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Submission + - Masao Yoshida, director of Daichii Fukushima nuclear plant, has died. (washingtonpost.com) 1

Doofus writes: Masao Yoshida, director of the Daichii Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, has passed away. Colleagues and politicos in Japan praised his disobedience during the post-tsunami meltdown and credited him with preventing much more widespread and intense damage.

On March 12, a day after the tsunami, Mr. Yoshida ignored an order from Tepco headquarters to stop pumping seawater into a reactor to try and cool it because of concerns that ocean water would corrode the equipment.

Tepco initially said it would penalize Mr. Yoshida even though Sakae Muto, then a vice president at the utility, said it was a technically appropriate decision. Mr. Yoshida received no more than a verbal reprimand after then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan defended the plant chief, the Yomiuri newspaper reported.

“I bow in respect for his leadership and decision-making,” Kan said Tuesday in a message posted on his Twitter account.


Comment Creep, Shmeep (Score 1) 365

inevitable mission creep, ending with the proof of self being required at polling places, to rent a house, buy a gun, open a bank account, acquire credit, board a plane or even attend a sporting event or log on the internet.

Except for some sporting events and accessing the internet, the other events all require ID, some require photo ID and others do not. Please, stop the hysterics. The issue is not whether you need to show an ID to vote, or to rent a house (credit report, anyone?), or buy a gun (background check, hello?), or board a plane (where have you been for the last 12 years?).

The bigger issue is does the DHS - or a client of their data - have authority to prevent you from carrying out these activities based on the data - identity and other - stored its databases. That would be a sensible concern.

Stop whining about policies of private institutions and state and local governments that are sensible and non-invasive. The arm-waving and yelling is immature, and cheapens other more valid concerns about the use of personally identifying (and classifying) data.

Comment Take 10 minute walk breaks (Score 1) 372


Get up from your desk a few times during the day, perhaps once in the morning, once at - or just after - lunchtime, once in the afternoon, and walk briskly for 10 minutes - OUTSIDE.

Walking lowers blood pressure, reduces stress levels, give you a chance to breathe non-recycled, fresh, or at least fresher, air (depending on where you work), and burns calories.

Diet is important. But even if your dietary choices are poor, a simple brisk walk of short duration a few times a day will measurably lengthen your life.
Biotech

Artificial Wombs In the Near Future? 367

New submitter DaemonDan writes "The first successful pregnancy by IVF was accomplished over 50 years ago, essentially creating a multi-billion dollar industry. Many scientists are trying to take it one step farther with a 100% test tube baby brought to term in an artificial womb. 'Cornell University's Dr. Hung-Ching Liu has engineered endometrial tissues by prompting cells to grow in an artificial uterus. When Liu introduced a mouse embryo into the lab-created uterine lining, "It successfully implanted and grew healthy," she said in this New Atlantis Magazine article. Scientists predict the research could produce an animal womb by 2020, and a human model by early 2030s.' The author of the article seems to believe that birth via artificial wombs could become the new norm, but is it really feasible, desirable or even affordable for the majority of Earth's population?"
Space

Probable Rogue Planet Spotted 155

Maow writes with news of a sighting of a rogue gas giant: "'This object was discovered during a scan that covered the equivalent of 1,000 times the [area] of the full moon,' said study co-author Etienne Artigau of the University of Montreal. 'We observed hundreds of millions of stars and planets, but we only found one homeless planet in our neighborhood.' This planet appears to be an astonishingly young 50-120 million years old. The original paper is on the arXiv. Here's hoping the Mayan End-of-World-2012 people don't seize upon this as some kind of impending rogue planet on a collision course with Earth, but one can expect it'll be bantered about on such forums." From the article: "The team believe it has a temperature of about 400C and a mass between four and seven times that of Jupiter - well short of the mass limit that would make it a likely brown dwarf."
Microsoft

Submission + - Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft With Immediate Effect (microsoft.com)

toomanyairmiles writes: The BBC reports that Microsoft's head of Windows division Steven Sinofsky has left the company with immediate effect. He will be replaced by Julie Larson-Green "Microsoft Corp. today announced that Windows and Windows Live President Steven Sinofsky will be leaving the company and that Julie Larson-Green will be promoted to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering. Tami Reller retains her roles as chief financial officer and chief marketing officer and will assume responsibility for the business of Windows. Both executives will report directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "
Robotics

Self-Assembling Robots Using Flying Drones 33

mikejuk writes with an excerpt from I Programmer on a neat swarm of robots that use flying drones to build a map of their environment: "How can a swarm of robots get a global picture of its environment? Easy it simply sends up a drone. We are used to thinking of drones as being used for surveillance by humans operating on the ground, but what is good for humans is good for robots too. The drone can view the overall terrain and run simulations of what configurations of robots could best traverse the slopes. Once it has worked out how to assemble the robots into a single machine the drone has to communicate the plan to the swarm using a protocol based on the colored lights they all have. The ground robots adopt a random color and the drone selects the one it wants to communicate with by displaying the same color. They then repeat the process until only one robot has been selected i.e the drone follows the color changes of the selected robot. Of course if you don't like the idea of human drones flying over your head you may not be happy about robots getting in on the act as well..." Original paper

Submission + - CloudFlare masters global pxe-driven content delievery (arstechnica.com)

Doofus writes: Quoting from the Ars article:

On August 22, CloudFlare, a content delivery network, turned on a brand new data center in Seoul, Korea—the last of ten new facilities started across four continents in a span of thirty days. The Seoul data center brought CloudFlare's number of data centers up to 23, nearly doubling the company's global reach—a significant feat in itself for a company of just 32 employees.

But there was something else relatively significant about the Seoul data center and the other 9 facilities set up this summer: despite the fact that the company owned every router and every server in their racks, and each had been configured with great care to handle the demands of CloudFlare's CDN and security services, no one from CloudFlare had ever set foot in them. All that came from CloudFlare directly was a six-page manual instructing facility managers and local suppliers on how to rack and plug in the boxes shipped to them.


Comment No water, no air, no bonds broken? (Score 5, Insightful) 315

So in amber, or some other similar impermeable substance, the chemical reactions requiring water or air might well be prevented or dramatically slowed, thus the degradation of DNA might be substantially slower than the 521 years described in the summary.

Not necessarily the end of the Jurassic Park idea.

Comment Re:easy answer. (Score 1) 394

This assumes that the interpretation of binary in the far future is the same as what you intend here, which is ASCII.

And while ASCII is portable, is it guaranteed to be a known, useful encoding a hundred years from now? A thousand years?

Submission + - Journey to the Mantle of the Earth? (newscientist.com) 1

Doofus writes: New Scientist has an interesting story about a Japanese effort to reach the Earth's mantle. While some mantle material has been recovered from volcanoes, no pure mantle material has been obtained. (We have moon rocks, but nothing from a few km beneath our feet!) Accompanying the article is a gallery of previous attempts at drilling farther and farther into the Earth's crust.
Space

New Signs Voyager Is Nearing Interstellar Space 168

sighted writes "Yesterday, someone tweeting for the Voyager 2 spacecraft posted: 'Interesting. Compare my data 4 high-energy nucleons w V1's That increase is attracting attention!' Today, NASA says that scientists looking at this rapid rise draw closer to an inevitable but historic conclusion — that humanity's first emissary to interstellar space is on the edge of our solar system. Project scientist Ed Stone said, 'The latest data indicate that we are clearly in a new region where things are changing more quickly. It is very exciting. We are approaching the solar system's frontier.'"
Crime

SAP VP Arrested In False Barcode Scheme 535

redletterdave writes "With barcode scanning being so commonplace, nothing seemed out of the ordinary when Thomas Langenbach, the vice president of SAP, was found scanning boxes upon boxes of Lego toys before purchasing them. Little did anyone know, the 47-year-old Silicon Valley executive was actually engaged in a giant scam. Langenbach would visit several Target stores and cover the store's barcodes with his own, so when he would bring the boxes up to the register, Langenbach would pay a heavily-discounted price. For example, this tag swapping allowed him to buy a Millennium Falcon box of Legos worth $279 for just $49. Once he bought the discounted Lego boxes, the SAP executive would take to eBay (under the name 'tomsbrickyard') and sell the items. Langenbach reportedly sold more than 2,000 items on eBay, raking in about $30,000. He was finally caught by Target security on May 8, and he was arraigned on Tuesday on four counts of burglary."

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