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Oil Leak Could Be Stopped With a Nuke Screenshot-sm 799

An anonymous reader writes "The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico could be stopped with an underground nuclear blast, a Russian newspaper reports. Komsomoloskaya Pravda, the best-selling Russian daily, reports that in Soviet times such leaks were plugged with controlled nuclear blasts underground. The idea is simple, KP writes: 'The underground explosion moves the rock, presses on it, and, in essence, squeezes the well's channel.' It's so simple, in fact, that the Soviet Union used this method five times to deal with petrocalamities, and it only didn't work once."
Biotech

Malaria Vaccine, Via Mosquito 178

CodeShark writes "The AP is reporting that mosquitoes have been used for the first time to deliver anti-malarial vaccine through their bites. According to this article the results were crystal clear: 100% of the vaccinated group acquired immunity, everyone in the non-vaccinated control group did not. Those in the control group and developed malaria when exposed to the parasites later, the vaccinated group did not. Malaria kills nearly a million people per year, mostly children."
Medicine

Edible "Intelligent Pills" 105

Ian Lamont sends along a brief note from the Industry Standard about "intelligent" pills that can help doctors record information about drug dosages, heart rate, respiratory rate, and other metrics. The pills, being developed by Proteus Biomedicals, have "digestible sensors" made out of food products and are activated by stomach fluids. A receiver that is similar to a skin patch picks up the data and can be passed on to a 3G mobile network, and from there to hospitals or doctors' offices. According to the Proteus site, the sensors cost a few cents per pill. The devices, currently in clinical trials, made #8 on Wired's list of the top technology breakthroughs of 2008.
Earth

More Climate Scientists Now Support Geoengineering 458

ofcourseyouare writes "The Independent is a UK newspaper which has been pushing hard for cuts in CO2 emissions for years. It recently polled a group of 'the world's leading climate scientists,' revealing a 'growing support for geoengineering' in addition to cutting CO2 — not as a substitute. For example, Jim Lovelock, author of The Gaia Theory, comments: 'I disagree that geoengineering the climate is a dangerous distraction and I disagree that on no account should it ever be considered. I strongly agree that we now need a "plan B" where a geoengineering strategy is drawn up in parallel with other measures to curb CO2 emissions.' Professor Kerry Emanuel of MIT said, 'While a geoengineering solution is bound to be less than desirable, the probability of getting global agreement on emissions reductions before it is too late is very small.'"
Transportation

Keeping Older Drivers Behind the Wheel 260

Hugh Pickens writes "A new study shows the key role technology can play in extending the age at which people can drive safely and highlights the important psychological role that driving plays in older people's lives in contributing to feelings of independence and freedom and maintaining their quality of life. The study identified ideas for in-car information systems to help compensate for the reduction in reaction time that affects many older drivers. Specific recommendations included a head-up display on the windshield that displays road sign information based on GPS position so the driver doesn't have to keep watching the road side for information and a system to provide the driver with audible feedback on their current speed so the driver doesn't have to look at the dashboard so often. 'Our research highlights issues that have been overlooked by car designers and those advising older people on lifestyles,' says Dr Charles Musselwhite, who led the study. 'The current emphasis on developing technologies which take over part of the driving task may actually end up deterring older drivers. By contrast, better in-car information systems could help them drive safely and ensure they want to keep driving.'"
Biotech

Biologist (Almost) Creates Artificial Life 539

Aditya Malik writes "Wired has an interesting story up about how a lab led by Jack Szostak, a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School, is building 'protocells' from artificial molecules which are very close to satisfying the conditions for being 'alive.' 'Szostak's protocells are built from fatty molecules that can trap bits of nucleic acids that contain the source code for replication. Combined with a process that harnesses external energy from the sun or chemical reactions, they could form a self-replicating, evolving system that satisfies the conditions of life, but isn't anything like life on earth now, but might represent life as it began or could exist elsewhere in the universe.' This obviously raises some questions about creationism, not to mention some scary bio-research-gone-wild scenarios."
Robotics

Wall-E Lookalike Wins British War Robot Showdown 155

longacre writes "Following in the footsteps of DARPA's Urban Challenge, in which robotic vehicles had to navigate a complex obstacle course without human intervention, the UK upped the ante with its own Ministry of Defence Grand Challenge: within a mock enemy village, robots were instructed to find potential targets and make distinctions between armed troops, roadside bombs and snipers. The winning entry, Team Stellar's SATURN system, actually consists of three vehicles: a low level drone and a tracked ground vehicle transmit reconnaissance data to a high-altitude robotic relay aircraft, which proceeds to phone that data home to a central processing center. Upon announcing the winner yesterday, MoD said they are 'carefully considering if technologies demonstrated in the final can be incorporated into future frontline kit for the Armed Forces. It is possible that the winning team will have invented a product that can be developed rapidly for the front line.'"

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