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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 1693 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #6000 on: Jan 19th, 2012, 12:11pm »

on Jan 19th, 2012, 11:49am, DrDil wrote:
Hi Crystal,

I think this was a real wake-up call for Hollywood, it seems as if they believed congress would just roll over and comply with their demands and whilst I certainly don’t champion Google (as a business) I believe they are the main reason for this being blocked so easily.

I guess the pressure will be once again applied to ISP’s to release IP addresses of illegal uploaders/downloaders but as long as they (i.e. the ISP’s) continue to put the customer first I can’t imagine the laws changing any time soon.

Happy days!! grin


Cheers. wink


Hello DrDil,

I think you are right, Hollywood got a big shock. Ha!

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« Reply #6001 on: Jan 19th, 2012, 3:47pm »

Hi, Crystal! I'm here; I'm listening, not talking...... wink


http://www.wimp.com/spectacularview/
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« Reply #6002 on: Jan 19th, 2012, 8:24pm »

on Jan 19th, 2012, 3:47pm, Swamprat wrote:
Hi, Crystal! I'm here; I'm listening, not talking...... wink


http://www.wimp.com/spectacularview/


Beautiful little planet, I wish we treated it better.

As long as you are okay Swamp cheesy


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« Reply #6003 on: Jan 20th, 2012, 08:19am »

LA Times

Russia, Brazil urged to serve beer at World Cup
January 19, 2012 | 1:55 pm
by Emily Alpert

Want to host the World Cup? You’d better be prepared to serve beer. That’s the message that FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, is pushing in Brazil and Russia, urging the countries to drop restrictions on beer sales in stadiums.

"Alcoholic drinks are part of the FIFA World Cup, so we're going to have them. Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant but that's something we won't negotiate," FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke told journalists Thursday in Rio de Janeiro, according to the BBC.

In St. Petersburg, Russia, FIFA President Sepp Blatter urged that country to allow beer sales in stadiums before it hosts the World Cup in six years. The Russian soccer union chief has already been calling on the country to bring beer advertisements and brews back to Russian soccer stadiums.

Brazilian stadiums went dry in an effort to reduce violence at games. Health officials have defended the ban. "We will do everything we can to stop this from happening," prosecutor Paulo Castilho said two years ago to the Associated Press.

But a Brazilian lawmaker has proposed overturning the alcohol ban, not just for World Cup games but for soccer matches across the country, Reuters reported in December.

Russia hasn't tipped its hand. “We’ll see,” Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

Grant Wahl, senior writer at Sports Illustrated magazine, sees the beer debate as another example of FIFA trying to leverage its power among countries eager to host the World Cup. "The U.S. always presents itself to FIFA as waiting in the wings in case they change their mind," Wahl said.

The FIFA push could be a problem for Qatar, which is slated to host the World Cup after Russia in 2022: Drinking alcohol is prohibited everywhere in the conservative Muslim country except for a few pubs tucked away in five-star hotels, an issue widely remarked upon by soccer fans when Qatar was chosen.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/01/russia-brazil-beer-world-cup.html

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« Reply #6004 on: Jan 20th, 2012, 08:39am »

Scientific American

Solar Swan Song: NASA Satellite Witnesses a Comet's Plunge into the Sun

A sun-watching spacecraft has for the first time tracked a comet's path all the way into the solar atmosphere

By John Matson
Thursday, January 19, 2012


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Imagery from the Solar Dynamics Observatory documents the demise of a comet plunging toward the sun.
The comet streaked in from the right of the image.
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As dramatic exits go, it's on par with Major T. J. "King" Kong riding a falling nuclear bomb like a rodeo bull at the end of Dr. Strangelove. A NASA spacecraft has documented a comet's demise as it plunged toward the sun at 600 kilometers per second, broke apart and vaporized inside the solar atmosphere.

The comet, known as C/2011 N3 (SOHO), met its fiery fate on July 6. The object's official name designates that it was discovered in early July 2011 by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft. Many comets meet a similar end, but astronomers and solar physicists have never been able to track a comet's trajectory all the way into the depths of the solar corona, the outermost layer of the sun's atmosphere.

With the help of another spacecraft—NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which was launched in 2010—a group of scientists were able to witness the final minutes of the comet's existence. The observations of C/2011 N3 as it broke apart allowed the researchers to estimate the comet's mass and the size of its nucleus; similar events in the future may provide clues about the origins of comets as well as probe conditions near the sun that are otherwise difficult to explore. The team of researchers published their findings in the January 20 issue of Science.

SOHO has discovered more than 2,000 comets near the sun, most of them thanks to the help of unpaid amateur astronomers who comb through imagery from the spacecraft. Most of the sun-grazing comets, like C/2011 N3, belong to the Kreutz family, which is thought to have originated from a single progenitor that broke apart within the past few thousand years. The smallest of these comets are destroyed by the sun before they draw too close, so C/2011 N3 was rather sizable for a Kreutz-family comet, with a nucleus 10 to 50 meters across.

"It must have been on the large side," says lead study author Carolus Schrijver, a solar physicist at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, Calif. The comet's size contributed not only to its survival deep into the solar atmosphere but also to its receiving close scrutiny during the sunward plunge. "This was noted as a particularly bright one," Schrijver says. "That morning as it was approaching the sun I said, 'Well, let's see if we can see it.'"

An atmospheric imaging camera on SDO was indeed able to track the inbound comet, watching it bear down on the sun in an ultraviolet streak that lasted about 20 minutes before it disappeared. By that time the comet was only about 100,000 kilometers above the solar surface and had broken into a number of fragments, further hastening its vaporization.

"The temperatures [at that point] are so high that things are evaporating," says astronomer Matthew Knight of Lowell Observatory and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, who did not contribute to the new study. "Not just gases and ices, but heavy elements."

The comet's total obliteration in the solar atmosphere let Schrijver and his colleagues estimate how much material was lost in the process. "Because it vanished, we could actually measure its mass," Schrijver says. The researchers estimate that the comet may have shed as much as 60 million kilograms of material in its plunge—about the mass of the Titanic. But the comet's composition is less clear. "We're still trying to understand what was glowing," he says. The imager used to track C/2011 N3 is most sensitive to iron, but Schrijver notes that the glow could also have been produced by carbon or oxygen.

Comets preserve some of the remnant materials from the solar system's birth, so their composition can provide important clues to planet formation. What is more, a comet's infall provides a natural experiment that can determine not only its properties but the conditions within the solar corona, much of which is not routinely visible. "It's a really neat thing to do, to have this comet come in and tell us about the oldest material in the solar system, and to explore this region that you can't otherwise see," Schrijver says.

A more recent cometary passage could shed further light on the nature of Kreutz-family bodies and their interactions with the solar atmosphere. In December a comet called C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy) actually survived its encounter with the sun and continued along its orbit, although it may have been partially disrupted in the process. It was named after its discoverer, Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy.

"That's the most spectacular of these sun-grazers that we've seen since 1965," Knight says. "How long it's survived tells us that it's larger than the other ones." As with C/2011 N3 a few months prior, SDO's cameras documented the solar rendezvous. And Knight adds that he and his colleagues are still following Comet Lovejoy with whatever telescopes they can muster to try to learn about its nature before drawing any major conclusions about the encounter. "We're all just trying to wrap our heads around how much data we got," he says.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=sun-diving-comet-sdo&print=true

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« Reply #6005 on: Jan 20th, 2012, 08:42am »

Defense News

DoD To Start Detailing Budget Jan. 26
Jan. 19, 2012
By MARCUS WEISGERBER

The U.S. Defense Department will start providing details of its much anticipated 2013 budget proposal on Jan. 26.

“A week from now, we’re going to start rolling this thing out,” Adm. James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Jan. 19 at the Pentagon.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has been expected to provide some details about DoD’s budget request in advance of the official release, which is traditionally the first Monday in February.

Winnefeld’s comments — which came during a Defense Business Board meeting — are the first confirming next week’s announcement.

Last year, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates held a similar briefing in advance of the official budget release, where he discussed major changes in defense spending and priorities.

The Pentagon’s 2013 budget will detail the first half of a 10-year effort to cut $487 billion in planned spending.

Earlier this month, DoD rolled out a new comprehensive military strategy designed to guide the planned spending cuts.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120119/DEFREG02/301190002/DoD-Start-Detailing-Budget-Jan-26?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

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« Reply #6006 on: Jan 20th, 2012, 08:49am »

Hollywood Reporter

MPAA Fights Back Against Anonymous Attacks

The Hollywood trade group says it is working with the feds to identify the people responsible for the attack on its website.

4:35 PM PST 1/19/2012
by Eriq Gardner

The Motion Pictures Assocation of America is pushing back against Anonymous.

In reaction to U.S. authorities shutting down Megaupload, the hacktivist group Anonymous has been launching attacks on various government agencies and big media companies. So far, the group has claimed responsibility for crashing the websites of the Justice Department, Universal Music, BMI, the MPAA and the RIAA. According to reports on Twitter, the group also has been attempting to pull down the website of the White House, but so far it hasn't succeeded.

But the campaign goes well beyond DDoS attacks. In the past day, someone claiming association with the group posted personal information on MPAA chairman Chris Dodd, including his home address, property values, phone numbers and children's names.

We've obtained a statement from the MPAA in response.

It reads:

"Our website and many others, including the Department of Justice, were attacked today and the hacker group Anonymous is claiming responsibility for the attacks. We are working with law enforcement authorities to identify those responsible.

Unfortunately, some groups believe that speech or ideas that they disagree with should be silenced. This could not be more wrong. No matter the point of view, everyone has a right to be heard.

The motion picture and television industry has always been a strong supporter of free speech. We strongly condemn any attempts to silence any groups or individuals.

The Internet is home to creativity, innovation and free speech. We want to keep it that way. Protecting copyrights and protecting free speech go hand in hand."

Anonymous is posting their developments on Twitter with the hashtag #OpMegaupload: (https://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/%23opmegaupload)

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/mpaa-anonymous-hacker-attacks-megaupload-283426

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« Reply #6007 on: Jan 20th, 2012, 3:29pm »

News Bulletin!

Member of Al-Gebra Arrested


A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a compass, a slide-rule and a calculator. At a morning press conference, Attorney General Eric Holder said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement.

He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

“Al-Gebra is a problem for us”, the Attorney General said. “They derive solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values. They use secret code names like 'X' and 'Y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined that they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, ‘There are three sides to every triangle’.....”

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Barack Obama said, “If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes,” White House aides told reporters.
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« Reply #6008 on: Jan 20th, 2012, 5:49pm »

on Jan 20th, 2012, 3:29pm, Swamprat wrote:
News Bulletin!

Member of Al-Gebra Arrested


A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a compass, a slide-rule and a calculator. At a morning press conference, Attorney General Eric Holder said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement.

He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.

“Al-Gebra is a problem for us”, the Attorney General said. “They derive solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values. They use secret code names like 'X' and 'Y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have determined that they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, ‘There are three sides to every triangle’.....”

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Barack Obama said, “If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes,” White House aides told reporters.


grin

Hey!

I use fingers and toes to count!

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« Reply #6009 on: Jan 21st, 2012, 08:27am »

LA Times

Man shoots nail into his brain, posts it to Facebook from ambulance

At first, Dante Autullo though he just had a minor cut. Then doctors showed him the X-ray.

From the Associated Press
January 21, 2012, 3:41 a.m.


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Dante Autullo after surgery to remove a nail from his brain, and the X-ray showing it inside him.
(Associated Press / January 20, 2012)



OAK LAWN, Ill.— Dante Autullo was sure he'd merely cut himself with a nail gun while building a shed, and thought doctors were joking when they told him what an X-ray revealed: A 3 1/4-inch nail was lodged in the middle of his brain.

Autullo was recovering Friday after undergoing surgery at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where doctors removed the nail that came within millimeters of the part of the brain controlling motor function.

"When they brought in the picture, I said to the doctor `Is this a joke? Did you get that out of the doctors joke file?"' the 32-year-old recalled. "The doctor said `No man, that's in your head."'

As he was rushed by ambulance to another hospital for surgery, he posted a picture of the X-ray on Facebook.

Autullo, who lives in Orland Park, said he was building a shed Tuesday and using the nail gun above his head when he fired it. With nothing to indicate that a nail hadn't simply whizzed by his head, his long-time companion, Gail Glaenzer, cleaned the wound with peroxide.

"It really felt like I got punched on the side of the head," he said, adding that he continued working. "I thought it went past my ear."

While there are pain-sensitive nerves on a person's skull, there aren't any within the brain itself. That's why he would have felt the nail strike the skull, but he wouldn't have felt it penetrate the brain.

Neither he nor Glaenzer thought much about it, and Autullo went on with his day, even plowing a bit of snow. But the next day when he awoke from a nap, feeling nauseated, Glaenzer sensed something was wrong and suggested they go to the hospital.

At first Autullo refused, but he relented after the two picked up their son at school Wednesday evening.

An X-ray was taken a couple hours later. And there, seeming to float in the middle of his head, was a nail.

Doctors told Autullo and Glaenzer that the nail came within millimeters from the part of the brain that controls motor function, and he was rushed by ambulance to the other hospital for more specialized care.

"He feels good. He moved all his limbs, he's talking normal, he remembers everything," Glaenzer said earlier Friday. "It's amazing, a miracle."

Neurosurgeon Leslie Schaffer acknowledged that Autullo's case was unusual, but not extremely rare. Schaffer said having a nail penetrate the skull is not like being shot in the head, noting that a bullet would break into multiple pieces.

"This [the nail] is thinner, with a small trajectory, and pointed at the end," he said. "The bone doesn't fracture much because the nail has a small tip."

Schaffer said the man's skull stopped the nail from going farther into his brain. He said he removed the nail by putting two holes in Autullo's skull, on either side of the nail, then pulled the nail out along with a piece of the skull.

The surgery took two hours, and the part of the skull that was removed for surgery was replaced with a titanium mesh, Hospital spokesman Mike Maggio said.

Glaenzer said Autullo hasn't really talked about how scared he was about what might have happened, but he did express a recognition about coming close to death.

"He was joking with me [after surgery], `We need to get the Discovery Channel up here to tape this,"' she recalled him saying. "'I'm one of those medical miracles."'

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-nail-in-brain-20120121,0,5467139.story

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« Reply #6010 on: Jan 21st, 2012, 08:32am »

Reuters

Congress has legal clout on Keystone pipeline: study

By Roberta Rampton
WASHINGTON | Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:13pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Congress has the constitutional right to legislate permits for cross-border oil pipelines like TransCanada's Keystone XL, according to a new legal analysis released late on Friday.

The study by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service could give a boost to Republicans drafting legislation to overturn a decision this week by President Barack Obama to put the $7 billion Alberta-to-Texas project on ice.

Historically, U.S. presidents have made executive decisions on pipelines that cross borders. But Congress had the power all along to weigh in on the permits, said the study, done by four legislative attorneys with the CRS.

"If Congress chose to assert its authority in the area of border-crossing facilities, this would likely be considered within its Constitutionally enumerated authority to regulate foreign commerce," the study said.

Republicans in Congress have elevated the Canadian pipeline and the construction jobs it would create into an election-year issue, accusing Obama of caving in to environmental groups. They pushed to include a deadline for a permit approval in a payroll tax cut bill that Obama signed into law in December.

But this week, Obama and the State Department said an environmental review of a portion of the proposed pipeline could not be rushed, closing the door on a quick start to the project.

BACK IN THE DAY

The CRS study examined the history of decisions by presidents on thorny issues involving approval of cross-border projects such as bridges and power lines stretching back to 1869, when President Ulysses Grant ruled on a French transatlantic cable used to send telegrams.

The report also looked at more recent court cases involving oil and gas pipelines crossing the Canada-U.S. border.

While the U.S. president has authority over foreign affairs, the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate foreign commerce, the report explains.

Until now, presidents have issued permits by executive order for pipelines, and Congress has stayed out of the matter.

The report did not comment on specific proposals floated by Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives, but said that "legislation altering the pipeline border crossing approval process appears likely to be a legitimate exercise of Congress's constitutional authority to regulate foreign commerce,"

Legislation on cross-border "facilities" like pipelines "is unlikely to raise significant constitutional questions, despite the fact that such permits have traditional been handled by the executive branch alone," it said.

REPORT 'HELPS THE CONVERSATION'

Any "plan B" drafted by Republicans would still have to clear a very big political hurdle. While legislation could easily pass in the Republican-controlled House, the Democratic-led Senate is another matter.

"Regardless of whether the Republican legislation seeking to rubber-stamp Keystone XL would pass constitional muster, it would still need to pass the Senate and be signed by the president, and that is not going to happen," a Senate Democratic aide said on Friday.

But the CRS report "greatly helps the conversation" among Senate and House Republicans strategizing about how to keep the project alive, said Ryan Bernstein, an energy adviser to Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, whose office requested the study.

"I think this confirms what we've been saying all along - Congress has the authority to approve the Keystone pipeline," said Bernstein, who is helping Hoeven draft legislation that would see Congress approve the project.

Earlier on Friday, Republicans in the House of Representatives said they were considering using upcoming payroll tax cut or highway construction bills to force quick approval of the pipeline.

Representative Lee Terry, whose home state of Nebraska would host part of the pipeline, has drafted legislation to shift the Keystone decision-making process from the Obama administration to the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates pipelines in the United States.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday about Terry's bill and other Keystone measures.

(Editing by Peter Cooney)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/21/us-usa-pipeline-legislation-idUSTRE80K04320120121

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« Reply #6011 on: Jan 21st, 2012, 08:35am »

Wired

Controversial Killer Flu Research Paused
By Brandon Keim
January 20, 2012 | 3:36 pm
Categories: Biology, Health, World

Researchers developing extra-contagious strains of H5N1 avian influenza have agreed to pause their work for 60 days.

The moratorium, announced Jan. 20 in Nature and Science, is a response to public fear and alarm in the scientific community, which has split over whether the research could inadvertently lead to release of a nightmare disease.

Depending on perspective, the moratorium is either a genuine recognition of the need for broader discussion or a public relations gesture. Either way, it’s a chance for everyone to catch their breath without reaching for a mask.

Fear that the viruses “may escape from the laboratories has generated intense public debate in the media on the benefits and potential harm of this type of research,” the researchers wrote in an open letter declaring the moratorium. “To provide time for these discussions, we have agreed on a voluntary pause of 60 days on any research involving highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 viruses leading to the generation of viruses that are more transmissible in mammals.”

The controversy began in November when ScienceInsider reported that two teams of virologists — one led by Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands , the other by Yoshihiro Kawaoka at the University of Wisconsin — had developed H5N1 strains capable of passing easily between ferrets, which are used as models for influenza infection in humans. Whether the strains are as easily transmissible between people isn’t known, but is considered possible.

In humans, H5N1 is extraordinarily virulent — mortality runs between 60 and 80 percent — but far less contagious, requiring prolonged contact with infected birds or people. That it could become more contagious is a public health fear of the first order: Containing an outbreak would be extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, and millions of people would almost certainly die. It’s also a fear full of scientific unknowns. Despite a seemingly simple genome containing just a handful of genes, scientists don’t know what mutations could make H5N1 more transmissible between humans.

The research by Fouchier, Kawaoka and other labs was intended to identify those mutations, giving researchers an idea of what to look for in naturally evolving influenza, and perhaps allowing for early warning of strains that are just a few mutations away from causing human pandemics. But when the general outlines of the research became public — detailed descriptions await formal publication, and key details will be redacted at the request of a federal biosecurity committee — outrage followed.

Critics, including many high-profile virologists, epidemiologists and biosecurity experts, said it was possible that would-be biological terrorists could use the research to develop weaponized flu strains. Another, perhaps more frightening possibility was unintentional release: dozens of accidental infections (.pdf) have occurred at high-security laboratories in the United States, and it’s thought that one now-global flu strain may actually have escaped from a Russian laboratory in the 1970s. Against these risks, the benefits were arguable, and some virologists even said that mutations engineered in a laboratory didn’t necessarily illuminate future dangers.

“The research should never have been undertaken because the potential harm is so catastrophic and the potential benefits from studying the virus so speculative,” opined the New York Times in a Jan. 8 editorial entitled “An Engineered Doomsday.”

By declaring the 60 day moratorium, which will pause both further H5N1 engineering and experiments on the existing mutant strains, the researchers attempt to allay these fears.

“We recognize that we and the rest of the scientific community need to clearly explain the benefits of this important research and the measures taken to minimize its possible risks,” they write. “We propose to do so in an international forum in which the scientific community comes together to discuss and debate these issues.”

Reception to the moratorium appears mixed. Michael Osterholm, head of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and a member of the federal committee that recommended redacting the findings, told Nature News that 60 days is far too short a time for developing any meaningful policies. “I just don’t think that’s realistic,” he said.

Richard Ebright, a Rutgers University microbiologist and vocal critic of the research, called the moratorium “an empty gesture. Strictly public relations.”

Contrary to the researchers’ insistence that the work was “using the highest international standards of biosafety and biosecurity,” it was conducted at so-called Biosafety Level 3 — a set of techniques and safeguards less strict than is used for Ebola and the Marburg virus, which pose less potential threat than an H5N1 strain that easily infects people. And outside of biosafety committees at researchers’ institutions, there appears to have been no official discussion of potential safety risks until the controversy made it unavoidable.

Through the moratorium, the researchers are “seeking only an opportunity to ‘explain the benefits of this important research and the measures taken to minimize its possible risks,’ thereby educating benighted policy makers and the public, eliminating their ‘perceived fear,’” said Ebright, quoting the moratorium’s announcement. “We do not need to hear anything from the virus cowboys. They need to hear from us.”

Columbia University epidemiologist Stephen Morse struck a more conciliatory note. “This may be the first time the issue has come up, but it certainly won’t be the last,” he said. “I hope we can take advantage of the opportunity to clarify these issues, and be better prepared the next time a similar situation comes up.”

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/01/mutant-h5n1-moratorium/

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« Reply #6012 on: Jan 21st, 2012, 08:43am »

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute


Public release date: 18-Jan-2012
Contact: Beth King
kingb@si.edu
202-633-4700 ext 28216
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Ancient popcorn discovered in Peru

People living along the coast of Peru were eating popcorn 2,000 years earlier than previously reported and before ceramic pottery was used there, according to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences co-authored by Dolores Piperno, curator of New World archaeology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and emeritus staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Some of the oldest known corncobs, husks, stalks and tassels, dating from 6,700 to 3,000 years ago were found at Paredones and Huaca Prieta, two mound sites on Peru's arid northern coast. The research group, led by Tom Dillehay from Vanderbilt University and Duccio Bonavia from Peru's Academia Nacional de la Historia, also found corn microfossils: starch grains and phytoliths. Characteristics of the cobs—the earliest ever discovered in South America—indicate that the sites' ancient inhabitants ate corn several ways, including popcorn and flour corn. However, corn was still not an important part of their diet.

"Corn was first domesticated in Mexico nearly 9,000 years ago from a wild grass called teosinte," said Piperno. "Our results show that only a few thousand years later corn arrived in South America where its evolution into different varieties that are now common in the Andean region began. This evidence further indicates that in many areas corn arrived before pots did and that early experimentation with corn as a food was not dependent on the presence of pottery."

Understanding the subtle transformations in the characteristics of cobs and kernels that led to the hundreds of maize races known today, as well as where and when each of them developed, is a challenge. Corncobs and kernels were not well preserved in the humid tropical forests between Central and South America, including Panama—the primary dispersal routes for the crop after it first left Mexico about 8,000 years ago.

"These new and unique races of corn may have developed quickly in South America, where there was no chance that they would continue to be pollinated by wild teosinte," said Piperno. "Because there is so little data available from other places for this time period, the wealth of morphological information about the cobs and other corn remains at this early date is very important for understanding how corn became the crop we know today."

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The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, headquartered in Panama City, Panama, is a unit of the Smithsonian Institution. The Institute furthers the understanding of tropical nature and its importance to human welfare, trains students to conduct research in the tropics and promotes conservation by increasing public awareness of the beauty and importance of tropical ecosystems. Website: www.stri.si.edu

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-01/stri-apd011812.php#

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« Reply #6013 on: Jan 21st, 2012, 11:04am »

Just out! grin




2011 Darwin Awards

This year’s nominees are:

Nominee No. 1: [San Jose Mercury News]

An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a club to break a former girlfriend’s windshield, accidentally shot himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his gut.

Nominee No. 2: [Kalamazoo Gazette]

James Burns, 34, (a mechanic of Alamo, MI, was killed in March as he was trying to repair what police describe as a "farm-type truck." Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway while Burns hung underneath so that he could ascertain the source of a troubling noise. Burns’ clothes caught on something, however, and the other man found Burns "wrapped in the drive shaft".

Nominee No. 3: [Hickory Daily Record]

Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton, NC. Awakening to the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith & Wesson 38 Special, which discharged when he drew it to his ear.

Nominee No. 4: [UPI, Toronto]

Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the building’s windows to visiting law students. Hoy previously had conducted demonstrations of window strength according to police reports. Peter Lawson, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest" members of the 100-man association.

Nominee No. 5: [The News of the Weird]

Michael Anderson Godwin made News of the Weird posthumously. He had spent several years awaiting South Carolinas electric chair on a murder conviction before having his sentence reduced to life in prison. While sitting on a metal toilet in his cell attempting to fix his small TV set, he bit into a wire and was electrocuted.

Nominee No. 6: [The Indianapolis Star]

A cigarette lighter may have triggered a fatal explosion in Dunkirk, IN. A Jay County man, using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a muzzle loader, was killed Monday night when the weapon discharged in his face, sheriff’s investigators said. Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in his parents’ rural Dunkirk home at about 11:30 PM. Investigators said Pryor was cleaning a 54-caliber muzzle-loader that had not been firing properly. He was using the lighter to look into the barrel when the gunpowder ignited.

Nominee No. 7: [Reuters, Mississauga, Ontario]

A man cleaning a bird feeder on the balcony of his condominium apartment in this Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his death. Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheelchair when the accident occurred, said Inspector Darcy Honer of the Peel Regional Police. "It appears that the chair moved, and he went over the balcony," Honer said.


Finally, THE WINNER!: [Arkansas Democrat Gazette]

Two local men were injured when their pickup truck left the road and struck a tree near Cotton Patch on State Highway 38 early Monday. Woodruff County Deputy Dovey Snyder reported the accident shortly after midnight Monday.

Thurston Poole, 33, of Des Arc, and Billy Ray Wallis, 38, of Little Rock, were returning to Des Arc after a frog catching trip. On an overcast Sunday night, Poole’s pickup truck headlights malfunctioned. The two men concluded that the headlight fuse on the older-model truck had burned out. As a replacement fuse was not available, Wallis noticed that the .22 caliber bullets from his pistol fit perfectly into the fuse box next to the steering-wheel column. Upon inserting the bullet, the headlights again began
to operate properly, and the two men proceeded on eastbound toward the White River Bridge.

After traveling approximately 20 miles, and just before crossing the river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged, and struck Poole in the testicles. The vehicle swerved sharply right, exiting the pavement, and striking a tree.

Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions from the accident but will require extensive surgery to repair the damage to his testicles, which will never operate as intended. Wallis sustained a broken clavicle and was treated and released. "Thank God we weren't on that bridge when Thurston shot his balls off, or we might both be dead," stated Wallis.

"I've been a trooper for 10 years in this part of the world, but this is a first for me. I can't believe that those two would admit how this accident happened," said Snyder. Upon being notified of the wreck, Lavinia (Poole's wife) asked how many frogs the boys had caught and did anyone get them from the truck?

(Though Poole and Wallis did not die as a result of their misadventure as normally required by Darwin Award Official Rules, it can be argued that Poole did, in fact, effectively remove himself from the gene pool.)
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« Reply #6014 on: Jan 22nd, 2012, 08:58am »

"Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions from the accident but will require extensive surgery to repair the damage to his testicles, which will never operate as intended. Wallis sustained a broken clavicle and was treated and released. "Thank God we weren't on that bridge when Thurston shot his balls off, or we might both be dead," stated Wallis."

rolleyes huh tongue shocked
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