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Submission + - Wikileaks Cables Say Saudi Oil Supplies Overstated (nytimes.com)

spicate writes: Recently revealed cables released by Wikileaks suggest that Saudi Arabia may reach peak oil output much sooner than initially thought, possibly within 17 years. The U.S. diplomat who wrote them called his source, Sadad al-Husseini, "no doomsday theorist." The diplomat continues, "his pedigree, experience and outlook demand that his predictions be thoughtfully considered." With most of the rest of the world experiencing declining conventional crude oil production already, new discoveries and improved extraction techniques may not be sufficient to cover the deficits. Is there still time to move away from oil?
Space

Submission + - Possible new planet "about to be discovered" (dailymail.co.uk) 1

nekad writes: From the article "Scientists believe they may have found a new planet in the far reaches of the solar system, up to four times the mass of Jupiter". They've already named the planet "Tyche" despite not having been discovered yet (if it even exists).
Cellphones

Submission + - Taxes on Cell Phones Hit All-Time High

adeelarshad82 writes: As the breakdown of top ten states with the higest and lowest taxes shows, the wireless consumers in Nebraska, Washington, and New York pay more than 20 percent of their wireless bills in taxes and fees, mostly due to the proliferation of archaic or duplicated surcharges.Experts from KSE Partners spent five years monitoring the federal, state, and local taxes imposed on wireless consumers. According to their analysis wireless taxes grew three times faster than the retail sales rate between 2007 and 2010. The reason behind this is that legislators and Congressmen are targeting the wireless industry for tax money to relieve the burden from more recession-starved industries. Infact a few states even tax wireless consumers for non wireless-related projects, for instance Utah funds its poison-control centers with a poison-control surcharge found on wireless bills, and in 2009 Wisconsin imposed a police and fire protection fee to subsidize local departments.
NASA

Submission + - Search begins for giant new planet (independent.co.uk) 1

suraj.sun writes: The hunt is on for a gas giant up to four times the mass of Jupiter thought to be lurking in the outer Oort Cloud, the most remote region of the solar system. The orbit of Tyche (pronounced ty-kee), would be 15,000 times farther from the Sun than the Earth's, and 375 times farther than Pluto's, which is why it hasn't been seen so far.

But scientists now believe the proof of its existence has already been gathered by a Nasa space telescope, Wise, and is just waiting to be analysed.

Whether it would become the new ninth planet would be decided by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). The main argument against is that Tyche probably formed around another star and was later captured by the Sun's gravitational field.

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/up-telescope-search-begins-for-giant-new-planet-2213119.html

Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft's New Plan For Keeping the Internet Safe (itworld.com) 1

itwbennett writes: Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Trustworthy Computing Scott Charney used to think it was the responsibility of ISPs to keep hacked PCs off the Internet. Now, he says the burden should be on consumers. Speaking at the RSA Conference, Charney suggested that the solution may be for consumers to share trusted certificates about the health of their personal computer: 'The user remains in control. The user can say I don't want to pass a health certificate,' he said 'There may be consequences for that decision, but you can do it.'
Censorship

The Companies Who Support Censoring the Internet 299

RichiH writes "From Techdirt: 'A group of companies sent a letter to to Attorney General Eric Holder and ICE boss John Morton (with cc's to VP Joe Biden, Homeland Security boss Janet Napolitano, IP Czar Victoria Espinel, Rep. Lamar Smith, Rep. John Conyers, Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Charles Grassley), supporting the continued seizure of domain names they don't like, as well as the new COICA censorship bill, despite the serious Constitutional questions raised about how such seizures violate due process and free speech principles.' A full list of companies who you might want to avoid buying from is included, as well."
NASA

US Supreme Court Says NASA Background Checks OK 172

coondoggie writes "In a long-running dispute about privacy and security, the US Supreme Court today sided with NASA saying its background checks were not invasive and that the information required for not only NASA but most government positions was a reasonable security precaution and that sufficient privacy safeguards existed to prevent any improper disclosures. You may recall that in this case, 28 scientists and engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory filed suit against the US government and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 2007 saying that NASA's invasive background investigations as required by government regulations [inappropriately violate workers' privacy]."
Biotech

Extinct Mammoth, Coming To a Zoo Near You 312

Techmeology writes "Professor Akira Iritani of Kyoto University plans to use recent developments in cloning technology to give life to the currently extinct woolly mammoth. Although earlier efforts in the 1990s were unsuccessful due to damage caused by extreme cold, Professor Iritani believes he can use a technique pioneered by Dr Wakayama (who successfully cloned a frozen mouse) to overcome this obstacle. This technique will enable Professor Iritani to identify viable cell nuclei, and transfer them to egg cells of an African elephant which will carry the mammoth for a 600 day pregnancy."
Biotech

Microsoft Seeks Do-Let-The-Bed-Bugs-Bite Patent 176

theodp writes "In its just-published patent application for Adapting Parasites to Combat Disease, Microsoft lays out plans to unleash 'altered parasitic organisms' on humans, including mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, bed bugs, leeches, pinworms, tapeworms, hookworms, heart worms, roundworms, lice (head, body, and pubic), and the like. 'Irradiated mosquitoes can be used to deliver damaged Plasmodium to individuals,' explains Microsoft. 'Instead of contracting malaria, an individual receiving the damaged Plasmodium develops an immune response that renders the individual resistant to contracting malaria.' Don't worry about runaway breeding, advises Microsoft — 'a termination feature [that] can include programmed death' makes this impossible. As David Spade might say, I liked this movie the first time I saw it — when it was called Jurassic Park."
Power

Submission + - Solar Panel company moving to China (nytimes.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/15/business/energy-environment/15solar.html) is reporting that Evergreen Solar is moving their factories from Massachusetts to China. Reasons cited include the Chinese government's readiness to heavily subsidize, far more than local, state, and federal government in the U.S. It was reported that Evergreen Solar received over $43 Million from State Government during their startup years — now, China will reap the export benefits. Combine this with China's overtaking America in production of wind turbines — has America already lost the War on Green Energy?
Firefox

Firefox 4 Beta 9 Out, Now With IndexedDB and Tabs On Titlebar 537

surveyork writes "''Mozilla today officially released Firefox 4 Beta 9 and it's a big improvement over previous betas and a parsec beyond the Firefox 3.6.x experience. At this stage, after months of development, Mozilla developers are clearly nearing the end of this development marathon.' After Firefox beta 9, a beta 10 and a single RC are scheduled (this road map can change, of course). The main features of Firefox beta 9 are IndexedDB and tabs on titlebar (just like Chrome and Opera). IndexedDB allows sites to store data on your computer (with your prior authorization). Tabs on titlebar is self-explanatory. Old-schoolers can always turn on the 'show menu bar' to get their familiar GUI back. Oh, and Fx beta 9 is fast and starts fast. Firefox beta 9 available here and in lots of official mirrors."

Submission + - Anonymous calls for day to defend free speech (alternet.org)

jbell730 writes: Anonymous has called for a day to protest in defense of free speech. The day named was Saturday, January 15. In a video posted to their AnonOps blog, they sought to rally others who supported their actions against corporations that censored or attempted to block actions of WikiLeaks. The video also called for people to "Stand up and fight. Every city, everywhere."
Science

Submission + - Extinct Mammoth: Coming to a Zoo Near You (telegraph.co.uk) 1

Techmeology writes: Professor Akira Iritani of Kyoto University plans to use recent developments in cloning technology to give life to the currently extinct woolly mammoth. Although earlier efforts in the 1990s were unsuccessful due to damage caused by extreme cold, Professor Iritani believes he can use a technique pioneered by Dr Wakayama (who successfully cloned a frozen mouse) to overcome this obstacle. This technique will enable Professor Iritani to identify viable cell nuclei, and transfer them to egg cells of an African elephant which will carry the mammoth for a 600 day pregnancy.

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