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Math

Euler's Partition Function Theory Finished 117

universegeek writes "Mathematician Ken Ono, from Emory, has solved a 250-year-old problem: how to exactly and explicitly generate partition numbers. Ono and colleagues were able to finally do this by realizing that the pattern of partition numbers is fractal (PDF). This pattern allowed them to find a finite, algebraic formula, which is like striking oil in mathematics."
Programming

Minecraft Enterprise and 16-Bit ALU 151

tekgoblin writes "Joshua Walker spent the last few months creating a masterpiece. He created the Starship Enterprise 1701-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation in Minecraft using just blocks. He recorded a short video of him explaining how he did it and even gave us a sneak peek at the partially completed ship." He also posted on the Penny-Arcade forums about how he did it. If you aren't impressed by that, perhaps you should check out a 16-Bit ALU also implemented in Minecraft which totally reminded me of one of my favorite XKCD comics.
Earth

Submission + - No more helium-parties-hellium gone in 30 years

An anonymous reader writes: What do MRI machines, rockets, fiber optics, LCDs, food production and welding have in common? They all require the inert, or noble, gas helium for their use or at some stage of their production. And that helium essentially could be gone in less than three decades
The U.S. holds vast majority of the world helium stocks, managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management; the gas sits underground in natural salt domes atop granite in the Great Plains. Congress passed a law in 1996 dictating the sale of all U.S. stocks by 2015 to compensate the government for its investment in the helium and its storage. A 2000 study conducted by the National Research Council concluded that a helium surplus would exist for the foreseeable future. Soon after that report, however, helium usage skyrocketed, as the gas yielded many benefits for industry and medicine. In a January 2010 report for the National Research Council, “Selling the Nation’s Helium Reserve,” Richardson and committee cochair Charles G. “Chip” Groat, a University of Texas at Austin geologist, described the pitfalls of the current U.S. strategy.
Crime

Justice Not As Blind As Previously Thought 256

NotSoHeavyD3 writes "I doubt this is much of a surprise but apparently Cornell University did a study that seems to show you're more likely to get convicted if you're ugly. From the article: 'According to a Cornell University study, unattractive defendants are 22 percent more likely to be convicted than good-looking ones. And the unattractive also get slapped with harsher sentences — an average of 22 months longer in prison.'"
Image

Japanese Company Turns Diapers Into Energy Source Screenshot-sm 65

greenrainbow writes "A Japanese company called Super Faith has developed a new machine that turns used adult diapers into a clean fuel source in about 24 hours. You simply place the bag of dirty diapers in the machine, and once set it motion it pulverizes, sanitizes and dries the material in the diapers and then forms it into small pellets that contain 5000 kcal of heat per kilogram and are meant to be used in biomass heating and electricity systems. Super Faith has reportedly installed two SFD systems at a hospital in Tokyo's Machida area. Each is capable of turning 700 pounds of used diapers — and everything they hold — into fuel every day."
Space

Supermassive Black Holes Can Abort Star Formation 67

cremeglace writes "Astrophysicists have found that when a supermassive black hole quickly devours gas and dust, it can generate enough radiation to abort all the embryonic stars in the surrounding galaxy. It's not clear what this means for life's ability to take hold in such a bleak environment, but the research shows that the process might have determined the fates of many of the large galaxies in the universe."
Censorship

Thailand Cracks Down On Twitter, Facebook, Etc. 130

An anonymous reader writes "The ongoing poitical turmoil in Thailand has inspired the country's Ministry of Information, Computers, and Telecommunications to issue a stern warning that all users of the Internet in Thailand must 'use the internet in the right way or with appropriate purpose and avoid disseminating information that could create misunderstanding or instigate violent actions among the public', that 'all popular websites and social networks such as facebook, twitter, hi5 and my space [sic] will be under thorough watch,' and that 'Violators will be prosecuted by law with no compromise.' Thailand has draconian anti-lèse majesté laws which are routinely abused in order to settle political scores and silence dissent, and recently implemented a so-called 'Computer Crimes Act' which appears to be almost solely focused on thoughtcrimes and censorship, rather than dealing with, you know, actual crime. Several Web forums have recently been shut down, their operators charged because they failed to delete 'harmful posts' quickly enough to suit the Thai authorities."
Programming

Graph-View of Collaborative Development At GitHub 14

VindictivePantz writes "In an interesting graphical view on collaborative development, FlowingData writes: 'GitHub is a large community where coders can collaborate on software development projects. People check code in and out, make edits, etc. Franck Cuny maps this community (with Gephi), based on information in thousands of user profiles.'"
The Military

US and Russia Conclude Arms-Control Treaty 165

reporter writes "According to a report just published by the NY Times, Washington and the Kremlin have finalized an agreement on limiting nuclear weapons and related hardware. Notably, the agreement does not restrict American development of an anti-missile shield. Quoting: 'The new treaty will reduce the binding limit on deployed strategic nuclear warheads by more than one-quarter, and on launchers by half. It will reestablish an inspection and verification regime, replacing one that expired in December. But while the pact recognizes the dispute between the two countries over American plans for missile defense based in Europe, it will not restrict the United States from building such a shield. ... The specific arms reductions embedded in the new treaty amount to a continuing evolution rather than a radical shift in the nuclear postures of both countries. According to people in Washington and Moscow who were briefed on the new treaty, it will lower the legal limit on deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 each, from the 2,200 allowed as of 2012 under the previous treaty. It would lower the limit on launchers to 800 from the 1,600 now permitted. Nuclear-armed missiles and heavy bombers would be capped at 700 each.'"
Medicine

High Fructose Corn Syrup Causes Bigger Weight Gain In Rats 542

krou writes "In an experiment conducted by a Princeton University team, 'Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.' Long-term consumption also 'led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides.' Psychology professor Bart Hoebel commented that 'When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese — every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight.'"
Mars

Building an IT Infrastructure Around Mars 121

bfwebster writes "Space.com has an article talking about the efforts to observe the arrival of the Phoenix lander on Mars this coming May using current Mars orbiters. This community will likely be intrigued to see the ways in which NASA is using existing landers and orbiters to prepare for, and then monitor, that landing. This includes using the landers Spirit and Opportunity to simulate transmissions from Phoenix as a testing procedure in advance of the actual landing; using the Odyssey orbiter as a high-speed data transmission link from Phoenix to Earth during the landing; and using the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Express orbiter as backup data stores for Phoenix data transmissions during the descent. How long until we get a terabyte solid-state dataserver (running IPv6, natch) in orbit around Mars?"

Cyber-Goggles Record and Identify Every Object You See 108

RemyBR writes "Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a smart video goggle system that records everything the wearer looks at, recognizes and assigns names to objects that appear in the video. Advanced programs then go back and create an easily searchable database of the recorded footage. Designed to function as a high-tech memory aid, these 'Cyber Goggles' promise to make the act of losing your keys a thing of the past, according to head researcher professor Tatsuya Harada. 'In a demonstration at the University of Tokyo last week, 60 everyday items -- including a potted begonia, CD, hammer and cellphone -- were programmed into the Cyber Goggle memory. As the demonstrator walked around the room viewing and recording the various objects, the names of the items appeared on the goggle screen. The demonstrator was then able to do a search for the various items and retrieve the corresponding video.'" Add in facial recognition technology and this would make for a great aid at conferences and family reunions.
Medicine

A Virus that Attacks Brain Cancer 131

Ponca City, We Love You writes "In the past few years, scientists have looked to viruses as potential allies in fighting cancer. Now researchers at Yale University have found a virus in the same family as rabies that effectively kills an aggressive form of human brain cancer in mice. Using time-lapse laser imaging, the team watched vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) rapidly home in on brain tumors, selectively killing cancerous cells in its path, while leaving healthy tissue intact. 'A metastasizing tumor is fairly mobile, and a surgeon's knife can't get out all of the cells,' says Anthony Van den Pol, lead researcher and professor of neurosurgery and neurobiology at Yale. 'A virus might be able to do that, because as a virus kills a tumor cell, it could also replicate, and you could end up with a therapy that's self-amplifying.' It's not yet clear why VSV is such an effective tumor killer, although Van den Pol has several theories. One possible explanation may involve a tumor's weak vascular system. Vessels that supply blood to tumors tend to be leaky, allowing a virus traveling through the bloodstream to cross an otherwise impermeable barrier into the brain, directly into a tumor."

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