its creators believe.

Read more

My Comment: Definitely something that Batman would drive.

One Day Cellphones Will Be Able To See Through Walls

Dr. Kenneth O, director of the Texas Analog Center of Excellence and a professor of electrical engineering, left, worked with a team including Dae Yeon Kim, who was among the authors of the research report. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Texas at Dallas)

New Research Could Mean Cellphones That Can See Through Walls -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Apr. 18, 2012) — Comic book hero superpowers may be one step closer to reality after the latest technological feats made by researchers at UT Dallas. They have designed an imager chip that could turn mobile phones into devices that can see through walls, wood, plastics, paper and other objects.

The team's research linked two scientific advances. One involves tapping into an unused range in the electromagnetic spectrum. The other is a new microchip technology.

Read more ....

Publishing World Struggles To Adapt To New Lines

London Book Fair: Publishing World Struggles To Adapt To New Lines -- The Guardian

The partying goes on at Earl's Court, but new formats and self-publishing are changing the industry

The trays of free wine and boastful talk of six-figure deals struck at dinner parties might seem to some like the last days of decadence for a publishing world in denial about the digital storm clouds gathering overhead.

But in the main hall of Earl's Court, hundreds of publishers gathered for the 41st London Book Fair have been showing stands of lovely new books as editors meet agents and foreign publishers keen to buy unpublished books, sell foreign rights, and relentlessly talk up their new titles.

Read more ....

My Comment: A sobering analysis that the hardcover book is the way of the dinosaur.

Deformities in Gulf Seafood Found After BP Oil Spill

Gulf Seafood Deformities Alarm Scientists -- Al Jazeera

Eyeless shrimp and fish with lesions are becoming common, with BP oil pollution believed to be the likely cause.

New Orleans, LA - "The fishermen have never seen anything like this," Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. "And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I've never seen anything like this either."

Dr Cowan, with Louisiana State University's Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences started hearing about fish with sores and lesions from fishermen in November 2010.

Cowan's findings replicate those of others living along vast areas of the Gulf Coast that have been impacted by BP's oil and dispersants.

Read more

My Comment: To say that this is disturbing is an understatement.

Avian Flu Paper On Mutant-Flu Research To Be Published

Dutch authorities say work on an avian flu virus that is transmissible between mammals cannot be published without an export permit. MEDICAL RF.COM/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Mutant-Flu Researcher Plans To Publish Even Without Permission -- Nature

Virologist plans to defy Dutch government over export permit requirement for avian flu paper.

Ron Fouchier, a researcher at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, whose work on H5N1 avian flu virus has been at the centre of controversy, says that he is prepared to defy government demands and submit the work to Science without seeking the export permit that the Dutch government says is required.

A government official says that such an action could incur penalties including up to six years' imprisonment.

Read more

My Comment: Pandora's Box is now open.

5 Horrifying Facts You Didn't Know About the Space Shuttle

The space shuttle Discovery attached to its 747 transport aircraft passes over Washington, D.C., April 17, 2012. The shuttle will become an exhibit at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The Discovery, along with the rest of the shuttle fleet, has been retired from active service after 32 years of operations. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jason M. Graham

5 Horrifying Facts You Didn't Know About the Space Shuttle -- Forbes

Criticizing the Space Shuttle is like punching America in the face. After all, it’s been a symbol of national pride for thirty years. But many of my friends and I are celebrating yesterday’s piggy-backed final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum…because a museum is where the shuttle belongs.

Yes, the Shuttle deserves a tip of the hat—after all, it took us to the final frontier. But as the former editor of the Space Future Journal, a website dedicated to space tourism, I’ve met people who are as enthusiastic about average citizens, not trained astronauts, visiting space as I am. And we know the Shuttle wasn’t the vehicle to take us there.

Read more ....

My Comment: Details details details ....

Steve Jobs Was Designing His Own Superyacht

Steve Jobs’s Unfinished Luxury Feadship Superyacht --

Updated: What is French designer Philippe Starck working on for Apple? Prior to his death, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was working with Starck on a yacht. And this is very likely the “fairly, if not very, revolutionary” project he was talking about. To be built by luxury superyacht builder Feadship, the yacht is believed to have a very minimalist and sleek design with a main feature being 40 foot long glass walls. And Starck has been involved in its design.

Mentioned in the New York Times from Walter Isaacson’s new biography of Steve Jobs, which was released last Monday, the late Apple leader was working on creating his very own Feadship superyacht. Jobs didn’t like the normal yacht designs so he decide to design it himself, not a surprise, creating a super luxurious yacht to rival his good friend and fellow yachtsman Larry Ellison.

Read more ....

Update: Steve Jobs Was Designing His Own Luxury Superyacht -- Complex Rides

My Comment:
It would definitely be one of a kind.

Porn Will "Shut Down" Your Brain

Watching explicit films has some surprising effects on brain activity.
CREDIT: Petr Malyshev, Shutterstock

Porn May 'Shut Down' Part of Your Brain -- Live Science

Watching pornography would seem to be a vision-intensive task. But new research finds that looking at erotic movies can actually quiet the part of the brain that processes visual stimuli.

Most of the time, watching movies or conducting any other visual task sends extra blood flow to this brain region. Not so when the movies are explicit, the researchers found. Instead, the brain seems to shunt blood — and therefore energy — elsewhere, perhaps to regions of the brain responsible for sexual arousal.

Read more

My Comment:
No comment.

Six Out Of Ten Children Download Adult Material

MPs Call For Automatic Block On All Online Porn To Stop The Surge In Children Watching Adult Material -- Daily Mail

* Six out of ten children download adult material

Internet users should automatically be blocked from accessing pornography at home to stop the surge in children seeing adult material, MPs will demand today.

Anyone wanting to view hardcore images online should have to ‘opt out’ of a special filter, according to the panel of MPs and peers looking into child protection.

Their report said that six out of ten children download adult material because their parents have not installed filters. The use of protective filters in homes has fallen from 49 per cent to 39 per cent in the last three years.

Read more ....

My Comment: Six out of ten children download adult material .... my gut is telling me that it is higher.

A Digital Pearl Harbor Is A Real Possibility

Ex-FBI Cyberexpert: Potential For Digital Pearl Harbor Is Real -- CNET

Shawn Henry talks to CNET about why he left public service and joined a private-sector firm, and he predicts that we will see an attack on critical infrastructure that has physical consequences.

After 24 years with the FBI, Shawn Henry retired late last month from his post as executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Service Branch of the agency. Today, he announced that he will be working for security startup CrowdStrike.

In a phone interview with CNET today, Henry discusses what he thinks are the biggest cybersecurity threats facing the country and why the bad guys always seem to be one step ahead.

Read more ....

Several nations trying to penetrate U.S. cyber-networks, says ex-FBI official -- Washington Post

My Comment: Shawn Henry is in the business .... and he is right .... a digital Pearl Harbor is a real possibility, and one that will probably hit us in some distant future.

Hot To Beat A Heart Attack

The Guide To Beating A Heart Attack -- Wall Street Journal

First Line of Defense Is Lowering Risk, Even When Genetics Isn't on Your Side.

Here's the good news: Heart disease and its consequences are largely preventable. The bad news is that nearly one million Americans will suffer a heart attack this year.

Deaths from coronary heart disease in the U.S. have been cut by 75% during the past 40 years. Hospital admissions for heart attack among the elderly fell by nearly 25% in a five-year period during the last decade, a remarkable feat when many experts had expected the aging population to cause an increase in the problem.

Read more ....

My Comment: Exercise. Diet. Sleep. No Stress.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How Green Is Your Cloud?

Greenpeace Gives Apple, Amazon Low Marks for 'Dirty' Clouds -- PC Magazine

A Tuesday Greenpeace report that studied the environmental impact of the cloud criticized firms like Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, and Amazon for lagging behind their Web counterparts.

The firms, however, took issue with that characterization.

Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft "are all rapidly expanding without adequate regard to source of electricity, and rely heavily on dirty energy to power their clouds," Greenpeace said in its report, dubbed "How Clean Is Your Cloud?"

Read more

Update: Apple defends green credentials of cloud computing services -- The Guardian

My Comment: Alternative energies have a long way to go before they are sustainable energy suppliers .... for the moment "dirty energy" is the only reliable source of electricity, an indispensable fact if you are running a 'cloud environment'.

Time-Lapse Video Shows The Beauty Of Our Planet From Orbit

The Greatest Show OFF Earth! Breathtaking Time-Lapse Video Shows The Beauty Of Our Planet From Orbit -- Daily Mail

Since perhaps the dawn of mankind, our ancestors have looked up in the stars and marvelled at their mystery and beauty. With the development of spaceflight, a lucky few have had the opportunity to travel up there - and look back.

Now an incredible time-lapse video, made from pictures provided by Nasa, has given the rest of us a way to see the magnificent view of the Earth from the International Space Station.

Hovering in space up to 250 miles above the surface of our planet, these lucky explorers and scientists can see our fragile home as few others will ever have the chance.

Read more ....

Supercar Expected To Fetch £3million At Auction

BEAUTY: This rare racing version of the McLaren F1 is expected to fetch more than £3million when it is sold at auction

Going, Going, Gone In 60 Seconds? Supercar Expected To Fetch £3million At Auction... And It Can't Even Be Driven On Roads -- The Daily Mail

This ultimate version of the UK’s greatest-ever supercar is expected to fetch more than £3million when it is sold off in California.

The 1997 McLaren F1 GTR is a race car based on the iconic 240mph F1 model, the fastest production car to ever come out of England.

And the model on offer is the legendary ex-GTC Gulf Team Davidoff McLaren F1 GTR FIA GT Endurance Racing Coupe.

Read more ....

My Comment:
Only £3million?

SpaceX Launch Ready For This Month

SpaceX launched a Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in December 2010. It's planning a more ambitious test mission for April 30: sending its capsule to the space station and recovering it. Chris Thompson/SpaceX/File

All Systems Go For 'Historic' SpaceX Launch This Month -- Christian Science Monitor

NASA and SpaceX, the private aerospace firm that is seeking a contract to replace the space shuttle, met Monday in anticipation of a crucial space-station test run April 30.

As a NASA 747 carried the venerable space shuttle Discovery to its retirement home at the Smithsonian Institution's Air and Space Museum annex at Dulles Airport in Virginia on Tuesday, the space agency and its private-industry partner SpaceX were gearing up for a different milestone.

Read more

My Comment: I wish them the best.

Space Shuttle Discovery Over Washington (D.C. Photos)

Space Shuttle Discovery Takes a Tour of Washington, D.C. -- Popular Science

This morning, the space shuttle Discovery, riding atop a 747 shuttle-carrier, flew from Kennedy Space Center in Florida up to Washington, D.C. to its final resting place at the Smithsonian. Along the way it took a tour of the capital, where it was photographed by everyone with a camera, because how often do you see a space shuttle flying around? There aren't any pictures of the shuttle stopping to see the cherry blossoms, but there are plenty of it zooming past Washington landmarks. Check some out in our gallery below.

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How Practice Rewires The Brain

(Credit: Marcos Andre, Wikimedia Commons)

Spine Tuning: Finding Physical Evidence of How Practice Rewires the Brain -- Scientific American

In kindergarten, several of my friends and I were very serious about learning to tie our shoes. I remember sitting on the edge of the playground, looping laces into bunny ears and twisting them into a knot over and over again until I had it just right. A few years later, whistling became my new challenge. On the car ride to school or walking between classes, I puckered my lips and blew, shifting my tongue like rudder to direct the air. Finally, after weeks of nothing but tuneless wooshing, I whistled my first note.

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My Comment: I guess there is some truth to the saying that "practice makes perfect".

10 Extreme Alternative Motorcycles

This electric unicycle incorporates motorcycle-like steering geometry that uses accelerometers and gyros to accelerate, brake, and help you stay balanced. Anticipated to reach market in early 2013 at $4500, the Ryno offers a 20-mph top speed and an estimated cruising range of 20 miles from its lithium iron phosphate battery. Christopher Hoffman, who heads the Portland, Oreg.–based outfit, says that unlike the Segway, his creation is "very gentle and responsive, and feels like a part of your body. It's weird." We'll say.

10 Extreme Alternative Motorcycles... and One That Flies -- Popular Mechanics

When you think "motorcycle," the image that jumps to mind is probably a Universal Japanese Motorcycle—the silhouette pioneered by these bikes of the '60s came to define what a motorbike looks like. But there's another world of bikes that veers from the norm and embraces the unusual. These offshoots—some open-air, others enclosed—explore everything from backwards trike layouts to V-8 and alternative fuel powerplants.

Read more ....

US Space Shuttle: The End Of An Era

Space Shuttle Discovery Takes Off On Final Voyage To New Museum Home -- The Telegraph

Aboard a modified jumbo jet, Nasa's oldest shuttle takes off from Florida's Kennedy Space Centre bound for its new home at the Smithsonian Institution.

For its last ride, Discovery took off not from its usual seaside launch pad but atop a modified Boeing 747 carrier jet that taxied down the Kennedy Centre's runway at dawn.

The shuttle, which completed its final spaceflight in March 2011, piggybacked on the jumbo jet in order to make its way to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Virginia.

Read more ....

CSN Editor:
NASA's live feed is here.

A Look At The Future Of Books

People looking at an e-book reader app on the Apple iPad.

A Dark Day For The Future Of Books -- CNN

(CNN) -- Wednesday was a dark day for the future of books.

The Department of Justice charged Apple and five large book publishers with conspiring to raise e-book prices. Three of the five publishers quickly capitulated rather than face the risk and expense of a protracted legal battle.

Much of the case revolves around the decision of five of the largest six publishers to simultaneously adopt the agency pricing model immediately before Apple launched the iPad and iBookstore in April 2010. At that time, Amazon commanded about 90% of the e-book market. Amazon priced many books at $9.99 -- which was below the cost at which Amazon was paying the publisher -- in an effort to drive e-book adoption among consumers and capture market share.

Read more

Stopping Text Scams On Cell Phones

Hell Phone: Is There Any Way To Stop The Scourge Of Text Message Spam? -- Slate

Two years ago, I got a text message from a number with a Las Vegas area code. “Thanks for visiting our site!” it read. “Claim your $100 Gift card at Gift Code: 13Z76F. To end reply STOP.” Annoyed, I typed “STOP” and hit send. The next day I got another one. “STOP,” I typed again. Then came the deluge. “Clearance pricing on new cars!” my phone buzzed. “Start a career in law enforcement!” “You have 1 unread message from your secret crush!” At first they were all from Las Vegas. Then they were from Oregon, Idaho, and Nebraska. Every buzz meant another text message charge on my bill.

Read more

My Comment: How to stop text scams depends on your service provider. Check with them .... and they should help you out.

New Treatment For Prostate Cancer Gives Hope For Millions

MRI showing prostate cancer in a 75 year old male. Photo: ALAMY

New Treatment For Prostate Cancer Gives 'Perfect Results' For Nine In Ten Men: Research -- The Telegraph

A new treatment for prostate cancer can rid the disease from nine in ten men without debilitating side effects, a study has found, leading to new hope for tens of thousands of men.

It is hoped the new treatment, which involves heating only the tumours with a highly focused ultrasound, will mean men can be treated without an overnight stay in hospital and avoiding the distressing side effects associated with current therapies.

A study has found that focal HIFU, high-intensity focused ultrasound, provides the 'perfect' outcome of no major side effects and free of cancer 12 months after treatment, in nine out of ten cases.

Read more ....

My Comment: faster please.

How Did Japan Come To Prefer Wheat Over Rice?

Waves Of Grain: How Did Japan Come To Prefer Wheat Over Rice? -- Slate

Unlike other popular Japanese gadgetry, the Gopan bread maker isn’t sleek, nor does it fit in a trouser pocket. But Panasonic's $600 kitchen aid does boast a trump card: It produces freshly baked loaves from raw, whole grains of rice.* Since its launch in November 2010, the appliance—whose name is an inspired play on gohan, meaning “cooked rice,” and pan, meaning “bread”—has been selling like hotcakes in Japan (the only country where it’s currently available).

Read more ....

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Rapid Rise Of China As A Space Power

A Delta II rocket launch. Photo: Air Force

China Now Tops U.S. in Space Launches -- Danger Room

For the first time ever, China has launched more rockets into orbit in a year than the U.S. In 2011, the Chinese sent 19 rockets into space. The U.S. sent just 18. Russia, the Walmart of space launches, fired off no fewer than 31 rockets.

The numbers, parsed in recent reports from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the nonprofit Space Foundation, might seem to herald America’s orbital decline relative to its most bitter rival. In terms of sheer numbers of rocket launches, China has been steadily catching up to America for several years. In 2010, China fired off 15 rockets, matching the U.S. for the first time.

Read more

My Comment: The trend is for China to surpass even Russia within the next 5-10 years.

Here Comes The Robot Subs

The Navy will send a robotic sub -- shown here as a model -- to hunt buried mines. Photo: Spencer Ackerman/Wired

Navy Will Give Nearsighted Minehunter Robotic Glasses -- Danger Room

The Navy is building a fleet of mine-hunting ships that investigators say aren’t all that hot at finding mines. So in the coming years, those ships are going to get drone supplements to dive deep below the sea to spot the underwater weapons. Think of ‘em as pairs of robotic glasses.

This is a scale model of the Navy’s newest drone sub, called the Knifefish. Manufactured by General Dynamics, the Navy unveiled it for the first time on Monday at its annual Sea Air Space convention just outside Washington, D.C.

Read more

My Comment: The US Navy is bit late in the drone revolution ... but it appears that they are catching up very quickly.

The Cost Of Britain's Bee Decline

Under threat: Numbers of honeybees in managed hives have fallen by half since the 1980s and wild honeybees are nearly extinct

The Honey Trap: How The Demise Of Britain's Bees Could Cost Us £1.8billion A Year -- Daily Mail

Losing bees would cost Britain £1.8bn to foot the costs of hand-pollinating plants, a study has found.

Researchers at the University of Reading say the decline in their numbers would be disastrous for crops and drive up food prices.

Simon Potts, professor of biodiversity, and his team tested teams hand-pollinating all Britain’s major crops.

Read more ....

My Comment: £1.8bn is a lot of money.

The Only Man In The World Who Can Swim With A Polar Bear

My Comment
: I wonder what the neighbors are thinking. For more info, go here.

The First Prostate Cancer Vaccine Could Be A Step Away From Human Trials

The treatment, developed by Bavarian-Nordic Immunotherapeutics, is aimed at men with advanced prostate cancer which cannot be cured by castration and for whom treatment options are very limited. Photo: ALAMY

Prostate Cancer Vaccine Uses DNA To Fight Disease -- The Telegraph

The first prostate cancer vaccine could be a step away after ministers gave their approval for a human trial of a new genetically modified therapy.

The treatment, which uses viruses carrying human DNA to direct the body's natural defences against cancer cells, is the first prostate cancer vaccine ever to reach late stage “phase three” trials in Europe.

No vaccines have yet been approved in Britain to treat any type of cancer, and scientists believe it could not only double the survival rate of prostate cancer sufferers but give way to a new range of similar treatments for other tumour types.

Read more ....

My Comment:
faster please.

Using Iceland's Volcanoes For Britain's Energy Needs

Britain Could Be Powered By Icelandic Volcanoes -- The Telegraph

Britain could become powered by Icelandic volcanoes as the government looks abroad for a solution to its green energy problem.

Charles Hendry, the energy minister, will visit the country next month to discuss a possible deal to harvest low-carbon energy from the natural geothermal energy of Iceland's volcanoes.

The arrangement would involve laying the longest high-voltage cable in the world across hundreds of miles of ocean floor between Britain and Iceland.

Read more ....

My Comment:On paper it looks promising .... is it technically feasible .... we shall see.

New iPad Mini Rumor

(Credit: CNET)

New iPad Mini Rumor: 6M Coming In Third Quarter -- CNET

The latest comes by way of a translated report from Chinese online portal Netease, which states the device will compete against Windows 8 tablets.

Another day, another iPad Mini rumor.

The latest comes by way of a report from Chinese portal Netease, translated by Kotaku, which states that a smaller version of Apple's hit tablet will come to market in the third quarter.

The report says that 6 million units will be ready for launch, and the smaller tablet could sell for $249 to $299.

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My Comment: Too small for me to read.

Instagram's Popularity Increases With Facebook Acquisition

Instagram, seen here on an Android phone, has proved extremely popular among users of the Google mobile platform. Reuters

Instagram Gives Facebook 5 Million Reasons To Love Recent Acquisition -- Christian Science Monitor

The new Android app from Instagram, which was recently gobbled up by Facebook, has racked up 5 million downloads.

Earlier this week, Facebook announced the acquisition of photo-sharing hub Instagram. The price tag? A reported $1 billion in stock options and cash, a hefty chunk of change even for a company that could soon be valued at $100 billion.

In a message to users, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg maintained that although Facebook and Instagram offered very "different experiences, that the two platforms would "complement each other."

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Oracle And Google's Android Copyright Suit Begins

Larry Ellison's Oracle bought Sun Microsystems 14 years after it first released Java

Oracle And Google's Android Copyright Row Trial Begins -- BBC

Oracle's claim that Google violated several of its patents and copyrights goes to trial in a San Francisco court on Monday.

It is one of the biggest such tech lawsuits to date. Oracle is claiming about $1bn (£630m) in compensation.

The Java developer claims Google's Android system infringes intellectual property rights relating to the programming language.

Software engineers warn the case could set a worrying precedent.

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My Comment
: Oracle feels confident about this case .... but we shall see.

Artificial Photosynthesis Breakthrough

Grass. Scientists have imitated natural photosynthesis and created a record-fast molecular catalyzer. (Credit: © Nejron Photo / Fotolia)

Artificial Photosynthesis Breakthrough: Fast Molecular Catalyzer -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Apr. 12, 2012) — Researchers from the Department of Chemistry at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden, have managed to construct a molecular catalyzer that can oxidize water to oxygen very rapidly. In fact, these KTH scientists are the first to reach speeds approximating those is nature's own photosynthesis. The research findings play a critical role for the future use of solar energy and other renewable energy sources.

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My Comment: This has the potential of being big.

A Genetic Link To Memory

Scientists have advanced understanding of the genetic components of Alzheimer's disease and of brain development. (Credit: © adimas / Fotolia)

Memory In Adults Impacted By Versions Of Four Genes -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (Apr. 15, 2012) — Two research studies, co-led by UC Davis neurologist Charles DeCarli and conducted by an international team that included more than 80 scientists at 71 institutions in eight countries, has advanced understanding of the genetic components of Alzheimer's disease and of brain development. Both studies appear in the April 15 edition of the journal Nature Genetics.

The first study, based on a genetic analysis of more than 9,000 people, has found that certain versions of four genes may speed shrinkage of a brain region involved in making new memories. The brain area, known as the hippocampus, normally shrinks with age, but if the process speeds up, it could increase vulnerability to Alzheimer's disease, the research suggests.

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My Comment:
I am approaching that age where memory is becoming an issue .... so faster please.

A Genetic Link Between Brains And Intelligence

In studying a gene that drives cell growth, Project ENIGMA scientists found a variant that boosted gene expression levels (shown as colored dots), which also enlarged the brain's memory centers (shaded in green). CREDIT: UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging

Specific Genes Linked To Big Brains and Intelligence -- Live Science

Brain size and smarts are, to some extent, genetic — and now, a team of more than 200 researchers has uncovered specific genes that are linked to both brain volume and IQ.

Though scientists have suggested bigger brains are "smarter," this study is the strongest case yet for a genetic connection to brain size and to IQ. Of course, brain size is not 100 percent correlated with a person's intelligence, and other factors, including connections between brain cells and even a person's experiences, play roles.

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My Comment: Hmmmm .... bigger brain .... greater intelligence.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Latest Advancements To The Military Robot (And Family) Designed To Replicate A Human

Climbing Stairs And Push Ups: The Latest Advancements To The Military Robot (And Family) Designed To Replicate A Human -- Daily Mail

What could be more intimidating than a military-crafted robot? How about one that can walk on two legs and in its latest advancement, do push ups and climb stairs?

With funding by the US Department of Defense's Advanced Research Project Agency the walking two-legged PETMAN humanoid robot has been advanced to do just that - and quite possibly faster than many Americans can, while certainly not expressing their fatigue.

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Vatican And Oxford Libraries Announce Joint Digital Conversion Of Some Manuscripts, Books

The "Historia naturalis" [Italian] Historia naturale (Venice Nicolaus Jenson, 1476) is one of the items to be digitized during the collaboration of the Bodleian Libraries and the Vatican. Courtesy Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford / MCT

Vatican And Oxford Libraries Announce Joint Digital Conversion Of Some Manuscripts, Books -- McClatchy News

WASHINGTON — More world literature just got its door kicked open digitally. For the first time scholars will be able to compare material kept in the separate collections for centuries.

The Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford have announced a 4-year project to convert some of their important holdings into digital form for all to see — even if readers can’t understand the Medieval Latin, ancient Greek or Hebrew the documents are written in.

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My Comment: The y are finally getting onto the band-wagon when it comes to digital libraries .... a few years late.

Building A Supercomputer That Will Simulate The Entire Mind

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Scientists To Build 'Human Brain': Supercomputer Will Simulate The Entire Mind And Will Help Fight Against Brain Diseases -- Daily Mail

* The 'brain' will take 12 years to build
* It will feature thousands of three-dimensional images built around a semi-circular 'cockpit'

The human brain’s power could rival any machine. And now scientists are trying to build one using the world’s most powerful computer.

It is intended to combine all the information so far uncovered about its mysterious workings - and replicate them on a screen, right down to the level of individual cells and molecules.

If it works it could be revolutionary for understanding devastating neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and even shedding light into how we think, and make decisions.

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My Comment:
12 years to build .... hmmmm .... faster please.

Yahoo Mulls Plan To Put ADVERTS In eBooks

Birds Eye Fish Fingers: Could nautically themed books be 'brought to you' by brands such as Birds Eye?

Moby Dick (Brought To You By Cap'n Birdseye): Yahoo Mulls Plan To Put ADVERTS In eBooks -- Dialy Mail

* Video ads WITHIN text of books
* Words could even be inserted into text of novels
( Two patent applications submitted in U.S. last week

Yahoo is investigating plans to put adverts inside ebooks on devices such as Amazon's Kindle or Apple's iPad.

The idea could lead to increased product placement on modern novels - or books offered for free in exchange for adverts within the text.

Adverts could range from simple sponsorship - 'Oliver Twist is brought to you by Scots Porage Oats', to videos within the text.

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My Comment: Smart .... very smart. This is a cool war for online libraries to make money on their products.