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Submission + - Could seawater fuel your car? (

Raver32 writes: "A cancer researcher in Erie, Pa., has stumbled on a technique that could turn salt water into fuel, a novel invention that is being touted by one chemist as the "most remarkable" water science discovery in a century. John Kanzius happened upon the discovery accidentally when he tried to desalinate seawater with a radio-frequency generator he developed to treat cancer. He discovered that as long as the salt water was exposed to the radio frequencies, it would burn. The discovery has scientists excited by the prospect of using salt water, the most abundant resource on earth, as a fuel. Rustum Roy, a Penn State University chemist, has held demonstrations at his State College lab to confirm his own observations. The radio frequencies act to weaken the bonds between the elements that make up salt water, releasing the hydrogen, Roy said. Once ignited, the hydrogen will burn as long as it is exposed to the frequencies, he said."

Submission + - Gehrig's Discovery Sparks Hope (

Raver32 writes: "Hunched over her microscope at the University of Toronto, Janice Robertson is focused on innocuous-looking brown blobs. She's been hunting for life-saving clues into the mystery of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the muscle-destroying killer known as Lou Gehrig's disease. It has perplexed researchers for nearly 140 years and it is a mystery that has captivated Robertson as she watches the microscopic round cells — motor neurons in minuscule sections of human spinal cord and brain. In ALS, these motor neurons are killed by mutant genes that make defective proteins, she explains, causing paralysis and death usually within five years. Named for the New York Yankees player killed by the disease in 1941, Lou Gehrig's has also laid waste to physicist Stephen Hawking and claimed the lives of Sesame Street director Jon Stone, jazz legend Charlie Mingus, actor David Niven, composer Dimitri Shostakovich, and Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong. Effective treatment and a cure do not exist. But Robertson and a Toronto team of scientists have developed the world's first antibody to the abnormal protein derived from the mutant superoxide-dimutase-1 (SOD1) gene, the only known cause of Lou Gehrig's, and responsible for 2 per cent of all cases. This antibody could be used to detect and remove the abnormal forms of the protein. The scientists say their findings, published in the June edition of Nature Medicine, open the door to ways for better treatments, prevention and earlier diagnosis."

Submission + - X Prize Unveils Big Money for New Contest (

Raver32 writes: "Officials with the U.S.-based X Prize Foundation will unveil plans for the largest international cash contest to date next week, but they are keeping details on the new challenge under wraps. The specifics on the new cash prize, which is promised to be in the "tens of millions of dollars" and bankrolled by "a very exciting and well-known Fortune 500 company," will be revealed Sept. 13 at the WIRED NextFest technology fair in Los Angeles, Calif., the foundation announced Monday. "The actual announcement, and details on what the prize is and its sponsorship, will be released on that day," Eric Lindbom, a foundation spokesperson, told of the new prize. Foundation officials said the new purse and contest will be "the largest international prize in history," and promised more details after the NextFest opening ceremony next week."

Submission + - First Look at a New Space Terminal (

Raver32 writes: "Architectural and engineering teams have begun shaping the look and feel of New Mexico's Spaceport America, taking the wraps off new images today that showcase the curb appeal of the sprawling main terminal and hangar at the futuristic facility. Last month, a team of U.S. and British architects and designers had been recommended for award to design the primary terminal and hangar facility at Spaceport America — structures that symbolize the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Selected from an international field of eleven firms, the winning design is the work of URS Corporation — a large design and engineering enterprise — teamed with Foster + Partners of the United Kingdom, a group with extensive experience in crafting airport buildings. When the 100,000 square-foot (9,260 square-meter) facility is completed — the centerpiece of the world's first, purpose-built, commercial spaceport — the structures will serve as the primary operating base for Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic suborbital spaceliner, and also as the headquarters for the New Mexico Spaceport Authority."

Submission + - admits to previous identity attacks (

Raver32 writes: "The theft of personal information from some 1.3 million users of the job search service first revealed two weeks ago was not a one-time attack, the company's CEO said Wednesday. "The Company has determined that this incident is not the first time Monster's database has been the target of criminal activity," Sal Iannuzzi, the chairman and CEO of Monster Worldwide Inc., said in a statement. In an interview with Reuters, Iannuzzi also acknowledged that the most recent breach may have been substantially larger than the 1.3 million users the company said earlier had been affected. "It could easily be in the millions," Iannuzzi told Reuters. He did not spell out when other attacks had taken place or even how many might have breached the company's security."

Submission + - Giant spider web spurs sticky debate ( 1

Raver32 writes: "Entomologists are debating the origins of a massive spider web, which runs more than 180 metres and covers several trees and shrubs, found in Texas. Officials at Lake Tawakoni State Park, near Willis Point, find the web both amazing and somewhat creepy. "At first, it was so white it looked like fairyland," park superintendent Donna Garde said. "Now it's filled with so many mosquitoes that it's turned a little brown. There are times you can literally hear the screech of millions of mosquitoes caught in those webs." Experts are debating whether the web is the work of social cobweb spiders working together, or a mass dispersal where the arachnids spin webs to move away from one another."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - 20 USB Gizmos That Have No Place In The Enterprise (

Raver32 writes: "Many USB-based products deserve a place in the enterprise, such as memory sticks or flash drives, universal chargers and password tokens. They are useful but generally unexciting. But then there are the USB gizmos that provide little or no business value. These items, such as USB lava lamps, fans and other amusing desktop paraphernalia, lighten up employees' days and can shape comfortable, personalized office environments. And there are the wacky USB gadgets more suited for use in fraternity houses or toy stores than in office buildings. You know: circus cannons that fire festive foam projectiles. Memory sticks shaped like glistening Japanese cuisine. An android that breaks it down on your desktop dance long as it's connected to your USB port. What follows is a list of our favorite USB gizmos from the latter two categories. We collected a handful of USB products CIOs would normally have no reason to check out-except perhaps to bar from the premises-but that we think you'll appreciate just the same."

Submission + - Zero-G Germs Return to Earth (

Raver32 writes: "Astronauts weren't the only living things aboard the space shuttle Endeavour that landed safely this week — a precious payload of germs, grown and frozen in zero-gravity, also returned to Earth. Researchers sent up sealed containers of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, the germs responsible for many diseases in patients with weakened immune systems. David Niesel, a microbiologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, said the experiment will help scientists explore the risks of getting sick in space. "There's a decline in people's immune function the longer they're in the space environment, and it's been shown that other bacteria also alter their properties in microgravity," Niesel said. "They grow faster, they tend to be more virulent and resistant to microbial treatment." The S. pneumoniae bacteria are normally harmless, but Niesel said they never turn down opportunities to exploit weak immune systems and turn into full-blown disease. For astronauts on long spaceflights, he said, the germs could prove to be dangerous. "Strep pneumoniae is a very potent pathogen in people who are immunosuppressed," he said. "It's the No. 1 cause of community-acquired pneumonia and a leading mediator of bacteremia [bacterial blood infections] and meningitis.""

Submission + - Lunar Eclipse Next Tuesday Morning (

Raver32 writes: "Tuesday morning, Aug. 28 brings us the second total lunar eclipse of 2007. Those living in the Western Hemisphere and eastern Asia will be able to partake in at least some of this sky show. The very best viewing region for viewing this eclipse will fall across the Pacific Rim, including the West Coast of the United States and Canada, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand and eastern Australia. All these places will be able to see the complete eclipse from start to finish. Europeans will miss out on the entire show, as the Moon will be below the horizon during their mid and late morning hours."

Submission + - Milestone In The Regeneration Of Brain Cells (

Raver32 writes: "The research group of Prof. Dr. Magdalena Götz at the Institute of Stem Cell Research of the GSF — National Research Centre for Environment and Health, and the Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, has achieved an additional step for the potential replacement of damaged brain cells after injury or disease: functional nerve cells can be generated from astroglia, a type of supportive cells in the brain by means of special regulator proteins. The majority of cells in the human brain are not nerve cells but star-shaped glia cells, the so called "astroglia". "Glia means "glue", explains Götz. "As befits their name, until now these cells have been regarded merely as a kind of "putty" keeping the nerve cells together. A couple of years ago, the research group had been already able to prove that these glia cells function as stem cells during development. This means that they are able to differentiate into functional nerve cells. However, this ability gets lost in later phases of development, so that even after an injury to the adult brain glial cells are unable to generate any more nerve cells. In order to be able to reverse this development, the team studied what molecular switches are essential for the creation of nerve cells from glial cells during development. These regulator proteins are introduced into glial cells from the postnatal brain, which indeed respond by switching on the expression of neuronal proteins. In his current work, Dr. Benedikt Berninger, was now able to show that single regulator proteins are quite sufficient to generate new functional nerve cells from glia cells. The transition from glia-to-neuron could be followed live at a time-lapse microscope. It was shown that glia cells need some days for the reprogramming until they take the normal shape of a nerve cell. "These new nerve cells then have also the typical electrical properties of normal nerve cells", emphasises Berninger. "We could show this by means of electrical recordings"."

Submission + - Google's blog engine goes dark (

Raver32 writes: "Google Inc.'s Blogger blog publishing and Blogspot blog hosting services went offline on Wednesday. Among the organizations affected by this apparently widespread outage was Google itself, which hosts its official company blogs on Blogspot. Blogger publishers have posted a rising volume of complaints on the official Blogger discussion forum since Monday, reporting problems editing, publishing and accessing blogs. However, things apparently took a turn for the worst on Wednesday morning U.S. Eastern Time, when Blogger and Blogspot apparently went totally offline. Checks on and a variety of Blogspot-hosted blogs by IDG News Service staff in different parts of the U.S. and Europe returned server error messages, confirming reports from users in the Blogger discussion forum."

Submission + - Mars and Earth Converge (

Raver32 writes: "By the time you finish reading this sentence, you'll be about 25 miles closer to Mars, according to NASA calculations. Earth and Mars are converging, setting up a great skywatching opportunity for later this year. Here's what's going on: Earth has the inside track as the two worlds orbit the sun. Inner planets orbit more quickly than outer planets because of the laws of gravity. Earth requires 365 days to go around the sun once, whereas a year on Mars is 687 Earth-days. So every 26 months, Earth passes Mars on this orbital trek. When the pass occurs, Earth and Mars are on the same side of the sun, as seen from above, with all three objects lined up in a row, and astronomers say Mars is at opposition. As our planet catches the red planet, the distance between them shrinks dramatically. (It's an opportune time for sending missions to Mars, such as the recently launched Phoenix Lander.)"

Submission + - Verizon Quietly Disables BlackBerry GPS ( 1

Jesse Schulman writes: "Research in Motion (RIM) has been known for providing some of the latest and greatest technology in its BlackBerry devices. Well one company doesn't think you should be able to use that great technology which you pay big bucks for. The BlackBerry 8830, which is sold under Verizon and Sprint, is one of the first "World Phones" offered from both companies. And at a price of $519-549 one would think this phone could do just about anything. Well it can, at least if you buy the Sprint version of the phone. Verizon has secretly disabled one of the best features of this new expensive phone. RIM added the following about the new capabilities of this phone: "The BlackBerry 8830 smartphone houses a proprietary, autonomous GPS receiver. This receiver is able to calculate the handheld's location relying solely on GPS satellites with no input from cellular towers. While the device does have assisted GPS, i.e. A-GPS capability, it houses a "full" GPS system similar in nature to GPS systems used by GPS-only car kits and mobile devices. This is designed to be accessible by second- and third-party applications such as BlackBerry Maps, Google Maps, and TeleNav." Also locked is the SIM card slot so that it can only be used with a Verizon SIM card, whatever that is. However Sprint allows you to use any SIM card when traveling abroad."

Submission + - Chinese bloggers encouraged' to register real info (

Raver32 writes: "— Blog service providers in China are "encouraged" to register users with their real names and contact information, according to a new government document that tones down an earlier proposal banning anonymous online blogging. At least 10 major Chinese blog service providers have agreed to sign the "self-discipline pledge" issued by the Internet Society of China, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday. Online bulletin boards and blogs are the only forum for most Chinese to express opinions before a large audience in a society where all media are state-controlled. China has the world's second-biggest population of Internet users after the United States, with 137 million people online. It also has 30 million registered bloggers, and more than 100 million Chinese Internet users visit blogs regularly, according to the ISC. The group is under the Ministry of Information Industry. The guidelines, issued Tuesday and effective immediately, "encouraged" real-name registration of users, according to a copy posted on the Internet group's Web site. The information — to be filed with the companies, not posted online — should include the user's name, address, contact numbers and e-mail address, it said."

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Ya'll hear about the geometer who went to the beach to catch some rays and became a tangent ?