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Submission + - HS Student Isolates Polystyrene-eating Microbe (

cmholm writes: "Although I had for years assumed that plastics eventually biodegrade, my recent reading of Weisman's The World Without Us reminded me that just because garbage has broken down into pieces that I can't see doesn't mean it isn't still polluting the biosphere. Weisman's book suggests that we're pretty much stuck with most plastics until something evolves to eat them. Perhaps we just need to introduce the diner to the dinner. A Waterloo, Ontario teen's 2008 science fair experiment found polystyrene's match in the team of the relatively uncommon Sphingomonas and Pseudomonas bacterias. At 37 degrees and optimal bacterial concentration, with a bit of sodium acetate thrown in, Burd achieved 43 per cent degradation within six weeks, rather than thousands of years."

Submission + - 123456789 happens today 1

mcgrew writes: "The Chicago Tribune is pointing out that shortly after noon today, the time and date will be 12:34:56 7/8/9. The Trib points out that this happens only once or twice per century, although it actually happens twice on the day it happens in.

serious Cubs fans know the first night game at Wrigley Field was played on 8/8/88 — which just happens to be four sideways infinity symbols.

I imagine you can make any day "special" like this if you try hard enough."


Submission + - Massacre in Peru;28 Protestors Killed (

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The indigenous Amazon rain forest residents who have been peacefully protesting, in Peru, against a series of legally questionable decrees subjecting the rain forest to further oil exploration, were attacked by the army and the police in a pre-dawn raid this morning. According to local accounts, the death toll was 38 and counting, with many more wounded. Eyewitnesses say that medical attention is being denied to the injured, except for injured police, and that journalists are being refused access to the area. Actress Q'orianka Kilcher is coordinating relief efforts."
The Internet

Submission + - Indonesian Mother of 2 Jailed for Email Rant (

An anonymous reader writes: Prita Mulyasari, a 32 year old Indonesian woman, received inaccurate diagnosis and treatment after being admitted with high fever to the Omni International Hospital in Banten, a region 30km west of the capital Jakarta. Receiving no recourse from hospital management, she decided to share her experience through a mailing list. Instead of shifting into damage control mode, the hospital decided to teach her a lesson by filing a defamation suit. The police and public attorney demonstrated extremely questionable judgment by arresting and throwing her in jail. I mean seriously, LOOK at this picture. What sane person would jail a sick breastfeeding mother of two, for complaining about inadequate healthcare? As of this writing, the facebook cause demanding her release has 180,000 members. Really, if the hospital wants to sue anybody for defamation, they can start by suing their own PR dept.
The Internet

Submission + - EFF begins tracking terms of service changes 1

netbuzz writes: "Next time a major Web site like Facebook, Google or eBay changes their seldom-read terms of service, a new project from the Electronic Frontier Foundation will be there to chronicle the alterations and highlight them for all to see. Called TOSBack, the EFF site launched today and is already tracking 44 sites. "Terms of service form the foundation of your relationship with social networking sites, online businesses, and other Internet communities, but most people become aware of these terms only when there's a problem," said EFF Activism and Technology Manager Tim Jones. "We created TOSBack to help consumers monitor terms of service for the websites they use everyday, and show how the terms change over time.""

Submission + - First Internet Election Takes Place in Hawaii

Hugh Pickens writes: "The Washington Post reports that voting has ended in what is being touted as the nation's first all-digital election and city officials say it has been a success after some 7.300 voters in Honolulu's neighborhood council election were able to pick winners entirely online or via telephone. Although only 6.3 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, city officials say the experiment appears to have generated few problems and it even saved the financially strapped city around $100,000. "It is kind of the wave of the future," said Bryan Mick, a community relations specialist with the city Neighborhood Commission, "so we're kind of glad in a way that we got to be the ones who initiated it." Before the first day of balloting, voters living in 22 neighborhood board districts with contested races received a passcode that, along with the last four digits of their Social Security number, gave them access to an election Web site created by Everyone Counts. Voting also was conducted by phone, with results electronically fed into the same computer system that collected the Web votes. Lori Steele, head of Everyone Counts, the San Diego-based firm chosen by the commission to run the election, said the computer codes in her firm's system are available for auditing, and that each completed ballot is heavily encrypted and more secure than that used in Internet banking. Web voting, which produces no paper record, cannot be used in city council or state elections because state law bars voting systems that do not include a vote verification process. "The technology side, it works," said Joan Manke, executive secretary of the commission. "So my sense is because it's a change, it's something totally new, it takes time. I think, for people to buy into it, to want to actually try it.""

Submission + - Human Language Gene Changes How Mice Squeak 2

archatheist writes: Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have engineered a mouse whose FOXP2 gene has been swapped out for (different) human version. This is interesting because the gene is implicated in human language, and this has changed how mice squeak. Forget planet of the apes... get your tiny paws off me, you darn dirty mouse!

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