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+ - Signs of Life Found in Lake Vostok

Submitted by jpyeck
jpyeck writes: Lake Vostok, Antarctica's biggest and deepest subsurface lake, might contain thousands of different kinds of tiny organisms — and perhaps bigger fish as well, researchers report.

The lake, buried under more than 2 miles (3.7 kilometers) of Antarctic ice, has been seen as an earthly analog for ice-covered seas on such worlds as Europa and Enceladus. It's thought to have been cut off from the outside world for as long as 15 million years. But the latest results, reported in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, suggest that the lake isn't as sterile or otherworldly as some scientists might have thought.

More than 3,500 different DNA sequences were identified in samples extracted from layers of ice that have built up just above the surface of the lake.

Comment: Re:Let me predict.... (Score 1) 686

by jpyeck (#41560257) Attached to: Astronomers Search For Dyson Spheres of Alien Civilizations

And that is the likely goal!

Remember, it is the Templeton Foundation (they of the Templeton Prize) funding this research. This is just a wild-goose-chase that will add another pseudo-argument to the quiver: "See, Intelligent Design it is plausible. "Science" has looked for Dyson Spheres and didn't find any! Therefore we must be alone in the universe and therefore we must be the special unique creations of God."

They even get to pretend to be impartial because they funded it. Ugh!


+ - $25 PC runs 1080p video, offers CD-quality audio

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: The Raspberry Pi $25 PC alpha board has been caught on video. We see the alpha development board hooked up to a keyboard (USB), mouse (USB), and a display (HDMI). It's playing Inglorious Basterds off a 2GB SD card, in 1080p, using h.264 compression. And, importantly, the board was playing the video for 8 straight hours, proving both that its stable and that it won't overheat when put under load. The video also gives us a good look at the board, which packs composite video, HDMI, ethernet, dual USB slots, and an SD slot

+ - Android to overtake Apple in app downloads! ->

Submitted by
quantr writes: ""Android is expected to surpass Apple in application downloads for the first time, according to research firm Ovum.
Android could notch 8.1 billion app downloads this year, compared with 6 billion for Apple's iOS devices. That marks an explosion of growth for both platforms; Apple had 2.7 billion downloads and Android recorded 1.4 billion last year. The total number of application downloads is expected to grow by 144 percent this year, Ovum said in a report issued today.""

Link to Original Source

+ - Amazon Folds in California Sales Tax Deal

Submitted by theodp
theodp writes: You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. In a deal indicating all sides appear ready to call a truce, the San Jose Mercury News reports that is offering to back down from its referendum drive to repeal an online sales tax in exchange for a one-year moratorium on collecting the tax. Under the deal, Amazon would agree to begin collecting the tax from California residents in September 2012, unless Congress takes action on Internet sales taxes before then. The development comes a day after a NY Times editorial ripped Amazon over its sales 'tax dodge'.

Comment: Re:Stop (Score 1) 694

by jpyeck (#37279868) Attached to: Solar Company Folds After $0.5B In Subsidies

Having spent 2 days at a Renewable Energy conference talking to power generators, utilities and distributors recently, this is exactly what I asked of the people who are justifying building these projects.

  1. Are these projects (wind, solar, landfill gas, waste-to-energy) cost effective without subsidies? ANSWER: No
  2. Can the industry place some monetary present-value-of-future-worth on the reduced environmental impact from renewables? ANSWER: No

Unfortunately, while it seems logical that we should be able to take into account our children's children's fresh air/current coastline/climate/etc., nobody seems to be able to do this. Without some significant technological leap in efficiency or materials, it appears renewables cannot compete on a purely economic calculation without government subsidies. Unfortunately, that means we are dependent on the changing political will of each subsequent congress/administration.

What was particularly telling was the chart I saw showing MW of Wind Generation added per year. There would be significant installations (100s of MW) in one year, then almost nothing the next, because the Federal Installation Tax Credit was not renewed that year. The next year the installations spiked again due to new tax credits. The following year, bupkis, due again to no tax credits.

Comment: Re:No objectionable material? (Score 1) 794

by jpyeck (#35550174) Attached to: Apple's App Store Accepts 'Gay Cure' App
There are more targeted organizations to give your money to than a church if your goal is to help the needy. United Way, Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross come to mind. When you give your money to a church, however, you lose control of the end goal of your money. Presumably, some fraction will go to administrative costs (pastors would fall under this category) in either case, but churches do not exist solely for charitable causes. Your money will in some measure be supporting the message and recruitment of the churches next generation. This is the same issue with having the government handle your charitable money... the organization in question has many goals and once they have your money, they can funnel it wherever they want. For me, it is important to separate the message (potentially something like this anti-gay application) from the charitable action.

Comment: Re:You didn't say what you were going to use it fo (Score 1) 396

by jpyeck (#34811602) Attached to: When Should I Buy an Android Tablet?
Although I think I'm convinced the consensus, even here, is "wait", I'll address your question for the crowd.

Some of the things I would like to use it for:
  • Dock in my car for GPS/Navigation
  • Dock in my car for OBD2 data feeds via Arduino hack
  • Carry at work for lab notes and PDF drawing pull-ups
  • Home automation panel via Arduino hack
  • Books and Wired mag
  • Surfing Slashdot when the kids and wife have the PCs all tied up!

Comment: Re:The iPad is out of the question (Score 1) 396

by jpyeck (#34811350) Attached to: When Should I Buy an Android Tablet?
My daughter has an iPod Touch. It's just a bit too small for my older eyes and big, fat fingers.

That said, it is what got me researching.

I know the iPad2 will be fabulous, but as I said in the submission, I need a little more hackability. I picked up an Arduino kit for Christmas and have seen some interesting stuff integrating those two platforms.

P.S. FWIW, I don't need to mow lawns to afford the iPad... I could get the 3G version now with the money I have reserved for this.

In the sciences, we are now uniquely priviledged to sit side by side with the giants on whose shoulders we stand. -- Gerald Holton