Adobe lifts the licensing fees and opens its powerful program to all developers
Adobe has announced that it will be lifting licensing fees for Flash to developers working on mobile applications as part of its new Open Screen Project. The goal is to bring more rich content to phones across a standardized platform. Flash is already ubiquitous in Web browsers, so the available content on the net is mature and widespread. Currently, phones use a disparate variety of software to power video and games; rarely has the feedback been overwhelmingly positive about a mobile experience with either kind of media.
Eat lunch at the desk? Your computer may be harboring more germs than a toilet
We've all heard of the five-second rule when having dropped food on the floor—if you pick it up before five seconds have passed, it's safe to eat. In recent years, scientists have put that folk wisdom to the test and the results fell somewhere in the middle. If bacteria are present on the floor, researchers found that five seconds is plenty of time for it to attach to your food. However, most floors harbor very little bacteria, so unless you're unlucky enough to drop your toast on a tiny patch of e. coli, you'll probably be fine to eat it. If you were to drop that bread on your keyboard, though, that's another story. You'd maybe want to back away slowly and reach for the nearest tongs.
RFID could make missing baggage a thing of the past
Radio-frequency Identification chips, or RFID, are miniature transponders which emit an identification signal using radiowaves. They can be attached to most anything and are steadily making their way into nearly every corner of our lives, whether for good—the chip in your cat which broadcasts his address if he gets lost—or for the not so good—the RFID chips in our newest passports, which are terribly insecure and emit a plethora of personal data. Most commonly, though, RFID is being used to track our stuff, like the inventory in a grocery store.
Leave your monitor on standby without the eco-guilt
There is an element of "why did it take so long?" in reports surfacing of the zero-watt monitor from Fujitsu Siemens. It's a flat panel LCD which contains a relay switch that automatically interrupts the power supply when the video signal from an attached PC subsides. Instead of going into standby when idle and consuming a low voltage, the monitor consumes none at all. When the video signal returns, the relay switches the other way and electricity is returned to power up the monitor.
The monstrous eyes of the colossal squid afford scientists a rare research opportunity
Researchers in New Zealand have had the rare opportunity to study the world's largest eyes, those from a remarkably well-preserved specimen of a colossal squid. (Lest you think this is hyperbole in reporting: no, in fact, the colossal squid is indeed a different and larger species than the giant squid.) The eyes are the size of soccer balls—the pupils alone measure three inches across—and could very well be the largest ocular organs to have ever existed in the animal kingdom.
Powdered pig bladder made Lee Spievak's sawed-off finger grow back. Is this the future of medicine?
What do starfish, salamanders, and the Hulk have in common? They all have the power of regeneration. Starfish can regenerate their legs; salamanders can do that and a few better by regrowing their tail, and parts of their heart and eyes. The Hulk, well, the Hulk can regenerate it all. We ordinary humans are not so lucky. If we lose something, it's gone for good, unless, that is, we happen to have a brother working in the field of regenerative medicine.
Scientists take a look at one of the most complicated puzzles concerning our existence and discover how long galaxies should keep expanding
Not much in science is more of a mind-bender than thinking about the size and fate of the known universe (except for quantum mechanics and string theory, which also has a lot to do with the size and fate of the universe, albeit on the opposite end of the size spectrum). When we first developed theories about the universe, the model which resulted depicted all of space as static and unchanging, infinite in depth in any direction. Then Einstein posited general relativity and suddenly a whole host of universes were theoretically possible: static, dynamic, infinite, and finite.
The "father of LSD" had a legacy which extended far beyond the psychotropic substance
Albert Hofmann, Swiss chemist and discoverer of LSD died yesterday at the age of 102. Hofmann, who succumbed to a heart attack while at his home in Switzerland, first synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide in 1938 while researching the alkaloid compounds of ergot, a fungus which grows on rye and wheat. It was deemed to be of no interest at the time and was set aside until Hofmann decided to reinvestigate the compound five years later. In mid April of 1943 while resynthesizing LSD, he accidentally ingested a small amount and was made aware of its effects.
The tomatoes of tomorrow could solve multiple problems if grown in salt water
Coastal gardeners may have a new ally in the salty soup of the ocean, according to Italian researchers. While investigating creative solutions to potential water shortages, scientists from the University of Pisa
ran an experiment to see if different varieties of cherry tomatoes could be grown with seawater. They grew plants watered with normal irrigation water alongside plants which received a dilution of 10-12 percent seawater. Seawater generally has a salinity of 3.5 percent, so the dilution would be at most a half of one percent salt.
The nation's capitol follows France's lead with a promising public bike program
While the news that Mayor Bloomberg's plan for NYC congestion pricing was defeated is something of a low point for urban cyclists, that coming out of Washington, D.C., is much more encouraging. Next month D.C. will become the first U.S. city to launch a public bike sharing venture like the wildly popular Vélib (short for vélo liberté) program in Paris. One hundred and twenty bicycles will be available at 10 central locations for an annual membership cost of $40.
Can the humble tuber relieve some of the pressure on the strained worldwide grain market? The UN thinks so.
Quite a lot has been written in search of the root causes of the recent global increase in food prices. While bio fuels have taken their fair share of criticism, they are proving not to be the only contributor. Widespread, long-term severe weather patterns—like the Australian drought responsible for rice shortages—are high on the list, as well as increased demand from India and China—a country experiencing tremendous demand for grain to fuel industrial cattle farming. Regardless of the causes, finding a solution is the next real challenge.
Humans' hard-wired competitive drive could be linked to stress-related health problems, a new study says
Like a flock of chickens hunting grubs and seeds, humans appear to be hardwired to follow a social pecking order. Researchers at the National Institute of Menal Health conducted an experiment in which subjects played a computer game for money. They were told they were competing simultaneously against others whom they couldn't see and were assigned a rank based on their playing skill.
Researchers confirm what has been long suspected: the fearsome predators are indeed closer to chickens than lizards
Confirming what had been a long-held hypothesis among paleontologists, scientists have now verified at the molecular level that the closest living relatives of Tyrannosaurus rex are indeed birds; most specifically ostriches and chickens. Skeletal evidence has strongly borne this theory out in recent years as data from fossils has accumulated, but this new study of bone proteins definitively shows that more of the T. rex genome is similar to birds' than to living reptiles'.
Scientists find evidence that, thanks to droughts, humanity was once on the brink of extinction
If we don't get our act together in time and we push this planet past its limits, to the point where things get disaster-movie bad, at the very least we can take solace in the fact that we've been there once before. According to new research out of Stanford University, the human species was on the brink of extinction 70,000 years ago due to an extended drought. It shrunk the human population to a number perhaps as low as 2,000.
A number of power plants in that most progressive of continents take a leap backwards and reintroduces coal
In a slow-motion shock to environmentalists worldwide, European countries are turning back to coal to fire new power plants. At a time when India and China are ramping up production in their outdated coal-burning facilities, the last place anyone expected to see a coal resurgence was in the generally progressive nations of Western Europe. Most turning again to coal are hamstrung by record oil and natural gas prices; Italy and Germany have the added stress of having banned new nuclear plants as an alternative.