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Canada

Dead Pigs Used To Investigate Ocean's "Dead Zones" 106

Posted by samzenpus
from the big-ocean-long-pig dept.
timothy writes "As places to study what happens to corpses, the Atlantic Ocean is both much larger and much more specialized than the famous 'body farm' in Knoxville, TN. But for all kinds of good reasons, sending human bodies into Davy Jones' locker just to see where they float and how they bloat is unpopular. Pigs don't pay taxes, and more importantly, they don't vote. So Canadian scientists have taken to using them as human-body proxies, to study what happens when creatures of similar size and hairlessness (aka, us) end up 86ed and in the drink."
Science

Copernicium Confirmed As Element 112 183

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the cp-had-other-meanings dept.
Several sources are reporting that the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry has confirmed Copernicium as element 112 on the periodic table of elements with the symbol Cn. "The naming of the new element will be the culmination of a long, fraught journey involving fierce competition, dashed hopes, clever detective work and even a brush with scientific misconduct. With a nucleus containing 112 protons — 20 more than uranium, the heaviest of the naturally occurring elements — it will be the weightiest atom whose existence has been confirmed so far."
Space

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Posted by kdawson
from the toil-and-trouble dept.
Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."
The Courts

Federal Judge Says Corps of Engineers Liable For Katrina Damage 486

Posted by timothy
from the too-bad-a-judge-didn't-do-the-engineering dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Christian Science Monitor reports that a federal judge has ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers — and thus the US government — is liable for a big chunk of the damage caused when hurricane Katrina pushed ashore on August 29, 2005 by failing to stop the natural widening of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet canal (aka Mr. Go) causing it to eventually bump up against the shore of Lake Borgne, on the city's east side. 'It is the court's opinion that the negligence of the corps, in this instance by failing to maintain the MR-GO properly, was not policy, but insouciance, myopia, and shortsightedness,' wrote US District Court Judge Stanwood Duval. Judge Duval said he believed it was the failure to shore up the outlet that 'doomed the channel to grow to two to three times its design width' allowing waves on Lake Borgne to enter the Mr. Go and travel into the east side of the city, battering the levees to a degree to which they were not designed. 'One of the greatest catastrophes in the history of the US' was both predictable and preventable, testified veteran Louisiana geologist Sherwood Gagliano, a former Corps consultant."
Government

California Continues To Push For Violent Game Legislation 167

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-at-first-you-don't-succeed,-you're-probably-california dept.
Back in February, the US Court of Appeals shot down a California law that banned the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. Shortly thereafter, State Senator Leland Yee petitioned the US Supreme Court to review the case. Now, along with California's Psychiatric and Psychological Associations, Yee has filed an amicus curiae brief with Court that elaborates on the reasoning behind the law. Within the brief (PDF) are some interesting quotes: "Parents can read a book, watch a movie or listen to a CD to discern if it is appropriate for their child. These violent video games, on the other hand, can contain up to 800 hours of footage with the most atrocious content often reserved for the highest levels and can be accessed only by advanced players after hours upon hours of progressive mastery. ... Notably, extended play has been observed to depress activity in the frontal cortex of the brain which controls executive thought and function, produces intentionality and the ability to plan sequences of action, and is the seat of self-reflection, discipline and self-control." The video game industry has filed its own amicus brief to dispute Yee's claims.
Image

Passenger Avoids Delay By Fixing Plane Himself 178

Posted by samzenpus
from the flying-the-diy-skies dept.
It would be a shame if an engineer on a recent Thomas Cook Airlines flight doesn't get a complimentary first class upgrade every time he flies. The engineer was on flight TCX9641 when it was announced that the trip would be delayed eight hours, while a mechanic was flown in to fix a problem. Luckily for the other passengers, the engineer happened to work for Thomsonfly Airlines, which has a reciprocal maintenance agreement with Thomas Cook. After about 35 minutes the man fixed the problem and the flight was on its way. A spokeswoman for Thomas Cook said, "When they announced there was a technical problem he came forward and said who he was. We checked his licence and verified he was who he said he was, and he was able to fix the problem to avoid the delay. We are very grateful that he was on the flight that day."
Math

+ - Patterns in Lottery Numbers->

Submitted by
markmcb
markmcb writes "Most everyone is familiar with the concept of the lottery, i.e., random numbers are selected and people guess what they will be for a cash prize. But how random are the numbers? Matt Vea has conducted a pattern analysis of the MegaMillions lottery, which recently offered a sum of $370M (USD) to the winner. Matt shows that the lottery isn't as random as it may seem and that there are 'better' choices than others to be made when selecting numbers. From the article, 'A single dollar in MegaMillions purchases a 1 in 175,711,536 chance of landing the jackpot ... a player stands a mildly better chance of winning a partial prize through the selection of weighted numbers.'"
Link to Original Source
Math

+ - One Way Escrowing Taxes/Insurance Can Be Good->

Submitted by
uriah923
uriah923 writes "With the recent hoop-dee-doo in the housing industry, banks are taking more steps to remove the risk from home loans. One of these is to offer a loan interest rate discount in return for the borrower guaranteeing they will escrow taxes and insurance. In this article, Brandon Hansen performed an economical analysis of whether or not accepting this offer is advisable from the borrower's perspective. If you're thinking of buying a house or are in the process somewhere, consider this an essential part of your stay-informed-so-I-don't-get-taken-to-the-cleaners activities."
Link to Original Source
Space

Hole in Asteroid Belt Reveals Extinction Asteroid 175

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-the-big-one dept.
eldavojohn writes "Further evidence for the asteroid mass extinction theory has been discovered as a break in the main asteroid belt of our solar system. From the article, "A joint U.S.-Czech team from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and Charles University in Prague suggests that the parent object of asteroid (298) Baptistina disrupted when it was hit by another large asteroid, creating numerous large fragments that would later create the Chicxulub crater on the Yucatan Peninsula as well as the prominent Tycho crater found on the Moon.""
Censorship

+ - Student arrested for writing essay

Submitted by
mcgrew
mcgrew writes "The Chicago Tribune reports that an eighteen year old straight A Cary-Grove High School student was arrested for writing a "disturbing" essay. From the Trib:

Allen Lee, an 18-year-old straight-A student at Cary-Grove High School, was arrested Tuesday near his home and charged with disorderly conduct for an essay police described as violently disturbing but not directed toward any specific person or location.
So much for freedom of speech in the US."
Math

+ - Busting the MythBusters' Yawn Experiment

Submitted by
markmcb
markmcb writes "Most everyone knows and loves the MythBusters, two guys who attempt to set the story straight on so many things people just take for granted. Well, everyone except Brandon Hansen, who has offered them a taste of their own medicine as he busts the MythBusters' improper use of statistics in their experiment to show yawning is contagious. While the article maintains it is still possible yawns are contagious, the author makes it clear that he's not giving the MythBusters any credit for proving such a claim, 'not with a correlation coefficient of .045835.'"

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