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Submission + - Why Can't Fish Swim Deeper than 8000 Meters? Their Brains Explode

sciencehabit writes: Ocean-going fish can’t live any deeper than 8200 meters, according to a new study. A team of biologists say the threshold is set by two competing effects of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a chemical in fish cells that prevents proteins from collapsing under high pressure. While fish should need more and more TMAO to survive ever greater depths, higher concentrations of the compound also draw in more and more seawater through osmosis, the process by which cells regulate their water content. In the deepest waters, high TMAO levels reverse osmosis pressure, swelling brain cells to the point that they stop working and, in principle, bursting red blood cells open.
Power

Solar Impulse Airplane To Launch First Sun-Powered Flight Across America 89

First time accepted submitter markboyer writes "The Solar Impulse just landed at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California to announce a journey that will take it from San Francisco to New York without using a single drop of fuel. The 'Across America' tour will kick off this May when founders Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg take off from San Francisco. From there the plane will visit four cities across the states before landing in New York."
Power

Laser Fusion's Brightest Hope 115

First time accepted submitter szotz writes "The National Ignition Facility has one foot in national defense and another in the future of commercial energy generation. That makes understanding the basic justification for the facility, which boasts the world's most powerful laser system, more than a little tricky. This article in IEEE Spectrum looks at NIF's recent missed deadline, what scientists think it will take for the facility to live up to its middle name, and all of the controversy and uncertainty that comes from a project that aspires to jumpstart commercial fusion energy but that also does a lot of classified work. NIF's national defense work is often glossed over in the press. This article pulls in some more detail and, in some cases, some very serious criticism. Physicist Richard Garwin, one of the designers of the hydrogen bomb, doesn't mince words. When it comes to nuclear weapons, he says in the article, '[NIF] has no relevance at all to primaries. It doesn't do a good job of mimicking secondaries...it validates the codes in regions that are not relevant to nuclear weapons.'"
Networking

Cisco Mulls Adding Verbal Interview To CCIE Exams 117

Julie188 writes "Here's a new idea to stop certification test-taking cheaters; Cisco is considering introducing a verbal interview portion to its CCIE lab exams across the world. Cisco confirmed that it is running a pilot in its exam lab in Beijing, China that involves candidates taking a 10-minute verbal interview as part of their lab exam. Cisco said that if the pilot is successful, the interview could be introduced as a requirement for CCIE Routing & Switching candidates worldwide. The company has been running the pilot since August."
Transportation

USAF Seeks Air Force One Replacement 640

Tyketto writes "The United States Air Force has taken the first public step in the search for a replacement of the Boeing VC-25, also known as Air Force One, saying it is no longer cost effective to operate and modernize the two 19-year-old VC-25s, which are converted Boeing 747-200s. Airbus has already submitted data for the A380, and while Boeing has had the Air Force One contract for nearly 50 years, delays with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Boeing 747-8, as well as the KC-X Tanker competition, may see the USAF looking to Europe for its next presidential aircraft."
Medicine

Tooth Regeneration Coming Soon 289

Ponca City, We love you writes "For thousands of years, losing teeth has been a routine part of human aging. Now the Washington Post reports that researchers are close to growing important parts of teeth from stem cells, including creating a living root from scratch, perhaps within one year. According to Pamela Robey of the NIH. 'Dentists say, "Give me a root and I can put a crown on it."' In a few years dentists will treat periodontal disease with regeneration by using stem cells to create hard and soft tissue; they will take out a tooth that is about to fall, and reconnect it firmly to the regenerated tissue. Although nobody is predicting when it will be possible to grow teeth on demand, in adults, to replace missing ones, a common guess is five to ten years. Baby and wisdom teeth are sources of stem cells that could be 'banked' for future health needs, says Robey. 'When you think about it, the teeth children put under their pillows may end up being worth much more than the tooth fairy's going rate. Plus, if you still have your wisdom teeth, it's nice to know you're walking around with your own source of stem cells.'"
Media

Player Piano Roll Production Ceases 117

boustrophedon writes "The Buffalo News reports that QRS Music Technologies halted production of player piano rolls 108 years after the company was founded in Chicago. QRS continues to make digitized and computerized player-piano technology that runs on CDs. 'We're still doing what we always did, which is to provide software for pianos that play themselves. It's just the technology that has changed. But I would be lying to say [the halting of production] doesn't sadden me,' said Bob Berkman, the company's music director. Piano rolls can last for decades, but not forever. Volunteers at the International Association of Mechanical Music Preservationists build piano-roll scanners to scan rolls optically and convert them to MIDI files. The IAMMP archive and others contain thousands of scanned rolls."
NASA

Obama Moves To Link Pentagon With NASA 491

Amiga Trombone sends this quote from the beginning of a story at Bloomberg: "President-elect Barack Obama will probably tear down long-standing barriers between the US's civilian and military space programs to speed up a mission to the moon amid the prospect of a new space race with China. Obama's transition team is considering a collaboration between the Defense Department and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration because military rockets may be cheaper and ready sooner than the space agency's planned launch vehicle, which isn't slated to fly until 2015, according to people who've discussed the idea with the Obama team."
Robotics

FIRST Robotics Competition Announced 73

Z80xxc! writes "FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has officially announced the 2009 FIRST Robotics Competition. This competition, started by inventor Dean Kamen, encourages high-school students to design and build robots to compete with and against other FRC teams. The competition overview video is available from NASA. This year's competition is called 'Lunacy.' The game consists of a series of 135-second face-offs during which the student-designed robots must pick up 9-inch game balls and deposit them in trailers hitched to the opposing teams' robots. The game field is coated with regolith, a slick polymer material, and special wheels are used to create a low-traction interaction with the crater's surface. Together, these combine to simulate the one-sixth gravity on the surface of the moon. For any readers who are interested in participating, FRC teams can always use more adult mentors."
GNU is Not Unix

Open Source Victories of 2008 378

Meshach writes "Ars Technica has an interesting run-down on the major open source victories of 2008. Some, like Firefox 3, we can probably mostly agree on. Others — KDE 4 comes to mind — will be more controversial. And Mono 2? What else should be on the list?"
The Internet

Protection From Online Eviction? 296

AOL has been shutting down its free Web services, in some cases with little or no notice to users, and they are not the only ones. This blog post on the coming "datapocalypse" makes the case that those who host Web content should be required to provide notice and access to data for a year, and be held strictly accountable the way landlords are before they can evict a tenant. Some commenters on the post argue that you get what you pay for with free Web services, and that users should be backing up their data anyway. What do you think, should there be required notice and access before online hosts take user data offline for good?
Cellphones

AT&T 3G Upgrades Degrade 2G Signal Strength 210

Timothy R. Butler writes "Much to the chagrin of owners of various 2G cell phones on AT&T Mobility's network, including the highly visible (and originally highly expensive) first-generation iPhone, we have discovered that AT&T has been quietly adjusting its network in ways that degrade 2G network performance as it has sought to build out its next-generation 3G network. Many of the phones affected, including BlackBerry devices, are still well within their two-year contract period."
Microsoft

Microsoft Issues Workaround For Zune Freeze 277

UnknowingFool writes "As a followup to the Zune New Year's Eve meltdown, Microsoft has issued a workaround for what some users have correctly guessed was a bug caused by a leap year. To recover from the problem, let the Zune drain the batteries and restart it after noon on January 1, 2009. Many sites are reporting that Microsoft has 'fixed' the issue, but technically all Microsoft has done is to ask users to wait out the conditions that triggered the bug. Unless a software patch comes out, Zunes will suffer the same problem again in four years." Reader ndtechnologies adds, "According to posts in the Toshiba forum at anythingbutipod.com, the same bug that shut down millions of Zune 30's also affects the Toshiba Gigabeat S. The Zune 30 is based off of the Gigabeat S series and was co-developed by Microsoft with Toshiba."
NASA

NASA Mars Rovers Hit 5-Year Anniversary 147

An anonymous reader writes "NASA's Mars rovers have been on the red planet for five years now. The rovers were originally planned to stay operational on the planet for only 90 days, but it has turned into a much longer mission than anticipated. NASA has put together a video to celebrate the anniversary. The rovers have made important discoveries about wet and violent environments on ancient Mars. They also have returned a quarter-million images, driven more than 21 kilometers (13 miles), climbed a mountain, descended into craters, struggled with sand traps and aging hardware, survived dust storms, and relayed more than 36 gigabytes of data via NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter. To date, the rovers remain operational for new campaigns the team has planned for them."
Wii

The Latest From the Front in the Console Wars 284

The October NPD numbers are out, and (now that we know we'll keep getting the information) it's time once again for analysis and reaction from media and businesses alike. GameDaily has a one year later look at the fight that began last holiday season. As for the numbers themselves, with Halo 3 now a known quantity in the market the 360 is down to 366,000 from 527,800 in September. Microsoft is still quite happy with software sales, though. The PS3 only saw 121,000 units sold last month, but early news from November has Sony very excited. And all the while, somehow, the Wii manages to sell even more units. The system is up to 519,000 from 501,000 in September, with the DS slight down to 458,000 from 495,800. As the GameDaily analysis article concludes: "the race for console dominance is still anyone's to win. The 2007 holiday buying season will be crucial to setting all three players' market positions going into next year. Which is all nice to know, of course, but not that important to actually enjoying your system of choice well into the future."

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