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Submission + - Companies Genetically Engineer Spider Silk (

gthuang88 writes: Spider silk is touted for its strength and potential to be used in body armor, sports gear, and even artificial tendons and implants. Now several companies including EntoGenetics, Kraig Labs, and Araknitek have developed genetic approaches to producing commercial quantities of the stuff. One method is to implant spider genes into silkworms, which then act as spider-silk factories. Another is to place the gene that encodes spider web production into the DNA of goats; these “spidergoats” then produce milk containing spider-silk proteins that can be extracted. There’s still a long way to go, however, and big companies like DuPont and BASF have tried and failed to commercialize similar materials.

Submission + - Newly Discovered Greenhouse Gas is 7,000 Times More Powerful Than CO2

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Suzanne Goldenberg writes at The Guardian that researchers at the University of Toronto's department of chemistry have identified a newly discovered greenhouse gas, perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA), in use by the electrical industry since the mid-20th century, that is 7,000 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the Earth. "We claim that PFTBA has the highest radiative efficiency of any molecule detected in the atmosphere to date," says Angela Hong. Concentrations of PFTBA in the atmosphere are low – 0.18 parts per trillion in the Toronto area – compared to 400 parts per million for carbon dioxide but PFTBA is long-lived. There are no known processes that would destroy or remove PFTBA in the lower atmosphere so it has a very long lifetime, possibly hundreds of years, and is destroyed in the upper atmosphere. ""It is so much less than carbon dioxide, but the important thing is on a per molecule basis, it is very very effective in interacting with heat from the Earth." PFTBA has been in use since the mid-20th century for various applications in electrical equipment, such as transistors and capacitors. "PFTBA is just one example of an industrial chemical that is produced but there are no policies that control its production, use or emission," says Hong. "It is not being regulated by any type of climate policy."

Submission + - Problems Aren't All Incompetence ( 1

JMJimmy writes: Libby Shaw of Daily Kos writes

It should come as no surprise to anyone that there has been a number of right wing cyber attacks on the site. It seems that there has been a concerted effort on several fronts in an all out Republican led war to kill and destroy the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. One has to ask if this war on Obamacare has been an intentional and coordinated effort.

Submission + - Another Climate-Change Retraction (

jamie writes: It seems every time someone twists global-warming science into 'good news,' a retraction is soon to follow, and so it must be for Slashdot. Yesterday, the conservative Wall Street Journal published yet another apologetic claiming "the overall effect of climate change will be positive," by someone who (of course) is not a climate scientist. Today, Climate Progress debunks the piece, noting 'Ridley and the WSJ cite the University of Illinois paper to supposedly prove that warming this century will be under 2C — when the author has already explained to them that his research shows the exact opposite!' We went through this same process last year, with the same author and the same paper, so it's pretty embarrassing that he 'makes a nearly identical blunder' all over again.
Lord of the Rings

Submission + - Filming for The Hobbit Begins in July ( 1

krou writes: Sir Ian McKellen has revealed that filming for The Hobbit and its sequel is scheduled to begin in June, and will take approximately a year to complete. Casting is now "taking place in LA, London and New York", and Del Torro is already "living in Wellington, close to the Jacksons' and the studio in Miramar". Apparently the script is still being worked on, and "the first draft is crammed with old and new friends, again on a quest in Middle-earth". The planned sequel to The Hobbit is to be an original story not written by Tolkien, covering the 60 years between The Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings.

It is easier to change the specification to fit the program than vice versa.