eldavojohn writes "A lizard long served on the menu in the Mekong Delta has recently caught the attention of scientists when it was noted that all animals in the species appeared identical as well as female. The species appears to be a hybrid of two other species (like a mule or liger). But the curious thing is that this hybrid isn't sterile — it reproduces asexually. The species, known for some time in Vietnam, has now officially been named Leiolepis ngovantrii."
An anonymous reader writes "Peter Jansen, a PhD student and member of the RepRap community, has constructed a working prototype of an inexpensive table-top laser cutter built out of old CD/DVD drives as an offshoot of his efforts to design an under $200 open-source Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printer. Where traditional laser cutters use powerful, fixed-focus beams, this new technique dynamically adjusts the focal point of the laser using a reciprocating motion similar to a reciprocating saw, allowing a far less powerful and inexpensive laser diode to be used. The technique is currently limited to cutting black materials to a depth of only a few millimeters, but should still be useful and enabling for Makers and other crafters. The end-goal is to create a hybrid inexpensive 3D printer that can be easily reconfigured for 2D laser cutting, providing powerful making tools to the desktop."
An anonymous reader writes "A Wisconsin priest has God on his car but Best Buy's lawyers on his back. Father Luke Strand at the Holy Family Parish in Fond Du Lac says he has received a cease-and-desist letter from the electronics retailer. From the article: 'At issue is Strand's black Volkswagen Beetle with door stickers bearing the name "God Squad" in a logo similar to that of Best Buy's Geek Squad, a group of electronics troubleshooters. Strand told the Fond du Lac Reporter that the car is a creative way to spur discussion and bring his faith to others. Best Buy Co. tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that it appreciates what Strand is trying to do, but it's bad precedent to let groups violate its trademarks.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The sci-fi movie Splice seems to have scared the Ohio's State Senator Steve Buehrer. The Ohio Senate has passed Sen. Buehrer's bill banning 'the creation, transportation, or receipt of a human-animal hybrid, the transfer of a nonhuman embryo into a human womb, and the transfer of a human embryo into a nonhuman womb.' So much for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
Administrators at England's Worthing Hospital are insisting that doctors say the magic word when writing orders for blood tests on weekends. If a doctor refuses to write "please" on the order, the test will be refused. From the article: "However, a doctor at the hospital said on condition of anonymity that he sees the policy as a money-saving measure that could prove dangerous for patients. 'I was shocked to come in on Sunday and find none of my bloods had been done from the night before because I'd not written "please,"' the doctor said. 'I had no results to guide treatment of patients. Myself and a senior nurse had to take the bloods ourselves, which added hours to our 12-hour shifts. This system puts patients' lives at risk. Doctors are wasting time doing the job of the technicians.'"
ZipK writes "After a few days of bad publicity, Apple has reversed its no cash purchase policy, explaining that the policy was originally implemented to limit the number of iPads an individual could buy during the introductory period of short supply. Now that supply has caught up with demand — and the story has hit front pages and gained national attention — Apple has reversed its policy, and taken the opportunity to put a bow on the story by giving the formerly scorned Diane Campbell a free iPad."
theodp writes "Despite the whiff of danger, or perhaps because of it, the WSJ reports that the City Museum is one of St. Louis's most popular attractions. Housed in a 10-story brick building, the City Museum shows none of the restraint or quiet typical of most museums. It boasts a five-story jungle gym with two real-life jets kids can climb on, an enclosed Monster Slide that drops riders the length of three staircases, and a rooftop Ferris wheel. Sure, there are the occasional severed fingers and skull fractures, but museum founder Bob Cassilly contends that it is as safe as it can be without being a bore. 'They [lawyers] are taking the fun out of life,' says Cassilly, adding that 'when you have millions of people do something, something's going to happen no matter what you do.'"
Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that Orange County officials are locked in a legal battle with a couple accused of violating city ordinances for replacing the grass on their lawn with wood chips and drought-tolerant plants, reducing their water usage from 299,221 gallons in 2007 to 58,348 gallons in 2009. The dispute began two years ago, when Quan and Angelina Ha tore out the grass in their front yard. In drought-plagued Southern California, the couple said, the lush grass had been soaking up tens of thousands of gallons of water — and hundreds of dollars — each year. 'We've got a newborn, so we want to start worrying about her future,' said Quan Ha, an information technology manager for Kelley Blue Book. But city officials told the Has they were violating several city laws that require that 40% of residential yards to be landscaped predominantly with live plants. Last summer, the couple tried to appease the city by building a fence around the yard and planting drought-tolerant greenery — lavender, rosemary, horsetail, and pittosporum, among others. But according to the city, their landscaping still did not comply with city standards. At the end of January, the Has received a letter saying they had been charged with a misdemeanor violation and must appear in court. The couple could face a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for their grass-free, eco-friendly landscaping scheme. 'It's just funny that we pay our taxes to the city and the city is now prosecuting us with our own money,' says Quan Ha."
alphadogg writes "The US IT market will grow by 6.6% as high-tech spending rebounds in 2010, according to Forrester Research's latest estimates. The research firm based its projections on data reported for 2009, though its fourth quarter numbers are incomplete. Forrester says hints of a recovery surfaced in the third quarter, and now the company expects the global IT market to grow by 8.1% in 2010. Forrester's US and Global IT Market Outlook: Q4 2009 reads: 'The tech downturn of 2008 and 2009 is unofficially over, while the Q3 2009 data for the US and the global market showed continued declines in tech purchases (as we expected). We predict that the Q4 2009 data will show a small increase in buying activity, or at worst, just a small decline.'"
likuidkewl writes "Two super-earths, 5 and 7.5 times the size of our home, were found to be orbiting 61 Virginis a mere 28 light years away. 'These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,' said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Among hundreds of our nearest stellar neighbors, 61 Vir stands out as being the most nearly similar to the Sun in terms of age, mass, and other essential properties."
supersloshy writes Today Mozilla released Thunderbird 3. Many new features are available, including Tabs and enhanced search features, a message archive for emails you don't want to delete but still want to keep, Firefox 3's improved Add-ons Manager, Personas support, and many other improvements. Download here."
I think we're all Bozos on this bus!