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Apple

Has Apple Created the Perfect Board Game Platform? 531

Posted by kdawson
from the triple-word-score dept.
andylim writes "recombu.com is running an interesting piece about how Apple has created a 'Jumanji (board game) platform.' The 9.7-inch multi-touch screen is perfect for playing board games at home, and you could use Wi-Fi or 3G to play against other people when you're on your own. What would be really interesting is if you could pair the iPad with iPhones, 'Imagine a Scrabble iPad game that used iPhones as letter holders. You could hold up your iPhone so that no one else could see your letters and when you were ready to make a word on the Scrabble iPad board, you could slide them on to the board by flicking the word tiles off your iPhone.' Now that would be cool."
Math

Insurgent Attacks Follow Mathematical Pattern 181

Posted by Soulskill
from the news-from-terminus dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Nature reports that data collected on the timing of attacks and number of casualties from more than 54,000 events across nine insurgent wars, including those fought in Iraq between 2003 and 2008 and in Sierra Leone between 1994 and 2003, suggest that insurgencies have a common underlying pattern that may allow the timing of attacks and the number of casualties to be predicted. By plotting the distribution of the frequency and size of events, the team found that insurgent wars follow an approximate power law, in which the frequency of attacks decreases with increasing attack size to the power of 2.5. This means that for any insurgent war, an attack with 10 casualties is 316 times more likely to occur than one with 100 casualties (316 is 10 to the power of 2.5). 'We found that the way in which humans do insurgent wars — that is, the number of casualties and the timing of events — is universal,' says team leader Neil Johnson, a physicist at the University of Miami in Florida. 'This changes the way we think insurgency works.' To explain what was driving this common pattern, the researchers created a mathematical model which assumes that insurgent groups form and fragment when they sense danger, and strike in well-timed bursts to maximize their media exposure. Johnson is now working to predict how the insurgency in Afghanistan might respond to the influx of foreign troops recently announced by US President Barack Obama. 'We do observe a complicated pattern that has to do with the way humans do violence in some collective way,' adds Johnson."
Idle

Canadian Blood Services Promotes Pseudoscience 219

Posted by samzenpus
from the type-A-negative-personality dept.
trianglecat writes "The not-for-profit agency Canadian Blood Services has a section of their website based on the Japanese cultural belief of ketsueki-gata, which claims that a person's blood group determines or predicts their personality type. Disappointing for a self-proclaimed 'science-based' organization. The Ottawa Skeptics, based in the nation's capital, appear to be taking some action."
Education

Obama Kicks Off Massive Science Education Effort 801

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the need-a-new-space-race dept.
In a speech at the White House today, President Obama launched a new campaign, "Educate to Innovate," designed to get American students fired up about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The full text of the speech is also available on whitehouse.gov. "The new campaign builds on the President's Inaugural Address, which included a vow to put science 'in its rightful place.' One of those rightful places, of course, is the classroom. Yet too often our schools lack support for teachers or the other resources needed to convey the practical utility and remarkable beauty of science and engineering. As a result, students become overwhelmed in their classes and ultimately disengaged. They lose, and our nation loses too. The partnerships launched today aim to change that. They respond to a challenge made by the President in April, when he spoke at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences and asked the nation's philanthropists, professional and educational societies, corporations, and individuals to collaborate and innovate with the goal of reinvigorating America's STEM educational enterprise. The partnerships announced today — dramatic commitments in the hundreds of millions of dollars, generated through novel collaborations and creative outreach activities — are just the first wave of commitments anticipated in response to his call."
Power

Breakthrough In Use of Graphene For Ultracapacitors 250

Posted by kdawson
from the high-credit-limit dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have achieved a breakthrough in the use of a one-atom thick graphene for storing electrical charge in ultracapacitors. They believe their development shows promise that graphene could eventually double the capacity of existing ultracapacitors. 'Through such a device, electrical charge can be rapidly stored on the graphene sheets, and released from them as well for the delivery of electrical current and, thus, electrical power,' says one of the researchers. Two main methods exist to store electrical energy: in rechargeable batteries and in ultracapacitors, which are becoming increasingly commercialized but are not yet well known to the public. Some advantages of ultracapacitors over traditional energy storage devices such as batteries include: higher power capability, longer life, a wider thermal operating range, lighter, more flexible packaging and lower maintenance. Graphene has a surface area of 2,630 square meters, almost the area of a football field, per gram of material."
Security

Virtual Honeypots 50

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
rsiles writes "Honeynet solutions were seen just as a research technology a couple of years ago. It is not the case anymore. Due to the inherent constraints and limitations of the current and widely deployed intrusion detection solutions, like IDS/IPS and antivirus, it is time to extended our detection arsenal and capabilities with new tools: virtual honeypots. Do not get confused about the book title, specially about the "virtual" term. The main reason to mention virtual honeypots, although the book covers all kind of honeynet/honeypot technologies, is because during the last few years virtualization has been a key element in the deployment of honeynets. It has offered us a significant cost reduction, more flexibility, reusability and multiple benefits. The main drawback of this solution is the detection of virtual environments by some malware specimens." Read below for the rest of Raul's review.
NASA

NASA Contractor Needs Urine 291

Posted by timothy
from the space-sports dept.

Apparently, NASA sent a memo to its employees at the Johnson Space Center asking for their urine so they, NASA, could use it to test the Orion space capsule. How much urine? 30 liters per day, including weekends. Disposal of urine for up to six months would be required if Orion is to work as planned.

Alert reader nettamere adds a link to story at Discovery.com, excerpting: "Donations will be treated with a chemical that can hold solid particulates in the liquid so they don't clog up the tubing in microgravity, said Leo Makowski, company spokesman for Hamilton Sundstrand, a contractor designing the new spaceship's toilet. ... "It's difficult to come up with a faux urine, explained NASA's Jim Lewis, the systems manager overseeing development of Orion's potty. 'That's why we depend on collections.'"

Science

Computers Emulate Neanderthal Speech 220

Posted by Zonk
from the borrow-a-cup-of-evolution dept.
Clarence writes "After some 30,000 years of silence, the Neanderthal race is once again speaking thanks to some advanced computer simulation. A Florida Atlantic University professor is using software vocal tract reconstructions to emulate the speech of our long-dead distant relatives. 'He says the ancient human's speech lacked the "quantal vowel" sounds that underlie modern speech. Quantal vowels provide cues that help speakers with different size vocal tracts understand one another, says Robert McCarthy, who was talking at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Columbus, Ohio, on April 11. In the 1970s, linguist Phil Lieberman, of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, inferred the dimensions of the larynx of a Neanderthal based on its skull. His team concluded that Neanderthal speech did not have the subtlety of modern human speech.'"
Medicine

Finnish Patient Gets New Jaw from His Own Stem Cells 141

Posted by Soulskill
from the close-the-organ-banks dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news out of Finland, where a patient's upper jaw was replaced with bone cultivated from stem cells and grown inside the patient himself. We discussed other advances in stem cell research a few months ago. Quoting: "In this case they identified and pulled out cells called mesenchymal stem cells -- immature cells than can give rise to bone, muscle or blood vessels. When they had enough cells to work with, they attached them to a scaffold made out of a calcium phosphate biomaterial and then put it inside the patient's abdomen to grow for nine months. The cells turned into a variety of tissues and even produced blood vessels, the researchers said."
Power

Switchgrass Makes Better Ethanol Than Corn 560

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the seemingly-easy-choice dept.
statemachine writes to mention that the USDA and farmers took part in a 5-year study of switchgrass, a grass native to North America. The study found that switchgrass ethanol can deliver around 540 percent of the energy used to produce it, as opposed to corn ethanol which can only yield around 24 percent. "But even a native prairie grass needs a helping hand from scientists and farmers to deliver the yields necessary to help ethanol become a viable alternative to petroleum-derived gasoline, Vogel argues. 'To really maximize their yield potential, you need to provide nitrogen fertilization,' he says, as well as improved breeding techniques and genetic strains. 'Low input systems are just not going to be able to get the energy per acre needed to provide feed, fuel and fiber.'"
Space

Voyager 2 Shows Solar System Is "Dented" 173

Posted by kdawson
from the folded-spindled-mutilated dept.
Selikoff writes "NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft has found that our solar system is not round but is 'dented' by the local interstellar magnetic field, space experts said on Monday. The data were gathered by the craft on its 30-year journey when it crossed into a region called the 'termination shock.' The data showed that the southern hemisphere of the solar system's heliosphere is being pushed in. Voyager 2 is the second spacecraft to enter this region of the solar system, behind Voyager 1, which reached the northern region of the heliosheath in December 2004."
Biotech

HP Skin Patch May Replace Needles 190

Posted by kdawson
from the you-may-feel-a-slight-pinch dept.
Iddo Genuth writes "HP and Crospon have developed a skin patch employing microneedles that barely penetrate the skin. The microneedles can replace conventional injections and deliver drugs through the skin without causing any pain. The skin patch technology also enables delivery of several drugs by one patch and the control of dosage and of administration time for each drug. It has the potential to be safer and more efficient than injections."
Power

Interconnecting Wind Farms To Smooth Power Production 112

Posted by Zonk
from the sounds-like-a-plan dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "Wind power is one of the world's fastest growing electric energy sources, but as wind is intermittent, a single wind farm cannot deliver a steady amount of energy. This is why scientists at Stanford University want to connect wind farms to develop a cheaper and more reliable power source. Interconnecting wind farms with a transmission grid should reduce the power swings caused by wind variability and provide a somewhat constant and reliable electric power (or 'baseload' power) provided by other power plants."

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