Friday, June 20, 2008

Minimally-invasive Weight Loss Surgery Improves Health And Morbidly Obese Teens

ScienceDaily (June 20, 2008) — Teenagers' obesity-related medical complications improve just six months after laparoscopic gastric banding surgery, according to outcomes data presented this week. The preliminary results by physician-scientists from Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia University Medical Center were presented on June 17 at The Endocrine Society's 90th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

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Liter Of Fuel Would Last UK 1 Year If Cars Had Kept Pace With Computers

ScienceDaily (June 20, 2008) — One litre of fuel would serve the UK for a year and oil reserves would last the expected lifetime of the solar system - if efficiency in the car industry had improved at the same rate as in the computer world - a leading computer scientist will tell an audience in Manchester, UK on Friday 20 June 2008.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

MIT solar dish holds promise for low-cost energy production

Look out 1366 Technologies, you've got yet another solar-based MIT spin-off company vying for business in the alternative energy sector. The company's name is RawSolar, and in due time it could end up selling solar dish arrangements that could power factories or even heat / cool office buildings. Recently, a team of students and faculty celebrated as a prototype dish proved that it could concentrate sunlight by a factor of 1,000, which obviously bodes well for converting that into useful energy here on Earth. Another standout feature of the dish is its small size, and furthermore, the material required to build it is relatively inexpensive and accessible worldwide. Sounds like all the ingredients for a successful startup are there, now we've just got to wait and see if anything becomes of it. We're watching you, RawSolar -- don't let us down.

[Thanks, Spencer]

Al-Qaeda targets net-connected coffee machine

Aussie issues chilling buffer overflow menace alert

Published Wednesday 18th June 2008 09:11 GMT

An Aussie risk advisory services manager has issued a chilling security alert concerning the Jura F90 net-connected coffee machine, warning caffeine-heads that the hi-tech brewing device could open their Windows PC to exploitation by internet paedophiles and al-Qaeda*, CNET reports.

The Jura F90Craig Wright, who works for "professional services" outfit BDO, posted his alert yesterday on the BugTraq security email list, highlighting possible lines of attack, including buffer overflow menaces. The F90 (see pic) is apparently the "world's first household espresso machine with internet capability", which allows users to select "coffee specialities" via their PCs without having to walk the five feet between their desks and the machine.

Mercifully, we don't need to run screaming to our panic rooms just yet, because Wright concluded: "I don't know if many people would target this particular vulnerability because there probably are not a lot of coffee makers at the moment that are internet-connected, and in my case it's behind a firewall." ®

Guide to DIY Wiretapping

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday June 19, @11:16AM
from the do-you-hear-what-i-hear dept.
Geeks are Sexy writes " has a nice piece this week on how wiretapping works and how you can protect yourself from people who wants to snoop into your life. From the article "Even if you aren't involved in a criminal case or illegal operation, it's incredibly easy to set up a wiretap or surveillance system on any type of phone. Don't be surprised to learn that virtually anyone could be spying on you for any reason."" Maybe I'm on the wrong track here, but I guess I assumed that wiretapping now happened in secret rooms at the telco, and not by affixing something physically to a wire in your home, but I'll definitely be aware next time I hear a stranger breathing next time I'm stuck on hold.

Confessions of a Wi-Fi Thief

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday June 19, @10:30AM
from the is-that-a-bandwidth-in-your-pocket dept.
Michelle Shildkret from Time wrote in to tell us about a story about "the ethics of stealing wi-fi. Many of us been guilty of the same crime at one point or another — according to the article, 53% of us at least. But how guilty do we really feel? As it is officially a crime to steal wi-fi (Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 47 of the United States Code, which covers anybody who "intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access")."

Iberdrola inks biggest wind deal ever

Move over T. Boone Pickens, the world's most expensive supply contract for wind energy was signed this week by Spanish energy giant Iberdrola Renewables. The €6.3B -- that's $9.7B US -- contract was awarded to Madrid's Gamesa and it includes the overall cost associated with the turbines, transportation, installation, and grid connection.

The landmark deal will translate into the installation of 4,500MW worth of wind turbines across the US, Europe, and Mexico over the next few years. The groundbreaking price tag also covers turbine maintenance, which is pretty hefty -- consider that exploding turbine in Denmark. So, that makes it seem a little more reasonable. Compare this 4,500MW deal with Boone Pickens' 4,000MW wind farm in the Texas Panhandle and you kind of get an even better appreciation of how big his wind farm is going to be.
Related Link

Nanosolar solar film rolls off the presses at 100 feet-per-minute

It looks like those curious to see just how Nanosolar turns out their solar panels for less than a dollar per watt need wonder no more, as the company has just posted a video that shows the thin film solar cells rolling off the presses at speedy 100 feet-per-minute. That's apparently possible thanks to what the company claims is the industry's first 1GW production tool, and its use of its own long-in-development nanoparticle ink, which eliminates the need for expensive high-vacuum chambers (though the printer still costs a hefty $1,65 million). What's more, the company says their technique would even work "in principle" at speeds up to 2,000 feet-per-minute, although they aren't making any promises about attempting an upgrade anytime soon. Head on past the break to check it out in action.

Slimmer Milky Way Galaxy Revealed By New Measurements

ScienceDaily (Jun. 19, 2008) — The Milky Way Galaxy has lost weight. A lot of weight. About a trillion Suns' worth, according to an international team of scientists from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-II), whose discovery has broad implications for our understanding of the Milky Way.

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Exercise Reduces Hunger In Lean Women But Not Obese Women

ScienceDaily (Jun. 19, 2008) — Exercise does not suppress appetite in obese women, as it does in lean women, according to a new study.

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Casio cranks out Pro-Series Super Slim Projectors

And you thought the projector overload from InfoComm was all done. Think again. On the docket today is Casio, who is bringing out a new Pro-Series of PJs that looks quite different from your typical beamer. Both the XJ-SC200 and XJ-S50 series sport a "Super Slim" profile -- hailed by Casio as the industry's slimmest, in fact. Each of the 3.97-pound members will feature an XGA (1,024 x 768) resolution, between 2,500 and 3,000 ANSI lumens, a DLP projection engine and VGA input, while a few even include a USB port for wireless connectivity through an optional WiFi receiver. Both the Super Color and Super Bright models are scheduled to ship in August and will range from $1,299 to $1,599 in price.

[Via FarEastGizmos]

McCain Backs Nuclear Power

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday June 19, @08:45AM
from the all-it-takes-is-peak-oil dept.
bagsc writes "Senator John McCain set out another branch of his energy policy agenda today, with a key point: 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030." So it finally appears that this discussion is back on the table. I'm curious how Nevada feels about this, as well as the Obama campaign. All it took was $4/gallon gas I guess. When it hits $5 I figure one of the campaigns will back perpetual motion instead.

Helping Some Students May Harm High Achievers

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday June 19, @05:20AM
from the stop-dragging-us-down dept. writes "According to a new study performed by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington, increased emphasis on helping students with a history of lower academic achievement results in lower performance for high achievers. This trend appears to be related to the No Child Left Behind Act. Essentially, programs designed to devote a large number of resources to assisting students who are deemed to be "significantly behind" leave little room for encouraging continued academic growth for higher-performing students."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Video Game Technology May Help Surgeons Operate On Beating Hearts

ScienceDaily (Jun. 16, 2008) — Surgery has been done inside some adults' hearts while the heart is still beating, avoiding the need to open the chest, stop the heart and put patients on cardiopulmonary bypass. But to perform intricate beating-heart operations in babies with congenital heart disease or do beating-heart complex repairs in adults, surgeons need fast, highly sophisticated real-time imaging that allows them to see depth. In an NIH-funded study featured on the cover of the June Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, cardiac surgeons from Children's Hospital Boston report good results with a simple technology borrowed from the gaming industry: stereo glasses.

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Allergies: Specific Immunotherapy Works For Many People, Research Suggests

ScienceDaily (Jun. 16, 2008) — The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care has assessed recent evidence on allergies. It found that the once controversial immune therapy against allergy symptoms can definitely help many people with allergies.

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Wisdom Comes With Age, At Least When It Comes To Emotions

ScienceDaily (Jun. 16, 2008) — A University of Alberta researcher in collaboration with researchers from Duke University has proven that wisdom really does come with age, at least when it comes to your emotions.

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Nuclear Warhead Blueprints On Smugglers' Computers

Posted by timothy on Monday June 16, @02:21AM
from the that's-worrisome dept.
imrehg links to a story at the Guardian which begins "Blueprints for a sophisticated and compact nuclear warhead have been found in the computers of the world's most notorious nuclear-smuggling racket, according to a leading US researcher. The digital designs, found in heavily encrypted computer files in Switzerland, are believed to be in the possession of the US authorities and of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in Vienna, but investigators fear they could have been extensively copied and sold to 'rogue' states via the nuclear black market." Reader this great guy links to the New York Times article on the discovery, and asks "Given that Khan's revelations were made in early 2004, does that mean it took the IAEA 1-2 years to brute-force the encryption?"