Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Bacteria growing in a cell culture.
On the skin’s surface, bacteria are abundant, diverse and constant, but inflammation is undesirable. Research at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine now shows that the normal bacteria living on the skin surface trigger a pathway that prevents excessive inflammation after injury.
“These germs are actually good for us,” said Richard L. Gallo, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and pediatrics, chief of UCSD’s Division of Dermatology and the Dermatology section of the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.
The study, to be published in the advance on-line edition of Nature Medicine on November 22, was done in mice and in human cell cultures, primarily performed by post-doctoral fellow Yu Ping Lai .
“The exciting implications of Dr. Lai’s work is that it provides a molecular basis to understand the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ and has uncovered elements of the wound repair response that were previously unknown. This may help us devise new therapeutic approaches for inflammatory skin diseases,” said Gallo.
The so-called “hygiene hypothesis,” first introduced in the late 1980s, suggests that a lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents and microorganisms increases an individuals susceptibility to disease by changing how the immune system reacts to such “bacterial invaders.” The hypothesis was first developed to explain why allergies like hay fever and eczema were less common in children from large families, who were presumably exposed to more infectious agents than others. It is also used to explain the higher incidence of allergic diseases in industrialized countries.
The skin’s normal microflora — the microscopic and usually harmless bacteria that live on the skin — includes certain staphylococcal bacterial species that will induce an inflammatory response when they are introduced below the skin’s surface, but do not initiate inflammation when present on the epidermis, or outer layer of skin.
In this study, Lai, Gallo and colleagues reveal a previously unknown mechanism by which a product of staphylococci inhibits skin inflammation. Such inhibition is mediated by a molecule called staphylococcal lipoteichoic acid (LTA) which acts on keratinocytes — the primary cell types found on the epidermis.
The researchers also found that Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) activation is required for normal inflammation after skin injury.
“Keratinocytes require TLR3 to mount a normal inflammatory response to injury, and this response is kept from becoming too aggressive by staphylococcal LTA,” said Gallo. “To our knowledge, these findings show for the first time that the skin epithelium requires TLR3 for normal inflammation after wounding and that the microflora helps to modulate this response.”
Additional contributors to the paper include Yuping Lai, Anna Di Nardo, Teruaki Nakatsuji, Anna L Cogen, Chun-Ming Huang and Katherine A. Radek, UCSD Division of Dermatology and the VA San Diego Healthcare System; Anke Leichtle and Allen F. Ryan, UCSD Department of Surgery/Otolaryngology and the VA San Diego Healthcare System; Yan Yang and Zi-Rong Wu, School of Life Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai; Lora V Hooper, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; and Richard R Schmidt and Sonja von Aulock, University of Konstanz, Germany.
The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a US Veterans Administration Merit Award.
more via science news
Despite some of these rocks weighing as much as a
One of the strongest[via Dailymail]
about what the rocks move is that water rising from beneath the surface of the sand is pushed by the wind creating a surface the rocks can move along.
Let’s get something straight here. As far as I can tell these watches from Jean Charles de Castelbajac are not an officially licensed LEGO product, but they absolutely should be. LEGO has dabbled in watches in the past, but their efforts have produced mostly analog styles that I wouldn’t touch with a 10-stud LEGO brick. But I’d actually consider wearing these 2 designs which feature a “classic Casio watch shape” with bright LEGO brick inspired primary colors. The ’studded’ wrist strap is also a clever touch, though I’m pretty sure you can’t attach an actual LEGO brick to it. According to Babyology the watches should be available by the end of the year, though pricing details are unknown.
Sometimes an idea is just so good, you can hardly believe you came up with it. That must be how Harrison Krix felt after creating the elaborate and awesome Big Daddy costume you see above -- not since BioShock released have we been so eager to heap praise on something. Well, Mr. Krix, we hope you suffocate on our affection, because taking your costume to the Georgia Aquarium for some underwater snapshots has to be the best idea ever.
If you're scratching your head, wondering just where you've seen these two before, let us help you: right here on our website. Krix's girlfriend (holding another of his creations in the pic above, the ADAM syringe) is quite the cosplayer, which initially got Krix into the game of making things from games. Take notes, gents! That's how you woo the ladies.
With Project Natal on schedule for a 2010 arrival, it's no surprise that Microsoft's annual Gamefest conference will offer programming tracks designed to get developers up to speed on how best to design for and implement the technology in their Xbox 360 games.
The tech summit, which runs from February 10 and 11 in Seattle will offer two types of Natal-themed sessions. The first, Project Natal Design, promises to help devs with "creating new ways to work, building showcase experiences, divining user intent, and designing gestures for UI versus game interactions." The second, Project Natal Technical, will "dive deep into gesture recognition, avatar retargeting, speech recognition, advanced raw stream processing, handling different player environments, and many other topics."
Avatar re-what? Advanced raw stream huh? $100 says Microsoft just hands attendees Minority Report on DVD.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
As if the Roku player — the little $80 streaming media box that could — wasn't already capable enough with its Netflix, MLB.com and Amazon Video on Demand, now it adds ten more channels. They're calling it the Channel Store, and it's full of potential.
So far, Roku adds the following free channels: Pandora, motionbox, mediafly, blip.TV, twit.TV, Facebook photos, Revision3, framechannel, Flickr, and MobileTribe. Yeah, we're yawning too, except we celebrate the presence of our favorite, Pandora, the free music service that's welcome wherever it goes.
Even though we work for the Sheinhardt Wig Company (better known as NBC Universal), corporate collaborator of world's-best video site, Hulu, we still must ask: where is it? Hulu support on this little Roku box was much-rumored, and it's the one everyone wants, but the little box that could, can't. At least so far. We're waiting. Still, this dirt-cheap streaming video box ($100 for the HD version, $130 adds wireless-N) is the best value in Internet video today.
Here's a video explainer:
For Let's Make Robot's robo-wiz "Isotope," anything he sees has the potential to be a 'bot. Example: pondering a simple ladybug magnet on his refrigerator, he decided it'd be better as a larger, motorized magnetic crawler exploring the surface of his fridge. $30 and 16 hours later, he had the charming LadyBugBot you can see in the video above.
He's also got a full list of DIY instructions posted, and it's simple enough that'd it'd be a great present for anyone you'd like to give a little homemade cheer for the holidays.
You've asked, and Samsung has delivered: the company's newest Story external hard drives not only feature a maximum 2TB of storage, but the device can now make nice with your PC via eSATA (in addition to USB 2.0). And like its earlier brethren, this one features either real time or scheduled backups, password protection, and SecretZone encryption. Available the world o'er sometime this November for an MSRP of $299. PR after the break, kids.
We first saw Ostendo's crazy CRVD monitor at CES 2008 with Alienware branding, and then again at Macworld 2009 with an NEC label, but it looks like those were just flirtations: the monster 2880 x 900 quad-DLP display has been quietly on sale directly from the mothership since late August. Ostendo tell us most of the units sold have been for defense simulation and training, but there are apparently some gamers out there hardcore enough to stomach the $6,499 price tag -- including the crown prince of Dubai, who's purchased "multiple units." We're also told that multi-monitor CRVD applications are forthcoming, which sounds insane -- and is even wilder on video. Check it after the break.
You are lucky if you are living in South Korea, because SAFA has announced the availability of the Magic Study Touch education multimedia device in that country. The gadget will help you to learn English language better and easier. The Magic Study Touch comes pre-loaded with the ‘Magic English Game’ application to practice listening, writing and interpreting more than 5,000 English sentences. The 8GB and 16GB models are priced at 329,000 Won ($285) and 369,000 Won ($319), respectively. [AVING]
The PQI H560 is not your ordinary portable. It is a 2.5-inch portable hard drive that can withstand vibration and shock – in compliance with US military grade MIL-STD-810F 516.5 procedure IV (transit drop test) specifications. Available in 320GB, 500GB and 640GB of storage capacities, the PQI H560 uses a special rubber material and a unique internal shock-absorption suspension technology that provide the hard drive with the ultra protection. Watch the video after the jump to get more info.
That’s all I need now – furniture that tells me how I’m feeling. Yep, that’s exactly what this glowing chair is all about – detecting your mood, and adjusting its color to match.
Created by UK designers Aether & Hemera, the Mood Chair is like a Mood Ring for your ass. The chair is designed to change colors based on the user’s mood as well as the environment around them. Now how this hocus-pocus works, I dunno. A&H say it’s something to do with “LEDs, embedded micro-chips, and appropriate sensors”. Natch.
No word on if or when you’ll be able to buy a Mood Chair for your own living room, but I’ll be the first to let you know when you can. While you wait, I’m gonna get to work on my Pet Rock chair.
[via Generate Pipeline]
We have seen quite a few different accessories made for the iPhone, but we haven’t seen many devices made using the iPhone for parts, this one is an musical instrument made using 3 iPhones, the iPhone Ocarina.
Unfortunately there aren’t many details about this iPhone musical instrument, although the casing looks like it has be laser cut from plastic.
If anyone knows more about it,or finds a video of it in action, let us know.
File this under: incredible custom gaming consoles. Built by hailrazer of Ben Heck's forums, the NCube originally started out as a Datamax Kid's Delight toy, which was then gutted and fitted with GameCube internals along with a PSOne display
While strolling on the beach at night, and it gets little windy, your dress glows in dark with a number of the glowing flowery patterns. This will definitely make you the most outstanding girl. As shown, called the Flare dress, is a dress embroidered with wind-sensitive LEDs, which have been specially arranged to form dandelions.
The Flare dress is also best worn for your wedding day, having the wedding reception organized in the beach, but be sure to check the weather forecast first that it’ll most likely get windy on that day, so you’ll become the center of all eyes. Well, if it’s not windy, you’ll still be able to make it glow by blowing on the dandelions by yourself.
Flare dress was created by Dutch designer Stijn Ossevoort. Perhaps some paranoids may feel uneasy while wearing this dress. Question raised, such as “will you get electrocuted when it happens to rain?”. But I believe it has very weak electricity flowing through it, which is not harmful to human at all.
Sometimes it seems as if we’re doing nothing but burning through the cash and having absolutely nothing in return. Well now you can make light of the whole situation by having a money candle. The candle is unscented, so it won’t perfume your house with the smell of burning paper and ink. On both sides it has a hundred dollar bill printed onto it. Then it has a $10,000 money wrap. You can purchase the Money Candle for $5.98 through Things You Never Knew Existed.
Hackers and malware purveyors are becoming more sophisticated, meaning computer users need to become wiser and more proactive, too
After a year of unprecedented proliferation of spyware, malware and cyber attacks of all types, security software vendor Symantec warns there’s plenty more where that came from in its just-released 2010 Security Trends to Watch report.
Kevin Haley, Symantec Security Response group product manager, this week posted an ironic blog entry titled “Don’t Read This Blog” to draw attention to the company’s latest report and to illustrate how Internet users have been conditioned to click any compelling link without regard to the possible—and often probable — security consequences of their actions.
“We love to click,” he wrote. “Clicking on links and attachments that are accompanied by just the slightest bit of social engineering appears to be a basic human need.”
“I expect it to show in a revision of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs any day now — behind love, but certainly ahead of safety,” he added.
Whether it’s a come-on for what appears to be a friendly game of online Monopoly or the incessant and sinister pleadings of a bogus antivirus application, malware scams have become more sophisticated and damaging with each passing day.
A report released earlier this year by the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) found that fake anti-malware and security software programs soared up more than 585 percent in the first half of 2009 alone. In 2007, Gartner said that more than 3.6 million people lost more than $3.2 billion to malicious phishing scams.
“Yes, it’s a cheap trick and not even close to original,” Haley wrote of his creative blog title. “[But] since social engineering plays such a prominent role in future trends, it seemed appropriate.”
The dirty baker’s dozen
Whether you’re using your mobile phone to check e-mail and surf the Web or an enterprise IT administrator charged with safeguarding your company’s data, Symantec says the following 13 security issues will be most relevant in 2010:
1. Antivirus is not enough
With the rise of polymorphic threats and the explosion of unique malware variants in 2009, the industry is quickly realizing that traditional approaches to antivirus (including both file signatures and heuristic/behavioral capabilities) are not enough to protect against today’s threats. We have reached an inflection point, where new malicious programs are actually being created at a higher rate than good programs.
Approaches to security that looks for ways to include all software files, such as reputation-based security, will become key in 2010.
2. Social engineering as the primary attack vector
More and more, attackers are going directly after the end user and attempting to trick them into downloading malware or divulging sensitive information under the auspice that they are doing something perfectly innocent.Social engineering ’s popularity is at least in part spurred on by the fact that what operating system and Web browser rests on a user’s computer is largely irrelevant, as it is the actual user being targeted, not necessarily vulnerabilities on the machine.
3. Rogue security software vendors escalate their efforts
In 2010, expect to see the propagators of rogue security software scams take their efforts to the next level, even by hijacking users’ computers, rendering them useless and holding them for ransom. A less drastic next step, however, would be software that is not explicitly malicious, but dubious at best.
For example, Symantec has already observed some rogue antivirus vendors selling rebranded copies of free third-party antivirus software as their own offerings. In these cases, users are technically getting the antivirus software that they pay for, but the reality is that this same software can actually be downloaded for free elsewhere.
4. Social networking third-party apps will fraud targets
With the popularity of social networking sites poised for another year of unprecedented growth, expect to see fraud being targeted toward social site users to grow.
As this occurs, and as these sites more readily provide third-party developer access to their APIs, attackers will likely turn to vulnerabilities in third-party applications for users’social networking account information, just as we have seen attackers take advantage of browser plug-ins more as Web browsers themselves become more secure.
5. Windows 7 will come in the crosshairs of attackers
Microsoft has already released the first security patches for its new operating system. As long as humans are programming computer code, flaws will be introduced, no matter how thorough pre-release testing is. And the more complex the code is, the more likely that undiscovered vulnerabilities exist.
Microsoft’s new operating system is no exception, and as Windows 7 hits the pavement and gains traction in 2010, attackers will undoubtedly find ways to exploit its users.
6. Fast Flux botnets will increase
Fast flux is a technique used by some botnets, such as the Storm botnet, to hide phishing and malicious Web sites behind an ever-changing network of compromised hosts acting as proxies. Using a combination of peer-to-peer networking, distributed command-and-control, Web-based load balancing and proxy redirection, it makes it difficult to trace the botnets’ original geo-location.
As industry countermeasures continue to reduce the effectiveness of traditional botnets, expect to see more using this technique to carry out attacks.
7. URL-shortening services become the phisher’s best friend
Because users often have no idea where a shortened URL — particularly from Twitter — is actually sending them, phishers are able to disguise links that the average security conscious user might think twice about clicking on.
In an attempt to evade antispam filters through obfuscation, expect spammers to use shortened URLs to carry out their evil deeds.
8. Mac and Mobile Malware Will Increase
In 2009, Macs and smartphones will be targeted more by malware authors. As Mac and smartphones continue to increase in popularity in 2010, more attackers will devote time to creating malware to exploit these devices.
9. Spammers breaking more rules
As the economy continues to suffer and more people seek to take advantage of the loose restrictions of the Federal Trade Commission’s Can-Spam Act, there will be more organizations selling unauthorized e-mail address lists and more less-than-legitimate marketers spamming those lists.
10. As spammers adapt, volume will continue to fluctuate
Since 2007, spam has increased on average by 15 percent a year. Spam volumes will continue to fluctuate in 2010 as spammers continue to adaptto the sophistication of security software and the intervention of responsible ISPs and government agencies across the globe.
11. Specialized malware on the rise
Highly specialized malware was uncovered in 2009 that was aimed at exploiting certain ATMs, indicating a degree of insider knowledge about their operation and how they could be exploited. Expect this trend to continue in 2010, including the possibility of malware targeting electronic voting systems, both those used in political elections and public telephone voting, such as that connected with reality television shows and competitions.
12. CAPTCHA technology will improve
This will prompt more businesses in emerging economies to offer real people employment to manually generate accounts on legitimate Web sites — especially those supporting user-generated content — for spamming purposes.
Symantec estimates that the individuals will be paid less than 10 percent of the cost to the spammers, with the account farmers charging $30-$40 per 1,000 accounts.
13. Instant messaging spam will surge
As hackers exploit new ways to bypass CAPTCHA (define) technologies, instant messaging attacks will grow in popularity. IM threats will largely be comprised of unsolicited spam messages containing malicious links, especially attacks aimed at compromising legitimate IM accounts.
By the end of 2010, Symantec predicts that one in 300 IM messages will contain a URL. Also, in 2010, Symantec predicts that one in 12 hyperlinks overall will be linked to a domain known to be used for hosting malware.Via internetnews.com
Monday, November 23, 2009
Cruising the Twitters, as we are wont to do, we stumbled upon a revelation, courtesy of one Major Nelson. That revelation: Today is the fourth anniversary of the launch of the Xbox 360. Yes, just four years ago, on November 22, 2005, the Joystiq universe was just buzzing with excitement. There were freezing cold lines to wait in, boxes to open and new games to play -- in fantastic HD resmolutions! And then, of course, it began.
It was reported earlier this month that the law firm AlbingtonIP is "investigating" the possibility of a class action lawsuit against Microsoft over the bans. The firm argues that timing of the bans -- shortly after the release of Halo 3: ODST and just prior to the launch of Modern Warfare 2 -- was designed to get as much money from Xbox Live subscriptions as possible. In other words, the firm believes that Microsoft personally waited for a time when many people -- modders in this case -- would be purchasing Live subscriptions for popular games -- money that probably wouldn't be refunded after a ban.
Joystiq's Law of the Game columnist, Mark Methenitis, classified the suit as a likely "cash grab," explaining that anyone savvy enough to mod an Xbox would know to stay well away from Xbox Live. We might add that major releases, like ODST and Modern Warfare 2, are the biggest targets for piracy, and likely correspond with rises in illegal downloads. And that just might have something to do with the timing of the bans in question.
Oprah leaving broadcast television
Oprah Winfrey is fleeing broadcast television for cable. NBC, once arguably the biggest cultural tastemaker in the United States, is being shopped to Comcast, the country’s largest cable company. Have we finally reached a tipping point that suggests a remarkable decline in the fortunes of broadcast television in America?
In the NBC Universal deal, in which General Electric is negotiating to sell a majority stake of its media business to Comcast, it is the cable channels — USA, Bravo, SyFy, MSNBC and CNBC — that are seen as the most valuable, not the NBC broadcast network, which is mired in fourth place in the ratings among the four major networks.
Most analysts and many executives agree that the economic model of broadcast television — which relies much more heavily on advertising than cable — is severely fractured. What they are wondering now is if it is irreparably broken.
“It’s in a period of huge transformation,” said Horace Newcomb, a professor of telecommunications at the University of Georgia and the director of the Peabody Awards, which are awarded annually for excellence in radio and television broadcasting. “It’s in a state of confusion.”
The business model of the big three networks — which became four when Fox began prime-time programming in 1987 — has for decades relied on a simple formula: spend millions on original programming that will attract advertiser dollars and later live on as lucrative reruns in syndication.
But ratings are going down. In the 1952-53 television season, more than 30 percent of American households that owned televisions tuned in to NBC during prime time, according to Nielsen. In the 2007-8 season, that figure was just 5.2 percent.
The mass audience — the bread and butter of broadcast networks — has splintered into niches as viewers flock to alternative entertainment choices on the Internet, to video games and to cable channels dedicated to individual tastes, like Ms. Winfrey’s forthcoming OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.
And yet, programming remains expensive — a network drama costs about $3 million for one hour — and advertisers are becoming reluctant to pay ever-rising premiums for prime-time shows. All the networks have tried to adjust, putting on more reality programming, for example, that is cheaper to produce.
NBC made perhaps the biggest bet of all — moving Jay Leno to prime time each night at 10, saving the millions it would have cost to develop a scripted show in that time spot. The Leno move has been the subject of intense scrutiny by the media, because Mr. Leno’s ratings have lately fallen on several nights well below even the modest guarantees NBC made to advertisers.
Nicholas P. Heymann, an analyst at Sterne, Agee & Leach who follows G.E., said that the consistently ineffective efforts to rebuild the prime-time portion of the NBC network might have led G.E. to begin thinking it was time to exit the entertainment business. And this one particular decision may have pushed G.E. over the edge, he said.
“I think the Leno move was the last straw,” Mr. Heymann said, “the last roll of the dice for G.E.”
Mr. Heymann acknowledged that it seemed unlikely on its face that such a huge deal could hinge on one decision in one slice of an enormous company. But he said, “It’s the domino effect of the move, on the shows in front of ‘Leno’ and the late-night shows after it. I think G.E. decided, ‘We can’t go on doing this.’ ”
While networks have found it difficult to charge ever-higher advertising rates in the face of declining ratings, big cable channels — like USA, TNT and TBS — have flourished with the millions of dollars in subscription fees from cable operators that they receive, on top of advertising.
“The cable players have a robust affiliate fee stream that allows them to better finance original programming,” said Anthony DiClemente, a media analyst at Barclays Capital. “The main structural issue right now with broadcast is that the vast majority of revenues are from advertising.”
Profit margins for cable networks are also much better than broadcast networks’. Derek Baine, a senior analyst at SNL Kagan, said big cable networks earned profit margins of 40 to 60 percent, while a good year for a broadcast network is a 10 percent profit margin.
Illustrative of this is a comparison of NBC to ESPN, one of the most popular cable channels. Last year, revenue for the two networks was roughly equal. NBC, according to SNL Kagan, generated about $5.6 billion in advertising dollars; ESPN generated a total of about $6 billion in revenue — $1.6 billion from advertising and $4.4 billion in subscriber fees. But ESPN was vastly more profitable. Its cash flow was about $1.4 billion, while NBC’s was $304 million.
Continue reading New York Times
Keeping fit can be a challenge for city dwellers. Unlike suburbanites with their fancy schmantzy fitness rooms, we apartment residents need fitness gear that takes up the tiniest possible corner of our already tight living spaces.
One solution might be the 4Fitness gym system, a recent entry for the 2009 James Dyson Design Awards. Folding up to form a slim wall-hugging unit, the modular 4Fitness includes sections designed for strength training, balance, endurance, and agility. You can add new modules as needed, and tailor the configuration for your own personal needs.
This design concept looks cool, but I wonder if it's really better than just using a Nintendo Wii FIt?
Could someone please explain to me why, exactly, roboticists seem to think that it’s such a good idea to give their creations swords? Like, I get that it’s a way to demonstrate grasping and dexterous movements, but if you start with robots demonstrating swords, you move on to robots fighting each other with swords, and this will be our terrifying future. And swordplay seems to be a bad idea for HUBO here more than most, since it repeatedly hits itself in the head with a sword that is thankfully not made out of anything dangerous…
At what point did video arcades go from fun zombie killing and racing games, to simulators recreating mundane tasks like cooking and now text messaging?! That’s right, the Textminator (that’s what it’s really called) features a set of stainless steel phone-like keypads that allow 1 or 2 players to compete in a series of texting challenges including an arcade mode and racing the clock. It’s even got a built-in camera allowing egomaniacs to snap a photo of themselves for the high-score board. Now I know there are cellphone users out there who pride themselves on their texting speed, but why would anyone want to pay the $1 or $2 this elaborate setup will no doubt charge to prove their texting prowess when they can just do it on the cellphones they’re already paying for?!
There have been several
There's a great read over at Cheap Talk about how digital pinball machines changed the industry, back when there still was an industry. They were big tables where you flick a ball around, but they were smarter than you think.
In the olden days of pinball, there wasn't much to adjust. Free game scores were hard wired into the machine and couldn't be changed. But with the introduction of Williams High Speed in 1986, things got more complicated.
The new machines would dynamically adjust the free play score based on an algorithm. It also introduced a method where if you had already scored a free game, it was impossible to win a random free game.
The post at Cheap Talk goes into much more detail, but ultimately, these algorithms, exploits, and the layouts of the tables themselves got so complicated that new players couldn't figure out how to master them. And, as we all know, pinball faded into the night. If you're at all a fan of pinball, it's an interesting read. Head over to check it out. [Cheap Talk via Retro Thing]
Image via ktpupp
Volcano eruption on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.
Much of our planet’s mineral wealth was deposited billions of years ago when Earth’s chemical cycles were different from today’s. Using geochemical clues from rocks nearly 3 billion years old, a group of scientists including Andrey Bekker and Doug Rumble from the Carnegie Institution have made the surprising discovery that the creation of economically important nickel ore deposits was linked to sulfur in the ancient oxygen-poor atmosphere.
These ancient ores — specifically iron-nickel sulfide deposits — yield 10% of the world’s annual nickel production. They formed for the most part between two and three billion years ago when hot magmas erupted on the ocean floor. Yet scientists have puzzled over the origin of the rich deposits. The ore minerals require sulfur to form, but neither seawater nor the magmas hosting the ores were thought to be rich enough in sulfur for this to happen.
“These nickel deposits have sulfur in them arising from an atmospheric cycle in ancient times. The isotopic signal is of an anoxic atmosphere,” says Rumble of Carnegie’s Geophysical Laboratory, a co-author of the paper appearing in the November 20 issue of Science.
Rumble, with lead author Andrey Bekker (formerly Carnegie Fellow and now at the University of Manitoba), and four other colleagues used advanced geochemical techniques to analyze rock samples from major ore deposits in Australia and Canada. They found that to help produce the ancient deposits, sulfur atoms made a complicated journey from volcanic eruptions, to the atmosphere, to seawater, to hot springs on the ocean floor, and finally to molten, ore-producing magmas.
The key evidence came from a form of sulfur known as sulfur-33, an isotope in which atoms contain one more neutron than “normal” sulfur (sulfur-32). Both isotopes act the same in most chemical reactions, but reactions in the atmosphere in which sulfur dioxide gas molecules are split by ultraviolet light (UV) rays cause the isotopes to be sorted or “fractionated” into different reaction products, creating isotopic anomalies.
“If there is too much oxygen in the atmosphere then not enough UV gets through and these reactions can’t happen,” says Rumble. “So if you find these sulfur isotope anomalies in rocks of a certain age, you have information about the oxygen level in the atmosphere.”
By linking the rich nickel ores with the ancient atmosphere, the anomalies in the rock samples also answer the long-standing question regarding the source of the sulfur in the ore minerals. Knowing this will help geologists track down new ore deposits, says Rumble, because the presence of sulfur and other chemical factors determine whether or not a deposit will form.
“Ore deposits are a tiny fraction of a percent of the Earth’s surface, yet economically they are incredibly important. Modern society cannot exist without specialized metals and alloys,” he says. “But it’s all a matter of local geological circumstance whether you have a bonanza — or a bust.”
more via science news
Women and beauty products – it’s a love affair that’s been going on for centuries. And no wonder. There’s nothing like a new lipstick or favourite perfume to make us look and feel good. Or so we thought…
In fact, according to a new report, most of our favourite cosmetics are cocktails of industrially produced and potentially dangerous chemicals that could damage our health and, in some cases, rather than delivering on their potent ‘anti-ageing’ promise, are causing us to age faster.
Research by Bionsen, a natural deodorant company, found that the average woman’s daily grooming and make-up routine means she ‘hosts’ a staggering 515 different synthetic chemicals on her body every single day.
Many of those are also used in products such as household cleaners, and have been linked to a number of health problems from allergies and skin sensitivity to more serious hormonal disturbances, fertility problems and even cancer.
Parabens, for example, which are designed to preserve the shelf-life of your cosmetics, are one of the most widely used preservatives in the world, and are found in shampoos, hair gels, shaving gels and body lotions. But their use is becoming increasingly controversial – a range of different studies has linked them to serious health problems including breast cancer, as well as fertility issues in men.
Research from the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine suggests that some parabens we had previously presumed to be safe, such as Methylparaben, may mutate and become toxic when exposed to sunlight, causing premature skin ageing and an increased risk of skin cancer.
Methylparabens are found in more than 16,000 products, including moisturisers and toothpastes. Cosmetic producers have always defended their use of parabens on the grounds that they can’t be absorbed into the body.
But many leading researchers disagree, including Dr Barbara Olioso, an independent professional chemist, who says: ‘Research shows that between 20 and 60 per cent of parabens may be absorbed into the body.’
There are a number of laws designed to protect us from dangerous chemicals in cosmetics, but researchers worry that they don’t go far enough. For example, cosmetic manufacturers are required to list their ingredients, but they don’t have to tell us about any impurities found in the raw materials or used in the manufacturing process, so long as they don’t end up in the finished product.
The industry insists that our cosmetics are safe. The Cosmetic Toiletries and Perfumery Association said last night: ‘Stringent laws require all cosmetics to be safe, and each product undergoes a rigorous safety assessment. The number of ingredients in a product, or whether it is natural or man-made, has no bearing on how safe it is.’
They also say that any chemicals are present in safe doses that can’t harm us. While that may be true, there is some disagreement over what constitutes a ’safe’ level – for young people and children, or sensitive adults, these levels may not be so safe at all.
And even if the relatively small amounts in individual products don’t hurt us, there is growing concern over the number of products women use daily, and the cumulative effect of so many chemicals being used all over our bodies every day, for many years.
As Charlotte Smith, spokesperson for Bionsen, says: ‘Women have never been more image-conscious and their beauty regimes have changed over the years, from a simple “wash & go” attitude, to daily fake-tan applications, regular manicures, false lashes and hair extensions.
‘Lots of the high-tech, new generation cosmetics and beauty “wonder” treatments naturally contain more chemicals to achieve even better results, which, of course, means women apply more chemicals than ever before.’
If you want to protect yourself from chemical overload, reduce your overall cosmetics usage; switch to natural or organic products, and read the labels on your beauty and grooming products with care.
Via Daily Mail
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Originally, the title was claimed by EGM rumor mill "Quartermann" to be in development in the shuttered magazine's July 2008 issue. 1UP claims the title to be confirmed by the 90-second teaser trailer that we've dropped after the break. We'd suggest checking it out simply for the fact that it contains more footage than the teaser from yesterday, but the fact that Björk is involved makes us all the more inclined to recommend a viewing. For those of you thirsting for more, your next chance to see the game will be at 2009's world exclusive-filled VGAs. We've contacted 2K Games for comment and will update this post if we hear more.
At Milipol, I was walking around FN Herstal's booth, playing with futuristic-looking P90s, Five-Sevens and F2000s when I noticed a camera-toting tourist pretend-blasting with something very very cool: The Armatronics "Black Box" suite with Moving Red Dot Fire Control.
They'd taken a SCAR assault rifle, and put a "black box" inside the handgrip, networking it with the soldier ("with a kind of Bluetooth" according to the PR guy), and also to home base. The grip is a sealed, 10-year unit that logs the number of bullets fired and remaining ammo a la Aliens. They're also working on pairing to specific soldiers, perhaps using biometrics. Deactivating it if the Taliban get it, for instance? "In the near future," said PR man enigmatically.
The second part of the suite is the Moving Red Dot Fire Control Unit, which is a networked firing solution computer for the grenade launcher. You press a button next to the trigger to activate the laser rangefinder, then the computer calculates the solution, shows it to you in the LED display, then moves the red dot to aim it. That's right—laser-guided grenades. You are your own air support. [FN Herstal]
Apoorva Prasad is a freelance writer and photographer based in Paris, France, who covered the Milipol 2009 military-police expo for us. He has a thing for holo-scoped assault rifles, and sounds disappointed when admitting he's never been Tased.
Personally, I’m over steampunk, but it is hard to deny the merits of this Wallace and Gromit-branded coffee cup. If you are lucky enough to have someone willing to make coffee for you, just turn the dials to indicate exactly how you would like your drink prepared.
Product Page (£8 or $13)
If you’re looking for a big mean machine that’ll make computing a pleasurable experience, then head no further than the Dell Studio 17 Touch. Almost a desktop-size laptop, this flaunts a 17.3-inch 1,600 x 900 display let loose with multitouch capability. For sheer processing power the 7.08lbs notebook stocks Core i7 processors (also available in lesser variants i.e. 2.1GHz Pentium dual-core T4300 and up), while the storage is managed by up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM and 1TB of 7,200rpm HDD.
The system runs Windows 7 as the OS, quite obvious, while recently previewed Google Chrome OS is still making attitude adjustments with manufacturers to get it up in the hardware by next year. Using GMA 4500MHD graphics, Wi-Fi, several USB ports, a USB/eSATA combo, HDMI and DisplayPort, along with VGA and FireWire, the Dell Studio 17 Touch starts for $899 with a 6-cell battery.
We don’t get a chance to lay our hands on wooden gadgets or accessories every day. If you are looking for an artistic accessory for your wooden PC or Laptop, then Russian gadget maker AlestRukov has popped up a series of artistic mice to compliment your one-in-the-million gadget.
Made in sustainable wood, each mouse is handcrafted and polished with linseed oil and carnuba wax, giving them a glossy look. Featuring latest technology, including microswitches and 1600 dpi optical resolution, the mice comes integrated with a stiff yet bendable cable for an interrupted net browsing.
The Alien USB Flash Drive is a creepy device that sits well on your desk. It was designed to look like an Alien from Alien, Aliens and other Alien movies.
The Alien Flash Drive connect to a USB port on your laptop or desktop computer and once connected it’s inner mouth pops out and the inside of the big mouth lights up by a red LED in a freaky way.
The USB Alien Flash Drive will cost around $44 when launched, but as of yet the product page doesn’t mention storage capacity. Shipping will start mid December just in time for Christmas.
Cisco has launched a free application for the iPhone and iPod Touch, that is designed to provide you with customized alerts of new security threats and more information on safe web browsing.
The Application is powered by Security Intelligence Operations, and it is designed to inform, protects, and enables you to respond to alerts and real-time threats to your network and users.
Customized threat alerts, new security signatures, mitigation bulletins, all the up to the second info you need delivered right to your iPhone in real time.
The App is called Cisco SIO To Go, and it is available now as a free download from iTunes