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Firefighters Let House Burn Because Owner Didn't Pay Fee Screenshot-sm 2058

Dthief writes "From MSNBC: 'Firefighters in rural Tennessee let a home burn to the ground last week because the homeowner hadn't paid a $75 fee. Gene Cranick of Obion County and his family lost all of their possessions in the Sept. 29 fire, along with three dogs and a cat. "They could have been saved if they had put water on it, but they didn't do it," Cranick told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. The fire started when the Cranicks' grandson was burning trash near the family home. As it grew out of control, the Cranicks called 911, but the fire department from the nearby city of South Fulton would not respond.'"
The Media

Digitally Filtering Out the Drone of the World Cup 602

qubezz writes "World Cup soccer fans may think a hornet's nest has infiltrated their TVs. However the buzz that is the background soundtrack of the South African-hosted games comes from tens of thousands of plastic horns called vuvuzelas, that are South Africa's version of ringing cowbells or throwing rats. It looks like the horns won't be banned anytime soon though. A savvy German hacker, 'Tube,' discovered that the horn sound can be effectively filtered out by applying a couple of digital notch filters to the audio at the frequencies the horn produces (another summary in English). Now it looks like even broadcasters like the the BBC and others are considering using such filters on their broadcasts."

MA High School Forces All Students To Buy MacBooks 1217

An anonymous reader sends in this excerpt from the Salem News: "A new program at Beverly High will equip every student with a new laptop computer to prepare kids for a high-tech future. But there's a catch. The money for the $900 Apple MacBooks will come out of parents' pockets. 'You're kidding me,' parent Jenn Parisella said when she found out she'd have to buy her sophomore daughter, Sky, a new computer. 'She has a laptop. Why would I buy her another laptop?' Sky has a Dell. Come September 2011, every student will need an Apple. They'll bring it to class and use it for homework. Superintendent James Hayes sees the technology as an essential move to prepare kids for the future. The School Committee approved the move last year, and Hayes said he's getting the news out now so families can prepare. 'We have one platform,' Hayes said. 'And that's going to be the Mac.'"

What Scientists Really Think About Religion 1123

Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post has a book review of Science and Religion: What Scientists Really Think by Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund, who spent four years doing a detailed survey of 1,646 scientists at elite American research universities. The study reveals that scientists often practice a closeted faith, worrying about how their peers would react to learning about their religious views. 'After four years of research, at least one thing became clear: Much of what we believe about the faith lives of elite scientists is wrong. The '"insurmountable hostility" between science and religion is a caricature, a thought-cliche, perhaps useful as a satire on groupthink, but hardly representative of reality,' writes Ecklund. Unsurprisingly, Ecklund found that 64% of scientists are either atheists (34%) or agnostic (30%). But only five of the 275 in-depth interviewees actively oppose religion; and even among the third who are atheists, many consider themselves 'spiritual.' 'According to the scientists I interviewed, the academy seems to have a "strong culture" that suppresses discussion about religion in many areas,' says Ecklund. 'To remove the perceived stigma, we would need to have more scientists talking openly about issues of religion, where such issues are particularly relevant to their discipline.'"

Cleaner Air Could Speed Global Warming 344

Hugh Pickens writes "Scientists estimate that the US Clean Air Act has cut a major air pollutant, sulfate aerosols, by 30% to 50% since the 1980s, helping greatly reduce cases of asthma and other respiratory problems. But NPR reports that this good news may have a surprising downside: cleaner air might actually intensify global warming. One benefit of sulfates is that they've been helpfully blocking sunlight from striking the Earth for many decades, by brightening clouds and expanding their coverage. Researchers believe greenhouse gases such as CO2 have committed the Earth to an eventual warming of roughly 4 degrees Fahrenheit, a quarter of which the planet has already experienced. But thanks to cooling by aerosols starting in the 1940s, the planet has felt only a portion of that warming. And unlike CO2, which persists in the atmosphere for centuries, aerosols last in the air for a week at most, so cutting them would probably rapidly accelerate global warming. The author of 'Hack the Planet' says: 'As we take away that unexpectedly helpful cooling mask, we're going to be facing more global warming than we expected.'"

Study Shows TV Makes Kids Fat, Computers Don't 276

Xemu writes "Computers don't make children fat, but watching TV for the same length of time does. This is shown by a recent Swedish study of all school children in Lund's county conducted by RN Pernilla Garmy. The results were clear: The child's obesity was directly affected by placing a TV in the child's room, but placing a computer in the room had no effect at all. One theory is that it's common to have a snack in front of the TV, while a computer requires a more active user, for example when chatting or playing games."

Submission + - Researcher Exposes Google's Spyware Connections

Task Heavy writes: A prominent anti-spyware researcher is calling on Google to sever its ties with an advertising partner that covers popular sites with pop-up PPC advertisements promoting those same sites. According to Ben Edelman, an assistant professor at the Harvard Business School and a staunch anti-spyware advocate, Google is charging advertisers for what he described as "conversion-inflation" traffic from the WhenU spyware program.

Scientists Say a Dirty Child Is a Healthy Child Screenshot-sm 331

Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California have shown that the more germs a child is exposed to, the better their immune system in later life. Their study found that keeping a child's skin too clean impaired the skin's ability to heal itself. From the article: "'These germs are actually good for us,' said Professor Richard Gallo, who led the research. Common bacterial species, known as staphylococci, which can cause inflammation when under the skin, are 'good bacteria' when on the surface, where they can reduce inflammation."

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