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gollum123 writes "Reports about a study that found microwave ovens can be used to sterilize kitchen sponges sent people hurrying to test the idea this week — with sometimes disastrous results. A team at the University of Florida found that two minutes in the microwave at full power could kill a range of bacteria, viruses and parasites on kitchen sponges. They described how they soaked the sponges in wastewater and then zapped them. But several experimenters evidently left out the crucial step of wetting the sponge. "Just wanted you to know that your article on microwaving sponges and scrubbers aroused my interest. However, when I put my sponge/scrubber into the microwave, it caught fire, smoked up the house, ruined my microwave, and pissed me off," one correspondent wrote in an e-mail to Reuters."
slimjim8094 writes "A mechanical device from 150BC was found in a shipwreck. Upon examination with X-Rays, the device appeared to be a revolutionary computer used to calculate lunar cycles. This device "is technically more complex than any known for at least a millennium afterward." From the article "The hand-operated mechanism, presumably used in preparing calendars for planting and harvesting and fixing religious festivals, had at least 30, possibly 37, hand-cut bronze gear-wheels, the researchers said. A pin-and-slot device connecting two gear-wheels induced variations in the representation of lunar motions according to the Hipparchos model of the Moon's elliptical orbit around Earth."
OriginalArlen writes to tell us about some compelling global warming coverage in the Washington Post. First there is an article about a study indicating that melting Arctic ice is threatening polar bears with extinction. The article quotes an environmentalist: "This study is the smoking gun. Skeptics, polluting industries and President Bush can't run away from this one." And the polar melting is opening new shipping lanes. The second article details a trip late in October through the Northwest Passage by a Canadian icebreaker. Never before in history could this trip have been accomplished so late in the year; ice would have choked off the passage. Estimates of when the passage might be navigable by commercial shipping range from 2020 to the end of the century. The indigeneous people are not looking forward to this development.
Coryoth writes, "In a report commissioned by the UK government, respected economist Sir Nicholas Stern concludes that mitigating global warming could cost around 1% of global GDP if spent immediately, but ignoring the problem could cost between 5% and 20% of global GDP. The 700-page study represents the first major report on climate change from an economist rather than a scientist. The report calls for the introduction of green taxes and carbon trading schemes as soon as possible, and calls on the international community to sign a new pact on greenhouse emissions by next year rather than in 2010/11. At the very least the UK government is taking the report seriously; both major parties are proposing new green taxes. Stern points out, however, that any action will only be effective if truly global."
ScentCone writes "North Korea says that it has conducted its first nuclear weapons test and 'brought happiness to its people.' Japan and China earlier issued an unusual joint statement saying that such a test would be 'unacceptable.' As of 11:10PM EST, the USGS says that it has not detected any unusual seismic activity on the Korean peninsula in the last 48 hours." From the article: "The North said last week it would conduct a test, sparking regional concern and frantic diplomatic efforts aimed at dissuading Pyongyang from such a move. North Korea has long claimed to have nuclear weapons, but had never before performed a known test to prove its arsenal. The nuclear test was conducted at 10:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) in Hwaderi near Kilju city, Yonhap reported, citing defense officials." Update: 10/09 05:50 GMT by J : The U.S. Geological Survey reports a 4.2 magnitude quake; South Korean news is reporting a 3.58 magnitude event; the White House apparently confirms a nuclear test.
NASA has received a lot of bad press in the last few years. Now in a stunning move to prove how much they have learned from past mistakes, it appears they have lost the magnetic tapes that recorded the first moon walk. They also seem to have misplaced the original recordings of the other five Apollo moon landings. Hopefully nobody has taped an episode of "The OC" over them yet.
The Interfacer writes "Predicting eruptions will become easier now scientists are using technology to translate the patterns in a volcano's behaviour into sound waves. "The research project, which brings together experts from Europe and Latin America, digitally collects geophysical information on seismic movements before using data sonification to transform them into audible sound waves, which can then be 'scored' as melodies. The resulting 'music' is then analysed for patterns of behaviour and used to identify similarities in eruption dynamics and so predict future activity."
Tyler Too writes "Is Apple having an unusually large number of quality control problems since its switch to Intel? Ars Technica runs down the litany of problems MacBook and MacBook Pro users have experienced since their launch. From the article: 'Is Apple's quality control slipping through the cracks with this Intel transition? Given the volume of available evidence that has appeared in such a short timeframe, it's simply impossible to say that Apple isn't having problems.'"
Heartless Gamer writes "MMORPGs and game addiction. If you're suffering from dry eyes, headaches, back aches, erratic sleep patterns, it may be more than just your average hangover: according to Dr. Maressa Orzack, you could be suffering from video and computer game addiction. A clinical psychologist, Orzack is founder and coordinator of Computer Addiction Services at McLean Hospital in Newton, Mass., and is also an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. Computer Addiction Services is one of the few outpatient clinics in the U.S. that provides specific treatment for game addiction." but I'm feelings much better now.
mikemuch writes "With Vista reaching the more stable beta 2 designation, Jason Cross at ExtremeTech decided to run a slew of popular PC games -- Oblivion, F.E.A.R, GTA, Civ IV, WoW, and more -- on the OS to see what will and won't run, and how well. His findings are encouraging, but unsurprisingly the OS is not quite ready for prime time. Some work is needed on the part of driver writers, Microsoft, and game developers to get the gaming experience ready for launch day. The biggest problem he found was StarForce copy protection and a performance drop-off in many of the games when using anti-aliasing. From the article: 'With Microsoft proclaiming a "PC gaming renaissance" around the launch of Vista, they need to really deliver a fantastic experience, and it's not quite there yet.'"
Bill writes "MSNBC reports that the combination of Apple's growing market share and their recent switch to x86 processors has made Mac OS X a new target for viruses. Unfortunately, it seems that many Mac users are in denial. '[Computer security expert Tom] Ferris said he warned Apple of the vulnerabilities in January and February and that the company has yet to patch the holes, prompting him to compare the Cupertino-based computer maker to Microsoft three years ago, when the world's largest software company was criticized for being slow to respond to weaknesses in its products.'"
pev writes "There's a new traveling exhibition in the UK entitled 1001 inventions. It contains some of the most interesting inventions from the past few thousand years. The common theme, however, is that they all came from the Islamic world and not the west. In some cases [the list is] quite surprising. For the lazy, the Independent newspaper in the UK printed their top 20 from the exhibition."
An anonymous reader writes "C|Net is pitting the new Intel Core Duo Mac Mini against Microsoft Media Center. The first round of the fight concludes: 'The Mac Mini automatically recognised the LCD TV we're using, and the third-party tuner was similarly straightforward to set up. Compared to the hours we've spent coaxing similar results out of a Microsoft Media Center system, the Mini is definitely ahead so far.'"