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Science

Science Reveals Why Airplane Food Tastes So Bad 388

Posted by samzenpus
from the fly-the-tasteless-skies dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "At low elevations, the 10,000 or so taste buds in the human mouth work pretty much as nature intended. But step aboard a modern airliner, and the sense of taste loses its bearings. Even before a plane takes off, the atmosphere inside the cabin dries out the nose. As the plane ascends, the change in air pressure numbs about a third of the taste buds, and at 35,000 feet with cabin humidity levels kept low by design to reduce the risk of fuselage corrosion, xerostomia or cotton mouth sets in. This explain why airlines tend to salt and spice food heavily. Without all that extra kick, food tastes bland. 'Ice cream is about the only thing I can think of that tastes good on a plane,' says Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. 'Airlines have a problem with food on board. The packaging, freezing, drying and storage are hard on flavor at any altitude, let alone 30,000 feet.' Challenges abound. Food safety standards require all meals to be cooked first on the ground. After that, they are blast-chilled and refrigerated until they can be stacked on carts and loaded on planes. For safety, open-flame grills and ovens aren't allowed on commercial aircraft, so attendants must contend with convection ovens that blow hot, dry air over the food. 'Getting any food to taste good on a plane is an elusive goal,' says Steve Gundrum, who runs a company that develops new products for the food industry."
Idle

Steampunk Con Mixes In More Maker Fun 50

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the rebuttal-of-disposable-culture dept.
California has once again been blessed with another steampunk convention, this time to be held in Emeryville, CA on March 12-14 as the "Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition." This year's event promises to mix in much more of the DIY/maker flavor for a greater hands-on feel. Steampunk has been gaining much broader appeal in recent months with the continued growth of maker communities, and the many delightful varieties of music and literature. The con will feature, among other things, a 2 day track of 2-hour how-to, hands-on, and interactive workshops gear towards makers, DIY-ers, mad scientists, and evil geniuses. Of course, if you are an evil genius you probably don't need a workshop except as a gathering for potential test subjects.
Security

Can You Trust Chinese Computer Equipment? 460

Posted by kdawson
from the or-anybody's-really dept.
Ian Lamont writes "Suspicions about China slipping eavesdropping technology into computer exports have been around for years. But the recent spying attacks, attributed to China, on Google and other Internet companies have revived the hardware spying concerns. An IT World blogger suggests the gear can't be trusted, noting that it wouldn't be hard to add security holes to the firmware of Chinese-made USB memory sticks, computers, hard drives, and cameras. He also implies that running automatic checks for data of interest in the compromised gear would not be difficult." The blog post mentions Ken Thompson's admission in 1983 that he had put a backdoor into the Unix C compiler; he laid out the details in the 1983 Turing Award lecture, Reflections On Trusting Trust: "The moral is obvious. You can't trust code that you did not totally create yourself. (Especially code from companies that employ people like me.) No amount of source-level verification or scrutiny will protect you from using untrusted code. In demonstrating the possibility of this kind of attack, I picked on the C compiler. I could have picked on any program-handling program such as an assembler, a loader, or even hardware microcode. As the level of program gets lower, these bugs will be harder and harder to detect. A well installed microcode bug will be almost impossible to detect."
Google

Google Switching To EXT4 Filesystem 348

Posted by timothy
from the make-money-with-open-source dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google is in the process of upgrading their existing EXT2 filesystem to the new and improved EXT4 filesystem. Google has benchmarked three different filesystems — XFS, EXT4 and JFS. In their benchmarking, EXT4 and XFS performed equally well. However, in view of the easier upgrade path from EXT2 to EXT4, Google has decided to go ahead with EXT4."
Windows

Windows 7 Has Lots of "God Modes" 422

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-am-god-here dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Those intrigued by the 'GodMode' in Windows 7 may be interested to know that there are many other similar shortcuts hidden within the operating system — some going back to Vista or before. Steven Sinofsky, Windows division president, said several similar undocumented features provide direct access to all kinds of settings, from choosing a location to managing power settings to identifying biometric sensors." Update: 01/07 23:46 GMT by CT : Link updated to source.

Virtual Visits To Doctors Spreading 215

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.
tresho writes to tell us that virtual doctors visits seem to be on the rise. A new service, most recently deployed in Texas, from "NowClinic" is allowing doctors to make virtual house calls and prescribe anything short of controlled substances. "For $45, anyone in Texas can use NowClinic, whether or not they are insured, by visiting NowClinic.com. Doctors hold 10-minute appointments and can file prescriptions, except for controlled substances. Eventually they will be able to view patients’ medical histories if they are available. The introduction of NowClinic will be the first time that online care has been available nationwide, regardless of insurance coverage."
Microsoft

Microsoft Opening Outlook's PST Format 319

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the still-a-long-way-to-go dept.
protosage writes to tell us that Microsoft Interoperability is working towards opening up Outlook's .pst format under their Open Specification Promise. This should "allow anyone to implement the .pst file format on any platform and in any tool, without concerns about patents, and without the need to contact Microsoft in any way." "In order to facilitate interoperability and enable customers and vendors to access the data in .pst files on a variety of platforms, we will be releasing documentation for the .pst file format. This will allow developers to read, create, and interoperate with the data in .pst files in server and client scenarios using the programming language and platform of their choice. The technical documentation will detail how the data is stored, along with guidance for accessing that data from other software applications. It also will highlight the structure of the .pst file, provide details like how to navigate the folder hierarchy, and explain how to access the individual data objects and properties."
Science

Candy Linked To Violence In Study 205

Posted by samzenpus
from the gummy-worms-and-steal dept.
T Murphy writes "A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry links daily consumption of candy at the age of 10 to an increased chance of being convicted of a violent crime by age 34. The researchers theorize the correlation comes from the way candy is given rather than the candy itself. Candy frequently given as a short-term reward can encourage impulsive behavior, which can more likely lead to violence. An alternative explanation offered by the American Dietetic Association is that the candy indicates poor diet, which hinders brain development. The scientists stress they don't imply candy should be removed from a child's diet, although they do recommend moderation. The study controls for teachers' reports of aggression and impulsivity at age 10, the child's gender, and parenting style. The study can be found here, but the full text is behind a paywall."
Software

Know Any Hardware Needing Better Linux Support? 518

Posted by kdawson
from the problem-you-don't-see-every-day dept.
Dev Null writes "The Linux device driver project has hit something of a snag: they have lots of developers, but few devices to work on, so they're looking for input concerning which devices aren't well-supported in Linux. If any of you know of devices that could use better support, you can help out by listing them on the project's wiki."
Privacy

Terror Watch List Swells to More Than 755,000 512

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-list-you-don't-want-to-be-on dept.
rdavison writes "According to a USA Today story, the terror watch list has swollen to 755,000 with 200,000 people per year being added since 2004. Adding about 548 people daily every day of the year does not seem to lend itself to a manual process with careful deliberation given or double checking being done for each person added. It seems to suggests that data is being mined from somewhere to automatically add names to the list."

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