Mar. 27th, 2009

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Egypt tries to hang up on killer SMS rumours - Yahoo! News UK

The Egyptian government is attempting to squash a rumour that people are being killed my an SMS message with a particular number sequence. Local press reported that a man died vomiting blood after receiving an SMS message starting with a + symbol and ending with the digits 111. The official health agency denies that such a case was ever reported to them.
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BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts & Culture | Caravaggio was early 'photographer'

An italian researcher suggests that the 16th century artist Caravaggio may have used light-sensitive materials to detect light reflect from a hole in his ceiling, onto the subject, and then onto the canvas. The afterimage would have lasted for 30 minutes, during which time he could paint the image over the projection. The researcher noted that most of his early subjects were left-handed, an anomaly that could be explained if the painter were working with a mirror image. The researcher stressed that this does not detract from the artist's ability; rather it adds to his ability to master a technique far ahead of his time.
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Dad's Age May Lower Junior's IQ - ABC News

A study of the intelligence of 33,000 children at 8 months, 4 years, and 7 years between 1959 and 1965 seems to indicate the optimum is an older mother with a younger father. In fact, older fathers correlated well with lower intelligence scores. Other researchers, however, are sceptical of results, stating that the type of parental care given by men at that time might have had as much or more of an effect than age.
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Technology Review: Blogs: arXiv blog: How to narrow the search for ET

An Israeli researcher has a suggestion for how to reduce the number of stars to investigate in the search for extra-terrestrial life: look at stars that could detect us. Specifically, he suggests that select stars that could detect the planets of our sun using means that we already use, such as brightness changes as the planets of the solar system pass in front of the sun. This means that only stars along a narrow angle of the ecliptic would be considered, and if Earth-like worlds were discovered there then there would be a good chance they might have detected us.

January 2010

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