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Old 06-28-2008, 06:18 PM   #176
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Scientists: Nothing to fear from atom-smasher


By DOUGLAS BIRCH, Associated Press Writer Sat Jun 28, 3:08 PM ET

MEYRIN, Switzerland - The most powerful atom-smasher ever built could make some bizarre discoveries, such as invisible matter or extra dimensions in space, after it is switched on in August.



In this Feb. 29, 2008 file photo, the last element, weighing 100 tons, of the ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS) experiment is lowered into the cave at the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN (Centre Europeen de Recherche Nucleaire) in Meyrin, near Geneva, Switzerland. ATLAS is part of five experiments which, from mid 2008 on, will study what happens when beams of particles collide in the 27 km (16.8 miles) long underground ring LHC (Large Hadron Collider). ATLAS is one of the largest collaborative efforts ever attempted in the physical sciences. There are 2100 physicists (including 450 students) participating from more than 167 universities and laboratories in 37 countries.
(AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini, FILE)



But some critics fear the Large Hadron Collider could exceed physicists' wildest conjectures: Will it spawn a black hole that could swallow Earth? Or spit out particles that could turn the planet into a hot dead clump?


Ridiculous, say scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French initials CERN — some of whom have been working for a generation on the $5.8 billion collider, or LHC.
"Obviously, the world will not end when the LHC switches on," said project leader Lyn Evans.


David Francis, a physicist on the collider's huge ATLAS particle detector, smiled when asked whether he worried about black holes and hypothetical killer particles known as strangelets.
"If I thought that this was going to happen, I would be well away from here," he said.
The collider basically consists of a ring of supercooled magnets 17 miles in circumference attached to huge barrel-shaped detectors. The ring, which straddles the French and Swiss border, is buried 330 feet underground.
The machine, which has been called the largest scientific experiment in history, isn't expected to begin test runs until August, and ramping up to full power could take months. But once it is working, it is expected to produce some startling findings.


Scientists plan to hunt for signs of the invisible "dark matter" and "dark energy" that make up more than 96 percent of the universe, and hope to glimpse the elusive Higgs boson, a so-far undiscovered particle thought to give matter its mass.
The collider could find evidence of extra dimensions, a boon for superstring theory, which holds that quarks, the particles that make up atoms, are infinitesimal vibrating strings.


The theory could resolve many of physics' unanswered questions, but requires about 10 dimensions — far more than the three spatial dimensions our senses experience.
The safety of the collider, which will generate energies seven times higher than its most powerful rival, at Fermilab near Chicago, has been debated for years. The physicist Martin Rees has estimated the chance of an accelerator producing a global catastrophe at one in 50 million — long odds, to be sure, but about the same as winning some lotteries.
By contrast, a CERN team this month issued a report concluding that there is "no conceivable danger" of a cataclysmic event. The report essentially confirmed the findings of a 2003 CERN safety report, and a panel of five prominent scientists not affiliated with CERN, including one Nobel laureate, endorsed its conclusions.
Critics of the LHC filed a lawsuit in a Hawaiian court in March seeking to block its startup, alleging that there was "a significant risk that ... operation of the Collider may have unintended consequences which could ultimately result in the destruction of our planet."
One of the plaintiffs, Walter L. Wagner, a physicist and lawyer, said Wednesday CERN's safety report, released June 20, "has several major flaws," and his views on the risks of using the particle accelerator had not changed.


On Tuesday, U.S. Justice Department lawyers representing the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation filed a motion to dismiss the case.
The two agencies have contributed $531 million to building the collider, and the NSF has agreed to pay $87 million of its annual operating costs. Hundreds of American scientists will participate in the research.


The lawyers called the plaintiffs' allegations "extraordinarily speculative," and said "there is no basis for any conceivable threat" from black holes or other objects the LHC might produce. A hearing on the motion is expected in late July or August.


In rebutting doomsday scenarios, CERN scientists point out that cosmic rays have been bombarding the earth, and triggering collisions similar to those planned for the collider, since the solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago.
And so far, Earth has survived.
CONT.
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Old 06-30-2008, 10:44 AM   #177
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http://www.cracked.com/article_16239...ty-doomed.html

5 Psychological Experiments That Prove Humanity is Doomed

Psychologists know you have to be careful when you go poking around the human mind because you're never sure what you'll find there. A number of psychological experiments over the years have yielded terrifying conclusions about the subjects.

Oh, we're not talking about the occasional psychopath who turns up. No, we're talking about you. The experiments speak for themselves:
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Old 06-30-2008, 10:59 AM   #178
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http://www.physorg.com/news10312.html

Meditation found to increase brain size

People who meditate grow bigger brains than those who don't. Researchers at Harvard, Yale, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found the first evidence that meditation can alter the physical structure of our brains. Brain scans they conducted reveal that experienced meditators boasted increased thickness in parts of the brain that deal with attention and processing sensory input.



http://www.tampabay.com/features/hum...icle623228.ece


A scientist's brain scans produce a photo album of the soul

In the early '90s, Newberg had fallen under the mentorship of psychiatrist Eugene d'Aquili, an early pioneer in the effects of religious and mystical experiences on the brain.

Newberg was then a student at the University of Pennsylvania medical school. He was completing an extra year of research in nuclear medicine. But he had always been interested in psychiatry and brain research. D'Aquili's work looked especially novel, esoteric.

He made a pitch to d'Aquili: Why not test your theories in the brain scan lab, using human guinea pigs? Why not photograph brains during religious experiences?

They found willing volunteers among three disparate groups: Tibetan Buddhist monks, cloistered nuns and Pentecostals who speak in tongues.

Starting with the monks and nuns, they shot them up with radioactive isotopes and zapped them with the SPECT machine.

If the brain houses such things as souls, they did locate them:

Everywhere.



“Untraining The Brain”: Meditation and Executive Function

“In a fascinating review of the cognitive neuroscience of attention, authors Raz and Buhle note that most research on attention focuses on defining situations in which it is no longer required to perform a task - in other words, the automatization of thought and behavior. Yet relatively few studies focus on whether thought and behavior can be de-automatized - or, as I might call it if I were asking for trouble, deprogrammed.

What would count as deprogramming? For example, consider the Stroop task, where subjects must name the ink color of each word in a list of color words (e.g., “red” might be written in blue ink, and the task is to say “blue” while suppressing the urge to automatically read the word “red”). Reaction time is reliably increased when subjects name the ink color of incongruent words (”red” written in blue ink) relative to congruent words (”red” written in red ink), presumably because the subjects need to inhibit their prepotent tendency to read the words. But is it possible to regain control over our automatized processes - in this case, reading - and hence name the ink color of incongruent words as quickly as we would name the ink color of congruent or even non-words?

Some meditative practices purport to reverse automatization of thought and behavior, such as transcendental or mindfulness meditation, and indeed there is some evidence that these techniques can reduce interference on the Stroop task. For example, in a study by Alexander, Langer, Newman, Chandler, and Davies from the Journal of Personality and Social psychology, 73 elderly participants were randomly assigned to either no treatment, a transcendental meditation program, mindfulness training, or relaxation training. Note that transcendental and mindfulness techniques are frequently described as inducing a state of “pure consciousness” during which the mind is “silent,” and yet not empty: in this state, meditators claim to be intensely aware only of awareness itself. Less cryptically, this state is also referred to as “restful alertness.”
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Old 06-30-2008, 11:05 AM   #179
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http://gizmodo.com/5020303/house-of-...from-asteroids

Don't worry, folks: Our trusted representatives in government just saw the movie Armageddon, and they aren't going to take the threat posed by this mediocre 1998 action movie lying down. They're going to pass laws to make sure we're prepared to face any asteroid-related threat without having to send a bunch of oil drillers into space.

The House of Representatives just passed bill H.R. 6063, directing NASA to come up with plans for a cheap mission to send a craft to the Apophis asteroid to attach a tracking device. Apophis is on route to come closer to Earth than geostational satellites in 2029, and if it smacked into the planet we'd be a little bit screwed.

In addition to paying close attention to Apophis, the bill requires the Director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy to come up with a policy for notifying Federal agencies and other emergency response groups of an impending near-Earth object threat. Hopefully they'll come up with better plans than whatever it is they have enacted for natural disasters now, because their track record doesn't really inspire confidence. [KurzweilAI]
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Old 06-30-2008, 11:12 AM   #180
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http://www.scientificblogging.com/ne...work_in_humans

Cancer Cured? Granulocytes Treatment Worked 100 Percent In Mice Work But Will It Work In Humans?
<A HREF="http://a.tribalfusion.com/h.click/atmMfjUVn54bymmtIrXTev3tvHPVvC2mrLpdEtVW7fXbva1Ufh 1TypRUvZbUrM5Wdv5orjoPrbM1TYN5qUc5T73oTJG1rZbfUHF1 nPfLmcrwoWUF5EYk2dZaM3A7ZdnrvKXVQSXsFYXsrMnqrU5FUR WrnZc1pMlqsy2T5/422389092" TARGET="_blank"><IMG SRC=http://cdn5.tribalfusion.com/media/1287056/SRL_MLS_NewsOlympicsHD_052008_300x250.jpg WIDTH=300 HEIGHT=250 BORDER=0></A>
Submitted by News Account on 28 June 2008 - 3:07pm. Public Health

Scientists at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center are about to embark on a human trial to test whether a new cancer treatment will be as effective at eradicating cancer in humans as it has proven to be in mice.

The treatment will involve transfusing specific white blood cells, called granulocytes, from select donors, into patients with advanced forms of cancer. A similar treatment using white blood cells from cancer-resistant mice has previously been highly successful, curing 100 percent of lab mice afflicted with advanced malignancies.

Zheng Cui, Ph.D., lead researcher and associate professor of pathology, will be announcing the study June 28 at the Understanding Aging conference in Los Angeles.

The study, given the go-ahead by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will involve treating human cancer patients with white blood cells from healthy young people whose immune systems produce cells with high levels of cancer-fighting activity.

The basis of the study is the scientists' discovery, published five years ago, of a cancer-resistant mouse and their subsequent finding that white blood cells from that mouse and its offspring cured advanced cancers in ordinary laboratory mice. They have since identified similar cancer-killing activity in the white blood cells of some healthy humans.

"In mice, we've been able to eradicate even highly aggressive forms of malignancy with extremely large tumors," Cui said. "Hopefully, we will see the same results in humans. Our laboratory studies indicate that this cancer-fighting ability is even stronger in healthy humans."

The team has tested human cancer-fighting cells from healthy donors against human cervical, prostate and breast cancer cells in the laboratory – with surprisingly good results. The scientists say the anti-tumor response primarily involves granulocytes of the innate immune system, a system known for fighting off infections.

Granulocytes are the most abundant type of white blood cells and can account for as much as 60 percent of total circulating white blood cells in healthy humans. Donors can give granulocytes specifically without losing other components of blood through a process called apheresis that separates granulocytes and returns other blood components back to donors.

In a small study of human volunteers, the scientists found that cancer-killing activity in the granulocytes was highest in people under age 50. They also found that this activity can be lowered by factors such as winter or emotional stress. They said the key to the success for the new therapy is to transfuse sufficient granulocytes from healthy donors while their cancer-killing activities are at their peak level.

For the upcoming study, the researchers are currently recruiting 500 local potential donors who are 50 years old or younger and in good health to have their blood tested. Of those, 100 volunteers with high cancer-killing activity will be asked to donate white blood cells for the study. Cell recipients will include 22 cancer patients who have solid tumors that either didn't respond originally, or no longer respond, to conventional therapies. The study will cost $100,000 per patient receiving therapy, and for many patients (those living in 22 states, including North Carolina) the costs may be covered by their insurance company. There is no cost to donate blood. For general information about insurance coverage of clinical trials, go to the American Cancer Society's web site at http://www.cancer.org/docroot/ETO/co...cal_Trials.asp.)

For more information about qualifications for donors and participants, go to www.wfubmc.edu/LIFT (Web site will be available the evening of 6/27.) Cancer-killing ability in these cells is highest during the summer, so researchers are hoping to find volunteers who can afford the therapy quickly.

"If the study is effective, it would be another arrow in the quiver of treatments aimed at cancer," said Mark Willingham, M.D., a co-researcher and professor of pathology. "It is based on 10 years of work since the cancer-resistant mouse was first discovered."

Volunteers who are selected as donors – based on the observed potential cancer-fighting activity of their white cells – will complete the apheresis, a two- to three-hour process similar to platelet donation, to collect their granulocytes. The cancer patients will then receive the granulocytes through a transfusion – a safe process that has been used for more than 30 years. Normally, the treatment is used for patients who have antibiotic-resistant infectious diseases. The treatment will be given for three to four consecutive days on an outpatient basis. Up to three donors may be necessary to collect enough blood product for one study participant.

"The difference between our study and the traditional white cell therapy is that we're selecting the healthy donors based on the cancer-killing ability of their white blood cells," said Cui. The scientists are calling the therapy Leukocyte InFusion Therapy (LIFT).

The goal of the phase II study is to determine whether patients can tolerate a sufficient amount of transfused granulocytes for the treatment. Participants will be monitored on a regular basis, and after three months scientists will evaluate whether the treatment results in clear clinical benefits for the patients. If this phase of the study is successful, scientists will expand the study to determine if the treatment is best suited to certain types of cancer.

Yikong Keung, M.D., a medical oncologist, is the chief clinical investigator of the study. Gregory Pomper, M.D., assistant professor of pathology and the director of the Wake Forest Baptist blood bank, will oversee the blood banking portion of the study.
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Old 06-30-2008, 01:16 PM   #181
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Old 06-30-2008, 02:16 PM   #182
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Old 06-30-2008, 02:23 PM   #183
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don't call me white

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Old 06-30-2008, 02:36 PM   #184
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Old 07-01-2008, 07:51 AM   #185
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Calif. man gets prison for burning Burning Man

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Old 07-01-2008, 12:21 PM   #186
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Old 07-01-2008, 03:04 PM   #187
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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1214...s_inside_today

Get Out of Your Own Way
Studies Show the Value of Not Overthinking a Decision
June 27, 2008; Page A9

Fishing in the stream of consciousness, researchers now can detect our intentions and predict our choices before we are aware of them ourselves. The brain, they have found, appears to make up its mind 10 seconds before we become conscious of a decision -- an eternity at the speed of thought.

Their findings challenge conventional notions of choice.

"....Studying the brain behavior leading up to the moment of conscious decision, the researchers identified signals that let them know when the students had decided to move 10 seconds or so before the students knew it themselves. About 70% of the time, the researchers could also predict which button the students would push....."

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Old 07-01-2008, 03:11 PM   #188
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http://www.physorg.com/news134108296.html

Cancer cells revert to normal at specific signal threshold, researchers find
Medicine & Health / Cancer
Cancer starts when key cellular signals run amok, driving uncontrolled cell growth. But scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine report that lowering levels of one cancer signal under a specific threshold reverses this process in mice, returning tumor cells to their normal, healthy state. The finding could help target cancer chemotherapy to tumors while minimizing side effects for the body's healthy cells.
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Old 07-01-2008, 03:12 PM   #189
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Your brain can lie to you

BY Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt

New york

June 30: False beliefs are everywhere. One poll has found that 18 per cent of Americans think the sun revolves around the earth.

Thus it seems slightly less egregious that, according to another poll, 10 per cent think that the Senator, Mr Barack Obama is a Christian instead of a Muslim.

The Obama campaign has created a website to dispel misinformation. But this effort may be more difficult than it seems, thanks to the quirky way in which our brains store memories — and mislead us along the way.

The brain does not simply gather and stockpile information as a computer’s hard drive does. Facts are stored first in the hippocampus, a structure deep in the brain about the size and shape of a fat man’s curled pinkie finger.

But the information does not rest there. Every time we recall it, our brain writes it down again, and during this re-storage, it is also reprocessed. In time, the fact is gradually transferred to the cerebral cortex and is separated from the context in which it was originally learned.

For example, the capital of California is Sacramento, but no one probably remembers how one has learnt it. This phenomenon, known as source amnesia, can also lead people to forget whether a statement is true. Even when a lie is presented with a disclaimer, people often later remember it as true.

With time, this misremembering gets worse. A false statement from a non-credible source that is at first not believed can gain credibility during the months it takes to reprocess memories from short-term hippocampal storage to longer-term cortical storage.

As the source is forgotten, the message and its implications gain strength. This could explain why, during the 2004 presidential campaign, it took weeks for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against the Senator, Mr John Kerry to have an effect on his standing in the polls. Even if they do not understand the neuroscience behind source amnesia, campaign strategists can exploit it to spread misinformation. In 1919, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that "the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market." The thought is admirable in realising the truth. — Reuters
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Old 07-02-2008, 10:19 AM   #190
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/mai...hawking126.xml

Stephen Hawking's explosive new theory

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 26/06/2008

Prof Stephen Hawking has come up with a new idea to explain why the Big Bang of creation led to the vast cosmos that we can see today.



"...Most models of the universe are bottom-up, that is, you start from well-defined initial conditions of the Big Bang and work forward. However, Prof Hertog and Prof Hawking say that we do not and cannot know the initial conditions present at the beginning of the universe. Instead, we only know the final state - the one we are in now.

Their idea is therefore to start with the conditions we observe today - like the fact that at large scales one does not need to adopt quantum lore to explain how the universe (it behaves classically, as scientists say) - and work backwards in time to determine what the initial conditions might have looked like.

In this way, they argue the universe did not have just one unique beginning and history but a multitude of different ones and that it has experienced them all.

The new theory is also attractive because it fits in with string theory - the most popular candidate for a "theory of everything."

String theory allows the existence of an" unimaginable multitude of different types of universes in addition to our own," but it does not provide a selection criterion among these and hence no explanation for why our universe is, the way it is", says Prof Hertog.

"For this, one needs a theory of the wave function of the universe."

And now the world of cosmology has one. The next step is to find specific predictions that can be put to the test, to validate this new view of how the cosmos came into being. ...."
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:11 PM   #191
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I get rep comments here and there for this thread. I say thanks, and thanks to those that post articles. I do find them interesting (even if i don't comment/rep).

I figure this thread should exemplify *WHERE* we can go, and to not fall into the trappings of the "damned" part of being human.
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Old 07-02-2008, 12:54 PM   #192
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Drawing Lines: Magical Tribalism
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Old 07-02-2008, 03:17 PM   #193
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Neopaganism growing quickly
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Old 07-02-2008, 03:26 PM   #194
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Default Fungus among us!

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=...agic-mushrooms

Long Trip: Magic Mushrooms' Transcendent Effect Lingers


People who took magic mushrooms were still feeling the love more than a year later, and one might say they were on cloud nine about it, scientists report in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

"Most of the volunteers looked back on their experience up to 14 months later and rated it as the most, or one of the five most, personally meaningful and spiritually significant of their lives," comparing it with the birth of a child or the death of a parent, says neuroscientist Roland Griffiths of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who led the research. "It's one thing to have a dramatic experience you say is impressive. It's another thing to say you consider it as meaningful 14 months later. There's something about the saliency of these experiences that's stunning."


http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/livi...lth/ci_9760531

Mad for mushrooms
By Ronnie Fein
Special Correspondent
Article Launched: 07/02/2008 01:00:00 AM EDT

Click photo to enlarge

* «
* 1
* 2
* »

Mushrooms have always had an aura of mystery about them. There are tales of "fairy rings," stemming from the circular pattern in which they grow and myths about the need to gather the fungi at night. Eat the wrong one and you could wind up with a severe stomach ache or a night haunted by violent hallucinations. Or far worse.

But the risk was always part of mushrooms' lure. Long ago, someone discovered that these wild, weird-looking things were among earth's finest delicacies - worth foraging for the right ones.

In ancient times, mushrooms were considered too exotic for the hoi polloi; they were food for royalty, reserved for pharaohs and Roman nobles. Today, you might still pay a king's ransom for some kinds but most are fairly inexpensive. They were once difficult to come by, but now are widely available. Today, even many so-called wild varieties are cultivated and for sale at most markets. Even noncultivated species are fairly easy to find.

These days you needn't worry about nightmares, seeing things or being poisoned when you eat store-bought mushrooms. Emperor Claudius may have been done in by mushroom ragout but markets today sell only edible varieties.

Although mushrooms are commonplace now, they are as worthy as ever. They make good eating in any season, but summer is prime time for indulging our mycological fancies, if only because mushrooms pair so well with the season's best produce: locally grown goods picked up at the farmer's market or even


(recipes at end of story)


http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/542247/

Mushrooms the Hidden Superfood



http://www.reuters.com/article/newsO...36154720080629

Accidental fungus leads to promising cancer drug
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Old 07-03-2008, 08:26 AM   #195
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080702/...tradivarius_dc

Wood density holds key to Stradivarius sweet sound
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Old 07-03-2008, 02:54 PM   #196
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http://cryptogon.com/?p=2859

CIA Operative Fired for Refusing to Suppress or Falsify Reports That Iran Had Suspended Work on Nuclear Weapon
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Old 07-03-2008, 03:11 PM   #197
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DNA Technology Posts Dramatic Speed Increases

http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2...h-institu.html

A prominent genetics institute recently sequenced its trillionth base pair of DNA, highlighting just how fast genome sequencing technology has improved this century.

Every two minutes, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute sequences as many base pairs as all researchers worldwide did from 1982 to 1987, the first five years of international genome-sequencing efforts.

That speed is thanks to the technology underlying genomics research, which has been improving exponentially every couple of years, similar to the way computer tech improves under Moore's Law.

"Up to 2006, the various cycles of new technology and introduction were cutting costs in half for a similar product every 22 months," said Adam Felsenfeld, a program director at the National Human Genome Research Institute, which invests about as much money in DNA sequencing as the Sanger Institute.

Progress in DNA sequencing has been as breathtaking as any technological change in the IT realm. The Human Genome Project was estimated to cost $3 billion -- to sequence a single genome -- when it began in 1990, but cost reductions during the decade-long effort drove its actual cost closer to $300 million. By the end of the project, researchers estimated that if they were starting again, they could have sequenced the genome for less than $50 million.

By 2006, Harvard's George Church estimated that his lab could sequence a genome for $2.2 million. In 2007, the sequencing of James Watson's genome was said to cost less than $1 million. Looking into the future, the NIH wants genomes to cost a mere $100,000 by 2009, and $1,000 five years later.

With dropping costs and increasing speed, a flood of genetic data is flowing out of international institutes across the world. Previous progress was measured in gigabases (billions of DNA base pairs), but now major research centers are stepping up to the terabase level (trillions of bp, as they are abbreviated). (Human genomes contain about 3 gigabases.)
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Old 07-03-2008, 03:12 PM   #198
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https://www.space.com/scienceastrono...th-sounds.html

Earth's Cries Recorded in Space
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Old 07-03-2008, 03:29 PM   #199
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Marshall McLuhan speech (this is good stuff). 30min

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Old 07-03-2008, 03:34 PM   #200
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http://www.disinfo.com/content/story...-Youve-Watched

Google has been ordered to hand over all of its electronic data on the videos watched by users on YouTube to Viacom. The data, which is 12 terabytes in size, includes records of every video watched by every user, including the user's login name and IP address.
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