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Beer

German Brewers Warn Fracking Could Hurt Beer 325

Taco Cowboy writes "Those of you who like free beer, watch out! The practice of fracking for shale gas may ruin the beer you drink. Under the 'Reinheitsgebot,' or German purity law, brewers have to produce beer using only malt, hops, yeast and water. 'The water has to be pure and more than half [of] Germany's brewers have their own wells which are situated outside areas that could be protected under the government's current planned legislation on fracking,' said a Brauer-Bund spokesman. The Brauer-Bund beer association is worried that fracking for shale gas, which involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure into the ground, could pollute water used for brewing and break a 500-year-old industry rule on water purity."
The Almighty Buck

This Is What Wall Street's Terrifying Robot Invasion Looks Like 443

pigrabbitbear writes "Given the the endless mind-whirling acronyms, derivatives and structures of the financial markets, we're rarely served with a visualization that so elegantly illustrates the arrival of Wall Street's latest innovation. This is what High Frequency Trading — the official monicker of Wall Street's robot army — looks like, when specially programmed computers make massive bets at lightning speed. Created by Nanex, the GIF charts the rise of HFT trading volumes across all U.S. stock exchanges between 2007 and 2012. The initial murmur, the brewing storm, the final detonation: Not just unsettling, it's terrifying."
Earth

No, We're Not Headed For a New Ice Age 473

purkinje writes "Unusual calm in the solar cycle — called a solar activity minimum — has sparked claims that the Sun will cool the Earth, leading us into a new ice age. While Europe did experience a Little Ice Age during a solar activity minimum three centuries ago, the connection between sunspots and climate is a lot more complicated, and it's unlikely this change in the Sun's activity will cool Earth down — or even affect the climate at all. Plus, any cooling that might come from this would be less than the global warming that's been going on. So don't pull out that parka yet; a new ice age seems more than unlikely."
Wireless Networking

Ma Bell Stifled Innovation, AT&T May Do the Same 354

An anonymous reader writes "AT&T recently announced it plans to acquire T-Mobile to create the largest wireless network in the US. If the deal is allowed to complete, it will create only three major players in the industry with Verizon being a close second and Sprint being a distant third. Sprint, along with consumer rights groups, have already cried foul. They argue that AT&T's proposed acquisition will stifle competition and innovation."
Power

10 IT Power-Saving Myths Debunked 359

snydeq writes "InfoWorld examines 10 power-saving assumptions IT has been operating under in its quest to rein in energy costs vs. the permanent energy crisis. Under scrutiny, most such assumptions wither. From true CPU efficiency, to the life span effect of power-down frequency on servers, to SSD power consumption, to switching to DC in the datacenter, get the facts before setting your IT energy strategy."
Earth

Thirst For Coltan Fueling African Conflict 252

MetaPhyzx writes "According to an article put forth by the Toward Freedom website, the metallic ore known as columbite-tantalite or coltan for short is fueling conflict in central Africa. The relevance to us who read news for geeks: Coltan is in quite a few consumer electronics; the article references the Sony Playstation series." As reader fahrvergnugen points out in the comments below, there's reason to more than doubt the currency of the claims in the above-linked article, as outlined in a post at Joystiq.
Math

No Gap Found In Math Abilities of Girls, Boys 701

sciencehabit writes "For anyone who still believes that boys are better at math than girls, a massive new study published today in Science shows there's no difference. 'Among students with the highest test scores, the team did find that white boys outnumbered white girls by about two to one. Among Asians, however, that result was nearly reversed. Hyde says that suggests that cultural and social factors, not gender alone, influence how well students perform on tests.' But the researchers do note a disturbing trend towards omitting harder kinds of math questions from standardized tests."
Medicine

Nanomaterials More Dangerous Than We Think 239

bshell writes "A Canadian panel of leading scientists warns that nanomaterials appearing in a rapidly growing number of products might potentially be able to enter cells and interfere with biological processes. According to a story in the Globe and Mail, the Council of Canadian Academies concluded that 'there are inadequate data to inform quantitative risk assessments on current and emerging nanomaterials... Their small size, the report says, may allow them "to usurp traditional biological protective mechanisms" and, as a result, possibly have "enhanced toxicological effects."' The council is an independent academic advisory group funded by the federal government, but operating at arms-length from Ottawa. The 16-member panel that wrote the new report included some of Canada's leading scientists and top international experts on nanomaterials."
Science

James Hansen on the Warmest Year Brouhaha 743

Jamie writes "In response to earlier reports, Dr. James Hansen, top climate scientist with NASA, has issued a statement on the recent global warming data correction. He points out 'the effect on global temperature was of order one-thousandth of a degree, so the corrected and uncorrected curves are indistinguishable.' In a second email he shows maps of U.S. temperatures relative to the world in 1934 and 1998, explains why the error occurred (it was not, as reported, a 'Y2K bug') and, in response to errors by 'Fox, Washington Times, and their like,' attacks the 'deceit' of those who 'are not stupid [but] seek to create a brouhaha and muddy the waters in the climate change story.'"
The Internet

Krugman On the Connectivity Power Shift 360

In today's NYTimes (registration required), Paul Krugman's op-ed piece lays out in simple terms the statistical power shift in the online economy among Europe, Japan, and the US. This shift has been discussed here for some time, but it's good to see it coming to the attention of a wider audience. Quoting: "As recently as 2001, the percentage of the population with high-speed access in Japan and Germany was only half that in the United States. In France it was less than a quarter. By the end of 2006, however, all three countries had more broadband subscribers per 100 people than we did... [W]hen the Bush administration put Michael Powell in charge of the FCC, the digital robber barons were basically set free to do whatever they liked. As a result, there's little competition in U.S. broadband — if you're lucky, you have a choice between the services offered by the local cable monopoly and the local phone monopoly. The price is high and the service is poor, but there's nowhere else to go."
United States

Executive Order Overturns US Fifth Amendment 853

RalphTWaP writes "Tuesday, there wasn't even a fuss. Wednesday, the world was a little different. By executive order, the Secretary of the Treasury may now seize the property of any person who undermines efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq. The Secretary may make his determination in secret and after the fact." There hasn't been much media notice of this; the UK's Guardian has an article explaining how the new authority will only be used to go after terrorists.

More Details of the NSA's Social Network Analysis 367

mrogers writes "USA Today has a story describing how the NSA looks for suspicious calling patterns in the huge volumes of traffic data it collects. "Templates" such as a call from overseas followed by a flurry of domestic calls are used to identify leads, which are forwarded to the FBI for investigation. There have been complaints that low-quality leads are drawing agents away from other cases, and similar pattern-matching approaches have been found wanting in the past. Can data mining identify terrorists?"

Symantec AntiVirus Hole Found 241

Hotwater Mountain writes "eWeek has a story about a gaping security flaw in the latest versions of Symantec's anti-virus software suite that could put millions of users at risk of a debilitating worm attack. According to eEye Digital Security, the company that discovered the flaw, the vulnerability could be exploited by remote hackers to take complete control of the target machine 'without any user action.'"

The Cost of a Tiered Internet 246

An anonymous reader wrote in to mention a Popular Science article about the money issues involved in a tiered internet. From the article: "With a tiered Internet, such routing technology could be used preferentially to deliver either the telecoms' own services or those of companies who had paid the requisite fees. What does this mean for the rest of us? A stealth Web tax, for one thing. 'Google and Amazon and Yahoo are not going to slice those payments out of their profit margins and eat them,' says Ben Scott, policy director for Free Press, a nonprofit group that monitors media-related legislation. 'They're going to pass them on to the consumer. So I'll end up paying twice. I'm going to pay my $29.99 a month for access, and then I'm going to pay higher prices for consumer goods all across the economy because these Internet companies will charge more for online advertising.'" Update: 05/26 16:54 GMT by Z : The article is hosted on CNN, but is original material from Popular Science. Post updated to reflect this.

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