Summary of the eRumor
This piece of alleged history explains that in the olden days of sailing ships, cannon balls were stacked on the decks on brass plates called "monkeys." The plates had indentions in them that held the balls on the bottoms of the stacks. Brass, however, expands and contracts with the temperature and if it got cold enough, the cannon balls could fall...giving real foundation to the phrase "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey!"
According to the United States Navy Historical Center, this is a legend of the sea without historical justification. The center has researched this because of the questions it gets and says the term "brass monkey" and a vulgar reference to the effect of cold on the monkey's extremities, appears to have originated in the book "Before the Mast" by C.A. Abbey. It was said that it was so cold that it would "freeze the tail off a brass monkey." The Navy says there is no evidence that the phrase had anything to do with ships or ships with cannon balls.
dasButcher notes that the Supreme Court will hear arguments next week brought by a Nevada accounting firm that asserts the oversight board for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is unconstitutional. If the plaintiffs are successful, it could force Congress to rewrite or abandon the law used by many companies to validate tech investments for security and compliance. "Many auditing firms have used [Sarbanes-Oxley Section] 404 as a lever for imposing stringent security technology requirements on publicly traded companies regulated by SOX and their business partners. SOX security compliance has proven effective for vendors and solution providers, as it forces regulated enterprises to spend billions of dollars on technology that, many times, doesn’t prevent security incidents but does make them compliant with the law."
krou writes "The BBC is reporting that a new study suggests that our mental abilities start to dwindle at 27 after peaking at 22, and 27 could be seen as the 'start of old age.' The seven-year study, by Professor Timothy Salthouse of the University of Virginia, looked at 2,000 healthy people aged 18-60, and used a number of mental agility tests already used to spot signs of dementia. 'The first age at which there was any marked decline was at 27 in tests of brain speed, reasoning and visual puzzle-solving ability. Things like memory stayed intact until the age of 37, on average, while abilities based on accumulated knowledge, such as performance on tests of vocabulary or general information, increased until the age of 60.'"
Many outlets are echoing a subscribers-only report in the Wall Street Journal that Yahoo's board has decided to reject Microsoft's takeover offer. The NYTimes offers the only other independent reporting so far confirming this claim. The report says that Yahoo will formally reject the offer in a letter on Monday, since they believe it "massively undervalues" the company. Microsoft offered $31 per share, a 62% premium on the stock price at the time, for Yahoo; but the latter believes that no offer below $40 per share is tenable. The AP has some background on Yahoo's options in responding to the bid.
FloatsomNJetsom writes "Popular Mechanics has up an interesting story, discussing what the long-term implications of the Lisa Nowak incident could mean for Mars Mission crew decisions: With a 30-month roundtrip, that isn't the sort of thing you'd want to happen in space. Scientists have been warning about the problems of sex on long-term spaceflight, and experts are divided as to whether you want a crew of older married couples, or asexual unitard-wearing eunuchs. The point the article makes specifically is that NASA's current archetype of highly-driven, task-oriented people might be precisely the wrong type for a Mars expedition. In addition scientists may use genomics or even functional MRI in screening astronauts, in addition to facial-recognition computers to monitor mental health during the mission." Maybe observers could just deploy the brain scanner to keep track of them?
Seems you fell for an urban legend: http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/b/brassmonke
Rob Lanphier writes "I'm sure there are plenty of people like myself who do a fair amount of programming against MySQL databases, and consider it a feature of the product that it's pretty easy to do without having to fuss much with the actual database. Still, it's nice to look at what goes on under the hood, even if smoke isn't pouring out from beneath it. Pro MySQL by Michael Kruckenberg and Jay Pipes provides a broad well-organized exploration of intermediate and advanced MySQL topics that is a satisfying overview of the database management system." Read the rest of Rob's review.
Graeme writes "Microsoft has finished what some are calling the true minimum requirements for Windows Vista: the finalized requirements for the 'Vista Premium' certification program. The program is used to influence OEM designs, and it gives an idea of what Microsoft thinks Vista really needs to run well, and what they think is in the horizon. The Ars report hits the highlights, and there are some surprises in there, such as a delayed requirement for HDCP. Ars suspects that the slow ramp-up is due to the pact to not use the Image Constraint Token."
KantIsDead writes "MIT's Tech Review is running an interview with Boston University Bioengineer Tim Gardner about the possibility of using bacteria to produce electricity. If fuel cells running off sugar are nearly here, alcohol-powered robots cannot be far." From the article: "While typical fuel cells use hydrogen as fuel, separating out electrons to create electricity, bacteria can use a wide variety of nutrients as fuel. Some species, such as Shewanella oneidensis and Rhodoferax ferrireducens, turn these nutrients directly into electrons. Indeed, scientists have already created experimental microbial fuel cells that can run off glucose and sewage. Although these microscopic organisms are remarkably efficient at producing energy, they don't make enough of it for practical applications."