Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9229 on: Oct 7th, 2013, 08:06am »
Target of US raid in Somalia planned Kenya attacks
By ROBERT BURNS and JASON STRAZIUSO — Oct. 7 9:00 AM EDT
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A U.S. official says the target of raid by Navy SEALs in Somalia over the weekend was a Kenyan man named Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir. A Kenyan government intelligence document names him as the coordinator of other planned attacks.
The man, also known as Ikrima, was a known operator for the Somali militant group al-Shabab.
The document says that foiled plots by Abdulkadir included plans to target Kenya's parliament building and the U.N. office in Nairobi, as well as an Ethiopian restaurant patronized by Somali government officials.
It does not appear that Saturday's raid resulted in the killing or capture of Abdulkadir. The U.S. official who confirmed the target of the SEAL raid insisted on anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the matter.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9230 on: Oct 7th, 2013, 08:19am »
Space Exploration Looks Even More Awesome in Lego
By Adam Mann 10.07.13 6:30 AM
NASA's Curiosity rover is probably making some kind of awesome discovery on Mars as you read this.
There’s no denying that two of the greatest things humankind has done is go to space and invent Legos. Therefore, combining these two passions can only yield something amazing.
And that’s exactly what has come from two brick-based artists named Peter Reid and Tim Goddard in a book called LEGO Space: Building the Future. In it, they beautifully render important scenes from the last half-century of spaceflight. Their Lego recreations show the launch of Sputnik, Neil Armstrong’s footprints on the moon, and incredible robotic missions such as Voyager and Curiosity, seen roaming through a tiny Martian sandpit in the image above.
That’s not all. The bulk of Reid and Goddard’s book is devoted to a science-fiction exploration of mankind’s potential future among the stars. The Lego minifig astronauts of tomorrow find themselves building moon and Mars bases, working with intelligent robots, constructing wormholes to distant worlds, and even battling evil aliens and mad scientists that have infiltrated their ranks. All of this is illustrated in detailed photographs of Lego brick spaceships and stations. There’s even instructions on how to build your own version of some of the vehicles.
LEGO Space: Building the Future will be out at the end of October.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9231 on: Oct 7th, 2013, 08:30am »
The Smallest and Deadliest Kingslayer in the World
By Becky Crew October 7, 2013
This tiny species of jellyfish is one of the most venomous creatures in the world. Thanks to its role in the death of Robert King, a Nestlé research scientist from Ohio, it has been nicknamed the Common Kingslayer.
In 2002 King had travelled to Australia with his partner to spend some time snorkelling in Opal Reef, which is just off Port Douglas in Queensland. Earlier that year, British tourist Richard Jordan had been stung by a jellyfish 700 km away on Hamilton Island. The venom from the sting brought on Irukandji syndrome, and Jordon was its first documented fatality. Named after a local Indigenous Australian tribe near Cairns in Queensland, Irukandji syndrome is brought on by a sting from one of 10 species of venomous jellyfish found in tropical and temperate oceans around the world. Many of them are found in Australian waters.
(And now would be a good time to mention that there’s a book by Sydney-based author, Wendy Lewis, that recounts King and Jordon’s tragic encounters with these jellyfish called See Australia and Die. SEE AUSTRALIA AND DIE. Help I live here and my cat brings spiders into my house through the window.)
While rarely fatal, Irukandji syndrome sends most of its victims to hospital. It takes 5-10 minutes after the sting for symptoms to set in, but when they do, they’re excruciating. A typical set of symptoms includes severe lower back pain, vomiting and muscle cramps, and if particularly serious, could result in toxic heart failure, fluid on the lungs or a brain haemorrhage. Around 30% of cases result in some form of heart failure, and one in five victims suffer life-threatening complications and end up on life support.
In 2002 a record number of jellyfish appeared in the tropical waters of northern Australia, blown close to the coast and its tourist beaches by unusually strong and irregular winds. During the holiday season of November to May in a regular year, an average of 30 people are hospitalised with Irukandji syndrome. But in 2002 between December and January alone, that number leapt to 80 victims at a single hospital in Cairns. That year the world’s first and only deaths from Irukandji syndrome would be recorded. It’s possible that Jordon’s death was brought on by the open heart surgery he had endured some months earlier, which could have made his symptoms much worse, but Robert King was in perfect health when he was stung. He died in hospital with toxin-induced hypertension, which led to bleeding in multiple areas of the brain.
Jellyfish deliver venom via nematocysts. When a jellyfish’s tentacle touches its victim, these little harpoon-shaped darts fire into the victim’s skin to deliver venom into the bloodstream. No nematocysts were recovered from Jordan’s body, which made it difficult to nail down a culprit, but it’s widely assumed that he was stung by Carukia barnesi, a box jellyfish species from the Whitsundays area commonly known as the Irukandji jellyfish.
A number of nematocysts were recovered from King’s body and clothing, and were examined by Australian jellyfish expert and CSIRO researcher, Lisa-Anne Gershwin. In her 2007 Zootaxa paper she concluded that these nematocysts were like none she’d ever seen before. She compared cells from these nematocysts with those from several specimens of a new species she had found in 1999, and it was a perfect match. In 2007, Gershwin named this new species Malo kingi, after the scientist it felled.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9232 on: Oct 7th, 2013, 08:34am »
Mipcom: The Weinstein Co Boards BBC’s ‘War And Peace’ Event Series
By NANCY TARTAGLIONE, International Editor Monday October 7, 2013 @ 5:42am
In a move that signals its serious intent to forge into the European TV arena, The Weinstein Co has joined Look Out Point and BBC Worldwide as production partner on the upcoming six-part adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War And Peace. The event series – described as “one of the most ambitious” ever produced for the BBC – will be made by BBC Cymru Wales and penned by Andrew Davies. Davies’ credits include screen versions of everything from the original House Of Cards to Pride And Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Brideshead Revisited and Bridget Jones. His serialized adaptation of the tome of tomes is due to air in the UK in 2015.
Tolstoy’s War And Peace begins in 1805 Russia and centers on five aristocratic families set against the backdrop of the reign of Alexander I, the lingering effects of his grandmother Catherine The Great’s rule and the events surrounding Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812. Harvey Weinstein said today, “Needless to say, adapting War And Peace is a tremendous but exciting task. There’s no one I’d rather be partnering with than Lookout Point’s Simon Vaughan and the BBC’s Ben Stephenson and Faith Penhale on this production, whose incredible visions are second to none in bringing classic literature to the screen in the most sophisticated way possible.” The series will be executive produced by BBC Cymru Wales drama chief Penhale, BBC Wales’ George Ormond, Davies, Vaughn and Weinstein.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9233 on: Oct 8th, 2013, 09:06am »
The Godfather of Apple Design Spots 4 Looming Tech Trends
By Kyle VanHemert 10.07.13 9:30 AM
Before there was Jony Ive, there was Hartmut Esslinger. The founder of the influential design consultancy Frog started working with Apple in 1982, establishing the design language that drove the look of the company’s hardware for years to come–a shift that reverberated throughout the PC industry. It was Esslinger who first pushed Apple out of a drab beige world toward cleaner, whiter hardware, and his partnership with Steve Jobs in this period helped define Apple’s core values as a user-focused, design-centric company that endure to this day.
Esslinger documents this partnership in his new book Keep it Simple: The Early Design Years of Apple. “It became very clear to me that we were competing for an opportunity to help Steve Jobs create much more than a visual design language,” Esslinger writes (you can read an excerpted chapter here). “Apple needed a cutting-edge system that would enable Steve to translate his vision into marketable products, and Frog was in the process of helping him build it. We were involved in a real revolution – one that would extend well beyond the changes our work would bring to Apple.”
In many ways, the era sowed the seeds for Apple’s resurgence in the last decade and change. The elements of human-centric design, advanced manufacturing and deft supply chain management that were first explored in earnest then are still very much central to the company’s success today. These were the years when Jobs developed his vision for Apple as a company where designers ran the show. Of course, even then, Jobs was looking toward the future, and Esslinger’s work for Apple in the ’80s included not just next-gen personal computers but imaginings of touch-sensitive tablets and even, yes, Apple-made wristwatches.
But at a point where the iPhone has been polished to its logical conclusion and the world eagerly awaits the company’s foray into some new category, Esslinger is more preoccupied with other design terrain. Now an instructor of Industrial Design at the Beijing DeTao Masters Academy in Shanghai, Esslinger says he implores his students to consider their work today in the context of tomorrow. “Today is what’s thought about long ago,” he explained to me over the phone from Shanghai. “Now today we have to we have to project, think, experiment, prototype the future.” Esslinger still remembers a useful model posed to him by one of his instructors during his early days as a design student in Germany. “He said, OK, the future is accelerating. We know that,” Esslinger explains. “But look back 40 to 50 years, and make a model of what happened from then until today. That’s what compresses into the next 10 years. Then you know what to expect.” And what exactly will we see a decade hence? Here are four areas Esslinger thinks are ripe for innovation.
While onlookers clamor for new devices–wearables like watches and glasses–Esslinger looks forward to new form factors engendered by flexible components. “Instead of hardbody cases, I think flexible, more organic housings will be possible,” he says. Frog explored the concept for New York Times Magazine in 2004 with the Gelfrog Smart Notebook, a speculative design for a low-cost, education-based notebook with a soft shell, “more like a fabric, more pleasant to use, durable and rugged” than a typical laptop. “It’s like the bottom of a sneaker,” Esslinger explained of the design, “so if you drop it or throw it into a backpack, it will not break.” If that reminds you a bit of OLPC’s most recent tablet, you wouldn’t be wrong.
Since the Gelfrog project in 2004, the possibilities for flexible components have expanded dramatically. Today we see researchers cooking up things like band-aid-like processors and e-ink displays that can be rolled up like newspapers. These days, Esslinger says, nearly everything “can be bent and tweaked.”
More human devices
Another area in which Esslinger sees room for improvement is in the fundamental relationship between users and their devices. “Ease of use alone is pretty dumb after a while,” he says. Instead, Esslinger envisions sophisticated personal assistant-style software that transforms our devices into actual companions, mastering not just our data streams but our personalities, our habits and our temperaments too.
Esslinger explains how, after decades of marriage, it doesn’t take him and his wife more than a glance to establish who’s going to lead the conversation at a party. “A computer would say, ‘Hey husband, listen! Are you being quiet now?’” he says. Esslinger thinks we’ll see a fundamentally more human bond with our electronics going forward, one “based on long term familiarity.” This will mean software that’s smart, but maybe even occasionally entertaining, too. “You don’t want to do the same commands again and again,” he says. Considering how tickled we are when Siri spits out even the most obvious canned joke, he might be right.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9234 on: Oct 8th, 2013, 09:08am »
Wedded Bliss or Blues? Scientists Link DNA to Marital Satisfaction
Oct. 7, 2013 — What makes some people more prone to wedded bliss or sorrow than others? Researchers at UC Berkeley and Northwestern University have found a major clue in our DNA. A gene involved in the regulation of serotonin can predict how much our emotions affect our relationships, according to a new study that may be the first to link genetics, emotions, and marital satisfaction. The study was conducted at UC Berkeley.
"An enduring mystery is, what makes one spouse so attuned to the emotional climate in a marriage, and another so oblivious?" said UC Berkeley psychologist Robert W. Levenson, senior author of the study published online today (Oct. 7) in the journal Emotion. "With these new genetic findings, we now understand much more about what determines just how important emotions are for different people."
Specifically, researchers found a link between relationship fulfillment and a gene variant, or "allele," known as 5-HTTLPR. All humans inherit a copy of this gene variant from each parent. Study participants with two short 5-HTTLPR alleles were found to be most unhappy in their marriages when there was a lot of negative emotion, such as anger and contempt, and most happy when there was positive emotion, such as humor and affection. By contrast, those with one or two long alleles were far less bothered by the emotional tenor of their marriages.
"We are always trying to understand the recipe for a good relationship, and emotion keeps coming up as an important ingredient," said Levenson, who heads up a longitudinal study that has tracked over 150 married couples for more than 20 years.
The new findings don't mean that couples with different variations of 5-HTTLPR are incompatible, the researchers note. Instead, it suggests that those with two short alleles are likelier to thrive in a good relationship and suffer in a bad one. The results of the study, which looked at the genotypes of more than 100 spouses and observed how they interacted with their partners over time, bore this out, they said.
"Individuals with two short alleles of the gene variant may be like hothouse flowers, blossoming in a marriage when the emotional climate is good and withering when it is bad," said Claudia M. Haase, assistant professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern University and lead author of the study, which she conducted as a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley. "Conversely, people with one or two long alleles are less sensitive to the emotional climate."
"Neither of these genetic variants is inherently good or bad," Haase added. "Each has its advantages and disadvantages."
Participants in the study belong to a group of 156 middle-aged and older couples whose relationships Levenson and fellow researchers have followed since 1989. Every five years, the couples have come to UC Berkeley to report on their marital satisfaction and interact with one another in a lab setting while researchers code their conversations based on facial expressions, body language, tone of voice and topic of discussion.
More recently, 125 of the study participants provided DNA samples, and researchers matched their genotypes with their levels of marital satisfaction and the emotional tenor of their interactions in the lab setting.
For spouses with two short 5-HTTLPR alleles, who made up 17 percent of the spouses studied, researchers found a strong correlation between the emotional tone of their conversations and how they felt about their marriage. For the 83 percent of spouses with one or two long alleles, on the other hand, the emotional quality of their discussions bore little or no relation to their marital satisfaction over the next decade.
The link between genes, emotion and marital satisfaction was particularly pronounced for older adults. "One explanation for this latter finding is that in late life -- just as in early childhood -- we are maximally susceptible to the influences of our genes," Levenson said.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9235 on: Oct 8th, 2013, 09:17am »
This aired yesterday.
Published on Oct 7, 2013
10/7/13 - "Bigfoot Lives!" the chyron declared. On Monday, a research told Fox News Channel's The Real Story fill-in anchor Martha MacCallum that the elusive Bigfoot is not only real but that scientists with The Sasquatch Genome Project have cracked its DNA code. "Bigfoot, it turns out, is real," MacCallum declared. She declared grainy images of the illusive North American primate "real" and said that the SGP researchers have made great strides in investigating the "bigfoot human hybrid creature."
Dr. Melba Ketchum said that she was skeptical that the creature even existed before she devoted her career to debunking the sasquatch myth. Ketchum said that there are "thousands" of bigfoot in the wilderness.
"We're looking at these pictures they're very interesting," MacCallum said skeptically. "I think some people might say it looks like a costume but you say it is not."
Ketchum said that forensic DNA testing reveals that the creatures her group has discovered are not humans. She added that four labs in the U.S. tested saliva samples from food traps and discovered striking mitochondrial results before MacCallum cut her off.
"I hope you can catch one and bring it back," MacCallum said. "Thank you very much, Doctor. Interesting work."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9236 on: Oct 8th, 2013, 09:22am »
Japan, U.S. to use Ospreys for first time in exercise
Kyodo Oct 8, 2013
OTSU, SHIGA PREF. – U.S. Marine Corps and Ground Self-Defense Force personnel began a joint exercise Tuesday in Shiga Prefecture.
During the exercise, which will last through Oct. 18 in the Aibano Training Area, U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft will be used for the first time in a joint military drill in Japan.
The tilt-rotor Ospreys, based at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa, have been the target of local opposition.
One or two Ospreys are expected to join the exercise on Oct. 16, according to the Defense Ministry. Shiga Prefecture has demanded that the aircraft not fly over populated areas or above Lake Biwa.
The two forces were scheduled to deploy a combined contingent of 330 troops, but this number has been reduced to 230 because a powerful typhoon has led to a delay in the arrival of some U.S. elements.
A separate U.S.-Japan military exercise is scheduled for Oct. 25 in Kochi Prefecture, based on the scenario of a massive earthquake and tsunami centered on the Nankai Trough, which stretches between the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture and the ocean floor off Kyushu.
In the exercise, two Ospreys will be mobilized for search and rescue operations at sea as well as for the transport of Self-Defense Forces elements and relief goods to affected areas.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9237 on: Oct 9th, 2013, 09:10am »
Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 06:00 AM PDT.
My family just reported a UFO sighting
by Greek Goddess
When you see something unusual in the sky, it captures your attention like nothing else. It is at once exciting, scary, exhilarating, dreadful, and awe-inspiring. No matter what you're doing at the time, you focus all your attention on the thing in the sky. You point to it, chase it, shout at others to look at it, and, if you're lucky, fumble for a camera to take a picture of it. You keep asking those around you, "Is it real? Am I really seeing this? Do you see it?" You list logical things it could be: an airplane, a weather balloon, an optical illusion, a military aircraft, a cloud, a reflection, a glare. You frantically snap picture after picture, hoping that just one will be clear enough to show what you are seeing. As conditions deteriorate--the light or weather changes, the thing in the sky disappears--you are left with a searing memory of something that you still aren't quite sure really took place. You strain to pinpoint details you normally take for granted--what time is it, what day is it, where am I?
And then, if you're REALLY lucky, you remember that there is a way to report such things, and you find the number, and you call the number, and the person on the other end of the line doesn't think you're a crackpot, but calmly and expertly tells you to collect written reports from everyone in your party who witnessed the thing in the sky and send them to the reporting agency.
Then the person on the other end of the line beseeches you to alert the media because reports of this same phenomenon have been coming in from other parts of the country. You promptly seek out your local newspaper and television news outlets, which, you quickly discover, have all been taken over by giant media conglomerates that provide no way to reach a live reporter to report news items of local interest, only a "Contact Us" link on their websites with a dropdown list of general questions or comments from which to choose, none of which includes "I think I saw a FREAKING UFO!"
So you go to your blog, which has an international audience, tell your story, and hope that those who read it also won't think you're a crackpot.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9238 on: Oct 9th, 2013, 09:13am »
Intelligence leaks 'welcomed by Obama', Guardian claims
The leak of thousands of GCHQ files by CIA spy Edward Snowden was welcomed by Barack Obama, the Guardian has claimed, just a day after the head of MI5 warned the exposure was a 'gift' to terrorists.
By Alice Philipson 1:14PM BST 09 Oct 2013
The Guardian newspaper, which published information from the files in June, said "a huge number of people" accepted the revelations were "both necessary and overdue".
It comes as Andrew Parker, the director general of the Security Service, said the revelations had given fanatics the ability to evade the spy agencies.
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has defended the newspaper's role in publishing the sensitive information and vowed to publish more.
The newspaper claimed figures including President Obama and the US director of national intelligence, James Clapper, had welcomed the exposing of intelligence techniques.
A Guardian News and Media spokeswoman said: "A huge number of people - from President Obama to the US director of national intelligence, James Clapper - have now conceded that the Snowden revelations have prompted a debate which was both necessary and overdue.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #9239 on: Oct 9th, 2013, 09:15am »
Evolutionary Question Answered: Ants More Closely Related to Bees Than to Most Wasps
Oct. 8, 2013 — Ants and bees are surprisingly more genetically related to each other than they are to social wasps such as yellow jackets and paper wasps, a team of University of California, Davis, scientists has discovered. The groundbreaking research is available online and will be published Oct. 21 in the print version of the journal Current Biology.
Using state-of-the-art genome sequencing and bioinformatics, the researchers resolved a long-standing, unanswered evolutionary question. Scientists previously thought that ants and bees were more distantly related, with ants being closer to certain parasitoid wasps.
Ants, bees and stinging wasps all belong to the aculeate (stinging) Hymenoptera clade -- the insect group in which social behavior is most extensively developed, said senior author and ant specialist Phil Ward, professor of entomology at UC Davis.
"Despite great interest in the ecology and behavior of these insects, their evolutionary relationships have never been fully clarified. In particular, it has been uncertain how ants -- the world's most successful social insects -- are related to bees and wasps," Ward said. "We were able to resolve this question by employing next-generation sequencing technology and advances in bioinformatics. This phylogeny, or evolutionary tree, provides a new framework for understanding the evolution of nesting, feeding and social behavior in Hymenoptera."
The collaborators included Ward, Assistant Professor Joanna Chiu, Assistant Professor Brian Johnson, graduate student Marek Borowiec and postdoctoral researcher Joel Atallah, all with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology; and visiting scientist Ernest K. Lee of the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History.
"With a phylogeny or evolutionary progression that we think is reliable and robust, we can now start to understand how various morphological and/or behavioral traits evolved in these groups of insects, and even examine the genetic basis of these phenotypic changes," Chiu said.
Johnson, whose lab studies the genetics, behavior, evolution and health of honeybees, noted that the study showed that ants and bees are more closely related than previously thought.
"This result should be important for future studies focused on eusocial evolution, as it suggests that morphology may not be a good indicator of evolutionary relatedness in these groups of organisms," he said. Eusocial behavior is characterized by cooperative brood care, overlapping adult generations and division of labor.
The scientists combined data from the transcriptome -- showing which genes are active and being transcribed from DNA into RNA -- and genomic (DNA) data from a number of species of ants, bees and wasps, including bradynobaenid wasps, a cuckoo wasp, a spider wasp, a scoliid wasp, a mud dauber wasp, a tiphiid wasp, a paper wasp and a pollen wasp; a velvet ant (wasp); a dracula ant; and a sweat bee, Lasioglossum albipes.
Of particular interest was the finding that ants are a sister group to the Apoidea, a major group within Hymenoptera that includes bees and sphecid wasps (a family of wasps that includes digger wasps and mud daubers).
The UC Davis results also provide a new perspective on lower Cretaceous fossil Cariridris bipetiolata, originally claimed to be the oldest fossil ant. Scientists later reinterpreted it to be a spheciform wasp.
"Our discovery that ants and apoids are sister taxa helps to explain difficulty in the placement of Cariridris," the authors wrote in the paper, "and suggests that it is best treated as a lineage close to the root of the ant-apoid tree, perhaps not assignable with certainty to either branch."
The scientists discovered that the ancestral aculeate wasp was likely an ectoparasitoid, which attacks and paralyzes a host insect and leaves its offspring nearby where they can attach to the outside of the host and feed from it.
The research drew financial support from UC Davis.