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NASA

Submission + - Dying Man Shares Unseen Challenger Video (nycaviation.com) 1

longacre writes: An amateur video of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion has been made public for the first time. The Florida man who filmed it from his front yard on his new Betamax camcorder turned the tape over to an educational organization a week before he died this past December. The Space Exploration Archive has since published the video into the public domain in time for the 24th anniversary of the catastrophe. Despite being shot from about 70 miles from Cape Canaveral, the shuttle and the explosion can be seen quite clearly. It is unclear why he never shared the footage with NASA or the media. NASA officials say they were not aware of the video, but are interested in examining it now that it has been made available.
Medicine

Submission + - How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA (technologyreview.com)

KentuckyFC writes: Great things are expected of terahertz waves, the radiation that fills the slot in the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and the infrared. Terahertz waves pass through non-conducting materials such as clothes , paper, wood and brick and so cameras sensitive to them can peer inside envelopes, into living rooms and "frisk" people at distance. That's not to mention the great potential they have in medical imaging. Because terahertz photons are not energetic enough to break chemical bonds or ionise electrons, it's easy to dismiss fears over their health effects. And yet the evidence is mixed: some studies have reported significant genetic damage while others, although similar, have reported none. Now a team led by Los Alamos National Labs thinks it knows why. They say that although the forces that terahertz waves exert on double-stranded DNA are tiny, in certain circumstances resonant effects can unzip the DNA strands, tearing them apart. This creates bubbles in the strands that can significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication. With terahertz scanners already appearing in airports and hospitals, the question that now urgently needs answering is what level of exposure is safe.
Security

Submission + - Defcon, Black Hat attendee finds more dodgy ATMs (computerworlduk.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: As if it weren't enough that one bogus ATM was discovered collecting card details at the Riviera in Las Vegas where Black Hat and Defcon attendees were staying, one presenter suspects that ATMs at the Rio were compromised as well. Chris Paget tried to take out $200 and the machine never gave him the money despite debiting his account. At least five other people were affected. The hotel staff allowed the machines to keep running and threatened that Paget could be prosecuted for vandalism if he unplugged them. The Secret Service confirmed on Monday that they're investigating. It could be an inside job, or the machines may be infected with malware, as was found earlier this year in Eastern Europe.
Power

Submission + - California fires up laser fusion machine (tgdaily.com)

viyh writes: "A fusion ignition facility which uses the power of lasers to turn tiny hydrogen pellets into thermonuclear energy is to open in California today.

The device is expected to be the first to create more energy than it uses, releasing ten to 100 times more energy than the amount of laser energy required to initiate the fusion reaction.

It is hoped that the $3.5 billion National Ignition Facility (NIF) will pave the way for commercial laser fusion power stations — potentially providing clean, almost limitless energy.

The NIF's laser — the most powerful in the world — will aim 192 beams of light at an area half a millimeter square in a burst lasting five billionths of a second. The beams produce a shock wave that slams into a tiny pellet of frozen hydrogen. This generates a temperature of tens of millions degrees C and a pressure of many billions of atmospheres, replicating the conditions found within a star. The hydrogen atoms fuse, producing helium and energy."

The Internet

Submission + - 7Million UK Broadband Users Download Illegal Files (ispreview.co.uk) 3

MJackson writes: "An advisor to the UK government, the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy (SABIP), has published the results of two recently commissioned literature reviews into intellectual property and the behaviours of Digital Consumers in the online world. The studies reveal that approximately 7 million people in the UK are involved with illegal file sharing, accounting for over half of the country's total Internet traffic. The governments Lord Carter is expected to outline his plans for tackling this problem when, sometime over the next few weeks, he reveals the final Digital Britain report. Disconnecting users from their ISP is unlikely to be an option but could still appear."
Medicine

Submission + - Only 7 swine flu deaths, not 152, says WHO (smh.com.au)

Philip K Dickhead writes: "A member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has dismissed claims that more than 150 people have died from swine flu, saying it has officially recorded only seven deaths around the world. Vivienne Allan said in an interview with Australian Broadcasting, that the body had confirmed worldwide there had been just seven deaths — all in Mexico — and 79 confirmed cases of the disease. Ms. Allen, of WHO's patient safety program stated "Unfortunately that [150-plus deaths] is incorrect information and it does happen, but that's not information that's come from the World Health Organisation. That figure is not a figure that's come from the World Health Organisation and, I repeat, the death toll is seven and they are all from Mexico." Ms Allan said WHO had confirmed 40 cases of swine flu in the Americas, 26 in Mexico, six in Canada, two in Spain, two in Britain and three in New Zealand."
Government

Algorithm Names Powell 'Ideal' Vice President Candidate 543

CWmike writes "Turns out the ideal vice presidential candidate for Sen. John McCain is the same person as the ideal vice presidential candidate for Sen. Barack Obama, according to a sophisticated online survey based on technology developed at MIT. Mr. Ideal? Colin Powell, a former U.S. Army general and former secretary of state. Affinnova's survey methods doesn't use the typical polling method of asking respondents to pick a name from a list. Instead, it gives respondents larger concepts, including photos, biographical information and possible first-term priorities. Affinnova calls this algorithm 'evolutionary optimization.' Steve Lamoureaux, the company's chief innovation officer, said of the VP finding: 'We never imagined that the same candidate would show up for both parties.'"

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