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Feed Financial Institutions Start To Turn On The Almighty FICO (techdirt.com)

If you wanted to get a truly accurate picture of an individual's creditworthiness, you'd want to include factors like salary, past payment history, career risk, health risk, family situation and so on. But for the most part, the lending market operates on the assumption that a single numerical score, the FICO score, can adequately synthesize all of the relevant data into a useful indicator for lenders. However, the recent breakdown of the subprime mortgage market has some market participants wondering whether the FICO score is becoming irrelevant. Certainly, it did an inadequate job of anticipating default rates among borrowers on the low end of the spectrum. Critics are also pointing out that the system has only been used by mortgage lenders since the 90s, during which housing prices have steadily grown along with the economy. Thus, the system hasn't been tested during a period of slumping housing prices and significant economic weakness. Already, we've seen new services spring up that try to give more detailed information on the reliability of a borrower or renter, in an attempt to break the stranglehold on the market held by the credit reporting agencies. If banks and other lenders continue to grow dissatisfied by the FICO system, it's likely that more alternative institutions will emerge.

Feed Plants Recognize Their Siblings, Biologists Discover (sciencedaily.com)

Biologists have found that plants get competitive when forced to share their plot with strangers of the same species, but they're accommodating when potted with their siblings. It's the first time the ability to recognize and favor kin has been revealed in plants.

Feed Physicists Discover 'Triple-scoop' Baryon (sciencedaily.com)

Physicists have discovered a new heavy particle, the Îb (pronounced "zigh sub b") baryon, with a mass of 5.774±0.019 GeV/c2, approximately six times the proton mass. The newly discovered electrically charged Îb baryon, also known as the "cascade b," is made of a down, a strange and a bottom quark.

Matter Discovered Traveling at Near Light Speed 403

mcgrew writes to mention New Scientist is reporting that scientists have clocked matter traveling at 99.999% the speed of light. "The fastest flows of matter in the universe shoot out of dying stars at more than 99.999% the speed of light, new observations reveal. When a massive star runs out of fuel, it collapses to form a black hole or a neutron star. In the process, some of the matter from the star also explodes outward at blistering speeds, producing an intense burst of gamma rays and other radiation."

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