caffiend666 writes "A newly found deep ocean worm 'can cast off green glowing body parts, a move scientists think may be a defensive effort to confuse attackers. Researchers have dubbed the newly discovered critters "green bombers." ... The first of the new species has been given the scientific name Swima bombiviridis. ... [T]he worms are able to regenerate the body parts.' So, it's a naturally occurring animal that rips off its arms and throws them, and we're not talking about a game from ID Software?"
mmmscience sends along coverage from the Examiner on evidence that some dinosaurs survived the extinction event(s) at the end of the Cretaceous period. Here is the original journal article. "A US paleontologist is challenging one of the field's greatest theories: the mass extinction of dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period. Jim Fassett, a paleontologist who holds an emeritus position at the US Geological Survey, recently published a paper in Palaeontologia Electronica with evidence that points to a pocket of dinosaurs that somehow survived in remote parts New Mexico and Colorado for up to half a million years past the end of the Cretaceous period. If this theory holds up, these dinosaurs would be the only ones that made it to the Paleocene Age."
maglo writes "The judge who handed down the harsh sentence to the four accused in the The Pirate Bay trial was biased, writes Sveriges Radio (Sweden Public Radio): sr.se (swedish). Google translation. The judge is member of two copyright lobby organizations, something he shares with several of the prosecutor attorneys (Monique Wadsted, Henrik Pontén and Peter Danowsky). The organizations in question are Svenska Föreningen för Upphovsrätt (SFU) and Svenska föreningen för industriellt rättsskydd (SFIR)."
mikeljnola writes with an excerpt from NOLA.com that says state senator Danny Martiny (R-Kenner) will introduce a bill to the Louisiana legislature on April 27 to "'make it illegal to "create or attempt to create a human-animal hybrid, ... transfer or attempt to transfer a human embryo into a non-human womb ... (or) transfer or attempt to transfer a non-human embryo into a human womb."' With budget cuts all around, our struggling state is concerned with the eminent danger of human-animal hybrids. The upside is that the odds of the Louisiana becoming the Bayous of Dr. Boudreaux are now even slimmer."
frdmfghtr writes "According to a boxee blog entry, Hulu will no longer be supported. From the post: 'two weeks ago Hulu called and told us their content partners were asking them to remove Hulu from boxee. we tried (many times) to plead the case for keeping Hulu on boxee, but on Friday of this week, in good faith, we will be removing it. you can see their blog post about the issues they are facing.' Reading the hulu blog post, the only 'issue' I see facing Hulu is that content providers have (once again) shot themselves in the foot, switching off a media conduit they should have been promoting." Update: 02/19 14:31 GMT by T : Jamie points out this interesting (speculative) piece at O'Reilly Radar about the thought process that may have driven the decision.
goran72 sends in a story out of the Chicago AAAS meeting contending that Earth-like planets with life-sustaining conditions may be spinning around stars in our galactic neighborhood — we just haven't found them yet. "'So I think there is a very good chance that we will find some Earth-like planets within 10, 20 or 30 light years of the Sun,' astrophysicist [Alan Boss]... told his AAAS colleagues meeting here since Thursday. ... The images from those new planets, he added, should identify 'light from their atmosphere and tell us if they have perhaps methane and oxygen. That will be pretty strong proof they are not only habitable but actually are inhabited. I am not talking about a planet with intelligence on it. I simply say if you have a habitable world. ... Sitting there, with the right temperature with water for a billion years, something is going to come out of it. At least we will have microbes,' said Boss."
coondoggie writes "Ok, maybe this is getting a little too close to bringing Terminator-like robots to life. For starters, eco-friendly engine builder Cyclone Power this week inked a contract from Robotic Technologies, Inc. (RTI) to develop what it calls a beta biomass engine system that will be the heart of RTI's Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR). The purpose of EATR is to develop and demonstrate an autonomous robotic platform able to perform long-range, long-endurance missions without the need for manual or conventional re-fueling — in other words it needs to 'eat.' According to researchers, the EATR system gets its energy by foraging, or what the firms describe as 'engaging in biologically-inspired, organism-like, energy-harvesting behavior which is the equivalent of eating. It can find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment as well as use conventional and alternative fuels (such as gasoline, heavy fuel, kerosene, diesel, propane, coal, cooking oil, and solar) when suitable.'" We can only hope they don't team up with the Multi-Robot Pursuit System project to "search for and detect a non-cooperative human."
Just before noon today, Eastern time, Barack Obama was sworn in before the US Capitol building as the 44th President of the United States (Whitehouse.gov has already been updated to reflect the new President), and offered an inaugural address which outlined some of the challenges that the country currently faces, both within the country's borders and abroad. Obama's election has been called "a civil rights triumph," and his candidacy has inspired perhaps the most visible political involvement of young voters of any candidate since John Kennedy. Here's your chance to discuss the newest occupant of the White House and what you'd like to see happen over the course of his presidency.
myrdos2 writes "A host of common chemicals is feminizing males of every class of vertebrate animals, from fish to mammals, including people. Many have been identified as 'endocrine disruptors' or gender-benders because they interfere with hormones. Communities heavily polluted with gender-benders in Canada, Russia, and Italy have given birth to twice as many girls as boys, which may offer a clue to the mysterious shift in sex ratios worldwide. And a study at Rotterdam's Erasmus University showed that boys whose mothers had been exposed to PCBs grew up wanting to play with dolls and tea sets rather than with traditionally male toys. It also follows hard on the heels of new American research which shows that baby boys born to women exposed to widespread chemicals in pregnancy are born with smaller penises and feminized genitals. It is calculated that 250,000 babies who would have been boys have been born as girls instead in the US and Japan alone. And sperm counts are dropping precipitously. Studies in more than 20 countries have shown that they have dropped from 150 million per milliliter of sperm fluid to 60 million over 50 years."
svnt writes "Janella Spears wiped out her husband's retirement account, remortgaged their paid-for house, and took out a lien against the family car in an attempt to cash in on the deal. A undercover officer involved with the investigation called it the worst example of the scam he's ever seen. Thoughtfully, Spears has gone public with her story as a warning to others not to fall victim."
mjasay writes "As if the proprietary software world needed any help, two business professors from Harvard and Stanford have combined to publish 'Divide and Conquer: Competing with Free Technology Under Network Effects,' a research paper dedicated to helping business executives fight the onslaught of open source software. The professors advise 'the commercial vendor ... to bring its product to market first, to judiciously improve its product features, to keep its product "closed" so the open source product cannot tap into the network already built by the commercial product, and to segment the market so it can take advantage of a divide-and-conquer strategy.' The professors also suggest that 'embrace and extend' is a great model for when the open source product gets to market first. Glad to see that $48,921 that Stanford MBAs pay being put to good use. Having said that, such research is perhaps a great, market-driven indication that open source is having a serious effect on proprietary technology vendors."
ElvaWSJ writes "A small subculture of amateur physicists and science-fiction fans — fewer than 100 worldwide — are building working nuclear-fusion reactors at home. The designs are based on the work of Philo T. Farnsworth, an inventor of television, from the 1960s. Some of these hobbyists hope similar reactors can one day power the planet, but so far they consume more energy than they create."
Hugh Pickens writes "John Tierney poses the question in the New York Times 'what if we let athletes do whatever they wanted to excel?' Before you dismiss the notion, consider what we're stuck with today — a system designed to create a level playing field, protect athletes' health and set an example for children, that fails on all counts. The journal Nature, in an editorial in the current issue, complains that 'antidoping authorities have fostered a sporting culture of suspicion, secrecy and fear' by relying on unscientifically calibrated tests, like the unreliable test for synthetic testosterone that cost Floyd Landis his 2006 Tour de France victory and even if the authorities manage to correct their tests, they can't possibly keep up with the accelerating advances in biology." Read on for more.
Politico is reporting that while GOP leaders opposed a motion to adjourn the House, the Democrats have closed up shop and even turned out the lights. While the lights and microphones have since been turned back on, it makes for an amusing mental image and possibly even a few dark YouTube video spoofs. "Only about a half-dozen Republicans were on the floor when this began, but the crowd has grown to about 20 now, according to Patrick O'Connor. 'This is the people's House,' Rep, Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) said. 'This is not Pelosi's politiburo.' Democratic aides were furious at the GOP stunt, and reporters were kicked out of the Speaker's Lobby, the space next to the House floor where they normally interview lawmakers."