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Submission + - Climate Change and the Syrian Uprising (thebulletin.org)

An anonymous reader writes: This well-sourced article shows the effects of a prolonged (and believe it or not, unusual) drought on Syria: displacement of 1.5 million, agriculture collapse, and civil unrest. As much as people want to believe it's all about democracy, there are other factors. Quote: "The considerations that impel an individual to protest in streets that are known to be lined by armed security forces extend beyond an abstract desire for democracy. Only a sense of extreme desperation and hopelessness can constitute the need — rather than a mere desire — to bring change to a country's economic, political, and social systems."

Submission + - Lego Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover with Building Instructions (rebrickable.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Following the success of the MSL landing, the Lego world have created their own (much cheaper!) version. Rebrickable has a Lego Mars Curiosity Rover which shows the full parts list and very well done PDF building instructions, created by Stephen Pakbaz who was an engineer that worked on the rover at JPL. You can also key in the Lego sets you already own and see how many of the required parts you are missing, who knows maybe you already have a Curiosity Rover sitting in your old pile of Lego.

Submission + - Student creates world's fastest shoe with a printer (geek.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Engineer and designer Luc Fusaro from the Royal College of Art in London has developed the prototype of a running shoe that can be uniquely sculpted to any athlete’s foot. It’s as light as a feather too, weighing in at 96 grams. The prototype is aptly named, Designed to Win, and is 3D printed out of nylon polyamide powder, which is a very strong and lightweight material. The manufacturing process uses selective laser sintering (SLS), which fuses powdered materials with a CO2 laser to create an object. This process means 3D scans can be taken of the runner’s foot so as to ensure the show matches the shape perfectly. Fusaro can also change the stiffness of the soles according to the athlete’s physical abilities.

The shoe can improve performance by 3.5%, meaning a 10 second 100-meter sprinter could see his time drop by 0.35 seconds, which is a huge time saving relatively speaking. Imagine if Usain Bolt put a pair of these running shows on.

The Military

Submission + - Mach 20 and beyond? DARPA program to develop hypersonic flight (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: "Is it possible to develop an aircraft that can fly — and survive — at over 20-times the speed of sound? It has been an idea that has met with only minimal success over the years but that may change. Next month the big idea guys at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will hold a briefing to detail exactly what it expects out of a new program that will seek to develop hypersonic aircraft or missile technology. DARPA says the goal of its Integrated Hypersonics program is "to develop, mature, and test next- generation technologies needed for global-range, maneuverable, hypersonic flight at Mach 20 and above for missions ranging from space access to survivable, time-critical transport to conventional prompt global strike."

Submission + - FDA Approves HIV Home-Use Test Kit

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The LA Times reports that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first over-the-counter HIV test kit, allowing people to test themselves in private at home and get preliminary results in less than 30 minutes. The test which works by detecting antibodies in a swab from the gums, should not be considered final — in trials, the test failed to detect HIV in 1 in every 12 patients known to be infected, and returned false positives in 1 in 5,000 cases. The new at-home test, called OraQuick, will be sold in supermarkets and pharmacies and manufacturer, OraSure, has not said how much the test will cost, only that it will be more than the $18 cost for the professional kit. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that of the 1.2 million people in the US with HIV, 1 in 5 is not aware of the infection and that a disproportionate number of the 50,000 new cases of HIV each year is linked to people who have not been tested. Chip Lewis, a spokesman for Whitman-Walker Health, which provides AIDS care in Washington, says at-home testing could reach some people who didn't want to go to a clinic but removing medical professionals from the process could cause problems. "It's not like a home pregnancy test," says Lewis. "You need really a lot of information about how to read the test, how to use the test properly.""

Submission + - The tech behind James Cameron's submarine (extremetech.com) 1

MrSeb writes: "Yesterday, James Cameron completed a five mile deep test dive in the Pacific Ocean, in preparation for a seven-mile (36,000ft, 11,000m) dive to Challenger Deep, in the Mariana Trench; the deepest place in the world. We don't know when the actual dive will occur, but it will probably be soon. At 36,000ft, the pressure exerted on the hull is 16,000 psi; over 1000 atmospheres, and equivalent to eight tons pushing down on every square inch of your body. Understandably, building a submersible (and equipment, such as cameras, motors, and batteries) that can withstand that kind of pressure, and then safely return to the surface, is difficult. Here, ExtremeTech digs into the technology required to get Cameron safely to the bottom of the ocean, film some 3D, IMAX footage, and then return to the surface."

Submission + - Obayashi to Build Space Elevator by 2050 (yomiuri.co.jp) 3

mattr writes: "Japan's Obayashi Construction announced plans to build a space elevator by 2050. They are famous for wrecking skylines with the stupidly too big bullet train station in Kyoto, world's tallest self-supporting tower Tokyo Sky Tree and just starting now, Taipei Dome. It will take a week at 200 kph for your party of 30 to reach the 36 km high terminal station, while the counterweight sails by at 96 km, a quarter of the way to the Moon."

Submission + - Heartland Institute document leaker comes forward, maintains documents are real (discovermagazine.com)

The Bad Astronomer writes: "Last week, an anonymous source leaked several internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a non-profit think tank known for anti-global-warming rhetoric. The leaker has come forward: Peter Gleick, scientist and journalist. In his admission, he cites his own breach of ethics, but also maintains that all the documents are real. This includes the potentially embarrassing "2012 Climate Strategy" document stating that Heartland wants to "dissuade teachers from teaching science." Heartland still claims this document is a forgery, but there is no solid evidence either way."

Submission + - Scientists Study How Little Exercise Do You Need

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Millions of Americans don’t engage in much exercise, if they complete any at all and asked why, a majority of respondents, in survey after survey, say, “I don’t have time.” Now Gretchen Reynolds reports that instead of wondering just how much exercise people really need in order to gain health and fitness, a group of scientists in Canada are turning that issue on its head and asking, how little exercise do we need to maintain fitness and the answer appears to be, a lot less than most of us think — provided we’re willing to work a bit. Most people have heard of intervals, or repeated, short, sharp bursts of strenuous activity, interspersed with rest periods. Almost all competitive athletes strategically employ a session or two of interval training every week to improve their speed and endurance. Researchers have developed a version of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that involves one minute of strenuous effort, at about 90 percent of a person’s maximum heart rate (which most of us can estimate, very roughly, by subtracting our age from 220), followed by one minute of easy recovery. The effort and recovery are repeated 10 times, for a total of 20 minutes and the interval training is performed twice a week. Despite the small time commitment of this modified HIIT program, after several weeks of practicing it, both the unfit volunteers and the cardiac patients showed significant improvements in their health and fitness. "A growing body of evidence demonstrates that high-intensity interval training can serve as an effective alternate to traditional endurance-based training, inducing similar or even superior physiological adaptations in healthy individuals and diseased populations, at least when compared on a matched-work basis.""

Submission + - Parasites in Your Brain Make You Sexy and Fearless (at a Price) (theatlantic.com) 2

IronSilk writes: "Toxoplasmosis is a parasite that lives in cats and cycles through rats, manipulating their brain chemistry to make them attracted to cats and thus eaten, completing the parasitic life cycle. But T. plasmodii also infects humans (maybe you) subtly influencing our behavior--differently for men and women. This Atlantic Monthly article gives the latest dope (or dopamine) on cat pee, schitzophrenia, extroverted women and introverted men. FYI, around 20% of Americans and 55% of French are infected..."
The Military

Submission + - Laser guided bullet can hit targets a mile away (gizmag.com)

jpwilliams writes: Gizmag reports that researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have tested a 10-inch bullet that can be fired from a smooth-bore rifle to hit a laser-marked target one mile away. Interestingly, "... the accuracy improves the further away the target is. 'Because the bullet's motions settle the longer it is in flight, accuracy improves at longer ranges.'"

Submission + - Zynga accused of cloning hit indie iPhone game Tin (gamasutra.com) 1

FrankPoole writes: Indie iPhone game developer Nimblebit is accusing social games giant Zynga of ripping off its popular mobile title Tiny Tower. Nimblebit's Ian Marsh got word out about the similarities between Dream Heights and Tiny Tower with an image that's still making the Twitter rounds. The image is made up of screenshots showing how Dream Heights' interface and gameplay mechanics appear strikingly similar to Tiny Tower's.

"Summit meetings tend to be like panda matings. The expectations are always high, and the results usually disappointing." -- Robert Orben