sandbagger writes "New York City may have to deal with a measles problem. New Yorkers are being urged to make sure all household members, including young children, are vaccinated. To date, there have been 16 confirmed cases and four hospitalizations. This follows news from the CDC in December that 2013 saw triple the average number of yearly measles cases. 2014 is off to an even worse start; there have been cases recently in the Boston metropolitan area and more than a dozen in the Bay Area as well. Vaccinations seem to be a victim of their own success — people look around and see no polio or measles and wonder why they should bother. Others repeat bogus claim about vaccines causing autism. How do you think we can get through to the anti-vaxxers?"
mdsolar writes with news that the aging reactor fleet in the U.S. will likely see units hitting 80 or more years of use before being decommissioned. From the article: "Officials of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear power industry expect the first application to be filed with the agency in 2018 or 2019 for a license renewal to operate a power reactor or reactors beyond 60 years. At a Nuclear Energy Institute forum in Washington Tuesday, neither NRC nor industry officials named specific plants considered likely to apply, and it was not clear from their remarks if any nuclear operator has yet volunteered to be the first to apply." Also see the staff report on preparing for the first applications. The proposed operating license changes would place no limit on the number of 20 year extensions, so perhaps a few reactors will end up in operation for a full century (if there's anyone left who can remember how to operate them then).
sciencehabit writes "When you hear a friend's voice, you immediately picture her, even if you can't see her. And from the tone of her speech, you quickly gauge if she's happy or sad. You can do all of this because your human brain has a 'voice area.' Now, scientists using brain scanners and a crew of eager dogs have discovered that dog brains, too, have dedicated voice areas. The finding helps explain how canines can be so attuned to their owners' feelings."
Nerval's Lobster writes "The winter weather made my hands numb. I was distracted, rushed, running late to a meeting. Put those two things together, and it's a recipe for disaster,' Boonsri Dickinson writes in her account of how she lost her Google Glass unit. 'The cab had already gone two blocks before I realized my Google Glass was no longer in my hand. I asked the driver to swing back around to where he picked me up; I retraced my steps along the snowy street to my apartment, looking for my $1,500 device. No luck. Total panic.' The device featured photos, video, email, and other data that, in the wrong hands, could seriously upend her life. Fortunately, the person who found the Glass unit was a.) more interested in returning the device than wrecking her existence, and b.) engaged in quite a bit of digital detective work to track her down (with some help from Google). 'The device holds more than enough data to make me nervous about the possible voyeuristic invasion of my privacy, and the fear of the thought that the media connected to my Glass would possibly end up online, somewhere, cached forever in a Google search,' she concluded. But the saga also reset some of her faith in humanity."
I had a big ISA card with POTS plugs on the back in a new (at the time) computer with Windows 3.1 that could receive and print faxes. Gosh that was a very long time ago.
sciencehabit writes "Many physicians and parents report that their autistic children have unusually severe gastrointestinal problems, such as chronic constipation or diarrhea. These observations have led some researchers to speculate that an ailing gut contributes to the disorder in some cases, but scientific data has been lacking. Now, a provocative study claims that a probiotic treatment for gastrointestinal issues can reduce autismlike symptoms in mice and suggests that this treatment could work for humans, too."
mdsolar writes in with news about a new wind-energy project off the coast of Fukushima. "A project to harness the power of the wind about 20 kilometers (12 miles) off the coast of Fukushima, site of the March 2011 nuclear disaster, began generating power on an operational basis today. The project, funded by the government and led by Marubeni Corp. (8002), is a symbol of Japan's ambition to commercialize the unproven technology of floating offshore wind power and its plan to turn quake-ravaged Fukushima into a clean energy hub. 'Fukushima is making a stride toward the future step by step,' Yuhei Sato, governor of Fukushima, said today at a ceremony in Fukushima marking the project's initiation. 'Floating offshore wind is a symbol of such a future.'"
mrspoonsi writes "Engadget reports 'California is technology's spiritual home in the US, where Teslas roam free, and Google Glass is already a social norm. Well, unless you're a member of the San Diego law enforcement that is — as one unlucky driver just found out. That commuter was Cecilia Abadie, and she's (rather fittingly) taken to Google+ after being given a ticket for driving while wearing her Explorer Edition.'"
Nate the greatest writes "The Kernel started an uproar last week when they 'discovered' that the Kindle Store and other ebookstores sell adult content in the erotica category. None of the content is actually illegal, but it is icky enough that the major ebookstores decided to respond by removing anything even vaguely questionable. Unfortunately, they went too far, resulting in an act of censorship the likes of which we haven't seen since Paypal went after the indie ebook distributor Smashwords. The Daily Mail reports that WH Smith went so far as to shut down their website with the promise that it won't reopen until all self-published titles have been removed, and according to BBC News, B&N is also deleting content. Numerous authors have reported on KBoards that Amazon and B&N have removed far more than just the titles that feature questionable content like pseudo-incest; they appear to be running keyword searches and removing any title that mentions innocuous words like babysitter, sister, or teenager. And they're not the only ones; there's a new report that Kobo has jumped on the ban wagon as well."
mdsolar writes in with a story about the fallout from a nuclear plant closing on a small town in Maine. "In a wooded area behind a camouflage-clad guard holding an assault rifle, dozens of hulking casks packed with radioactive waste rest on concrete pads — relics of the shuttered nuclear plant that once powered the region and made this fishing town feel rich. In the 17 years since Maine Yankee began dismantling its reactors and shedding its 600 workers, this small, coastal town north of Portland has experienced drastic changes: property taxes have spiked by more than 10 times for the town's 3,700 residents, the number living in poverty has more than doubled as many professionals left, and town services and jobs have been cut. 'I have yet to meet anyone happy that Maine Yankee is gone,' said Laurie Smith, the town manager. 'All these years later, we're still feeling the loss of jobs, the economic downturn, and the huge tax increases.'"
First time accepted submitter zmitch32 writes "I live in a dorm, and I have ADHD, so every little noise distracts me. I know this annoyance isn't limited to those with ADHD, so how does everyone else block out the noise? I can't really cover my walls in soundproof foam because I live in a dorm. I can't just listen to music because I find it too interesting and just end up getting distracted by it. I use ear plugs to block out small noises, but they don't block out human voices very well at all. What do you guys/gals recommend?"
netbuzz writes "A new law banning broadcasters from delivering TV commercials at a higher volume takes effect today at the end of a yearlong implementation period. Called the CALM Act, or Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, the law does provide for violators to be fined. TV commercials that crank up the volume have been the No. 1 complaint logged with the FCC over the last 10 years."
An anonymous reader writes "After more than a decade of research, and a proof of concept in 2010, IBM Research has finally cracked silicon nanophotonics (or CMOS-integrated nanophotonics, CINP, to give its full name). IBM has become the first company to integrate electrical and optical components on the same chip, using a standard 90nm semiconductor process. These integrated, monolithic chips will allow for cheap chip-to-chip and computer-to-computer interconnects that are thousands of times faster than current state-of-the-art copper and optical networks. Where current interconnects are generally measured in gigabits per second, IBM's new chip is already capable of shuttling data around at terabits per second, and should scale to peta- and exabit speeds."
Zothecula writes "In the past few years, not only has the Corvette-like Batmobile from Batman Returns been put up for auction, but a jet-powered replica of that same style of Batmobile has also been created. A drivable copy of the Dark Knight-era Tumbler has likewise been built, along with a working replica of the associated Bat Pod motorcycle. For many people, however, the only 'true' Batmobile is the original version driven by Adam West in the 1960s TV series – and it's about to be put on the auction block, for the first time ever."
New submitter muon-catalyzed writes "Formula E — the new eco-friendly forumula racing just secured a major european city. Rome joins a growing eco-racing scene after Rio de Janeiro agreed to be part of it in August. Additional cities are expected in the coming weeks, this should quickly lead to a solidified race itinerary, the FIA says. Having Rome onside won't get cars to the starting line any sooner, but it may underscore Formula E's advantages in noise and pollution over gas-powered leagues — when its cars can race around the Colosseum without creating a ruckus, other cities (and spectators) might just follow suit."