Ancient Bacteria Produce Carbon-Neutral Ethanol Using Just Sun, Waste Carbon Dioxide and Non-Potable Water

Scientists at innovative energy company Joule have engineered ancient bacteria to produce carbon-neutral ethanol using just the sun, waste carbon dioxide and non-potable water. It’s amazingly efficient, beating other ethanol sources like corn and wood chips by a huge margin and could eventually be cheaper than oil. Bloomberg’s Ramy Inocencio reports from Hobbs, New Mexico:

There’s more detailed information in Joule’s press release.

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Diablo III Players Stole Virtual Armor and Gold — Prosecuted IRL

Proving that the lines between your video game life and your real life are becoming increasingly fuzzy, two gamers who stole a load of loot in Diablo III have pled guilty in a real life case based on their virtual crimes, reports Fusion:

These days, we all have shadow selves that exist in virtual environments — be it on Facebook, Twitter, or in video games. And those digital avatars, it turns out, can get us in IRL trouble. Last year, in a first-of-its-kind legal case that has not previously been reported, two men pled guilty to misdemeanors in California and Maryland that stemmed from their robbing video game characters of gold, weapons and armor.

D3-inventory-smaller.jpg

Diablo III‍ ’​s inventory and HUD.

 

In the summer of 2012, Patrick Nepomuceno of California and Michael Stinger of Maryland, who had met each other through gaming chat platform TeamSpeak, committed a series of virtual “hold-ups” in the role-playing video game Diablo III.

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Seymour Hersh, Bin Laden, and Conspiracy Theories

As anyone who watched any kind of news outlet last week already knows, the big story was Seymour Hersh’s article alleging that the Obama administration’s story of the killing of Osama Bin Laden was a calculated lie. The theory has its critics and defenders in the mainstream media – okay, mostly critics.

But to me, the most interesting revelation raised by Hersh’s reporting, which his vociferous critics have written off as a crazy “conspiracy theory,” was not the surface level issues it raised about Middle East policy and torture. It was that the report revealed a fundamental truth about why we as humans, living under the rule of massive and impersonal governmental structures, are so fervently interested in conspiracy theories.

First of all, a bit of a breakdown of Hersh’s report is necessary.… Read the rest

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Study Shows Suicides Among Black Children Rise as Rates for Whites Drop

Don Gunn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Don Gunn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

A recent study published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, has found that suicide rates among black children have nearly doubled over the last two decades. Whereas the suicide rates of white children has dropped. The study focused on children aged 5-11 in the US.

Liz Fields writes at Vice:

The study, published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, highlights a surprising trend and “potential racial disparity that warrants attention,” researchers said of the the findings.

While overall suicide rates remained steady among 5-11 year-olds during the 19-year-study, conducted from 1993 to 2012, suicide rates among black children in this age group jumped from 1.36 to 2.54 per one million children, while white suicide rates in the group dropped from 1.14 to 0.77 per 1 million children, according to the study.

The researchers noted that for children aged between 5-11, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death.

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Hacking the Brain to Get Smarter

Want to get smarter? There are ways… The Atlantic investigates brain hacking:

The perfectibility of the human mind is a theme that has captured our imagination for centuries—the notion that, with the right tools, the right approach, the right attitude, we might become better, smarter versions of ourselves. We cling to myths like “the 10 percent brain”—which holds that the vast majority of our thinking power remains untapped—in part because we hope the minds of the future will be stronger than those of today. It’s as much a personal hope as a hope for civilization: If we’re already running at full capacity, we’re stuck, but what if we’re using only a small fraction of our potential? Well, then the sky’s the limit.

brain

Credit: TZA (CC)

 

But this dream has a dark side: The possibility of a dystopia where an individual’s fate is determined wholly by his or her access to cognition-enhancing technology.

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Chris Hedges: Make the Rich Panic

David Shankbone (CC BY 2.0)

David Shankbone (CC BY 2.0)

Over at Truthdig, Chris Hedges writes an impassioned call to action: “destroy the system.” Maybe it’s time…

Chris Hedges writes at Truthdig:

It does not matter to the corporate rich who wins the presidential election. It does not matter who is elected to Congress. The rich have the power. They throw money at their favorites the way a gambler puts cash on his favorite horse. Money has replaced the vote. The wealthy can crush anyone who does not play by their rules. And the political elites—slobbering over the spoils provided by their corporate masters for selling us out—understand the game. Barack and Michelle Obama, as did the Clintons, will acquire many millions of dollars once they leave the White House. And your elected representative in the House or Senate, if not a multimillionaire already, will be one as soon as he or she retires from government and is handed seats on corporate boards or positions in lobbying firms.

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Lancet Editor: ‘The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.’

Dr. Richard Horton, Editor in Chief, the Lancet.

Dr. Richard Horton, Editor in Chief, the Lancet.

The Lancet is one of – if the not the – most prestigious medical science journals, so when its editor-in-chief writes that “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue,” you know that something’s rotten in Denmark. Collective Evolution reports on Richard Horton’s pronouncement:

In the past few years more professionals have come forward to share a truth that, for many people, proves difficult to swallow. One such authority is Dr. Richard Horton, the current editor-in-chief of the Lancet – considered to be one of the most well respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world.

Dr. Horton recently published a statement declaring that a lot of published research is in fact unreliable at best, if not completely false.

“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.

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Ruptured Pipeline Along California Coast Dumps Crude Oil into Pacific Ocean

birdrefugio

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. See more of Jon Queally posts here.

An oil pipeline that runs along the coast of central California broke on Tuesday, according to officials, dumping tens of thousands of gallons of crude onto local beaches and creating a 4-mile slick in the Pacific Ocean.

Initial estimates put the spill at about 21,000 gallons Tuesday, but the Associated Press cited a U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson on Wednesday who said that figure is likely to change after a Wednesday morning flyover gave a better sense of the spill’s scope.

“Unfortunately with accidents and oil development, it is not a question of if, but of when.” — Owen Bailey, Environmental Defense Center

The pipeline, which runs parallel to Highway 101 near Santa Barbara, left a slick extending about four miles (6.4 km) along Refugio State Beach, extending about 50 yards into the water, explained Petty Officer Andrea Anderson of the USGC.Read the rest

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Thirteen Things I Learned in Iran

A hilltop view of Tehran, the capital of Iran. (Photo: ninara/flickr/cc)

A hilltop view of Tehran, the capital of Iran. (Photo: ninara/flickr/cc)

Robert Naiman writes at Common Dreams:

I just experienced the blessing of visiting Iran for the first time. Here are some things I learned.

1. If you are visiting someone’s office and you appear very sleepy, you may be asked if you want to take a nap. If you say yes, a comfortable place to take a nap may be immediately prepared. I want to state categorically for the record that no country in which you can take a nap any time you want should ever be bombed by anyone.

2. Any American who wants a hero’s welcome in Iran right now should compare the Saudi bombing and blockade of Yemen to the Israeli bombing and blockade of Gaza. An American sporting a “Saudi Arabia = Israel” button could get invited to any party in Iran right now.

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