StartsWithABang writes "From physics to biology, from health and medicine to environmental and climate science, you'll frequently hear claims that the science is settled. Meanwhile, those who disagree with the conclusions will clamor that science can never be 'settled,' and then the name-calling from 'alarmist' to 'denier' ensues. But can science legitimately ever be considered settled, and if so, what does that mean? We consider gravitation, evolution, the Big Bang, germ theory, and global warming in an effort to find out."
Artificial meat isn't meat for vegetarians, you aren't the target market. It's meant for omnivores. And experience has shown that some will pay extra for perceived ethical improvements, e.g. cage-free eggs vs. battery eggs. People would also be willing to pay some amount more for artificial meat.
sciencehabit writes "In 2010, workers widening a remote stretch of highway near the northwestern coast of Chile uncovered a trove of fossils, including the skeletons of at least 30 large baleen whales. The fossils—which may be up to 9 million years old—are the first definitive examples of ancient mass strandings of whales, according to a new study. The work also fingers a possible culprit."
barlevg writes "Each fall, a team led by Virginia Tech Professor of Entomology Thomas Kuhar gathers brown marmorated stink bugs from around campus and plops them into ventilated and insulated five-gallon buckets designed to simulate the habitats in which the bugs naturally wait out the winter. While previous lab tests have shown the insects capable of surviving chills of -20 C, last month's polar vortex proved too much for the little guys, with only 5% surviving the sustained cold conditions. This suggests that the DC area's population of stink bugs and other overwintering insects should be much lower come spring than in previous years."
theodp writes "As Google Fiber forges ahead into new metro areas, Michael Brick reports on worries the fiber project will create a permanent underclass. Building the next generation of information economy infrastructure around current demand, experts say, will deny poor people the physical wiring needed to gain access while the privileged digerati advance at hyperspeed. 'The fiber service deployment means multiplicity of the digital divide, multidimensionality of the digital divide,' says Eun-A Park of the Univ. of New Haven. 'You can see it in Google's trial in Kansas City.' Speed matters, explains Google, 'because a world with universal access and 100 times faster internet could mean 100 times the learning.' Without universal access, as is the case in KC due to pricing that's out of the reach of many of the city's poor, one presumes the outcome could be 100x the learning divide. Another case of the unintended consequences of good intentions?"
"The idea is that switching away from cable TV will simple make consumers more beholden to their internet connections, and removing (i.e. acquiring) the competition will let Comcast raise rates without losing customers."
Cable companies don't compete with each other, they have their own territories. There's nothing stopping them from raising rates without hypothetically losing customers now.
An anonymous reader writes "This NY Times articles makes the case that Comcast's planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable is part of a strategy to fight back against the millions of people ditching cable subscriptions. 'The acquisition rests on the assumption that as people cut back on their monthly TV plans, the cable lines coming into their homes won't lose their value.' The idea is that switching away from cable TV will simply make consumers more beholden to their internet connections, and removing (i.e. acquiring) the competition will let Comcast raise rates without losing customers. The article concludes, 'The steady price increases in broadband rates cast a pall over any cord cutter's dreams. It's possible that you might still save money now by cutting off your cable. But if you plan to watch a lot of TV over the Internet, don't expect to save money forever.'"
Mark.JUK writes "The United Kingdom's 11-years long Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research Programme (MTHR) has today published a comprehensive report that summarizes 31 research projects, which investigated the potential for biological or adverse health effects of mobile phone and wireless signals on humans (e.g. as a cause for various cancers or other disorders). The good news is that the study, which has resulted in nearly 60 papers appearing in peer-reviewed scientific journals, found 'no evidence' of a danger from mobile transmissions in the typically low frequency radio spectrum bands (e.g. 900MHz and 1800MHz etc.)."
Nerval's Lobster writes "U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made government whistleblower Edward Snowden a very peculiar offer last week: plead guilty, and the U.S. government would consider how to handle his criminal case. That seems an inverted way of doing things—in the United States, the discussions (if not the trial) usually come before the guilty plea—but Holder's statement hints yet again at the conundrum facing the government when it comes to Snowden, a former subcontractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) who leaked secrets about that group's intelligence operations to a number of newspapers, most notably The Guardian. It's unlikely that the U.S. government would ever consider giving full clemency to Snowden, but now it seems that various officials are willing to offer something other than locking him in a deep, dark cell and throwing away the key. If Snowden ever risked coming back to the United States (or if he was forced to return, thanks to the Russians kicking him out and no other country willing to give him asylum), and you were Holder and Obama, what sort of deal would you try to strike with everybody's favorite secrets-leaker?"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "ABC News reports that General Mills has ended the use of genetically modified ingredients in Cheerios, its flagship breakfast food. General Mills has been manufacturing its original-flavor Cheerios without GMOs for the past several weeks in response to consumer demand. Original Cheerios will now be labeled as 'Not Made With Genetically Modified Ingredients,' although that it is not an official certification. 'We were able to do this with original Cheerios because the main ingredients are oats,' says Mike Siemienas, noting that there are no genetically modified oats. The company is primarily switching the cornstarch and sugar to make the original Cheerios free of GMOs. Green America has been targeting Cheerios for the past year to raise the profile of the anti-GMO movement. 'This is a big deal,' says Green America's Todd Larsen. 'Cheerios is an iconic brand and one of the leading breakfast cereals in the U.S. We don't know of any other example of such a major brand of packaged food, eaten by so many Americans, going from being GMO to non-GMO.' For its part, General Mills says, It's not about safety,' and will continue to use GMOs in other food products."
theodp writes "First approved for contraceptive use in the U.S. in 1960, 'The Pill' is currently used by more than 100 million women worldwide and by almost 12 million women in the U.S. But just hours before the Affordable Care Act was to go into effect, Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a stay temporarily blocking a mandate requiring health insurance coverage of birth control, and gave the Obama administration until Friday to respond to the Supreme Court on the matter. Sotomayor's order applies to a group of nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and other Roman Catholic nonprofit groups that use the same health plan, known as the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust (PDF). The group is one of many challenging the federal requirement for contraceptive coverage, but a decision on the merits of that case by the full Supreme Court could have broader implications. One imagines Melinda Gates is none too pleased. So, will U.S. health care require a Department of Personal Belief Exemptions that are dictated by employers (PDF, 'The Trustees of CBEBT and the management of Christian Brothers Services are dedicated to protecting the employers participating in the CBEBT from having to face the choice of violating their faith or violating the law')?"
The shipload of researchers and tourists stuck in the Antarctic ice are still stuck. A Chinese icebreaker, the Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, has gotten tantalizingly close but was hampered by "unusually thick ice." Now, an Australian vessel, the Aurora Australis, will attempt to rescue the 74 people aboard the MV Akademik Shokalskiy.
recoiledsnake sends this news from Bloomberg: "Italy's Parliament today passed a new measure on web advertising, the so-called 'Google tax,' which will require Italian companies to purchase their Internet ads from locally registered companies, instead of from units based in havens such as Ireland, Luxembourg and Bermuda. Google, for example, says that it sells nearly all its advertising in Europe from an Irish unit, leaving little taxable profits in the countries where its customers are based. That unit in turn pays royalties to a second Irish subsidiary, which says its headquarters are in Bermuda. Google last year moved nearly $12 billion to the Bermuda unit, the majority of its worldwide income, cutting more than $2 billion off its global income tax bill. Google's Italian unit last year reported total income taxes of just 1.8 million euros, corporate filings show."
An article from Reuters explains how mergers involving T-Mobile and Time Warner Cable are likely to face a high level of scrutiny from the Obama Administration. Officials are wary of allowing any more power to consolidate among the huge corporations dominating the industry. A merger with one of the smaller companies would have a much easier time gaining approval. "Regulators could, on the other hand, welcome transactions that bolster new entrants, such as one combining satellite TV service provider Dish Network Corp with T-Mobile, experts say. 'Dish/T-Mobile, from a regulatory standpoint, it would be a slam-dunk,' said Stifel analyst David Kaut. ... The FCC, in an annual report released in March, said competition in the wireless industry is 'highly concentrated.' Similarly, the Justice Department's assistant attorney general for antitrust, William Baer, has described the industry as 'not uniformly competitive.' 'The Department believes it is essential to maintain vigilance against any lessening of the intensity of competitive market forces,' Baer told the FCC in a filing in April related to an upcoming auction of low-frequency airwaves. The government's rejection of AT&T's $39 billion plan to buy T-Mobile from Deutsche Telekom in 2011 remains the biggest shadow looming over big communications deals."
toshikodo writes "The BBC is reporting that Internet content filters being rolled out by major ISPs in the UK are failing to allow access to acceptable content, such as sex education and sexual abuse advise sites, while also still allowing access to porn. According to the article, 'TalkTalk's filter is endorsed by Mr Cameron but it failed to block 7% of the 68 pornographic websites tested by Newsnight.' The ISPs claim that it is impossible for their filters to be 100% accurate, and that they are working with their users to improve quality. I wonder how long it will be before one of these filters blocks access to the Conservative Party's website, and what will Cameron do then?"