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Biotech

One Variety of Sea Slugs Cuts Out the Energy Middleman 232

Posted by timothy
from the would-never-leave-the-house dept.
dragonturtle69 writes with this story, short on details but interesting: "These sea slugs, Elysia chlorotica, have evolved the ability to gain energy via photosynthesis. Forget about genetic modifications for sports enhancements. I want to be able to never need to eat again — or do I?"
Games

NYT's "Games To Avoid" an Ironic, Perfect Gamer Wish List 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-or-less dept.
MojoKid writes "From October to December, the advertising departments of a thousand companies exhort children to beg, cajole, and guilt-trip their parents for all manner of inappropriate digital entertainment. As supposedly informed gatekeepers, we sadly earthbound Santas are reduced to scouring the back pages of gaming review sites and magazines, trying to evaluate whether the tot at home is ready for Big Bird's Egg Hunt or Bayonetta. Luckily, The New York Times is here to help. In a recent article provokingly titled 'Ten Games to Cross off Your Child's Gift List,' the NYT names its list of big bads — the video games so foul, so gruesome, so perverse that we'd recommend you buy them immediately — for yourself. Alternatively, if you need gift ideas for the surly, pale teenager in your home whose body contains more plastic then your average d20, this is the newspaper clipping to stuff in your pocket. In other words, if you need a list like this to understand what games to not stuff little Johnny's stocking with this holiday season, you've got larger issues you should concern yourself with. We'd suggest picking up an auto-shotty and taking a few rounds against the horde — it's a wonderful stress relief and you're probably going to need it."
The Internet

Wikipedia Approaches Its Limits 564

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the time-to-start-over-i-guess dept.
Reservoir Hill writes "The Guardian reports that a study by Ed H Chi demonstrates that the character of Wikipedia has changed significantly since Wikipedia's first burst of activity between 2004 and 2007. While the encyclopedia is still growing overall, the number of articles being added has reduced from an average of 2,200 a day in July 2007 to around 1,300 today while at the same time, the base of highly active editors has remained more or less static. Chi's team discovered that the way the site operates had changed significantly from the early days, when it ran an open-door policy that allowed in anyone with the time and energy to dedicate to the project. Today, they discovered, a stable group of high-level editors has become increasingly responsible for controlling the encyclopedia, while casual contributors and editors are falling away. 'We found that if you were an elite editor, the chance of your edit being reverted was something in the order of 1% — and that's been very consistent over time from around 2003 or 2004,' says Chi. 'For editors that make between two and nine edits a month, the percentage of their edits being reverted had gone from 5% in 2004 all the way up to about 15% by October 2008. And the 'onesies' — people who only make one edit a month — their edits are now being reverted at a 25% rate.' While Chi points out that this does not necessarily imply causation, he suggests it is concrete evidence to back up what many people have been saying: that it is increasingly difficult to enjoy contributing to Wikipedia unless you are part of the site's inner core of editors. Wikipedia's growth pattern suggests that it is becoming like a community where resources have started to run out. 'As you run out of food, people start competing for that food, and that results in a slowdown in population growth and means that the stronger, more well-adapted part of the population starts to have more power.'"
NASA

+ - Satellites pick up distortion of space-time->

Submitted by
Lucas123
Lucas123 writes "Two X-ray satellites have picked up a distortion of the space-time continuum around three super-dense neutron stars, lending additional credence to Einstein's prediction in his theory of relativity. A similar rippling effect on the fabric of space has been seen around black holes, but this is the first time the phenomenon has been seen around a neutron star. 'It shows that the way neutron stars accrete matter is not very different from that of black holes, and it gives us a new tool to probe Einstein's theory," says NASA Goddard Space Center scientist Tod Strohmayer."
Link to Original Source
Microsoft

+ - Microsoft coup against iso standards body->

Submitted by
bytewize
bytewize writes "Today the iso standards body here in Sweden has accepted ooxml as a standard. It seems that a number of Microsoft partners joined the body just before the vote and managed to swing the vote in Microsoft's faviour. IBM walked out and refused to vote. If this is what we can expect in the future then the iso standards body might just as well pack up and close shop. Nobody should be able to buy acceptance of a standard. It should become a standard based entirely on its own merits."
Link to Original Source
Space

+ - Lunar Eclipse Next Tuesday Morning->

Submitted by
Raver32
Raver32 writes "Tuesday morning, Aug. 28 brings us the second total lunar eclipse of 2007. Those living in the Western Hemisphere and eastern Asia will be able to partake in at least some of this sky show. The very best viewing region for viewing this eclipse will fall across the Pacific Rim, including the West Coast of the United States and Canada, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand and eastern Australia. All these places will be able to see the complete eclipse from start to finish. Europeans will miss out on the entire show, as the Moon will be below the horizon during their mid and late morning hours."
Link to Original Source
Power

+ - Invasion of the jivin' nano-shrooms->

Submitted by
KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC writes "A pendulum converts the constant force of gravity into an oscillation — a useful trick by anyone's standards. But nanotechnologists have yet to match it — they just haven't been able to build nano-oscillators. Now arxivblog.com reports that a group at the University of the Madison have made mushroom-shaped nanopillars that oscillate in a constant DC field, like metronomes."
Link to Original Source
Businesses

+ - How SBC (AT&T) pillaged South Africa's economy->

Submitted by Kifoth
Kifoth (980005) writes "For 8 years, SBC and Telekom Malaysia controlled South Africa's only telecommunications company, Telkom. Telkom had a government granted monopoly in order for it to connect the large parts of South Africa which had been neglected under apartheid. Instead of helping, SBC abused their position and raised Telkom's prices to amongst the highest in the world. The billions they made here ultimately went to fund their AT&T merger.

"SBC, described as "congenitally litigious", is said to have played a major role in the failure of South Africa's telecoms policy to develop a competitive telephone service. Under SBC's control Telkom not only failed to meet its roll-out obligations but behaved "as a tax on industry and a drag on economic growth".""

Link to Original Source
Space

Rare Lone Neutron Star Found Nearby 37

Posted by kdawson
from the howdy-neighbor dept.
F4_W_weasel sends us to the BBC for news of the eighth lone neutron star ever discovered. It has no associated supernova remnant, binary companion, or radio pulsations. It's in our stellar neighborhood, at most 1,000 light years away. The object emits all its radiation (as far as wa can detect with current instruments) in X rays. The object is called Calvera, after the bad guy in The Magnificent Seven — which is itself the collective nickname for the seven such objects previously known.
Security

+ - Low-tech busts for high-tech identity thieves->

Submitted by
destinyland
destinyland writes "Identity theft victims struck back — thwarting crimes caused by faulty security at someone else's bureaucracy, and beating high-tech crooks with low-tech solutions. One thief used stolen driver's license hologram technology to create a duplicate ID — but then was spotted by her victim in line at a Starbucks, who chased her on foot for 45 minutes until the police arrived. Another victim noticed an unauthorized hotel registration on her card — and sent the police to the hotel. The police found the crooks using a laptop they'd stolen from Bayer Corporation to do genealogical research on at least 40 different identities, plus credit reports they'd obtained from dumpster diving. (The "Starbucks" thief actually obtained her target's information after the master keys for the neighborhood's mailboxes were stolen, and according to the victim's blog, the postal service refused to replace the keys!)"
Link to Original Source

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