Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that Department of Homeland Security is relying on a rushed, flawed study to justify its decision to locate the $700 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility for highly infectious pathogens in a tornado-prone section of Kansas. A GAO report says that it is not 'scientifically defensible' to conclude that lab can safely handle dangerous animal diseases in Kansas. Such research has been conducted up to now on a remote island on the northern tip of Long Island, NY. 'Drawing conclusions about relocating research with highly infectious exotic animal pathogens from questionable methodology could result in regrettable consequences,' the GAO warned in its draft report. Critics of moving the operation to the mainland argue that a release could lead to widespread contamination that could kill livestock, devastate a farm economy, and endanger humans. Along with the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease, NBAF researchers plan to study African swine fever, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, and other viruses in the Biosafety Level (BSL) 3 and BSL-4 livestock laboratory capable of developing countermeasures for foreign animal diseases. According to the article, DHS lobbied a Congressional committee to try and convince them that the GAO report was flawed, and to head off any hearings on the controversy. Despite this, the House Energy and Commerce Committee's oversight and investigations subcommittee plans to hold a hearing Thursday on the risk analysis."
duh P3rf3ss3r writes "The BBC is carrying a report from a team of researchers at Newcastle University who claim to have developed a the first 'artificial' human sperm from stem cells. The research, reported in the journal Stem Cells and Development, involved selecting meristematic germ cells from a human embryonic stem cell culture and inducing meiosis, thus producing a haploid gamete. The authors claim that the resulting sperm are fully formed, mature, human sperm cells but the announcement has been greeted with mixed reaction from colleagues who claim the procedure is ethically questionable and that the gametes produced are of inferior levels of maturation."
tnok85 writes "I started a new job ~7 months ago at a very large company working a 12-hour night shift (7PM-7AM) in a fairly high volume NOC. Our responsibilities extend during the night to basically cover everything but the most complex situations regarding UNIX/Windows/Linux/App administration, at which point we'll reach out to the on-calls. I live 1.5 hours away as well, so it turns into 4-5 15 hour days a week of sitting still — throw in almost an hour to get ready to leave, and a bit of time after I get home to unwind and I'm out of time to work out. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure I have a very slow metabolism, ever since I was a pre-teen I would gain weight fairly quickly if I didn't actively work out, regardless of how much or what I eat. (Barring starving myself, I suppose...) So, how does somebody who works a minimum of 60 hours over 4 days, often adding another 12 another day, and sometimes working 7-10 days straight like this, stay in shape? I can't hold a workout schedule, (which every person I've talked to in my history says is necessary to stay in shape) and I can't 'wake up early' or 'work out before bed' because I need sleep. Any thoughts/opinions/suggestions?"
Hugh Pickens writes "NASA is preparing to launch the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, which will fly a Centaur rocket booster into the moon, triggering a six-mile-high explosion that scientists hope will confirm whether water is frozen in the perpetual darkness of craters near the moon's south pole. If the spacecraft launches on schedule at 12:51 p.m. Wednesday, it will hit the moon in the early morning hours of October 8 after an 86-day Lunar Gravity-Assist, Lunar Return Orbit that will allow the spacecraft time to complete its two-month commissioning phase and conduct nearly a month of science data collection of polar crater measurements before colliding with the moon just 10 minutes behind the Centaur." (Continues, below.)
palegray.net writes "CNN is running an article on the notorious effects of caffeine withdrawal, a problem that seems to be affecting an increasing number of people. Citing numerous reasons why people might need to cut back on their caffeine intake (pregnancy, pre-surgery requirements, etc), the story notes a significant number of people who are simply unable to quit. I drink around eight cups of coffee a day, along with a soda or two, and I definitely suffer from nasty withdrawal symptoms without my fix."
suraj.sun writes to tell us that in preparation for nearly a quarter of a million people descending on Tampa for the Super Bowl, the Tampa authorities are deploying new tech for security communications and response. All of the incidents and communications will be plotted and tracked on a new implementation of Microsoft's Surface. Hopefully it wont have to reboot after every new incident report. "The Microsoft Surface device will display a Microsoft Virtual Earth map of the entire region tracking events, incidents, resources and tasks in real-time using its unique large display, multi-user, multi-touch and interactive capabilities, also allowing it to communicate with remote devices and PCs. With a quick hand-gesture, the map can zoom in and display a 3D image of the city, including detailed views of buildings and streets and real time resource tracking."
eldavojohn writes "Russell Tice, former NSA employee & whistleblower, has revealed yet more details claiming that wiretapping was combined with credit card data to target civilians. He also suggests the CEOs of major companies hold the truth: 'To get at what's really going on here, the CEOs of these telecom companies, and also of the banking and credit card companies, and any other company where you have big databases, those are the people you have to haul in to Congress and tell them you better tell the truth.' Will Congress follow his suggestions?" This adds to information revealed by Tice last week that the wiretaps targeted journalists in particular.
It excites me incredibly to know that a Cowboy Bebop movie is happening. But it makes me scared to think that Keanu is getting the lead in what might be my single favorite Anime series of all time. I'm very skeptical that he can pull off this role. For now we'll have to wait and speculate who the rest of the cast will be. I'm mostly curious who will get Faye Valentine. And we can only cross our fingers and hope that the soundtrack remains intact.
nandemoari writes "The damage isn't just limited to the United States. Shipments of PCs in Europe, the Mid-East, and Africa dipped to records posted around the turn of the century. It was even worse in Asia, which according to Gartner, posted its worst growth rate ever — just 1.8 per cent. Within the industry, desktops took the hardest hit, as was expected. Sales of non-portable computers were down about 16 per cent as consumers opted instead for the rising 'netbook' and similar hybrids. That fact alone is troubling for PC makers, given that $300-$500 netbooks offer a far lower profit margin than more expensive and more powerful laptops and desktops."
EdIII writes "The dispute between Time Warner and Viacom over fees seems to be without any resolution this year. Time Warner faces the possibility of being without content for almost 20 channels. Alexander Dudley, a spokesperson for Time Warner, is fighting back: 'We will be telling our customers exactly where they can go to see these programs online,' Mr. Dudley said. 'We'll also be telling them how they can hook up their PCs to a television set.' Why pay for digital cable when many content providers are now providing it on demand via the Internet? Not to mention the widespread availability of TV shows in both standard and high definition on public and private torrent tracker sites. It is entirely possible to watch television with no commercials or advertising with only an Internet connection. So getting your content via the Internet is not exactly free, but it certainly isn't contributing to Time Warner or any other cable providers' revenue stream. The real question is why Time Warner would fight back by so clearly showing how increasingly obsolete they are becoming and that cable providers are losing their monopolistic grip on media delivery." If no agreement is reached, those channels are supposed to be dropped just after midnight tonight.
The RIAA's new plan to enlist ISPs in its war on file sharing, once it announced it was calling a halt to new consumer lawsuits, is running into rough sledding. Wired reports on the continuing legal murkiness of the RIAA's interpretation of copyright law. And one small ISP in Louisiana asks the recording organization, "You want me to police your intellectual property? What's your billing address?"
JuliusSu writes "A Chinese auto manufacturer, BYD, is introducing today the country's first electric car, a plug-in hybrid vehicle. It plans to sell at least 10,000 cars in 2009 for a price of less than $22,000. This put the company ahead of schedule against other entrants to this market, such as Toyota, due to release a similar car in late 2009; and GM, whose Chevy Volt will be launched in late 2010. The company is best known for making cellphone batteries, and hopes its expertise in ferrous battery technology will allow it to leapfrog established car manufacturers."
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at Harvard University have developed a microfluidic device using ordinary paper and tape. Squares of paper are layered and connected with adhesive tape, channeling liquid horizontally and vertically in a very small area. Each square of paper has been treated with photoresist material, which creates channels that funnel liquid into tiny wells containing certain proteins or antibodies. The fluid interacts with that area of the paper and turns the well a certain color. It can, for example, detect varying concentrations of glucose. Lead researcher George Whitesides says such paper 'lab on a chip' tests may lead to a cost-effective, portable, and accurate method for diagnosing diseases in countries lacking reliable health care. The research appears in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science."
Barence writes "After years of boasting about the Mac's near invincibility, Apple is now advising its customers to install security software on their computers. Apple — which has continually played on Windows' vulnerability to viruses in its advertising campaigns — issued the advice in a low-key message on its support forums. 'Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple antivirus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult.' It goes on to recommend a handful of products." Reader wild_berry points out the BBC's story on the unexpected recommendation.
The National Bureau of Economic Research said Monday that the US has been in a recession since December 2007. The NBER is a private, nonprofit research organization of academic economists who determine business cycles. The stock market took a dip on the news that reached double-digit percentages for some tech stocks.