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Submission + - Male Scent May Be Compromising Biomedical Research (

sciencehabit writes: Scientists have found that mice feel 36% less pain when a male researcher is in the room, versus a female researcher. The rodents are also less stressed out. The effect appears to be due to scent molecules that male mammals (including humans, dogs, and cats) have been emitting for eons. The finding could help explain why some labs have trouble replicating the results of others, and it could cause a reevaluation of decades of animal experiments: everything from the effectiveness of experimental drugs to the ability of monkeys to do math. Male odor could even influence human clinical trials. If a male doctor injects you with a new kind of pain medication, do you feel better because of the drug—or because of his gender?

Submission + - Astronomers Discover Pair of Black Holes in Inactive Galaxy

William Robinson writes: The Astronomers at XMM-Newton have detected a pair of supermassive black holes at the center of an inactive galaxy. Most massive galaxies in the Universe are thought to harbor at least one supermassive black hole at their center. And a pair of black holes is indication of strong possibility that the galaxies have merged. Finding black holes in quiescent galaxies is difficult because there are no gas clouds feeding the black holes, so the cores of these galaxies are truly dark. It can be only detected by this ‘tidal disruption event’,.

Submission + - The cosmic origin of gold (and other heavy elements)

StartsWithABang writes: Yeah, you might think you know where the elements come from. The lightest ones were formed from the Big Bang, heavier ones were formed in the cores of stars, and the true heavyweights of the periodic table were formed in the hearts of ultramassive stars during their deaths as Type II supernovae, right? As it turns out, that will get you all the elements in the periodic table, but not in the right amounts! For that, you need something more, and we owe it all to neutron stars!

Submission + - James Lovelock reflects on Gaia's legacy (

An anonymous reader writes: "A lot of investment in green technology has been a giant scam, if well intentioned."

The quote, and entire interview, are significant for two reasons. First, the interview is seeped with many skeptical opinions about human caused global warming, is very critical of that movement's effort to politicize science, and the person being interviewed is James Lovelock, the founder of of the concept of Gaia, a former strong advocate of global warming but now a skeptic.

Most significant however is where the interview is published. It is in Nature, one of the most important and influential science journals, which previously has been aggressively pushing global warming politics for years. That they allowed these politically incorrect opinions within their walls and then broadcast them to their readers signals a major cultural shift within the science community. It is beginning to be acceptable to be a skeptic again!

Submission + - YouTube to Remove Scientist's Account who Debunked AIDS Deniers Movie (

EwanPalmer writes: YouTube is threatening to remove the account of a scientist who made a series of videos debunking claims made in an Aids denialist movie over copyright infringement disagreement.

Myles Power is claiming the producers of controversial 2009 documentary House of Numbers are attempting to censor him by submitting bogus DMCA claims against him. He says his movies do not breach copyright laws because his films are educational and therefore fair use. The 'AIDS denialist' documentary makers say they instead amounted to “propaganda”.

Submission + - What "news for nerds" sites should I use? 8

stderr_dk writes: I used to visit Slashdot quite often, but if Dice Holdings decide to switch the interface to what is currently known as "Beta", I'll have to find another site for my "stuff that matters"-fix.

So, Slashdot, what sites can you recommend for a "maybe-ex" /. user?

Submission + - Community-sourced news site,, goes live 18

umafuckit writes: is the new way of taking the pulse of the nerd community. Soylentnews is a grassroots-based platform with the content feeds are powered by readers like you. The objective is to highlight news stories of general importance to everyone, but especially nerds. News about technology, art, science and politics: it's all there. Soylentnews is the new kid on the block and will adapt quickly to satisfy our community's needs and and push boundaries like never before. This is a real community site: no changes in format without a general consensus from the community. Stop by and see what you think of the freshly-launched site.

Submission + - Google Apps licence unsurprisingly forbids forking, promotes Google services 1

Sockatume writes: If you want to ship a phone with Google's apps on it, you need to licence them. A copy of the OEM licencing agreement from 2011 was recently leaked, and Ars Technica provides a summary. Amongst the rules: a company licencing Google Apps can't act in a way that would fragment Android, but must also maintain the platform's open-ness; most of Google's services must be included; Google apps must be defaults, and placed within a couple of clicks of the default home screen. No surprises but it's interesting to see the details laid out.

Submission + - Vikings' Secret Code Cracked (

sciencehabit writes: What may look like mere scratches is much more. A 900-year-old Viking code known as jötunvillur has been cracked. The code-cracker, runologist Jonas Nordby from the University of Oslo, deciphered the system after realizing he needed to replace the original runic character with the last sound used to pronounce it. For instance, the runic character ‘k’ is pronounced ‘kaun,’ so k becomes n. Nordby believes secret messages were created by the Vikings for entertainment. One piece of wood reads: "Kiss me".

Submission + - Amphibious Trimaran is Made For More Than Just Water (

Zothecula writes: Here's one you might not have heard before ... Whaddaya get when cross a hovercraft, an airboat and a pontoon boat? Give up? An ATASD, or Amphibious Trimaran with Aerostatic Discharge! OK, it's not that funny, but the vehicle itself is pretty cool. It can travel over virtually any surface, and should soon be heading into production.

Submission + - Open Source -- The Last Patent Defense? (

dp619 writes: A developer might fly under the patent troll radar until she makes it big, and then it's usually open season. Apple just shared that it has faced off 92 lawsuits over just 3 years. Even Google's ad business is at risk. Well known FOSS attorney Heather Meeker has blogged at the Outercurve Foundation on what to consider and what to learn if you're ever sued for patent infringement. Meeker examined how provisions of open source licenses can deflate a patent troll's litigation and shift the balance in favor of the defense.

Submission + - Celebrating Dungeons & Dragons' 40th Anniversary

disconj writes: With the 40th anniversary of the release of Dungeons & Dragons coming up this weekend, the Internet is ablaze with reflections on its legacy. Dave Ewalt gives an intro for the uninitiated. Ethan Gilsdorf explains how "all I need to know about life I learned from 'Dungeons & Dragons.'" Jon Peterson presents a video show-and-tell of rare artifacts from D&D's development. How did D&D change your life, and what will you be doing to celebrate this Sunday?

Submission + - Swarms of small satellites set to deliver close to real-time imagery of Earth ( 1

ananyo writes: A swarm of small satellites set to deliver close to real-time imagery of swathes of the planet is launching today. San Francisco-based Planet Labs, founded in 2010 by three former NASA scientists, is scheduled to launch 28 of its ‘Doves’ on 9 January. Each toaster-sized device weighs about 5 kilograms and can take images at a resolution of 3–5 metres.
Meanwhile Skybox Imaging plans to launch a swarm of 24 satellites, each weighing about 100 kilograms, which will take images of 1 metre resolution or better. Skybox launched its first satellite on 21 November (and captured the first HD video of the world from space) and plans to launch another this year, followed by the remainder between 2015 and 2017. In a first — at least for civilian satellites — Skybox’s devices will also stream short segments of near-live high-resolution video footage of the planet. So, too, will UrtheCast, a start-up based in Vancouver, Canada, whose cameras will hitch a ride on the International Space Station.
Because the swarms are still to be launched, scientists have yet to fully assess the quality of the imagery. But the satellites’ spatial resolutions of 1–5 metres are much higher than those of most scientific satellites. Landsat, NASA’s Earth-observation workhorse, for example, has a resolution of 15–100 metres depending on the spectral frequency, with 30 metres in the visible-light range.

Submission + - Why Don't the Bright Futures Promised in TED Talks Come True?

jones_supa writes: TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, under the slogan 'ideas worth spreading'. Especially during the late couple of years the talks have become a popular thing to watch in YouTube. Benjamin Bratton, Associate Professor of Visual Arts at UCSD and Director of The Center for Design and Geopoltics at CALIT2, steps on the very same stage, and asks: why don't the bright futures promised in TED talks come true? Professor Bratton attacks the intellectual viability of TED, calling it placebo politics, middlebrow megachurch infotainment, and the equivalent of right-wing media channels. Does TED falsely present problems as simply puzzles to be solved by rearranging the pieces?

Submission + - Auction houses to be removed from Diablo III (

An anonymous reader writes: Both the RMAH and the Gold Auction Houses are being removed from the game as part of Blizzards revamp of the loot system in Diablo III. The target date is well ahead of us, at March 18, 2014, and according to Blizzard, "We feel that this move along with the Loot 2.0 system being developed concurrently with Reaper of Souls will result in a much more rewarding game experience for our players." Unexpected news, to be sure.

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up.