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Articles Posted by BenLurkin

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  • Beastly Sunspot Amazes, Heightens Eclipse Excitement

    10/22/2014 1:31:44 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 6 replies ^ | on October 22, 2014 | Bob King
    Properly shielded, it was very easy to see with the naked eye. Unlike some other naked eye sunspots, this one showed structure. The eastern end was darker, the western half grayer and more extended. Through a small telescope, the mix of dark umbras scattered amid weirdly sculpted penumbral “islands” was incredible to see. Photographs like the one above are wonderful documents, but witnessing this beautiful complex magnetic mess with your own eyes is another experience altogether. Region 2192 continues to grow and size and complexity and is now the largest sunspot group of solar cycle 24 which began in 2009...
  • No, This Is Not a Photo of India on Diwal

    10/22/2014 10:27:21 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 4 replies ^ | on October 22, 2014 | Jason Major
    But it’s not a photo at all, or even a singular image. Rather it’s a composite of many images acquired from a USAF Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellite over the course of several years, and assembled by NOAA scientist Chris Elvidge to show the country’s growing population and urban areas. While city lighting in India is definitely visible from space, it’s not the rainbow explosion of neon colors that Internet hoaxers and uninformed online enthusiasts would eagerly have you believe. According to Adam Voiland on the NASA Earth Observatory site, “in reality, any extra light produced during Diwali is...
  • Fist Bump Replaces Handshake At West LA Hospital To Fight Flu

    10/22/2014 9:23:41 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 6 replies ^ | October 22, 2014 8:23 AM
    LOS ANGELES ( — The fist bump: it’s not just for athletes anymore. Staff, physicians and patients at one West Los Angeles hospital are replacing handshakes with fist bumps in an effort to fend off the flu, officials announced this week. The campaign at Kaiser Permanente’s West Los Angeles Medical Center comes on the heels of a recent study that found using fist bumps alone can reduce the spread of infectious pathogens by up to 80 percent, according to the hospital. Researchers at Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom found that the handshake transmitted the most potentially disease-causing bacteria compared...
  • Moment Mystery Light Streaked Across Night Sky Captured on Video

    10/21/2014 7:51:07 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    abc ^ | Oct 21, 2014, 10:40 AM ET | ALYSSA NEWCOMB
    The sighting came as the Earth passed through the debris cloud from Halley’s Comet, which produces the annual Orionid meteor shower. Bill Cooke of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, told ABC News there were "several bright Orionids last night, as well as a spectacular fireball over middle Tennessee" that he said broke apart at 24 miles altitude just south of Nashville.
  • LAPD Veteran Charged With Faking Military Leave

    10/21/2014 7:41:03 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 3 replies
    Bulicz is a member of the California National Guard. Prosecutors say she submitted fake documents that allowed her to take more than $5,400 worth of paid time off from the Police Department.
  • Discussion Over ‘Common Core’ Gets Heated In Costa Mesa

    10/21/2014 8:41:57 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 33 replies ^ | October 21, 2014 12:04 AM | Stacey Butler
    COSTA MESA ( — A discussion over the controversial new curriculum, known as Common Core, got heated Monday night in Costa Mesa during a special meeting at the Orange County Board of Education. Those on both sides of the initiative, which encompasses state standards, spoke out although no decision was reached during the meeting. “Our job is to educate students. To look at both sides. And I think that that’s what Common Core wants you to do. Critical thinking,” said one attendee. But even some teachers admit that no one really knows what Common Core is. “I think it’s supposed...
  • Total CEO de Margerie killed in Moscow business jet accident

    10/20/2014 7:54:00 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 20 replies ^ | Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:14pm EDT | Vladimir Soldatkin
    The chief executive of French oil major Total, Christophe de Margerie, was killed when a business jet collided with a snow plow during takeoff at Moscow's Vnukovo International Airport, the company and airport officials said. The collision occurred late on Monday, just minutes before midnight Moscow time, the airport said in a statement. The Dassault Falcon business jet carrying de Margerie had been due to travel to Paris. ... De Margerie, 63, was on a list of attendees at a Russian government meeting on foreign investment in Gorki, near Moscow, on Monday. With his distinctive bushy moustache and outspoken manner,...
  • MRO Spies Tiny, Bright Nucleus During Comet Flyby

    10/20/2014 7:46:15 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 4 replies ^ | October 20, 2014 | Bob King do not say on
    Not to be outdone by the feisty Opportunity Rover, the HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) turned in its homework this evening with a fine image of comet C/2013 Siding Spring taken during closest approach on October 19. ... To photograph a fast-moving target from orbit, engineers at Lockheed-Martin in Denver precisely pointed and slewed the spacecraft based on comet position calculations by engineers at JPL. To make sure they knew exactly where the comet was, the team photographed the comet 12 days in advance when it was barely bright enough to register above the detector’s noise level....
  • Awesome Photo Shows Monster Sunspot Aiming Our Way

    10/20/2014 1:23:32 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 28 replies ^ | October 20, 2014 | Jason Major off
    According to AR2192 has grown considerably over the past few days and has the potential to unleash M- and X-class flares in our direction now that it’s moving into Earth-facing position. It’s currently many times larger than Earth and will likely get even bigger… in fact, during this week’s partial solar eclipse AR2192 should be visible with the naked (but not unprotected!) eye for viewers across much of North America.
  • Union enrollment plummets for Wisconsin teachers under tough law

    10/19/2014 8:04:31 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies ^ | ·Published October 19, 2014 | Perry Chiaramonte
    "As soon as I was given the choice, I left," Amy Rosno, a teacher with the virtual class program at the Waukesha school system, told "I never really understood the union anyway." Rosno said she had a better understanding once she was asked to be a representative for her department and attended her first WEAC meeting. "I realized that it was all political and not about teaching," she said. Teachers who spoke to the nonprofit education think tank said they were glad to be free of the union's grip, especially because of the perception their dues were spent...
  • Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney leading the 2016 field

    10/19/2014 5:34:48 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 92 replies
    washingtonexaminer ^ | Published October 19, 2014 | Kelly Cohen
    Hillary Clinton remains the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 2016, while Mitt Romney barely leads against a scattered group of Republicans. Among registered voters, former Secretary of State Clinton leads the potential 2016 Democratic field, with 64 percent of the vote. She has a sizable lead on Vice President Joe Biden (13 percent) and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (11 percent), according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.
  • Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Is Way Darker Than You Probably Realize

    10/19/2014 9:08:22 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 3 replies
    io9 ^ | Robbie Gonzalez
    You'd never know from all the high-contrast photographs of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that the comet is actually quite dark. This recently released composite image reveals how little light there is emanating from 67P/C-G, relative to other objects in our solar system. The composite image was included in a recent post about albedo (the term astronomers use to describe the reflectivity of an object) at ESA's Rosetta Blog.
  • NASA eyes SpaceX soft-landing technology for future Mars missions

    10/18/2014 6:30:44 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies ^ | October 18th, 2014 | Jason Rhian
    Because the technologies required to land large payloads on Mars are significantly different than those used here on Earth, investment in these technologies is critical,” said NASA’s Principal Investigator for NASA’s Propulsive Descent Technologies (PDT) project Robert Braun. “This is the first high-fidelity data set of a rocket system firing into its direction of travel while traveling at supersonic speeds in Mars-relevant conditions. Analysis of this unique data set will enable system engineers to extract important lessons for the application and infusion of supersonic retro-propulsion into future NASA missions.” While NASA and other organizations have researched similar technologies – no...
  • Police, ambulances respond to chaotic scene near Keene State College

    10/18/2014 4:58:58 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 34 replies ^ | October 18, 2014 | Melissa Hanson and Alyssa Edes
    “There were about 4,000 kids in this backyard and it almost felt like a war zone,” said Ellery Murray, a sophomore at Keene State. “People were just throwing everything they could find -- rocks, skateboards, buckets, pumpkins. It was actually kind of scary.” “[Police] were wearing shields and knee-pads and had all these dogs herding people out of the yard into the street,” said Murray. Murray said she was at large house party near the festival early Saturday afternoon when people started lobbing beer bottles and other objects into the crowd.
  • Body Found Along 10 Freeway In Palm Desert Identified As Missing CSUN Student

    10/18/2014 4:50:00 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies ^ | October 17, 2014 4:46 PM | Brittney Hopper
    PALM DESERT ( — The body of a 23-year-old missing CSUN student was found Thursday along the 10 Freeway in Palm Desert, authorities said. The Riverside County Coroner’s Office confirmed the discovery near Cook Street and Washington Street, according to CBS affiliate KESQ. LAPD officials said they were conducting an investigation but confirmed the body was Abdullah Abdullatif Alkadi. His remains were discovered yesterday — about 150 miles from where he was last seen — around 11:50 p.m., authorities said. The missing student, the son of a prominent Saudi Arabian family, had last been seen at his home in the...
  • DARPA unveils Ground X-Vehicle Technologies display concept

    10/18/2014 1:45:03 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies
    gizmag ^ | October 8, 2014 | Chris Wood
    DARPA’s Ground X-Vehicle Technologies (GXV-T) program, announced earlier this year, aims to move away from the traditional battle tank paradigm – creating a new class of faster, more agile vehicles that are better at negotiating terrain and detecting targets. Today, the agency has provided the first details on what this new breed of ground-based armoured vehicles might look like. While a lot of military research continues to focus on adding greater resilience to existing vehicles, DARPA’s new initiative is tackling the problem in a different way. The goal of the GXV-T program is to create a new type of all-terrain...
  • Who Will Be Miss Hitler 2014?

    10/18/2014 8:00:19 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 30 replies
    vocativ ^ | 10/16/14 15:21 EDT | Sarah Kaufman
    There is an actual, real-life Miss Hitler contest going on right now. On VKontakte— Russia’s Facebook—Russian and Ukrainian Nazis and the people who love them, are voting for their favorite pictures of proud, beautiful anti-Semitic women posted to the site’s “Adolf Hitler” group page. Boasting more than 7,000 followers, the page describes itself as a group of Russians and Ukrainians who pay tribute to Hitler, history’s best-known goose-stepping genocidal maniac. ... Want to be 2014′s Miss Hitler? Here’s how you qualify....
  • Earth's Magnetic Field Could Flip in Our Lifetime

    10/18/2014 7:44:08 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 41 replies ^ | October 17, 2014 01:20pm ET | Kelly Dickerson,
    A magnetic field shift is old news. Around 800,000 years ago, magnetic north hovered over Antarctica and reindeer lived in magnetic south. The poles have flipped several times throughout Earth's history. Scientists have estimated that a flip cycle starts with the magnetic field weakening over the span of a few thousand years, then the poles flip and the field springs back up to full strength again. However, a new study shows that the last time the Earth's poles flipped, it only took 100 years for the reversal to happen. The Earth's magnetic field is in a weakening stage right now....
  • Sixteen South Korean concert goers killed during K-pop band ... performance at outdoor festival

    10/17/2014 8:28:44 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 10 replies
    abc ^ | Fri 17 Oct 2014, 5:21pm
    Sixteen people were killed and nine others seriously injured when they plunged down a ventilation shaft after a grate gave way during an outdoor pop concert Friday in Seongnam south of Seoul. "They were standing on the ventilation grate to get a better view when it collapsed under their weight," a spokesman for the local fire services said. Rescuers said 16 people were confirmed dead but the death toll might rise with some of the injured understood to be in critical condition. Television reports said the victims fell more than 10 metres into an underground parking area when the grate...
  • Women in vanguard of Kurdish battle against IS and Syrian regime

    10/17/2014 8:24:59 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 16 replies
    IrishTimes ^ | Sat, Oct 18, 2014
    More than 10,000 women are fighting among peshmerga forces in northern Syria, about half the overall number, she says, though other reports suggest women make up around one-third of the total. Regardless, women fighters make up a critical force in the battle to stave off the macabre IS jihadists bent on establishing a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and massacring anyone who gets in the way of that. For the women fighters, the emergence of IS, which sees the women in society through a primitive viewpoint, is anathema. “Syrian Kurdish women are revolutionary women. Daish [IS] hate women, so we...
  • A Ghastly Green Shade On The Space Station Evokes Hallowe’en Spirit

    10/17/2014 2:59:59 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 5 replies ^ | October 17, 2014 | Elizabeth Howell on{not}
    Here is a video of the International Space Station in an odd shade of … green. And no, it’s not because astronauts secretly painted the hull during their spacewalk this week. What you’re actually seeing is a green laser shining on the space station as part of a test of next-generation communications technologies. Lasers have been used in successful tests to the Moon and the space station in the past year, hinting that perhaps there’s a faster way to transmit data than over traditional radio. The clip was filmed at the European Space Agency’s optical ground station in Tenerife, Spain...
  • FBI director calls for greater police access to communications

    10/16/2014 8:59:24 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 24 replies ^ | Oct 16, 2014 10:20 AM | Grant Gross
    Apple and Google should reconsider their plans to enable encryption by default on their smartphones, and the U.S. Congress should pass a law requiring that all communication tools allow police access to user data, U.S. FBI Director James Comey said. Comey, repeating his recent concerns about announcements from Apple and Google to offer new encryption tools on their smartphone OSes, went a step further Thursday, when he called on Congress to rewrite the 20-year-old Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. Following the past 15 months of leaks about surveillance at the U.S. National Security Agency, the pendulum of public opinion...
  • Lake Erie phosphorus pollution causes blooms, and fishing problems -- Outdoors Notes

    10/16/2014 8:04:51 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 2 replies
    The Plain Dealer ^ | October 16, 2014 at 7:45 PM | D'Arcy Egan,
    0 Reddit CLEVELAND, Ohio – The phosphorus-fueled harmful algal blooms, or HABs, around western Lake Erie are finally going away as water temperatures have fallen below the 60-degree mark in recent days. The phosphorus pollution causing the blooms, however, has also provoked changes in the fish populations of Lake Erie. In this case, more fish swimming in Lake Erie is not always a good thing. As if the ugly green slime wasn't enough to foil fishermen, the phosphorus-rich waters are too friendly to white perch, a species of fish most anglers wish would disappear. An invasive species thriving in the...
  • Could YOU be immune to Ebola? Scientists claim those naturally protected from virus could play a

    10/16/2014 7:26:30 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 19 replies
    DailyMail ^ | 06:26 EST, 16 October 2014 | Lizzie Parry
    Large swathes of the West African population may be immune to the deadly Ebola virus, ravaging the region. The current outbreak, the worst on record since the virus was discovered in 1976, has claimed the lives of 4,493 people, infecting 8,997, the World Health Organisation said yesterday. But a team of scientists in the US believe the Ebola virus may be silently immunising a significant portion of the population, who never fall ill or infect others, protecting them from future infection. These people will never show the tell-take signs of the disease, the high fever, headaches and flu-like symptoms. They...
  • Horton Blazes Trail As CAL FIRE’s First Female Chopper Pilot

    10/16/2014 7:05:21 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 24 replies ^ | October 16, 2014 12:00 AM
    CHINO ( — When lives are on the line and homes are in danger, Desiree Horton swoops into action. Horton is a helicopter pilot for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection – CAL FIRE — in San Bernardino. She is the first and only woman to fly for the agency. “At an early age, I was hooked … fascinated me, piqued my interest,” Horton told CBS2’s Tom Wait. “For me, it’s exciting to know that we’re going to go out there and make a difference.” Her job is one of the most unique and high-pressure in the Southland....
  • Mars One Dustup: Founder Says Mission Won’t Fail As MIT Study Predicts

    10/15/2014 7:00:27 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 6 replies ^ | October 15, 2014 | Elizabeth Howell
    A new study says that the Mars One concept could fail on several points: oxygen levels could skyrocket unsafely. Using the local resources to generate habitability is unproven. The technology is expensive. But the founder of Mars One says the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) student study is based on the wrong assumptions. “It’s based on technology available on the ISS [International Space Station],” said Bas Landorp in an interview with Universe Today. “So you end up with a completely different Mars mission than Mars One. So their analysis has nothing to do with our mission.” The mission has sparked...
  • USGS Seismologist Warns LA Quake Could Knock Out Power Grid, Disrupt Water Supply

    10/15/2014 5:44:31 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies ^ | October 15, 2014 3:50 PM | Ed Mertz and Kaj Goldberg
    LOS ANGELES ( — On the eve of the Great ShakeOut a renowned U.S. Geological Survey seismologist updated Los Angeles officials Wednesday on ways the city can better prepare for an earthquake, and potential losses in the event of a quake. KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports Dr. Lucy Jones spent the past year studying how a major seismic event would impact old buildings, the water supply and telecommunications links. Jones, who serves as Mayor Garcetti’s first Science Advisor for Seismic Safety, told the City Council a major earthquake could result in 1,800 people dead, 53,000 injured, and up to half...
  • LA County Officials To Train For Potential Spread Of Ebola Virus

    10/15/2014 4:56:11 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 5 replies ^ | October 15, 2014 2:58 PM | Margaret Carrero
    LOS ANGELES ( — Public health officials in Los Angeles County say they are prepared to handle Ebola if it reaches Southern California. KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports Dr. Robert Kim-Farley with L.A. County Public Health says outreach teams are going to hospitals helping them train for a possible Ebola patient. While there are currently no Ebola cases or suspect cases in California, Kim-Farley said county officials are in a state of Ebola preparedness after reports that two health care workers in Dallas tested positive for the disease. County health officials will put particular focus on any people returning from...
  • Landing on a Comet: The Trailer

    10/15/2014 7:21:14 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 4 replies ^ | October 14, 2014 | Jason Major (on)
    In less than a month, on November 12, 2014, the 100-kg Philae lander will separate from ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft and descend several kilometers down to the dark, dusty and frozen surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, its three spindly legs and rocket-powered harpoon all that will keep it from crashing or bouncing hopelessly back out into space. It will be the culmination of a decade-long voyage across the inner Solar System, a testament to human ingenuity and inventiveness and a shining example of the incredible things we can achieve through collaboration. But first, Philae has to get there… it has to touch...
  • 405 Carpool Lane Made ‘Relatively No Change’ In Rush Hour Traffic, Study Finds

    10/14/2014 7:45:48 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 25 replies ^ | October 14, 2014 6:20 PM | Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson
    A new study finds the shutdown of the 405 Freeway to add a carpool lane hasn’t relieved traffic congestion during rush hour. KNX 1070’s Jim Thornton and Diane Thompson spoke with Jim Bak of traffic service provider INRIX, whose analysts found “relatively no change” in travel speeds and times when comparing data between the middle two weeks of September in 2013 and 2014 on the northbound 405 between the 10 and the 101 freeways. The average trip through that stretch of the 405 during rush hour is about 35 minutes,” he said. Bak insisted there is “no silver bullet” to...
  • Creepy Comet Looms In The Background Of Newest Philae Spacecraft Selfie

    10/14/2014 12:30:53 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies ^ | October 14, 2014 | Elizabeth Howell <strike>on
    “Two images, one with a short exposure time, one with a longer one, were combined to capture the whole dynamic range of the scene, from the bright parts of the solar arrays to the dark comet and the dark insulation cladding the Rosetta spacecraft,” the European Space Agency stated. It’s quite the zoom-in after the last selfie that Philae produced for the public in September, which was taken from 31 miles (50 kilometers) away. The spacecraft is expected to make the first touchdown ever on a comet next month. Rosetta, meanwhile, will keep following 67P as it gets closest to...
  • "Vampire Grave" in Bulgaria Holds a Skeleton With a Stake Through Its Heart

    10/14/2014 12:14:26 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 31 replies
    smithsonian ^ | 10/13/2014 | rachel nuwer
    Archeologists in Bulgaria haved uncovered a 13th century staked "vampire" at Perperikon, an ancient Thracian site in the south of the country, Archaeology reports. The remains once belonged to a man who was likely in his 40s. An iron rod had been hammered through his chest "to keep the corpse from rising from the dead and disturbing the living," Archaeology continues, and his left leg had also been removed and placed beside the corpse. Clearly, this man's neighbors did not trust his remains to stay put. As Nikolai Ovcharov, the archeologist in charge of the dig, told the Telegraph: "We...
  • Facebook and Apple Will Pay for Employees to Freeze Their Eggs

    10/14/2014 7:49:35 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    Egg-freezing is expensive: The procedure generally costs $10,000, at minimum, for each round of egg-harvesting—doctors recommend at least two rounds to maximize success—with an additional $500 a year (or more) for storing the eggs. Which is why it has thus far, for the most part, been an option for women who are not just concerned about conception, but able to pay to quell their anxieties. That may be changing. Now, NBC News reports, some of the biggest firms in Silicon Valley are offering elective egg-freezing as part of their benefits packages. Facebook recently began covering the procedure (under its surrogacy...
  • A Windows Flaw Let Russian Hackers Spy on NATO, EU and More

    10/14/2014 7:26:12 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 9 replies
    gizmodo ^ | 10/14/14 7:45am | Jamie Condliffe
    Security firm iSight Partners claims that Russian hackers have been attempting to gain information relating to the Ukraine crisis. However, in August it began exploiting a vulnerability in Windows—which Microsoft is now aware of—that allowed it to peer into computers used by NATO, the EU and various energy and telecommunications companies. This is, apparently, the latest event in a five-year campaign by the Russian hacking group, which has been nicknamed the "Sandworm Team" due to references to "Dune" in its code. In the past, it's used phishing attacks and other holes to gain access to data.
  • NASA Solar Forecasting Takes A Hit As Sun-Gazing Spacecraft Stops Phoning Home

    10/14/2014 7:17:03 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 2 replies ^ | October 14, 2014 | Elizabeth Howell (not on)
    One of the STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) spacecraft stopped phoning home to Earth on Oct. 1 “immediately after a planned reset of the spacecraft”, NASA said in an update last week. .... NASA didn’t say how badly solar weather forecasts are affected, but in other materials they have said both STEREO spacecraft are a crucial part of this work. STEREO’s pair of satellites ... aim to better map Sun eruptions ( “coronal mass ejections”) whose charged particles can disrupt satellite communications during solar storms. The mission has been ongoing since 2006 and they’ve viewed the far side of the...
  • Secretive X-37B Military Space Plane Could Land in California Tuesday

    10/13/2014 12:30:57 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 8 replies ^ | October 12, 2014 08:44am ET | Tariq Malik,
    The robotic X-37B space plane, also known as the Orbital Test Vehicle, will land at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, where Air Force officials are gearing up for its return. As of today (Oct. 12), the X-37B mini-shuttle has been in orbit since December 2012 and racked up a record-shattering 671 days in space. ... The Air Force has two X-37B space planes in its fleet and has been flying them on secret missions since 2010. But the exact purpose of those flights have been shrouded in secrecy. The mission in orbit now, called Orbital Test Vehicle 3...
  • Soldiers to use Android tablet to steer iRobots

    10/12/2014 2:58:20 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 10 replies
    Daily Digest News ^ | October 12, 2014 | Christian de Looper,
    “We needed to invest in simplifying the control of the robots so that more people with less training can use them,” said Orin Hoffman, technical director for iRobot. “If you can play Angry Birds, you can operate a robot.” The new app, called the uPoint MRC, essentially makes these robots easier control, maneuver and operate. The controls are intuitive and make operating the robot easy. The system even integrates cloud and in-built Android features, users can share information to a number of different cloud platforms, both public and private. In fact, users can even share or stream information to Facebook...
  • California police field reports of creepy clowns

    10/12/2014 2:34:55 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 39 replies
    reuters ^ | Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:18pm EDT
    Reports of creepy clowns carrying knives and other weapons have been scaring people in the California city of Bakersfield for the past week, police said on Sunday. ... "We've been having sightings all over the city," Matson said. "They range from anywhere from a guy carrying a gun to a guy carrying a knife running up to houses." The Bakersfield Californian newspaper reported earlier in the week that at least some of the reports were hoaxes. Matson said he did not know whether the incidents were pranks. At least one of the reports was not a hoax - police arrested...
  • NASA Prepares Its Science Fleet For Mars Comet Encounter

    10/12/2014 8:38:09 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 2 replies ^ | October 12, 2014 |
    Siding Spring will be the first comet from the Oort Cloud to be studied up close by spacecraft, giving scientists an invaluable opportunity to learn more about the materials, including water and carbon compounds, that existed during the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. ... In preparation for the comet flyby, NASA maneuvered its Mars Odyssey orbiter, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and the newest member of the Mars fleet, Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN), in order to reduce the risk of impact with high-velocity dust particles coming off the comet. The period of greatest risk to...
  • Glowing Plant seeds expected to ship in December

    10/11/2014 8:35:18 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies
    cbc ^ | Oct 09, 2014 4:59 PM ET
    Seeds genetically engineered to grow into glow-in-the-dark plants are expected to be mailed to 1,000 people across the U.S. later this year. San-Francisco startup Glowing Plant will ship the first version of its flagship product starting in December, the company said in an update on its blog today. The seeds belong to arabidopsis plants, which are related to mustard and cabbage. The company is inserting genes into the plants from other organisms, including fireflies, to give them bioluminescence — the ability to glow via a biochemical process.
  • Millions To Participate In ‘Great California ShakeOut’

    10/11/2014 7:59:42 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 9 replies ^ | October 11, 2014 2:51 PM
    LOS ANGELES ( — Millions worldwide are expected to participate in the “Great California ShakeOut” next week. Most events for the full-scale earthquake drill will be held on Oct. 16, at 10:16 a.m. But participation is not limited to just California. Japan, Canada and Italy recently joined in the drill. To learn more about the drill, visit For more about quake preparedness, click our Earthquake Resource Center.
  • 12 Monkeys: Official Trailer | Syfy

    10/11/2014 5:43:51 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 43 replies
    SyFy ^ | Sep 19, 2014
    Based on the 1995 film directed by Terry Gilliam, "12 Monkeys" follows the journey of a time traveler from the post-apocalyptic future who is on a mission to eradicate the source of a deadly plague.
  • IMAX premieres Dracula Untold in Kenya

    10/11/2014 6:46:30 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 11 replies ^ | Saturday, October 11, 2014 | ELIJAH CHEMOBO
    MOVIE-lovers were treated to a fun-filled night as IMAX and Radio Africa Group hosted an exclusive Kenyan premiere of the 2014 American dark fantasy-action-horror film, Dracula Untold. The event, held at the Nairobi's IMAX theatres recently, was attended by various representatives from the film industry and was hosted in collaboration with Infinix, Huawei and Access Leobarnet.
  • Ebola: National exercise to test UK's plans for virus

    10/10/2014 7:51:12 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 4 replies
    bbc ^ | 10 October 2014 Last updated at 22:23 ET
    The eight-hour exercise will see actors in various parts of the UK simulate symptoms of the virus to test the responses of emergency services, government ministers and health chiefs. It forms part of the UK's contingency plan against Ebola, which has killed more than 4,000 people worldwide. Passenger screening is to be introduced at key UK airports and rail terminals. The national exercise, ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron, will also include a simulated meeting of the government's Cobra emergency committee, to be chaired by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Actors will simulate symptoms of the deadly virus in various areas...
  • Homeless Man Sentenced To 12 Years In Prison For Fatal Attack Of Woman In Hollywood

    10/10/2014 6:50:49 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 27 replies ^ | October 10, 2014 5:37 PM | Jeff Nguyen
    LOS ANGELES ( — A homeless man Friday was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the fatal attack of a woman in Hollywood. Dustin James Kinnear, 27, pleaded no contest last week to voluntary manslaughter charges in the stabbing death of 23-year-old Christine Calderon. Calderon was fatally stabbed on June 18, 2013 outside of the Hollywood & Highland Center. “Kinnear demanded money from Calderon and a friend after the pair had just taken photos of transients,” who were holding obscene signs, the District Attorney’s Office said. When Calderon refused to pay, Kinnear attacked. Kinnear’s public defender said the victim’s...
  • Obama Designates Portion Of San Gabriel Mountain Range A National Monument

    10/10/2014 2:13:35 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 31 replies ^ | October 10, 2014 1:41 PM
    LOS ANGELES ( — President Barack Obama Friday declared more than 346,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountain range a national monument. Obama arrived in San Dimas by helicopter and made the announcement around 1:40 p.m. Proponents believe the declaration will help protect the area, which does not include Wrightwood and Mt. Baldy Village, by keeping it clean; while those who oppose say the decision will add more restrictions that would make it more difficult for businesses. “What’s going to happen is, they are basically going to put up signs and locks and keys when they can’t decide a budge,”...
  • Falling Metal Object Mystifies New Jersey Plant Workers

    10/10/2014 11:23:47 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 41 replies ^ | Michael George
    Workers at a New Jersey treatment plant say they saw a heavy, metallic object fall from the sky Wednesday, and they want to know where the potentially deadly projectile came from. The employees at Secaucus Treatment Works said the 5-by-5 inch piece of metal debris hit a railing, ricocheted off a concrete tank, then hit the ground. It landed about 25 feet from where employees were working. "It came close. It came pretty close," said employee Victor Suppa. It "could have killed somebody, absolutely" if it hit anyone, added operations foreman Steven Bronowich.
  • MMA Fighter ‘Mayhem’ Miller Surrenders After Standoff At Mission Viejo Home

    10/09/2014 8:28:03 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 9 replies ^ | October 9, 2014 1:35 PM
    MISSION VIEJO ( — A mixed martial arts fighter surrendered following an hours-long standoff with SWAT officers at his Mission Viejo home Thursday, authorities said. The incident began when Orange County Sheriff’s deputies attempted to take Jason “Mayhem” Miller into custody on an arrest warrant in a domestic violence and stalking case around 10 a.m., according to a Sheriff’s spokesperson. When deputies tried to take Miller into custody, he ran back into his home and has refused to come out, authorities said. Miller surrendered in back of the residence and was in custody shortly after 2:10 p.m., a Sheriff’s spokesperson...
  • Gov. Perry Visits Troops Deploying to West Africa in Fight against Ebola

    10/09/2014 6:11:17 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 41 replies
    Gov. Perry Visits Troops Deploying to West Africa in Fight against Ebola More than 500 troops from the 36th Engineer Brigade, 1st Medical Brigade and 85th Civil Affairs Brigade stationed at Ft. Hood are expected to deploy to Liberia by the end of this month. Approximately 200 troops stationed at Ft. Bliss, but assigned to aviation units at Ft. Hood, will also deploy. Their mission will be constructing facilities to be used in the housing and care of Ebola patients. The troops will not have contact with Ebola patients. The servicemen and women from Ft. Hood are part of a...
  • The ominous math of the Ebola epidemic

    10/09/2014 6:06:39 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 45 replies ^ | October 9 at 2:15 PM | By Joel Achenbach, Lena H. Sun and Brady Dennis
    When the experts describe the Ebola disaster, they do so with numbers. The statistics include not just the obvious ones such as caseloads, deaths and the rate of infection, but also the ones that describe the speed of the global response. Right now, the math still favors the virus. Global health officials are looking closely at the “reproduction number,” which estimates how many people, on average, will catch the virus from each person stricken with Ebola. The epidemic will begin to decline when that number falls below one. A recent analysis estimated the number at 1.5 to two. The number...