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Submission Summary: 1 pending, 208 declined, 46 accepted (255 total, 18.04% accepted)

+ - US Navy sonar causing whale deaths->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "US Navy's sonar is so loud that it is causing whales' brain to hemorrhage and blood vessels bursting, and when that happened, whales go up to the shallow waters and sometimes ended up beaching themselves.That happened in the Bahamas, back in March, 2000

On the morning of March 15, 2000, 17 beaked whales stranded themselves on beaches in the northern Bahamas. It was an terrible and extraordinary event: Beaked whales are the world’s deepest-diving mammals, and these creatures had spent most of their lives in deep undersea canyons. For even one to show up in shallow water would be extremely unusual, for 17 to strand was almost inconceivable

It just so happened that just a few feet away from one of the beaches lived Ken Balcomb, a beaked whale researcher who more than anyone in the world was equipped to find out what happened. Long before Mr. Balcomb started studying whales he had served two tours of duty in the Navy, where he’d done classified work with submarine-detecting sonar. He knew just how loud it could be, and in days following the stranding he photographed Navy destroyers in Bahamian waters

Mr. Balcomb had several of the dead whales’ heads sent for autopsies—and when they returned evidence of hemorrhages, he knew what happened. The whales had fled to shallow water to escape noise so concussively loud it burst blood vessels in their brains.

“I believe the Navy did it,” Balcomb soon announced at a press conference. With that began an epic legal and scientific battle to make the Navy admit what happened, and then to do something about it. Against all odds, it’s a battle in which Balcomb and environmentalists have been largely successful, winning commitments from the Navy to research sonar’s effects on whales and to consider them when planning training exercises"

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+ - Alternative Theories on deadly Washington state landslide->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "/. has carried a piece on the deadly Washington State landslide — — but now alternative theories on the same landslide have surfaces

The new account from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) differs from the explanation offered by the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association, which on Tuesday unveiled the first published analysis of the 22 March slide. The accident killed 43 in the little town of Oso at the edge of Washington’s Cascade Mountains

The difference revolves around a critical question:

What caused a hillside with a history of relatively minor landslides to suddenly turn into a tsunami of mud and debris that sped about a kilometer across a valley?

The findings could influence what signs scientists look for when trying to detect other potentially explosive slides"
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+ - Linux based OS for Smart Router and Smart Home Appliances->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "A maker of wifi router from China, HiWiFi, has opened up its Smart-Router OS, HiWiFi-OS, based on Linux, to developers and makers of smart devices, including routers, home appliances and other devices that fall into the internet of things category, to enable the developers and maker to build applications for the platform and adopting a WiFi solution for the smart devices which might resulted in a further evolution of a new internet of things ecology

The operating system supports routers using MediaTek-based chips"

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+ - Preparing for Satellite War->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "In May 2013 the Chinese government conducted what it called a science space mission from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China. The liftoff took place at night and employed a powerful rocket as well as a truck-based launch vehicle

The Pentagon never commented in detail on last year’s launch — and the Chinese have stuck to their story

The U.S. is most vulnerable to a Chinese attack because 43 percent of all satellites in orbit belong to the U.S. military or U.S. companies. According to Lance Gatling, president of Nexial Research, an aerospace consultant in Tokyo, Besides testing missiles that can intercept and destroy satellites, the Chinese have developed jamming techniques to disrupt satellite communications. Furthermore, the Chinese have studied ground-based lasers that could take down a satellite’s solar panels, and satellites equipped with grappling arms that could co-orbit and then disable expensive U.S. hardware

U.S. is exploring ways to mitigate the perceived threat from China, including dispatching a fleet of smaller, mobile satellites that would be harder for adversaries to find and destroy. Enabling satellite transmitters to quickly hop between frequencies could address the Chinese jamming threat, Gatling says.

In June the U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin (LMT) a $914 million contract to build a ground-based radar system that will track objects as small as a baseball, which could help identify a satellite attack as it’s happening. “Destroying someone’s satellite is an act of war,” says Dave Baiocchi, an engineering professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. “You need to know what’s going on up there.”"

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+ - Europe explore possible tie-up with Chinese planned space-station->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "FARNBOROUGH, England — Senior Chinese and European space officials have been discussing potentially wide-ranging cooperation on manned exploration programs. Jean-Jacques Dordain, director-general of the European Space Agency, said in an interview that the two sides have talked about the issue of extensive in-orbit cooperation in some detail

The European Space Agency and the 20 nations it represents, Mr. Dordain said, have offered to share specifics with China about experiments conducted on the current orbiting laboratory. Such information, he suggested, could include data about health effects astronauts face during long stays on the station. "We are willing to cooperate with them," Mr. Dordain said. In return, he said, Chinese counterparts have opened the door to potential European participation in a proposed Chinese space station, parts of which could launch after 2020. "We want to get access to their space station," Mr. Dordain said

Mr. Dordain didn't discuss the future of the existing station. But his latest comments indicate that European space leaders see closer ties to China as at least a potential option to extending the life of the existing station past its 2020 deadline. Mr. Dordain said Europe remains committed to working with other countries on space endeavors, "but the problem is, international cooperation with whom?" From a European perspective, he said, "we have to be robust" and keep options open with Beijing. "We can give them access to some of the experiments we are doing on the ISS."

The agency's evolving view of China partly reflects past disappointments joining with the U.S. on high-profile robotic exploration. In 2011, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration abruptly pulled out of an unmanned project, called ExoMars, ultimately intended to return samples from the surface of Mars. NASA's decision, prompted by budget reductions, angered European space officials, prompting them to reach out to Russia for immediate assistance and reassess their longer-term strategic options. "I was lucky to find Russia to help us and continue ExoMars," Mr. Dordain said"

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+ - First Arabian Mars Mission to Commence 2021->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has previously conquered the sky by constructing the world’s tallest building and now the oil-rich country has set its sights on the stars, promising to send the first unmanned Arab spaceship to Mars by 2021

The monarch of Dubai — one of the seven emirates which comprise the UAE – has said the mission will prove that the Arab world is still capable of contributing to humanity’s scientific progress, despite conflicts in the region

The announcement means that the UAE is now one of nine countries worldwide working on missions to Mars. So far America has been the only country to land a successful, long term mission on the surface of the planet

So far, the UAE has not outlined any specific scientific goals for its Mars probe or given a budget for the mission. It will join several other Muslim-majority nations in creating a space program, with Iran currently aiming to send an astronaut into space after several successful trips with a monkey

Thus far, it is still unclear if they are to send up a real spaceship to Mars or simply a flying carpet, with a Genie on top"

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+ - IBM to invest $3 Billion for Semiconductor Research->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "A few decades ago the news of IBM investing billions in research did not even raise an eyelid, because that was what IBM did, and what IBM was good at

However, IBM has changed so much that nowadays when IBM wanting to invest $ 3 Billion in semiconductor research it hits the news headlines everywhere, from Bloomberg ( ) to WSJ ( ) to CNET ( )

Is what happening to IBM a reflection of what is happening to the American technological front ?"

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+ - Rebounding Whale Population may be good for Ocean Ecosystems->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "There has been an intense debate on whether the rebounding of whale population benefits or detrimental to ecosystems of the ocean

A new study has concluded that the rebounding populations of baleen and sperm whales may be boosting marine food webs around the world

First, the new study notes that krill populations — a ubiquitous crustacean in the Southern Ocean — had remained constant or even declined after great whales experienced big declines

The authors of the study reason that the whales might have helped providing nutrients critical to krill and other species low on the food web. For instance, the mammals release massive "fecal plumes" and urine streams that fertilize surface waters with nitrogen and iron, the authors note, and help enhance productivity by mixing up the top layers of the ocean when diving

Another underappreciated contribution to marine ecosystems, the authors report online today in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, is the bounty of organic material the animals provide to deep-sea ecosystems when they die. A so-called whale fall of a 40-ton gray whale provides a boost of carbon to the seafloor community equivalent to more than 2000 years of normal detritus and nutrient cycling"

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+ - It's all in the ***NAME***->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "The name "ISIS" was originally used by a mobile payment company backed by AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and others, which takes advantage of near-field communication chips in smartphones that allows people to consumate transactions by tapping mobile devices on sensor-enabled pads at shops

However, the same name " ISIS " which has recently gained worldwide notoriety came from an Islamic Terrorist Group which has published a lot of head cutting videos online

The CEO of the mobile payment company, Mr. Michael Abbott, has decided that his company should distance itself from the barbarians and will drop its "ISIS" brand very soon

On an open memo Mr. Abbott has written ( ) Mr. Abbott acknowledged that changing brand is never an easy exercise, but in the case of his company, it unfortunately has become a _must_"

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+ - The AI is taking over->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "No, this is not a scifi flick, but real life

The subway system in Hong Kong has one of the best uptime, 99.9%, which beats London's tube or NYC's sub hands down

In an average week as many as 10,000 people would be carrying out 2,600 engineering works across the system — from grinding down rough rails to replacing tracks to checking for damages

While human workers might be the one carrying out the work, the one deciding which task is to be worked on, however, isn't a human being at all.

Each and every engineering task to be worked on and the scheduling of all those tasks is being handled by an algorithm, aka, Artificial Intelligence

Andy Chan of Hong Kong's City University, who designed the AI system, says, "Before AI, they would have a planning session with experts from five or six different areas. It was pretty chaotic. Now they just reveal the plan on a huge screen."

Chan's AI program works with a simulated model of the entire system to find the best schedule for necessary engineering works. From its omniscient view it can see chances to combine work and share resources that no human could

However, in order to provide an added layer of security, the schedule generated by the AI is still subject to human approval — Urgent, unexpected repairs can be added manually, and the system would reschedules less important tasks

It also checks the maintenance it plans for compliance with local regulations. Chan's team encoded into machine readable language 200 rules that the engineers must follow when working at night, such as keeping noise below a certain level in residential areas

The main difference between normal software and Hong Kong's AI is that it contains human knowledge that takes years to acquire through experience, says Chan. "We asked the experts what they consider when making a decision, then formulated that into rules – we basically extracted expertise from different areas about engineering works," he says"

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+ - IRS Commissioner got grilled in Congress->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "

" You are the Internal Revenue Service. You can reach into the lives of hard-working taxpayers, and with a phone call, an email, or a letter, you can turn their lives upside-down. You ask taxpayers to hang on to seven years of their personal tax information in case they are ever audited, and you can't keep six months' worth of employee emails? "

Those were the words of Republican Congress Representative Paul Ryan to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen

As the Republican Congress Representatives were trying to get the truth out from Mr. Koskinen, the Democrats were lining up busily defending him

With the Democrats' backing, Mr. Koskinen of IRS got much embolden and accused the Republicans of releasing inaccurate, interim information"

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+ - Americans More Distracted Behind The Wheel Than Europeans->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "Either the Europeans have lied, or the Americans were bragging

U.S. drivers are much more likely than Europeans to drive while distracted, federal health officials report Thursday

Nearly 69 percent of Americans who drive say that they talked on their cell phones while driving at least once in the previous month, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

That's a lot higher than what was reported by Europeans in another survey. Only 21 percent of British drivers reported chatting on their cell phones while behind the wheel, for example. In Germany and France it was about 40 percent

The same goes for reading or sending texts or emails. About a third of U.S. drivers said they did that. And that's about double what it was in Spain and Great Britain

Health officials say that's a big problem because driving while distracted causes fatal car accidents. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 3,331 Americans were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011, compared to 3,267 in 2010

"The cell phone can be a fatal distraction for those who use it while they drive," CDC Director Thomas Frieden said in a statement. "Driving and dialing or texting don't mix. If you are driving, pull over to safe place and stop before you use your phone"


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+ - Meningitis in Princeton->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "There had already been seven (7) Meningitis cases in the Princeton University since March, and what makes these cases special is that local (meaning, USA) vaccine is useless against it

That prompted the CDC (Center of Disease Control and Prevention) to issue an EMERGENCY IMPORT of Meningitis vaccine from Europe

"Government health officials," reports NBC News, "said Friday they have agreed to import Bexsero, a vaccine licensed only in Europe and Australia that protects against Meningitis B, a strain not covered by the shots recommended for college students in the U.S."

Here are some info from the CDC's Webpage about Meningitis —

— "Bacterial meningitis is usually severe. While most people with meningitis recover, it can cause serious complications, such as brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disabilities"

— "In the United States, about 4,100 cases of bacterial meningitis, including 500 deaths, occurred each year between 2003–2007"

— "Fortunately, most of the bacteria that cause meningitis are not as contagious as diseases like the common cold or the flu. Also, the bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been"

— "Sometimes the bacteria that cause meningitis spread to other people. This usually happens when there is close or long contact with a sick person in the same household or daycare center, or if they had direct contact with a patient's oral secretions (such as a boyfriend or girlfriend)"

— "Meningitis infection may show up in a person by a sudden onset of fever, headache, and stiff neck. It will often have other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light [and] altered mental status (confusion)"


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+ - Online Advertising of the Mujahideen Kind-> 1

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "As ISIL's push into Iraq has been making headline news, and as picture/video of their slaughter of thousands of Iraqi prisoners have gone viral, a recruiting video has also making its online debut, starring three Britons and two Australians

Nasser Muthana, 20, with the nom du guerre of Abu Muthanna al Yemeni, along with Abu Dujana al Hindi and Abu Bara al Hindi are the three Britons are the stars of the Mujahidden recruitment video, appealing all their brothers to "fight for Allah. Sacrifice for Allah"

"Are you willing to sacrifice this for the sake of Allah? Definitely, if you sacrifice something for Allah, Allah will give you 700 times more than this "

Addressing to those who are scared of being killed, the Briton Abu Dujana al Hindi said

"What prevents you from obtaining martyrdom? You are going to die anyway"

This 13-minute video has shocked the British Prime Minister David Cameron so much that he has directed his Home Office to work with internet companies to stop terrorist messages from being broadcast


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+ - Unexpected Behavior at the Nucleus of Supermassive Black Hole->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "An international team of astronomers, using data from several NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) space observatories, has discovered unexpected behavior from the supermassive black hole at the heart of the galaxy NGC 5548, located 244.6 million light-years from Earth. This behavior may provide new insights into how supermassive black holes interact with their host galaxies

A stream of gas flowing rapidly outward from the galaxy's supermassive black hole, blocking 90 percent of its emitted X-rays

The discovery was made during an intensive observing campaign that also included data from NASA's Swift spacecraft, Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and Chandra X-ray Observatory, as well as ESA's X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission (XMM-Newton) and Integral gamma-ray observatory (INTEGRAL)

Supermassive black holes in the nuclei of active galaxies, such as NGC 5548, expel large amounts of matter through powerful winds of ionized gas. For instance, the persistent wind of NGC 5548 reaches velocities exceeding 621 miles (approximately 1,000 kilometers) a second

A new wind has arisen, much stronger and faster than the persistent wind. These new winds reach speeds of up to 3,107 miles (5,000 kilometers) per second, but is much closer to the nucleus than the persistent wind

The new gas outflow blocks 90 percent of the low-energy X-rays that come from very close to the black hole, and it obscures up to a third of the region that emits the ultraviolet radiation at a few light-days distance from the black hole

Researchers also deduced that in more luminous quasars, the winds may be strong enough to blow off gas that otherwise would have become "food" for the black hole, thereby regulating both the growth of the black hole and that of its host galaxy"
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