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United States

Submission + - Catcher in the Rye "sequel" banned in the

blind biker writes: Judge Deborah Batts ruled that a novel centering around "Mr. C", a character resembling Holden Caulfield from J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye", was "an infringement on Mr Salinger's main character, Holden Caulfield.". The book is now indefinitely banned from publication, advertising or distribution in the USA. Fredrik Colting's book is, however, available in the UK.
Space

Galactic Origin For 62M-Year Extinction Cycle? 221

Hugh Pickens writes "Cosmologist Adrian Mellott has an article in Seed Magazine discussing his search for the mechanism behind the mass extinctions in earth's history that seem to occur with a period of about 62 million years. Scientists have identified nearly 20 mass extinctions throughout the fossil record, including the end-Permian event about 250 million years ago that killed off about 95 percent of life on Earth. Mellott notes that as our solar system orbits the Milky Way's center, it oscillates through the galactic plane with a period of around 65 million years. 'The space between galaxies is not empty. It's actually full of rarefied hot gas,' says Mellott. 'As our galaxy falls into the Local Supercluster, it should disturb this gas and create a shock wave, like the bow shock of a jet plane,' generating cascades of high-energy subatomic particles and radiation called 'cosmic rays.' These effects could cause enhanced cloud formation and depletion of the ozone layer, killing off many small organisms at the base of the food chain and potentially leading to a population crash. So where is the earth now in the 62-million year extinction cycle? '[W]e are on the downside of biodiversity, a few million years from hitting bottom,' writes Mellott."
Censorship

Submission + - Fox reports EPA controversy; CNN et al ignore it

mbeckman writes: Fox News today reported that Senator James Inhofe, R-Okla, ordered an investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency's alleged suppression of an internal report calling into question the EPA's position backing CO2 as a primary cause of global warming. A report co-authored by EPA analyst Alan Carlin states that the EPA ignored data showing global temperature declining for eleven years despite increasing CO2 levels over the same period. Inhofe may or may not have a solid basis for his concerns; that remains to be seen. But what I find disturbing is that Senator Inhofe's quite public announcement has been ignored by CNN, CBS, NBC and ABC. As of midnight Monday MDT, the story appears on none of their sites. While there certainly can be room for selectivity in a news site's front page content, it's hard to imagine what justification major networks can have for completely ignoring a significant investigation ordered by a U.S. Senator. Will Slashdot air this controversy, or bury it further?
Image

Artist Wins £20,000 Grant To Study Women's Butts Screenshot-sm 202

Sue Williams has been awarded a £20,000 grant by the Arts Council of Wales, to "explore cultural attitudes towards female buttocks." Sue plans to examine racial attitudes towards bottoms in Europe and Africa and create plaster casts of women's behinds to try to understand their place in contemporary culture. And here I've been studying the issue all these years for free like a sucker!
Privacy

Submission + - Taiwan Passes 3-Strikes Law

An anonymous reader writes: A revision to Copywrite Law in Taiwan has just been ratified to empower ISPs to disconnect (and possibly take further action) internet users who are found to have uploaded copywrite material onto any website. According to this article, it specifically targets heavy P2P uploaders.
Medicine

Saving 28,000 Lives a Year 263

The New Yorker is running a piece by Atul Gawande that starts by describing the everyday miracles that can be achieved in a modern medical intensive care unit, and ends by making a case for a simple and inexpensive way to save 28,000 lives per year in US ICUs, at a one-time cost of a few million dollars. This medical miracle is the checklist. Gawande details how modern medicine has spiraled into complexity beyond any person's ability to track — and nowhere more so than in the ICU. "A decade ago, Israeli scientists published a study in which engineers observed patient care in ICUs for twenty-four-hour stretches. They found that the average patient required a hundred and seventy-eight individual actions per day, ranging from administering a drug to suctioning the lungs, and every one of them posed risks. Remarkably, the nurses and doctors were observed to make an error in just one per cent of these actions — but that still amounted to an average of two errors a day with every patient. Intensive care succeeds only when we hold the odds of doing harm low enough for the odds of doing good to prevail. This is hard." The article goes on to profile a doctor named Peter Pronovost, who has extensively studied the ability of the simplest of complexity tamers — the checklist — to save lives in the ICU setting. Pronovost oversaw the introduction of checklists in the ICUs in hospitals across Michigan, and the result was a thousand lives saved in a year. That would translate to 28,000 per year if scaled nationwide, and Pronovost estimates the cost of doing that at $3 million.
Image

Couple Funds Honeymoon With Recyclables Screenshot-sm 38

John and Ann Till, from Petersfield, in Hampshire, spent three months collecting recyclables to pay for their honeymoon flights. The couple earned one reward point, which they converted into BA air miles, for every four items they recycled. In the end, they amassed 36,000 miles. Mr Till, 31, a railways communications manager, said, "We wanted to make our honeymoon special and were trying to think of ways to raise money for it. I saw on the machine that you got a Tesco Clubcard point for every four items you put in. For every 250 points you got 600 British Airways miles. We worked out that it would be possible to turn rubbish into our flights — as long as we had enough."

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