sciencehabit writes "Don't feel inadequate. Even though your teeth are largely composed of a mineral softer than that found in sharks, new tests suggest that they're just as tough. In sharks, the material coating the teeth is largely composed of fluoroapatite, a fluoridated phosphate mineral that in its pure form is harder than the hydroxyapatite found in the enamel of human teeth. But by pressing tiny metallic pyramids into the surfaces of teeth from a shortfin mako shark and a tiger shark, researchers found that the enameloid coating on shark teeth is no harder than that of the enamel on a human wisdom tooth. The teeth are, in fact, of comparable hardness because their surfaces aren't pure mineral but instead are made of mineral crystals bound together with proteins so that the material doesn't shatter under a sudden impact."
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wiredmikey writes "A development following the recently posted story Senate Cybersecurity Bill Stalled By Ridiculous Amendments — The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 failed to advance in the US Senate on Thursday. The measure was blocked amid opposition from an unusual coalition of civil libertarians — who feared it could allow too much government snooping — and conservatives who said it would create a new bureaucracy. The bill needed 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to advance under rules in the chamber, but got only 52. The failure came despite pleas from Obama and top US defense officials. The US Chamber of Commerce argued that the bill 'could actually impede US cybersecurity by shifting businesses' resources away from implementing robust and effective security measures and toward meeting government mandates.'"
netbuzz writes "The Wikimedia Foundation today is releasing the results of a 'pilot study' it commissioned last year to assess the accuracy and quality of Wikipedia in such a way that it would provide a methodology blueprint for others do more thorough reviews of online encyclopedias. The results are in, and despite ready acknowledgment of the small sample size and paragraphs worth of other caveats, the parents of Wikipedia can't help but note that its baby was judged to have outperformed other online encyclopedias, including Encyclopedia Britannica, in three different languages. Britannica, which disputed the Wikipedia-friendly results of a much-cited Fortune comparison report back in 2005, has yet to offer a reply to this one."
Bryan Killett is a physicist working on the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. GRACE is a joint mission of NASA and the German Aerospace Center which collects satellite data to learn about Earth's changing gravity field, specifically the high frequency changes associated with ocean tides. As the high tide comes in, more water is present, so gravity in that location is temporarily strengthened. These changes are detected with GRACE and used to improve ocean tide models. Dr. Killett provides the open source (GPLv3) code used to process GRACE data on his home page. Bryan has agreed to take a break from measuring gravity fields and answer your questions about GRACE and the climate changes it has revealed. Feel free to ask as many as you like but please confine your questions to one per post.
Caught via the H is news that more components of webOS have been released: "The core applications provide a comprehensive set of platform user applications, including Email, Calendar, Contacts, Memos, Accounts, Clock and Calculator." Additionally, HP has opened up the development branch of system manager: "We are excited to open up the active development branch of our upleveled System Manager. This major upgrade incorporates the latest QtWebKit and Qt technologies in an improved architecture. Modern QtWebKit now underlies all applications, providing state-of-the-art support for HTML rendering and I/O. The latest stable release of Qt has been integrated across the system, eliminating alternate rendering paths and providing a clean base for the future. These changes bring enhanced stability and performance to Open webOS." As always, source can be had from the Open webOS github. A bit of bad news for existing device owners, however: "...we are aiming for support on future hardware platforms where SoC’s support Linux 3.3+ kernel and where open source replacements for proprietary components are integrated. Existing devices cannot be supported because of those many proprietary components, including graphics, networking and lack of drivers for a modern kernel." Existing device owners will have to live with the "webOS community edition."
alstor writes "Yesterday an update to Knight Capital Group's algorithmic trading software caused massive volume buys and sells, resulting in large price swings on the New York Stock Exchange. As a result, the NYSE canceled some of the trades, but today the loss to Knight has been calculated at $440 million. Ignoring adjustments for inflation, this makes the cost of this glitch almost as much as the $475 million charge Intel took for the Pentium FDIV Bug, which might warrant adding this bug to the list of worst bugs. In light of this loss and the May 6, 2010 Flash Crash, perhaps investors will demand changes from firms using algorithmic trading, since the SEC is apparently too antiquated to do anything about it (PDF)."
nonprofiteer writes "There's been talk in recent months of Facebook's 'promoted posts' option. In beta testing, it cost about $5-10 dollars to get more of your friends/fans to see your posts in news feeds. Now that it's live, it's a bit more expensive, at least for those with big followings. On the Forbes Facebook page, the cost ranges from $200 to $500 to get from 50,000 to 250,000 people to see a given post. Another lame attempt at monetization, or will Facebook users actually pony up?" This is what happens when everyone stops using RSS/Atom for syndication.
ananyo writes "South Korea's oldest nuclear reactor is set to restart after a four-month closure, despite strong opposition from local residents and activists. The Kori-1 reactor in Busan was shut down on 13 March, after it was revealed that the reactor and its emergency generator had temporarily lost power during routine maintenance the month before, causing the coolant temperature to rise. The power failure did not cause an accident, but a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna discovered that senior engineers from Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power, which runs the reactor, had neglected the safety problems for more than a month after the loss of power. In June, after a safety check, the IAEA gave the green light for Kori-1 to resume operation. Korea's Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC) approved the restart on 4 July, but activists and local residents remain strongly opposed to restarting the reactor. At first, the Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy, which oversees energy policy, had said that the restart would be delayed to alleviate anxiety. But the government changed its mind as a result of a nationwide heatwave that has put a strain on the country's electricity supply in recent days."
jfruh writes "On the day of the Facebook IPO, the NASDAQ's trading systems suffered multiple failures and couldn't confirm buy orders for several hours. Big banks buying shares for their funds and customers placed multiple orders as a result, and bought more Facebook stock than they intended to as a result. NASDAQ has agreed to set up a fund to compensate them for their losses, but apparently this isn't enough for Swiss bank UBS, which is threatening legal action."
ananyo writes "Physicists, chemists and mathematicians in the UK are campaigning against their chief public funder (EPSRC) over reforms that they say threaten blue-skies research, kicking off their protest by toting a coffin to the Prime Minister in Downing Street. The reforms are a response to declining budgets and political pressure to focus science on areas that will produce economic benefits for the UK. Last month, over 2000 Canadian scientists marched to Parliament Hill with a coffin to protest against the Harper government's cuts to basic research and scientific facilities, which they believe undermine the quality of scientific evidence in government. With budget cuts to science expected in the U.S., is it time for scientists in U.S. — and perhaps elsewhere — to think about getting their retaliation in first and ready their coffins?"
jrepin writes "KDE announces 4.9 releases of Workspaces, Applications, and Development Platform. Version 4.9 provides many new features, along with improved stability and performance. Some of the highlights include, but are not limited to: more thorough integration of Activities throughout the Workspaces, ability to display metadata (ratings, tags, image and file sizes...) next to file names in Dolphin file manager, Mercurial versioning system support in Dolphin, detachable tabs in Konsole terminal emulator, support for MPRIS2 protocol in various places, ability to store and print PDF annotations from Okular document viewer, Okular can also play videos embedded in PDFs, Lokalize translation tool supports Qt's TS translation files, Kontact PIM suite gains ability to import data from Thunderbird and Evolution, Pairs is a new memory training game added to KDE Education package, and Marble desktop globe includes Open Source Routing Machine and support for bicycle and pedestrian routing. This release is dedicated to the memory of recently deceased KDE contributor Claire Lotion."
DavidGilbert99 writes "NBC is the sole broadcaster of the London 2012 Olympics in the U.S., having paid $1.1bn for the privilege. While NBC is providing live streaming through its website, you need to have a valid cable subscription in order to view the events. This has seen many tech savvy U.S. viewers turning to proxy servers to view the BBC's Olympic coverage, which doesn't need any sign-in to view — once your IP address looks like it is coming from the UK. One provider of VPN services has seen a ten-fold increase in new customers signing up for their services since last Friday."
An anonymous reader writes "One day after word leaked out that Nokia is shutting down its Qt Australia office, which is responsible for Qt3D, QtDeclarative, QtLocation, QtMultimedia, QtSensors, and QtSystems, reports are beginning to surface that Nokia is trying to sell off all Qt assets." Seems like selling itself to Nokia wasn't the best option for Trolltech after all.
Hugh Pickens "For decades sports-event organizers have placed speakers behind athletes to convey the sound of an actual pistol but they found that even though the noise came through the speakers all at once, athletes continued to wait for the 'real' sound, ignoring the sounds that came through the speakers ever-so-slightly slowing down the farthest athlete from the gun. Now Rebecca Rosen writes that when the Olympic runners take to their positions on the track later this week, they'll crouch on the ground, ears pricked, and wait for the starting beep played by a 'pistol' that's not a pistol at all, but something more akin to an electronic instrument with only one key. The pistol itself is silent." Read on for a bit more about the difficulties of timing people with superhuman reaction times.
Trepidity writes "United States Navy Admiral and Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert stirred a controversy by questioning much of the thinking underlying current U.S. defense technology. He argues that stealth technology is unlikely to retain its usefulness much into the future, and so focus should switch towards standoff weapons. In addition, he criticizes the focus on expensive all-in-one platforms such as the F-35 fighter, arguing for a payload-centric, flexible approach he compares to trucks rather than luxury cars."