Thursday, March 6, 2008

Husqvarna introduces pricey solar powered Automower


Robotic lawn mowers have been keeping yards tidy for their masters for a good while now, but Husqvarna is looking to teach an old robot new tricks with its Automower. As expected, the grass muncher is ultra-quiet and outputs zero emissions, and you can even program it to take off and get to work whenever you please. Reportedly, a fully charged battery can get about 40 minutes of cutting done, and best of all, the unit will automatically return to its charging base to juice back up if the sun isn't out. Still, with a price tag of around £2,000 ($3,971), you may just be better off paying that punk kid down the street to handle your mowing needs.

[Via Pocket-lint, video at Megawhat]

Fecal bacteria floods LA waters

The next time someone asks you why all the actresses in Hollywood are so skinny, you can legitimately reply, "Must be something in the water."

In the past few years, all sorts of yummy pollutants have been entering LA and Malibu's waterways at dangerously high rates. From cyanide to fecal bacteria, these toxins are sickening humans and damaging marine life. And two companies have decided they ain't gonna take it any more.

The cities of LA and Malibu are being sued by two environmental non-profits, The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Santa Monica Baykeeper, for their neglect of the cities' waterways.

"It's time to stop going through the motions of fighting water pollution, and actually clean up the water," said David Beckman, director of the Coastal Water Quality Project at NRDC, in a press release.

The suits are also demanding that LA County impart a "no discharge" rule to prevent chemical runoff. Area officials should already be testing the quality of the runoff that flows into local waters as mandated in the Clean Water Act (call your state Representative to ensure that the Act's kid sister, the Clean Water Restoration Act, is passed).

Not surprisingly, LA County's Department of Public Works responded by saying the county already has a program that regulates the pollutants that flow into the waterways, and that they are committed to keeping the residents safe and healthy. They also said that the lawsuits "lacked merit."

Check out the press release after the jump.

A Modular Snake Robot

Posted by kdawson on Thursday March 06, @09:22AM
from the snakes-in-a-pipe dept.
StCredZero writes "Researchers at CMU are working on a Modular Snake Robot. A video from this site is up on YouTube. In addition to being able to traverse a wide variety of terrain, the robot can also climb poles, the inside of pipes and conduits, small grooves in walls, and probably more. It can also swim. Many robots can do one of those tasks. This one can do them all. That's quite an accomplishment. This has tremendous potential for the maintenance of fiber optic networks, pipelines, and plumbing in large buildings; and also as a spy device. (I wonder how loud it is?)"

Humpback flipper inspires a more efficient propeller

Man gave us the propeller -- a million of years of evolution gave us the flipper. It might not seem like flipper technology would be a hot spot for green innovation, think again. Just last week, we reported that an endangered sea turtle was going to be fitted with a prosthetic flipper. This week, we find out that a company called Whalepower is introducing a propeller that harnesses the power of the Humpback.

Ever notice those bumps on a Humpback Whale's flippers? They're called tubercles and they're not an evolutionary mistake. These bumps are what make Humpback Whales much more agile than they appear. When these bumps are placed on the leading edge of a blade moving through air or liquid they reduce drag big time -- wind tunnel experiments suggest an improvement of around 32%.

Scientists at Whalepower are very optimistic about their new propeller design, expecting it to open up new opportunities in renewable energy. A wind turbine equipped with a Whalepower propeller would be able to produce electricity in lower wind scenarios that current designs. Plus, even in windy areas, who doesn't want a more profitable wind generator? "Tubercle Technology" could also improve the efficiency of everyday items from water pumps to your home's HVAC system. Nice.

[via Treehugger]

Cadbury's chocolate eggs get all greened-up for Easter

Hopefully this post isn't going to torture anyone who chose to give up chocolate for Lent but any chocolate that has less guilt associated with it is worth talking about. Many of us will enjoy a choco-bunny or some Peeps this Easter but for me the Cadbury egg has been one of those special treats for the last twenty or so years. (Plus, every year my sister likes to impersonate the old commercials...too funny). Anyway, Cadbury has committed themselves to a greener Easter this year by reducing their use of plastic as part of their 'Purple Goes Green' campaign which was officially kicked off in July 2007. The 'eco-eggs' are dubbed Treasure Eggs and their change in packaging represents a net reduction of 75% plastic and over 65% cardboard which translates into 2,000 trees saved. Plus Cadbury is committed to ensuring the economic, social and environmental sustainability of around a million cocoa farmers and their communities through the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership. Bring on the chocolate, baby.
Related Link

Brain Scanner Can Tell What You're Looking At

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday March 06, @07:59AM
from the what-does-a-scanner-see dept.
palegray.net writes "Wired News brings us an article about brain scanning systems that can accurately tell what you're looking at by analyzing your brain's electrical activity. Using a database constructed of readings taken on test subjects who were shown thousands of photographs, the system works in real time to decipher what you're seeing. Naturally, there are some ethical concerns over some potential applications for this technology. Definitely a new twist on "input devices.""

The Future of MMOs

Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Friday February 22, @01:08PM
from the time-to-level-up dept.
IGN has some interesting coverage of a panel at GDC 2008 that featured some of the top names in the MMO world who got together to discuss the future of the genre. "On hand were Jack Emmert of Cryptic Studios, Mark Miller of NCSoft, Min Kim of Nexon and Rob Pardo of Blizzard Entertainment. MMO newbie Ray Muzyka was also on hand to share his thoughts as BioWare moves into the MMO arena. [...] The conversation got a lot more heated when the subject of micro-transactions was introduced. This is a popular revenue model in Asia, where the games themselves are free to play but charge a premium for a variety of premium extras, from vanity items to additional content or abilities. It's a model that's working well for Korean developer Nexon but hasn't been adopted by many American developers."

Brain Control Headset for Gamers

Posted by CmdrTaco on Wed Feb 20, 2008 08:44 AM
from the get-out-of-my-brain dept.
gbjbaanb writes "Gamers will soon be able to interact with the virtual world using their thoughts and emotions alone. Headsets which read neural activity are not new, but Ms Le [president of US/Australian firm Emotiv] said the Epoc was the first consumer device that can be used for gaming. 'This is the first headset that doesn't require a large net of electrodes, or a technician to calibrate or operate it and does require gel on the scalp,' she said. 'It also doesn't cost tens of thousands of dollars.'" Wait until the government can get warrantless wiretaps on the logs of those things.

Is it ok to eat snow?

You might want to cross this off a list of fun and simple things for kids to do: Eating snow.

A recent study has found that snow, even in pristine spots, contains large amounts of bacteria. The bacteria is Pseudomonas syringae, and it is apparently everywhere. But according to Dr. Penelope Dennehy, kids won't get anything from snow that they wouldn't get from dirt. So maybe eating snow is ok?

Well, according to pediatricians cited in the AP article about this study, even if this bacteria isn't a big deal, parents may want to be cautious about large amounts of snow-eating anyway. Why? Because of ordinary air pollution that finds its way into snow. Lovely.
Related Link

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pacific plastic dump unfixable, says oceanographer

Remember reading about that huge floating island of plastic crap out in the middle of the Pacific that's twice the size of the continental United States? How'd it make you feel when you saw that? Proud of humanity's technological ability to dominate the earth completely? Ashamed and depressed as hell? Well, wait til you hear the sequel.

Green Tech Blog reports on Charles Moore, an oceanographer who's just returned from a 5 week cruise in the Pacific who says that the situation is far more dire than even pessimists have imagined. According to Moore, samples taken from the 2.5 million square mile Pacific garbage dump show 6 times more plastic in the water than plankton, a fivefold jump in the decade from 1997 to 2007. He offers the opinion that no technology is going to clear the ocean of plastic, and that if anything it's only likely to get worse.

Why don't we like plastic in the water, besides the fact that it wrecks the view from the beachhouse? Welll, an abbreviated checklist of problems with plastic pollution would include the fact that it kills millons of birds and fish each year, poisons the maritime food chain with PCBs and other toxins, and may even accelerate global warming by making it more difficult for CO2-sucking plankton to grow.

Anyway, Moore says we can't fix it and sadly, he's probably right. However, with a little personal effort, we can at least stop adding to it.

Related Link

DARPA sets sights on aircraft capable of five-year flight

DARPA's certainly not lacking for ambitious projects these days, but it looks like it's about to get another big one underway nonetheless, with it reportedly now close to awarding contracts for its Vulture program, which aims to build an unmanned aircraft capable of a non-stop five-year flight. As if that feat wasn't enough, the aircraft will also have to be able to carry a 1,000 pound payload, pump out 5kW of onboard power, and keep up enough speed to withstand the winds it'll encounter at 60,000 to 90,000 feet. Needless to say, that's a long ways from becoming a reality, although it seems that the first phase of the project could soon be kicking off, with Vulture program manager Daniel Newman saying that they've had "at least one successful offeror," and that they're now close to doling out the first contracts. That initial phase will run for twelve months, and will require contractors to "define the objective system and design both full-scale and subscale demonstrators." That'll then be followed by phase two, which'll run through 2012 with the goal of testing of a subscale demonstrator capable of flying for three months.

[Via CNET News.com]

Think tank pins Apple's iPod as possible culprit for increase in violent crime


We know what you're thinking, and trust us, we're right there with you. Nevertheless, The Urban Institute, a Washington-based think tank, has reportedly come to the conclusion that the reason US violent crime rose in 2005 and 2006 after declining every year since 1991 is because more iPods were on the streets. You heard right -- these researchers are suggesting that the "iCrime wave" occurred primarily due to the popularity of Apple's darling and the relatively high value of possessing one. Granted, the iPod has been the focal point of quite a few muggings in the past, but blaming a fruit-flavored PMP for a nation's sudden urge to take up larceny? Pfft.

UN Makes Its Statistical Data Free and Searchable

Posted by Zonk on Wednesday March 05, @02:39AM
from the can't-argue-with-free dept.
NorseWolf writes "Since its foundation, the United Nations system has been collecting statistical information from member states on a variety of topics. The information thus collected constitutes a considerable information asset of the organization. However, these statistical data are often stored in proprietary databases, each with unique dissemination and access policies. As a result, users are often unaware of the full array of statistical information that the UN system has in its data libraries. The current arrangement also means that users are required to move from one database to another to access different types of information. UNdata addresses this problem by datapooling major UN databases and those of several other international organizations into one single Internet environment. The innovative design allows a user to access a large number of UN databases either by browsing the data series or through a keyword search."

Cows release something that's good for the environment

Cows usually get a bad rap from environmentalists. They burp greenhouse gases, fart greenhouse gases, they're the cause of much deforestation, and beef has one of the largest carbon footprints of any meat. Just when it seems that they can do no right, a California dairy farmer finds a way to make cows a source of clean renewable energy. To put it in the farmer's own words:
"When most people see a pile of manure, they see a pile of manure. We saw it as an opportunity for farmers, for utilities, and for California."
After years of hard work, David Albers is living the dream. Starting this week, his biogas plant will begin to provide enough natural gas to power 1,200 homes. Albers harvests biogas from liquefied cow manure, selling it to consumers through California power company PG&E. His company BioEnergy Solutions, funded and built the multi-million dollar cow-powered venture.

At one time, Albers was trying to figure out what he was going to do with all the cow crap from his dairy farm -- now he's making money off of it. How's that for efficiency? The process goes like this: the manure is liquefied and filtered, then it's piped into a giant digester -- a vat with a surface area equivalent to five football fields and it's 33ft deep. Inside the digester, the gas separates from the waste material and viola, we have methane!
Related Link

Our national parks are toxic?

National Parks are a great place to get away from it all: the fast-paced tempo of urban life, the constant phone calls, and the pollution, right? Actually, researchers have uncovered an alarming trend that's affecting the most pristine and remote areas in the western US -- rising levels of toxic contaminants. Substances from heavy metals to pesticides are turning up in unprecedented levels in lakes, fish and plants living in US parks.

Where is it coming from? Scientists believe much of it is literally riding air currents from lands as distant as Europe and Asia. Clouds containing Mercury, for example, drift from China over the Pacific release it in the form of precipitation over mountain ranges in the west. Another major source is domestic -- the use of legal pesticides. Since the ban of DDT, scientist thought that pesticides were under much better control. Now they're finding that pesticides, no matter how short the lifespan, can travel great distances.

One of the great ironies of the situation is that it turns conventional wisdom on its head. More remote locations like mountain tops are actually becoming the most polluted -- especially in colder, snow covered areas. So, next time you're thinking about taking a drink from that cool mountain stream, you might want to think twice.
Related Link

Foxconn's Extreme Overclocking setup is actually rather extreme


We've seen some overclockers go to pretty great lengths to keep those chips cool while they crank up the GHz, but Foxconn's demonstration at the company's CeBIT booth is really a sight to behold. They appear to be using copious amounts of liquid nitrogen, along with other black magicks, to boost a Core 2 Extreme processor almost past the 6GHz mark. We're a little short on specifics, but this setup was certainly hot, and by hot we mean cold.

Air Force Emails Sensitive Information to Tourism Site

Posted by Zonk on Wednesday March 05, @08:14AM
from the that's-a-pretty-spectacular-oopsie dept.
Khuffie writes "The US Air Force has been sending sensitive information, including flight plans for Air Force One, to a website promoting the town of Mildenhall in Suffolk. When told of the error by the site's owner, the Air Force did not attempt to fix it at first. When reminded at a later time, instead of fixing the issue, they advised the owner to 'block unrecognizable addresses from his domain and have an auto-reply sent reminding people of the official Mildenhall domain and blocked his website from access on base.'"

Statue of Galileo Planned for Vatican

Posted by Zonk on Wednesday March 05, @06:34AM
from the isn't-it-ironic dept.
Reservoir Hill writes "Four hundred years after it put Galileo on trial for heresy the Vatican is to complete its rehabilitation of the scientist by erecting a statue of him inside Vatican walls. The planned statue is to stand in the Vatican gardens near the apartment in which Galileo was incarcerated. He was held there while awaiting trial in 1633 for advocating heliocentrism, the Copernican doctrine that the Earth revolves around the Sun. The move coincides with a series of celebrations in the run-up to next year's 400th anniversary of Galileo's development of the telescope. In January Pope Benedict XVI called off a visit to Sapienza University, Rome, after staff and students accused him of defending the Inquisition's condemnation of Galileo. The Vatican said that the Pope had been misquoted and since the episode, several of the professors have retracted their protest."

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Japan urging other countries to jump on whaling bandwagon

Have you been having a hankering for a big juicy whaleburger lately that your local Arby's can't seem to fill? Well, if pro-whaling nations get their way, blubber could be back on the menu around the globe.

Not content with achieving international pariah status for the annual dolphin slaughter , Japan is looking to shore up the legitimacy of its whaling industry by encouraging other countries to climb aboard.

Japan and several other nations, including Norway and Iceland, have long lobbied to reverse the opinion of much of the planet that the current moratorium on whaling should be maintained. Now, tired of fighting with Western whale-huggers, the cetecean-slaughtering nations are seeking new allies in the war on our closest maritime cousins.

Prior to the meeting of the International Whaling Commission in London this week, the Japanese delegation is hosting seminars on the concept of sustainable whaling for 12 countries, including Angola, Eritrea, and Micronesia .

Why do we care what Micronesians think about whaling? Well, the implications could be serious, in fact downright fatal if you happen to weigh 50 tons and live underwater - at present anti-whaling nations are the larger voting bloc in the IWC, but if more pro-whaling countries were to join, a vote in favour of renewed killing of whales could be passed.

The whalers argument is that that the anti-whaling movement is simply a cultural artifact unique to certain Western countries, and should have no bearing on what is a legitimate food source. By that logic whales are simply another animal, and harpooning a whale is pretty much the same as killing a chicken (although requiring more specialized tools).

Consider, however, that many species of whales were almost exterminated by a few thousand men in wooden boats. Imagine how much harm we could do by over-hunting whales now, especially when we're already threatening them with pollution, climate change, habitat loss, overfishing of their food stocks, etc etc etc.

Is a revived hunt really necessary? Come on, Japan - pick on someone your own size.

Related Link

'Death Star' Aimed at Earth

Posted by Zonk on Tuesday March 04, @02:41PM
from the don't-destroy-earth-that's-where-i-keep-my-stuff dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A spectacular, rotating binary star system is a ticking time bomb, ready to throw out a searing beam of high-energy gamma rays that could lead to a major extinction event — and Earth may be right in the line of fire. Australian science magazine Cosmos Magazine reports: 'Though the risk may be remote, there is evidence that gamma ray bursts have swept over the planet at various points in Earth's history with a devastating effect on life. A 2005 study showed that a gamma-ray burst originating within 6,500 light years of Earth could be enough to strip away the ozone layer and cause a mass extinction. Researchers led by Adrian Melott at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, U.S., suggest that such an event may have been responsible for a mass extinction 443 million years ago, in the late Ordovician period, which wiped out 60 per cent of life and cooled the planet.'"

Windows passwords easily bypassed over Firewire

All of the sudden we're starting to see more and more attacks take advantage of what's stored on your computer's RAM -- the latest, from New Zealand's Adam Boileau, allows an attacker to unlock Windows passwords in a just a few seconds using a Linux machine connected over Firewire. Unlike those disk encryption attacks we saw that required a reboot, Boileu's attack works while the target computer is running, tricking Windows into allowing full write access to RAM and then corrupting the password protection code. That's a little scary -- but other researchers say that it's not a traditional vulnerability, since direct memory access is a feature of Firewire. Still, we're sealing up all of our ports with Silly Putty starting today, that ought to stop 'em.

Update:
Apparently this has been demonstrated on OS X as well -- it looks like Firewire's direct memory access is the common vector here.

Nintendo launches TV Guide Channel in Japan, enables Wiimote to control TV


For Wii owners not located in Japan, get ready to weep. Why? Because users in the aforementioned nation now have access to an incredibly fascinating new channel and you, well, don't. Details on the TV Guide Channel are still a bit fuzzy (read: lost in machine translation), but based on what we've pieced together, users can surf through shows on the EPG, share their favorites with friends, see how popular a program is (using demographic data, too) and even receive an e-mail / SMS alert 30 minutes prior to a flagged show's start time. Best of all, however, is the ability to use your Wiimote as a television remote. You heard right -- owners can use their Wii controller (via the sensor bar) to dictate volume, switch channels and flip back and forth between their shows and the TV Guide Channel. Now, how long must the rest of the free world wait? Check out the gallery for a few more looks at what you're (probably) missing out on.

A new way for global warming to kill us: Hydrogen sulfide

Just in case you needed another reason to worry about climate change, in Wired this week, paleontologist Peter Ward discusses another nasty side effect that could eventually make humans extinct - the creation of massive quantities of poisonous hydrogen sulfide. While you and I don't have to worry personally because this potential event is at least a few hundred years off, it could be damned unpleasant for our great-grand kids.

For years many scientists assumed that the multiple mass extinctions in the fossil record were the result of similar causes, most likely a meteorite or a similar cosmic catastrophes. However, a few years ago evidence began to come to light indicating that at least one major extinction - the "Great Dying" of the Permian era, 250 million years ago - probably took place over several thousand years or more, rather than a few decades.

After looking at alternatives, researchers arrived at the conclusion that this, and probably other mass extinctions, were caused by the emission of huge amounts of hydrogen sulfide into the ocean and the air. How? A blast of CO2 into the atmosphere (probably volcanic in origin) warmed up the planet. This in turn stopped ocean currents, allowing a type of hydrogen sulfide-creating bacteria to thrive. Stir well, wait a few years, and bad-a-boom-bada-bing, 90% of life on earth is dead. Cycle of life, right?

The bad news is that our own CO2 habits may be replicating the conditions that wiped out life forms a whole lot more long-lasting than us. Ward says he can imagine a time in 500 years when humans would have to wear gas masks to survive (not to mention animals, assuming there are still any around by then.) Sometime after that, even the masks wouldn't save us.

By the way, hydrogen sulfide is also responsible for the smell of rotten eggs and particularly foul flatulence, so before it killed us, it would stink up a storm. Think about that the next time you can't be bother to turn off the light when you leave the room.

Related Link

Swap meets gone modern

Swap meets are officially cool again. As the green revolution catches on amongst the young, fabulous and hipster, peeps are mobilizing in tons of cities to swap 'til they drop. Don't believe me? Observe:

  • Swap-o-rama-rama (quite possibly the world's best name for a swap meet) was started in 2005 by crafty diva Wendy Tremayne. Since then, the swapping has gained momentum as dozens of additional Rama-Ramas have popped up in a handful of countries. But the events are more than just exchanging old ratty t-shirts. After they swap, attendees are encouraged to alter their newfound duds at a series of DIY workshops (embroidering, sewing, beading, repairing, etc.) To complete the transformation, "re-brand" your item with a free patch and then don your wears for a quick spin on the catwalk. (On the catwalk, yeah, on the catwalk...) Check out some upcoming events near you. None in your neck of the woods? No need to pout...be a savvy swapper and find out how to start your own!
  • Swap-O-Rama Razzmatazz is the UK's answer to avant garde swapping. Now held at club Favela Chic in the Shoreditch neighborhood, Londoners can pop in once a month for some dancing and swapping. But this ain't for the faint of heart: each time the horn sounds, you must either swap with the person next to you or scram - no bystanders allowed. The next event date is March 20, and you'd better arrive ready to party.
For more info, check out the SwapDex blog, or search for events at Swap-bot.

Bootable flash key makes disk encryption attacks super-simple


Ruh roh, Shaggy -- you remember that disk encryption attack that involved cooling off your target's RAM and yanking it to get a bitdump before the contents faded? Well, it looks like things just got a lot simpler for would-be attackers -- check out this USB flash key designed by security researcher Robert Wesley McGrew, which can boot your machine and dump the RAM to itself without altering its contents. That means you no longer need to actually pull the DIMMs or carry around an air duster; all an attacker needs is enough time to reboot your machine and copy the contents of your RAM. Of course, that takes time -- McGrew says things are running quite slowly right now, but he suspects his test machine is dropping down to USB 1.0 speeds. That's still not too reassuring -- looks like we'll be spending even more time with our machines from now on.

[Via Hack a Day]

Video: reporter vs. the Air Force pain gun. Guess who wins.


It's funny, no matter how many times we see some poor, hapless reporter getting wave after wave of pain washed over them like a cool summer storm, it really never gets old. We'd argue that this 60 Minutes clip of correspondent David Martin taking on the Air Force's Active Denial System (aka the pain gun) is possibly the best we've seen yet, and not just because this guy actually has some cred to lose (unlike that time Amanda Congdon took a taser). Oh, and a parting note to enemy combatants: bring your mattress into combat. You'll have a comfy spot to nap on before the pain gun shows up and you use it as a shield. Video after the break.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Daylight Saving Time Wastes Energy

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday March 04, @01:27AM
from the back-to-nature's-clock dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With the time approaching when we'll be changing our clocks again, the Wall Street Journal is running a timely article on a study done by a UC-Santa Barbara economics professor and a Ph.D. student. The study unambiguously concludes that Daylight Saving Time not only doesn't save any energy, it actually wastes energy and costs more. The study used energy company records from Indiana before and after that state mandated DST for all of its counties, and calculated that the switch cost Indiana citizens $8.6M per year. 'I've never had a paper with such a clear and unambiguous finding as this,' the professor said."

You have a dirty monitor?

Click here to fix it.
http://cache.valleywag.com/assets/resources/screenclean.swf

Gimmee a minute

Current and the Alliance for Climate Protection sponsored a contest called :60 Seconds to Save the Earth; it challenged video savvy folks to create (very short) shorts promoting earth-loving behavior. Around 500 entries were received.

The grand prize winner, Dave Schlafman, produced a segment that reminds me faintly of The Triplets of Belleville, and it features one of my favorite absurd things: raining elephants.

Check out the other winners, too.

[via climateprogress.org]

A Virus that Attacks Brain Cancer

Posted by Zonk on Monday March 03, @03:11PM
from the ach-mein-cancerin dept.
Ponca City, We Love You writes "In the past few years, scientists have looked to viruses as potential allies in fighting cancer. Now researchers at Yale University have found a virus in the same family as rabies that effectively kills an aggressive form of human brain cancer in mice. Using time-lapse laser imaging, the team watched vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) rapidly home in on brain tumors, selectively killing cancerous cells in its path, while leaving healthy tissue intact. 'A metastasizing tumor is fairly mobile, and a surgeon's knife can't get out all of the cells,' says Anthony Van den Pol, lead researcher and professor of neurosurgery and neurobiology at Yale. 'A virus might be able to do that, because as a virus kills a tumor cell, it could also replicate, and you could end up with a therapy that's self-amplifying.' It's not yet clear why VSV is such an effective tumor killer, although Van den Pol has several theories. One possible explanation may involve a tumor's weak vascular system. Vessels that supply blood to tumors tend to be leaky, allowing a virus traveling through the bloodstream to cross an otherwise impermeable barrier into the brain, directly into a tumor."

England prefers free range birds

Chef Jamie Oliver has made a significant impact in how Brits buy their chicken. In a recent campaign against conventional methods of raising broiler chickens, Oliver encouraged that that consumers purchase only free range poultry. It looks like people were listening.

Sales of factory farmed chickens have fallen seven percent in a year while free range chicken sales have increased a whopping 35 percent. It's enough to make the farming industry take notice of the shopper's desire to buy only humanely raised chickens.

Now if only a similar celebrity chef endorsed movement could be as successful here in the states. But who could lead the way? Emeril (BAM!)? Rachel Ray (God forbid)? Anthony Bourdain (unlikely)?
Related Link

OCZ Prepares Neural Impulse Actuator for Shipping

Posted by ScuttleMonkey on Sunday March 02, @03:29AM
from the by-the-time-you-get-the-hang-of-it-they-might-be-in-mass-circulation dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Technology review site Overclock3D has received word that OCZ Technology is putting their neural impulse actuator (NIA) into mass production for shipping next week. The device, aimed at gamers, works by reading biopotentials. 'These include activities of the brain, the autonomous nervous system and muscles — all of which are captured using embrace sensors located on the NIA's headband, amplified and sent to the PC via USB 2.0.' Users of the NIA will be able to control their in-game movements using only the power of mind. The device is priced at around $600USD"

A plug-in hybrid from Jeep?

The Jeep may have been ideal for bouncing soldiers and supplies through rough terrain during the world wars, but if you take a ride in one today, you'll quickly notice their lack of aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. Up until now, Chrysler's Jeep brand has continually offered fun, rugged gas-chuggers that seem to have no idea that oil is $100 a barrel. There are some signs, however, that the off-roading vehicles of the future will be able to take you out to the back country without needing an extra gas can.
Signs of a modest level of environmental awareness are sprouting up at Chrysler HQ. The Renegade concept is Jeep's first real step towards a 21st century vehicle. Boasting 110mpg, it's basically a dune buggy with a diesel hybrid engine and 4 wheel drive. The design is meant to test out eco-friendly manufacturing concept like minimizing the number necessary of parts and erasing the need for paint -- the color is blended into the body composite.

While you could consider them pretty much polar opposites, the Renegade shares the same BLUETEC diesel technology with the Mercedes E320. The clean-burning diesel engine plus the plug-in lithium cell reportedly gives the Renegade a 400 mile range -- not bad for a 4WD. Will we see these buggies go into production? Probably not, but hopefully the eco-friendly technology will find its way into the rest of Jeep's lineup.
Related Link

For sale: Kylie Minogue's eco-farmhouse

If you're in the market for a sweet piece of environmentally-friendly real estate, you have until March 28th to put in a bid on Kylie Minogue's self-sustaining eco-property on French Island. The 4/2 French-style farmhouse is covered up in renewable energy features and organic landscaping. It's every environmentalists dream house -- unfortunately, it's going to run you about $2 million to put your name on the deed.

Located just a few miles off the coast of Southern Australia, the island community offers no electricity or water provisions and, reportedly, Minogue spared no expense when in comes to making the place self-sustaining. The Australian-born singer installed a "sophisticated" solar/wind generator system that's housed in an old kiln -- so it looks all pretty. She built her structures with reclaimed timber and Kylie's villa gets its water from giant rainwater collection tanks, which also serve to irrigate her organic vegetable and fruit gardens.

No word on why she's moving, I guess superstars just get tired of their awesome stuff. The island's 80 permanent residents had nothing but nice things to say about Kylie and her people according to this article -- she did donate to the Fire Dept. and community efforts. Click here to check out the property and dream.