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Science

Submission + - Senate kills Keystone, averts 'Venus syndrome' (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: The U.S. Senate Thursday killed a plan to build the Keystone pipeline and bring oil from tar sands and shale into the U.S. This exploitation worried NASA climate scientist James Hansen so much that he warned, in his book Storms of My Grandchildren, of a "Venus syndrome,” — runaway climate change so extreme that it leaves the planet overheated and dead. He argued that if the world burns tar sands and tar shale, “I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty.” But the fossil fuel industry will likely win on Keystone eventually, unless the tech industry can offer an alternative narrative to job creation and alternative energy.

Submission + - No Souls Were Sold: An Insider Perspective on EA's BioWare (videogamer.com)

jtorry writes: "In 1995 Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka had two passions: medicine and role-playing games. If the two young doctors weren't tending to Alberta's sick they were playing table-top adventures or talking about translating them into video games. When they co-founded BioWare with fellow doctor Augustine Yip, medicine still represented Muzyka and Zeschuk's day jobs as they tried to balance their passions.

Today BioWare has roughly 800 employees across six studios. Each studio ultimately reports to Muzyka, while Zeschuk is in charge of BioWare Austin and responsible for The Old Republic. As for medicine, that balancing act is over. There hasn't been time for it in roughly a decade.

Did BioWare change when the studio was bought by publishing giant Electronic Arts?"

Your Rights Online

Submission + - SFPD Breathalyzer Error Puts Hundreds Of DUI Convictions In Doubt (cbslocal.com) 1

Mr. Shotgun writes:

Hundreds, or even thousands, of drunk driving convictions could be overturned because the San Francisco Police Department has not tested its breathalyzers, officials said Monday. For at least six years, the police officers in charge of testing the 20 breathalyzers used by the Police Department did not carry out any tests on the equipment. Officers instead filled the test forms with numbers that matched the control sample, said Public Defender Jeff Adachi, throwing countless DUI convictions into doubt.

Apparently this has happened before.

Science

Submission + - Nanotechnology Uses Sun to Separate Hydrogen from Water (bestsyndication.com)

happylucky writes: Scientists from the University of California, San Diego, have developed a more efficient way to separate hydrogen from water using nanotechnology.

Engineers have created tiny forests of nanowires that use solar energy to create clean hydrogen fuel. Deli Wang, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering says that current technology uses fossil fuels to convert/separate hydrogen. The new method will not produce any greenhouse gases.

Google

Submission + - 7-inch Google Tablet Coming From ASUS (slashgear.com)

Sez Zero writes: Google and ASUS have been collaborating on a co-branded 7-inch Android tablet, with a launch as early as May, according to sources, challenging low-cost rivals and the iPad with a $199-249 price tag. The fruits of the partnership, whispered to the runes readers at DigiTimes by industry sources, will take on the NOOK Tablet and the Kindle Fire, with ASUS selected for its willingness to flex to Google’s requirements.
Math

Submission + - Classic Nintendo Games Are NP Hard (i-programmer.info) 1

mikejuk writes: You may have have though that games like Mario, Donkey Kind and so on were hard at the time you were playing them, but you probably didn't guess that they were NP-hard.
Now we have some results from computer scientists at Universite Libre de Bruxelles and MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) that many classic games contain within them an NP-hard problem. It is a bit like the discovery of a black hole at the center of every galaxy. Should either fact be surprising?
It has been proved that the following games are NP-hard: Mario, Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Pokemon.
At least you now have an excuse for your low scores.

Submission + - Daylights Saving Time-Shift Causes Employees to Loaf on Monday (bestsyndication.com)

happylucky writes: Virginia Tech University researchers say that the annual shift to daylight savings time makes employees tired, resulting in more time spent surfing the web during their workday... Rather than work, employees will spend more time “cyberloafing” while on the clock. Although they extrapolated some of their data from Google, the researchers also conducted a lab experiment that required sleep-deprived subjects to watch a boring lecture online...
United States

Submission + - Coca-Cola and Pepsi Change Recipe to Avoid Cancer Warning (guardian.co.uk) 1

jones_supa writes: California has added 4-methylimidazole (a caramel coloring) to the list of carcinogenic compounds that require an explicit warning when added to foodstuffs. Incidentally, this has entailed the big two cola beverages to modify the recipe to decrease the amount of the substance, just enough to avoid the warning. The change to the recipe has already been introduced in California but will be rolled out across the US to streamline manufacturing. The American Beverage Association noted that there is not enough evidence to show the coloring to cause cancer in humans.
Cloud

Submission + - Cloud provider Livedrive has critically failed leaving users without access (livedrive.com)

Overzeetop writes: For three days, Livedrive has been offline, denying access to users files except through their one-file-at-a-time web interface. The support forum, which is limited to registered users only and is submission moderated, has had no posts since late February 23rd, just before the first major service error occurred. Since the service went offline on March 6th, there have been no status updates except to indicate a new date on the status page. Will this service interruption finally kill off the UK-based cloud service provider, which has been losing £1,000,000 a year?
Medicine

Submission + - LSD can treat alcoholism (nature.com) 1

ananyo writes: LSD has potential as a treatment for alcoholism, according to a comprehensive retrospective analysis of studies published in the late 1960s and early 1970s (http://www.nature.com/news/lsd-helps-to-treat-alcoholism-1.10200).

The researchers sifted through thousands of records to collect data from randomized, double-blind trials that compared one dose of LSD to a placebo. Of 536 participants in six trials, 59% of people receiving LSD reported lower levels of alcohol misuse, compared to 38% of people who received a placebo (full paper (PDF) http://jop.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/03/08/0269881112439253.full.pdf+html). The study adds to the weight of evidence that hallucinogenic drugs may have important medical uses, including, for example, the alleviation of cluster headaches (http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/06/28/0416208/lsd-alleviates-suicide-headaches).

Japan

Submission + - Thyroid screenings detect relatively high exposure around Fukushima (nhk.or.jp)

AmiMoJo writes: "Experts have detected radioactive iodine in the thyroid glands of 80 percent of the people who used to live near the Fukushima nuclear plant. Five of them had dosages of more than 50 millisieverts. Hirosaki University Professor Shinji Tokonami says the levels of radioactive iodine were relatively low compared to the scale of the accident, but that some residents face potential health risks from the exposure, and they should have continue to have regular health checkups by professional researchers."

Submission + - "Vegetarian cutlet factory" produces endless slabs of fake meat (gizmag.com)

cylonlover writes: Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging is working on a device nicknamed the "vegetarian cutlet factory." It produces continuous slabs of veggie-based mock meat, which is reportedly quite similar to the real thing. Fraunhofer is one of several groups involved in the European Union "LikeMeat" project, the aim of which is to develop palatable, cost-effective meat alternatives from raw vegetable materials. Some of the main plant sources being looked at include wheat, peas, lupins and soya.
Canada

Journal Journal: Canadian CyberSnoop Law Backers' Private Life Tweeted

In what is clearly a case of "what goes around comes around", The National Post is reporting that Vic Toews, the Canadian Minister who said about those who oppose online spying - "He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers", isn't Mr. Clean. A new Twitter account, @vikileaks30, is posting details about the "outspoken family values" real family v
Books

Submission + - Remembering Sealab (failuremag.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: “Some people remember Sealab as being a classified program, but it was trying not to be,” says Ben Hellwarth, author of the new book Sealab: America’s Forgotten Quest to Live and Work on the Ocean Floor, which aims to “bring some long overdue attention to the marine version of the space program.” In the 1960s, the media largely ignored the efforts of America’s aquanauts, who revolutionized deep-sea diving and paved the way for the underwater construction work being done today on offshore oil platforms. It didn’t help that the public didn’t understand the challenges of saturation diving; in this comical exchange a telephone operator initially refuses to connect a call between President Johnson and Aquanaut Scott Carpenter, (who sounded like a cartoon character, thanks to the helium atmosphere in his pressurized living quarters). But in spite of being remembered as a failure, the final incarnation of Sealab did provide cover for a very successful Cold War spy program.

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