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Space

Submission + - Google Flips the Moon

proxima1 writes: "Not only does Google think it can change the earth, it apparently has the power to change the orientation of the moon. Google's very own Lunar Phase widget that comes with their desktop presents us with a moon that is tilted 90 degrees clockwise, with the lunar "west" pole pointed up. Unless there has been a major astronomical event the NASA boys are not letting us in on, someone at the Big G was asleep in their astronomy classes. Google's arch rival Yahoo got it right however.

For Google's take on the earth's only satellite go here: http://www.distantsuns.com/images/google_moon.jpg.

But to see the way it should be: http://www.distantsuns.com/images/yahoo_moon.jpg"
Power

Submission + - Compressed air car from India could kill GM, EXXON

vaporland writes: "This article in Business Week describes a car that runs on compressed air, ready for production in India. The fiberglass MiniC.A.T. runs on compressed air, and offers zero pollution and very low running costs. It is expected that US politicians will be able to easily refuel it by speaking into a hose located in the passenger compartment . . ."
Programming

Submission + - John Backus (1924-2007)

Assassin bug writes: From the journal Nature

John Backus, who died on 17 March, was a pioneer in the early development of computer programming languages, and was subsequently a leading researcher in so-called functional programming. He spent his entire career with IBM.

Fortran remained Backus's lasting contribution to computing, for which he was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1975 and the Turing Award of the Association of Computing Machinery in 1977 — computer science's highest honour.
Security

Submission + - Digg.com Accounts Compromised

An anonymous reader writes: There is a cross-site scripting vulnerbility on the registration page of popular social networking site Digg.com. The hole allows cookies and sessions of logged-in users to be hijacked, compromising the account. The exploit can be triggered simply by a user clicking a maliciously-crafted link. A full explanation and sample exploit code is available here
Biotech

Submission + - The mystery of vitamin B12 finally solved

Roland Piquepaille writes: "You probably think that scientists know everything about the common and essential vitamin B12, the only vitamin synthesized by soil microbes. In fact, one part of this biosynthesis has puzzled researchers for at least 50 years. But now, MIT and Harvard biologists have solved this vitamin puzzle by discovering that a single enzyme known as BluB synthesizes the vitamin. So what is the next challenge for the researchers? It's to discover why the soil microorganisms synthesize the vitamin B12 at all, because neither them — nor the plants they're attached to — need it to live. Read more for additional references and a picture of BluB."
User Journal

Journal Journal: US Air Force Looks to the XBox Generation for Pilots

The U.S. Air Force is creating a new job specialty, UAV pilots. Starting later this year, the air force will recruit people for this job. The details are still being worked out, but it will be an officer position. The army uses NCOs to pilots its UAVs, which are generally smaller than those used by the air force. The new air force program expects to attract those who had applied to be regular pilots, but had been denie
Biotech

Submission + - Rice is people?

f1055man writes: The Washington Post reports that the "USDA Backs Production of Rice With Human Genes": http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic le/2007/03/01/AR2007030101495.html


The plan, confirmed yesterday by the California biotechnology company leading the effort, calls for large-scale cultivation in Kansas of rice that produces human immune system proteins in its seeds. The proteins are to be extracted for use as an anti-diarrhea medicine and might be added to health foods such as yogurt and granola bars.

Despite the benefits, some consider the project risky.


But critics are assailing the effort, saying gene-altered plants inevitably migrate out of their home plots. In this case, they said, that could result in pharmacologically active proteins showing up in the food of unsuspecting consumers.

Anheuser-Busch (the nation's largest rice buyer) has prevented the application of gene-altered rice due to concerns customers would not accept GM beer. Should they use their influence to shut this down too?
Books

Submission + - What's In A Twinkie?

ctwxman writes: "I grew up on Devil Dogs. Alas, there's no Devil Dog book, but now there is one about Twinkies — nature's perfect food thanks to the miracle of modern science and advanced chemistry! "Why is it you can bake a cake at home with as few as six ingredients, but Twinkies require 39? And why do many of them seem to bear so little resemblance to actual food?" Pure goodness doesn't come easy. Steve Ettlinger is the author of "Twinkie, Deconstructed," the definitive Twinkie story... even without the official help of the keepers of the Twinkie secret. It's all summarized on MSNBC. Before clicking, make sure you have a glass of milk handy."
Biotech

Submission + - Bacteria to protect against quakes

Roland Piquepaille writes: "If you live near the sea, chances are high that your home is built over sandy soil. And if an earthquake strikes, deep and sandy soils can turn to liquid, with some disastrous consequences for the buildings sitting on them. But now, U.S. researchers have found a way to use bacteria to steady buildings against earthquakes by turning these sandy soils into rocks. Today, it is possible to inject chemicals in the ground to reinforce it, but this can have toxic effects on soil and water. On the contrary, this use of common bacteria to 'cement' sands has no harmful effects on the environment. But so far, this method is limited to labs and the researchers are working on scaling their technique. Here are more references and a picture showing how unstable ground can aggravate the consequences of an earthquake."
Quickies

Submission + - Java volcano in Indonesia akin to potato gun

Kazlor writes: Just saw this earlier on BBC earlier. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6392995.st m Apparently they're trying to plug up the volcano, Java, in Indonesia with cement balls, weighing up to 250kg (500 pounds). Common sense from playing with tennis ball cannons and potato guns as a kid tells me that it's gonna use a side pocket to relieve back pressure before chucking it out like someone drinking water down in Mexico.
Privacy

Submission + - Security Scanner Can See Through Clothes

mikesd81 writes: "The Associated Press has an article about Sky Harbor International Airport becoming the country's first to begin testing a controversial new federal screening system that takes X-rays of passenger's bodies in an effort to find concealed explosives and other weapons. From the article: "Critics have said the high-resolution images created by the "backscatter" technology are too invasive. But the Transportation Security Administration adjusted the equipment to make the image look something like a line drawing, while still detecting concealed weapons."

The machines is only supposed to be a backup for when passengers fail a metal detector scan. However, they do get an option of a pat-down or the x-ray machine. Passengers selected for screening by the device are asked to stand in front of the closet-size X-ray unit with the palms of their hands facing out. Then they must turn around for a second screening from behind. The procedure takes about a minute. Critics say the altered image is ineffective and the full image is invasion of privacy."
Movies

Submission + - Jesus: Tales from the Crypt

gollum123 writes: "Brace yourself. James Cameron, the man who brought you 'The Titanic' is back with another blockbuster. This time, the ship he's sinking is Christianity ( http://time-blog.com/middle_east/2007/02/jesus_tal es_from_the_crypt.html ). In a new documentary, Producer Cameron and his director, Simcha Jacobovici, make the starting claim that Jesus wasn't resurrected — the cornerstone of Christian faith — and that his burial cave was discovered near Jerusalem. And, get this, Jesus sired a son with Mary Magdelene. Let's go back 27 years, when Israeli construction workers were gouging out the foundations for a new building in the industrial park in the Talpiyot, a Jerusalem suburb. of Jerusalem. The earth gave way, revealing a 2,000 year old cave with 10 stone caskets. Archologists were summoned, and the stone caskets carted away for examination. It took 20 years for experts to decipher the names on the ten tombs. They were: Jesua, son of Joseph, Mary, Mary, Mathew, Jofa and Judah, son of Jesua. But film-makers Cameron and Jacobovici claim to have amassed evidence through DNA tests, archeological evidence and Biblical studies, that the 10 coffins belong to Jesus and his family. Cameron is holding a New York press conference on Monday at which he will reveal three coffins, supposedly those of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother Mary and Mary Magdalene."
United States

Submission + - Impressive Blowing Dust on Satellite Loop

Anonymous Weather Geek writes: "The large low pressure storm system now over the Plains states is producing a variety of weather conditions from the High Plains to the Mississippi Valley this afternoon. The strong low pressure system is producing a impressive blowing dust event over Texas, that can been seen very well by visible satellite imagery from space. Northwest winds of 40-60 mph, are blowing dust over western and north-central Texas. In the satellite loop provided in this post, you can clearly see the dust wind surge blasting eastward across Texas. It's very impressive to see such a clear view of the dry slot wind surge on the back side of the strong low pressure system. http://www.stormvideographer.com/blog/2007/02/24/i mpressive-blowing-dust-on-satellite-plains-storm/"

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