I suspect that the theories you're speaking of aren't actually *that* carefully balanced. A factor of 2 might seem huge, but we currently think there's several times more dark matter than normal matter in the universe, so I don't think this will put *that* much of a dent in the status quo.
COredneck sends us a NYTimes story (registration may be required) about an Internet community solving a crime in less than 48 hours. An auto dealer in Calgary lends a car for a test drive — a 1991 Nissan Skyline GT-R. The test driver and another person don't return the car. The dealer then files a police report, but also posts a message about the stolen car on Beyond.ca, an automotive fan board. Many people who read the board keep their eyes out and find the car. They also use Facebook to find the suspect and his high school; and they use Google Maps to pinpoint the thief's location. They film the collar and post the video on Beyond.ca. The dealer says, "This guy has worldwide recognition for being a car thief for the rest of his life. The Internet is not going away."
WirePosted writes "A CDC research study released this past week indicates that the physical and mental health of many Americans is being adversely affected by a lack of sleep. According to the study, a part of the organization's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, one in ten US citizens are consistently failing to get enough sleep every night. Almost 40% of the people surveyed didn't get enough sleep for more than a week every month. The article notes that this trend can have far-ranging implications for health beyond simple fatigue."
jades writes "The University of Waterloo (Canada), sometimes billed as the 'MIT of the North' is establishing a residence 'incubator'. Meant to challenge 70 of their very top students in the tech and business fields, students will live together and work on 'the future of mobile communications, the web and digital media'. It's called 'VeloCity', and it launches in Fall 2008 after renovations are completed this summer."
Ian Lamont writes "The IDG News Service is reporting that US and Canadian authorities have made more than 400 seizures of counterfeit Cisco hardware from China in an ongoing investigation that started in 2005. The most recent seizure was last Friday in Toronto, where the RCMP charged two people and a company with distributing large quantities of counterfeit network components to companies in the US through the Internet. The RCMP seized approximately 1,600 pieces of counterfeit network hardware with an estimated value of $2 million, says the report. According to another source, bogus Cisco gear from China typically includes network modules, WAN interface cards, gigabit interface converters, and less expensive routers."
djasbestos writes "NASA is planning to smash a spacecraft into the Moon in order to look for hydrogen deposits in the poles. More notably, it will impact with significantly greater force (100x, per the article) than previous Moon collisions, such as by the Lunar Prospector and Smart-1 probes. Admiral Ackbar was unreachable for comment as to the exact location and size of the Moon's thermal exhaust port."
coondoggie writes "Even with its increased hiring estimates of 1,200 patent examiners each year for the next 5 years, the US Patent and Trademark Office patent application backlog is expected to increase to over 1.3 million at the end of fiscal year 2011 the Government Accounting Office reported today. The USPTO has also estimated that if it were able to hire 2,000 patent examiners per year in fiscal year 2007 and each of the next 5 years, the backlog would continue to increase by about 260,000 applications, to 953,643 at the end of fiscal year 2011, the GAO said. Despite its recent increases in hiring, the agency has acknowledged that it cannot hire its way out of the backlog and is now focused on slowing the growth of the backlog instead of reducing it. This too is but one of the goals of the Patent Reform Act currently making the rounds in the US Senate."
theodp writes "If all goes IBM's way, it'll soon constitute patent infringement if Bennigan's gives you a free lunch for being inconvenienced by a long wait for your meal. Big Blue is seeking a patent for its Method and Structure for Automated Crediting to Customers for Waiting, the purported 'invention' of three IBM researchers, which IBM notes, 'could be implemented completely devoid of computerization or automation of any kind.' Can we count on IBM to withdraw this patent claim, or will Big Blue weasel out of its patent reform pledge again?"
Raphael Emportu writes "BBC news is reporting that rocky planets, possibly with conditions suitable for life, may be more common than previously thought in our galaxy, a study has found. New evidence suggests more than half the Sun-like stars in the Milky Way could have similar planetary systems. There may also be hundreds of undiscovered worlds in outer parts of our Solar System, astronomers believe. Future studies of such worlds will radically alter our understanding of how planets are formed, they say."
crosshatch brings us news out of Purdue University, where researchers are developing a radiation detection system that would rely on sensors within cell phones to locate and track potentially hazardous material. From the Purdue news service: "Such a system could blanket the nation with millions of cell phones equipped with radiation sensors able to detect even light residues of radioactive material. Because cell phones already contain global positioning locators, the network of phones would serve as a tracking system, said physics professor Ephraim Fischbach. 'The sensors don't really perform the detection task individually,' Fischbach said. 'The collective action of the sensors, combined with the software analysis, detects the source. Say a car is transporting radioactive material for a bomb, and that car is driving down Meridian Street in Indianapolis or Fifth Avenue in New York. As the car passes people, their cell phones individually would send signals to a command center, allowing authorities to track the source.'"
Several readers sent us the story of three high school sophomores in Racine, Wisconsin who were just notified that a celestial body they had discovered during a science project has been verified as an asteroid. The students at Racine's Prairie School will be given the opportunity to name the asteroid in about four years. They used a telescope in New Mexico, belonging to a college in Michigan, that they controlled over the Net.
An anonymous reader writes "In a developing story, registrar Network Solutions has been caught front-running domain names. Any domain names searched via NSI's whois are being immediately purchased by the registrar, thereby preventing a registrant from purchasing the domain at any other registrar. There are multiple reports of this practice over at DomainState.com." Update: 01/09 01:58 GMT by KD : shashib writes to let us know that NSI has issued a response to the accusations of front running.
theodp writes "Traditionally, comics have been by, for and about men. But more and more women are breaking into the traditional boys' club. Beginning with Wonder Woman #14, the superhero's tale is being told by Gail Simone. It's a break from nearly 66 years of being written for the most part by men. '[Her work as a blogger] led to a writing job for the all-female comic 'Birds of Prey' for DC--which became a short-lived, live-action TV series--and in turn won her the "Wonder Woman" job. Simone says she sees a change since she wrote her refrigerator rant 10 years ago. 'At that time, the trend was towards grim stories where female characters were killed,' she says. 'We only had a handful of female characters to look up to. Today we're not seeing those stories so much.'"
terrymaster69 writes "The New York Times reports that the National Academy of Sciences has just published their third book outlining guidelines for the teaching of evolution. 'But this volume is unusual, people who worked on it say, because it is intended specifically for the lay public and because it devotes much of its space to explaining the differences between science and religion, and asserting that acceptance of evolution does not require abandoning belief in God.'"
martyros writes "Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine are performing clinical trials of a vaccine that teaches the immune system to attack cocaine, preventing it from giving a high. The vaccine is made by attaching inactivated cocaine molecules to the outside of inactivated cholera proteins. When the immune system attacks the cholera proteins, it also 'learns' the cocaine molecules as well. The result is that the immune system 'recognizes the potent naked drug when it's ingested. The antibodies bind to the cocaine and prevent it from reaching the brain, where it normally would generate the highs that are so addictive.'" An earlier story from The Star notes that human trials for vaccines against both cocaine and nicotine are well under way.