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+ - Lawrence Krauss: Congress is trying to defund scientists at Energy Department->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Physicist Lawrence Krauss blasts Congress for their passage of the 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations bill that cut funding for renewable energy, sustainable transportation, and energy efficiency, and even worse, had amendments that targeted scientists at the Department of Energy: He writes that this action from the US Congress is worse even than the Australian government's move to cancel their carbon tax, because the action of Congress is far more insidious: 'Each (amendment) would, in its own way, specifically prohibit scientists at the Energy Department from doing precisely what Congress should mandate them to do—namely perform the best possible scientific research to illuminate, for policymakers, the likelihood and possible consequences of climate change' Although the bill isn't likely to become law, Krauss is fed up with Congress burying its head in the sand: The fact that those amendments '...could pass a house of Congress, should concern everyone interested in the appropriate support of scientific research as a basis for sound public policy.' Amen"
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+ - Why are the world's scientists continuing to take chances with smallpox?->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "MIT's Jeanne Guillemin looks at the recent blunders with smallpox and H5N1 at the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health to chronicle the fascinating history of smallpox eradication efforts and the attempts (thwarted by Western scientists) to destroy lab collections of the virus in order to make it truly extinct. 'In 1986, with no new smallpox cases reported, the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, resolved to destroy the strain collections and make the virus extinct. But there was resistance to this; American scientists in particular wanted to continue their research.' Within a few years, secret biological warfare programs were discovered in Moscow and in Iraq, and a new flurry of defensive research was funded. Nevertheless, Guillemin and others believe that changes in research methods, which no longer require the use of live viruses, mean that stocks of the live smallpox virus can and should finally be destroyed."
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+ - MIT's Ted Postol presents more evidence on Iron Dome failures-> 1

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "In a controversial article last week, MIT physicist Ted Postol again questioned whether Israel's vaunted Iron Dome rocket defense system actually works. This week, he comes back with evidence in the form of diagrams, photos of Iron Dome intercepts and contrails, and evidence on the ground to show that Iron Dome in fact is effective only about 5% of the time. Postol believes the real reason there are so few Israeli casualties is that Hamas rockets have very small warheads (only 10 to 20 pounds), and also Israel's outstanding civil defense system, which includes a vast system of shelters and an incredibly sophisticated rocket attack warning system (delivered through smart phones, among other ways)."
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+ - ChickTech Brings Hundreds of Young Women to Open Source->

Submitted by ectoman
ectoman (594315) writes "Opensource.com is running an interview with Jennifer Davidson of ChickTech, a non-profit organization whose mission is to create communities of support for women and girls pursuing (or interested in pursuing) careers in tech. "In the United States, many girls are brought up to believe that 'girls can't do math' and that science and other "geeky" topics are for boys," Davidson said. "We break down that idea." Portland, OR-based ChickTech is quickly expanding throughout the United States—to cities like Corvallis and San Francisco—thanks to the "ChickTech: High School" initiative, which gathers hundreds of young women for two-day workshops featuring open source technologies. "We fill a university engineering department with 100 high school girls—more girls than many engineering departments have ever seen," Davidson said. "The participants can look around the building and see that girls from all backgrounds are just as excited about tech as they are.""
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+ - What would Reagan do in Iraq?-> 3

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Senator Rand Paul and Governor Rick Perry have been arguing lately through various op/eds over which of them is more like Ronald Reagan when it comes to military intervention. Neither of them seem to have looked very carefully at Reagan's record on the matter. Peter Beinart explains how Reagan's approach would be a disaster in the Middle East, and he looks instead to Presidents Nixon and Roosevelt, two presidents the Republican Party isn't about to consider as role models."
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+ - Harvesting energy from humidity - Water droplets can charge Cellphones.

Submitted by rtoz
rtoz (2530056) writes "Last year, MIT researchers discovered that when water droplets spontaneously jump away from superhydrophobic surfaces during condensation, they can gain electric charge in the process. Now, the same team has demonstrated that this process can generate small amounts of electricity that might be used to power electronic devices.

This approach could lead to devices to charge cellphones or other electronics using just the humidity in the air. As a side benefit, the system could also produce clean water.

The device itself could be simple, consisting of a series of interleaved flat metal plates.

A cube measuring about 50 centimeters on a side — about the size of a typical camping cooler — could be sufficient to fully charge a cellphone in about 12 hours. While that may seem slow, people in remote areas may have few alternatives."

+ - How to prevent the next Ebola outbreak->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "The latest outbreak of Ebola in 3 countries where it had not been previously reported is the largest and deadliest since Ebola was first reported in 1976, and this outbreak appears to be a new strain of the virus. Strong evidence points to the fruit bat as the host species of the virus, and Laura Kahn examines how human activity is increasing exposure to the fruit bat, as well as how the virus then spreads from human-to-human contact. 'The Ebola virus can be contained, but doing so requires that people be convinced to change behavior that earns them money and provides them food.' More people have been diagnosed with Ebola this time around than the peak back in 1976, and the death toll has yet to be calculated. The recommendations in this article should be thoroughly examined."
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+ - Israel's Iron Dome rocket defense system is high-tech. So is the PR campaign->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "It isn't as if real analysis of Israel's "Iron Dome" isn't available, but invariably, whenever Israel has a skirmish the media is filled with glowing reports of how well the system works, and we always find out months later that the numbers were exaggerated. John Mecklin at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists looks at the coverage of Iron Dome in the recent exchanges between Israel and Hamas and finds the pattern is repeating itself. However, 'Ted Postol, an MIT-based missile defense expert and frequent Bulletin contributor, provided a dose of context to the Iron Dome coverage in a National Public Radio interview Wednesday. "We can tell, for sure, from video images and even photographs that the Iron Dome system is not working very well at all,"' Includes a good explanation of the differences between Iron Dome (a 'rocket defense system') and missile defense systems pushed by the US."
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+ - Amazon seeks US exemption to test delivery drones->

Submitted by angry tapir
angry tapir (1463043) writes "Amazon.com has asked the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration permission to test drones outdoors for use in its Prime Air package delivery service. In the run up to launching the service, which aims to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less, the online retailer is developing aerial vehicles that travel over 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour, and will carry 5pound (2.3 kilogram) payloads, which account for 86 percent of the products sold on Amazon."
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+ - Japan's Missing Plutonium: How dangerous material falls through the cracks-> 1

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Japan's missing plutonium has been found, but the larger point of this article remains: 'Most people would agree that keeping track of dangerous material is generally a good idea. So it may come as a surprise to some that the arrangements that are supposed to account for weapon-grade fissile materials—plutonium and highly enriched uranium—are sketchy at best. The most recent example involves several hundreds kilograms of plutonium that appear to have fallen through the cracks in various reporting arrangements.'"
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+ - President of UT Austin declines chancellor's request to resign-> 2

Submitted by lfp98
lfp98 (740073) writes "President Bill Powers has long been in conflict with Governor Rick Perry over the direction and goals of the University of Texas' flagship Austin campus. This week, news leaked that the Chancellor requested Powers' resignation before this Thursday's meeting of the Regents (who are all Perry appointees), under threat of being fired at that meeting if he did not resign. So far Powers has refused, while expressing an openness to leaving after the end of the current academic year [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/06/bill-powers-ut-resign_n_5562317.html]. Powers is highly regarded by UT students, faculty, alumni [http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/college-sports/texas-longhorns/20140706-alumni-letter-calls-university-of-texas-president-s-forced-resignation-a-travesty.ece] and the larger academic community, but has been criticized by Perry and other conservatives for not being sufficiently focused on providing educational services at the lowest possible cost. Powers' supporters view the forced dismissal as brazen political interference with University governance, primarily for the purpose of allowing Perry to influence the choice of a new president before he leaves office in December [http://chronicle.com/article/As-Fight-Over-U-of-Texas/147535/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en]."
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+ - Thousands of leaked KGB files are now open to the public->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Over 20 years after being smuggled out of Russia, a trove of KGB documents are being opened up to the public for the first time. The leaked documents include thousands of files and represent what the FBI is said to view as "the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source." The documents include KGB information on secret Russian weapons caches, Russian spies, and KGB information on the activities of Pope John Paul II. Known as the Mitrokhin Archive, the files are all available as of today at Churchill College's Archives Centre."
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+ - Ramadan has started; what does that mean for MERS?->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Maurizio Barbeschi leads the World Health Organization's Preparedness, Mass Gatherings and Deliberate Events Group, which provides strategic guidance on dealing with high-visibility and high-consequence events like Ramadan and the World Cup. In this interview he talks about disease outbreaks that have occurred at these types of mass gatherings, and the strategies Saudi Arabia is using this month to prevent a MERS outbreak during Ramadan."
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+ - Elizabeth Kolbert: We're already geoengineering the climate->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "A fascinating interview with Elizabeth Kolbert about her work reporting on the environment and climate change for the New Yorker, and her latest book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. The interview explores the denialist phenomenon, field research, charismatic megafauna, saving wildlife, and her expectations for the future of the planet. One of the most interesting discussions here is about how truly right-wing the US has become when compared to the conservative politics in other countries: 'What we consider to be left-wing politics, the Europeans consider to be centrist politics. I mean, look at our tax policies, look at everything, and look at the kind of know-nothing right we have. Don’t get me wrong; the know-nothing right exists in Europe, I don’t want to claim it doesn’t. But it’s not very powerful, compared to here'"
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