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Submission + - Mad Scientists prepare to release Super Soldier Ants on unsuspecting populace (

MiddleHitter writes: Scientists thought only certain ants of the genus Pheidole could produce these supersoldiers. Now, they are thinking any ant from the more than 1,100 Pheidole species can be turned into a supersoldier by reactivating a trait that has lain dormant for millions of years.

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Comment Shade map? (Score 3, Interesting) 95

As a grad student at the University of Arizona (in Tucson) who works on campus in the summers...I'd really like to see a shade map that is indexed to the time of day and inclination of the sun to calculate the most-shaded paths around campus. That might not sound so useful, but when it's 105F out, every bit of shade makes all the difference on a 10-15 minute walk across campus.

Comment Boycotts (Score 1) 1695

Good for Rackspace. And good for you. It's critical to first remember that 1st Amendment only regards the actions of the government. Period. End of Story.

This was an action/choice by a "private" entity, not a "public" entity. The only way the government should be considered in this action if Rackspace had, for example, a government license to operate and dropping this action in some way violated that license. For example, if your local cable company has a government-sanctioned monopoly, I would hope that they would have to operate under the dictates of the 1st Amendment.

Rackspace provides a service, and they always have the right to refuse service to anyone. But, no worry, you also have the (reflexive) right to not use their service. That is called a boycott. It has a long and proud tradition and you are free to exercise it.

Now get off my lawn.

Comment A couple other options (Score 1) 150

As a early-30's programmer who is back for a MS in EE/CS, I've made a number of friends with grad students in fields that are quite science and computationally related. I'd recommend looking into:

Linguistics, especially Computational Linguistics
Cognitive Science, especially related to AI
Computer Simulation ... especially Agent-Based Simulation, which can be applied, IMHO, to a lot of sciences.

I'd also second the previous posts on Bioinformatics and Computational Physics.

Also, I always strongly recommend that if you can get a PhD, you should. In the US, the statistics are quite stark, only 30% of PhDs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are awarded to US Citizens. What's going to happen when all those Indian and Chinese PhDs start going home?

Best of luck!


Man Uses Drake Equation To Explain Girlfriend Woes 538

artemis67 writes "A man studying in London has taken a mathematical equation that predicts the possibility of alien life in the universe to explain why he can't find a girlfriend. Peter Backus, a native of Seattle and PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, near London, in his paper, 'Why I don't have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK,' used math to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK. In describing the paper on the university Web site he wrote 'the results are not encouraging. The probability of finding love in the UK is only about 100 times better than the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy.'"

Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132

An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"

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