DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

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Wal-Mart Sues Visa Over Signatures on Chip-Card Transactions

11th May 2016

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Wal-Mart is suing Visa for allegedly forcing the retailer to let customers use signatures when paying with their chip-based debit cards.

The retail giant filed a lawsuit in New York court, saying that Visa wouldn’t allow Wal-Mart to just use the “chip-and-PIN” protocol and that it was required to allow customers to sign when using a chip debit card. Wal-Mart is seeking a jury trial, according to the complaint, first reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Foolish me — I thought that was the whole point behind the ‘chip-and-PIN’ business. But apparently not.

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Was This French Prisoner the Real Man in the Iron Mask?

11th May 2016

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A history professor may have unearthed the truth behind a 350-year-old mystery: the identity of the Man in the Iron Mask.

The Man in the Iron Mask became the subject of myth-making following his death in prison in 1703. Throughout his over 30-year imprisonment, the 17th-century French prisoner had concealed his identity with a mask, leading many to speculate on the details of his life.

In his new book, The Search for the Man in the Iron Mask: A Historical Detective Story, Paul Sonnino from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) writes that Eustache Dauger, a French prisoner, was the real man behind the mask.

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Injectable Gel Generates New Blood Vessels

10th May 2016

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An injectable regenerative gel causes new vessels to grow and restore blood flow in the limbs of diabetic mice with severe vascular disease, and the inventors of the experimental therapy say it could be ready for clinical testing in just a few years.

Peripheral vascular disease is an expensive and often devastating medical condition that affects millions of people and has no long-term treatment options. It is especially prevalent among diabetics, and up to 25 percent of diabetic patients with peripheral vascular disease require amputation. In a recent demonstration using diabetic mice, researchers led by Aaron Baker, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, showed that their regenerative gel restored 85 percent of normal blood flow to limbs with diseased blood vessels.

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Military Times Survey: Troops Prefer Trump to Clinton by a Huge Margin

10th May 2016

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Well, duh. They know perfectly well that she can’t be trusted not to throw them under the bus, as she did in Benghazi.

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Crafting Artificial Arteries

8th May 2016

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The method uses solutions of peptide and protein molecules that, upon touching each other, self-assemble to form a dynamic tissue at the point at which they meet. As the material assembles itself it can be easily guided to grow into complex shapes.

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The World’s First Fully Robotic Farm Opens In 2017

7th May 2016

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Robots will be the farmers of the future. A company in Japan is building an indoor lettuce farm that will be completely tended by robots and computers. The company, named Spread, expects the factory to open in 2017, and the fully automated farming process could make the lettuce cheaper and better for the environment.

I’m still waiting to see how they’re going to replace the free stuff, like sunlight and dirt and rain.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

7th May 2016

Creative Kitchen Gadgets site. I have the banana slicer; it works very well, if that’s what you want to do. GBHOME12 coupon code.

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Meet the Desk-Sized Turbine That Can Power a Small Town

6th May 2016

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Engineers from GE Global Research unveiled a turbine that could provide power for 10,000 homes. But what’s truly remarkable about this turbine is its potential to solve the world’s energy challenges.

Typically, turbines weigh tons and use steam to run—this one is no bigger than the size of your desk, weighs around 68 kg (150 pounds), and runs on carbon dioxide. “This compact machine will allow us to do amazing things,” said Doug Hofer, lead engineer on the project, in Albany, New York. He continues, “the world is seeking cleaner and more efficient ways to generate power. The concepts we are exploring with this machine are helping us address both.”

The current design of the turbine will allow up to 10,000 kilowatts of energy to be produced; however, researchers are looking into scaling up the technology so that it can generate up to 500 megawatts, which could be enough to power a city.

Well, we’ll see.

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Scientists Invent Silk Food Wrap That’s Biodegradable and Could Replace Plastic Cling Film

6th May 2016

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As my wife likes to say, I am duberous.

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Pigment From Fossils Reveals Color of Extinct Mammals for the First Time, Researchers Say

4th May 2016

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Scientists from Virginia Tech and the University of Bristol have revealed how pigment can be detected in mammal fossils, a discovery that may end the guesswork in determining the colors of extinct species.

The researchers discovered the reddish brown color of two extinct species of bat from fossils dating back about 50 million years, marking the first time the colors of extinct mammals have been described through fossil analysis.

The techniques can be used to determine color from well-preserved animal fossils that are up to 300 million years old, researchers said.

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Mimicking the Ingenuity of Nature With Artificial Photosynthesis to Create Fuels

3rd May 2016

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Wating for the eco-Nazis to raise the cry of ‘Frankenfuel!’

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List of Prices of Medieval Items

3rd May 2016

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Just in case you were wondering. I know I was.

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Captain Cook’s Ship Endeavour ‘Found’ in Newport Harbor

3rd May 2016

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Marine archaeologists say they have likely found HMS Endeavour, which Capt. Cook sailed on when he discovered Australia, at the bottom of Newport Harbor.

The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) says that Endeavour, which was renamed Lord Sandwich, is one of 13 ships scuttled in Newport Harbor in 1778. Lord Sandwich had been used to transport troops during the American Revolution and was scuttled in the days leading up to the Battle of Rhode Island.

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Surprise: Hurricanes Create Carbon Sequestration – Exceed Carbon Emissions by American Vehicles Each Year

2nd May 2016

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Previous research from Duke environmental engineer Ana Barros demonstrated that the regular landfall of tropical cyclones is vital to the region’s water supply and can help mitigate droughts.

Now, a new study from Barros reveals that the increase in forest photosynthesis and growth made possible by tropical cyclones in the southeastern United States captures hundreds of times more carbon than is released by all vehicles in the U.S. in a given year.

Cue conniptions by the Usual Suspects. (‘Who are you going to believe, me or your lyin’ science?’)

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U.S. Army Is Getting Ready for Great Power War (Think Russia or China)

2nd May 2016

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The Army is developing its weapons, technologies and platforms with a greater emphasis on being ready for great-power, mechanized force-on-force war in order maintain cross-the-board readiness and deter near-peer adversaries from unwanted aggression.

While the service aims to be prepared for any conceivable contingency, to include counterinsurgency, counterterrorism and hybrid-type conflicts, the Army has been shifting its focus from 15-years of counterinsurgency war and pivoting its weapons development toward major-power war.

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Construction Workers in Spain Unearth 1,300 Pound Trove of Ancient Roman Coins

2nd May 2016

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Some 1,300 pounds of bronze Roman coins dating to the 3rd and 4th centuries have been unearthed by construction workers digging ditches in Spain.

The find, in 19 amphoras — storage containers — is unique not only because of the volume of coins but because the coins appear to have never been in circulation, making them almost pristine by comparison with other discoveries.

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Plant That Grows ‘Fries’ and ‘Ketchup’ Going on Sale

2nd May 2016

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Scientists from the Netherlands took six years to develop a plant that can grow both potatoes and tomatoes. A bonus: It’s natural!

Thompson and Morgan, the firm that commissioned the study, says it hasn’t done any genetic modification to the plant.

And if you believe that one they’ll tell you another one.

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Urban Foraging

1st May 2016

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If Hillary is elected in the fall, we’ll all need to study up.

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Scientists Developing Tire Rubber That Can Fix Itself

1st May 2016

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Vulcanized rubber is durable and elastic, but it if gets a torn, breaking its chemical bonds, it can’t be repaired with anything other than a patch, which reduces its strength. Tire companies have tried to overcome this drawback by developing tires with built-in foam or gel sealing systems, but they only fill in the holes and don’t reconstitute the rubber itself.

However, in a report published in the American Chemical Society’s Applied Materials and Interfaces journal, a team of German chemists describe how they were able to treat a commonly used tire rubber with a carbon and nitrogen additive that resulted in giving it superior mechanical properties — including tensile strength and ductility – to vulcanized rubber without using any vulcanization, while along with the ability to heal itself.

The study found that the material can repair itself at room temperature, and after eight days it will withstand over 750 pounds per square inch of pressure, far more than required by an automotive tire. Heating the material to 212 degrees F shortly after a tear accelerated the process, but was not necessary to make it work.

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New Location for the Battle of Crécy discovered

1st May 2016

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For over 250 years it has been believed that the Battle of Crécy, one of the most famous battles of the Middle Ages, was fought just north of the French town of Crécy-en-Ponthieu in Picardy. Now, a new book that contains the most intensive examination of sources about the battle to date, offers convincing evidence that the fourteenth-century battle instead took place 5.5 km to the south.

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Functioning ‘Mechanical Gears’ Seen in Nature for the First Time

30th April 2016

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a plant-hopping insect found in gardens across Europe – has hind-leg joints with curved cog-like strips of opposing ‘teeth’ that intermesh, rotating like mechanical gears to synchronise the animal’s legs when it launches into a jump.

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Medieval Fort Building 101

30th April 2016

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If, of course, that’s what you want to do.

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The Uberization of Banking

30th April 2016

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branch with an antique stagecoach inside. But I was interested in talking with a former Wells Fargo employee, so I headed elsewhere, to SoFi, a “fintech”—financial technology—company doing its best to turn the banking system upside down. I wound my way out to the Presidio, a former military base now commercialized, with beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and, if you peer through the fog, the future.

Once inside SoFi’s modern, open-floor-plan headquarters, I meet the CEO, chairman and co-founder, Mike Cagney, sitting at a table in a gray company T-shirt and jeans. The 45-year-old native Californian speaks in a deep, deliberate voice, with an undercurrent of confidence and excitement. What’s he so confident and excited about? Doing to banks, with a smartphone-based model, what Amazon has done to book stores and Uber has done to taxi fleets. “There is going to be a seismic redistribution of market cap in the banking world,” he says. “They won’t see it coming until it’s done.”

What started out as an ingenious little enterprise making gold-plated student loans at the Stanford Graduate School of Business a few years ago has since expanded to student loans more generally and added mortgages, personal loans and wealth management. Mr. Cagney says SoFi has done 150,000 loans totaling $10 billion and is currently at a $1 billion monthly loan-origination rate.

This will be huge, at least until the fascists in Washington wake up and grab ahold of it.

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This Towering 3D Printer Builds Clay Homes

30th April 2016

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Clay homes are as old as dirt. Well, as old as humans have been building homes. Older, if you count those made by insects. That doesn’t mean an ancient technique can’t get a thoroughly modern makeover. The World’s Advanced Saving Project, or WASP, after the arthropod mud nest-builders, has a giant machine that can 3D print a home out of cheap, durable mud.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

30th April 2016

Suction cup planters.

The Slammer.

CoyoteVest dog body armor.

Mini pick and hook set.

Weed killing steamer.

The Selfie Toaster.

 

 

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Artificial Leaf Harnesses Sunlight for Efficient Fuel Production

30th April 2016

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Next step: Artificial marijuana. (Betcha)

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When Bread Grew on Trees

29th April 2016

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Medieval people ate a lot of bread. A lot. They ate pounds of bread every day, and even used it as plates – or trenchers – which sounds both practical and delicious (although trencher bread was usually stale). But the bread they ate wasn’t always made of wheat, or even rye. In some parts of Europe, especially the mountainous regions of Italy, France, and Spain, they made their bread out of something that literally grew on trees: chestnuts.

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Gene Therapy Reverses Sight Loss and Is Long-Lasting

28th April 2016

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A team at Oxford University is treating a rare disorder called choroideremia. The disorder affects young men whose light-detecting cells in the backs of their eyes are dying because they have inherited a faulty gene.

The therapy involves injecting a working copy of the gene into the back of their eyes to stop more cells from dying.

The researchers found that not only does the treatment halt the disease, it revives some of the dying cells and improves the patient’s vision, in some cases markedly.

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The Key to Repairing Your Bones May Come Out of a Printer

28th April 2016

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This year surgeons around the world will implant tens of thousands of 3-D printed replacements parts for hips, knees, ankles, parts of the spine, and even sections of the skull.

Most of them look a lot like their conventionally made titanium counterparts. But the first few 3-D printed implants tailored specifically to an individual’s anatomy may hint at a future in which customized bone replacements are commonplace.

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Someone Finally Redesigned Crutches

28th April 2016

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If you’ve ever used crutches, you know that they can be awful tools that slowly torture you the longer you use them. Thankfully, Mobility Designed realized our long international nightmare and decided to do something about it. The company has designed a crutch from scratch that removes the pressure from underarms and forearms, the traditional load-bearing areas for crutches, and shifts support to the elbows

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Weird & Wild Woolly Wolf Spotted in Nepal Is Likely a New Species

28th April 2016

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Slow news day.

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World’s Longest-Serving President Wins Sixth Term in Equatorial Guinea With 99% of the Vote

28th April 2016

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Teodoro Obiang Nguema has never received less than 97 per cent of the vote in an election. On Monday, with partial results indicating that 99.2 per cent of the vote has gone in his favour, Equatorial Guinea’s leader was surely all set for another seven years in a seat that has no doubt molded to his figure.

One-sixth of African countries have an executive who has been in power for more than 20 years, which equates to nine out of 54 of the continent’s leaders. Mr Obiang, who took power nearly 37 years ago in a bloody coup, has Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea and King Mswati III of Swaziland for company. But Mr Obiang is most similar to José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola.

Mr Dos Santos and Mr Obiang preside over Africa’s second and third highest crude-oil producers, respectively, and are accused of embezzling much of the resulting wealth, while not distributing it fairly, if at all, to their citizens. Equatorial Guinea, once a Spanish colony, has the biggest gap of any country worldwide between its per-capita wealth and its human development index – a sure sign that there are a few outliers skewing the per-capita figure way upwards.

No doubt they are victims of White Privilege.

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Seabed-Mining Robots Will Dig for Gold in Hydrothermal Vents

26th April 2016

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For decades, futurists have predicted that commercial miners would one day tap the unimaginable mineral wealth of the world’s ocean floor. Soon, that subsea gold rush could finally begin: The world’s first deep-sea mining robots are poised to rip into rich deposits of copper, gold, and silver 1,600 meters down at the bottom of the Bismarck Sea, near Papua New Guinea. The massive machines, which are to be tested sometime in 2016, are part of a high-stakes gamble for the Toronto-based mining company Nautilus Minerals.

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Saunas Can Now Fit Inside a Closet in Your Bedroom

26th April 2016

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If, of course, that’s what you want to do.

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Half a Million Christian Activists Boycott Target for Allowing Transgender People to Choose Which Bathroom They Use

25th April 2016

Saw that coming.

“Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you’ll always be accepted, respected, and welcomed at Target.”

Unless you’re normal.

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New Body Armour Promises to Transform Fighting Sports

24th April 2016

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LOOKING somewhat like a stormtrooper from “Star Wars”, Martin “The Wolf” Söderström, a Swedish devotee of kung fu, raps a heavy fighting stick down onto the arm of his opponent, who is clad in similar attire. At the other side of the room a computer quickly determines if the blow would have caused a bruise or a fracture if his adversary had not been so protected. Welcome to a new world of violent martial arts brought to you by advances in materials and microelectronics.

Ordinarily, Mr Söderström would not be able to fight like this. His punches would have to be pulled to avoid causing serious or even fatal injuries. Chunky body protectors and helmets offer fighters more defence from harm, but such gear also slows and restricts their movements. Nor does it make scoring any easier. Would whacking that stick over his opponent’s head, for instance, have broken his skull, or delivered but a glancing blow?

The armoured body suit which Mr Söderström and his opponent are wearing is called the Lorica. It has been developed by Chiron Global, an Australian firm. At just 19 kilos, it is neither too heavy nor cumbersome to prevent even aerial cartwheels, but it is tough enough to render painless a powerful sword strike to the head or the chest, says Mr Söderström.

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Austria Presidential Election: Far-right Freedom Party ‘Comes Top in Vote’

24th April 2016

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Austria’s far-right, anti-immigrant party has come out comfortably on top in Austria’s presidential vote.

Early results released by the country’s election authorities appear to show the candidate of the right-wing Freedom Party taking 35 per cent of the vote, leaving his two establishment rivals with not much more than 10 per cent each.

Norbert Hofer has run on a pro-gun manifesto, carrying his Glock pistol with him on the campaign trail and declaring that the public arming themselves is a logical reaction to the influx of refugees as part of the pan-European crisis.

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Decoding the Antikythera Mechanism

23rd April 2016

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A fascinating detective story.

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USEFUL STUFF SATURDAY

23rd April 2016

Ho-Mi Korean Hand Tool.

Survival tube. I am not making this up.

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Robots Lay Three Times as Many Bricks as Construction Workers

22nd April 2016

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Construction workers on some sites are getting new, non-union help. SAM – short for semi-automated mason – is a robotic bricklayer being used to increase productivity as it works with human masons.

SAM and a human mason work together. SAM repetitively lays bricks, leaving the detailed finishing touches to the mason.
In this human-robot team, the robot is responsible for the more rote tasks: picking up bricks, applying mortar, and placing them in their designated location. A human handles the more nuanced activities, like setting up the worksite, laying bricks in tricky areas, such as corners, and handling aesthetic details, like cleaning up excess mortar.

Even in completing repetitive tasks, SAM still has to be fairly adaptable. It’s able to complete precise and level work while mounted on a scaffold that sways slightly in the wind. The robot can correct for the differences between theoretical building specifications and what’s actually on site, says Scott Peters, cofounder of Construction Robotics, a company based in Victor, New York, that designed SAM as its debut product.

Let me guess — it doesn’t get $15 an hour, or benefits. Nor does it take lunch breaks, vacation, or call in sick.

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A-10 Attack Jets Rack Up Air-to-Air Kills in Louisiana War Game

22nd April 2016

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The officer in charge of the semi-annual “Green Flag” exercise praised the 1980s-vintage A-10s. “They unleashed the Hogs,” Air Force Lt. Col. Brett Waring said of the Idaho and Louisiana squadrons.

Waring added a thinly veiled criticism of the Air Force, which wants to retire all 340 of the cheap, rugged Warthogs by 2019 and replace them with flimsy, pricey F-35 stealth fighters.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel described the A-10 as a “40-year-old, single-purpose airplane originally designed to kill enemy tanks on a Cold War battlefield.”

Waring rejected that assessment. “Single-purpose, single-mission? My ass. That bird out there kicks ass.” The armored A-10 carries missiles and bombs and packs a powerful 30-millimeter cannon. In 1991, a Warthog used its gun to shoot down an Iraqi helicopter. A-10s sank enemy warships during the 2011 international intervention in Libya.

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A Victory In the War For Free Speech

22nd April 2016

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One of the most sinister developments of our time is the Left’s use of both criminal investigation and mob harassment to suppress dissent. An outrageous instance of this trend is the effort by 20 Democratic state Attorneys General to investigate ExxonMobil and others for criminal “fraud,” i.e., carrying out research that doesn’t support the hysterical exaggerations of the Climatistas.

One of the leaders of this attempt to suppress scientific debate is California’s Attorney General, Kamala Harris. She has initiated a purported investigation into “whether Exxon Mobil Corp. repeatedly lied to the public and its shareholders about the risk to its business from climate change — and whether such actions could amount to securities fraud and violations of environmental laws.”

Kamala Harris is running for the Senate. As part of her campaign, she has sought press coverage of her attacks on “dark money,” i.e., money the Democrats don’t control. Harris has demanded that conservative 501(c)(3) organizations file their federal IRS Form 990s, including Schedule B, which identifies donors, with her office. Her obvious intent was either to publicize the names of donors, which are confidential under federal law, so that they could be threatened by liberals, or else to shut them up herself through bogus investigations.

Americans For Prosperity brought an action in federal court, seeking an injunction barring Harris from seeking Schedule B to its Form 990. Today, following a full trial on the merits, Federal Judge Manuel Real granted AFP’s motion and issued a permanent injunction against the Attorney General.

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Leftists Lose Their Lunch Over the Tubman 20

21st April 2016

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After years of complaining that America’s paper money featured only dead white guys, a lot of folks on the Left are in a snit that Harriet Tubman is going to replace Andrew Jackson on the face of the twenty-dollar bill. You can practically hear them: “We didn’t mean a gun-toting, Bible-believing Republican black woman! We meant Angela Davis!

Of course, if anyone in the Obama administration knew any history, I’m sure they would have picked Rosa Parks (or Rosa Luxemburg). But they don’t. Pass the popcorn.

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3D Laser Printing Yields High Quality Micro-Optics

20th April 2016

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Researchers have demonstrated 3D printing of micron-scale optics with unprecedented performance and reproducibility. Their approach can be used to create almost any type of integrated optical element on a micron or smaller scale, which could help miniaturize instruments and devices used in applications from sensing to telecommunications.

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Body of Missing British Tourist Harry Greaves Found Two Weeks After He Set Off on Solo Hike in Peru

20th April 2016

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Let that be a lesson to us all. Think of it as evolution in action.

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Army IBCS Kills Cruise, Ballistic Missiles

18th April 2016

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The Army’s new plug-and-play network for missile defense passed its third flight test on April 8th. In a particularly complex exercise, the Integrated Air & Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS) controlled two types of radar and two types of Patriot missile shooting down two types of incoming missile in the same engagement, contractor Northrop Grumman announced today. Next up for the program — its “Milestone C” review to determine whether IBCS can move from development into production.

IBCS is intended to connect the current arsenal of stand-alone systems into a greater whole, one in which any shooter — including potential future weapons such as lasers — can get firing data from any sensor. In a previous test in November, for example, a low-altitude cruise missile threat evaded a Patriot radar but got picked up by a Sentinel — originally designed for short-range anti-aircraft fire, not missile defense. With both radars plugged into IBCS, the network fed the Sentinel’s targeting data to a Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) launcher for a successful shoot down.

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Everything You Need to Know About Precision Medicine

18th April 2016

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Precision medicine, an emerging field in which treatments are tailored to an individual’s genes, environment and lifestyle, is on the cutting edge of cancer treatment. President Obama launched his Precision Medicine Initiative earlier this year; several research institutions have undertaken large-scale clinical trials in which patients with different diseases can enroll, one of which was conducted by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center with results published last week. And while some patients like Swain have benefitted from what researchers have figured out so far, precision medicine isn’t nearly as widespread—or precise—as proponents want it to be. To bring this field to its full potential, researchers will need to figure out how to best tailor treatments to suit every patient’s biological differences. And the more they learn, the more difficult that seems.

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Who, What, WHEN: Determining the Age of Fingerprints

16th April 2016

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Watch the imprint of a tire track in soft mud, and it will slowly blur, the ridges of the pattern gradually flowing into the valleys. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have tested the theory that a similar effect could be used to give forensic scientists something they’ve long wished for: A way to date fingerprints.

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The True Story of Kudzu

16th April 2016

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Introduced from Asia in the late 19th century as a garden novelty, but not widely planted until the 1930s, kudzu is now America’s most infamous weed. In a few decades, a conspicuously Japanese name has come to sound like something straight from the mouth of the South, a natural complement to inscrutable words like Yazoo, gumbo and bayou.

Now that scientists at last are attaching real numbers to the threat of kudzu, it’s becoming clear that most of what people think about kudzu is wrong. Its growth is not “sinister,” as Willie Morris, the influential editor of Harper’s Magazine, described in his many stories and memoirs about life in Yazoo City, Mississippi. The more I investigate, the more I recognize that kudzu’s place in the popular imagination reveals as much about the power of American mythmaking, and the distorted way we see the natural world, as it does about the vine’s threat to the countryside.

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My Great Grandmother’s Industrially Processed Food

16th April 2016

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In food processing technologies, Knight devoted most attention to those having to do the grains, so important for bread, beer, and other foodstuffs, dairy, ice and sugar.  It was still early in the industrialization of food processing.  He has little or nothing on canning and bottling (except for wine), on meat, on fats and oils, and even where the grains are concerned, little on roller milling or on the mechanization of baking.  All those were in the future.

But you can see the future coming.  Inventors are busy on all the heavy, onerous tasks of grinding and of moving liquids around (like milk in creameries), on ways to reduce heat (condensing pans), on ways to preserve food (ice), on ways to package food for transport (barrels), all employing the power of steam (or particularly in the United States with its many rivers, water) to do the work.

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