Thursday, January 24, 2013

Predicting Future Wars And Conflicts

Hoss Cartwright Heralds New Era In Warfare: 'No Longer Do We Troll For Trouble; We Predict It' -- Aol Defense

WASHINGTON: A combat patrol is four soldiers walking, under orders to look for trouble and react to it. For most of modern history, infantry squads have been the military's principal sensors, forcing an enemy to respond, allowing American forces to judge the situation and respond.

But that is an always risky, often bloody way to generate intelligence. "Essentially, you are asking them to troll for trouble," the retired vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Hoss Cartwright, told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies today.  

Read more ....  

My Comment: When you read stories like this one .... that is when you know that a fundamental shift is now occurring within the military on how to fight future wars effectively and efficiently.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Irish Wind Turbines To Power UK Homes

Ireland To Build 'Giant' Wind Turbines To Power UK Homes -- BBC 

UK and Irish ministers will today sign an agreement that could see some of the world's largest wind turbines built across the Irish midlands. Stretching more than 600 feet (180 metres) in the air, the towers are set to generate energy for millions of UK homes from 2017.

The companies involved say the Irish power is a cheaper form of renewable than UK offshore wind. But environmentalists have described the scheme as "crazy". They say it risks damaging Ireland's landscape.

Read more ....  

My Comment: There goes the landscape.

Governments Want Access To Google's User Data

Data of government requests of Google data on the company's users. (Image: Screengrab/Google)

US Government Leads Global Increase In Requests For Google User Data -- Wired

According to data released by Google, it is receiving by far the most requests for users' personal data from the US government, but global demand is steadily rising each year. The search engine published the figures 23 January as part of its efforts for total transparency.

The report reveals that the US leads the trend, with 8,438 requests for information about 14,791 users in the second half of 2012 -- India is a distant second, with 2,431 requests for information, followed by France, Germany, the UK and Brazil.  

Read more ....

More News On Government's Wanting Access To Google's User Data

Google Complies With Government Requests for User Data 88% of the Time -- Weekly Standard Google report shows governments trying to extract more info about users of company’s services -- Washington Post
Google report reveals continued rise in US government requests for data -- The Guardian
Google Says Requests for User Data Rose in Second Half of 2012 -- Bloomberg Businessweek Google Tells Cops to Get Warrants for User E-Mail, Cloud Data -- Threat Level
Google report reveals two-thirds of police requests for data lacked warrant -- The Hill
Government data requests to Google continue to rise -- Computer World
Google breaks down how governments access users’ data -- SFGate
Google Sees Growing Government Demand For User Data -- Information week
U.S. leads the world in requests for users' Google data -- CNet
Google: Feds Requesting More User Data, Mostly Via Subpoenas -- PCMag Google Reveals How U.S. Government Obtains User Information -- TPM

Massive Melting Of Andes Glaciers

The tropical glaciers are melting at their fastest rate in 300 years 

Massive Melting Of Andes Glacier -- BBC 

Glaciers in the tropical Andes have shrunk by 30-50% since the 1970s, according to a study. The glaciers, which provide fresh water for tens of millions in South America, are retreating at their fastest rate in the past 300 years.

The study included data on about half of all Andean glaciers and blamed the melting on an average temperature rise of 0.7C from 1950-1994. Details appear in the academic journal Cryosphere.

Read more ....  

My Comment: In my travels through the Andes in the 1990s I was appalled to see the level of deforestation that was occurring .... I suspect that this has increased over the years, and is contributing to the disappearance of the glaciers.

Antibiotic-Resistant Diseases Pose 'Apocalyptic' Threat

Hospital superbugs such as MRSA are some of the best know antibiotic-resistant diseases, but MPs were warned about infections such as gonorrhea and TB that affect the general population. Photograph: Getty Images 

Antibiotic-Resistant Diseases Pose 'Apocalyptic' Threat, Top Expert Says -- The Guardian 

Chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies tells MPs issue should be added to national risk register of civil emergencies. Britain's most senior medical adviser has warned MPs that the rise in drug-resistant diseases could trigger a national emergency comparable to a catastrophic terrorist attack, pandemic flu or major coastal flooding.

 Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer, said the threat from infections that are resistant to frontline antibiotics was so serious that the issue should be added to the government's national risk register of civil emergencies.

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My Comment: Apocalyptic is underestimating the impact that such a development can become.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Asteroid Mining

Image: Advocates hope asteroid mining could turn into a trillion-dollar business; others are sceptical 

New Venture 'To Mine Asteroids' -- BBC 

A new venture is joining the effort to extract mineral resources on asteroids. The announcement of plans by Deep Space Industries to exploit the rare metals present in the space rocks turns asteroid mining into a two-horse race.

The other venture, Planetary Resources, went public with its proposals last year. Advocates of asteroid mining hope it could turn into a trillion-dollar business, but some scientists are highly skeptical of the idea.

Read more ....  

My Comment: This is not going to happen .... it is still cheaper to mine on earth.

Will 'Genetic Hard Drives' Revolutionize The Way Computers Work?

Currently data centres such as Google's shown here, rely on traditional hard drives. However, they could one day be replaced by the DNA drives revealed today 

The 'Genetic Hard Drive' That Could Store The Complete Works Of Shakespeare (And Revolutionize The Way Computers Work) -- Daily Mail 

* Same technique also used to store 26 second excerpt from Martin Luther King's 'I Have A Dream' speech
* Breakthrough could have major implications for computer storage with DNA hard drives
* Could lead to drives that can store high definition version of every film and TV programme ever created in a teacup sized drive

A genetic storage device has been used to 'download' all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets on to strands of synthetic DNA.

Scientists were then able to decode the information and reproduce the words of the Bard with complete accuracy.

The same technique made it possible to store a 26 second excerpt from Martin Luther King's 'I Have A Dream' speech and a photo of the Cambridgeshire laboratory where the work took place.

Researchers were also able to turn a copy of Watson and Crick's paper describing the nature of DNA into genetic code.

Read more ....  

My Comment: This is why I am fascinated by new technology.

Chinese Researchers Have Revealed A 'Ghost Cape'

The prototype 'ghost cloak' created by the team. It can distort light and make a ghost device, in the upper picture, appear as something else 

The 'Ghost Cape' That Could Make Fighter Jets Look Like Passenger Planes -- Daily Mail 

* Groundbreaking technology can make an object appear to be something else
* Technology could be used to make a jet fighter appear to be a passenger plane, or a soldier appear to be a tree
* Researchers say the technique is far simpler than current 'cloaking' devices

Chinese researchers have revealed a 'ghost cape' that can make one object appear to look like another.

The team from Southeast University in Nanjing, China say their technique is far simpler that other invisibility devices, because instead of making an object disappear entirely, it makes it look like something else.

The technique scatters incoming light to create two 'ghost' images either side of the cloaked object.

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My Comment: Until I see Chinese fighter jets looking like passenger jets .... I am deeply skeptical of this report.

No One Will Do Your Laundry In Space

Astronaut Catherine Coleman unpacks for a stay on the space station. NASA 

 In Space, No One Will Do Your Laundry -- Popular Mechanics 

University of Rhode Island design professor Karl Aspelund wants you to think about astronaut socks. In fact, he hopes his work with the 100 Year Starship Project—figuring out what kind of clothes space travelers will need for a long-duration mission—will change the way you dress, too.

How did you get interested in what clothes astronauts could use on a 100-year-long trip into space?

I had an NPR driveway moment when I heard Dr. Mae Jemison talking about the 100 Year Starship; I had to sit and listen to the whole thing. I immediately got this idea, and ran inside to email her saying, "Okay, you’re planning this long trip, but have you thought about what you’ll wear?" She hadn’t. Textiles and clothing are so integral to our lives, but that gets taken for granted.

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My Comment: It must smell pretty bad up there .... but if you are living in it all the time, who will notice.

Tianyuan Cave: Humans Living 40,000 Years Ago Likely Related To Many Present-Day Asians And Native Americans

The leg of the early modern human from Tianyuan Cave was used for the genetic analysis as well as for carbon dating. (Credit: MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology) 

A Relative from the Tianyuan Cave: Humans Living 40,000 Years Ago Likely Related to Many Present-Day Asians and Native Americans -- Daily Science 

Jan. 21, 2013 — Ancient DNA has revealed that humans living some 40,000 years ago in the area near Beijing were likely related to many present-day Asians and Native Americans.

An international team of researchers including Svante Pääbo and Qiaomei Fu of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, sequenced nuclear and mitochondrial DNA that had been extracted from the leg of an early modern human from Tianyuan Cave near Beijing, China.

Read more ....  

My Comment: We are not so different from our ancestors after-all.

Scheme To Clone Neanderthal Baby Disowned By Harvard Geneticist Who "Promoted" It

Lost In Translation: Harvard Geneticist Now Disowns Scheme To Clone Neanderthal Baby -- Evolution News 

The Boston Herald assures us that the geneticist who yesterday was advocating a project to clone a Neanderthal baby in fact never called for such a thing, nor is he seeking a likely and "adventurous female human" to bear the child.

It's all "Way too outlandish, and entirely untrue." A big misunderstanding. The story today is that this all stems from a mistranslation in Der Spiegel that got hyped by Britain's Daily Mail, then went global.

I commented here yesterday on the moral stupidity of the idea.

Read more ....  

Update: How the Viral Neanderthal-Baby Story Turned Real Science into Junk Journalism -- The Atlantic

 My Comment: So the story is now discredited .... but I suspect that if offered with the right inducements .... some women will probably decide to get involved in such an experiment.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Darpa`s Drone Project Is Going Under The Sea

The U.S. military aims to hide drones deep beneath the ocean waves. CREDIT: DARPA.

U.S. Military Wants To Hide Drones Under The Sea -- CBS

Hollywood films often show alien ships or giant monsters rising from the ocean depths to threaten humanity's existence.

The U.S. military envisions a more realistic scenario of hiding robotic drones, sensors or decoys on the ocean floor so that they can rise to the occasion when needed.

The idea of hiding sneaky spy technologies beneath the waves comes from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The agency described its Upward Falling Payloads program as an effort to hide underwater capsules that could be triggered remotely to activate, float to the surface and release their payloads of sensor buoys or even flying drones.  

Read more ....

More News On Darpa`s "Under The Sea" Drone Program

The Pentagon Wants To Scatter Weapons Under The World's Oceans To Activate On Demand -- Business Insider
US Military Wants to Hide Drones Under the Sea -- Live Science
DARPA Considers Deploying Technology On Ocean Floor -- Information Week
DARPA’s New Program: Robots From The Deep Blue Sea -- Red Orbit
DARPA wants to stash drones on the bottom of the ocean -- Slash Gear

Google Founder Tests Google Glass

Google co-founder Sergey Brin was photographed travelling on the New York Subway on Sunday. Daily Mail

Sergey Brin Spotted On New York Subway Wearing Google Glasses -- The Independent 

Billionaire wore prototype of gadget that could allow mobile data-downloading with voice commands. lad in a stylish, black zip-up top and coolly holding the gaze, he could be an upmarket hitman researching his next job. 

One columnist likened him to “an assassin.” But that was just mischief, since the New York Times knew the bearded, beanie-wearing man on the New York subway was Google’s Sergey Brin, who, given the company’s storage of billions of internet searches, could already know everything about his fellow passengers.  

Read more .... 

My Comment: Cool.
Update: Tech mogul Sergey Brin spotted wearing his trendy Google Glasses on the New York Subway (but what IS a man worth $17BILLION doing on public transport?) -- Daily Mail

The 16 Greatest Cities In Human History

Constantinople as it would look by air. Wikipedia 

The 16 Greatest Cities In Human History -- Business Insider 

What New York City was in twentieth century, London was in the the 1900s, Constantinople was in the 600s, and so forth, back to Jericho in 7000 BC.

They were the largest cities in the world, and arguably the epicenters of human civilization. These cities led mankind to new heights of culture and commerce—though in the end each of them was surpassed and some of them destroyed.

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My Comment: I would also add the cities of Athens, Alexandria, and Troy.

Did An 8th Century Gamma Ray Burst Irradiate Earth?

An artist’s impression of the merger of two neutron stars. Short duration gamma-ray bursts are thought to be caused by the merger of some combination of white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes. Theory suggests that they are short lived as there is little dust and gas to fuel an ‘afterglow’. (Credit: NASA / Dana Berry) 

Did An 8th Century Gamma Ray Burst Irradiate Earth? -- Science Daily 

Jan. 21, 2013 — A nearby short duration gamma-ray burst may be the cause of an intense blast of high-energy radiation that hit the Earth in the 8th century, according to new research led by astronomers Valeri Hambaryan and Ralph Neuhӓuser.

The two scientists, based at the Astrophysics Institute of the University of Jena in Germany, publish their results in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

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My Comment: I could only imagine what would be the reaction if such an event happened today.

Evidence Of Ancient Lake On Mars

Layered rocks on the floor of McLaughlin Crater on Mars show sedimentary rocks that contain spectroscopic evidence for minerals formed through interaction with water. Photo: Reuters/NASA  

Mars Scientists Find ‘Strongest Evidence Yet’ That Planet May Have Supported Life -- National Post

Scientists believe they may have found the ‘strongest evidence yet’ that Mars may have supported life, but it’s unlikely in the form most people would recognize.

New research published today in the journal Nature Geoscience suggests a team of scientists could have discovered the ingredients of life in a huge crater up to 5km below the planet’s surface.

The McLaughlin crater, which was made by a meteorite which smashed into Mars, is described as an area of interest for the team, led by London’s Natural History Museum and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Read more ....

More News On The Possibility That There Was Once Water On Mars  

Scientists find evidence of ancient lake on Mars -- Sydney Morning Herald
NASA Probe Finds Evidence Of Groundwater-Fed Lake In Martian Crater -- Red Orbit
Martian minerals 'strongest evidence yet' of life on the red planet - and it could still be there -- Daily Mail
Martian crater may once have held lake -- TG Daily
Massive ancient lake on Mars is indicator of underground waterworks -- Wired

Do We Really Need To Use Deodorant?

New research shows that more than 75 per cent of people with a particular version of a gene don't produce under-arm odour but use deodorant anyway. (Credit: © Piotr Marcinski / Fotolia) 

Deodorants: Do We Really Need Them? -- Science Daily

 Jan. 17, 2013 — New research shows that more than 75 per cent of people with a particular version of a gene don't produce under-arm odour but use deodorant anyway.

The study was based on a sample of 6,495 women who are part of the wider Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol. The researchers found that about two per cent (117 out of 6,495) of mothers carry a rare version of a particular gene (ABCC11), which means they don't produce any under-arm odour.

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My Comment: Sad to say that I am one of those 25% who needs deodorant.