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Earth

"Argonaut" Octopus Sucks Air Into Shell As Ballast 72

Posted by timothy
from the 8-legs-good dept.
audiovideodisco writes "Even among octopuses, the Argonaut must be one of the coolest. It gets its nickname — 'paper nautilus' — from the fragile shell the female assembles around herself after mating with the tiny male (whose tentacle/penis breaks off and remains in the female). For millennia, people have wondered what the shell was for; Aristotle thought the octopus used it as a boat and its tentacles as oars and sails. Now scientists who managed to study Argonauts in the wild confirm a different hypothesis: that the octopus sucks air into its shell and uses it for ballast as it weaves its way through the ocean like a tiny submarine. The researchers' beautiful video and photographs show just how the Argonaut pulls off this trick. The regular (non-paper) nautilus also uses its shell for ballast, but the distant relationship between it and all octopuses suggests this is a case of convergent evolution."
Crime

Justice Not As Blind As Previously Thought 256

Posted by samzenpus
from the too-pretty-for-jail dept.
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.'"
Space

Supermassive Black Hole Is Thrown Out of Galaxy 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the moving-to-better-quarters dept.
DarkKnightRadick writes "An undergrad student at the University of Utrecht, Marianne Heida, has found evidence of a supermassive black hole being tossed out of its galaxy. According to the article, the black hole — which has a mass equivalent to one billion suns — is possibly the culmination of two galaxies merging (or colliding, depending on how you like to look at it) and their black holes merging, creating one supermassive beast. The black hole was found using the Chandra Source Catalog (from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory). The direction of the expulsion is also possibly indicative of the direction of rotation of the two black holes as they circled each other before merging."

Comment: Re:Idiocy (Score 1) 676

by J.R. Random (#28141135) Attached to: Homeland Security To Scan Citizens Exiting US
I fail to see how fingerprinting people when they leave will stop them from entering in the first place. Although I am opposed to illegal immigration it looks like if I want to cross the border I'll have to do it the way illegal immigrants do - far away from any federales. I was against the creeping facism of Bush and Obama doesn't look any better.

Comment: That's why I stick with dead tree books (Score 1) 630

by J.R. Random (#27952187) Attached to: Remote Kill Flags Surface In Kindle
Technologically the Kindle makes my vast book collection look terribly old fashioned, if not outright obselete. But DRM has made it a non-starter for me. I'm perfectly willing to pay for content. I buy technical books with prices well north of $100. But once I've bought a book I want to be the one who decides if I'm going to have it read out loud to me, or how I back it up, and when in 5 years a competitor comes out with a reader that makes Amazon's Kindle look like a 1980s PC I want to be able to move all the books I've bought to it.

Comment: Re:Free market will kill it (Score 1) 1385

by J.R. Random (#27620265) Attached to: Obama Proposes High-Speed Rail System For the US
When I look at my state and federal income taxes each year there's no way in hell are you going to convince me that the government is "starved of resources". When the government employees get the same raise I do in a recession (0%) and get the same pension benefits (nonexistent) I might start to believe they are starved of resources. When the feds finally decide we can't afford to keep troops in Japan, South Korea, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Kyrgystan, Bulgaria, Ecuador, and other countries I might start to believe the government has gone on a diet. When the feds realize that no, we really can't afford a stunt like sending men to Mars then I might start to believe there's a little belt tightening going on. Right now we have a President who sees no limits at all on how much the federal government can and should spend. "Starved of resources" indeed.

Comment: I'm sticking with ATI (Score 5, Insightful) 261

by J.R. Random (#26394361) Attached to: Nvidia 480-Core Graphics Card Approaches 2 Teraflops
Until NVIDIA starts supporting the development of open source drivers I'm sticking with ATI, no matter how many Blazing Cores of Might NVIDIA might fit onto their chips. While ATI's closed source drivers have their fair share of bugs, and it will be some time before there are good 3D open source drivers for their more recent cards, at least the development has started and ATI has been aiding it, not hobbling it.

Comment: Re:Cancel Orion, keep the Shuttle (Score 1) 288

by J.R. Random (#26284061) Attached to: The Fight Over NASA's Future

As I already said, I'm not in favor of the government auto industry bail out. The problems GM has are chronic. It will burn through the billions of dollars it just got from the tax payers in a just a few more months. GM will then go back to our government with its begging bowl. It was among the walking dead long before the subprime crisis, and it won't be restored to health when the subprime crisis ends. Our politicians are excellent at making malinvestment with other people's money.

I don't object to my tax dollars being spent on genuine good scientific research, including molecular biology, advanced solar cells, fusion, or even sending cheap robot explorers to Mars. But sending people to Mars is every bit as foolish as bailing out GM. What we will learn is that it's bloody hard to send a man to Mars and keep him alive there, which we already know.

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