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Lithium In Water "Curbs Suicide" 458

SpuriousLogic writes "Drinking water which contains lithium may reduce the risk of suicide, a Japanese study suggests. Researchers compared levels of lithium in drinking water to suicide rates in the prefecture of Oita, which has a population of more than one million. The suicide rate was significantly lower in those areas with the highest levels of lithium, they wrote in the British Journal of Psychiatry. And I was only worried about fluoridation affecting my precious bodily fluids before ..."
It's funny.  Laugh.

NASA "Bed Rest" Contractor Blogs the Days 60

Arguendo writes "It seems that earning $5000 a month for bed rest as a NASA contractor may not be so enjoyable after all. A 38 year-old woman selected for the study is blogging about her experience as test subject for NASA's study about the long-term effects of microgravity on people. There's quite a bit of information on her page, including info about the screening process, the food options [.xls link], and the not-so-great days of testing and immobility. It definitely sounds like work."

Comment What are his credentials again? (Score 1) 949

So, just because he's smart, he's more suited to planning educational reform than other people?

You want to fix the education system? Create a panel of fully nationally credentialed teachers (certified and educated to masters or above), let them create a plan, and then fund it.

Education is the only profession in which the certified professionals are not in charge of their own system.


Scientists Solve Riddle of Toxic Algae Blooms 237

An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from the Victoria Times Colonist: "After a remarkable 37-year experiment, University of Alberta scientist David Schindler and his colleagues have finally nailed down the chemical triggers for a problem that plagues thousands of freshwater and coastal ecosystems around the world." Punchline: "Phosphorus."

GE Microbes Make Ersatz Crude Oil From Many Sources 525

polymath69 writes "According to The Times Online, genetically modified microbes have been developed capable of turning surplus material such as wood chips, sugarcane, or others, not into ethanol, but into a substance which could substitute directly for crude oil. They claim it could be sold for about $50/bbl, and the production process would be carbon negative."

Schneier Asks Why We Accept Fax Signatures 531

Bruce Schneier's latest commentary looks into one of my pet peeves: faxed signature requirements. He writes "Aren't fax signatures the weirdest thing? It's trivial to cut and paste -- with real scissors and glue -- anyone's signature onto a document so that it'll look real when faxed. There is so little security in fax signatures that it's mind-boggling that anyone accepts them. Yet people do, all the time. I've signed book contracts, credit card authorizations, nondisclosure..." It's amazing how organizations are sometimes willing to accept low-quality, unverified scans delivered over POTS as authoritative, when they won't take the same information in a high-resolution scan delivered over (relatively secure) email.

Time Warner Cable Tries Metering Internet Use 589

As rumored a couple of months back, Time Warner is starting a trial of metered Internet access. "On Thursday, new Time Warner Cable Internet subscribers in Beaumont, Texas, will have monthly allowances for the amount of data they upload and download. Those who go over will be charged $1 per gigabyte... [T]iers will range from $29.95 a month for... 768 kilobits per second and a 5-gigabyte monthly cap to $54.90 per month for... 15 megabits per second and a 40-gigabyte cap. Those prices cover the Internet portion of subscription bundles that include video or phone services. Both downloads and uploads will count toward the monthly cap."

Pidgin Controversy Triggers Fork 1104

paleshadows writes "Pidgin, the premier multi-protocol instant messaging client, has been forked. This is the result of a heated, emotional, and very interesting debate over a controversial new feature: As of version 2.4, the ability to manually resize the text input area has been removed; instead, it automatically resizes depending on how much is typed. It turns out that this feature, along with the uncompromising unwillingness of the developers to provide an option to turn it off, annoys the bejesus of very many users. One comment made by a Professor that teaches "Collaboration in an Open Source World" argued that 'It's easy to see why open source developers could develop dogmas. [...] The most dangerous dogma is the one exhibited here: the God feature. "One technological solution can meet every possible user-desired variation of a feature." [...] You [the developers] are ignoring the fan base with a dedication to your convictions that is alarmingly evident to even the most unobservant of followers, and as such, you are demonstrating that you no longer deserve to be in the position of servicing the needs of your user base.'" Does anyone besides me find this utterly ridiculous?

Is Parallelism the New New Thing? 174

astwon sends us to a blog post by parallel computing pioneer Bill McColl speculating that, with the cooling of Web 2.0, parallelism may be a hot new area for entrepreneurs and investors. (Take with requisite salt grains as he is the founder of a Silicon Valley company in this area.) McColl suggests a few other upcoming "new things," such as Saas as an appliance and massive memory systems. Worth a read.

Should Scientists Date People Who Believe Astrology? 1181

YourAstrologer writes "Wired Science asks: Should scientists date people who believe in astrology? Apparently, the argument is quite complex. Astrology is sort of a flawed mental shortcut for understanding the world, but so is disregarding someone because of their spiritual beliefs. Women are inundated with astrological nonsense from fashion magazines, so it is normative for them to believe it even if they are otherwise highly logical. Smart people can convince themselves of silly things."

Canadian University Puts Tech Whiz Kids in 'Dormcubator' 188

jades writes "The University of Waterloo (Canada), sometimes billed as the 'MIT of the North' is establishing a residence 'incubator'. Meant to challenge 70 of their very top students in the tech and business fields, students will live together and work on 'the future of mobile communications, the web and digital media'. It's called 'VeloCity', and it launches in Fall 2008 after renovations are completed this summer."

Why Is US Grad School Mainly Non-US Students? 1131

I am a new graduate student in Computer Engineering. I would like to get my MS and possibly my Ph.D. I have learned that 90% of my department is from India and many others are from China. All the students come here to study and there are only 7 US citizens in the engineering program this year. Why is that? I have heard that many of the smarter Americans go into medicine or the law and that is why there are so few Americans in engineering. Is this true?

Half of Mars May Have Ice 66

Ixlr8 sends in a BBC story suggesting that up to half of Mars may have ice at varying depths below the surface. Quoting: "Up until now, scientists had been able to search for water deposits using a spectrometer fixed to the orbiting Mars Odyssey spacecraft. However, only readings that are accurate to within several hundred kilometers can be obtained. By comparing seasonal changes in thermal infrared patterns, detected by the same Odyssey spacecraft, [scientists] can make readings accurate to within just hundreds of meters."