Zothecula writes "Synthetic crop fertilizers are a huge source of pollution. This is particularly true when they're washed from fields (or leach out of them) and enter our waterways. Unfortunately, most commercial crops need the fertilizer, because it provides the nitrogen that they require to survive. Now, however, a scientist at the University of Nottingham has developed what he claims is an environmentally-friendly process, that allows virtually any type of plant to obtain naturally-occurring nitrogen directly from the atmosphere." The process involves injecting a bacteria that colonizes the plant and fixes atmospheric nitrogen in exchange for a bit of sugar, similar to soybeans. Only this bacteria will readily colonize most any plant.
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New submitter nusscom writes "On July 28th, as has been reported by BBC, a record number of EVE Online players participated in a record-breaking online battle between two alliances. This battle, which was essentially a turf-war was comprised of over 4,000 online players at one time. The load was so large that Crowd Control Productions (CCP) slowed down the game time to 10% of normal to accommodate the massive amount of activity." This is the largest battle to ever occur on EVE Online.
vinces99 writes with this excerpt from the UW news service: "It might be easier than previously thought for a planet to overheat into the scorchingly uninhabitable 'runaway greenhouse' stage, according to new research (abstract, article paywalled) by astronomers at the University of Washington and the University of Victoria. In the runaway greenhouse stage, a planet absorbs more solar energy than it can give off to retain equilibrium. As a result, the world overheats, boiling its oceans and filling its atmosphere with steam, which leaves the planet glowing-hot and forever uninhabitable, as Venus is now. One estimate of the inner edge of a star's 'habitable zone' is where the runaway greenhouse process begins. The habitable zone is that ring of space around a star that's just right for water to remain in liquid form on an orbiting rocky planet's surface, thus giving life a chance. Revisiting this classic planetary science scenario with new computer modeling, the astronomers found a lower thermal radiation threshold for the runaway greenhouse process, meaning that stage may be easier to initiate." If correct, the habitable zone shrinks a bit and a few exoplanets might lose their potentially habitable status. And the Earth will leave the habitable zone in a billion and a half or so years as the Sun gets brighter.
Elliot Chang writes "BMW debuted its 2014 i3 EV in New York City this morning. The new car is the world's first purpose-built electric vehicle made primarily of lightweight carbon fiber. The new 2014 BMW i3 electric vehicle will be powered by a rear-mounted 170-hp electric motor coupled with a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery. The range of the standard i3 will be 80-100 miles, but drivers wanting to go the extra mile, so to speak, will be able to opt for a two-cylinder range extender engine that will boost the i3s range to about 180 miles. The new i3s DC Fast Charger will be able to go from a fully drained battery to about an 80 percent charge in just 20 minutes when plugged into a public EV fast-charging station."
sciencehabit writes "Human males and females have a strong tendency to live together in monogamous pairs, albeit for highly varied periods of time and degrees of fidelity. Just how such behavior arose has been the topic of much debate among researchers. A new study comes to a startling conclusion: Among primates, including perhaps humans, monogamy evolved because it protected infants from being killed by rival males."
MojoKid writes "Nokia, perhaps more-so than any other smartphone manufacturer in the game right now, needed to find a way to make something special. The new Nokia Lumia 1020, though it sports essentially the same internals and display as Nokia's Lumia 920, most definitely is different, and perhaps even an attractive alternative, depending on your specific needs. 41 megapixels of resolution, floating image stabilization and a powerful camera app to back it up, will make the Lumia 1020 pretty 'special' to some people, some of whom might be considering a Windows Phone for the first time as a result. Initial impressions of the device and its camera performance, show Nokia's new flagship device does shoot impressive still images and video, thanks in part to the Lumia 1020's image sensor and stabilization features. Nokia's Pro Cam app is comprised of a slick dial interface that offers virtually all of the controls you'd find in a DSLR camera. From White Balance, to ISO, Focus, Exposure and Flash Control, it's all in there. When you snap a picture, the 1020's camera grabs two versions of the shot; a large full resolution (7700x4300, roughly) shot with a huge 11MB file size is captured and an additional 5MP image is derived from that and stored as well. The results, especially in decent lighting, can be impressive."
vinces99 writes "The chemical components crucial to the start of life on Earth may have primed and protected each other in never-before-realized ways, according to new research led by University of Washington scientists. That could mean a simpler scenario for how that first spark of life on the planet came about. Scientists have long thought that life started when the right combination of bases and sugars produced self-replicating ribonucleic acid, or RNA, inside a rudimentary 'cell' composed of fatty acids. Under the right conditions, fatty acids naturally form into bag-like structures similar to today's cell membranes. In testing one of the fatty acids representative of those found before life began – decanoic acid – the scientists discovered that the four bases in RNA bound more readily to the decanoic acid than did the other seven bases tested. By concentrating more of the bases and sugar that are the building blocks of RNA, the system would have been primed for the next steps, reactions that led to RNA inside a bag."
colinneagle writes "A team of students at the University of Texas at Austin built and successfully tested a custom GPS spoofing device to remotely redirect an $80 million yacht onto a different route. The project was completed with the permission of the yacht's owners in the Mediterranean Sea this past June. Because the yacht's crew relies entirely on GPS signal for direction, the students were able to lead the yacht onto a different course without the knowledge of anyone on-board. The GPS spoofing device essentially over-powered all other GPS signals using until the spoofed signal was the only one that the yacht followed. The team then used the GPS spoofing device to convince the ship's crew to redirect onto a different route voluntarily. By changing the signal on the spoofing device, the students led the crew to believe that the ship was drifting off-course to the left. In response, the crew steered the ship to the right, thinking that it would get the ship back on course, when it actually brought the ship off the course entirely."
sl4shd0rk writes "Samsung-is-not-as-cool-as-Apple Judge Colin Birss, rules in favor of Volkswagon to ban Flavio Garcia, a computer scientist, from revealing details about 'Wirelessly Lockpicking a Vehicle Immobiliser' at USENIX in August. Volkswagen says the flaw could allow someone to 'break the security and steal a car' so it is justifiable grounds for blocking Flavio's paper. No word yet on how soon Volkswagen will have a patch."
AmiMoJo writes "Technology giant Apple is facing fresh allegations of worker rights violations at Chinese factories of one of its suppliers, the Pegatron Group. China Labor Watch has alleged that three factories of Pegatron violate a 'great number of international and Chinese laws and standards.' These include underage labour, contract violations and excessive working hours. Li Qiang, executive director of China Labor Watch, claimed that 'our investigations have shown that labour conditions at Pegatron factories are even worse than those at Foxconn factories.' The campaign group said that it had found that average weekly working hours in the three factories investigated by it were approximately 66 hours, 67 hours, and 69 hours, respectively."
chipperdog writes "NorthPine.com reports: 'ASCAP is firing back against Pandora Radio's attempt to get lower music royalty rates by buying a terrestrial radio station, "Hits 102.7" (KXMZ Box Elder-Rapid City). In a petition to deny, ASCAP alleges "Pandora has failed to fully disclose its ownership, and to adequately demonstrate that it complies with the Commission's foreign ownership rules." ASCAP also alleges that Pandora has no intention of operating KXMZ to serve the public interest, but is rather only interested in obtaining lower royalty rates. Pandora reached a deal to buy KXMZ from Connoisseur Media for $600,000 earlier this year and is already running the station through a local marketing agreement.'"
benrothke writes "SlideShareis a free web 2.0 based slide hosting service where users can upload presentation-based files. Launched in October 2006, it's considered to be similar to YouTube, but for slideshows. It was originally meant to be used for businesses to share slides among employees more easily, but it has since expanded to also become a host of a large number of slides which are uploaded merely to entertain. SlideShare gets an estimated 58 million unique visitors a month and has about 16 million registered users. With such a strong user base, authors Kit Seeborg and Andrea Meyer write in Present Yourself: Using SlideShare to Grow Your Business how SlideShare users can use the site (including other similar collaborative sites such as Prezi and Scribd) to present their story to a worldwide audience. Given that visual presentations are the new language of business, understanding how to maximize their potential can be a valuable asset for the entrepreneur, job seeker and everyone in between." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
SmartAboutThings writes "If you think optical discs are dead and are a sign of the past, maybe you need to take this into consideration – Sony and Panasonic have just announced in Tokyo that they have signed a basic agreement with the objective of developing the next-generation optical discs that are said to have a recording capacity of at least 300GB. The two companies have even set a deadline for this ambitious project: before the end of 2015."
colinneagle writes "AllThingsD reported that Bob Mansfield, Apple's Senior Vice President of Technologies, has disappeared from the executive management team at Apple. But it was only last October when Mansfield was widely reported to have been convinced to return from retirement by Apple CEO Tim Cook for a two-year stint. His return to the company may have been cut short on account of Apple's continued reliance on Samsung for its mobile SOC processors, for which Apple paid an estimated $10 billion to Samsung last year. Mansfield's group was to have played a major role in this, and apparently it has not been able effect this change."
AlistairCharlton writes "A petition campaigning for Twitter to improve its measures against online abuse has received more than 55,000 signatures in two days. The petition was set up in support of feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, who faced a torrent of abusive tweets, including threats to rape and kill her, after successfully campaigning for a woman's picture to appear on a banknote; Jane Austen will appear on £10 notes from 2017."
Nerval's Lobster writes "More than half of Americans believe that the federal courts have failed to limit the U.S. government's collection of personal information via phone records and the Internet, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. But that's nothing compared to the 70 percent who believe that the government 'uses this data for purposes other than investigating terrorism,' according to the organization's summary of its survey. Another 63 percent of respondents indicated they thought the government is collecting information about the content of their communications. The Pew Research Center surveyed 1,480 adults over the course of five days in July. 'The public's views of the government's anti-terrorism efforts are complex, and many who believe the reach of the government's data collection program is expansive still approve of the effort overall,' the organization's summary added. 'In every case, however, those who view the government's data collection as far-reaching are less likely to approve of the program than those who do not.' Some 47 percent of those surveyed approved of the government's collection of phone and Internet data, while 50 percent disapproved. Among those who thought the government is reading their personal email or listening to their phone calls, some 40 percent approved of the data collection, even as 58 percent disapproved. There's much more, including how opinions of government surveillance break across political party lines on the Pew Research Center's Website."
vinces99 writes "Researchers have developed a new method that can look at a specific segment of DNA and pinpoint a single mutation, which could help diagnose and treat diseases such as cancer and tuberculosis. These small changes can be the root of a disease or the reason some infectious diseases resist certain antibiotics. The findings were published online July 28 in the journal Nature Chemistry. 'We've really improved on previous approaches because our solution doesn't require any complicated reactions or added enzymes, it just uses DNA,' said lead author Georg Seelig, a University of Washington assistant professor of electrical engineering and of computer science and engineering. 'This means that the method is robust to changes in temperature and other environmental variables, making it well-suited for diagnostic applications in low-resource settings.' The researchers designed probes that can pick out mutations in a single base pair in a target stretch of DNA. The probes allow researchers to look in much more detail for variations in long sequences up to 200 base pairs while current methods can detect mutations in stretches of up to only 20."
cylonlover writes "People have been shooting things into space since the 1940s, but in every case this has involved using rockets. This works, but it's incredibly expensive with the cheapest launch costs hovering around $2,000 per pound. This is in part because almost every bit of the rocket is either destroyed or rendered unusable once it has put the payload into orbit. Reusable launch vehicles like the SpaceX Grasshopper offer one way to bring costs down, but another approach is to dump the rockets altogether and hurl payloads into orbit. That's what HyperV Technologies Corp. of Chantilly, Virginia is hoping to achieve with a 'mechanical hypervelocity mass accelerator' called the slingatron."
First time accepted submitter chris.kohlhepp writes "The Emacs editor just got consolidated package management with "Feline Herd", offering 2000+ packages under one roof. No struggle with convoluted keyboard shortcuts — only easy GUI navigation via toolbar buttons! Every conceivable programming language is handled. Cuts the Emacs learning curve to a minimum for learners."
First time accepted submitter marshallr writes "Technical Information Release TIR 13-10 becomes effective in Massachusetts on July 31st, 2013. It requires software consultants to collect a 6.25% sales tax from their clients if they perform 'computer system design services and the modification, integration, enhancement, installation or configuration of standardized software.' TIR 13-10 was published to mass.gov on July 25th, 2013 to provide the public a few working days to review the release and make comments."
elphie007 writes "Fourteen months after the Australian Parliament announced an inquiry into the disparity between IT pricing for Australian consumers, the Committee's final report has been published. The report highlights the importance of IT in Australia, and that Australian consumers are frequently shafted in an uncomfortable manner when it comes to purchasing IT goods and services. With recommendations ranging from the removal of parallel importation restrictions to the possible banning of geo-blocking services, could this mean the end of US bound Adobe shopping trips and the beginning of pricing equality for Australian IT consumers? More reports/analysis is available here and here."
renai42 writes "If you've been in the IT industry for a while, you'll know that Lenovo's ThinkPad brand has a strong reputation with large organisations for quality, dating back to the brand's pre-2005 ownership by IBM. However, all that may be set to change with the news that the defence agencies of key Western governments such as Australia, the US, Britain, Canada and New Zealand have banned Lenovo gear from being used in sensitive areas, because of concerns that the Chinese vendor has been leaving back doors in its devices for the Chinese Government. No evidence has yet been presented to back the claims, but Lenovo remains locked out of sensitive areas of these governments. Is it fearmongering? Or is there some legitimate basis for the ban?"
First time accepted submitter Consistent1 writes "A paywalled article in the "Nature Materials" journal describes the use of Magnetite to achieve ultra fast electronic switching, albeit, at the moment, only at extremely low temperatures. According to a story on Quartz, the team, led by Dr. Hermann Dürr from the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences hopes 'to continue the experiment with materials that can operate at room temperature. One possibility is vanadium dioxide.' Chips utilizing this technology may operate at clock cycles thousands of times faster than the silicon-based chips used today."
Zothecula writes "Parkour is all about hurling yourself quickly and efficiently past whatever obstacles are in your path while maintaining as much momentum as possible. It's a challenge for humans, so how would robots fare? In an effort to push the boundaries of robotic agility, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania decided to find out by teaching their RHex robot some Parkour moves." See the Kod*lab homepage for much, much more on the RHex family.