Super-Smart People Rule the Earth

How to track cyber-villains and plan a space colony

Rubber Ducks

Elf (GNU Free Documentation License)

An FBI agent who posed as a cybercriminal named for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character talks about how he helped bring down a worldwide network of identity thieves, got a rep as a most-wanted spammer without having to spam, and dealt with all the egos in the world of Internet thugs.

Also in today's links: swimming in chemicals, rescuing frogs and more.

  • A 16-year-old won NASA's Space Settlement Competition with a design for a colony made up of a series of spinning rings, which can be individually sealed off. His proposal encompassed everything from how colonists would be selected to what they'd eat (meat grown in tubes -- ew).
  • The fabulously named new book Slow Death by Rubber Duck (subtitle: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects our Health.) sounds like a Supersize Me with chemicals instead of fast food. The authors abstained from exposure to chemicals from off-the shelf products, then binged, and measured the results.
  • "Global warming" may go the way of the ice caps -- or at least that wording might. Politicians are searching for just the right turns of phrase to sell environmental policies to the public.
  • Scientists have gathered the first footage of an underwater volcano erupting, as well as the shrimp adapted to live by these volcanoes.
  • Another volcano -- this one on the Caribbean island of Montserrat -- wiped out part of the habitat for the mountain chicken frog. (Guess how the delicacy got its name.) Then along came a fungus to further afflict the endangered species, forcing scientists to airlift the frogs to safety.