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Submission + - MIT study finds fault with Mars One colony concept ( 2

MarkWhittington writes: The Mars One project created a great deal of fanfare when it was first announced in 2012. The project, based in Holland, aspires to build a colony on Mars with the first uncrewed flight taking place in 2018 and the first colonists setting forth around 2024. The idea is that the colonists would go to Mars to stay, slowly building up the colony in four-person increments every 26-month launch window. However, Space Policy Online on Tuesday reported that an independent study conducted by MIT has poured cold water on the Mars colony idea.

The MIT team consisting of engineering students had to make a number of assumptions based on public sources since the Mars One concept lacks a great many technical details. The study made the bottom line conclusion that the Mars One project is overly optimistic at best and unworkable at worst. The concept is “unsustainable” given the current state of technology and the aggressive schedule that the Mars One project has presented.

Submission + - Malaysia Jet Made Radical Course Change at Time of Disappearance 2

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: The NYT reports that the Malaysian authorities now believe that a jetliner missing since Saturday may have radically changed course around the time that it stopped communicating with ground controllers. Gen. Rodzali Daud, was quoted in a Malaysian newspaper saying the military had received “signals” on Saturday that after the aircraft stopped communicating with ground controllers, it changed course sharply, from heading northeast to heading west, and flew hundreds of miles across Peninsular Malaysia and out over the Strait of Malacca, before the tracking went blank. According to the general’s account, the last sign of the plane was recorded at 2:40 a.m., and the aircraft was then near Pulau Perak, an island more than 100 miles off the western shore of the Malaysian peninsula. The assertion stunned aviation experts as well as officials in China, who had been told again and again that the authorities lost contact with the plane more than an hour earlier, when it was on course over the Gulf of Thailand, east of the peninsula. But the new account seemed to fit with the decision on Monday, previously unexplained, to expand the search area to include waters west of the peninsula. Without specifying why, the Malaysian authorities vastly expanded the search area to the west on Monday, implying that they believed there was a strong chance the plane had traveled there. No similar expansion was made to the east or the south. If the flight traveled west over Peninsular Malaysia, as the air force chief was quoted saying, it would have flown very close to a beacon in the city of Kota Bharu operated by Flightradar24, a global tracking system for commercial aircraft which means its transponder had either been knocked out of service by damage or had been shut off. "We see every aircraft that flies over there, even if it’s very, very low," says Mikael Robertsson,. "so if it flew over there, the transponder was off." Robertsson added that since the plane had been fully fueled for a trip to Beijing, it could have traveled a great distance beyond its last reported position. “The aircraft could have continued another five or six hours out into the ocean. It could have gone to India.”

Submission + - Secret Bonus Neurons Were Found in the Brain (

Daniel_Stuckey writes: For all the up-sides to our brains—their capacity for reasoning, long-term planning, and remembering movie trivia—until recently, it was thought that they were limited by finitude: that the number of neurons you were born with was all that you were going to get. Once you make those connections to create neural circuits throughout your childhood, you’re pretty much set. So good luck learning Portuguese as an adult, mermão.

But over the last few years, neurogenesis, the generation of new brain cells in your lifetime, has been observed in the hippocampi of the adult human brain. It turns out 700 new neurons are added in each hippocampus per day.

What’s more, the same Swedish team of researchers that observed the new neurons in the hippocampi found yet another cache of new brain cells, in part of the forebrain called the striatum.

Submission + - Fatal car crashes involving pot use have tripled in U.S. ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: WFXS Fox 55 reports, "The legalization of marijuana is an idea that is gaining momentum in the United States, but there may be a dark side to pot becoming more commonplace ... Fatal crashes involving marijuana use tripled during the previous decade, fueling some of the overall increase in drugged-driving traffic deaths ... "Currently, one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana," said co-author Dr. Guohua Li, director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia. "If this trend continues, in five or six years non-alcohol drugs will overtake alcohol to become the most common substance involved in deaths related to impaired driving." ... Alcohol contributed to about the same percentage of traffic fatalities throughout the decade, about 40 percent, Li said. ... Drugged driving accounted for more than 28 percent of traffic deaths in 2010, up from more than 16 percent in 1999. Marijuana proved to be the main drug involved in the increase, contributing to 12 percent of 2010 crashes compared with 4 percent in 1999. The study authors also noted that the combined use of alcohol and marijuana dramatically increases a driver's risk of death. "If a driver is under the influence of alcohol, their risk of a fatal crash is 13 times higher than the risk of the driver who is not under the influence of alcohol," Li said. "But if the driver is under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, their risk increases to 24 times that of a sober person.""

Submission + - Twitter blocks website supporting Phil Robertson Following anti-gay comments (

cultiv8 writes: Social network giant Twitter has reportedly blocked users from tweeting the phrase "," a hashtag representing the petition drive to have Phil Robertson reinstated to A&E's "Duck Dynasty" reality show. Robertson was indefinitely suspended from the show last week after he described homosexuality as a sin in an interview with GQ Magazine. The organization running the organization does not know why it is being blocked, as a diagnostic page says the site "has not hosted malicious software over the past 90 days."

Submission + - Researchers use electroconvulsive therapy to disrupt recall of nasty events (

ananyo writes: In the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, unhappy lovers undergo an experimental brain treatment to erase all memories of each other from their minds. No such fix exists for real-life couples, but researchers report in Nature Neuroscience that a targeted medical intervention helps to reduce specific negative memories in patients who are depressed.
The technique, called electroconvulsive (ECT) or electroshock therapy, induces seizures by passing current into the brain through electrode pads placed on the scalp. Despite its sometimes negative reputation, ECT is an effective last-resort treatment for severe depression, and is used today in combination with anaesthesia and muscle relaxants.
Marijn Kroes, a neuroscientist at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, and his colleagues found that by strategically timing ECT bursts, they could target and disrupt patients' memory of a disturbing episode.


Submission + - Could the Election of the New Pope be Hacked? 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The rules for papal elections are steeped in tradition. John Paul II last codified them in 1996, and Benedict XVI left the rules largely untouched. The "Universi Dominici Gregis on the Vacancy of the Apostolic See and the Election of the Roman Pontiff" is surprisingly detailed. Now as the College of Cardinals prepares to elect a new pope, security people like Bruce Schneier wonder about the process. How does it work, and just how hard would it be to hack the vote? First, the system is entirely manual, making it immune to the sorts of technological attacks that make modern voting systems so risky. Second, the small group of voters — all of whom know each other — makes it impossible for an outsider to affect the voting in any way. The chapel is cleared and locked before voting. No one is going to dress up as a cardinal and sneak into the Sistine Chapel. In short, the voter verification process is about as good as you're ever going to find. A cardinal can't stuff ballots when he votes. Then the complicated paten-and-chalice ritual ensures that each cardinal votes once — his ballot is visible — and also keeps his hand out of the chalice holding the other votes. Ballots from previous votes are burned, which makes it harder to use one to stuff the ballot box. What are the lessons here? First, open systems conducted within a known group make voting fraud much harder. Every step of the election process is observed by everyone, and everyone knows everyone, which makes it harder for someone to get away with anything. Second, small and simple elections are easier to secure. This kind of process works to elect a pope or a club president, but quickly becomes unwieldy for a large-scale election. And third: When an election process is left to develop over the course of a couple of thousand years, you end up with something surprisingly good."

Submission + - Appendix Evolved More Than 30 Times (

sciencehabit writes: The appendix may not be useless after all. The worm-shaped structure found near the junction of the small and large intestines evolved 32 times among mammals, according to a new study. The finding adds weight to the idea that the appendix helps protect our beneficial gut bacteria when a serious infection strikes.

Submission + - Obama administrations mulls action against China for cyberattacks (

An anonymous reader writes: "The Obama administration is considering more assertive action against Beijing to combat a persistent cyber-espionage campaign it believes Chinese hackers are waging against U.S. companies and government agencies.
As The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that their computer systems had been infiltrated by China-based hackers, cybersecurity experts said the U.S. government is eyeing more pointed diplomatic and trade measures." Secretary of State Clinton says "We have to begin making it clear to the Chinese — they're not the only people hacking us or attempting to hack us — that the United States is going to have to take action to protect not only our government, but our private sector, from this kind of illegal intrusions." But at the same time, we don't want this to "become a very unwelcome and even dangerous tit-for-tat that could be a crescendo of consequences, here at home and around the world, that no one wants to see happen."

What do slashdot readers think the US should do to discourage the attacks but not escalate into all-out cyber war (or worse)?

Submission + - Is the modern business model sustainable (

Grayhand writes: Traditionally all a company needed to show was a profit to be considered viable. Lately Apple's stock has fallen sharply simply because the profit projections are less than expected. A company with a 100 billion in cash is seeing a drop in stock. Atari was a darling for 20 years but now they are in bankruptcy. With growth not profits being the watermark can most companies survive the next 100 years? Given all Wall Street cares about is unending growth will they bring about the end of civilization since unending growth itself is unsustainable?

Submission + - SPAM: Don't Stop Now 3 Ways to Be 6 Months Ahead in Your Business on January 1

MySoloE writes: Halloween is over and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Holiday lights are strung out everywhere, Christmas carols are playing on the radio and in the stores.

Are you starting to get ready for the holidays? Have you given up on doing what you can to make the most of 2013?

I admit, resisting the temptation of holiday parties and egg nog isn’t easy. But, if you stop now, you’ll lose the next two months of progress in your business. And, because you will have lost momentum, it will take you another 3 months to get back to where you are now.

By taking a holiday break -you lose almost half a year of business progress – why would you want to do that?

Don’t despair – I am not asking you to cancel your trip home to visit your family or to opt out of all the holiday parties. In fact, I am taking quite a bit of vacation in November and December. But, with a bit of advanced planning and work now, you can enjoy your holidays and be ahead of the game in the new year.

Here are 3 tips for creating momentum over the holidays

1. Create an editorial calendar and pre-schedule blog posts for the next 8 weeks. There is a great plug in that makes this easy – WP Editorial Calendar. If you are stuck for what to write – you can do a best of series – updating some of your most popular posts.

2. Pre-write and pre-schedule your newsletter. Choose some of your best posts and get them scheduled as newsletters for the weeks that you will be away. You can also pre-schedule your social media. But, sometimes it is easy to find pockets of time for social media during family vacations.

3. Create a product or have a Black Friday sale. Customers are online and buying during the holidays. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days of the year – this also goes for people who aren’t selling physical products. If you already have products for sale, bundle them and sell them at a discount. Or, create a program for the new year and sell it at a discount for Black Friday. Either way, you’ll have a little bit of extra cash for your own holiday shopping.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - US Defense Sec'y: Cyberattacks Could Rival 9/11 ( 1

jfruh writes: "U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta painted a scary picture of an "aggressor nation or extremist group" launching a coordinated cyberattack on the US, using as an example the "Shamoon" malware that bricked thousands of computers at a US-Saudi oil company and replaced files with an image of a burning US flag. But is Panetta just trying to whip up fears in order to get more military control over the Internet?"

Feed Google News Sci Tech: Orbiter spots 'dry ice' snowflakes falling on Red Planet - Christian Science Mon (

Christian Science Monitor

Orbiter spots 'dry ice' snowflakes falling on Red Planet
Christian Science Monitor
A spacecraft orbiting Mars has detected carbon dioxide snow falling on the Red Planet, making Mars the only body in the solar system known to host this weird weather phenomenon. The snow on Mars fell from clouds around the planet's south pole during ...
Curiosity Rover Captures Martian EclipseWired
Curiosity rover captures amazing photograph of Martian moon moving across the ... Daily Mail
What Are the 'Puzzling Little Martian Spheres' Found on the Red Planet?
Scientific Computing-Register
all 102 news articles

Submission + - Huge diamond deposits found in Russia ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: reports that "'Russia has just declassified news that will shake world gem markets to their core: the discovery of a vast new diamond field containing "trillions of carats," enough to supply global markets for another 3,000 years. The Soviets discovered the bonanza back in the 1970s beneath a 35-million-year-old, 62-mile diameter asteroid crater in eastern Siberia known as Popigai Astroblem. They decided to keep it secret, and not to exploit it, apparently because the USSR's huge diamond operations at Mirny, in Yakutia, were already producing immense profits in what was then a tightly controlled world market."

Submission + - What does the PC need to do in order to survive? (

colinneagle writes: In a recent interview with BusinessWeek, Intel CEO Paul Otellini stated the obvious: we will always have a personal computer.

"The PC is not going to go away anytime soon, if ever. It’s going to continue to evolve. Right now, it’s the most powerful tool you can have, but it doesn’t mean that there won’t be tablets or phones or even connected cars," said the chief.

One of the trends that's become more and more obvious in recent years is that PC evolution has more or less stopped. Oh sure, the latest motherboards with the latest Intel and AMD chipsets are out there, but really, how much change is taking place in the PC market?

In many ways, the modern PC hasn't added anything new. Sure, it's added Ethernet. That was a necessity. Most have added onboard AC97 audio, but I can tell you that is no equal to even a basic SoundBlaster card. The basic PC case could use some alterations, too. Why should I have to pay for a separate Ethernet router/Wi-Fi base station? This could easily be built into a case rather than having a separate device taking up space and a power outlet. Also, there should be some kind of smartphone integration via Bluetooth, but many PCs don't even come with native Bluetooth at all.

It's time the PC became the boss of the house and did many more things, not just a few things faster than last year.

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