Storm Chasers

It’s been over two years since a catastrophic Tsunami pounded the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant spreading radioactive material in the area. The Japanese government did its best to contain the seepage, but new reports indicate that storage tanks at the plant are now leaking. RT’s Meghan Lopez has more on the alarming update.

What Global Warming? 2012 Data Confirms Earth In Cooling Trend

What Global Warming? 2012 Data Confirms Earth In Cooling Trend

(CNSNews.com) – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released its “State of the Climate in 2012” report, which states that “worldwide, 2012 was among the 10 warmest years on record.” But the report “fails to mention [2012] was one of the coolest of the decade, and thus confirms the cooling trend,” according to an analysis by climate blogger Pierre Gosselin. “To no… Read more →

TIME Explains: Why Bees Are Going Extinct

I’ve written this week’s cover story for the magazine, on the growing threat to honeybees. You can read it (with a subscription) over here. The short version: beginning nearly a decade ago, honeybees started dying off at unusually and mysteriously high rates—this past winter, nearly one-third of U.S. honeybee colonies died or disappeared. At first this appeared due to something called colony collapse disorder (CCD); hives would be abandoned without warning, with bees seemingly leaving honey and intact wax behind. The apocalyptic nature of CCD—some people really thought the disappearance of the bees indicated that the Rapture was nigh—grabbed the public’s attention. More recently, beekeepers have been seeing fewer cases of CCD proper, but honeybees keep dying and bees keep collapsing. That’s bad for our food system—bees add at least $15 billion in crop value through pollination in the U.S. alone, and if colony losses keep up, those pollination demands may not be met and valuable crops like almonds could wither.

More than the bottom line for grocery stores, though, the honeybee’s plight alarms us because a species that we have tended and depended on for thousands of years is dying—and we don’t really know why. Tom Theobald, a beekeeper and blogger who has raised the alarm about CCD, put that fear this way: “The bees are just the beginning.”

 

TIME Science & Space has the full article
(Photo: Wikipedia)

Tons of tainted water leaking into ocean from Fukushima

Tons of tainted water leaking into ocean from Fukushima

TOKYOA Japanese government official said Wednesday approximately 300 tons of contaminated water is leaking into the Pacific Ocean each day from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the Reuters news agency reports. The official also told reporters Tokyo believes the water has been leaking into the ocean for two years. The statement came after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged… Read more →

Contagion Map Livescience.jpg

During infectious disease outbreaks, personal freedom comes at a price: the welfare of the public as a whole, a new study finds.

In the research, scientists investigated whether, in the event of an outbreak, people should be allowed to move about freely or if authorities should enforce travel restrictions to halt the disease’s spread.

“What we were trying to understand better is how actions, in terms of routing humans, could affect the spread of disease,” said study researcher Ruben Juanes, a geoscientist at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. [The 5 Most Likely Real-Life Contagions]

The findings suggest that highly connected regions of dense commuter traffic carry the gravest consequences of allowing free movement.

The price of anarchy

The researchers borrowed a concept from game theory known as the “price of anarchy,” which they defined as “the loss of welfare due to selfish rerouting compared with the policy-driven coordination.”

Juanes and colleagues modeled the epidemic problem as two scenarios. In a free-movement scenario, people act selfishly to avoid infected areas, regardless of whether or not they themselves are infected, Juanes told LiveScience. In a policy-driven scenario, government agencies dictate that infected individuals move only within infected areas, while healthy individuals keep to unaffected areas, he said.

If the price of personal freedom is low — the spread of the disease is similar whether or not movement controls are imposed — it provides a clear answer regarding restrictions, Juanes said. “You come to the conclusion that it’s not worth doing,” he said, adding that these restrictions could be very costly and unpopular.

But if the price of such freedom is high, and movement restrictions could significantly slow the disease’s progression, government agencies might want to implement these policies, Juanes said.

The researchers looked at census data on the passage of commuters within and among U.S. counties. Scientists compared how the disease would spread in different counties under the two different scenarios.

Not all areas would benefit equally from such restrictions, the findings showed. Places that had high traffic both within and among counties saw the most benefit from restricting travel. For example, counties near a major interstate highway, such as I-80 from New York to San Francisco or I-95 from the Canadian border to Miami, had a higher cost of anarchy — meaning travel restrictions would be helpful.

By contrast, low traffic areas did not benefit much from travel restrictions, so their cost of anarchy was lower, the model showed.

Surprisingly, some densely trafficked areas still wouldn’t benefit much from travel restrictions. The policies only benefitted high-traffic regions that were near other high-traffic areas. “It was only when we established the longer-range correlation [with neighboring high-traffic areas] that we could make sense of it,” Juanes said.

 

Fox News has the full article

(Photo: The price of anarchy, two weeks after an epidemic starts from each county in the East Coast of the United States. The price of anarchy measures the difference in spread of a disease between selfish (uncoordinated) and policy-driven (coordinated). (C. Nicolaides/Juanes Research Group/MIT))

Say hello to the robots that will be competing in the December 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials at the Homestead-Miami Speedway! Which is your favorite?

The robots shown here are in various states of readiness. The teams have until December to complete their bots for the initial round of physical competition in the DARPA Robotics Challenge. The goal of the competition is to advance the technology required to create robots to assist humans in disaster response.

The six Track A robots will compete against seven teams using the Atlas robot, created by Boston Dynamics for DARPA, and against an unknown number of teams from Track D.

 

Close-up detail of man holding new iPhone 5 smart phone showing screen with many apps

A string of code from iOS 7 revealing ‘a fingerprint that changes colour during the setup process’ was posted online yesterday, sparking rumours that the new iPhone could contain a fingerprint sensor.

If the rumours are true, the latest iPhone will be the first Apple product to feature such a sensor, which could be used for unlocking the homescreen or confirming identity for payment from the App Store or other outlets. Any sensor would likely be embedded into the physical home button.

Earlier this year it was reported that a supply chain source in Taiwan said Apple had been forced to delay production of the next iPhone due to failure to find a coating material that did not interfere with the fingerprint sensor.

Fingerprint sensors have not been widely utilised across smartphones in the past. Motorola released the Atrix 4G in 2011 which featured a biometric fingerprint sensor it claimed offered a level of security surpassing password or PIN locks. Customers reported mixed levels of success with the scanner, with many saying the sensor failed to recognise their fingerprint. Other digital security systems include theSamsung Galaxy S3′s Face Unlock feature, and in the future it’s likely phones will unlock upon recognition of its owner’s voice.

 

The Telegraph has the full article

(Photo: Alamy)

Steam rising from reactor building in Fukushima

Steam rising from reactor building in Fukushima

TOKYO (Reuters) – Steam is rising from a destroyed building that houses a reactor at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co, said on Thursday. The utility, widely known as Tepco, said the levels of radioactivity around the plant had remained unchanged and it was still looking into what triggered the… Read more →

Radioactive cesium level skyrockets 90-fold at Fukushima in just 3 days

Radioactive cesium level skyrockets 90-fold at Fukushima in just 3 days

Levels of radioactive cesium in a well at the Fukushima nuclear power plant are 90 times higher than just three days ago, and may spread into the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, 10 applications to restart closed reactors under stricter rules have been received. Read RT’s article about a hero Fukushima ex-manager who died of cancer TEPCO, the company that operated the plant and… Read more →

A Hypnotic Visualization of Everything Gmail Knows About You and Your Friends

Immersion, a tool built by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers, helps Gmail users understand their own trail of Internet breadcrumbs. (MIT Media Lab)

When Google hands over e-mail records to the government, it includes basic envelope information, or metadata, that reveals the names and e-mail addresses of senders and recipients in your account. The feds can then mine that information for patterns that might be useful in a law-enforcement investigation.

What kind of relationships do they see in an average account? Thanks to the researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, now you can find out. They’ve developed a tool called Immersion that taps into your Gmail and displays the results as an interactive graphic. (That’s mine, above.)

SHARK300200.jpg

The chart depicts all of your contacts as nodes, and the gray lines between those nodes represent connections between people by e-mail. The larger the circle, the more prominent that person is in your digital life.

A word of warning for the privacy conscious: To use the service, you need to give MIT permission to analyze your e-mail metadata. Once you’ve done so, it’ll take a few minutes to compile everything. When you’re done, you’re given the option to delete your metadata from MIT’s servers.

What you see in my chart are five and a half years’ worth of e-mails. The yellow circles indicate family and close family friends. All of my college friends are in red, and my D.C. friends are in green. Blue nodes denote my colleagues at The Atlantic; pink, my coworkers at National Journal; and gray, people who generally don’t share connections with the other major networks in my life.

In all, MIT counted 606 “collaborators” in my inbox, totaling some 83,000 e-mails. But you can also break down that data by year, month, or even the past week. Pretty amazing stuff—and a good reminder not only how much information Google knows about you, but what that information can uncover about other people. If you can learn this much just from looking at one account, imagine what crunching hundreds or thousands of interconnected accounts must be like.

 

This is a copy of the full article provided by The National Journal

(Photos: MIT)