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NASA's New Mars-Landing Tech Gets 1st Test Flight Saturday

June 25, 2014 - 1:34pm
The space agency aims to loft its Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator test vehicle Saturday from the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii. The launch window opens at 2:15 p.m. EDT; you can watch all the action here on Space.com.

Rosanne Cash to US Congress: streaming killing music

June 25, 2014 - 12:10pm
The country star Rosanne Cash warned Wednesday that paltry returns to artists in the age of Internet streaming threaten to kill the music industry, as US lawmakers work on an overhaul.

People with tinnitus process emotions differently from their peers, researchers report

June 24, 2014 - 10:00pm
(University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) Patients with persistent ringing in the ears -- a condition known as tinnitus -- process emotions differently in the brain from those with normal hearing, researchers report in the journal Brain Research.

Organic farm in Benin looks to set example for Africa

June 24, 2014 - 10:40am
With his pilgrim's staff and panama hat, Father Godfrey Nzamujo nips up and down the paths of Songhai, the organic farm he created nearly 30 years ago to fight poverty and rural migration in Africa.

New, enhanced security of data storage and transmission via optical 'marked ghost imaging' technology

June 24, 2014 - 9:00am
"Ghost imaging" sounds like the spooky stuff of frivolous fiction, but it's an established technique for reconstructing hi-res images of objects partly obscured by clouds or smoke. Now a group of researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) is applying the same idea in reverse to securing stored or shared electronic data.

The goose bump sensor: A step toward direct detection of human emotional states

June 24, 2014 - 9:00am
Can emotional states be measured quantitatively, and if so what would advertising, manufacturing and social media companies do with that data? Imagine a world in which a consumer's real-time physical and emotional response helped to determine his/her experience of music, online ads or the temperature in the room.

High fluctuation rate at cantonal parliaments

June 24, 2014 - 7:25am
There is significant fluctuation at Swiss cantonal parliaments, according to a study. The composition of parliaments in Western Switzerland has seen the fastest rate of change, while the term of office of politicians in Eastern Switzerland is the longest.

Music Changes the Way You Think

June 24, 2014 - 5:00am
Different music encourages different frames of mind

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Master regulator of key cancer gene found, offers new drug target

June 23, 2014 - 10:00pm
(University of Minnesota Academic Health Center) A key cancer-causing gene, responsible for up to 20 percent of cancers, may have a weak spot in its armor, according to new research from the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.The partnership of MYC, a gene long linked to cancer, and a non-coding RNA, PVT1, could be the key to understanding how MYC fuels cancer cells. The research is published in the latest issue of the journal Nature.

New technology: The goose bump sensor

June 23, 2014 - 10:00pm
(American Institute of Physics) Imagine a world in which a consumer's real-time physical and emotional response helped to determine his/her experience of music, online ads or the temperature in the room. That may not be so far away -- a team of researchers has developed a flexible, wearable 20mm x 20mm polymer sensor that can directly measure the degree and occurrence of goose bumps, caused by sudden changes in body temperature or emotional states.

GM techniques: from the field to the laboratory (and back again)

June 23, 2014 - 5:40am
Genetic modification (GM) sounds very laboratory-based – people in white coats inserting and deleting genes – but the vast majority of GM work was completed in the field through selective breeding.

Review: Amazon phone unlikely to catch Fire

June 21, 2014 - 5:30am
In announcing Fire, its first-ever smartphone, Amazon showed off some sparks of innovation. There are two standout features in particular: a service called Firefly that can identify everything from a song to box of cereal to a Picasso painting based on how something looks or sounds; and a technology Amazon calls Dynamic Perspective that adjusts what users can see as they tilt or move the phone.

Spouse's Voice Aids Hearing in 'Cocktail Party' Noise

June 20, 2014 - 12:21pm
As people get older and their hearing worsens, they have more difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments, but recent studies suggest that familiarity with certain voices can partly compensate for poor hearing.

Kronos Quartet's David Harrington: Recording at Thomas Edison's Studio | Full Interview Video

June 20, 2014 - 11:13am
Kronos' leader recounts the emotion of tracking where music recording began in this full-length conversation with @DavidSkyBrody of Livescience.com. The performance was captured with 5 different historic audio formats.

Dr. Oz Is Cheering for the Wrong Team

June 20, 2014 - 7:50am
Dear Dr. Oz: I caught the senate hearing earlier this week during which you answered for using "flowery language" to describe a number of weight-loss supplements that do not have (as you admit) the...

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Inner ear stem cells hold promise for restoring hearing

June 19, 2014 - 10:00pm
(Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News) Spiral ganglion cells are essential for hearing and their irreversible degeneration in the inner ear is common in most types of hearing loss. Adult spiral ganglion cells are not able to regenerate.

Harley-Davidson introduces electric motorcycle

June 19, 2014 - 12:52pm
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Harley-Davidson has introduced its first electric motorcycle, a sleek, futuristic bike that sounds like a jet airplane taking off and can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds....

Oil-train info does not need to be secret, feds say

June 19, 2014 - 11:56am

Public release of details about oil-train routes and shipments does not pose a serious security risk, the federal government said yesterday.

Earlier this month, I wrote about how the Department of Transportation issued an emergency order requiring railroads to tell states about shipments within their borders of the more-explosive-than-usual Bakken crude, so that those states and relevant municipalities could prepare for the Lac-Mégantic-sized explosions that might be lying in store for them.

Railroads said, “Yeah, sure,” and then turned around and drew up non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) for every state they were routing oil through. By the conditions of the NDAs, the states could only use the crude shipment information for disaster planning and response. Any other disclosure and it was lawsuit time.

At that point, the drama shifted to which states would sign, and if any other state would manage to be as cool as Wisconsin, which not only refused to sign but said that communities had the right to know if potentially explosive trains were traveling through them.

The argument that railroads have held out against making this information public is terrorists. If regular people know that Bakken crude is moving through their communities, so would those who hate America and freedom.

But terrorists tend to do their thing in crowded places because they’re seeking attention, and no one has yet tried to keep shopping malls, marathons, or Times Square secret. And if terrorists did want to attack an oil train, they could easily hang out with binoculars watching tracks to see what kinds of shipments are coming through. Meanwhile, trains of Bakken crude have been doing a great job of exploding on their own without any help beyond that of people who don’t know how to apply locomotive brakes properly.

Which is why it’s good news that the Federal Railroad Administration stepped in yesterday and clarified. Oil-by-rail routes for Bakken shale are not sensitive information that needs to be kept from the public for security reasons. If states want to sign an NDA with a railroad to protect that railroad’s business, that’s one thing, but national security is no excuse.

This might seem a little wishy-washy, as federal statements go, but it appears to be working. When the railroad BNSF was asked by the Associated Press whether it was still threatening to sue the state of Montana if it released route information to the public, the company said no.

Filed under: Article, Business & Technology, Climate & Energy, Politics

Free Will May Just Be the Brain's 'Background Noise,' Scientists Say

June 19, 2014 - 11:06am
Free will may emerge from random background noise in the brain, new research suggests.

Harmonies in Your Head: Make Amazing Sounds Only You Can Hear

June 19, 2014 - 8:00am
Learn how sound travels by making secret sounds with a friend

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com