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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 9 declined, 3 accepted (12 total, 25.00% accepted)

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Submission + - Did Peter Schorer just solve the Collatz Conjecture? (

Randym writes: Recently, Peter Schorer published the latest version of his potential solution to the Collatz Conjecture: a famous unsolved halting problem in mathematics. (Short version: X starts as any integer > or == 1; if X is odd, newX = 3*X+1; if X is even, newX = X/2. Does newX *always* eventually arrive at the number 1?) To quote from the abstract: "Our proofs are based on a structure called “tuple-sets” that represents the 3x + 1 function in the “forward” (as opposed to the inverse) direction. In our proofs, we show, by a simple inductive argument, that the contents of the set of at least one tuple-set are the same, regardless if counterexamples exist or not, and from this we are able to conclude that counterexamples do not exist." Read his short, simple paper and decide for yourself.

Submission + - Is methane-based life the next big thing?

Randym writes: With the simultaneous announcement of a possible nitrogen-based cell-like structure allowing life outside the "liquid water zone" (but within a methane atmosphere) announced by researchers at Cornell and the mystery of *fluctuating* methane levels on Mars raising the possibility of methane-respiring life, there now exists the possibility of a whole new branch of the tree of life that does not rely on either carbon *or* oxygen respiration. We may find evidence of such life here on Earth down in the mantle where "traditional" life cannot survive, but where bacteria has evolved to live off hydrocarbons like methane and benzene.

Submission + - What has Curiosity found that is "earth-shaking"? (

Randym writes: NASA scientists have some exciting new results from one of the rover's instruments. On the one hand, they'd like to tell everybody what they found, but on the other, they have to wait because they want to make sure their results are not just some fluke or error in their instrument.

The exciting results are coming from an instrument in the rover called SAM. "We're getting data from SAM as we sit here and speak, and the data looks really interesting," says John Grotzinger. He's the principal investigator for the rover mission. SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) is a suite of instruments onboard NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity.

Grotzinger says they recently put a soil sample in SAM, and the analysis shows something Earth-shaking. "This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good," he says.


Submission + - Was 10^9 B LY hole caused by quant hurricane? (

Randym writes: Was the billion-light-year-across "hole" in the Universe --> caused by a "topological defect" generated by a 'quantum hurricane'? --> Scientists have discovered that super-cooling gases past 5E10-6 degrees K gives rise to a phase transition between 'classical' molecules and a Bose-Einstein condensate [BEC]. "'In our experiments, we found that when we cool an already very cold gas through the BEC phase transition, the BEC can spontaneously begin to rotate, creating something like a microscopic quantum mechanical hurricane where atoms rotate as a fluid around a vortex core where there is no fluid,' [Brian P.] Anderson said. .... Their work lends additional support to the idea that spontaneous "topological defect" formation in phase transitions is a widespread phenomenon, even at temperatures near absolute zero. "Defect" in this sense means that a discontinuity has appeared in the background superfluid of the BEC." Is it possible that such a 'defect' — a hole swept out by a *macroscopic* 'quantum mechanical hurricane' — could have created this giant billion-light-year-across void? "The UA and University of Queensland science results agree with an important theoretical model called the "Kibble-Zurek mechanism" that concerns how defects can form in a phase transition. The model says that the faster a system undergoes a phase transition, the more defects — in this case, the vortices — naturally and spontaneously form. Conversely, the slower the system is cooled, the smoother the phase transition into a new state will be and the fewer defects will appear." Was the Big Bang itself — an extremely high-speed phase transition — responsible? Might such a macroscopic QM hurricane have 'pushed' intergalactic gases into the Great Wall or the Sloan Great Wall — structures whose size is comparable to the BLY void?

Submission + - Carbonates found on Mars -- from past life there? (

Randym writes: Carbonates have finally showed up on Mars! Although these can be deposited by natural processes, they can also appear as a side effect of life: "Carbonates are commonly deposited in marine settings when the shells of dead planktonic life settle and accumulate on the sea floor." --> --> 'Carbonate class' . Carbonates (like coral) dissolve easily in acidic waters; this now shows that there were places on Mars where these hypothesized "salt-rich, acidic" waters did not, in the past, reach. Martian coral skeletons may still exist. "The carbonate minerals were detected in a mid-latitude region called the Nili Fossae, on the western edge of the Isidis impact basin." --> --> 'Life hunt' . "[Bethany] Ehlmann [from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island] and colleagues have been detailing the discovery here at the American Geophysical Union's (AGU) Fall Meeting 2008. A paper explaining their findings is also being published in the journal Science."

Submission + - DHS implements TerroristRank app

Randym writes: Without notifying the public, federal agents for the past four years have assigned millions of international travelers, including Americans, computer-generated scores rating the risk they pose of being terrorists or criminals. (Feds rate travelers for terrorism) Along with the recent announcement that, early next year, the US government will be the final arbitrar of who is allowed to come *and go* from the United States, [We're All Prisoners, Now: US Citizens to be Required ''Clearance'' to Leave USA], this makes the bland Nazi query, "Your papers, please." seem downright pleasant — not to mention obsolete, as DHS data-mining techniques now apparently reach into state motor registration bureaus as well. (When you go to get on a plane, they now have "...[your] travel records, including where [you] are from, how [you] paid for tickets, [your] motor vehicle records, past one-way travel, seating preference and what kind of meal [you] ordered.") 'Creepy' doesn't even *begin* to describe it.

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