I think Nintendo is a bigger worry.
An anonymous reader writes "Dr. Steve O'Shea of Auckland, New Zealand is attempting to break the record for keeping deep sea squid alive in captivity, with the goal of being able to raise a giant squid one day. Right now, he's raising the broad squid, sepioteuthis australis, from egg masses found in seaweed. This is a lot harder than it sounds, because the squid he's studying grow rapidly and eat only live prey, making it hard for them to keep the squid from becoming prey themselves. If his research works out, you might one day be able to visit an aquarium and see giant squid."
astroengine writes "After 4 years of processing the highest resolution photographs the Hubble Space Telescope could muster, we now have the highest resolution view of Pluto's surface ever produced. Most excitingly, these new observations show an active world with seasonal changes altering the dwarf planet's surface. It turns out that this far-flung world has more in common with Earth than we would have ever imagined."
anzha writes "Do you remember being a kid and told we'd never know what colors the dinosaurs were? For at least some, that's no longer true. Scientists working in the UK and China have closely examined the fossils of multiple theropods and actually found the colors and patterns that were present in the fossilized proto-feathers. So far, the answer is orange, black and white in banded and other patterns. The work also thoroughly thrashes the idea that fossils might not be feathers, but collagen fibers instead. If this holds up, Birds Are Dinosaurs. Period. And colorful!"
ImNotARealPerson writes "Scientists in Italy are hoping to breed back from extinction the mighty auroch, a bovine species which has been extinct since 1627. The auroch weighed 2,200 pounds (1000kg) and its shoulders stood at 6'6". The beasts once roamed most of Asia and northern Africa. The animal was depicted in cave paintings and Julius Caesar described it as being a little less in size than an elephant. A member of the Consortium for Experimental Biotechnology suggests that 99% of the auroch's DNA can be recreated from genetic material found in surviving bone material. Wikipedia mentions that researchers in Poland are working on the same problem."
angrytuna writes "The Economist is running a story about a group of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology in Chemnitz, Germany, who've found a way to use an EMP device to shape and punch holes through steel. The process enjoys advantages over both lasers, which take more time to bore the hole (0.2 vs. 1.4 seconds), and by metal presses, which can leave burrs that must be removed by hand."
Hugh Pickens writes "Space.com has a piece about changing theories of planet migration. The classic picture suggests that planets like Earth should have plummeted into the sun while they were still planetesimals, asteroid-sized building blocks that eventually collide to form full-fledged planets. 'Well, this contradicts basic observational evidence, like We. Are. Here,' says astronomer Moredecai-Mark Mac Low. Researchers investigating this discrepancy came up with a new model that explains how planets can migrate as they're forming and still avoid a fiery premature death. One problem with the classic view of planet formation and migration is that it assumes that the temperature of the protoplanetary disk around a star is constant across its whole span. It turns out that portions of the disk are opaque and so cannot cool quickly by radiating heat out to space. So in the new model, temperature differences in the space around the sun, 4.6 billion years ago, caused Earth to migrate outward as much as gravity was trying to pull it inward, and so the fledgling world found equilibrium in its current, habitable, orbit. 'We are trying to understand how planets interact with the gas disks from which they form as the disk evolves over its lifetime,' adds Mac Low. 'We show that the planetoids from which the Earth formed can survive their immersion in the gas disk without falling into the Sun.'"
innocent_white_lamb writes "Starbucks brought out a line of cups with prehistoric Aztec images on them. Now the government of Mexico wants them to pay for the use of the images. Does the copyright on an image last hundreds of years?"
grrlscientist writes "While living and working as a marine biologist in Maldives, Charles Anderson noticed sudden explosions of dragonflies at certain times of year. He explains how he carefully tracked the path of a plain, little dragonfly called the Globe Skimmer, Pantala flavescens, only to discover that it had the longest migratory journey of any insect in the world."
LordofEntropy writes "Blu-ray.com reports that Sony and Panasonic have announced a new optical disc evaluation technology that increases capacity from 25GB to 33.4GB. The tech uses existing Blu-ray diodes and is accomplished via firmware upgrade. The article says it is not known if and when the upgrade will be adopted into the Blu-ray spec. However, given that Sony and Panasonic are behind it, 'it will likely happen later this year.'"
Ian Tree, an IT consultant from the Netherlands, has started a campaign to convince IBM to open source the code for Notes/Domino. Hoping for results similar to the push for Sun to open source Solaris, which finally saw success in 2005, Tree makes the simple point that it won't happen until someone asks. "By being an open source product, Tree is also hoping that Domino becomes something schools use to teach groupware and application development concepts, which is the holy grail for future market adoption. This is how various Unixes, relational databases, Linux, and a raft of other products eventually became commercialized. While the idea of open sourcing any proprietary program is appealing, in as much as it sets a program free to live beyond the commitment (or lack thereof) of its originator, it is hard to see why open Notes/Domino would have any more impact than OpenSolaris."
As we approach the end of the year it's time once again for the never-ending stream of retrospectives and year-in-review discussions. Wired has their version of the best technology breakthroughs of 2008. From phones to shrinking laptops to flexible displays, there is no shortage of interesting advancements when looking back at this year. What other groundbreaking advancements were made this year, and what do we have to look forward to for 2009?
PatPending writes with a depressing excerpt from the UK's Metro: "The Google-owned video-sharing site YouTube has decided to introduce the ban [on weapons-related videos] for the UK only amid widespread unease about the increase in knife crime in the country. 'We recognise that there has been particular concern over videos in the UK that involve showing weapons with the aim of intimidation, and this is one of the areas we are addressing,' a YouTube spokesperson said. 'I would like to see other internet service providers follow suit to reinforce our message that violence will not be tolerated either on the internet or in the real world,' she said."
Kaseijin writes "Neuroscientist Champadi Raman Mukundan claims his Brain Electrical Oscillations Signature test is so accurate, it can tell whether a person committed or only witnessed an act. In June, an Indian judge agreed, using BEOS to find a woman guilty of killing her former fiancé. Scientific experts are calling the decision 'ridiculous' and 'unconscionable,' protesting that Mukundan's work has not even been peer reviewed. How reliable should a test have to be, when eyewitnesses are notoriously fallible? Does a person have a right to privacy over their own memories, or should society's interest in holding criminals accountable come first?"
eldavojohn writes "New research funded by the National Science Foundation at the University of Miami is showing that carbon dating (the 13C/12C ratio used to infer age) in the ocean can only be trusted up to 150 million years ago. From the primary researcher, 'This study is a major step in terms of rethinking how geologists interpret variations in the 13C/12C ratio throughout Earth's history. If the approach does not work over the past 10 million years, then why would it work during older time periods? As a consequence of our findings, changes in 13C/12C records need to be reevaluated, conclusions regarding changes in the reservoirs of carbon will have to be reassessed, and some of the widely-held ideas regarding the elevation of CO2 during specific periods of the Earth's geological history will have to be adjusted.' While this research doesn't necessarily throw carbon dating out the window, it should cause people to rethink so many theories about early life that revolved around ages of sediment in the oceans."