suraj.sun passes along news from Oregon State University, where researchers have discovered a new strain of bacteria that may be able to aid cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. The bacteria "can produce non-toxic, comparatively inexpensive 'rhamnolipids,' and effectively help degrade polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs — environmental pollutants that are one of the most harmful aspects of oil spills. Because of its unique characteristics, this new bacterial strain could be of considerable value in the long-term cleanup of the massive Gulf Coast oil spill, scientists say." In related news, Kevin Costner's centrifugal separator technology has gotten approval for deployment; now it is only waiting on funding from BP.
It has taken Graham Parker almost his entire life, but today after 26 years he has finally solved his Rubik's Cube. Way back in 1983 when Graham bought the toy, Yuri Andropov was leader of the Soviet Union, and CDs were just starting to fill shelves. The 45-year-old from Portchester, Hampshire, says, "I cannot tell you what a relief it was to finally solve it. It has driven me mad over the years - it felt like it had taken over my life. I have missed important events to stay in and solve it and I would lie awake at night thinking about it. I have had wrist and back problems from spending hours on it but it was all worth it. When I clicked that last bit into place and each face was a solid color, I wept." Mr. Parker plans on spending the next 26 years untying a knot in his laces.
News.com is reporting that Microsoft has confirmed a subscription service is in the works for the next consumer version of their Office Suite. "Code-named Albany, the product has a single installer that puts Office Home and Student, OneCare, as well as a host of Windows Live services, onto a user's PC. As long as users keep paying for the subscription, they are entitled to the latest versions of the products. Once they stop paying, they lose the right to use any version."
Dog owners in Amsterdam are upset that the city has promised to clampdown on people who let their pets walk in one of the cities most famous parks without a leash. They wouldn't be as outraged if the city hadn't also legalized public sex in the same park. A spokesman for the council said, "When the dogs are not kept on a leash they pee on whatever they see and they cause a lot of nuisance for other visitors." Alderman Paul Van Grieken added, "Why should we oppose a rule on something you can't oppose a rule on. Moreover it isn't a nuisance for the other visitors and gives a lot of pleasure to a certain group of people. There still are rules, They must take their garbage with them afterwards and never have intercourse near the playground. The sex must be limited to the evening hours and night."