Danny Rathjens writes "jalopnik.com reports, "You know the little Power Wheels-style ATV [4-wheeled slow-moving truck] your kid uses to drive across the lawn? It turns out that it makes a great machine gun drone in the hands of Libyan rebel, and structural engineer, Mohammad Bin Saud. Bin Saud is one of a growing legion of rebel Libyans turning anything and everything — including the aforementioned Power Wheels — into weapons." Most of the content is a video clip from Al-Jazeera." Link to Original Source top
Danny Rathjens writes "The Economist cutely writes, "Ye cannae change the laws of physics Or can you?" There was already evidence that the fine structure constant — a measure of the strength of electromagnetic interaction — became slightly smaller going back billions of years based on observations of light from quasars. Staggering newer observations provided evidence that the value going back in time actually became larger! The crucial difference being that the new observations were take from a telescope in the other hemisphere and so pointing to a different part of the universe. That indicates that the fine structure constant not only changed over time but it also varies based on position in space! physicsworld.com points out some fascinating implications of this observation. The pre-print of the article submitted to PRL is available at arxiv.org." Link to Original Source top
Danny Rathjens writes "In the continuing trend of big companies buying out small companies with open source products, Cisco has announced that they are buyingJabber. The press release doesn't mention the open source aspect of jabber at all and jabber.org is currently down. So I'm sure the question many of us have is whether jabber's open source status will be changed in any way due to the purchase." Link to Original Source top
Danny Rathjens writes "Space.com reports that, "Scientists have found the spectral imprints of water vapor in starlight filtered through the atmosphere of a giant gas planet outside our solar system." So it's not on a solid planet, but still a pretty cool discovery. The original report is published in Nature." top
Danny Rathjens writes "Science Daily reports that, "Like any new kid on the block that tries to fit in, newborn brain cells need to find their place within the existing network of neurons. The newcomers jump right into the fray and preferentially reach out to mature brain cells that are already well connected within the established circuitry, report scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in the online edition of Nature Neuroscience." Most interesting was that, "Providing the mice with a stimulating, enriched environment — large cages filled with running wheels, colored tunnels and playmates — boost the number of neurons that manage to hook up with the existing network to 80 percent [from 50%], reinforcing the observation that using one's brain cells is the best way to optimize brain function throughout one's lifetime." Plus it is just really cool that they can observe these types of things like new neurons extending protrusions to find active neurons and take over at the nanometer scale." top
Danny Rathjens writes "physorg reports that "Researchers in Boston used technology to measure empathy between psychotherapists and their patients.... In a study published in the February issue of the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Merci and his colleagues described using a combination of skin sensors and videotapes viewed by neutral observers to measure empathy. They said their results suggest a nervous network for empathy and emotional response that is "implicated in the ability to take another's emotional perspective.""