ubermiester writes: "Bacteria containing an antibiotic-resistant “superbug” gene have been found in 2 of 51 tap water samples in New Delhi... according to a report published Thursday in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.... A team from Cardiff University in Britain found the gene, NDM-1, in 11 different types of bacteria, including those that cause cholera and dysentery."
ubermiester writes: CBC News reports that Wikileaks has published "a secret U.S. State Department list of key infrastructure sites in foreign countries... that Washington considers vital to the national security of the United States." The sites, which include nuclear facilites, mines, dams, undersea cables, factories, etc., were deemed vital because they "could seriously harm the U.S. if they were targeted by terrorists or destroyed by other means." The leaked cable includes the "locations of [British] undersea cables, satellite systems and defence plants." Calling Wikileaks "irresponsible, bordering on criminal", the British Foreign Secretary is quoted as saying "This is the kind of information terrorists are interested in knowing". It is unclear why Wikileaks chose to release this information.
ubermiester writes: The NYTimes is reporting that British financial regulators, in an effort to combat insider trading, will now require "all financial services firms...to record any relevant communication by employees on their work cell phones" for use in future investigations, and would require the firm to hold on to the recordings for six months (at their cost). They would also be required to "discourage" employees from using the private phones for business related communications. Land-lines are already covered — as they are in many other European countries — but Britain would be the first to apply the requirement to cellphones.
ubermiester writes: The NYTimes is reporting that AT&T will no longer offer unlimited data plans to new smartphone customers. "The decision, industry analysts said, could signal a shift away from an era in which American wireless carriers sought to attract customers with simple, all-you-can-eat pricing plans for data. The trouble for AT&T was that a fraction of users — fewer than 2 percent — made such heavy use of the network that they slowed it down for everyone else."
ubermiester writes: The NYTimes is reporting that scientists Fermilab have found evidence of a very small (about 1%) average difference between the amount of matter/anti-matter produced in a series of particle collisions. FTA: "[T]he team, known as the DZero collaboration, found that the fireballs produced pairs of the particles known as muons, which are sort of fat electrons, slightly more often than they produced pairs of anti-muons. So the miniature universe inside the accelerator went from being neutral to being about 1 percent more matter than antimatter." This offers a possible explanation for why there is so much more matter than anti-matter in the universe in spite of "Big Bang" theory suggesting that there should be equal amounts of both. (Here's a PDF version of the paper.)
ubermiester writes: The blog Binge Gamer reports on its investigation into the abrupt departure of the two top execs at Infinity Ward (creators of the $1 billion blockbuster FPS Modern Warfare 2). Apparently IW offices were locked down following a "heated exchange" at a high level meeting, and the execs were fired by parent corp Activision not long after (apparently for "insubordination"). As for causes, Binge claims that "Infinity Ward has yet to be paid a single dime in royalties for Modern Warfare 2", and that because of the way in which the IW — Activision deal was structured, there is major conflict over who will get to make and distribute future CoD titles.
"Against almost every expectation, nearly half of all people watching delayed shows are still slouching on their couches watching messages about movies, cars and beer. According to Nielsen, 46 percent of viewers 18 to 49 years old for all four networks taken together are watching the commercials during playback, up slightly from last year." The article offers one very plausible explanation for why viewers do not take advantage of the fastforward button on their DVR while watching their favorite shows: "It's still a passive activity".
ubermiester writes: "The New York Times reports on research to develop autonomous battlefield robots that would "behave more ethically in the battlefield than humans..." The researchers claim that these real life terminators "can be designed without an instinct for self-preservation and, as a result, no tendency to lash out in fear. They can be built without anger or recklessness..., and they can be made invulnerable to the... 'scenario fulfillment,' which causes people to absorb new information more easily if it agrees with their pre-existing ideas." Based on a recent report stating that "fewer than half of soldiers and marines serving in Iraq said that noncombatants should be treated with dignity and respect, and 17 percent said all civilians should be treated as insurgents", this might not be all that dumb an idea. Besides, what could possibly go wrong..?"
ubermiester writes: "NYTimes.com reports that the US is planning to shoot down the doomed satellite, thought by some to be the radar satillite US193, with a modified missile launched from a Navy Destroyer. 'Shooting down a satellite is particularly sensitive because of the controversy surrounding China's anti-satellite test last year, when Beijing shot down one of its defunct weather satellites, drawing immediate criticism from the U.S. and other countries.'"
ubermiester writes: "PC World reports that "PC maker Everex rolls out a budget desktop PC Thursday that costs $200 and combines the Ubuntu Linux kernel with Google applications and open source software. The secret sauce is a software suite that begins with what the company calls its "gOS," which turns out to be a customized Ubuntu Linux kernel. The software bundle includes open source desktop applications highlighted by OpenOffice, GIMP photo software, the Xing DVD and video player, and Rhythmbox music management software.""
ubermiester writes: "The Daily Tech science blog reports on a recent correction made by NASA to it's global climate data. Apparently the algorithm NASA was using the crunch raw climate data suffered from a Y2K bug that skewed the numbers. The operators of climateaudit.org were forced to reverse engineer the algorithm after NASA's James Hansen (best known for his claims of White House censorship) refused to share it. NASA has since admitted to the error and republished the numbers. The changes result in a 1-2% downward correction in overall warming trends. 1934 also surpasses 1998 as the warmest year on record and 5 of the top 10 warmest years in the 20th century occur before WWII."
ubermiester writes: "ArsTechnica reports that AT&T has inked a deal with eMusic, a direct competitor to Apple's iTunes music store. eMusic specializes in independent artists and offers DRM-less content for direct download. For a monthly fee (the number of tracks one can download per month depends on the package) the site's catalog will be available to AT&T customers using Samsung and Nokia handsets, but NOT the iPhone. Does this mean there will be no alternative sources of content for the iPhone?"
ubermiester writes: "TheStreet.com is reporting that Amazon will soon launch an online MP3 store that will not utilize any kind of DRM. Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com CEO, says "Our MP3-only strategy means all the music that customers buy on Amazon is always DRM-free and plays on any device". The store will apparently carry songs from "more that 12,000 labels", but no word yet on which labels are included or how much the songs will cost."
ubermiester writes: "The NY Times reports that astronomers located in Berkeley and at the University of Texas have submitted a paper to the The Astrophysical Journal claiming to have observed what is "quite possibly the most massive star that has ever been seen to explode".
A "freakishly massive" star at least 150 times the mass of the Sun exploded in a galaxy 250 million light years away in the constellation Perseus, and was spotted by a grad student using a small robotic telescope in Texas. Such super-massive objects are thought to be similar to the first generation stars formed when the universe was much younger. FTA: "The star bears an eerie resemblance to Eta Carinae, a star in our own galaxy that has been burbling and bubbling in the last few centuries as if getting ready for its own outburst. The observations suggest that the troubled and enigmatic Eta Carinae, thought to weigh in at about 120 solar masses, could blow up sooner than theorists have thought." When and if this happens, the explosion will not cause any ill effects on Earth, but would be visible in the daytime and would be bright enough to read by at night."