Friday, October 10, 2008


by Darren Murph, posted Oct 10th 2008 at 5:45AM

We find it hard to believe that we won't see one of these being used somewhere in the upcoming 007 film, but even if not, you can definitely put one to use in your everyday life -- if you can get ahold of one of the ten being made, that is. Srulirecht's DÆmdur is a Kevlar-based handkerchief which can keep your schnoz squeaky clean and (in theory, at least) keep your chest free from bullets. Granted, even the manufacturer makes clear that it takes no responsibility for "schmucks and wooden-heads who feel compelled to test the endurance or resistance of the textile in any way," but it sure beats those cotton ones you buy ten to a pack.

[Via OhGizmo]

Promising New Material Could Improve Gas Mileage

ScienceDaily (Oct. 10, 2008) — With gasoline at high prices, it's disheartening to know that up to three-quarters of the potential energy you are paying for is wasted. A good deal of it goes right out the tailpipe instead of powering your car.

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Species Extinction By Asteroid A Rarity

ScienceDaily (Oct. 10, 2008) — In geology as in cancer research, the silver bullet theory always gets the headlines and nearly always turns out to be wrong. For geologists who study mass extinctions, the silver bullet is a giant asteroid plunging to earth.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Journey Toward The Center Of The Earth: One-of-a-kind Microorganism Lives All Alone

ScienceDaily (Oct. 10, 2008) — The first ecosystem ever found having only a single biological species has been discovered 2.8 kilometers (1.74 miles) beneath the surface of the earth in the Mponeng gold mine near Johannesburg, South Africa. There the rod-shaped bacterium Desulforudis audaxviator exists in complete isolation, total darkness, a lack of oxygen, and 60-degree-Celsius heat (140 degrees Fahrenheit).

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Polluting metals could be replaced by mushroom enzymes for future fuel cells

mushroomsNot only can mushrooms make art galleries and Laser Floyd a lot more fun, a certain enzyme that comes from a fungi found on rotting wood could be used in fuel cells and batteries.

Fuel cells produce electricity through a chemical reaction that currently requires a metal to act as a catalyst and speed up the process. Problem is, these metals are hard to get, polluting to extract and, most importantly, quickly running out. TheBritish Geological Survey has said that zinc, which is a necessary ingredient for a lot of batteries, could run out by 2037.

The enzyme, called laccase, has been as effective as platinum in doing the whole catalyst thing. The benefits of switching from metals to something we can grow is obvious, especially because western countries currently use about 3 billion batteries a year - a number that will only continue to grow.

Before you get excited about mushroom-powered iPods, there's still a lot of work to be done. The UK Energy Research Centre has said that a commercially viable use of this technology won't be seen until around 2030.

Bike sales boom as car makers scrape by

Supply shortages, prepaid waiting lists, skyrocketing demand... I'm not talking about high oil and gas prices here, I'm talking about the booming bike economy. As people flock to the utility and affordability of the bike, manufactures like Giant are facing major challenges when it comes to feeding the world's appetite for bikes -- selling a record 460,000 units last month. Could it be that fuel prices, eco-awareness, and the need to fight obesity are creating a perfect storm for a two-wheeled domination? From the article:
"After a slow 2006, sales took off last year in Europe and America as fuel prices shot up. Suddenly a bicycle seems like the remedy for many modern ills, from petrol prices to pollution and obesity."

Not to kick automakers while they're down, but it seems that bike sales and car sales have an inverse relationship -- and we're kinda partial to bikes. As car sales nosedive slump, Giant -- the world's largest bicycle manufacturer -- has actually been experiencing bike shortages in New York as demand suddenly started outpacing supply. The cycling giant (sorry) has seen its stock prices shoot up 5.65% so far this year. Considering the horrid state of the world economy, that's pretty remarkable. Now, about those bike lanes? 

[via Treehugger]

Beavers: Dam Good For Songbirds

ScienceDaily (Oct. 9, 2008) — The songbird has a friend in the beaver. According to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the busy beaver's signature dams provide critical habitat for a variety of migratory songbirds, particularly in the semi-arid interior of the Western U.S.

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New Material Could Act As Nanofridge For Microchips In Smaller And Faster Computers

ScienceDaily (Oct. 9, 2008) — Researchers in Spain have developed a material which could act as a nanofridge for computers, thus eliminating the barrier posed by overheating in ever smaller chips. The material is based on germanium nanostructures, presents a significant reduction in thermal conductivity and therefore could be a potential candidate in the development of thermoelectric systems compatible with silicon.

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Learning How Not To Be Afraid

ScienceDaily (Oct. 9, 2008) — Why do some people have the ability to remain calm and relaxed even in the most stressful situations? New experiments in mice by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers are providing insight into how the brain changes when the animals learn to feel safe and secure in situations that would normally make them anxious.

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Double Flu Jab Needed Against Bird Flu Pandemic

ScienceDaily (Oct. 9, 2008) — An international study led by University of Leicester researchers has determined that vaccination will be the best way to protect people in the event of the next influenza pandemic – but that each person would need two doses.

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US Army slashes its energy bill with a 500MW solar thermal plant

It's hard to fathom just exactly how much energy it takes to run the largest and most technologically-advanced fighting force known to mankind. And while the Army's power consumption might be classified as a matter of national security, the price tag is not -- the Army spends $3B a year for the electricity to run its energy-intensive operations. That's one reason, along with reducing the risk of power interruptions, that the Army will build a 500MW solar thermal plant in the Mojave Desert near Fort Irwin, CA.

The new solar plant will save the Army $21M a year on energy costs and reduce the army's carbon bootprint by 4,015,000 tons once it's complete in 2014. Fort Irwin's solar plant will be completely unprecedented in size and output for any military installation. The project's price tag wasn't mentioned in the CNet article, but it'd be pretty interesting to get an idea of how many tanks were taken out of the budget to make way for renewable energy. According to the Army'sassistant secretary, the move was made in the name of energy security, not necessarily the environment:
"By making greater use of alternative and renewable energy, Army initiatives will bring energy savings and security to the Army, reducing the risk of power disruption,"
[via Earth2Tech]

Children's Asthma Affected By Parental Expectations

ScienceDaily (Oct. 9, 2008) — Asthmatic children whose parents have high expectations for their ability to function normally are less likely to have symptoms than other children dealing with the condition, according to a new study. Children also are more likely to use asthma controller medications appropriately if they have a routine for taking medicine and if their parents clearly understand how well symptoms can be controlled.

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Plant Virus Research Could Lead To New Ways To Improve Crop Yields

ScienceDaily (Oct. 9, 2008) —  An interdisciplinary group of scientists has obtained the first detailed information about the structure of the most destructive group of plant viruses known: flexible filamentous viruses.

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Sharpest Whole-Planet Picture Of Jupiter Taken From The Ground

ScienceDaily (Oct. 9, 2008) — A record two-hour observation of Jupiter using a superior technique to remove atmospheric blur has produced the sharpest whole-planet picture ever taken from the ground. The series of 265 snapshots obtained with the Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics Demonstrator (MAD) prototype instrument mounted on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) reveal changes in Jupiter's smog-like haze, probably in response to a planet-wide upheaval more than a year ago.

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Steve Wozniak Predicts Death of the IPod

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday October 09, @03:54AM

from the for-whom-the-bell-tolls dept.
Portables (Apple)
Slatterz writes"Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, better known in the industry as 'Woz', believes that the iPod is on its way out and has revealed his discomfort with some aspects of the iPhone. Wozniak said that the iPod has had a long time as the world's most popular media player, and that it will fall from grace due to oversupply. Wozniak also commented on the iPhone's proprietary nature and locked service provider, and compared it to Google's open Android platform. "Consumers are not getting all they want when companies are very proprietary and lock their products down," he said. "I would like to write some more powerful apps than what you're allowed.""

ABC hates the environment, loves Big Oil

You may have already seen this ad from We Can Solve It somewhere, but you definitely didn't catch it after the debate on Tuesday night, because ABC refused to run it!

Even though We Can Solve It has the money to pay for the air time, and even though climate change is one of the biggest issues in the presidential campaign, ABC won't put the ad on the air. Not only that, they won't give a reason for their refusal!

Here is the totally innocuous script: 
The solution to our climate crisis seems simple.
Repower America with wind and solar.
End our dependence on foreign oil. A stronger economy.
So why are we still stuck with dirty and expensive energy?
Because big oil spends hundreds of millions of dollars to block clean energy.
Lobbyists, ads, even scandals.
All to increase their profits, while America suffers.
Breaking big oil's lock on our government ...
Now that's change.
We're the American people and we approve this message.

I can't see anything in there for ABC to object to, unless they hate the environment, or are so scared of the Big Oil cabal that they don't dare anger the giant. 

Go check out the We Can Solve It site, where they have have a super fast form that makes it easy for you to ask "WTF ABC?" 

Maybe we can get ABC to at least explain what their problem is with the ad. Even better, if enough people write in, maybe ABC will agree to run the ad during 20/20 on Friday!

Tru Vodka- Drink it, plant it

Organic vodka is a good thing, let's just open with that on the table, or bar as the case may be. 

Modern Spirits, known for their award-winning artisan vodkas (flavors include Black Truffle, Celery Peppercorn and Candied Ginger- I know, it's awesome) has introduced the first and only American spirit that is truly sustainable, Tru Organic Vodka.

From the press release, Tru is "made from 100% organic American wheat and infused with organic, natural ingredients. The packaging is made from completely recycled materials and the bottles are 25% more lightweight than other spirits bottles for greener shipping."

While Modern Spirits doesn't make the claim, there has been research conducted in my kitchen that suggests organic alcoholic beverages tend to result in a milder hangover- not that we endorse drinking to excess. Again.

Tru takes their eco-friendly mission seriously, and in addition to the steps described above they add one great, big leap. In partnership with Sustainable Harvest International they plant a tree for every bottle sold. Yes, every bottle. 

Buy a forest, but drink responsibly.

Depression-era tips could also help the planet

walletNothing like an financial crisis to get you on the road to more efficient eating, shopping and living. You can save money, save the planet, and just be a better human by making a few changes in your life.

Where to start? Green Daily isoverflowing with tips (obviously).

While few of us want to use the "D" word, Plenty magazine gives a helpful look at some of the ways Great Depression-era consumers dealt with their newly frugal world. These tougher-time solutions are simple and almost always greener. In other words, being frugal isn't just for old-timey depression-era folks anymore. 

Take water bottles -- we still spend billions of dollars and way too much oil on something that most Americans get from their faucets. Plenty also looks at reusable coffee cup, making meals from scratch, eating locally, growing Victory gardens and buying in bulk - all necessities in the dirty thirties, but still pretty easy to do if you want to save money and get greener today. 

Unlike our sepia-toned great-grandparents, we also have something called the Internet. Use it to find bulk, organic, inexpensive, locally grown anything and stop thinking of 'frugal' as a bad word.

Be green and save money (without spending any)

ClotheslineLots of suggestions on how to be more green involve some type of initial investment. Switching from a Suburban to a Prius will save you money for sure, but there is also a large up front investment. Same with solar hot water heaters, more energy efficient appliances and reusable shopping bags. 

There are six ideas to try after the jump that shouldn't cost you anything because you should already have what you need to implement them.
  • Hang your laundry to dry. Outside on a clothesline or put up a clothesline inside. Or put to use drying racks you already have. If you don't have any, ask around until you find some from friends and neighbors. Or, put things on plastic hangers and hang them on your shower rod in the bathroom. 
  • Eat less meat. It's better for the planet and your wallet. You don't have to go totally vegetarian but start planning a few meat free meals each week. It will save you money, calories and help the Earth all in one!
  • If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure it's programmed properly. If you don't, put a note on the door to remind you to adjust it (or turn it off) before you leave each day. Also, this time of year, pay attention to the weather. Many days lately I can turn off the thermostat completely and open the windows. 
  • Adjust your workweek. If you have a boss who is at all flexible, try for a deal to work four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days. Maybe agree to try it for one month and see how it works. Or, see if you can telecommute one day per week. Anything to cut down on driving! Plus it gives you more time to hang clothes out on the clothesline! 
  • Pick one trip per week of 2 miles or less and use your bike instead of your car. Not possible? Pick one day when you will do no additional driving at all, except to the office if you must. 
  • Use baking soda to clean almost anything (including your teeth) for much cheaper than traditional or green cleaning products. 
None of these ideas work for you? Check out my previous post onbeing green for less with 30 money saving ideas.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

$1000 Of Stock

$1000 Of Stock by sandossu.

From David

Killing 'Angry' Immune Cells In Fat Could Fight Diabetes

ScienceDaily (Oct. 7, 2008) — By killing off "angry" immune cells that take up residence in obese fat and muscle tissue, researchers have shown that they can rapidly reverse insulin resistance in obese mice. The findings reported in the October Cell Metabolism, suggest that treatments aimed at specific subsets of the so-called macrophage cells might offer a very effective new antidiabetic therapy, according to the researchers.

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Alternative Fossil Fuels Have Economic Potential, Study Shows

ScienceDaily (Oct. 8, 2008) — Alternative sources of fossil fuels such as oil sands and coal-to-liquids have significant economic promise, but the environmental consequences must also be considered, according to a RAND Corporation study issued October 8.

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Bomb-proof Thermometer To Measure Heat Of Explosions Developed

ScienceDaily (Oct. 8, 2008) — Scientists at the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Teddington have designed a high-speed thermometer that can measure the temperature inside explosions without being damaged in the impact.

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Flexi Display Technology Is Now

ScienceDaily (Oct. 8, 2008) — Rigid television screens, bulky laptops and still image posters are to be a thing of the past as new research, published in the New Journal of Physics, heralds the beginning of a technological revolution for screen displays.

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Possibilities -- But No Proof -- To Prevent Alzheimer’s

ScienceDaily (Oct. 8, 2008) — No one knows how to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease. But researchers are finding clues to the mystery by studying exercise, estrogen, diet and drugs, and many other avenues.

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Fungus Fights Air Pollution By Removing Sulfur From Crude Oil

ScienceDaily (Oct. 8, 2008) — Researchers in Iran are publishing what they describe as the first study on a fungus that can remove sulfur — a major source of air pollution — from crude oil more effectively than conventional refining methods.

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Pneumococcal Vaccine Associated With 50 Percent Lower Risk Of Heart Attacks

ScienceDaily (Oct. 8, 2008) — Pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccination was associated with a 50% lower risk of heart attacks 2 years after vaccination, suggests a large hospital-based case-control study published in CMAJ.

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TiVo Wins Appeal On Patents For Pause, Ffwd, Rwd

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday October 08, @08:12AM

from the satellites-descending dept.
Lorien_the_first_one writes"After years of wrangling, TiVo has won its day in court against Dish Network, formerly known as the EchoStar, when the Supreme Court declined to take up Dish Network's appeal, forcing the satellite television company to pay $104 million in damages. According to the article, 'TiVo originally won a patent infringement case in 2004 against Dish, which was then named EchoStar Communications. It charged that Dish illegally copied its technology, which allows people to pause, rewind, and record live television on digital video recorders.' Despite an injunction, Dish continued distributing its set-top boxes in the belief that the work-around they had implemented avoided infringing TiVo's patents. Now the case goes back to the lower court for review to determine if they did indeed steer clear of those patents."

New Fake-Proof Personality Test Created

ScienceDaily (Oct. 8, 2008) — Psychologists from the University of Toronto have developed a personality inventory that can predict who will excel in academic and creative domains, even when respondents are trying hard to fake their answers

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pickens and the Sierra Club to hold "e-Rally" during tonight's debate

When his massive energy plan was first unveiled to the public, Mr. Pickens made it clear that he wanted the Pickens Plan to be a factor in the upcoming election. While we know from 2004's swift boat controversythat Pickens has the power and money to push his ideas into the political arena, we weren't quite sure how he would launch a Pickens Plan assault on this year's candidates.Well, now we know: live blogging.

T. Boone Pickens, along with the Sierra Club's executive director Carl Pope, will be hosting what they call an "e-Rally" during and after tonight's presidential debate. Their purpose: to let the candidates know that the "New Energy Army" is watching them. Pope and Pickens will be fielding live questions about our energy policy, and how to pressure US leaders to action. According to the article: "40,000 Americans have RSVP'd to participate in the e-Rally," and over 1,000 questions have already been submitted.

As for the odd coupling of Carl Pope and T. Boone Pickens, here's aquote from the Sierra Club exec:
"That Boone and I agree about the Pickens Plan is not really good news because anything Boone and I agree about should have been done long ago."

Girls Have Harder Time Than Boys Adjusting In Language-learning Environment, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Oct. 7, 2008) — Girls who don’t share a common language may have more difficulty adjusting socially than boys, according to surprising new Michigan State University research looking at language acquisition among young children.

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Impact Of Geology On The U.S. Civil War: War From The Ground Up

ScienceDaily (Oct. 7, 2008) — The connection between geology and the history of the Civil War has fascinated Robert Whisonant since his undergraduate days, and now Whisonant has teamed up with geomorphologist Judy Ehlen, both of Radford University, to take history, military history in particular, a step deeper -- into the geology beneath the soldiers' feet.

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Occasional Memory Loss Tied To Lower Brain Volume

ScienceDaily (Oct. 7, 2008) — People who occasionally forget an appointment or a friend's name may have a loss of brain volume, even though they don't have memory deficits on regular tests of memory or dementia, according to a study published in the October 7, 2008, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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by Joshua Topolsky, posted Oct 7th 2008 at 5:57AM

If researchers at Boston University's College of Engineering have their way, light bulbs of the future may be the highway your data gets carried along. A team at the school is working on low-power LEDs which could utilize an optical communication system to carry data wirelessly. Using a technique which rapidly switches the LEDs on and off data transmissions could be made via imperceptible -- yet undoubtedly brain-scrambling -- flickering patterns, and each light would be its own network entry point at speeds of 1 to 10Mbps. The concept is more secure than current RF techniques because it requires linked devices be in line-of-sight, and the technology would draw far less energy than conventional radios. Says professor Thomas Little, "Imagine if your computer, iPhone, TV, radio and thermostat could all communicate with you when you walked in a room just by flipping the wall light switch and without the usual cluster of wires." Yes... and talk about you behind your back. And plot your "accidental" death after taking out a large life insurance policy on you. You won't get away with this LED network!

[Thanks, Travis]

Ford To Introduce Restrictive Car Keys For Parents

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday October 07, @12:21AM

from the no-you-cannot-borrow-my-keys dept.
thesandbender writes"Ford is set to release a management system that will restrict certain aspects of a car's performance based on which key is in the ignition. The speed is limited to 80, you can't turn off traction control, and you can't turn the stereo up to eleven. It's targeted at parents of teenagers and seems like a generally good idea, especially if you get a break on your insurance."The keys will be introduced with the 2010 Focus coupe and will quickly spread to Ford's entire lineup.

Two Europeans Indicted In US For 2003 DDOS Attacks

Posted by timothy on Tuesday October 07, @12:32PM

from the how-about-some-shrimp-echouafni dept.
The InternetSecurityThe Courts
narramissic writes"In a continuation of the first successful U.S. investigation ever into DDOS attacks, Axel Gembe, 25, of Germany and Lee Graham Walker, 24, of England were indicted Thursday by a grand jury in Los Angeles, California, on one count of conspiracy and one count of intentionally damaging a computer system. The two men were allegedly hired by Jay R. Echouafni, owner of Orbit Communication, a Massachusetts-based company that sold home satellite systems, to carry out DDOS attacks against two of Orbit's competitors."