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Carbon Dioxide Emissions Fall Worldwide In 2009 221

Hugh Pickens writes "The Christian Science Monitor reports that the good news is that emissions from burning coal, oil, and natural gas fell 1.3 percent compared with emissions in 2008 primarily because of the global economic downturn and an increase in carbon-dioxide uptake by the oceans and by plants on land. One big factor was La Niña, a natural seesaw shift in climate that takes place across the tropical Pacific every three to seven years, where the climate is cooler and wetter over large regions of land in the tropics, encouraging plant growth in tropical forests. However the bad news is that even with the decrease in emissions the overall concentration of CO2 rose from 385 ppm in 2008 to 387 ppm in 2009, as concentrations continue to rise even as emissions slip because even at the reduced pace, humans are pumping CO2 into the atmosphere faster than natural processes can scrub the gas. Many countries have agreed in principle to try to stabilize emissions at 350 ppm by century's end, which would result in a 50 percent chance of holding the increase in global average temperatures to about 2 degrees C over pre-industrial levels."

40 Million Year Old Primate Fossils Found In Asia 91

sosaited writes "It has been widely believed that our ancestors originated out of Africa, but a paper published in Nature by Carnegie Museum of Natural History scientists puts this in doubt. The paper is based on the fossils of four primate species found in Asia which are 40 million years old, during which period Africa was thought to not have these species. The diversity and timing of the new anthropoids raises two scenarios. Anthropoids might simply have emerged in Africa much earlier than thought, and gone undiscovered by modern paleontologists. Or they could have crossed over from Asia, where evidence suggests that anthropoids lived 55 million years ago, flourishing and diversifying in the wide-open ecological niches of an anthropoid-free Africa."

KDE SC 4.7 May Use OpenGL 3 For Compositing 187

An anonymous reader writes "KDE SC 4.5 is about to be released and KDE SC 4.6 is being discussed. However, Martin Graesslin has revealed some details about what they are planning for KDE 4.7. According to Martin's blog post, they are looking at OpenGL 3.0 to provide the compositing effects in KDE SC 4.7. OpenGL 3.0 provides support for frame buffer objects, hardware instancing, vertex array objects, and sRGB framebuffers."

Submission + - Hyperfast Star Was Booted from Milky Way ( writes: A hundred million years ago, a triple-star system was traveling through the bustling center of our Milky Way galaxy when it made a life-changing misstep. The trio wandered too close to the galaxy's giant black hole, which captured one of the stars and hurled the other two out of the Milky Way. Adding to the stellar game of musical chairs, the two outbound stars merged to form a super-hot, blue star.

This story may seem like science fiction, but astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope say it is the most likely scenario for a so-called hypervelocity star, known as HE 0437-5439, one of the fastest ever detected. It is blazing across space at a speed of 1.6 million miles (2.5 million kilometers) an hour, three times faster than our Sun's orbital velocity in the Milky Way. Hubble observations confirm that the stellar speedster hails from our galaxy's core.


Submission + - Google exec frustrated by Java, C++ complexity (

angry tapir writes: "Today's commercial-grade programming languages — C++ and Java, in particular — are way too complex and not adequately suited for today's computing environments, Google distinguished engineer Rob Pike argued in a talk at the O'Reilly Open Source Conference. Pike made his case against such "industrial programming languages" during his keynote at the conference in Portland, Oregon."

Submission + - The race for realtime photorealism

An anonymous reader writes: A recent article in American Scientist describes the battle between Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA for the next generation hardware that will serve all our graphics needs. At the SIGGRAPH conference next week NVIDIA will present OptiX as their future platform for ray tracing entirely on GPUs, while Intel and AMD will be showing KeyShot which is entirely CPU driven. Around the corner AMD's Fusion architecture looks very interesting as well. Who will win this battle for realtime rendering? And when will we see ray tracing in games?

Submission + - The Core of Neptune, Here on Earth (

sciencehabit writes: To figure out what's happening to the water inside the extremely high temperature and high pressure cores of Neptune and other outer solar systems planets, an international team of researchers plans to create similar conditions here on Earth. First, they'll seal water into a compressor made of tantalum or tungsten. Then, they'll fire beams of heavy ions such as uranium at the container until the water within is sweltering under temperatures thousands of degrees Kelvin and pressures of several million atmospheres. These extremes may reveal two phases of water not commonly found on Earth: plasma, a high-energy state in the sun where the electrons aren't tied to any atom in particular and move about freely; and the superionic phase, an elusive state where the oxygen atoms form a solid crystal lattice and the hydrogen ions zip around and through it. A computer simulation published today in New Journal of Physics shows that the experiment could work. But it's going to cost more than $1 billion and require 16 countries to foot the bill.

Gulf Oil Spill Disaster — Spawn of the Living Dead 228

grrlscientist writes "A recently published study, intended to provide data to commercial fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico so they maximize their catch of Yellowfin Tuna, Thunnus albacares, whilst avoiding bycatch of critically endangered Atlantic (Northern) Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus thynnus, suggests that the Deepwater Horizon oil leak may devastate the endangered Atlantic bluefin population, causing it to completely collapse or possibly go extinct."

Sneak Preview For Coming KDE SC 4.5 249

omlx writes "KDE SC 4.5 is in feature freeze right now. Therefore, I decided to share some early screenshots with you. In general there are no major changes; it's all about polishing and fixing bugs. There are a lot of under-the-hood changes in libs, which as end users we cannot see. KDE SC will be released in August 2010." Note: you can also try out a beta of the release now, if you'd like.

New Evidence Presented For Ancient Fossils In Mars Rocks 91

azoblue passes along a story in the Washington Post, which begins: "NASA's Mars Meteorite Research Team reopened a 14-year-old controversy on extraterrestrial life last week, reaffirming and offering support for its widely challenged assertion that a 4-billion-year-old meteorite that landed thousands of years ago on Antarctica shows evidence of microscopic life on Mars. In addition to presenting research that they said disproved some of their critics, the scientists reported that additional Martian meteorites appear to house distinct and identifiable microbial fossils that point even more strongly to the existence of life. 'We feel more confident than ever that Mars probably once was, and maybe still is, home to life,' team leader David McKay said at a NASA-sponsored conference on astrobiology."

Recession Cuts Operation That Uses Hair To Clean Up Oil Screenshot-sm 119

Matter of Trust, a nonprofit that uses human hair scraps to make mats to clean up oil spills, finds itself with 18,000 pounds of hair and nobody to process it. Lisa Gautier, who runs the organization, says that the recession has closed many of the textile makers that produced the mats and the warehouse that stored them. Unfortunately for Lisa the hair keeps piling up. From the article: "Hair is good at soaking up oil because, up close, the strands are shaped like a palm tree with scalelike cuticles. Drops of oil naturally cling inside those cuticles, says Blair Blacker, chief executive of the World Response Group. A pound of hair can pick up one quart of oil in a minute, and it can be wrung out and reused up to 100 times, Mrs. Gautier says."

Nokia Releases Qt SDK For Mobile Development 76

An anonymous reader writes "Nokia has released its unified Qt-based SDK for cross-platform development for Symbian and MeeGo (plus Maemo) devices. The blurb reads: 'Today sees the release of the Nokia Qt SDK, a single easy-to-use software development kit (SDK) for Symbian and Meego application development. Developers can now develop, test, and deploy native applications for Nokia smartphones and mobile computers. The beta version of the SDK is available for download from today, ready for developers to kick off development for new devices, including the just-announced Nokia N8.'"

Decades-Old Soviet Reflector Spotted On the Moon 147

cremeglace writes "No one had seen a laser reflector that Soviet scientists had left on the moon almost 40 years ago, despite years of searching. Turns out searchers had been looking kilometers in the wrong direction. On 22 April, a team of physicists finally saw an incredibly faint flash from the reflector, which was ferried across the lunar surface by the Lunokhod 1 rover. The find comes thanks to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which last month imaged a large area where the rover was reported to have been left. Then the researchers, led by Tom Murphy of the University of California, San Diego, could search one football-field-size area at a time until they got a reflection."

The Nuts and Bolts of PlayStation 3D 154

The Digital Foundry blog took an in-depth look at how Sony is introducing 3D technology to PlayStation 3 games. They give a step-by-step description of how the system generates a 3D frame (or rather, a pair of frames), and the graphical hurdles that need be to overcome to ensure the games look good. The article also discusses some of the subtle effects 3D technology can have on gameplay: "'One interesting thing came through in the immersion aspect was that in the first-person camera view, it felt so much more like being there. Typically when most people play MotorStorm, something like 90 per cent play in the third-person view,' Benson explains. 'As soon as we put the 3D settings in place, the first-person view became a lot more popular, a lot more people were using that view. This could indicate that 3D could perhaps change the standards, if you like.' ... 'We found that in the first-person view the game is giving you all the sorts of cues that you're used to in normal driving: speed perception, the ability to judge distances, things like that. It's far easier to avoid track objects.' The insertion of true stereoscopic 3D into MotorStorm also brings about a new sense of appreciation of the scale and size of the game world and the objects within it."

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