We may not have the best healthcare, education, economy, spaceflight resources, elderly care, poverty rates, or political climate, but you better believe we have all of the time, energy, and funding in the world when it comes to bombs. Maybe it's because it's one of the few things at which we're still number one. U S A! U S A! U S A!
Obviously they meant that it reveals how easy it would be to hit the submarine with a tidal wave after it experiences a ~9.0 earthquake, thus disconnecting its power from the energy grid it relies on to cool its core.
Seeing both sides of an issue is a easier to do when there are two sides to an issue. We are as confident in the presence of evolution as we are in the presence of gravity, but we don't have our science teachers expressing weaknesses with that particular phenomenon despite the fact that birds are regularly seen flying. I'm confident that one could come up with any number of theories as to why we are pulled towards the ground (the Earth sucks, Jesus has his hand on all of our shoulders, et cetera) but there is one scientifically valid explanation for gravity, and that is the explanation we give in science class. Likewise, I'm sure there are other explanations for the variety of life on the planet other than evolution: scientifically invalid ones. By all means, teach them that Christianity disagrees with scientific thought... in a social studies or religion class, where it's appropriate.
theodp writes "In the official record of the historic House debate on overhauling health care, the speeches of many lawmakers echo with remarkable similarities. Often, that was no accident. Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech. E-mail obtained by the NY Times shows that lobbyists drafted one statement for Democrats and another for Republicans. Genentech, a subsidiary of Swiss drug giant Roche, estimates that 42 House members picked up some of its talking points — 22 Republicans and 20 Democrats, an unusual bipartisan coup for lobbyists. ... The statements were not intended to change the bill, which was not open for much amendment during the debate. They were meant to show bipartisan support for certain provisions, even though the vote on passage generally followed party lines. ... Asked about the Congressional statements, a lobbyist close to Genentech said: 'This happens all the time. There was nothing nefarious about it.'"
The Installer writes with this excerpt from an Associated Press report: "A couple of genetic testing companies are promising to match couples based on DNA testing, touting the benefits of biological compatibility. The companies claim that a better biological match will mean better sex, less cheating, longer-lasting love and perhaps even healthier children. 'How many dating services can you think of where they can suggest you might have better children?' said Eric Holzle, founder of ScientificMatch.com, one of the first online dating sites to use DNA. ... The idea is that people tend to be attracted to those who have immune system genes that are dissimilar from their own. Biologists say the HLA genes of the immune system — which are responsible for recognizing and marking foreign cells such as viruses so other parts of the immune system can attack them — also determine body odor 'fingerprints.' And people tend to be attracted to the natural body odors of those who have different HLA genes from their own."
An anonymous reader writes "Robert X. Cringely once again educates and amuses with his take on how we could clean up the garbage that's in orbit around Earth. I cannot vouch for his math, but it makes sense to me. Quoting: 'We’d start in a high orbit, above the space junk, because we could trade that altitude for speed as needed, simply by flying lower, trading potential energy for kinetic. Dragging the net behind a little unmanned spacecraft, my idea would be to go past each piece of junk in such a way that it not only lodges permanently in the net, but that doing so adds kinetic energy (hitting at shallow angles to essentially tack like a sailboat off the debris). But wait, there’s more! You not only have to try to get energy from each encounter, it helps if — like in a game of billiards or pool — each encounter results in an effective ricochet sending the net in the proper trajectory for its next encounter. Rinse and repeat 18,000 times.'"
theodp writes "Edward Moses and his team of 500 scientists and engineers at Lawrence Livermore's National Ignition Facility are betting $3.5B in taxpayer money on a tiny pellet they hope could produce an endless supply of safe, clean energy. By the fall of 2010, the team aims to start blasting capsules containing deuterium-tritium fuel with 1.4 megajoules of laser power, a first step towards the holy grail of controlled nuclear fusion. Not all are convinced that Moses will lead us to the promised land. 'They're snake-oil salesmen,' says Thomas Cochran, a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Moses, for his part, seems unfazed by the skepticism, saying he's confident that his team will succeed."
pickens writes "Denmark has unveiled official research showing that two-year-old children are at risk from a bewildering array of gender-bending chemicals in such everyday items as waterproof clothes, rubber boots, bed linen, food, sunscreen lotion, and moisturizing cream. A picture is emerging of ubiquitous chemical contamination driving down sperm counts and feminizing male children all over the developed world. Research at Rotterdam's Erasmus University found that boys whose mothers were exposed to PCBs and dioxins were more likely to play with dolls and tea sets and dress up in female clothes. 'The amounts that two-year-olds absorb from the [preservatives] parabens propylparaben and butylparaben can constitute a risk for oestrogen-like disruptions of the endocrine system,' says the report. The contamination may also offer a clue to a mysterious shift in the sex of babies. Normally 106 boys are born for every 100 girls: it is thought to be nature's way of making up for the fact that men were more likely to be killed hunting or in conflict. But the proportion of females is rising. 'Both the public and wildlife are inadequately protected from harm, as regulation is based on looking at exposure to each substance in isolation, and yet it is now proven beyond doubt that hormone disrupting chemicals can act together to cause effects even when each by itself would not,' says Gwynne Lyons, director of Chem Trust."
Raver32 sends news that the lost second pilot for Star Trek has been found, and will be released next month on Blu-ray. "Star Trek fans know there were two pilots for the original series. The first, 'The Cage,' was rejected by NBC for being 'too cerebral' (ah, some things never change). The second, 'Where No Man Has Gone Before,' replaced the actor who played the captain with William Shatner and was more action driven. That pilot had an alternate version which was largely lost and has never aired. Apparently, a film collector in Germany acquired the print and 'recently brought it to the attention' of CBS/Paramount. CBS is now releasing this version on Blu-ray Dec. 15."
Anonymusing writes "The FDA has announced an investigation into the safety and legality of alcoholic beverages containing caffeine. As a Wall Street Journal blog reports, two major beer companies, MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch, stopped producing caffeinated alcoholic drinks last year after reports surfaced of increased negative effects compared to caffeine-free alcohol. CNN notes that, according to FDA rules, 'food additives require premarket approval based on data demonstrating safety submitted to the agency' — and caffeine is a food additive. The 26 targeted beverage makers have 30 days to respond."
tugfoigel writes "Astrophysicists at the University of Warwick and Kiel University have discovered two bodies the size of earth with oxygen-rich atmospheres — however, there is a disappointing snag for anyone looking for a potential home for alien life, or even a future home for ourselves. These are not planets, but are actually two unusual white dwarf stars." The objects, 220 and 400 light-years distant, are believed to be remnants of stars between 7 and 10 solar masses. Such stars, the largest that evolve to white dwarves, have been sought for years. If the stars were a little more massive they would collapse to neutron stars, or so the theory goes. Here is the paper on the arXiv.
AHuxley notes a series of YouTube videos that have gone viral in Russia, in which senior police officer Alexei Dymovsky — in full uniform — details police corruption and calls on Vladimir Putin to act. "[Dymovsky says:] 'Maybe you don't know about us, about simple cops, who live and work and love their work. I'm ready to tell you everything. I'm not scared of my own death. I will show you the life of cops in Russia, how it is lived, with all the corruption and all the rest – with ignorance, rudeness, recklessness, with honest officers killed because they have stupid bosses.' His series of three 2-to-7-minute long videos released over the past week have together garnered 1 million hits on YouTube, and have spread across Russia. Dymovsky was promptly fired after the clips spread across the Internet, and a local prosecutor has opened an investigation into libel. An interior ministry source accused him of working for foreign agents and hinted that the format of Dymovsky's complaint was a problem, using a medium that remains largely free of government control." It's best to visit the Global Post link with NoScript and Flashblock enabled. Here's a Google cache link in case it's needed.
An anonymous reader sends in this moderately disturbing quote from Gizmodo: "I'm touching a wet slab of protein, what feels like a paper-thin slice of bologna. It's supple, slimy, but unlike meat, if you were to slice it down the center today, tomorrow the wound would heal. It's factory-grown living tissue. The company behind the living, petri-dish-grown substance known as Apligraf hates my new name for it: meat band-aid. 'It's living,' Dr. Damien Bates, Chief Medical Officer at Organogenesis, corrects me. 'Meat isn't living.' But no one argues with me that this substance is really just a band-aid. A living, $1500 band-aid, I should say. Apligraf is a matrix of cow collagen, human fibroblasts and keratinocyte stem cells (from discarded circumcisions), that, when applied to chronic wounds (particularly nasty problems like diabetic sores), can seed healing and regeneration. But Organogenesis is not interested in creating boutique organs for proof of concept scientific advancement. They're a business in the business of mass tissue manufacturing — and the first of its kind."
itwbennett writes "A flurry of announcements from YouTube, Boxee, Dell and Clicker on Thursday brought good news for anyone considering canceling their cable service in favor of internet TV. First, YouTube announced that within the next few days it will start offering full 1080P HD streams; better than your cable company can offer. Next, Boxee announced a 'Boxee Box' that promises to make it easier to get the content off your computer and onto your TV. Or you could hook up Dell's Inspiron Zino HD instead. 'This is an 8" x 8" PC running Windows 7 (with an option for Ubuntu) that you certainly could use as a desktop machine, but the form factor just screams 'Hook me up to your TV!' via its HDMI port,' says Peter Smith. And, last but not least in this roundup of announcements is the launch of Clicker, a programming guide for internet TV that aims to help you find what you want, when you want it."