Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Effort To Map Human Brain Faces Complex Challenges

The wiring diagram of connections between neurons and the interscutularis muscle of a mouse ear. Credit: Lu et al., 2009 PLoS Biology: The Interscutularis Connectome

From Live Science:

Mapping the connections among brain cells could someday prove as revolutionary as mapping the human genome. But tracing each synaptic connection between neurons — essentially a manual effort so far — has proven painstakingly slow. To approach a thorough mapping, researchers will have to develop a computer-automated process.

Read more ....

Obama's Plans For NASA Changes Met With Harsh Criticism

From Washington Post:

Harrison Schmitt's credentials as a space policy analyst include several days of walking on the moon. The Apollo 17 astronaut, who is also a former U.S. senator, is aghast at what President Obama is doing to the space program.

"It's bad for the country," Schmitt said. "This administration really does not believe in American exceptionalism."

Read more ....

E-Books Are Largest Category In App Store

From Mac World:

Steve Jobs once dismissed the Kindle by declaring that “people don’t read anymore.” That may or may not be true, but either way, people definitely still sell books. As The Guardian reports, e-books are now more plentiful on the App Store than any other kind of app—including games.

The Guardian cites a report from mobile advertising company Mobclix, which identified 27,000 e-book apps, as opposed to 25,400 games. (Surprisingly, “novelty fart apps” didn’t even rank in the top five.)

Read more ....

Cryptographers Voice Their Concerns On The Security Of Cloud Computing

Cryptographers Warn About Security Dangers in the Cloud at RSA -- Redmond Magazine (Microsoft IT Community News)

Researcher says read the fine print before connecting to the cloud.

Government intervention in cloud computing is "the big elephant in the room that no one will talk about," said Adi Shamir, professor of mathematics and computer science at Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science, who spoke at the recent RSA Conference as part of the event's annual Cryptographers' Panel.

Shamir added that once most people move their IT operations into the cloud, "it's going to be the wet dream of government."

Read more ....

My Comment: If you are concerned about cyberwar, cyber security, and cyber attacks .... this article will increase your concerns exponentially.

US Still Responsible For Most CO2 Emissions

From New Scientist:

Europeans import nearly twice as much carbon dioxide per head as US citizens – but the US still holds the dubious distinction of being the world's largest emitter.

The Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California, reports that in 2004 23 per cent of global CO2 emissions – some 6.2 gigatonnes – went in making products that were traded internationally. Most of these products were exported from China and other relatively poor countries to consumers in richer countries. Some countries, such as Switzerland, "outsourced" over half of their carbon dioxide emissions in this way because they have a high import-to-export ratio of such energy-intensive goods as consumer electronics, motor vehicles and machinery.

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Google Tests TV Search Service

From The Wall Street Journal:

Google Inc. is testing a new television-programming search service with Dish Network Corp., according to people familiar with the matter, the latest development in a fast-moving race to combine Internet content with conventional TV.

The service, which runs on TV set-top boxes containing Google software, allows users to find shows on the satellite-TV service as well as video from Web sites like Google's YouTube, according to these people. It also lets users to personalize a lineup of shows, these people said.

Read more ....

Super-Small Microphone Detects Motion Of Air Particles To Pinpoint Gunfire In Battle

The Microflown via Dvice

From Popular Science:

Wait, don't call it a microphone -- it's an acoustic vector sensor.

Between the yelling of sergeants, the rumble of jet engines, and the deafening pop of gunfire, a soldier's sense of hearing rapidly deteriorates in the heat of battle. Luckily, the Dutch company Microflown has designed a special microphone that can do a soldier's listening for him. By measuring the mechanical movement of individual air particles, as opposed to sound waves as a whole, the device can not only pinpoint the origin of sniper fire or approaching aircraft, but detail their make and model, as well.

Read more ....

Cruise-Ship Disaster: How Do 'Rogue Waves' Work?

From Time Magazine:

It was like something out of a Hollywood disaster movie. On March 3, a sudden wall of water hit a cruise ship sailing in the Mediterranean Sea off the northeastern coast of Spain, killing two people, injuring 14 and causing severe damage to the vessel.

According to Louis Cruise Lines, the owner of the vessel, the Louis Majesty was hit by three "abnormally high" waves, each more than 33 ft. (10 m) high, striking in clear weather and without warning. "We heard a loud noise, and it was the wave that hit us," Claudine Armand, a passenger from France, told the Associated Press Television News. "When we came out of [our room], we saw the wave had flooded everything."

Read more ....

Decision-Makers Betrayed By Their Wide Eyes

Dither no more (Image: Adam Hart-Davis/SPL)

From New Scientist:

WHY can't teachers keep a secret? Because their pupils give them away. It turns out that when people make decisions, their pupils dilate, a subtle cue that could be used to predict a person's intentions, or even converse with people with locked-in syndrome.

Read more ....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Most Extreme White Dwarf Binary System Found With Orbit Of Just Five Minutes

Graphic of HM Cancri. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Warwick)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Mar. 9, 2010) — An international team of astronomers has shown that the two stars in the binary HM Cancri definitely revolve around each other in a mere 5.4 minutes. This makes HM Cancri the binary star with by far the shortest known orbital period. It is also the smallest known binary. The binary system is no larger than 8 times the diameter of the Earth which is the equivalent of no more than a quarter of the distance from the Earth to the Moon.

Read more ....

Even A 3-Year-Old Understands The Power Of Advertising

From Live Science:

Having the "right" brand of jeans or the latest gadget isn't just an annoying trait of teenagers (not to mention their parents). New research found that even preschoolers are brand-conscious and can recognize kiddie brand logos and products.

"Children as young as three are feeling social pressure and understand that consumption of certain brands can help them through life," said lead researcher Anna McAlister of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Findings like this show us that we need to think about materialism developing in very young children."

Read more ....

How To Save And Share Ridiculously Large Files

From CNET:

A few years ago it was a big deal to find a place that would let you share 1 gigabyte of files.

Things change, though. Bandwidth keeps growing, and the cost of Web storage keeps shrinking. That's good news for people looking to share increasingly large files, be it an HD video recording or an archive of several files that tops out at over a gig.

Read more ....

Drinking Alcohol Could Help Women Stay Slim

The best drink for keeping the pounds off was red wine, but all four types of tipple included in the study -- red or white wine, beer and spirits -- showed similar results. Getty Images

From Discovery News:

A glass a day could keep excessive weight gain at bay.

Women who drink a couple of glasses of red wine, beer or spirits a day are better at keeping the pounds off than women who do not drink at all, according to a study published Monday.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston asked more than 19,000, average-weight U.S. women aged 39 or older how many alcoholic beverages they typically drank in a day, and then tracked the women for around 13 years.

Read more ....

Grrr… What's 'Step Away From The Bone' In Dog?

From The New Scientist:

The canine phrase book has collected its first entries. Dogs understand the meaning of different growls, from a rumble that says "back off" to playful snarls made in a tug-of-war game.

Proving that animal vocalisations have specific meanings – and what they could be – is challenging. In 2008, Péter Pongrácz, a behavioural biologist at Eötvös Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary, monitored dogs' heart rates to show that they seem to notice a difference between barks aimed at strangers and those directed at nothing in particular. Now he has gone a step further and shown that dogs respond differently to different vocalisations.

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Could The Mono Lake Arsenic Prove There Is A Shadow Biosphere?

California, USA --- Rock Formations in Mono Lake. (Micha Pawlitzki/Corbis)

From Times Online:

Do alien life forms exist in a Californian lake? Could there be a shadow biosphere? One scientist is trying to find out.

Mono Lake has a bizarre, extraterrestrial beauty. Just east of Yosemite National Park in California, the ancient lake covers about 65 square miles. Above its surface rise the twisted shapes of tufa, formed when freshwater springs bubble up through the alkaline waters.

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A Computer That Processes Faster Than The Speed of Light

Pushing the Limits of Physics Exceeding the speed of light opens one up to all kinds of theoretical problems, but two Austrian researchers claim there's no reason we can't build a computer that processes information at superluminal speeds.

From Popular Science:

How fast is too fast? According to the laws of physics, the speed of light is a good boundary, as going beyond it opens you up to all sorts of paradoxes and space-time phenomena that are usually the stuff of sci-fi. But a couple of researchers in Austria have come up with a way to compute information faster than the speed of light.

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How Safe Is Your Cell Phone?

Illustration by Jane Hong for TIME

From Time Magazine:

It takes a little extra work to get in touch with Andrea Boland. The Maine state representative answers e-mails and lists her business and home phone numbers on the Web. But unlike many politicians surgically attached to their BlackBerrys, she keeps her cell switched off unless she's expecting a call. And if she has her way, everyone in Maine — and perhaps, eventually, the rest of the U.S. — will similarly think twice before jabbering away on their mobiles.Read more ....

NASA: Space Shuttles Could Fly Longer With Extra Funds


WASHINGTON – The chief of NASA's space shuttle program said Tuesday that the agency could technically continue to fly its three aging orbiters beyond their planned 2010 retirement if ordered to do so by President Barack Obama and lawmakers. All it would take would be the extra funding needed to pay for it.

Space shuttle program manager John Shannon said NASA spends about $200 million a month on its space shuttle program. That's about $2.4 billion a year that would be required to keep the shuttle flying beyond their 2010 retirement date, he said.

Read more

Did 'Midwife Molecule' Assemble First Life On Earth?

Forming a double helix prevents the RNA from going round in circles
(Image: Laguna Design/SPL)

From New Scientist:

The primordial soup that gave birth to life on EarthMovie Camera may have had an extra, previously unrecognised ingredient: a "molecular midwife" that played a crucial role in allowing the first large biomolecules to assemble from their building blocks.

The earliest life forms are thought by many to have been based not on DNA but on the closely related molecule RNA, because long strands of RNA can act as rudimentary enzymes. This would have allowed a primitive metabolism to develop before life forms made proteins for this purpose.

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New HIV Hiding Spot Revealed

From Science:

Powerful anti-HIV drugs have come tantalizingly close to eradicating the virus from people, driving the blood level of HIV so low that standard tests cannot detect it. But no one has been cured: the virus comes roaring back in everyone who stops taking the drugs. A new study has identified one of HIV's main hideaways, raising intriguing possibilities about how to remove it.

Read More ....

Exposure To Letters A Or F Can Affect Test Performance

A new study finds that seeing the letter A before an exam can improve a student's exam result while exposure to the letter F may make a student more likely to fail. (Credit: iStockphoto/Stacey Newman)

From New Scientist:

Science Daily (Mar. 9, 2010) — Seeing the letter A before an exam can improve a student's exam result while exposure to the letter F may make a student more likely to fail.

The finding is published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology in March 2010.

Read more ....

13 Crazy Earthquake Facts

From Live Science:

1. Earth has been more seismologically active in the past 15 years or so, says Stephen S. Gao, a geophysicist at Missouri University of Science & Technology. Not all seismologist agree, however.

2. San Francisco is moving toward Los Angeles at the rate of about 2 inches per year — the same pace as the growth of your fingernails — as the two sides of the San Andreas fault slip past one another. The cities will meet in several million years. However, this north-south movement also means that despite fears, California won't fall into the sea.

Read more ....

DARPA Seeks Prosthetics Directly Controllable Through Brain Implants

Military Amputees Brian Frasure, a clinical prosthetist and world-class athlete, speaks to the audience on the last day of the Military Amputees Advances Skills Training workshop at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Sgt. Sara Wood/U.S. Army

From Popular Science:

Artificial limbs have advanced quite a bit since the days of the pirate peg leg, but not nearly enough for DARPA. The Pentagon agency has kicked off a new phase of its "Revolutionizing Prosthetics" program that sets the hefty goal of creating a fully-functional human limb directly controlled by the brain within five years, according to Wired's Danger Room.

Read more ....

More States Propose Internet Sales Taxes

From CNET:

Jeremy Bray received an e-mail message this morning with an unwelcome surprise: told him it had canceled its affiliate program, which provides small payments for referring customers, for everyone in the state of Colorado.

The reason? A state law, which Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter signed last week, slaps onerous new restrictions on large out-of-state sellers like Amazon, which said it has no choice but to end its marketing program in response.

Read more ....

How To Reboot Your Corpse

Photo: Could you go on ice now and be revived around 2050? iStockphoto

From Discovery News:

Thousands of bodies are already cryonically frozen, waiting for faster computers and medical advances that will undo their cause of death.

What is death? Over the centuries, the line dividing life and death has moved from the cessation first of breathing, then of the heartbeat, and finally of brain activity. But cryogenic methods first contemplated in science fiction may push the line even further. The idea is to freeze legally dead people in liquid nitrogen in the hope of regenerating them at some future date.

Read more ....

Now This Is One Big Boat

The Oasis of the Seas off Fort Lauderdale, Fla., one recent evening.
Barbara P. Fernandez for The Wall Street Journal

What It Takes to Keep a City Afloat -- Wall Street Journal

In One Day, the World's Largest Cruise Ship Prepares to Set Sail, with 700 Tons of Supplies, 80,000 Beers, and One Bagpiper

How do you keep more than 6,300 people fed, housed and having the time of their life while floating in the middle of the ocean?

The Oasis of the Seas—the world's largest cruise ship—aims to accomplish that feat nearly every week. Almost five times as large as the Titanic, it has a population during its seven-day Caribbean sailings that is larger than many American small towns—more than 8,600 when it is fully booked and including staff. The Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. ship, which first set sail last December, is almost as long as five Airbus A380 airplanes, or about four football fields. It has 24 restaurants and its own leafy "Central Park." During the weeklong sailings, about 700 tons of new supplies are needed, all loaded aboard each Saturday. Guests consume about 20 gallons of maraschino cherries and 80,000 bottles of beer.

Read more ....

Chile Earthquake Moved Entire City 10 Feet To The West

From Wired Science:

The magnitude 8.8 quake that struck near Maule, Chile, Feb. 27 moved the entire city of Concepcion 10 feet to the west.

Precise GPS measurements from before and after the earthquake, the fifth largest ever recorded by seismographs, show that the country’s capital, Santiago, moved 11 inches west. Even Buenos Aires, nearly 800 miles from the epicenter, shifted an inch. The image above uses red arrows to represent the relative direction and magnitude of the ground movement in the vicinity of the quake.

Read more ....

'We Don't Know What 96% Of The Universe Is Made Of

Professor Brian Cox is helping us understand the solar system.
Photograph: Mike Hogan/Antonio Saba

From The Guardian:

Pop star-turned-physicist Brian Cox speaks about his new TV series on the solar system.

It's big space, isn't it?

It's 93 million miles to the Sun: that's a long way. It takes light eight minutes to do that. There are 100bn galaxies in the observable universe. If you take a 5p coin and hold it 75 feet away, the space in the sky it would obscure would hold 10,000 galaxies. It's mindblowing. I don't think anyone has a grasp of that other than to say: it's big.

Read more ....

Eating Breakfast And Fatty Diet During Early Pregnancy Increases Chances Of Having A Boy

Eating a high-fat diet around conception increases the odds of giving birth to a boy, while low fat consumption with periods of long fasts favours girls Photo: PHOTOLIBRARY

From The Telegraph:

What women eat while they are in the early stages of pregnancy influences the sex and health of their unborn baby, new research suggests.

Women who eat a full breakfast and a high fat diet at the time of conception are more likely to have a boy, scientists claim.

A low fat diet with periods of long fasts favours girls, the researchers have found.

Read more ....

The Shocking Truth About Tasers

The new long-range Taser rifle, which can immobilise a suspect for 20 seconds from 100ft away, with an X26 pistol mounted beneath it.

From The Daily Mail:

A commuter in a diabetic coma, an 89-year-old man and children as young as 12 - just some of the targets of British police armed with skin-piercing 50,000-volt Taser guns. As the Home Office investigates bringing an even more powerful rifle version to Britain, Jason Benetto reports on the slow creep of arms onto our streets.

The smartly dressed sales executive travelling on the number 96 bus across Leeds didn't notice his body descending into a state of severe hypoglycaemia.

He didn't have time to ask his fellow passengers for help, or press the bell. Instead he slumped back in his seat in a diabetic coma, his head lolling from side to side.

Read more ....

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Treatments And Good Skin Care Helping Patients Control Acne And Rosacea

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Mar. 8, 2010) — Acne and rosacea are two seemingly different skin conditions that have one important thing in common: both are chronic and extremely common skin conditions. However, dermatologists recommend that with proper diagnosis, treatment and a healthy dose of good, old-fashioned skin care, acne and rosacea can be less of a nuisance for patients.

Read more ....

iPhone Addictive, Survey Reveals


From Live Science:

A new Stanford University survey confirms what many iPhone users may have long suspected: Apple's smartphone can be addicting.

The survey was administered to 200 students with iPhones, 70 percent of whom had owned their iPhones for less than a year.

Read more ....

Light-Speed Computing One Step Closer

Until now, infrared germanium lasers required expensive cryogenic cooling systems to operate (Source: iStockphoto)

From ABC News (Australia):

A new infrared laser made from germanium that operates at room temperature could lead to powerful computer chips that operate at the speed of light, say US scientists.

The research, by scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, published in a forthcoming issue of Optics Letters

"Using a germanium laser as a light source, you could communicate at very high data rates at very low power," says Dr Jurgen Michel, who developed the new germanium laser.

"Eventually you could have the computing power of today's supercomputers inside a laptop."

Read more ....

Video: Boeing 747 Withstands Simulated What-If Underwear Bomber Blast

From Popular Science:

The bomb blast was meant to gauge what might have happened if the Flight 253 suicide bomber succeeded.

An explosion aboard Flight 253 on Christmas Day would not have crippled the Boeing 747, according to a recent test that simulated the success of would-be bomber Umar Abdulmutallab. Only the bomber and passenger next to him would have died, the BBC reports.

Read more ....

My Comment: I am sure that Al Qaeda is appreciative of this test .... it means that if they wish to do this in the future they will have to pack more explosive.

US Lifts Web Sanctions On Cuba, Iran And Sudan

From The Guardian:

The US yesterday said it will allow export of instant messaging, web browsing and other communications technology to Cuba, Iran and Sudan, in an effort to facilitate the flow of information and promote freedom of speech.

The move by the US Treasury department comes after Iranian anti-regime protesters used Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and other sites to great effect in the aftermath of the disputed June elections. In the months since, anti-regime forces have used the technology to organise demonstrations, spread news and communicate with the outside world, including western journalists largely barred from covering the protest movement.

Read more ....

My Comment: Iran and Cuba have a tight lid on their citizens when it comes to having internet access, but if this can help spread the word .... I am all for it.

Amazon Is Building A Better Browser For Kindle

From Web Monkey:

Browsing the web on one of Amazon’s Kindle e-readers is like taking a step backwards in time. It’s clunky and has only limited support for web standards and bare-bones JavaScript capabilities.

But now Amazon may be looking to add browser engineers to the Kindle team, according to the job listings on the company’s website.

Read more ....

Humans Driving Extinction Faster Than Species Can Evolve, Say Experts

The IUCN lists west African giraffes as an endangered species. Conservationists say the rate of new species is slower than diversity loss. Photograph: Graeme Robertson

From The Guardian:

Conservationists say rate of new species slower than diversity loss caused by the destruction of habitats and climate change.

For the first time since the dinosaurs disappeared, humans are driving animals and plants to extinction faster than new species can evolve, one of the world's experts on biodiversity has warned.

Conservation experts have already signalled that the world is in the grip of the "sixth great extinction" of species, driven by the destruction of natural habitats, hunting, the spread of alien predators and disease, and climate change.

Read more ....

'Pain Gene' Discovery Could Lead To Less Suffering

From The Telegraph:

The reason some people can feel more pain than others may have been explained by scientists.

Docors have struggled to explain why some people are more sensitive to and less able to tolerate pain.

Now scientists have discovered that a gene may be responsible.

Read more ....

Einstein's Manuscript Of Relativity Goes On Display

Professor Hanoch Gutfreund points to the manuscript of Einstein's theory of general relativity. RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS

From The Independent:

The original manuscript of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, which helps explain everything from black holes to the Big Bang, yesterday went on display in its entirety for the first time. Einstein's 46-page handwritten explanation of his general theory of relativity, in which he demonstrates an expanding universe and shows how gravity can bend space and time, is being shown at the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Jerusalem as part of the association's 50th anniversary celebration.

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Could This Be The Robot Servant Who Will Serve You Breakfast In Bed?

From The Daily Mail:

Ever dreamed of having a robot servant who would do all the boring chores around the house? Well mechanised domestic staff have come one step closer, thanks to an android being developed in Japan.

Researchers at Tokyo University's JSK Robotics Laboratory, have created a humanoid called Kojiro, who is learning how to mimic how we walk.

Read more ....

Green Groups To Cameron: Be King Of The Environment!

This ancient willow tree is the epicenter of the Na'vi people.
WETA / 20th Century Fox

From Time Magazine:

James Cameron: nature filmmaker? It's a title even the director himself — a self-described tree hugger — might not have expected. After all, in his budget-busting moviemaking career, Cameron has engineered a planet-killing nuclear holocaust (The Terminator), created acid-blooded extraterrestrials (Aliens) and made a villain out of an iceberg (Titanic). His latest film, Avatar, the record-setting sci-fi epic filmed mostly with motion-capture cameras and computer graphics, is about as unnatural as a movie can get.

Read more ....

Tides, Earth's Rotation Among Sources Of Giant Underwater Waves

Scientists are gaining new insight into the mechanisms that generate huge, steep underwater waves that occur between layers of warm and cold water in coastal regions of the world's oceans. (Credit: iStockphoto/Hunor Tanko)

From Science Daily:

Science Daily (Mar. 7, 2010) — Scientists at the University of Rhode Island are gaining new insight into the mechanisms that generate huge, steep underwater waves that occur between layers of warm and cold water in coastal regions of the world's oceans.

David Farmer, a physical oceanographer and dean of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, together with student Qiang Li, said that large amplitude, nonlinear internal waves can reach heights of 150 meters or more in the South China Sea, and the effects they have on surface wave fields ensure that they are readily observable from space.

Read more ....

Ice Once Covered The Equator

Two ideas exist on the progression of glaciation on Earth from 716.5 to 630 million years ago. Current evidence suggests the top version: a dynamic snowball Earth in which at least two long-lived glaciations happened during which communication between the ocean and the atmosphere was cut off. In this scenario, as CO2 built up, a hot-house effect ensued resulting in an ice-free planet at 670 and 630 million years ago. Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation

From Live Science:

Sea ice may have covered the Earth's surface all the way to the equator hundreds of millions of years ago, a new study finds, adding more evidence to the theory that a "snowball Earth" once existed.

The finding, detailed in the March 5 issue of the journal Science, also has implications for the survival and evolution of life on Earth through this bitter ice age.

Read more ....

Fat: The Sixth Taste

Some people are more sensitive to the taste of fat than others. Credit: iStockphoto

From Cosmos/AFP:

SYDNEY: In addition to the five tastes already identified lurks another detectable by the palate, fat, and people's weight is linked to their ability to taste it.

"We know that the human tongue can detect five tastes - sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (a savoury, protein-rich taste contained in foods such as soy sauce and chicken stock)," said Russell Keast, from Deakin University.

"Through our study we can conclude that humans have a sixth taste - fat."

Read more ....

Ultra-Efficient Gas Engine Passes Test

Photo: Efficient exotic: Transonic Combustion put its new fuel-injection technology into this sports car, which weighs about as much as a Toyota Prius hybrid and has similar aerodynamics. It’s not a hybrid, but it gets better gas mileage than a Prius. Credit: Transonic Combustion

From Technology Review:

A novel fuel-injection system achieves 64 miles per gallon.

Transonic Combustion, a startup based in Camarillo, CA, has developed a fuel-injection system it says can improve the efficiency of gasoline engines by more than 50 percent. A test vehicle equipped with the technology gets 64 miles per gallon in highway driving, which is far better than more costly gas-electric hybrids, such as the Prius, which gets 48 miles per gallon on the highway.

The key is heating and pressurizing gasoline before injecting it into the combustion chamber, says Mike Rocke, Transonic's vice president of business development. This puts it into a supercritical state that allows for very fast and clean combustion, which in turn decreases the amount of fuel needed to propel a vehicle. The company also treats the gasoline with a catalyst that "activates" it, partially oxidizing it to enhance combustion.

Read more ....

Bacteria Rule Our Bodies, Our Planet

Image: The human gut is a virtual zoo, full of a wide variety of bacteria, a new study found. And scientists say that's a good thing. The first results of an international effort to catalog the millions of non-human genes inside people found about 170 different bacteria species thriving in the average person's digestive tract. (CBS/AP)

From CBS News:

Scientists Say the Human Gut is Full of Bacteria; Yes, That's a Good Thing.

(AP) The human gut is a virtual zoo, full of a wide variety of bacteria, a new study found. And scientists say that's a good thing.

The first results of an international effort to catalog the millions of non-human genes inside people found about 170 different bacteria species thriving in the average person's digestive tract. The study also found that people with inflammatory bowel disease had fewer distinct species inside the gut.

Read more ....

Clues To Antarctica Space Blast

Image: The team's findings could help in the search for other ancient "airbursts" .

From The BBC:

A large space rock may have exploded over Antarctica thousands of years ago, showering a large area with debris, according to new research.

The evidence comes from accumulations of tiny meteoritic particles and a layer of extraterrestrial dust found in Antarctic ice cores.

Details of the work were presented at a major science conference in Texas.

Read more ....

The US Is Lagging On Nuclear Reactor Technology

Backing old technologies (Image: Bloomberg/Getty)

From New Scientist:

IT SEEMS obvious: if you're planning a new generation of nuclear power stations, you should invest in the most advanced and efficient designs available. Yet that's not what seems to be happening in the US.

The first new nuclear power plants on American soil for 30 years could soon be under construction. President Barack Obama has promised tens of billions of dollars in loan guarantees for reactor builders, of which $8.3 billion was last month committed to back the construction of two Westinghouse AP1000 light water reactors.

Read more ....

Mini Drones Built To Kill

Assassin Drone Aerovironment's new "Anubis" project sounds eerily similar to the Switchblade drone, seen here Aerovironment

Air Force's Flying Assassin Robot Enters Final Development Stage -- Popular Science

The deadly drone could find and dispatch single-person targets, with "very low collateral damage"

Missile strikes by Predators, Reapers, or other aerial drones usually result in messy explosions on the ground. Now the never-ending but perhaps futile quest to attain zero collateral damage may take another step forward, with a small micro-drone missile that can kill individual targets from afar. A new $1.18-million, Phase-III Air Force contract (Phase III is typically the final development phase) for the "Anubis" drone has been awarded to the firm Aerovironment, Aviation Week's Ares Defense Blog reports.

Read more ....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Can The iPad Tablet Be As Successful As The Apple iPhone?

The iPhone and iPod Touch (collectively) are the fastest-adopted gadget ever. Apple has sold many, many more iPods over the years, but the music players took about two years to pick up steam, as the chart shows. How will the iPad tablet fare? Source: Morgan Stanley / Art: Rich Clabaugh, Staff for The Christian Science Monitor

From Christian Science Monitor:

The iPhone and iPod Touch are the fastest-adopted gadgets in consumer-tech history. Apple hopes that with the iPad tablet, lightning will strike twice.

In about a month, Apple will release its much-anticipated iPad tablet. This new device falls somewhere in between a smart phone and a laptop – small enough to tote around town without exhausting your shoulders, but big enough to feel like you’re reading a magazine instead of staring at a playing card.

Read more ....

"Hobbit" Skeleton Challenges Evolution

Watch CBS News Videos Online

From CBS News:

18,000-Year-Old Fossils of Dwarf Cavewoman in Indonesia Raises Doubt Whether All Evolutionary Answers Lie in Africa.

(AP) Hunched over a picnic table in a limestone cave, the Indonesian researcher gingerly fingers the bones of a giant rat for clues to the origins of a tiny human.

This world turned upside down may once have existed here, on the remote island of Flores, where an international team is trying to shed light on the fossilized 18,000-year-old skeleton of a dwarf cavewoman whose discovery in 2003 was an international sensation.

Read more ....

Probe May Have Found Cosmic Dust

Photo: Stardust landed back on Earth in January 2006

From The BBC:

Scientists may have identified the first specks of interstellar dust in material collected by the US space agency's Stardust spacecraft.

A stream of this dust flows through space; the tiny particles are building blocks that go into making stars and planets.

The Nasa spacecraft was primarily sent to catch dust streaming from Comet Wild 2 and return it to Earth for analysis.

But scientists also set out to capture particles of interstellar dust.

Read more ....

New DNA Technique Gives Names To The Unknown Dead

We can now identify more of those lost
(Image: Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty)

From New Scientist:

RARE snippets of genetic material locked inside fragments of bone and teeth can help identify people who die at war or sea, even when little remains of their bodies. But often there simply isn't enough DNA to be sure. A new technique, recently used to identify the Titanic's "unknown child", could make it easier for bereaved families to get a positive ID.

Read more ....

What Cyberwar?

Tic-Tac-Toe's Not On The List! via PC Museum

U.S. Cybersecurity Czar Says "There Is No Cyberwar" -- Popular Science

Howard Schmidt wants U.S. cybersecurity efforts to refocus on education, information sharing, and better defense systems

Obama's new cybersecurity czar doesn't much like the term "cyberwar," calling it a "terrible metaphor" and a "terrible concept." But just in case his dislike of the term didn't get through, Howard Schmidt flat-out stated that "there is no cyberwar" during a Wired interview at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco.

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