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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

Red Hot’s John Carlin: Recording at Thomas Edison's Studio | Full Interview Video

June 18, 2014 - 9:27pm
John Carlin founded Red Hot to raise money and awareness to fight AIDS worldwide. This is his 15th such music project. He speaks with @DavidSkyBrody of LiveScience.com about music and media technology's relationship to commerce and fundraising.

The noisy world of mud crabs: Predatory fish sounds can alter crab behavior

June 18, 2014 - 8:06am
Marine crabs are capable of hearing, researchers show for the first time, and their auditory ability plays an important role in their response to fish predators. In a new paper, they show that sound plays at least as much of a role in mud crabs' reaction to fish behavior as other widely studied cues -- and possibly more.

Hippocampal activity during music listening exposes the memory-boosting power of music

June 18, 2014 - 8:05am
For the first time the hippocampus —- a brain structure crucial for creating long-lasting memories —- has been observed to be active in response to recurring musical phrases while listening to music. Thus, the hippocampal involvement in long-term memory may be less specific than previously thought, indicating that short and long-term memory processes may depend on each other after all.

NASA aeronautics makes strides to bring back supersonic passenger travel

June 18, 2014 - 5:10am
(Phys.org) —The return of supersonic passenger travel may be coming closer to reality thanks to NASA's efforts to define a new standard for low sonic booms.

Clean and green litter machine will cut carbon emissions

June 18, 2014 - 4:20am
The University of Queensland's new outdoor cleaning solution, the 'Glutton', is a dust-, noise- and exhaust-free litter vacuum that will reduce the University's carbon emissions by approximately four tonnes each year.

YouTube to launch music service amid indie dispute

June 18, 2014 - 3:11am
YouTube will launch a new subscription music service, the company acknowledged Tuesday after being dragged into a public dispute over royalties that will result in the blockade of some independent artists' music videos.

Brain imaging shows enhanced executive brain function in people with musical training

June 17, 2014 - 7:10pm
A controlled study using functional MRI brain imaging reveals a possible biological link between early musical training and improved executive functioning in both children and adults, report researchers. The study uses functional MRI of brain areas associated with executive function, adjusting for socioeconomic factors.

New optical sensors swell when exposed to target gas

June 17, 2014 - 10:19am
Using microscopic polymer light resonators that expand in the presence of specific gases, researchers at MIT's Quantum Photonics Laboratory have developed new optical sensors with predicted detection levels in the parts-per-billion range. Optical sensors are ideal for detecting trace gas concentrations due to their high signal-to-noise ratio, compact, lightweight nature, and immunity to electromagnetic interference.

VIDEO: Flood victim: Put money where mouth is

June 17, 2014 - 3:23am
A resident whose home was flooded this winter says the government must listen to a report that says the government got its funding priorities wrong on river maintenance

A noisy world: Crabs can hear

June 16, 2014 - 10:00pm
(Northeastern University) Northeastern researchers are the first to show that marine crabs are capable of hearing and that their auditory ability plays an important role in their response to fish predators. In a new paper published Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Hughes and her team show that sound plays at least as much of a role in mud crabs' reaction to fish behavior as other widely studied cues -- and possibly more.

Hearing protein required to convert sound into brain signals

June 16, 2014 - 10:00pm
(European Molecular Biology Organization) A specific protein found in the bridge-like structures that make up part of the auditory machinery of the inner ear is essential for hearing. The absence of this protein or impairment of the gene that codes for this protein leads to profound deafness in mice and humans, respectively, reports a team of researchers in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.

Swell new sensors

June 16, 2014 - 10:00pm
(American Institute of Physics) Using microscopic polymer light resonators that expand in the presence of specific gases, researchers at MIT's Quantum Photonics Laboratory have developed new optical sensors with predicted detection levels in the parts-per-billion range. Optical sensors are ideal for detecting trace gas concentrations due to their high signal-to-noise ratio, compact, lightweight nature and immunity to electromagnetic interference.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Nanauk's soaking swan song

June 13, 2014 - 3:20pm
Tropical Storm Nanauk was dissipating in the Arabian Sea on Friday, June 13 as it ran into increasing vertical wind shear, dry air moving into the tropical cyclone and cooler sea surface temperatures. NASA's TRMM satellite observed the soaking rains the day before that marked Nanauk's "swan song."

Bloodhound unveils '1,000mph office'

June 12, 2014 - 11:54pm
The cockpit is fitted out for the British Bloodhound supersonic car, which will try to break the World Land Speed Record next year.