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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 38 declined, 11 accepted (49 total, 22.45% accepted)

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Submission + - Antarctic Ice hits an all-time record high level

dtjohnson writes: "Two weeks after a new record was set in the Arctic Ocean for the least amount of sea ice coverage in the satellite record, the ice surrounding Antarctica reached its highest ever level. Sea ice extended over 19.44 million square kilometers (7.51 million square miles) in 2012, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The previous record of 19.39 million kilometers (7.49 million square miles) was set in 2006." Ice extent is reaching an all-time record high on the bottom of the planet just after ice reached an all-time record low on the top of the planet. What can it mean? Either there will soon be more ice at the top or less ice at the bottom or the planet will become seriously 'bottom heavy.' Now there is something to worry about...

Submission + - Underground condos for sale in Kansas will be humanity's last holdout (

dtjohnson writes: A developer in Kansas is selling what can be called "Humanity's Last Holdout." He is converting abandoned Atlas missile silos into luxury condos that will allow the occupants to hunker down and withstand war, solar flares, catclysmic weather events, and just about any of your general apocalyptic events. A condo starts at $1 million for a half-floor unit and will include complex life support systems for water, power, and unmentionables. So far, brisk sales have totaled $7 million.

Submission + - Iran deleted from the world's banking computers ( 4

dtjohnson writes: Iran is being deleted from the world banking system Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) computers as of Saturday at 1600 UTC. Once the SWIFT codes for Iranian banks are deleted, Iranian banks will no longer be able to transfer funds to and from other worldwide banks making Iranian international commerce into a barter operation. SWIFT is taking the action at the request of EU members to comply with international sanctions against Iran due to its program to develop nuclear weapons. The effect will be to drastically hinder Iran's ability to execute international business transactions. This is serious folks.

Submission + - Greenland ice cover loss claims said wrong (

dtjohnson writes: The new "Times Atlas of the World" claims in publicity for its newest edition that global warming has turned 15 percent of Greenland's former ice-covered land "green and ice-free." Now, however, scientists from the Scott Polar Research Institute say those figures, based on data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) are wrong. "Recent satellite images of Greenland make it clear that there are in fact still numerous glaciers and permanent ice cover where the new Times Atlas shows ice-free conditions and the emergence of new lands," they say in a letter that has been sent to the Times. Others have pointed out that if 15 percent of Greenland ice cover had been lost, then sea levels would have risen by 1 meter...which has not happened. Perhaps yet another climategate is brewing.

Submission + - Future Sun may disrupt spacecraft and satellites (

dtjohnson writes: A study published today predicts that solar storms are going to become increasingly disruptive to satellites and communications in the coming decades as the sun cycles towards a minimum of activity. "The work, published in Geophysical Research Letters, predicts that once the Sun shifts toward an era of lower solar activity, more hazardous radiation will reach Earth. The team says the Sun is currently at a grand solar maximum. This phase began in the 1920s — and has lasted throughout the space age....The evidence seems to indicate that although there are fewer solar storms once the Sun leaves its grand maximum, they are more powerful, faster and therefore carry more particles."

Submission + - Thunderstorms produce large amounts of antimatter (

dtjohnson writes: Scientists have been looking for anti-matter deep in space but now it appears that there is a source much closer to home...thunderstorms. Scientists looking at terrestial gamma ray flashes (TGFs) produced in thunderstorms have discovered that the gamma ray energy transforms into a pair of electron and a positron...which then sprays out into space as an anti-matter beam. This happens as many as 500 times each day. Perhaps it will not be much longer until anti-matter is harnesses as a source of energy for interstellar warp drive.

Submission + - Solar hemisphere eruption shatters understandings (

dtjohnson writes: "On August 1, 2010, an entire hemisphere of the sun erupted. Filaments of magnetism snapped and exploded, shock waves raced across the stellar surface, billion-ton clouds of hot gas billowed into space. Astronomers knew they had witnessed something big. It was so big, it may have shattered old ideas about solar activity."

Previously, solar scientists had considered solar activity to be localized and isolated but the August 1 eruption led to the insight that all localized activity (i.e. 'sunspots') were manifestations of much bigger interrelated solar magnetic activity lurking below the surface. This has implications for models of the Earth's climate which have modeled solar output as a relatively constant input to the Earth's climate varying only slightly on the 11-year sunspot cycle.

Submission + - One percent of human genes come from Neanderthals

dtjohnson writes: A study published in Nature today establishes conclusively that living humans carry between 1 and 4 percent of their genes in common with Neanderthals. Previous studies failed to show intermixing between us and neanderthals. The new, much more rigorous study, was done by sequencing DNA from 3 neanderthal individuals who perished 40,000 years ago and comparing it with DNA from humans in Africa, France, Papua New Guinea, and China. The researchers concluded that humans living today carry between 1 and 4 percent of Neanderthal genes and the intermixing must have happened during a 50,000 year window when neanderthals and humans were living side-by-side in the Middle East. So, the next time you see a neanderthal image, keep in mind that it might be your Uncle Fester.

Submission + - Arctic Ice Extent Underestimated by bad sensor

dtjohnson writes: The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has been at the forefront of predicting doom in the arctic as ice melts due to global warming. In May, 2008 they went so far as to predict that the North Pole would be ice-free during the 2008 'melt season' leading to a lively slashdot discussion. Today, however, they say that they have been the victims of 'sensor drift' that lead to an underestimation of arctic ice extent by as much as 500,000 square kilometers. The problem was discovered after they received emails from puzzled readers, asking why obviously sea-ice-covered regions were showing up as ice free open ocean. It turns out that the NSIDC relys on an older, less-reliable method of tracking sea ice extent called SSM/I that does not agree with a newer method called AMSR-E. So why doesn't NSIDC use the newer AMSR-E data? "We do not use AMSR-E data in our analysis because it is not consistent with our historical data." Turns out that the AMSR-E data only goes back to 2002 which is probably not long enough for the NSIDC to make sweeping conclusions about melting. The AMSR-E data is updated daily and is available to the public. Thus far, sea ice extent in 2009 is tracking ahead of 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 so the predictions of an ice free north pole might be premature.
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Submission + - RIAA litigation may be unconstitutional

dtjohnson writes: A Harvard law school professor has submitted arguments on behalf of Joel Tenenbaum in RIAA v. Tenenbaum in which Professor Charles Neeson claims that the underlying law that the RIAA uses is actually a criminal, rather than civil, statute and is therefore unconstitutional. According to this article, "Neeson charges that the federal law is essentially a criminal statute in that it seeks to punish violators with minimum statutory penalties far in excess of actual damages. The market value of a song is 99 cents on iTunes; of seven songs, $6.93. Yet the statutory damages are a minimum of $750 per song, escalating to as much as $150,000 per song for infringement "committed willfully."" If the law is a criminal statute, Neeson then claims that it violates the 5th and 8th amendments and is therefore unconstitutional. Litigation will take a while but this may be the end for RIAA litigation, at least until they can persuade Congress to pass a new law.

Submission + - 2008 is the coldest year of this century 1

dtjohnson writes: Data from the United Kingdom Metereological Office suggests that 2008 will be an unusually cold year due to the La Nina effect in the western Pacific ocean. Not to worry, though, as the La Nina effect has faded recently so its effect on next years temperatures will be reduced. However, another natural cycle, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, is predicted to hold global temperatures steady for the next decade before global warming takes our planet into new warmth. If these predictions are correct, there must be a lot of planetary heat being stored away somewhere...unless the heat output from the sun is decreasing rather than increasing or the heat being absorbed by the earth is decreasing due to changes in the earth's albedo.

Submission + - Microsoft falls over the cliff

dtjohnson writes: Microsft released their fiscal 3rd quarter earnings yesterday and they are a shocker. Sales of the Windows Client tumbled 24 percent from a year ago, sales of Microsoft Office were down 2 percent, but sales of Xbox360 gear were up 68 percent. Unfortunately for Microsoft, though, the 'Entertainment' Division is still just a break-even business and most of their profit comes from selling Windows and Office. Other interesting stuff: they repurchased $5 billion less stock in 3Q08 than 3Q07 and they are carrying $10 billion on their books now as 'goodwill' versus only $5 billion in the year ago period. Looks like all of those stories about problems with Windows Vista were...right. What should Microsoft do now to fix the mess? Rush out a new and improved Windows update or keep pushing on Vista?

Submission + - Poll Topic

dtjohnson writes: How much gas do you use to get to work? A) Zero. I roller-skate. B) Less than 1/4 gallon. Two wheels and a motor are all anyone should need. C) 1/4 to 1/2 gallon. My carpool complains about my gas. D) 1/2 to 1 gallon. My car sips gas like it's fine champagne. E) 1 to 2 gallons. My job and I are at opposite ends of a space-time paradox. F) More than 2 gallons. My carbon footprint looks like Sasquatch so I own stock in Exxon Mobil.

Submission + - New infrared treatment for Alzheimer patients

dtjohnson writes: A new treatment is being tested for people with Alzheimer's disease in which the brain is bathed with infra-red radiation to stimulate the growth of brain cells. Tests in mice have been very promising at improving the learning ability of the mice. In tests with people, 8 out of 9 have showed improvement. The treatment requires that an infra-red emitting helmet be worn for 10 minutes a day. From the article: "Currently all you can do with dementia is to slow down the rate of decay — this new process will not only stop that rate of decay but partially reverse it." It's estimated by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health that the incidence of Alzheimer's will increase from the current 1 in 200 people to 1 out of 85 people worldwide by 2050 so any new potential treatment is welcome news.

Submission + - Google goes live with javascript requirement

dtjohnson writes: Google has just gone live with their new javascript requirement. Now, you can no longer access stuff like groups or images from the Google front page without having javascript turned on. Given the security weaknesses of javascript, many turn it off or use plugins like noscript to block untrustworthy sites. Google was in trouble not long ago for their search logging. Now, you'll have to let Google in through your javascript door if you want to use their stuff. What will they do with that?

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