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Submission + - Scientists unveil worlds first computerized human (

An anonymous reader writes: U.S. scientists on Tuesday unveiled the world's first computerized human brain map, an online public resource developed to accelerate understanding of how the human brain works and in hopes to tackle neurological diseases like Alzeimer's and Parkinson's. Funded by Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen, the 55-million-U.S. dollar project, named the Allen Human Brain Atlas, identifies 1,000 anatomical sites in the human brain, backed by more than 100 million data points that indicate the particular gene expression and underlying biochemistry of each site, said the Seattle-based Allen Institute for Brain Science. The human brain map released so far is only male.

Comment Re:Class Difference (Score 1) 671

Here's Intel co-founder Andy Grove making basically the same point: How to Make an American Job Before It's Too Late (the resulting Slashdot discussion: Intel Co-Founder Calls For Tax On Offshored Labor )

He suggests the somewhat protectionist idea of putting a tax on products resulting from offshoring, and using the funds to a "Scaling Bank" that will be used to create incentives for keeping production in the US.

An interesting (and slightly scary) read.

Comment Re:Correlation? Causation? (Score 1) 341

The original paper does (of course) discuss various other factors that may contribute to the result. FTFP's "discussion" section:

Several factors could explain the positive association between time spent sitting and higher all-cause death rates. First, time spent sitting might be more easily measured than physical activity and/or may reflect a different aspect of inactivity than other indices usually used in epidemiologic studies. However, this potential misclassification of exposure is unlikely to fully explain our findings, because time spent sitting was significantly associated with mortality even among men and women with the highest levels of physical activity.

Second, time spent sitting might be associated with other unhealthy behaviors that are either not captured or incompletely captured through questionnaires. Total energy expenditure is reduced among individuals who are sedentary. However, consistent with previous studies, the present study found no correlation between physical activity and time spent sitting (r = –0.03). Time spent sitting is also associated with greater food consumption and subsequent weight gain, especially when watching television (16, 34, 35). Time spent sitting was previously shown to be associated with increased weight gain in this cohort (18). While residual confounding by obesity could contribute to the association between sitting time and mortality, this association was attenuated but not eliminated by controlling for or stratifying on body mass index.

Third, prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has important metabolic consequences that may influence specific biomarkers (such as triglycerides, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin) of obesity and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases (8–11). Animal studies have also shown that sedentary time substantially suppresses enzymes centrally involved in lipid metabolism within skeletal muscle, and low levels of daily life activity are sufficient to improve enzyme activity (36–38). Furthermore, substantial evidence in both adults and children from observational studies and randomized clinical trials shows that reducing time spent sitting lowers the risk of obesity and type II diabetes (19, 39–42).

Comment Re:I really need to get my walkstation set up (Score 5, Informative) 341

It's annoying that they hide the research behind paywalls, but my institution have forked over money for access.

The participants were drawn from a mortality study by the ACS begun in 1992. The objective of the 1992 study (184,190 participants) was to investigate the relation between diet and mortality across the population (details in The American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort) From the section on "Materials and Methods" in the present paper we see that they didn't leave out non-obese people:

We excluded sequentially from this analysis men and women who reported a personal history of cancer (n = 21,785), heart attack (n = 11,560), stroke (n = 2,513), or emphysema/other lung disease (n = 9,321) at the time of enrollment. We also excluded individuals with missing data on physical activity (n = 4,240), missing sitting time (n = 2,954), missing or extreme (top and bottom 0.1%) values of body mass index (n = 2,121), or missing smoking status (n = 1,347) at baseline. Finally, to reduce the possibility of undiagnosed serious illness at baseline that would preclude or interfere with physical activity, we excluded individuals who reported both no daily life activities and no light housekeeping (n = 4,730), as well as those who died from any cause within the first year of follow-up (n = 403). After exclusions, the analytical cohort consisted of 123,216 individuals (53,440 men and 69,776 women) with a mean age of 63.6 (standard deviation, 6.0) years in men and 61.9 (standard deviation, 6.5) years in women when enrolled in the study in 1992.

They did record BMIs and what they found was the following:

We examined the association between time spent sitting and total mortality in men and women combined, stratified by body mass index (Table 3). Although time spent sitting and physical activity were more strongly associated with mortality among lean persons (for time spent sitting, P_interaction = 0.06; for physical activity, P_interaction = 0.002), both measures were significantly associated with risk of total mortality regardless of body mass index.


Earth's Period of Habitability Is Nearly Over 756

xp65 writes "Scientists at this year's XXVIIth General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil agree that we do not yet know how ubiquitous or how fragile life is, but that: 'The Earth's period of habitability is nearly over on a cosmological timescale. In a half to one billion years the Sun will start to be too luminous and warm for water to exist in liquid form on Earth, leading to a runaway greenhouse effect in less than 2 billion years.' Other surprising claims from this conference: that the Sun may not be the ideal kind of star to nurture life, and that the Earth may not be the ideal size."
Operating Systems

Submission + - Google announces Chrome OS

Richie Cotton writes: Google announced on it's blog this morning that it is releasing a new operating system named Chrome OS.

"Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems."

The Financial Times has more coverage.

Tech Or Management Beyond Age 39? 592

relliker writes "So here I am at age 39 with two contractual possibilities, for practically the same pay. With one, I continue being a techie for the foreseeable future — always having to keep myself up-to-date on everything tech and re-inventing myself with each Web.x release to stay on top. With the other, I'm being offered a chance to get into management, something I also enjoy doing and am seriously considering for the rest of my working life. The issue here is the age of my grey matter. Will I still be employable in tech at this age and beyond? Or should I relinquish the struggle to keep up with progress and take the comfy 'old man' management route so that I can stay employable even in my twilight years? What would Slashdot veterans advise at this age?"

First Evidence of Supernovae Found In Ice Cores 145

KentuckyFC writes "Supernovae in our part of the Milky Way ought to have a significant impact on the atmosphere. In particular, the intense gamma-ray burst would ionize oxygen and nitrogen in the mid to upper atmosphere, increasing the levels of nitrogen oxide there by an order of magnitude or so. Now a team of Japanese researchers has found the first evidence of a supernova's impact on the atmosphere in an ice core taken from Dome Fuji in Antarctica. The team examined ice that was laid down in the 11th century and found three nitrogen oxide spikes, two of which correspond to well known supernovae: one event in 1006 AD and another in 1054 AD, which was the birth of the Crab Nebula (abstract). Both were widely reported by Chinese and Arabic astronomers at the time. The third spike is unexplained, but the team suggests it may have been caused by a supernova visible only from the southern hemisphere or one that was obscured by interstellar dust."

Steps Toward a Universal Flu Vaccine 177

Plasmoid writes "The NYTimes is reporting that scientists have starting developing what could turn out to be a 'universal' flu vaccine. They created antibody proteins that can neutralize different strains of the influenza virus, including the deadly H5N1 bird flu, the virus behind the 1918 epidemic, and common seasonal strains. These new antibodies target part of the virus that is shared between different strains and thus appear to be broadly effective. However, some experts question whether a universal vaccine of this kind is even possible, since the human body has been unable to come up with an antibody solution. An article on describes the work further."

An Early Look at the NASA MMO 208

Big Download is running an article with details and screenshots from the MMO under development by NASA. The game makes use of Unreal Engine 3, and it's titled Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond. A demo is planned for later this year, and in 2010 they expect "the first episodic installment of the game" to come out. Jerry Heneghan, founder and CEO of Virtual Heroes, described it thus: "This game is going to be a fresh look at the future circa about 2035. ... The core of the gameplay is going to be people building up their characters and as you move forward, you will have more options unlock with new places to go, new equipment to use and new things to do. We are not so much focused on interstellar flight and all that entails... the gameplay is actually about being in a habitat on a planetary surface and doing things like mining Helium-3 for fuel, operating a hydroponics facility to grow plants and create oxygen and operating robots and vehicles."

Submission + - Britons don't believe global warming caused by man ( 4

Dilaudid writes: "According to polls by Ipsos Mori the Great British Public are 'unconvinced' by claims that Global Warming is man made. The public are 'influenced by the counter arguments' and 'believe there is a live debate going on, when in fact there is virtual scientific consensus'. The public seems concerned that environmentalists and politicians claims are made in order to raise publicity and money. Here is the Press Association article courtesy of Guardian Unlimited."

Submission + - Real-time P2P monitoring

An anonymous reader writes: Apparently someone is running global BitTorrent P2P network monitoring. There is impressive view on — currently representing downloads of Borat movie across all Internet. Each peer is geolocated, and information about download progress and client used is included.

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