Friday, February 27, 2009

Indoor Air Pollution Increases Asthma Symptoms, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Feb. 27, 2009) — A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found an association between increasing levels of indoor particulate matter pollution and the severity of asthma symptoms among children. The study, which followed a group of asthmatic children in Baltimore, Md., is among the first to examine the effects of indoor particulate matter pollution. 

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Thursday, February 26, 2009


by Tim Stevens, posted Feb 26th 2009 at 10:17AM

Worm infiltrates computer, disables CPU fan, causes overheating
If you have both cats and dirt you may want to be wary of a new type of worm that's infecting computers across Great Britain -- or computer, anyway. It's called an earthworm, and one of the five-inch variety stealthily found its way into the laptop of one Mark Taylor. He began receiving overheating errors and took his machine to a technician who promptly found the unfortunate invertebrate wedged in the cooling fan, slowly crisping thanks to the system's heat. Taylor thinks one of his cats dug up the worm, brought it inside, and then the poor thing crawled through one of the cooling vents on his notebook to flee its pursuer. We're not sure how it got separated from its ultra-high-tech-indestructible-super-space-cyber-suit, but surely somewhere Queen Slug-for-a-Butt is laughing.

[Via Switched]

Sony To Unveil New Fuel-Cell Prototype

Posted by samzenpus on Wednesday February 25, @07:34PM

from the new-power dept.
Nakeot writes"On Friday, Sony plans to unveil their newest portable fuel-cell technology, aimed at a variety of mobile applications. From the article: "The system contains both a methanol fuel cell and a Li-on battery" and can "intelligently switch between power from the battery, fuel, or even both under high-draw circumstances." Sony intends to show off two models claimed to power your cell for a week or a month, respectively, as well as the latest developments with their sugar-batteries that can now run purely off your favorite cola beverage. This model builds on Sony's 2008 model, their first commercially-demonstratable prototype, and could make waves with Sony's OLED devices, but will Sony be able to avoid another battery recall?"

Designer Babies

Posted by samzenpus on Wednesday February 25, @09:07PM

from the wings-and-a-nice-prehensile-tail dept.
Singularity Hub writes"The Fertility Institutes recently stunned the fertility community by being the first company to boldly offer couples the opportunity to screen their embryos not only for diseases and gender, but also for completely benign characteristics such as eye color, hair color, and complexion. The Fertility Institutes proudly claims this is just the tip of the iceberg, and plans to offer almost any conceivable customization as science makes them available. Even as couples from across the globe are flocking in droves to pay the company their life's savings for a custom baby, opponents are vilifying the company for shattering moral and ethical boundaries. Like it or not, the era of designer babies is officially here and there is no going back."

Everything is amazing and nobody is happy…

Submitted by Will on Wednesday, 25 February 2009

humorous perspective on technological progress. To some degree, we are a little spoiled and need to chill a little. I love tech progress, but lets stop and smell the flowers… seriously.


by Thomas Ricker, posted Feb 26th 2009 at 4:14AM

The appeal of the Paintball Turret can pretty much be summed up in its inventor's own words: "It shoots things." What grabbed our attention, though, is just how sophisticated the contraption appears to be. Two years in development, Jared Bouck's turret fires 34 balls per second (per second!) and is designed to be carried as a backpack for rapid deployment. Invent Geek also claims that it can be controlled via heads-up display from up to half a mile away. Full plans and a material list are promised as is a video demonstration. Until then, you'll have to make due with the detailed assembly history just beyond the read link. This could change paint warfare and the tactics used by curmudgeonly neighbors to protect their lawns, forever.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Comet Lulin Closest To Earth Tonight

Posted by CmdrTaco on Wednesday February 25, @09:35AM

from the get-out-your-telescopes dept.
William Robinson writes"Comet Lulin, formally known as C/2007 N3, which is on a visit to the inner solar system, will make its closest approach to earth tonight, about 38 million miles away. To the naked eye, the comet looks like a fuzzy patch of hazy light in the southeastern sky near Saturn, at the tip of Leo the Lion's hind leg. After this brief visit, Lulin will be heading back out to its kin in the Oort Cloud."

Australian Dust Storm Footage - Super Drought

Since most of us weren't around to experience the Dust Bowl or the ecological nightmare that was it's aftermath, the best understanding most of us have is through the descriptions of others. Thanks to this amazing footage, now we can see such an epic dust storm in action. Turning back the clock to December 2007, we can take a look at what a super drought on the world's driest continent looks like.

Similar to the famous Dust Bowl that occurred during the Great Depression, the unusually dry period in Australia is resulting in large scale displacement and a mass exodus from the agricultural industry. Although conditions have improved slightly, it's going to take years of above average rainfall to restore much of ecological damage.

Being the driest continent on Earth, Australia is unfortunately serving as the guinea pig for managing water sustainability. They've already fought some of the battles -- desalination, water rights, agriculture, and development -- that might be waged in the US if rainfall conditions in the West don't improve.

That freaking dust storm is incredible.

[via BoingBoing]

Superguns Helped Defeat the Spanish Armada

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday February 25, @04:38AM

from the nobody-expects-the-spanish-armada dept.
The MilitaryScience
Hugh Pickens writes"With the discovery last year of the first wreck of an Elizabethan fighting ship off Alderney in the Channel Islands, thought to date from around 1592, marine archaeologists are revising their ideas on how the English defeated the Spanish Armada. Replicas of two cannon recovered from the Alderney wreck were recreated in a modern foundry, and tests carried out showed that the Elizabethans were throwing shot at almost the speed of sound. Elizabeth's 'supergun,' although relatively small, could hit a target a mile away. At a ship-to-ship fighting distance of about 100 yards, the ball would have sufficient punch to penetrate the oak planks of a galleon, travel across the deck, and emerge out the other side. Tests on cannon recovered from the Alderney wreck also suggest that the ship carried guns of uniform size, firing standard ammunition. 'Elizabeth's navy created the first ever set of uniform cannon, capable of firing the same size shot in a deadly barrage,' says marine archaeologist Mensun Bound from Oxford University, adding that that navy had worked out that a lot of small guns, all the same, all firing at once, were more effective than a few big guns. '[Elizabeth's] navy made a giant leap forward in the way men fought at sea, years ahead of England's enemies, and which was still being used to devastating effect by Nelson 200 years later.'"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sweet Potato Biscuits

These combine two of my favorite things: biscuits and sweet potatoes. Very moist and flavorful and so easy to make, especially if you already have one lonely leftover sweet potato laying around. I recommend doubling this recipe for a family.

Sweet Potato Biscuits
makes 8-10 biscuits

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
dash ground nutmeg
1/2 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
1/3 cup milk
3 T. oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl. In another bowl, combine the sweet potato, milk and oil. Add potato mixture to the flour and stir just until blended. Turn out onto a floured surface and pat into a rectangle. Cut into 8-10 squares/rectangles and place biscuits on a baking sheet, a little bit apart. Bake for 11-14 minutes or until bottoms are browned and the biscuits spring back when pressed gently.

Quick Homemade Cheese

Ivory's Totally Yummy Soft Cheese

1/2 Gallon Whole Milk (Goat or Cow)
1/4 cup white vinegar or 1/4 cup Lemon juice
Salt to taste1. Put milk into stainless steel pot and heat over medium until between 190 and 200 degrees.

2. Slowly stir in vinegar or lemon. Remove from heat and allow to curdle and cool until it's not too hot to touch.

3. Pour cheese into cloth lined bowl. Pull together the 4 corners of cloth and twist around a spoon. Hang dripping cheese for a few hours.

(BTW, it's not touching the bottom of the bowl. It just looks that way.) 

4. Salt to taste and check consistency. I like a fairly hard cheese, so I hang it in the fridge overnight. That's about the max.

5. Untie, (add any garlic or herbs or more salt, if you like) place in airtight container, and chill. Depending on how long you hung it, it should be about 12-16 oz of cheese.


Do Experiences Or Material Goods Make Us Happier?

ScienceDaily (Feb. 24, 2009) — Should I spend money on a vacation or a new computer? Will an experience or an object make me happier? A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research says it depends on different factors, including how materialistic you are.

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How To Rack Up $28,000 In Roaming Without Leaving the US


Posted by timothy on Tuesday February 24, @10:36AM
from the seasick-yet-still-docked dept.
pmbasehore writes "While waiting for his cruise ship to depart, a man decided to use his AT&T wireless card and Slingbox account to watch the Bears vs. Lions football game. When he got his bill, he was slammed with $28,067.31 in 'International Roaming' charges, even though he never left American soil. The bill was finally dropped to $290.65, but only after the media got involved." He might have left the soil (the story says he was already aboard the ship), but shouldn't the dock count?

Drug Improves Memory In Alzheimer's Disease, Animal Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Feb. 24, 2009) — A drug used in a type of hereditary metabolic disorder improved the memory of laboratory animals with Alzheimer’s disease. The results of the project, developed by researchers of the Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) of the University of Navarra have been published in the journalNeuropsychopharmacology.

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Biofuels Boom Could Fuel Rainforest Destruction, Researcher Warns

ScienceDaily (Feb. 24, 2009) — Farmers across the tropics might raze forests to plant biofuel crops, according to new research by Holly Gibbs, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment.

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Windows 3.1 running on Nokia N95 is both awesome and depressing

by Thomas Ricker, posted Feb 24th 2009 at 3:27AM

If these screenshots are to be believed, then an ironic hacker has successfully installed Windows 3.1 onto a Nokia N95 handset. Marchin-PRV used DOSBox to emulate the x86-class processor on the Symbian handset in order to install Microsoft's 1992 OS. Totally useless, yes... and totally badazz.

First Evidence of Supernovae Found In Ice Cores

Posted by kdawson on Monday February 23, @09:44PM

from the hot-and-the-cold-of-it dept.
KentuckyFC writes"Supernovae in our part of the Milky Way ought to have a significant impact on the atmosphere. In particular, the intense gamma-ray burst would ionize oxygen and nitrogen in the mid to upper atmosphere, increasing the levels of nitrogen oxide there by an order of magnitude or so. Now a team of Japanese researchers has found the first evidence of a supernova's impact on the atmosphere in an ice core taken from Dome Fuji in Antarctica. The team examined ice that was laid down in the 11th century and found three nitrogen oxide spikes, two of which correspond to well known supernovae: one event in 1006 AD and another in 1054 AD, which was the birth of the Crab Nebula (abstract). Both were widely reported by Chinese and Arabic astronomers at the time. The third spike is unexplained, but the team suggests it may have been caused by a supernova visible only from the southern hemisphere or one that was obscured by interstellar dust."

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Real Bill Gates Rant

Posted by CmdrTaco on Monday February 23, @09:08AM

from the well-that's-not-so-bad dept.
lou ibmix XI submitted an email written by Bill Gates a few years ago and turned over to the feds as part of the government anti trust case. Great quotes like 'Someone decided to trash the one part of Windows that was usable?' and 'The lack of attention to usability represented by these experiences blows my mind.' We like to think of him as an abstract, but I think this is interesting stuff. Also, this might seem familiar. Oops.

Microsoft Asks For a Refund From Laid-Off Workers

Posted by timothy on Sunday February 22, @06:50PM

from the sorry-for-any-inconvenience dept.
MicrosoftThe Almighty BuckNews
An anonymous reader writes"The large print giveth, the small print taketh away. Microsoft, which recently laid off 1400 employees, is now claiming that some of those lucky schmoes were inadvertently overpaid on their severance package. A letter from the company, which was subsequently circulated on the internet, states: 'We ask that you repay the overpayment and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to you.' Microsoft has confirmed the authenticity of the letter, but it's not known what the amounts in question are, or how many of the 1400 were affected."