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Science

Leaning Tower of Pisa Secure For 300 More Years 168

Ponca City, We Love You writes "The tower of Pisa began to lean five years after its construction began, in 1178, and by 1990 it had tilted more than four meters off its true vertical. Conservationists estimated that the entire 14,500-ton structure would collapse 'some time between 2030 and 2040.' Now the Leaning Tower of Pisa has been stabilized and declared safe for at least another three centuries. The stabilization, which cost $30M, was accomplished by anchoring it to cables and lead counterweights, while 70 tons of soil were removed from the side away from the lean, and cement was injected into the ground to relieve the pressure. The tilt has now returned to where it was in the early 19th century. Nicholas Shrady, author of Tilt: A Skewed History of the Tower of Pisa, says that the tower was destined to lean from the outset because it was built on 'what is essentially a former bog.' Shrady adds that the tower previously came close to collapsing in 1838, 1934, and 1995. (The commission convened in 1990 to study the tower's stability was the 17th such.) Although Galileo Galilei is said to have dropped cannon balls from the tower in a gravity experiment, Shrady says the myth is the result of 'the overripe imagination of Galileo's secretary and first biographer, Vincenzo Viviani.'"
Data Storage

1TB Blu-Ray Compatible Optical Disc Announced 256

red_dragon writes "An article on The Register tells the news of an announcement of a new 1TB optical drive and disc that will be backwardly compatible with Blu-ray discs. The technology, developed by Call/Recall in partnership with Nichia, uses a rhodamine-type dye in a 200+-layer recording medium that gives off light when excited by a laser beam, along with a single fluid-filled lens to read multiple layers by varying the amount of fluid to change the focal length. The technology is designed to work with Nichia's blue-violet laser diodes, which are already used in Blu-ray drives."
Power

Successful Cold Fusion Experiment? 387

An anonymous reader writes "The italian economic journal 'Il sole 24 ore' published an article about a successful cold fusion experiment performed by Yoshiaki Arata in Japan. They seems to have pumped high pressure deutherium gas in a nanometric matrix of palladium and zyrcon oxide. The experiments generates a considerable amount of energy and they found the presence of Helium-4 in the matrix (as sign of the fusion). I was not able to find other articles about this but the journal is very authoritative in Italy. Google translations are also available."
Biotech

Skin Cells Turned Embryonic 261

anik315 writes "Nature is reporting a major breakthrough in embryonic stem cell research. A straightforward procedure using mouse fibroblasts harvested from the skin can be used to produce pluripotent stem cells that can potentially become any other cell in the body. Not only can Yamanaka's method use the most basic cells, it can be accomplished with simple lab techniques. Possible applications of this breakthrough are to check molecular changes in cells as certain conditions develop. Stem cells produced using this procedure, however, can not be used safely to make genetically matched cells for transplant."
AMD

AMD A Ripe Target For Buyout? 108

SpiceMonkey writes "AMD stock was up 6.74% on Monday on rumors that AMD is a prime buyout target. After their purchase of ATI, they've been pressed to maintain their aggressive policy of chip production increases. As a result, the AMD message board on Yahoo! is full of speculation on who has their eyes on the company. Many folks there think that IBM is the right buyer for the company. There's no firm word that AMD is even being considered for purchase, but it's certainly and interesting prospect."

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