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Submission + - study: Dinosaurs "Shrank" regularly to become birds

An anonymous reader writes: A new study suggests that large dinosaurs shrunk to small birds to survive over a period of around 50 million years. Aside from a few large species, most modern birds are predominantly tiny and look nothing at all like their prehistoric meat-eating ancestors. The evolutionary process that governed this transformation has not been well understood, but now researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia have put together a detailed family tree mapping the evolution of therapod dinosaurs to the agile flying birds we see today. Their results indicated that meat-eating dinosaurs underwent several distinct periods of miniaturization over the last 50 million years which took them down from an average weight of 163kg to just 0.8kg before finally becoming modern birds.

Herschel Spectroscopy of Future Supernova 21

davecl writes "ESA's Herschel Space Telescope has released its first spectroscopic results. These include observations of VYCMa, a star 50 times as massive as the sun and soon to become a supernova, as well as a nearby galaxy, more distant colliding starburst galaxies and a comet in our own solar system. The spectra show more lines than have ever been seen in these objects in the far-infrared and will allow astronomers to work out the detailed chemistry and physics behind star and planet formation as well as the last stages of stellar evolution before VYCMa's eventual collapse into a supernova. More coverage is available at the Herschel Mission Blog, which I run."

Submission + - Proton beams sent around the LHC (bbc.co.uk)

feldhaus writes: The BBC reports that the first beams for over one year have been successfully sent around the complete circumference of the Large Hadron Collider. Engineers do not yet have a stable circulating beam but they hope to by 0600 GMT on Saturday.

Submission + - smartphones are a goldmine for thieves (smh.com.au)

st0lenm0ments writes: Sydney Morning Herald writes:

While many mobile-phone SIM cards might contain contacts and texts deleted from years ago, experts agree that it is the vastly improved data and storage capacity of the new generation of smartphones that presents the most potent risk to their owners, especially if they are lost, stolen, or disposed of carelessly.

It may not be what's recoverable from the phone that is valuable but what can be further discovered online, or by ringing around.With geospatial mapping capabilities now becoming commonplace in smartphones, photos often also contain the GPS co-ordinates of the phone as well as date and time stamp.

Although most criminals do not have ready access to the tools required to reveal this data, experts agree that times are changing. Low-end analysis devices are already available on the open market and hackers are busy creating viruses to exploit holes in the security of smartphone operating systems.

For those concerned about data security issues, getting rid of a phone or SIM at the end of its life can represent quite a dilemma. It is recommended to destroy the SIM card (taking care to cut through the chip) and remove memory cards before disposing of the phone, and handing them over only to highly reputable recyclers.


Submission + - Who's Killing The Electric Car Again? (gas2.org)

Rei writes: Aptera Motors is an manufacturer of safe, hyper-efficient, highway-speed electric three-wheelers. Funded by Idealab, Google, and a variety of other sources, they have been working towards making (take your pick): A) one of the ugliest, or B) one of the most beautiful vehicles ever to be mass produced. When they started accepting pre-orders, over 4,000 people from California alone came running with $500 deposits. However, in recent days, the company seems to be imploding, where in the middle of wave after wave of layoffs, disastrous information keeps leaking out. Among the examples: the company's CFO, Laura Marion, was cited by the SEC in 2006 for running an Enron-style accounting scam at Delphi.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus