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North Magnetic Pole Moving East Due to Core Flux

Recent studies have discovered that the North Pole, currently near Ellesmere Island, is picking up speed in it's race to emigrate to Russia. In 1904 it was determined that the pole was moving in that direction at 15 kilometres per year, but picked up speed some time before 1989 when it was determined that it was now moving at 60 kilometres per year. The most recent study puts it's speed at closer to 64 kilometres per year. It is believed that the magnetic field is a result of the Earth having an iron core surrounded by a rapidly-moving molten metal layer.
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Plan to pierce heart of urban monster volcano - environment - 09 November 2009 - New Scientist

There is some debate as to whether it is a good idea to sink drill-holes into the dormant "supercolossal" volcano that lies under most of Naples. The volcano, known as Campi Flegrei, has been rising by several meters in various parts of the caldera, behaviour that preceded an intense period of eruptions 4,000 years ago. If, in the worst case, it erupted as it did 39,000 years ago, large portions of Europe would be buried under ash. The project intends to determine where magma is most likely to emerge so that the area can be evacuated prior to an eruption; however, similar projects, such as one in Iceland, had to be shut down when magma began streaming up the borehole. Project coordinators argue that known magma reservoirs are more than 8 kilometres below the surface and the maximum attainable depth of a borehole is only 4 kilometres.
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Giant impact near India -- not Mexico -- may have doomed dinosaurs

A recent examination of the Shiva basin off the coast of India reveals that it may be a 65-million year-old impact crater, the result of a bolide as much as 40 kilometers in diameter. The impact would have vapourized the 30-mile thick crust, revealing the magma beneath. The team theorizes that this impact, not the one in the Yucatan Peninsula off the coast of Mexico, may have been the dinosaur killer.
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Fledgling mantle plume may be cause of African volcano's unique lava

Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo may be, according to scientists, a new mantle plume. Mantle plumes emerge from the earth's core and, in the past, have resulted in the Hawaiian islands and Yellowstone National Park's geysers. In this case, the plume has caused the region to dome upwards by almost one mile above sea level and 500 miles in diameter as the lava pools.

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Scientists eye unusual swarm of Yellowstone quakes

Scientists have detected more than 250 tremors over the past three days, the largest registering a magnitude of 3.8, from Yellowstone National Park, the sight site of a super-volcano that last erupted 70,000 years ago.

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Scientists concerned with the rapid loss of Greenland's ice cap believe that, in addition to global warming, there may be a thin spot in the Earth's crust under the northeast corner of Greenland. As a result, the ice under the glaciers is melting, providing sufficient lubricant for the glacier to slide into the ocean more rapidly.
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From Physics Org
Report: Hot Rocks Keep N. America Afloat - If it weren't for the hot rocks down below Earth's crust, most of North America would be below sea level, report researchers who say the significance of Earth's internal heat has been overlooked.
Greenhouse gas burial - Deep coal seams that are not commercially viable for coal production could be used for permanent underground storage of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) generated by human activities, thus avoiding atmospheric release, according to two studies published in Inderscience's International Journal of Environment and Pollution. An added benefit of storing CO2 in this way is that additional useful methane will be displaced from the coal beds.
Nanoparticles hitchhike on red blood cells: a potential new method for drug delivery - Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have discovered that attaching polymeric nanoparticles to the surface of red blood cells dramatically increases the in vivo lifetime of the nanoparticles. The research, published in the July 07 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine, could offer applications for the delivery of drugs and circulating bioreactors.
Transparent transistors to bring future displays, 'e-paper' - Researchers have used nanotechnology to create transparent transistors and circuits, a step that promises a broad range of applications, from e-paper and flexible color screens for consumer electronics to "smart cards" and "heads-up" displays in auto windshields.

From Technology Review Feed - Biotech Top Stories
Healing Blood Vessels - A biotech startup is testing a gel that could make cardiovascular procedures safer.

From SPACE.com
Crater Could Solve 1908 Tunguska Meteor Mystery - Researchers point out possible 1908 Tunguska event crater, in a lake.

From news@nature.com

Push to legalize Afghanistan's opium trade - Afghanistan produces more than 90% of the world's illegal opium. Current control methods involve literally ripping up poppy fields, mainly under the oversight of the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. But the Senlis Council, an international policy think-tank with a base in London, has another suggestion: allow the farmers to grow their poppies and process them locally to make morphine tablets under a controlled licensing scheme.

From National Geographic News
Mammoths to Return? DNA Advances Spur Resurrection Debate - Experts are close to piecing together the entire genomes of long-dead beasts. But bringing them back to life may—or may not—happen soon, depending on whom you ask.
Alcohol, Feces, Carcasses Fuel "Green" Vehicles in Sweden - Drinking and driving don't usually mix—unless the alcohol is turned into a new organic fuel that's gaining steam in Sweden
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From ABC News - Technology
Video Game Addiction: A New Diagnosis? - Is Video Game Addiction a Psychiatric Disorder? AMA Report Seeks to Declare It One
Fringe Science Yields 'Gay Bombs' and Psychic Teleportation - Pentagon Spends $78 Billion a Year on Weapons and Space Research, Some of it Whacky
When Grown-Up Kids Flock Back to the Nest - Many Adult Children Are Living With Their Parents Post-Graduation
Mary Poppins Makes Way for the Manny - Author Cheers the Rise of the Male Nanny
Second Adulthood: Experts Say If It's Not Scary, You're Not Growing - Do You Have a Dream That's Just Not Going Away as You Get Older? Take a Second Shot at Growing Up in a New Career or at College.
Cracking the Teen Texting Code - Text Messaging That Parents Will Never Understand Can Drive Cell Phone Bills Through the Roof
New iTunes Copy Protection Draws Fire - User Data Attached to Apple Inc.'s iTunes Songs Raise Concerns

From news@nature.com Earth and Environment channel
Disappearing lake confuses geologists - A glacial lake in the Andes has disappeared mysteriously, prompting local geologists to head to Bernardo O'Higgins National Park in Patagonia, Chile, to find out what happened.

From Physics Org
Without hot rock, much of North America would be underwater - A University of Utah study shows how various regions of North America are kept afloat by heat within Earth’s rocky crust, and how much of the continent would sink beneath sea level if not for heat that makes rock buoyant. Of coastal cities, New York City would sit 1,427 feet under the Atlantic, Boston would be 1,823 feet deep, Miami would reside 2,410 feet undersea, New Orleans would be 2,416 underwater and Los Angeles would rest 3,756 feet beneath the Pacific.

From news@nature.com Biotechnology channel
The patent threat to designer biology - (Commentary) It is arguably a distortion of the idea of 'invention' to patent genes that exist in nature, even if the patenter has worked out how to use it for a particular application. But if you can start to make new 'devices' by arranging these genes in new ways, doesn't that qualify? And if so, how small and rudimentary a 'part' becomes patentable? Scientists gathered in Greenland last week at a meeting called "The merging of bio and nano — towards cyborg cells" were well placed to address such questions. At that conference, supported by the Kavli Foundation in Oxnard, California, Drew Endy of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge admitted that the intellectual-property framework for synthetic biology remains unresolved.
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Source: Security
How do you identify a potential saboteur? According to a recent study, those most likely to fall into this category, from an IT perspective are "...disgruntled, paranoid, generally show up late, argue with colleagues, and generally perform poorly." Carnegie Mellon, in response, has developed a technique for assessing the threat level of your IT people.

Source: Michael Geist.
This Toronto columnist dismantles the recent claims by the MPAA that Canada is a seething cesspool of movie pirates (Arrr! Avast, ye scurvy Hollywood swabs!). The 50% figure the MPAA quoted for camcorder piracy doesn't mesh with figures they reported to the US government, that of 23%. Specifically, of the 1400 movies released prior to August 2006, only 179 were pirated, and it is estimated that about 75% of those came from movie insiders (based on a 2003 study), not theatrical showings. This reduces Canadian Piracy figure from 50% to 3%. Ah, well, that's Hollywood for you, were everything they create is an illusion. Moreover, movie companies make as much as 85% of their revenues now on DVDs and merchandising, so the small hit immediately around the release date is only a drop in the bucket of their revenues. Consider that as soon as the DVDs hit the market the camcorder copies become worthless, being of far lower quality. All said, the expected loss in, say last year's $45 billion revenues due to Canadian Piracy is small enough to have no perceptible affect on that figure.

Source: PhysOrg
A University of Washington professor has discovered what may be a massive body of water, about the size of the Arctic ocean, under East Asia. The subterranean ocean can be seen on these images as a large red spot. It's existence had been theoretically predicted, but now they have proof of its existence.

Source: TechWorld
D-Wave, a company based in British Columbia, will be demonstrating the worlds first commercially-available quantum computer, just in time for Valentine's day. The 16-qubit machine being demonstrated is referred to as an adiabatic quantum processor because it can handle thermal noise that has, in the past, been a serous limitation to getting quantum computers out of the lab. There is some skepticism that the system will work, including from one of the researchers who developed the adiabatic model on which the computer is based. Well, the proof will be in the pudding, as they say (whoever "they" are).

Source: Salon
An entertaining interview with Scott Rosenberg, author of "Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software" which attempts to demonstrate, to the uninitiated, just how difficult it is to develop good software.

January 2010

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