Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Massive Solar Storms of the Future Could Reap Katrina-Scale Devastation

Plasma of the Sun I'm looking at you, Earth Hinode JAXA/NASA

From Popular Science:

If storms as strong as the biggest recorded in the last few two centuries, our electronics-dependent world of today could be in trouble.

No electricity, no running water, and no phone service for millions of people. That scenario could easily become reality if a solar storm as intense as those found throughout the history of our planet were to strike Earth today. NPR reported on FEMA's recent simulation of such a storm, and the grim conditions it uncovered.

Read more

Facebook Users Keep It Real In Online Profiles

From New Science:

Young adults apparently present their true selves on the world's biggest social network.

“On the Internet,” one dog tells another in a classic New Yorker cartoon, “nobody knows you’re a dog.”

The Internet is notorious for its digital dens of deception. But on Facebook, what you see tends to be what you get — at least in one study of tailless, two-legged young adults.

Read more ....

Is The iPad Launch Really Delayed?

(Credit: Apple)

From The CNET:

When Apple introduced the iPad in January, it said the device would be made available in late March. However, one analyst is now saying the launch may be delayed.

Peter Misek, an analyst with Canaccord Adams, wrote in a note to clients on Monday that production problems could limit Apple's launch of the iPad. The production issues could be bad enough to even delay the launch for a month, according to a report on AppleInsider.

Read more ....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chilean Quake May Have Shortened Earth Days

This view of Earth comes from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard the Terra satellite. (Credit: NASA)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Mar. 2, 2010) — The Feb. 27 magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile may have shortened the length of each Earth day.

JPL research scientist Richard Gross computed how Earth's rotation should have changed as a result of the Feb. 27 quake. Using a complex model, he and fellow scientists came up with a preliminary calculation that the quake should have shortened the length of an Earth day by about 1.26 microseconds (a microsecond is one millionth of a second).

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Titanic vs. Lusitania: Time Determined Who Survived

The RMS Titanic being towed

From Live Science:

The time people have during survival situations might affect whether they behave selfishly or socially. Examining two shipwrecks, the Titanic and the Lusitania, researchers recently found the longer passengers had to react to the disaster, the more likely they were to follow social mores. The less time, the more selfishly passengers behaved.

The result: It was every man for himself aboard the rapidly sinking Lusitania, and so the fittest were the most likely to survive that accident. During the lengthy Titanic shipwreck, women in their reproductive years were the most likely to make it, while men of the same age had a lower probability of surviving.

Read more ....

Most Detailed Pictures Of Earth Revealed By Nasa

The view of our home planet was taken from 700 km above the Earth's surface and is made up of thousands of images 'stitched' together Photo: BARCROFT

From The Telegraph:

The most detailed and amazing set of composite satellite images of the Earth ever produced, have been disclosed by Nasa scientists.

Perfectly capturing the fragility of the Earth in one remarkable shot, the composition shows the entire North American continent, Central America, the northern half of South America, Greenland and the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

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What's Wrong With Venture Capital?

The exception: Google’s successful initial public offering over five years ago did not usher in a new era of good times for venture capitalists; it merely served to underscore how rare these happy events have become. Credit: Getty Images

From Technology Review:

The old mechanism for funding the commercialization of new technologies is in trouble.

In the summer of 1996, Silicon Valley venture capitalists put a few million dollars into a telecom-equipment startup called Juniper Networks. Three years later, after a few more rounds of funding and the release of its first product, Juniper enjoyed an initial public offering of shares, or IPO. At the end of its first day of trading, it was worth nearly $5 billion, and within nine months, it was worth almost 10 times that. The original venture investors, meanwhile, were able to walk away with profits of better than 10,000 percent.

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Coldest Winter In UK For More Than 30 Years... But Met Office Defends Its Long Range Forecast

Mothers tow children on their sledges in Hampshire, in January. The Met Office has confirmed that 2009/10 winter was the coldest since 1978/79

From The Daily Mail:

Perhaps someone should ask workers at the Met Office to take a rain check on their optimism.

After predicting just a 20 per cent chance of a colder than average winter, they were left embarrassed again when official figures revealed it was the coldest for more than 30 years.

Temperatures in December, January and February struggled to stay above zero, with the UK's average a chilly 1.5c (35f), making it the deepest freeze since 1978-79.

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The Mystery Of The Silent Aliens

From New Scientist:

Sixty years ago, space aliens were the preserve of lunatics and eccentrics, thanks to decades of sci-fi schlock, flying-saucer nonsense and Lowellian fantasies of Martian canals. Then, in 1950, came Enrico Fermi and his paradox - "Where the hell is everyone?" - and, 10 years later, the first attempts to put the search for ET on a scientific footing, courtesy of Frank Drake, who pointed a radio telescope at Tau Ceti and heard... silence.

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Etched Ostrich Eggs Illustrate Human Sophistication

From The BBC:

Inscribed ostrich shell fragments found in South Africa are among the earliest examples of the use of symbolism by modern humans, scientists say.

The etched shells from Diepkloof Rock Shelter in Western Cape have been dated to about 60,000 years ago.

Details are reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers, who have investigated the material since 1999, argue that the markings are almost certainly a form of messaging - of graphic communication.

Read more ....

'Ministrokes' May Cause More Damage Than Thought

From New Science:

Common test given to patients after the passing attacks appears to miss some cognitive impairments.

SAN ANTONIO — As many as four in 10 people referred to a clinic with signs of a “ministroke” may have subtle cognitive damage that standard tests miss, a new study shows.

The findings, reported by Canadian researchers February 24 at the International Stroke Conference in San Antonio, Texas, suggest that after suffering the ministrokes many patients lose some ability to process abstract thoughts, reason things out and make quick calculations — what doctors call “executive function.”

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Titanic vs. Lusitania: How People Behave In A Disaster

An illustration of the Titanic as it sank in the Atlantic Ocean
Time & Life Pictures / Getty

From Time Magazine:

It's hard to remember your manners when you think you're about to die. The human species may have developed an elaborate social and behavioral code, but we drop it fast when we're scared enough — as any stampeding mob reveals.

That primal push-pull is at work during wars, natural disasters and any other time our hides are on the line. It was perhaps never more poignantly played out than during the two greatest maritime disasters in history: the sinking of the Titanic and the Lusitania. A team of behavioral economists from Switzerland and Australia have published a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that takes an imaginative new look at who survived and who perished aboard the two ships, and what the demographics of death say about how well social norms hold up in a crisis.

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Microsoft's Ballmer Talks Bing, Twitter

Photo: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (right) and Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan listen to an audience question at SMX West. (Credit: Tom Krazit/CNET)

From CNET:

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer maintains a secret Twitter account for providing running commentary on high-school basketball matches: but that doesn't mean he wants to buy the company.

Ballmer's booming voice filled the Santa Clara Convention Center on Tuesday morning at SMX West, where he was interviewed on stage by Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan on a wide range of topics related to Microsoft, Bing, and the company's struggling yet strategically important Internet business. Having wrapped up its search deal with Yahoo and restructured a separate search and advertising deal with Facebook, it wouldn't be surprising if Ballmer was looking for something new to do with that division.

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Google’s China Exit Strategy: Watch This Space

From Wired:

A top Google lawyer told Congress Tuesday that the company still has no idea when or if it will make good on its public ultimatum in January to pull out of China unless it is allowed to stop censoring search results.

“We are still weighing our options,” Google Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Nicole Wong told the Senate Judiciary committee in a hearing on internet freedom.

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'Biological Clock' Could Be a Key to Better Health, Longer Life

This fruit fly is used by researchers at Oregon State University for studies of the genes that control the "biological clock" in this and many other animal species, including humans. (Credit: Photo courtesy of Oregon State University)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Mar. 2, 2010) — If you aren't getting a good, consistent and regular night's sleep, a new study suggests it could reduce your ability to handle oxidative stress, cause impacts to your health, increase motor and neurological deterioration, speed aging and ultimately cut short your life.

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Where The Quakes In Chile Struck

This map of topography and water depth along the Chilean coast shows quake locations and magnitudes (black circles), with lighter colors indicating higher elevation on land and shallower depth in the water. The boundary where the two tectonic plates converge is marked by a red line. Also there is a trench where the Nazca Plate begins to dive beneath the South America Plate. When these plates get locked together for any time the pressure will eventually break, resulting in an earthquake like the 8.8 magnitude temblor on Feb. 27. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

From Live Science:

The 8.8-magnitude earthquake that devastated parts of Chile was the result of a collision between two giant slabs of Earth.

The jolt occurred along a so-called subduction zone, where one tectonic plate dives beneath another. In this case, the Nazca Plate is plowing under the South America Plate at an average rate of 3 inches (80 millimeters) a year. In addition to the Feb. 27 earthquake and others, the plate collision gives rise to the spectacular Andes Mountains.

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Wiseguys Indicted In $25 Million Online Ticket Ring

From Wired News:

A ring of ticket brokers has been indicted in connection to an elaborate hacking scheme that used bots and other fraudulent means to purchase more than 1 million tickets for concerts, sporting events and other events.

The defendants made more than $25 million in profits from the resale of the tickets between 2002 and 2009.

Read more ....

More News On This Ticket Scam

Four Men Indicted In Online Ticket Scam -- PC World
Four men charged in computerized online ticket scam -- CNET
Four Indicted in CAPTCHA Hacks of Ticket Sites -- PC Magazine
4 Californians indicted in alleged ticket reselling scam -- L.A. Times
Couldn’t Get Those Coveted Gaga Tickets? Here’s Why -- Wall Street Journal
Wiseguys net $25m in ticket scalping racket -- Register

The Great Tradition Of Bungling Boffins

Galileo wasn't immune to the odd bad idea himself. Simon Callow in the television production of Galileo's Daughter Photo: CHANNEL 4

From The Telegraph:

As recent events have shown, all scientists can make mistakes. Michael Brooks recounts their most heroic failures across the ages.

It is hardly surprising that public confidence in science has taken a dip lately, what with all the turmoil surrounding climate change research, the failure of the peer review process to block Andrew Wakefield's paper on MMR, and the near-comical troubles at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

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Year Of The Laser

From Technology Review:

The laser, a device used in everything from astrophysics to biology, was invented 50 years ago.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the laser, a device used in applications from performing precise surgical procedures to measuring gravitational waves. In 1917, Albert Einstein proposed that a photon hitting an atom in a high energy state would cause the atom to release a second photon identical in frequency and direction to the first. In the 1950s, scientists searched for a way to achieve this stimulated emission and amplify it so that a group of excited atoms would release photons in a chain reaction. In 1959, American physicist Gordon Gould publicly used the term “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation” for the first time. A year later, scientists demonstrated the first working optical laser.

Read more ....

Big Bang Collider Restarts At Cern In Bid To Discover Origins Of The Universe

Technicians install electric cables at the heart of the ATLAS detector, part of the Large Hadron Collider, which was restarted last night

From The Daily Mail:

Scientists have restarted the world largest atom smasher over-night, in a fresh bid to uncover the secrets of the universe.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, sent low energy beams of protons in both directions around the 17-mile particle accelerator under the Swiss-French border at Geneva.

Read more ....

Why The Chile quake Tsunami Was Smaller Than Feared

Focused spread (Image: NOAA)

From New Scientist:

The earthquake in Chile on Saturday was one of the biggest the world has felt in the past century – so why was the tsunami that spread across the Pacific smaller than originally feared?

The magnitude-8.8 earthquake was devastating, claiming at least 700 lives. Large tsunami waves were reported along parts of Chile's coastline: reports suggest the town of ConstituciĆ³n was worst affected by the wave.

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Nose Scanning Techniques Could Sniff Out Criminals

Faces were analysed and mapped with a computer program

From The BBC:

We already have iris and fingerprint scanning but noses could be an even better method of identification, says a study from the University of Bath, UK.

The researchers scanned noses in 3D and characterised them by tip, ridge profile and the nasion, or area between the eyes.

They found 6 main nose types: Roman, Greek, Nubian, hawk, snub and turn-up.

Read more ....

Chile Quake Among Most Powerful Ever

From Discovery News:

The so-called megathrust quake that rocked the western coast of South America is the most powerful of its kind.


* The 8.8-magnitude earthquake is similar to the 2004 Indian Ocean temblor that triggered devastating tsunamis.
* Called megathrusts, these quakes occur when one tectonic plate dives beneath another.
* The Chile tremor unleashed about 50 gigatons of energy.

The huge earthquake that struck off the coast of Chile belongs to an "elite class" of mega earthquakes, experts said, and is similar to the 2004 Indian Ocean temblor that triggered deadly tsunami waves.

Read more ....

A Bird's Eye View Of The Chile Earthquake's Energy Distribution

NOAA's Distributed Energy Map of the Chile Earthquake NOAA

From Popular Science:

It’s easy to think of tsunamis as phenomenon that mimic the behavior of ripples on the surface of water; you toss a stone into a pond and the resulting energy from the splash moves out away from the epicenter in a series of even, concentric circles. But this NOAA energy distribution map from the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile over the weekend tells a different story.

Read more ....

Monday, March 1, 2010

New 'Alien Invader' Star Clusters Found in Milky Way

As many as one quarter of the star clusters in our Milky Way -- many more than previously thought -- are invaders from other galaxies, according to a new study. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

From Science Daily:

ScienceDaily (Feb. 26, 2010) — As many as one quarter of the star clusters in our Milky Way -- many more than previously thought -- are invaders from other galaxies, according to a new study. The report also suggests there may be as many as six dwarf galaxies yet to be discovered within the Milky Way rather than the two that were previously confirmed.

Read more ....

Top 10 Spooky Sleep Disorders

From Live Science:

Sleep is supposed to be a time of peace and relaxation. Most of us drift from our waking lives into predictable cycles of deep, non-REM sleep, followed by dream-filled rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. But when the boundaries of these three phases of arousal get fuzzy, sleep can be downright scary. In fact, some sleep disorders seem more at home in horror films than in your bedroom.

Read more ....

British Library To Offer Free Ebook Downloads

Jane Austen: Originals cost £250

From Times Online:

MORE than 65,000 19th-century works of fiction from the British Library’s collection are to be made available for free downloads by the public from this spring.

Owners of the Amazon Kindle, an ebook reader device, will be able to view well known works by writers such as Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy, as well as works by thousands of less famous authors.

The library’s ebook publishing project, funded by Microsoft, the computer giant, is the latest move in the mounting online battle over the future of books.

Read more ....

Microsoft Urges Antitrust Complaints About Google

Image from Onecomics

From Times Online:

Microsoft has encouraged other companies to complain about Google to antitrust regulators in its most outspoken attack on its rival.

The software group, which for years has been the prime target of competition regulators in the US and Europe over the way it handled its near-monopoly of computer operating systems, wants to turn the spotlight on to Google's position as the world's biggest internet search and advertising company.

Read more ....

Colossal Head Statue Of King Tut's Grandfather Dug Out In Luxor

The colossal head, after its excavation.
Courtesy: Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA)

From Discovery News:

A colossal head statue of King Tut's grandfather has been dug out in Luxor, Farouk Hosni, Egypt's Culture Minister, said Sunday.

Smoothly polished and perfectly preserved, the 2.5-meter (8-foot) head belonged to Amenhotep III, the pharaoh who was King Tutankhamun's grandfather, according to DNA tests revealed last week.

The ninth ruler of the Eighteenth Dynasty, Amenhotep III (1390-1352 B.C.), reigned for 38 year during a time when Egypt was at the height of prosperity and cultural development.

Read more ....

Suborbital Safety: Will Commercial Spaceflight Ramp Up the Risk?

From Popular Mechanics:

At the first-ever Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference, high-level officials from NASA and the FAA addressed the risks that new private and commercial suborbital vehicles will carry when transporting NASA-sponsored payloads and personnel.

Ever since the loss of the space shuttle Challenger, almost a quarter of a century ago, the watchword above all others at NASA has been "safety." Unfortunately, watchwords don't necessarily create actual safety, as we learned a little over seven years ago, with the loss of her sister ship Columbia.

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Video: A Silent Rotor Blade Paves The Way For Super-Stealth Choppers

From Popular Science:

For all the government conspiracy militia nuts out there, I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that there is no such thing as silent, stealth black helicopters. The bad news is that, thanks to Eurocopter's noise-canceling Blue Edge rotor blades, there soon will be.

Read more ....

Stonehenge "Hedge" Found, Shielded Secret Rituals?

Stonehenge (seen in an aerial view taken in the late 1990s) may have been protected by a green barrier, archaeologists say. Photograph by Jason Hawkes, Corbis

From The National Geographic:

Stonehenge may have been surrounded by a "Stonehedge" that blocked onlookers from seeing secret rituals, according to a new study.

Evidence for two encircling hedges—possibly thorn bushes—planted some 3,600 years ago was uncovered during a survey of the site by English Heritage, the government agency responsible for maintaining the monument in southern England.

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By Tracking Water Molecules, Physicists Hope To Unlock Secrets Of Life

Supercool. As individual water molecules fluctuate, breaking and forming bonds with their nearest neighbors, the result is slightly imperfect tetrahedral structures that are constantly in flux. Research suggests that these fluctuations give rise to some of water's most unusual and life-sustaining features. (Credit: Image courtesy of Rockefeller University)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Mar. 1, 2010) — The key to life as we know it is water, a tiny molecule with some highly unusual properties, such as the ability to retain large amounts of heat and to lose, instead of gain, density as it solidifies. It behaves so differently from other liquids, in fact, that by some measures it shouldn't even exist. Now scientists have made a batch of new discoveries about the ubiquitous liquid, suggesting that an individual water molecule's interactions with its neighbors could someday be manipulated to solve some of the world's thorniest problems -- from agriculture to cancer.

Read more ....

How Bad Is Second-Hand Smoke?

From Live Science:

This Week’s Question: I live with my 40-year-old son and he smokes like the proverbial chimney around the house. I’m afraid of what it’s doing to his health. What can I do to get him to quit?

Tell him he may be killing you with his secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke—also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)—is made up of the “sidestream” smoke from the end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, and the “mainstream” smoke that is exhaled.

Read more ....

Clean Tech: A New Way To Hasten Energy Solutions

Solar panels cover the rooftop of the STAPLES Center sports complex in Los Angeles.
David McNew / Getty Images

From Time Magazine:

If we're going to find a way to fix our long-term energy woes — whether it's through biofuels made from algae or through the rise of miniature nuclear-power plants, — the solution is likely to come from northern California. Yes, in Silicon Valley, the same entrepreneurs who brought us the Internet — and, O.K., — are exploring new ways to make and use energy. And we'll need them, as much for our economy's well-being as for our planet's.

Read more ....

British Library Launches UK Internet Archive

From Times Online:

The UK's national library has created a fascinating snapshot of the way Britons have been using the web since 2004.

So, the internet of today's not big enough for you?

Then have a look at the 6,000 or so vintage sites that have been newly collected by the British Library for the UK Web Archive, which launched today.

The Library, which collects every periodical and book published in English, decided to extend its reach to cover the internet in 2004, when it was clear that the web's evolution would inevitably mean that some sites would disappear.

Read more ....

Giant Antarctic Iceberg Could Affect Global Ocean Circulation

Satellite image showing 97km (60 mile) long iceberg, right, about to crash into the Mertz glacier tongue, left, in the Australian Antarctic Territory. The collision created a new 78km-long iceberg. Photograph: AP

From The Guardian:

Ice broken off from Mertz glacier is size of Luxembourg and may decrease oxygen supply for marine life in the area.

An iceberg the size of Luxembourg that contains enough fresh water to supply a third of the world's population for a year has broken off in the Antarctic continent, with possible implications for global ocean circulation, scientists said today.

Read more ....

Happiness Ain't All It's Cracked Up To Be

From New Scientist:

The Founding Fathers liked happiness so much they considered pursuing it an inalienable right – but maybe that wasn't such a good idea. Happiness seems to make people more selfish, the latest in a series of revelations suggesting it changes how you think – and not in a good way.

Psychologist Joe Forgas at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, who has led many of these studies, suggests that happiness's negative effects all stem from a cheery mood's tendency to lull you into feeling secure. This makes you look inwards and behave both more selfishly and more carelessly.

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Happily Married Men 'Much Less Likely To Suffer Stroke' Than Single Or Unhappily Married Friends

Scientists say an unhappy marriage or being left on the shelf was as big a risk to your chances of having a stroke as having diabetes Photo: ALAMY

From The Telegraph:

Happily married men are much less likely to suffer a stroke than their single or unhappily married friends, according to new research.

Single men and those in unsuccessful marriages were 64 per cent more likely to have a stroke than men in successful marriages.

Scientists say an unhappy marriage or being left on the shelf was as big a risk to your chances of having a stroke as having diabetes.

Read more ....

Apple: Underage Workers May Have Built Your iPhone

From PC World:

That iPhone you adore may have been built by a child.

Nearly a dozen underage teens were working for Apple-contracted facilities in 2009, the company has revealed. The news was posted to Apple's Web site under a section labeled "Supplier Responsibility."

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Climate Group Plans Review

From The Wall Street Journal:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's announcement over the weekend that it will seek independent experts to investigate how factual errors were published in its latest report is a key aspect of the organization's effort to understand and divulge its institutional problems, officials there say.

The announcement by the United Nations-sponsored organization Saturday comes as it gears up to produce another big report on global warming.

Read more ....

The Fiancee Formula: Academics Work Out The Best Time To Propose

From The Daily Mail:

Worried your boyfriend is never going to propose? Then buy him a calculator.

Mathematicians have come up with a 'fiancee formula' that allows men to work out the perfect time to pop the question.

All he needs is the age he would first consider marrying and his cut-off point - and the equation does the rest.

Maths professor Anthony Dooley said: 'Applying maths to matters of the heart is always dangerous. In life you are dealing with emotions and have to think much harder.

But if you want to work out the right moment to start getting serious, this gives you a mathematical framework.'

Read more ....

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Threat to Monkey Numbers from Forest Decline

An Udzungwa red colobus monkey. (Credit: Andrew Marshall / University of York)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Feb. 27, 2010) — Monkey populations in threatened forests are far more sensitive to damage to their habitat than previously thought, according to new research.

An analysis of monkeys living in Tanzania's Udzungwa Mountains suggests that the impact of external factors, such as human activity, on species numbers is felt in forests as large as 40 square kilometres.

Read more ....

Chile Earthquake: Is Mother Nature Out of Control?

From Live Science:

Chile is on a hotspot of sorts for earthquake activity. And so the 8.8-magnitude temblor that shook the capital region overnight was not a surprise, historically speaking. Nor was it outside the realm of normal, scientists say, even though it comes on the heels of other major earthquakes.

One scientist, however, says that relative to a time period in the past, the Earth has been more active over the past 15 years or so.

Read more ....

Why Tsunamis Were Smaller Than Expected

Debris in Pelluhue, Chile, after high waves hit. VICTOR RUIZ CABALLERO/REUTERS

From The Independent:

It is fortunate that one of the biggest earthquakes in recent history has generated only relatively small tsunamis that crossed the Pacific Ocean from Chile to Japan. This is almost certainly because the rupture that generated the earthquake occurred quite deep in the Earth's crust.

The size of a tsunami, which means "harbour wave" in Japanese, is directly related to the volume of water that is displaced during the movement of the seabed during an earthquake. The bigger the amount of water that is moved up or down, the bigger the tsunami that is likely to be created.

Read more ....

Was Jimi Hendrix's Ambidexterity The Key To His Virtuosity?

Right (and left) hand man ... Jimi Hendrix. Photograph: Marc Sharratt/Rex Features

From The Guardian:

Guitar hero's 'mixed-handedness' was secret to his genius, argues American psychologist.

Was Jimi Hendrix's ambidexterity the secret to his talent? This is the question explored in a new paper by psychologist Stephen Christman (via TwentyFourBit), who argues that Hendrix's versatility informed not just his guitar-playing – but his lyrics too.

According to Christman, who is based at the University of Toledo, Hendrix was not strictly left-handed. Although he played his right-handed guitar upside down, and used his left hand to throw, comb his hair and hold cigarettes, Hendrix wrote, ate and held the telephone with his right hand. He was, Christman argues, "mixed-right-handed". And this "mixed"-ness, signaling better interaction between the left and right hemispheres of the guitarist's brain, suffused every part of his music.

Read more ....

A Call For Tenders To Have A Medical Robot

Robots To Rescue Soldiers -- New Scientist

THE US military is asking inventors to come up with designs for a robot that can trundle onto a battlefield and rescue injured troops, with little or no help from outside.

Retrieving casualties while under fire is a major cause of combat losses, says a posting on the Pentagon's small business technology transfer website ( So the army wants a robot with strong, dexterous arms and grippers that can cope with "the large number of body positions and types of locations in which casualties can be found".

Read more ....

Intelligent Men 'Less Likely To Cheat'

Revenge of the Nerds

From The Telegraph:

Intelligent men are less likely to cheat on their wives because of evolution, a new analysis of social trends indicates.

Researchers at a British university found that men with higher IQs place greater value on monogamy and sexual exclusivity than their less intelligent peers.

But the connection between conventional sexual morality and intelligence is not mirrored in women, it seems.

Read more ....

EU Tells Google To Warn Cities Before Sending In Street View Cameras

From The Daily Mail:

Google has been told to warn people before it sends cameras out to take pictures for its controversial Street View maps.

The EU privacy regulators say refusal to give adequate notice could lead to legal action.

And the internet giant must shorten the time it keeps the original photographs from one year to six months.

The regulators also said it should avoid taking pictures ‘of a sensitive nature and those containing intimate details not normally observable by a passer-by’.

Read more ....

Quantum Physics Breakthrough: Scientists Find an Equation for Materials Innovation

Professor Emily Carter and graduate student Chen Huang developed a new way of predicting important properties of substances. The advance could speed the development of new materials and technologies. (Credit: Frank Wojciechowski)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Feb. 26, 2010) — Princeton engineers have made a breakthrough in an 80-year-old quandary in quantum physics, paving the way for the development of new materials that could make electronic devices smaller and cars more energy efficient.

By reworking a theory first proposed by physicists in the 1920s, the researchers discovered a new way to predict important characteristics of a new material before it's been created. The new formula allows computers to model the properties of a material up to 100,000 times faster than previously possible and vastly expands the range of properties scientists can study.

Read more ....

Human Teeth Reveal History of Catastrophes

From Live Science:

Teeth are a window into our past, storing a record of the environmental pollutants and radiation they've encountered. Now scientists are developing tools to use teeth enamel to test how much radiation a person has been exposed to in the case of a major emergency, like a dirty bomb explosion.

"Dental enamel is quite a remarkable material," said Barry Pass, a professor in the College of Dentistry at Howard University in Washington, D.C. "There's a world of information in the tooth."

Read more ....

US Government Rescinds 'Leave Internet Alone' Policy

From The Register:

The US government’s policy of leaving the Internet alone is over, according to Obama’s top official at the Department of Commerce.

Instead, an “Internet Policy 3.0” approach will see policy discussions between government agencies, foreign governments, and key Internet constituencies, according to Assistant Secretary Larry Strickling, with those discussions covering issues such as privacy, child protection, cybersecurity, copyright protection, and Internet governance.

Read more ....