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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 3 declined, 5 accepted (8 total, 62.50% accepted)

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Submission + - Arab Mars Probe launches in 2020 (forbes.com)

SpankiMonki writes: In July of 2015, the UAE plans on launching a probe to Mars in a bid to enter the planetary science community and the global space technology industry.

The 1500 kilogram Hope (or “al-Amal” in Arabic) probe will study the Martian atmosphere for as much as four years "in hopes of finding answers to ongoing conundrums involving Mars’ long term water loss via atmospheric photo-dissociation."

An article in Forbes quotes Bruce Jakosky, NASA MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) mission Principal Investigator and a Hope mission Co-Investigator.:

“The UAE Space Agency has been very consistent in that they don’t want to do a technology demonstration mission. They want to contribute substantively to the world’s exploration and understanding of Mars.”

Submission + - Children can swipe a screen but can't use toy building blocks (theguardian.com)

SpankiMonki writes: Children are arriving at nursery school able to "swipe a screen" but lack the manipulative skills to play with building blocks, teachers have warned.

They fear that children are being given tablets to use "as a replacement for contact time with the parent" and say such habits are hindering progress at school.

Addressing the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference in Manchester on Tuesday, Colin Kinney said excessive use of technology damages concentration and causes behavioural problems such as irritability and a lack of control.

Kinney, a teacher from Northern Ireland, also noted "I've spoken to a number of nursery teachers who have concerns over the increasing numbers of young pupils who can swipe a screen but have little or no manipulative skills to play with building blocks – or pupils who can't socialise with other pupils, but whose parents talk proudly of their ability to use a tablet or smartphone."

According to research by U.K. telecoms regulator Ofcom, tablet usage among children is on the rise, with growing numbers of younger kids turning to tablets to watch videos, play games and access the Internet. Use of tablets has tripled among 5-15s since 2012, rising from 14% to 42% over that period, while 28% of infants aged 3-4 now use a tablet computer at home.

Submission + - U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Fall 10% Since 2005, but HFC's still a problem (reuters.com)

SpankiMonki writes: U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell nearly 10 percent from 2005 to 2012, more than halfway toward the U.S.'s 2020 target pledged at United Nations climate talks, according to the latest national emissions inventory.

Meanwhile, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) saw a dramatic rise of over 309 percent during the reporting period. Although the US and China recently agreed to reduce HFC production, the two countries accounted for the bulk of the increase in HFC emissions over the reporting period.

HFC use and emissions are rapidly increasing as a result of the phaseout of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and growing global demand for air conditioning. Although safe for the ozone layer, the continued emissions of HFCs – primarily as alternatives to ODS and also from the continued production of HCFC-22 – will have an immediate and significant effect on the Earth’s climate system. Without further controls, it is predicted that HFC emissions could negate the entire climate benefits achieved under the Montreal Protocol.

Submission + - Singapore to regulate virtual currency exchanges (bbc.com)

SpankiMonki writes: Following on the heels of the Mt Gox, bankruptcy, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) plans to impose new regulations on currency exchanges dealing in bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Virtual currency exchanges would need to verify their customers' identities and report any suspicious transactions under the new rules.

The MAS said its regulation of virtual currency intermediaries — which include virtual currency exchanges and vending machines — was tailored specifically to the money-laundering and terrorism financing risks they posed. However, the new regulations would do nothing to ensure the solvency of virtual currency intermediaries or the safety of their client's funds.

Submission + - Physicist proposes a new type of computing at SXSW (gigaom.com) 2

SpankiMonki writes: Joshua Turner, a physicist at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, has proposed using the orbits of electrons around the nucleus of an atom as a new means to generate the binary states used in computing. Turner calls his idea orbital computing.

Turner points to recent discoveries (including a new material that allows rapid switching of it's electron states and new low-power terahertz laser technology) that could lead to the development of a computer with vastly improved performance over current technologies.

Submission + - CUPID: The 80,000 Volt Taser Drone (gizmodo.com)

SpankiMonki writes: Austin-based design studio Chaotic Moon has created a drone armed with a Phazzer Dragon "Conductive Energy Weapon" as a tech demo. Chaotic Moon's CUPID (Chaotic Unmanned Personal Intercept Drone) is based on a Tarot Hexacopter which typically carry digital SLRs for aerial video and photo shoots. CUPID could be quickly brought to production if security or law enforcement agencies express an interest in the system.

Chaotic Moon intern Jackson Sheehan was used as the system's first human target; Sheehan was clearly subdued by the drone, falling onto safety mats against his will.

Submission + - Patented new implant stimulates orgasms in women (newscientist.com)

SpankiMonki writes: A US patent has been granted for a new machine that stimulates orgasms for women at the push of a button. The device, which is a little smaller than a packet of cigarettes, is designed as a medical implant that uses electrodes to trigger an orgasm. The device could help some women who suffer from orgasmic dysfunction.

Submission + - A New Thermodynamics Theory of the Origins of Life

SpankiMonki writes: Natalie Wolchover at Quanta Magazine has written an article about how Jeremy England, a MIT professor, may have found a theory of the origin of life grounded in physics. In a paper published last August by The Journal of Chemical Physics, England describes his theory, the "Statistical physics of self-replication".

Wolchover writes:"England['s]...formula...indicates that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy. This could mean that under certain conditions, matter inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life."

England says his ideas pose no threat to Darwinian evolution: "On the contrary, I am just saying that from the perspective of the physics, you might call Darwinian evolution a special case of a more general phenomenon.”

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!