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Monday, January 25, 2010

In the News: January 25, 2010

Alright, let's get things started off with a bang!

Gary Coleman in jail over outstanding warrant
Yes, that Gary Coleman.

"Former child actor Gary Coleman remained in a Utah jail Monday after being booked on an outstanding arrest warrant relating to a domestic violence case, authorities said."

"Police visited Coleman's Santaquin City, Utah, home Sunday in response to a civil disturbance call, but no criminal charges were filed, a police spokeswoman said.

A computer check, however, revealed a misdemeanor failure to appear in court warrant for the former "Diff'rent Strokes" star stemming from a domestic violence incident last year, the spokeswoman said.

Coleman, 41, was arrested and booked without incident Sunday in the county jail in Spanish Fork, the spokesman said."

I think this is the best part:
"Coleman's mug shot released by the jail showed that he was "not too happy," Harris said."

He also said "if he ever get's out of here, you'll be sorry..."
(via CNN)

Moscow's Stray Dogs Evolving Greater Intelligence, Including a Mastery of the Subway
Am I the only one that thinks this is a bit scary?

"For every 300 Muscovites, there's a stray dog wandering the streets of Russia's capital. And according to Andrei Poyarkov, a researcher at the A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, the fierce pressure of urban living has driven the dogs to evolve wolf-like traits, increased intelligence, and even the ability to navigate the subway."

"Over that time, he observed the stray dog population lose the spotted coats, wagging tails, and friendliness that separate dogs from wolves, while at the same time evolving social structures and behaviors optimized to four ecological niches occupied by what Poyarkov calls guard dogs, scavengers, wild dogs, and beggars."

"The guard dogs follow around, and receive food from, the security personnel at Moscow's many fenced in sites. They think the guards are their masters, and serve as semi-feral assistants. The scavengers roam the city eating garbage. The wild dogs are the most wolf-like, hunting mice, rats, and cats under the cover of night.

But beggar dogs have evolved the most specialized behavior. Relying on scraps of food from commuters, the beggar dogs can not only recognize which humans are most likely to give them something to eat, but have evolved to ride the subway. Using scents, and the ability to recognize the train conductor's names for different stops, they incorporate many stations into their territories."
(via PopSci)

Experts: Sitting too much could be deadly
Time to find a new job...

A generic picture of a woman working in an office sitting 
at her desk typing on a computer. (Article's caption, not mine)

"Here's a new warning from health experts: Sitting is deadly. Scientists are increasingly warning that sitting for prolonged periods — even if you also exercise regularly — could be bad for your health. And it doesn't matter where the sitting takes place — at the office, at school, in the car or before a computer or TV — just the overall number of hours it occurs.

Research is preliminary, but several studies suggest people who spend most of their days sitting are more likely to be fat, have a heart attack or even die."

""After four hours of sitting, the body starts to send harmful signals," Ekblom-Bak said. She explained that genes regulating the amount of glucose and fat in the body start to shut down.

Even for people who exercise, spending long stretches of time sitting at a desk is still harmful."

""We don't have enough evidence yet to say how much sitting is bad," said Peter Katzmarzyk of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, who led the Canadian study. "But it seems the more you can get up and interrupt this sedentary behavior, the better.""
(link thanks to Dave H.)

Still craving more uplifting news?
------------Follow the break!------------

'Magic Wand' Bomb Detector Still Used In Baghdad

I'm not entirely sure how a retractable antenna detects bombs... but what do I know.

"A bomb detection device newly banned from export in Britain and labeled useless by U.S. forces was still being used at checkpoints in Baghdad on Jan. 24, to a mixture of confidence and disbelief.

"We know it doesn't work and that it has been banned, but we are continuing to use it," an Iraqi army lieutenant, shaking his head amid busy traffic, told an AFP correspondent in the capital."

"The device, known as "the magic wand," uses a series of interchangeable credit card size paper cards said to be able to detect explosives such as C4 and TNT, as well as weapons.

It is manufactured by British-based company ATSC, was reputedly sold for between $16,500 and $60,000 a unit, and has become ubiquitous in Iraq, having been bought in large numbers by local security forces.

However, British police last week arrested ATSC director Jim McCormick, 53, on suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation. He was bailed out pending further investigation."

So... they're about as useful as these:
OK, so this isn't really related to the article at all, but
who remembers these Ghostbusters toys?! Best toys ever...

Anyway, the scary part is that even some Iraqi policemen still believe it works...

"An Iraqi policeman, however, defended its use.
"It works very well," said Rayad Mehdi, who works at a busy checkpoint in Salhiyah, a central Baghdad district..."

"Mehdi, who has been using the ADE651 for more than a year, remained adamant. "It works when I search the cars. It detects everything, even hydraulic oil and CDs.""
(via Defense News)

$2m file-sharing fine slashed to $54,000 
How was $2m even a rational penalty for a mother of four?
Yes, I bet the RIAA wanted to make an example of her, but there was probably no way should would even be able to pay it off.
And the most recently attacked file sharing site, The Pirate Bay

"An American woman told to pay $2m (£1.23m) for sharing 24 songs over the internet has had her fine slashed.

Following an appeal, Jammie Thomas-Rasset has now been ordered to pay the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) $54,000 (£33,420).

The judge who reduced the fine said the original multi-million dollar claim by the industry body was "monstrous"."

"The RIAA first took legal action against Ms Thomas in 2007. She was accused of pirating almost 2,000 tracks but the record companies sought damages for only 24 of them."

"Found guilty, Ms Thomas was ordered to pay damages of $200,000.

Ms Thomas was re-tried in 2009 following mistakes made during the initial case. She was found guilty again and told to pay $1.92m."

"US law allows recording companies to ask for damages of between $750 and $30,000 for each song illegally downloaded. This can be raised by a jury to as much as $150,000 if it believes the piracy was wilful."

Moral of the story?: Don't get caught.
(via BBC)

Wind Turbines Leave Clouds and Energy Inefficiency in Their Wake
I had to throw this one in for all the other engineers out there.
Clouds form in the wake of the front row of wind turbines at the Horns Rev offshore wind farm near Denmark. 
Turbulent flow, no one likes your style.

"Clouds stream in the wake of wind turbines arrayed at the Horns Rev offshore wind farm in this stunning photo. But David MacKay, a physicist at the University of Cambridge in the UK, sees the image as illustrating the common problem of back-row wind turbines losing power relative to the front row.

Downstream wind turbines may lose 20 percent or even 30 percent of their power compared to their fellows in front, according to a study on wake effects at Horns Rev that MacKay highlights on his blog. The paper also emphasizes that different wind directions make it practically impossible to gauge an overall "steady state" for large wind farms, unless researchers can sample wind speeds and directions at multiple points throughout the array."
(via PopSci)

1 comment:

gotr0 said...

oh the stray dog topic. there are some youtube vids of the dogs riding the subway. i remember one that i saw the dog was sleeping and when the announcement came over the intercom, he got off. pretty clever