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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 55 declined, 4 accepted (59 total, 6.78% accepted)

Robotics

+ - Paraplegics take first steps with robotic legs

Submitted by
sm62704
sm62704 writes "New Scientist says that a robotic exoskeleton for paraplegics has been invented.

The device, called ReWalk, is the brainchild of engineer Amit Goffer, founder of Argo Medical Technologies, based in Israel. paralysed himself, he can't use his own device, since you need crutches with it and he lacks arm strength.

There is a video at NS of a man using this device. You will be assimilated! Resistance is futile! When the time comes you will beg to join us cyborgs."
Space

+ - 'spaghetti monster' powered by magnetic fields 1

Submitted by
sm62704
sm62704 writes "New Scientist has an article up titled Galactic 'spaghetti monster' powered by magnetic fields. From the article:

Long-lived magnetic fields are sustaining a mammoth network of spaghetti-like gas filaments around a black hole, a new study suggests. Previously, it was not clear what prevented the delicate filaments from being destroyed by competing gravitational forces.

The black hole lies at the heart of a large galaxy known as NGC 1275, which itself lies near the centre of a cluster of galaxies called Perseus.

As the black hole sucks in gas from its surroundings, it powers jets of matter that produce bubbles of energetic particles in the surrounding cluster gas. As these bubbles grow and rise, cooled gas from NGC 1275's core gets drawn into long tendrils in their wake, like the strings that trail behind balloons.

New Scientist has a Hubble photo of the "spagetti monster" in the article."

It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - FEMA hacked

Submitted by
sm62704
sm62704 writes "The AP is reporting that the Department of Homeland Security's FEMA was hacked over the weekend. The hacker maed $12,000 worth of phone calls to the middle east.

Feel safer now?"
Medicine

+ - "Gay gene" found

Submitted by
sm62704
sm62704 writes "New Scientist (and probably others) is repoorting that the perplexing question of how an anti-evolutionary trait like homosexuality and bisexuality can persist.

It turns out that the "gay gene" is on the X chromosome, of which females have two and males have one.

Andrea Camperio Ciani and colleagues at the University of Padua, Italy, showed that the female relatives of homosexual men tend to have more children, suggesting that genes on the X chromosome are responsible. Now the team have shown that the same is true for bisexuality.
<snip>
"The answer is remarkably simple: the same gene that causes men to like men also causes women to like men, and as a result to have more children."

The article has details about the research itself."

Medicine

+ - 'Beer goggles' are real - it's official

Submitted by
sm62704
sm62704 writes "New Scientist reports on a new study that shows that people do become more attractive when you are drinking.

In 2003, psychologists at the University of Glasgow, UK, published a study in which they asked heterosexual students in campus bars and cafés whether they had been drinking, and then got them to rate photos of people for attractiveness. While the results supported the beer goggles theory, another explanation is that regular drinkers tend to have personality traits that mean they find people more attractive, whether or not they are under the influence of alcohol at the time.

To resolve the issue, a team of researchers led by Marcus Munafò at the University of Bristol in the UK conducted a controlled experiment. They randomly assigned 84 heterosexal students to consume either a non-alcoholic lime-flavoured drink or an alcoholic beverage with a similar flavour. The exact amount of alcohol varied according to the individual but was designed to have an effect equivalent to someone weighing 70 kilograms drinking 250 millitres of wine — enough to make some students tipsy. After 15 minutes, the students were shown pictures of people their own age, from both sexes.

Both men and women who had consumed alcohol rated the faces as being more attractive than did the controls (Alcohol and Alcoholism, DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agn065).

So guys, if you're ugly, get her drunk!"

It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - Booted from black hat conference for hacking

Submitted by sm62704
sm62704 (957197) writes "The AP is reporting that three French hackers have been ejected from the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas for hacking.

The French journalists captured what they claimed were usernames and passwords of reporters from at least two media outlets — eWeek and CNET News. The eWeek reporter told organizers his login credentials looked like they were legitimate, while the CNET information appeared to be bogus.

The story doesn't say if they surrendered their credentials. But if they got caught, well, they weren't very good, were they?"

Sci-Fi

+ - Flying jet backpack a reality

Submitted by sm62704
sm62704 (957197) writes "The New York Times (among others) is reporting that the jet backpack has become a reality. The inventor claims they will be on the market next year.

Buck Rogers and James Bond used jetpacks, and since the 1960s, several real jetpack designs have been built from metal, plastic and propellant. None has flown more than a minute. Mr. Martin's machines can run for 30 minutes.

At $100,000 each I won't be able to afford one. Darn it!"

Sony

+ - Playstation 2 component incites African war

Submitted by sm62704
sm62704 (957197) writes "Yahoo Games is asking "Has the video game industry dug up its very own blood diamond?" However, the problem isn't just games or Sony as the article's headline suggests, it affects almost all consumer electronics and IT gear, as well as other uses such as aviation.

According to a report by activist site "Toward Freedom", for the past decade the search for a rare metal necessary in the manufacturing of Sony's Playstation 2 game console has fueled a brutal conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The material is coltan, which is refined into Tantalum, used in capacitors and resistors. Wikipedia says

Tantalum is also used to produce a variety of alloys that have high melting points, are strong and have good ductility. Alloyed with other metals, it is also used in making carbide tools for metalworking equipment and in the production of superalloys for jet engine components, chemical process equipment, nuclear reactors, and missile parts.

"
Transportation

+ - NASCAR in the sky

Submitted by sm62704
sm62704 (957197) writes "New Scientist is reporting that John Carmak's firm, Armadillo Aerospace, is racing a rocket propelled airplane against XCOR Aerospace of Mojave, California's rocket plane.

The Rocket Racing League is born! That is, if Carmak gets his flight permit from the Federal Aviation Administration in time.

The Rocket Racing League was founded Granger Whitelaw, an Indy 500 car race team owner, and X-Prize Foundation chairman Peter Diamandis."
The Media

+ - Batman beats women

Submitted by
sm62704
sm62704 writes "On the heels of yesterday's Batman discussion, the AP is reporting (via Yahoo news) that Batman star Christian Bale was arrested Tuesday for assaulting his sister and mother.

A police spokesman did not mention him by name but said "A 34-year-old man attended a central London police station this morning by appointment and was arrested in connection with an allegation of assault." He is reportedly still in jail."
Security

+ - Pacemakers can be hacked

Submitted by sm62704
sm62704 (957197) writes "The Chicago Tribune is reporting that researchers at University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Washington have demonstrated that "an implantable defibrillator could be altered remotely to deliver a dangerous shock or withhold a potentially lifesaving one. The group presented its findings at a recent symposium on security and privacy in Oakland."

The article quotes Dr. William Maisel, a Harvard cardiologist, as saying "This is not an important risk for patients right now. We just want the industry to be thoughtful about where we as a society are going with these devices."

The researchers urge the industry to pay more attention to security. The newspaper says "The group suggests various strategies, including making implants better able to recognize unauthorized signals and capable of alerting patients to unwanted interference.""
Businesses

+ - EBay scores victory in Internet trademark case

Submitted by sm62704
sm62704 (957197) writes "Reuters is reporting (via Yahoo news) that EBay has beat Tiffany jewelry in court in a "knockout" decision.

All of Tiffany's trademark infringement claims against eBay were rejected — a knockout blow to the four-year-old lawsuit that had been closely watched by Internet companies as well as luxury goods makers seeking to stop the sale of counterfeit products online.

Tiffany & Co had alleged that eBay turned a blind eye to the sale of fake Tiffany silver jewelry on its site. EBay had countered that it was not in a position to determine which goods were knock-offs of the prestigious New York brand and had said the jeweler did not adequately participate in eBay's programs that help brand owners prevent fraud.

The judge, in a 66-page decision following a non-jury trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan last November, said he was "not unsympathetic" to Tiffany and others who have invested in building their brands only to see them exploited on the Web. But he said the law was clearly on eBay's side.

"
Businesses

+ - Congress to grill tech giants on privacy policies

Submitted by
sm62704 (mcgrew)
sm62704 (mcgrew) writes "The AP says that Microsoft, Google, and Facebook executives will be "grilled" about online privacy today. However —

the company likely to get the most scrutiny is a small Silicon Valley startup called NebuAd Inc.

NebuAd has drawn fierce criticism from privacy advocates in recent weeks for working with Internet service providers to track the online behavior of their customers and then serve up targeted banner ads based on that behavior.

According to Ari Schwartz, vice president of the Center for Democracy & Technology, a civil liberties group, NebuAd's business model raises many of the same concerns as an earlier generation of "adware" companies. Those companies developed software programs that — when downloaded to a computer — could track where a user went on the Internet and mine that information to deliver customized online ads. Several NebuAd executives in fact were once employed by Gator Corp., an adware company that later renamed itself Claria Corp.

"
Space

+ - Astronomy collides with mathematics

Submitted by
sm62704
sm62704 writes "New scientist is reporting that

A gravitational lens can do more than reveal details of the distant universe. In an unexpected collision of astrophysics and algebra, it seems that this cosmic mirage can also be used to peer into the heart of pure mathematics.
It goes on to describe the numbers. However, I found this quote form the scientist involved to be at least as fascinating of the explanation of gravity lenses:

Rhie no longer works in academia, having run out of funding. "I didn't even bother to submit my papers to journals because I had been so much harassed by the referees [of earlier papers]," she told New Scientist. "I was new to gravitational lensing at that time. What I said and the way I said it must have been unfamiliar to the gravitational lensing experts."
"
United States

+ - 'Legal Weed' is just beer, but Feds want to censor

Submitted by sm62704
sm62704 (957197) writes "The LA Times is running the story of a brewer in Weed, California who makes Weed beer. The bottlecaps say "A friend in Weed is a friend indeed. Try Lagal Weed."

The feds are not amused.The bureau's bureaucrats have told Dillmann he needs to stop using the "Try Legal Weed" bottle caps. If he doesn't, he could risk fines or sanctions. His worst fear: being forced out of business.

"This is ludicrous, bizarre, like meeting Big Brother face-to-face," he grumbled recently. "Forget freedom of speech and the 1st Amendment. They are the regulatory gods, a judge and jury all rolled into one. This is a life-or-death issue for my business.""

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