Biotech

Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria That Can Colonize Most Plants Discovered 187

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the watch-out-for-miracle-gro-assassins dept.
Zothecula writes "Synthetic crop fertilizers are a huge source of pollution. This is particularly true when they're washed from fields (or leach out of them) and enter our waterways. Unfortunately, most commercial crops need the fertilizer, because it provides the nitrogen that they require to survive. Now, however, a scientist at the University of Nottingham has developed what he claims is an environmentally-friendly process, that allows virtually any type of plant to obtain naturally-occurring nitrogen directly from the atmosphere." The process involves injecting a bacteria that colonizes the plant and fixes atmospheric nitrogen in exchange for a bit of sugar, similar to soybeans. Only this bacteria will readily colonize most any plant.
Space

Epic Online Space Battle 296

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the get-the-hell-out-of-our-galaxy dept.
New submitter nusscom writes "On July 28th, as has been reported by BBC, a record number of EVE Online players participated in a record-breaking online battle between two alliances. This battle, which was essentially a turf-war was comprised of over 4,000 online players at one time. The load was so large that Crowd Control Productions (CCP) slowed down the game time to 10% of normal to accommodate the massive amount of activity." This is the largest battle to ever occur on EVE Online.
Space

Lower Thermal Radiation Input Needed To Trigger Planetary 'Runaway Greenhouse' 137

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the poor-venus dept.
vinces99 writes with this excerpt from the UW news service: "It might be easier than previously thought for a planet to overheat into the scorchingly uninhabitable 'runaway greenhouse' stage, according to new research (abstract, article paywalled) by astronomers at the University of Washington and the University of Victoria. In the runaway greenhouse stage, a planet absorbs more solar energy than it can give off to retain equilibrium. As a result, the world overheats, boiling its oceans and filling its atmosphere with steam, which leaves the planet glowing-hot and forever uninhabitable, as Venus is now. One estimate of the inner edge of a star's 'habitable zone' is where the runaway greenhouse process begins. The habitable zone is that ring of space around a star that's just right for water to remain in liquid form on an orbiting rocky planet's surface, thus giving life a chance. Revisiting this classic planetary science scenario with new computer modeling, the astronomers found a lower thermal radiation threshold for the runaway greenhouse process, meaning that stage may be easier to initiate." If correct, the habitable zone shrinks a bit and a few exoplanets might lose their potentially habitable status. And the Earth will leave the habitable zone in a billion and a half or so years as the Sun gets brighter.
Transportation

BMW Debuts First Electric Vehicle Made Primarily of Carbon Fiber 164

Posted by samzenpus
from the brand-new dept.
Elliot Chang writes "BMW debuted its 2014 i3 EV in New York City this morning. The new car is the world's first purpose-built electric vehicle made primarily of lightweight carbon fiber. The new 2014 BMW i3 electric vehicle will be powered by a rear-mounted 170-hp electric motor coupled with a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery. The range of the standard i3 will be 80-100 miles, but drivers wanting to go the extra mile, so to speak, will be able to opt for a two-cylinder range extender engine that will boost the i3s range to about 180 miles. The new i3s DC Fast Charger will be able to go from a fully drained battery to about an 80 percent charge in just 20 minutes when plugged into a public EV fast-charging station."
Science

Monogamy May Have Evolved To Prevent Infanticide 256

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-modest-proposal dept.
sciencehabit writes "Human males and females have a strong tendency to live together in monogamous pairs, albeit for highly varied periods of time and degrees of fidelity. Just how such behavior arose has been the topic of much debate among researchers. A new study comes to a startling conclusion: Among primates, including perhaps humans, monogamy evolved because it protected infants from being killed by rival males."
Technology

Nokia Lumia 1020 Video and Photo Shoot Preview 178

Posted by samzenpus
from the what's-the-word dept.
MojoKid writes "Nokia, perhaps more-so than any other smartphone manufacturer in the game right now, needed to find a way to make something special. The new Nokia Lumia 1020, though it sports essentially the same internals and display as Nokia's Lumia 920, most definitely is different, and perhaps even an attractive alternative, depending on your specific needs. 41 megapixels of resolution, floating image stabilization and a powerful camera app to back it up, will make the Lumia 1020 pretty 'special' to some people, some of whom might be considering a Windows Phone for the first time as a result. Initial impressions of the device and its camera performance, show Nokia's new flagship device does shoot impressive still images and video, thanks in part to the Lumia 1020's image sensor and stabilization features. Nokia's Pro Cam app is comprised of a slick dial interface that offers virtually all of the controls you'd find in a DSLR camera. From White Balance, to ISO, Focus, Exposure and Flash Control, it's all in there. When you snap a picture, the 1020's camera grabs two versions of the shot; a large full resolution (7700x4300, roughly) shot with a huge 11MB file size is captured and an additional 5MP image is derived from that and stored as well. The results, especially in decent lighting, can be impressive."
Science

Natural Affinities of RNA Components Could Have Led To Life 30

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-the-beginning dept.
vinces99 writes "The chemical components crucial to the start of life on Earth may have primed and protected each other in never-before-realized ways, according to new research led by University of Washington scientists. That could mean a simpler scenario for how that first spark of life on the planet came about. Scientists have long thought that life started when the right combination of bases and sugars produced self-replicating ribonucleic acid, or RNA, inside a rudimentary 'cell' composed of fatty acids. Under the right conditions, fatty acids naturally form into bag-like structures similar to today's cell membranes. In testing one of the fatty acids representative of those found before life began – decanoic acid – the scientists discovered that the four bases in RNA bound more readily to the decanoic acid than did the other seven bases tested. By concentrating more of the bases and sugar that are the building blocks of RNA, the system would have been primed for the next steps, reactions that led to RNA inside a bag."
Security

College Students Hijack $80 Million Yacht With GPS Signal Spoofing 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the made-a-wrong-turn-in-albuquerque dept.
colinneagle writes "A team of students at the University of Texas at Austin built and successfully tested a custom GPS spoofing device to remotely redirect an $80 million yacht onto a different route. The project was completed with the permission of the yacht's owners in the Mediterranean Sea this past June. Because the yacht's crew relies entirely on GPS signal for direction, the students were able to lead the yacht onto a different course without the knowledge of anyone on-board. The GPS spoofing device essentially over-powered all other GPS signals using until the spoofed signal was the only one that the yacht followed. The team then used the GPS spoofing device to convince the ship's crew to redirect onto a different route voluntarily. By changing the signal on the spoofing device, the students led the crew to believe that the ship was drifting off-course to the left. In response, the crew steered the ship to the right, thinking that it would get the ship back on course, when it actually brought the ship off the course entirely."
Transportation

Judge Rules In Favor of Volkswagen and Silences Scientist 254

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-your-mouth-shut dept.
sl4shd0rk writes "Samsung-is-not-as-cool-as-Apple Judge Colin Birss, rules in favor of Volkswagon to ban Flavio Garcia, a computer scientist, from revealing details about 'Wirelessly Lockpicking a Vehicle Immobiliser' at USENIX in August. Volkswagen says the flaw could allow someone to 'break the security and steal a car' so it is justifiable grounds for blocking Flavio's paper. No word yet on how soon Volkswagen will have a patch."
China

Apple Faces New China Worker Abuse Claims 158

Posted by samzenpus
from the here-we-go-again dept.
AmiMoJo writes "Technology giant Apple is facing fresh allegations of worker rights violations at Chinese factories of one of its suppliers, the Pegatron Group. China Labor Watch has alleged that three factories of Pegatron violate a 'great number of international and Chinese laws and standards.' These include underage labour, contract violations and excessive working hours. Li Qiang, executive director of China Labor Watch, claimed that 'our investigations have shown that labour conditions at Pegatron factories are even worse than those at Foxconn factories.' The campaign group said that it had found that average weekly working hours in the three factories investigated by it were approximately 66 hours, 67 hours, and 69 hours, respectively."
United States

ASCAP Petitions FCC To Deny Pandora's Purchase of Radio Station 229

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-say-no dept.
chipperdog writes "NorthPine.com reports: 'ASCAP is firing back against Pandora Radio's attempt to get lower music royalty rates by buying a terrestrial radio station, "Hits 102.7" (KXMZ Box Elder-Rapid City). In a petition to deny, ASCAP alleges "Pandora has failed to fully disclose its ownership, and to adequately demonstrate that it complies with the Commission's foreign ownership rules." ASCAP also alleges that Pandora has no intention of operating KXMZ to serve the public interest, but is rather only interested in obtaining lower royalty rates. Pandora reached a deal to buy KXMZ from Connoisseur Media for $600,000 earlier this year and is already running the station through a local marketing agreement.'"
Books

Book Review: Present Yourself - Using SlideShare To Grow Your Business 40

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
benrothke writes "SlideShareis a free web 2.0 based slide hosting service where users can upload presentation-based files. Launched in October 2006, it's considered to be similar to YouTube, but for slideshows. It was originally meant to be used for businesses to share slides among employees more easily, but it has since expanded to also become a host of a large number of slides which are uploaded merely to entertain. SlideShare gets an estimated 58 million unique visitors a month and has about 16 million registered users. With such a strong user base, authors Kit Seeborg and Andrea Meyer write in Present Yourself: Using SlideShare to Grow Your Business how SlideShare users can use the site (including other similar collaborative sites such as Prezi and Scribd) to present their story to a worldwide audience. Given that visual presentations are the new language of business, understanding how to maximize their potential can be a valuable asset for the entrepreneur, job seeker and everyone in between." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
Media

Sony & Panasonic Plan Next-Gen 300 GB Optical Discs By the End of 2015 289

Posted by samzenpus
from the building-it-better dept.
SmartAboutThings writes "If you think optical discs are dead and are a sign of the past, maybe you need to take this into consideration – Sony and Panasonic have just announced in Tokyo that they have signed a basic agreement with the objective of developing the next-generation optical discs that are said to have a recording capacity of at least 300GB. The two companies have even set a deadline for this ambitious project: before the end of 2015."
Businesses

Why Bob Mansfield Was Cut From Apple's Executive Team 100

Posted by samzenpus
from the see-you-later dept.
colinneagle writes "AllThingsD reported that Bob Mansfield, Apple's Senior Vice President of Technologies, has disappeared from the executive management team at Apple. But it was only last October when Mansfield was widely reported to have been convinced to return from retirement by Apple CEO Tim Cook for a two-year stint. His return to the company may have been cut short on account of Apple's continued reliance on Samsung for its mobile SOC processors, for which Apple paid an estimated $10 billion to Samsung last year. Mansfield's group was to have played a major role in this, and apparently it has not been able effect this change."
Twitter

55,000 Sign Twitter Abuse Petition After Jane Austen Campaigner Threats 421

Posted by samzenpus
from the play-nice dept.
AlistairCharlton writes "A petition campaigning for Twitter to improve its measures against online abuse has received more than 55,000 signatures in two days. The petition was set up in support of feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, who faced a torrent of abusive tweets, including threats to rape and kill her, after successfully campaigning for a woman's picture to appear on a banknote; Jane Austen will appear on £10 notes from 2017."