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globeandmail.com: Quebec signs historic power deal

Newfoundland and Labrador have signed a five-year deal with Québec in which NL leases Québec's lines for $20-million/year to transport approximately 130 kilowatts megawatts from Upper Churchill to a brokerage firm in the US. Previously, NL had to sell power to Québec who then resold the power to the US for a substantial profit.
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Rethinking European Borders as Alpine Ice Melts - ABC News

Italy and Switzerland are redrawing their borders because the glaciers that once acted as the demarcation line are melting away.

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Obama coming to Ottawa on Feb. 19

Guess who's coming to dinner? Seriously, Canadians, at least those in Ottawa, will get a chance to see the President of the United States, albeit from a distance.
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One of the United States' intelligence councils issued a report that over the next few decades the world dominance of the US will fade, although it will remain to be a force with which to be reckoned. China, India, and Russia were noted as countries that will continue to have more and more impact on the world stage.

Last Thursday, a group of Islamist militants has said "enough is enough" with regard to Somali pirates taking their supertanker. The are now en route to the port where the tanker is being held with plans to attack and retrieve the tanker. So far, the pirates say they'll fight back, but some sources report that they have lowered their ransom demand from $25 million(US) to $15 million(US) while others say the random is still $25 million(US). It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Etherpad is a new online wordprocessor that allows multiple people to edit the same document in real-time. Each person's changes show up in a different colour so you can see which person has made or is making changes. A sidebar contains a real-time chat window so the collaborating authors can discuss changes. TechCrunch provides a review of the program.

For those who enjoyed Iron Man, Jeff Bridges published an online photo diary taken while he worked on the movie, complete with commentary.

Scientists say they have identified a set of biomarkers that are highly predictive of physiological and chronological age, at least in nematodes. They hope to find similarly predictive biomarkers in humans that could then predict whether a person was aging more slowly or more rapidly than the norm.

NASA has discovered ice sheets almost 1/2 a mile thick far closer to the equator that previously thought. These may provide a ready source of water for future Mars missions.

Monty Python has gotten sick of people posting clips of their shows online without permission, but rather than fight it they decided to post the clips themselves, but added a link to where you can purchase the high quality versions of the originals. The link takes you to the Monty Python YouTube channel where you can get all of your Pythony-goodness.

DenOfGeek lists 75 84 comics that are in the process of being made (maybe) into movies.

Swiss researchers have developed the most water-resistant fabric ever made. In addition to being self-cleaning, it reduces the drag from moving through water by up to 20%, making it ideal for high-tech swim suits.

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Adrienne So has seen the future of renewable energy and it is women's breasts. Really. The slate article covers everything you didn't know about breast motion and about which you would never have though to ask.

For those waiting for Watchmen, follow the link to new trailer for the movie.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that the federal government is considering measures to avoid a deficit that include selling Crown assets. He reassured the CBC and the CN Tower are not up for sale.

A professor at the University of Michigan has made a series of 3D portraits of Obama. The twist? They're smaller than a grain of salt.

Mars rover Spirit proved that there was still life left in the little robot when it sent a message to NASA. It's low on power, but not quite ready to give up.

Canada plans to send two robotic subs to explore a mountain range under the Arctic Ocean to gather data for a sovereignty claim. The mountain range is believed to contain massive petroleum reserves of which Canada wants a piece.

A new study shows that the brains of bullies may be wired to feel pleasure when watching others suffer.

US researchers have developed a way to make (relatively) cheap diamonds with few impurities by heating "seed" diamonds in a high-temperature low-pressure hydrogen plasma. Moreover, the size of the diamonds produced is limited only by the size of the microwave chamber.

India has succeeded in placing a probe on the moon.

For your reading pleasure: Ninjalistics - corporate assassination solutions.

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A new theory says that when you feel sleepy, it because parts of your brain are already asleep. The new theory says sleep per se occurs when the number of groups of independent brain cells exceeds some threshold.

Beyonce has decided that she wants to do a superhero movie so has met with DC and Warner Brothers executives to pitch herself as the next Wonder Woman. Apparently she came up with this idea when she saw the costume originally warn by Lynda Carter. Maybe she'd have better luck if she had worn a chocolate Wonder Woman costume (like the one shown here).

In Ottawa, city council is back to considering Light Rail after originally canceling the project. The report recommends that they start by building a track from Blair Station to Tunney's Pasture as Phase 1 of the 3 phase plan. The total cost is expected to be more than $5 billion and be completed by 2031. Money will come out of things like the recent elimination of funding to various city festivals including the Tulip Festival and Bluesfest.

Swiss researchers believe they may have found a way to recreate the rich sound of the Stradivarius using mushrooms. The mushrooms are applied to the violin, not consumed by the listener.

According to NASA, the Phoenix mission as officially ended. Rest in Peace, Phoenix. The team hasn't heard from the craft since November 2nd. Meanwhile, India has succeeded in placing a spacecraft in orbit around the moon.

A recent poll of election day voters in the US determined that more than 20% of voters, and almost 40% of voters under 30, have only cell phones. This is of particular concern to pollsters who typically call only landlines.

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A recent study says that fibromyalgia my be all in the head, specifically a "... global dysfunction of cerebral pain-processing." according to the study's lead author.

The benefits of dark chocolate: reduced risk of heart disease (but no more than 1/2 a bar per week) and resveratrol, a compound associated with the health benefits of red wine. The latter study was conduct by the Hershey's Centre for Health and Nutrition, which is amusing given the current public health advisory against purchasing Hershey's chocolates from Canadian stores around Toronto.  Some products had been recalled in 2006 in response to positive tests of salmonella at the now-defunct Smiths Falls plant but were stolen from the recycling depot where they had been held for the past two years.

Yet more worries for pregnant women: a British study says that pregnant women who drink coffee, even no more than a cup each day, raise the risk of giving birth to an underweight baby.

Click here to see a picture of the Epsilon Eridani system where, last week, it was discovered that there were two asteroid belts and it's own version of the Kuiper belt, increasing the likelihood that planets also exist. The star, slightly smaller than ours and only 850 million years old so it is unlikely that intelligent life exists yet on any planet circling the star, given ours required almost 4 billion years to reach it's present state.

New Scientist reports that Australian researchers have found a possible genetic link to male-to-female transsexualism. Previously, Austrian researchers had discovered a potential genetic link to female-to-male transsexualism.

Yale researchers have put together the blueprints for an artificial cell, based on electrocyte cells found in electric eels, that could become a bio-battery for implants, allowing the devices to be powered by the host.

Also from back in September, British researchers have isolated nerve cells responsible for the feeling of pleasure associated with stroking. They also discovered that the optimal stroke is 5 cm/second with a pressure of 2 grams per square cm, and suggests it may be useful in helping to treat chronic pain.

Finally, though not a S&T article... Ontario is officially a have-not province so qualifies for transfer payments.

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Conservatives - 143
Liberals - 76
Bloc - 50
NDP - 37
Independant - 2
Green - 0

155 seats were required for a majority so we, once again, have a Conservative minority government.

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"Junk" DNA may hold key to evolution of thumb and big toe - linked to tool use and upright posture respectively. The Yale research team identified at set of genes that they dubbed HACNS1 that, when introduced into mouse embryo,  appeared to drive changes in the structure of the thumb and big toe. The researchers stress that the work is highly preliminary and they don't even know for sure if human-like structural changes would occur of the gene were to be spliced into mouse DNA.

Mentally taxing work linked to increase in food intake - despite the fact that the brain uses pretty much the same amount of energy whether working hard or at rest. The Quebec study compared the food intake, glucose and insulin levels, and cortisol levels among female students after one of three tasks: relaxing, mild mental exertion, and moderate mental exertion. They found that the caloric intake increased with the level of mental exertion, and that this was accompanied by increased glucose and insulin level instability, as well as higher cortisol levels that indicate an increase in stress levels.

Election kills Canadian DCMA bill - The announcement of an October 14th federal election is expected to kill the C-61 bill, known as the Canadian DCMA. It is expected that the bill will be resurrected in the event of a Conservative win.

First paper-based transistor - has been built by Portugese researchers who claim that it performs as well as transistors based on glass. The transistor was constructed by depositing, at room temperature, an inorganic semiconductor, the first used on a paper substrate, onto the surface. The porosity of paper presented a challenge to creating the transistor and still results in the current seepage when it is supposed to be "off". They plan to try using laminated paper to avoid the current leakage problem, and eventually hope to use the process to create cheap, disposable electronics.
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Fidel Castro has announced that he is giving up his presidency, leaving the door open for a new Cuban leader. His 76 year old brother Raul has been postulated as a successor, but that is not certain. Castro has been the leader of Cuba since 1959.

Found on Slashdot.
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suggested by [livejournal.com profile] ancalagon_tb
Neutrons not so neutral after all, study says - Among atomic particles, the neutron seems the most aptly named: Unlike the positively charged proton or the negatively charged electron, neutrons have a charge of zero. But new experiments conducted in three particle accelerators suggest the neutron is more like an onion when it comes to electromagnetism: with a negatively charged exterior and interior and a positively charged middle sandwiched between them.

Physics Org
Scientists model a cornucopia of Earth-sized planets - Sara Seager, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.; Marc Kuchner, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.; Catherine Hier-Majumder, Carnegie Institution of Washington, (deceased); and Burkhard Militzer, Carnegie, have created models for 14 different types of solid planets that might exist in our galaxy. The 14 types have various compositions, and the team calculated how large each planet would be for a given mass. Some are pure water ice, carbon, iron, silicate, carbon monoxide, and silicon carbide; others are mixtures of these various compounds.
'Historic' deal reached on cutting ozone threats - Nearly 200 countries have agreed to accelerate the elimination of chemicals that threaten the ozone and exacerbate global warming, the United Nations Environmental Program announced Saturday. Under the deal reached at the UN-sponsored conference, developed countries will phase out the production of HCFCs by 2020 and developing states have until 2030 -- 10 years earlier than previously promised.
Printing with enzymes instead of ink - Scientists in North Carolina are reporting development and testing of a method for printing finely-detailed microscopic images with an enzyme, rather than ink. The new technology, termed biocatalytic microcontact printing, involves coating a nano-“stamp” with an enzyme — a protein that speeds up chemical reactions. The enzyme then digests away a layer on the surface, leaving behind an imprint almost like an old-fashioned rubber stamp. Because no diffusion of ink is involved in the process, the resolution of microcontact printed images is about one hundredfold greater than possible with conventional technology.
Researchers say lack of sleep doubles risk of death... but so can too much sleep - Researchers from the University of Warwick, and University College London, have found that lack of sleep can more than double the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. However they have also found that point comes when too much sleep can also more than double the risk of death.

ABC News: Technology & Science
Farmers Take Another Look at Wind Energy - Squeezed by high energy prices and more overhead costs, some small farms are exploring ways to increase their energy efficiency and lower costs. By erecting wind turbines, making biodiesel fuel and adopting more efficient tilling practices, farmers have cut costs and reduced their environmental impact.

National Geographic News
Russia's Arctic Claim Backed By Rocks, Officials Say - Rock samples retrieved last month from beneath the Arctic Ocean indicate that the North Pole is part of Mother Russia, the Russian government announced yesterday. Under international law, Russia could lay claim to the potentially oil-rich seabed under the Arctic ice if it can prove that the ridge is part of the country's continental shelf.
Jurassic Park" Raptors Had Feathers, Fossil Suggests - Bumps on the forearm bone of a velociraptor fossil suggest the predators were adorned with fluffy feathers, a new study says.

Science Blog
If you want more babies, find a man with a deep voice - Men who have lower-pitched voices have more children than do men with high-pitched voices, researchers have found. And their study suggests that for reproductive-minded women, mate selection favours men with low-pitched voices.

Mysterious Peruvian Meteor Disease Solved - Technician writes "The meteor that crashed in Peru caused a mystery illnesses. The cause of the illness has been found. The meteor was not toxic. The ground water it contacted contains arsenic. The resulting steam cloud is what caused the mystery illness. "
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Stay in if you're having a bad air day - Study after study has shown a connection between smoggy days and an increase in deaths. Now two experiments, one on mice and the other in men, clarify why. Diesel fumes, they find, encourage blood clots that can bring on heart attacks and strokes.

Technology Review Feed - Biotech Top Stories
A Fountain of Youth in Mitochondria? - Cranking up an enzyme in a cell's powerhouse--the mitochondria--makes the cell resilient to stress and death, according to a study published today in the journal Cell. The findings could provide a new set of targets for drugs to treat the diseases related to aging, including Alzheimer's and diabetes. Scientists say that the research might also point to the long-sought source of caloric restriction's life-extending benefits.

The Globe and Mail - Technology News
Canada lauded for child porn tracker - The Child Exploitation Tracking System, which enables global police agencies to share information for tracking online child predators based on legal agreements in place, was developed several years ago by Microsoft Canada, Canadian authorities and international law enforcement officials. In an interview, Zdenek Jiricek, director of government programs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Microsoft Deutschland GmbH, said the tool was gaining ground but would be more effective if more countries started using it.

IEEE Spectrum Online
First Matter-Antimatter Molecule Created - Two physicists from the University of California at Riverside have pulled off a seemingly impossible feat: creating molecules of equal parts matter and antimatter. These long-sought dipositronium molecules don’t look like normal molecules—they each have two electrons and two of their antimatter counterparts, positrons, that swirl around each other in a quantum mechanical dance.

New Scientist Tech - Technology
'Self-aware' space rovers would be speedy explorers - Robots armed with an innate sense of self and an insatiable curiosity could be the next big thing in interplanetary exploration, covering an alien terrain much faster than today's turtle-paced rovers. But Josh Bongard of the University of Vermont, US, has designed a simulated rover that shows how to work much faster. This rover "imagines" itself and its immediate surroundings, and heads off to explore the areas that stimulate its curiosity. The approach lets it navigate uncharted territory much more quickly without putting itself in undue danger.

Inventor Spot blogs
Cheap Ocean Energy Converter to be Used in Several Countries - An amateur engineer from Texas has developed a way to capture the energy from ocean waves in an inexpensive, simple way. His company's devices are planned for use in the future in several countries to cheaply generate electricity.

PC World: Gadgets & Gear Update
Study Says DRM Violates Canadian Privacy Law - The study indicated that DRM is being used to collect, use and disclose consumers' personal information for secondary purposes.

Rick Mercer Report
'With this ring, I thee wed ... for 7 years' - Gabriele Pauli, who is running for the leadership of Bavaria's conservative Christian Social Union party, suggested this week that marriages should last just seven years.

Neil Gaiman's Journal
Someone tries to sell Belgium on eBay - Hidden among the porcelain fox hounds and Burberry tablecloths on sale at eBay.be this week was an unusual item: "For Sale: Belgium, a Kingdom in three parts ... free premium: the king and his court (costs not included)."

Coolest Gadgets
Apple iRipoff? How cheap the new iPod nano costs to build

January 2010

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