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Earth

Gulf Gusher Worst Case Scenario 799

An anonymous reader writes "Here's a listing of several scientific and economic guides for estimating the volume of flow of the leak in the Gulf of Mexico erupting at a rate of somewhere around 1 million barrels per day. A new video released shows the largest hole spewing oil and natural gas from an aperture 5 feet in diameter at a rate of approximately 4 barrels per second. The oil coming up through 5,000 feet of pressurized salt water acts like a fractionating column. What you see on the surface is just around 20% of what is actually underneath the approximate 9,000 square miles of slick on the surface. The natural gas doesn't bubble to the top but gets suspended in the water, depleting the oxygen from the water. BP would not have been celebrating with execs on the rig just prior to the explosion if it had not been capable producing at least 500,000 barrels per day — under control. If the rock gave way due to the out-of-control gushing (or due to a nuke being detonated to contain the leak), it could become a Yellowstone Caldera type event, except from below a mile of sea, with a 1/4-mile opening, with up to 150,000 psi of oil and natural gas behind it, from a reserve nearly as large as the Gulf of Mexico containing trillions of barrels of oil. That would be an Earth extinction event."
Databases

How a Team of Geeks Cracked the Spy Trade 187

drunken_boxer777 sends us to The Wall Street Journal for a lengthy article on a small tech company, Palantir Technologies, that is making the CIA, Pentagon, and FBI take notice. The submitter adds, "And yes, their company name is a reference to what you think it is." "One of the latest entrants into the government spy-services marketplace, Palantir Technologies has designed what many intelligence analysts say is the most effective tool to date to investigate terrorist networks. The software's main advance is a user-friendly search tool that can scan multiple data sources at once, something previous search tools couldn't do. That means an analyst who is following a tip about a planned terror attack, for example, can more quickly and easily unearth connections among suspects, money transfers, phone calls and previous attacks around the globe. ... With Palantir's software 'you can actually point to examples where it was pretty clear that lives were saved.'"
Biotech

"Miraculous" Stem Cell Progress Reported In China 429

destinyland writes "In China's Guangdong Province there's been 'almost miraculous' progress in actually using stem cells to treat diseases such as brain injury, cerebral palsy, ataxia and other optic nerve damage, lower limb ischemia, autism, spinal muscular atrophy, and multiple sclerosis. One Chinese biotech company, Beike, is now building a 21,500 square foot stem cell storage facility and hiring professors from American universities such as Stanford. Two California families even flew their children to China for a cerebral palsy treatment that isn't available in the US. The founder of Beike is so enthusiastic, he says his company is exploring the concept of using stem cells to extend longevity beyond 120 years."
Medicine

Study Claims 8.5% of Young Gamers "Pathologically Addicted" 296

schnucki brings word of new research which claims roughly one in twelve American children between the ages of eight and 18 are "pathologically addicted" to video games. The study, conducted by Douglas Gentile, director of the National Institute on Media and the Family at Iowa State University, says that "pathological status was a significant predictor of poorer school performance even after controlling for sex, age, and weekly amount of video-game play." However, Professor Cheryl Olson, who has conducted her own research into video game use, questioned Gentile's methodology, saying, "The author is repurposing questions used to assess problem gambling in adults; however, lying to your spouse about blowing the rent money on gambling is a very different matter from fibbing to your mom about whether you played video games instead of starting your homework."
Internet Explorer

Microsoft Says IE8 Phoning Home Is "Pretty Innocuous" 194

CWmike writes "Microsoft has defended the IE8 tool that suggests sites based on URLs typed into its address bar, saying that the browser 'phones home' only a limited amount of information to Microsoft and that the company discards all user IP addresses almost immediately. Company managers also contrasted IE8 Beta 2's 'Suggested Sites' feature with the 'Suggest' feature used by Google Chrome, saying that Microsoft's requires the user's explicit permission before it's used. They did acknowledge a bug that prevents the request from reappearing when users reinstall the browser. Cyra Richardson, a Microsoft principal program manager on the IE team, said: 'Suggested Sites is connected to the browser's history, and it's not looking at each of the keystrokes. IE only captures the URL as it is navigated [to], when that URL goes into your history.' Nor does Suggested Sites log and transmit cookies to Microsoft's servers, as does Google Suggest, Richardson said. 'The data we log is actually pretty innocuous.'"
Networking

US Broadband Won't Catch Up With Japan's For 101 Years 708

An anonymous reader writes "Internet speeds of users nationwide shows that the United States has not made significant improvements in deploying high-speed broadband networks in the past year, and if the average US Internet speed continues to improve only at the same rate it did from 2007 to 2008, the country won't catch up with Japan's current download speed for another 100 years, according to findings released by the Communications Workers of America's (CWA's) Speed Matters campaign." With enough statistical mangling, nearly anything can be presented as plausible, but that's not enough to cover up my envy of Asian broadband speeds.
The Internet

AT&T Claims Internet to Reach Capacity in 2010 239

An anonymous reader writes "CNET News has a piece in which AT&T claims that the Internet's bandwidth will be saturated by video-on-demand and such by 2010. Says the AT&T VP: 'In three years' time, 20 typical households will generate more traffic than the entire Internet today.' Similarly: 'He claimed that the "unprecedented new wave of broadband traffic" would increase 50-fold by 2015 and that AT&T is investing $19 billion to maintain its network and upgrade its backbone network.'"
Privacy

Sweat Ducts May Act As Antenna For Lie Detection 120

Reservoir Hill writes "Researchers have discovered that human skin may contain millions of tiny "antennas" in the form of microscopic sweat ducts that may reveal a person's physical and emotional state. This discovery might eventually result in lie detectors that operate at a distance. In experiments, the team beamed electromagnetic waves with a frequency range of about 100 gigahertz at the hands of test subjects and measured the frequency of the electromagnetic waves reflecting off the subjects' skin. Initially, the experiments were carried out in contact with the subjects' hands, but even at a distance of 22 cm, researchers found a strong correlation between subjects' blood pressure and pulse rate, and the frequency response of their skin."
Networking

Comcast Offers 50 Mbps Residential Speeds 332

An anonymous reader notes that Comcast is offering a new 50-Mbps / 6-Mbps package for residential customers for $150, starting in Minneapolis-St. Paul and extending nationwide by mid-2010. The new service will use the DOCSIS 3.0 standard, which is nearing ratification. We've recently discussed Comcast's BitTorrent throttling and promise to quit it, and their low-quality 'HD' programming. How attractive will $150 for 50 Mbps be compared to Verizon's FiOS offerings?

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