top Clam That Was Killed Determining Its Age Was Over 100 Years Older Than Estimated
507 years is pretty old, but not quite as old as
: a ~5000 year old tree that was cut down in the 1960's so that it's rings could be counted. At the time of its demise, it was the world's oldest known living organism, and (as far as I know) no older organism is known to exist.
top Phantom Authors Publish Real Research Paper
The publication process in the biological sciences is very strange
... for some reason, people openly disclose their findings at conferences before submitting the relevant publications. Either you were first to publish or you weren't, and if you weren't, tough luck (not to discount the apparent fraud committed here).
It's must easier in computer science, since conference publications "count". Things can still get complicated (e.g., when one group submits to conference A while a similar paper was accepted - but not yet published - in conference B), but this is relatively rare, and most researchers would credit both groups with simultaneous discovery.
top Cisco Slashes 4,000 Jobs
For those keeping score
... stock down 10% after hours.
top Microsoft: Facebook Home Is a Copycat, Windows Phone Is the 'Real Thing'
Facebook tolerates you. It is thanks to them that you remain relevant. E.g., when Facebook Graph Search can't find a particular item, it currently defaults to Bing... but, that can easily change. Please, pretty please, just give them a reason to reconsider their allegiances, and I am sure they will happily discard you like the dead skin off a snake.
Never forget that the enemy of your enemy is your friend. Besides, if Facebook has taught us anything, it's that regardless of who had the idea first, it's execution ultimately that matters. If you have to tell people that you've won, you've lost.
about a year and a half ago
top New Largest Known Prime Number: 2^57,885,161-1
Yup, was totally wrong about this. Euclid's Proof of the Infinitude of Primes suggests doing something like this (multiplying all primes and then adding 1), but it doesn't work in generating new primes.
top New Largest Known Prime Number: 2^57,885,161-1
I thought the Slashdot summary goofed on this, but the scientists did as well.
It's the largest known Mersenne prime. For instance, 1000000! - 1 is also known to be prime, and it is much larger than this number.
top Interviews: Ask Blendtec Founder Tom Dickson What Won't Blend?
Can you blend the blades of the blender?
top New Microsoft App To Coordinate Disaster-Relief Efforts
As a few others have noted, there are a few sites out there (e.g., Google's
crisis response and Sahana) that seek to match people in need with responders.
If this were any other application, I would argue that competition is good, but I fear that the fragmentation of services for disaster relief ultimately puts more lives at risk. Why doesn't Microsoft through its support & resources behind a well-established, widely-adopted system for collective disaster management? To provide yet another service that is disconnected from all others seems to invite confusion and reduce the power of the network effect.
The only answer I can think of is that Microsoft (lacking the same philanthropic reputation as its competitor, Google) wants to take all the credit. How noble.
top Why Do So Many Liberals "Like" Mitt Romney On Facebook?
Some people "like" Romney only to get updates from his social media feed. Think of it as automated 'opposition research'. What Romney days one day, my neighbor repeats the next, so it gives me a leg up.
top NASA Morpheus Lander Test Ends In Explosion
Make sure to stay tuned at least through 2:00, there's a nice fireworks display.
top Microsoft Unveils Outlook.com, Hotmail's Successor
... to snag that perfect e-mail address. Back in the days of hotmail, users would register addresses like
email@example.com. Once gmail came around, they over-corrected and secured uber-professional addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org, which turn out to be pain to type into tiny phone keypads (or read aloud over the phone).
Two of my friends have already picked up email@example.com. Get 'em before they're gone!
top Pigeons May 'Hear' Magnetic Fields
I'm curious what the birds will do the next time Earth's magnetic poles
switch. Hopefully there's a "reset" button somewhere inside that tiny brain.
top Hybrid Human-Animal DNA Experiments Raise Concerns
From the last line of the article:
"it’s a human thing to have a memory.”
Memory is not the real issue ... the real issue is language. Yes, dolphins, whales, birds, etc. can communicate, but not with an infinitely rich grammar. Many anthropologists (and, not surprisingly, linguists) believe that language is key to understanding the uniqueness of the human mind. To me, that's what makes brain cell implantation freaky.
Surely one cell is not too controversial. Two... maybe a little. But once you start down this path, think about where it could go:
Day 137: Rats seem to react to their names.
Day 409: Rats react to basic commands ("Go left" or "Go right")
Day 687: Rats are able to respond to simple yes/no questions ("Are you hungry?")
Day 992: Rat named Stickers cheeps one word: "Stop."
I'm not passing any judgement on this research ... just sayin' that we're entering some uncharted waters.
top Queen Elizabeth Sets a Code-Breaking Challenge
Post the missing ')' and hopefully I'll be able to sleep tonight.
top China To Overtake US In Science In Two Years
the report points out that a growing volume of research publications does not necessarily mean in increase in quality
No kidding. China (and Asia South-Pacific in general) has a rampant plagiarism problem. E.g.,:
This practice has permeated many of the country's scientific journals, where it is commonplace to copy-and-paste large sections of others' work. International journals are typically able to shield this using "similarity detectors" and peer review, but the occasional hack-job still gets through occasionally.
top No P = NP Proof After All
The word you're looking for is
The term "infeasible" w.r.t. constraint satisfaction problems (like 3-SAT) does not refer to the difficultly of the problem, but rather its result. For instance, an easy SAT problem with no solution would be infeasible.
top Erdos' Combinatorial Geometry Problem Solved
After 65 years, Paul Erdos' combinatorial problem has been solved by Indiana University professor Nets Hawk Katz.
It was actually solved by Larry Guth and Nets Hawk Katz. Not sure how it is that authors magically disappear from press releases, especially principal authors...
top Watch Out Netflix, Amazon Streaming Video to Prime Users
... this doesn't apply to your free Prime membership.
top Scientists Invent World's First Anti-Laser
It just sounds like they turned the laser off.
top The True Cost of Publishing On the Amazon Kindle
... is that images and photos look terrible on a Kindle. Amazon doesn't want you, as the reader, to dwell on that fact.
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