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Successful solo rock/pop stars are around twice as likely to die early as those in equally famous bands, indicates fascinating research you can read before you over-indulge on New Year’s Eve.

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A combination of robotic devices that disperse a time-honored bleaching agent into the air and then detoxify the disinfecting chemical are highly effective at killing and preventing the spread of multiple-drug-resistant bacteria – MRSA and so-called superbugs.

These hydrogen peroxide vaporizers were first deployed in several Singapore hospitals during the 2002 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and later stocked by several U.S. government agencies in case of an anthrax attack

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Researchers have identified a mechanism by which the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) colonizes our nasal passages, showing for the first time that a protein located on the bacterial surface called clumping factor B (ClfB) has high affinity for the skin protein loricrin.

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Do one thing, and do it well

In our first installment, we wrote several programs that really did nothing more than illustrate a concept. Let’s turn the complexity up a notch and compose a program that actually solves a problem. The problem we are tasked with: given the high temperature of the past three days, compute the average and standard deviation.

To do this, we are going to need to implement an algorithm, the programming equivalent to a set of directions. It gives the major steps that one must take in order to solve a problem, but the details of how are left up to the programmer who implements the algorithm. For our problem at hand, we could write out our algorithm as follows:

  1. Read in three values
  2. Compute the sum of these values
  3. Compute the average by dividing the sum by 3.
  4. Figure out how far each value is from the average.
  5. Add the distances obtained in step four
  6. Take the square root of the value in step five
  7. Divide by the square root of 3

So, let us set out to implement our remedial algorithm in MHF:

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via Ars Technica » Technology Lab http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/technology-lab/~3/oTZHS2llqiM/

On Saturday, Microsoft published a security advisory warning users of Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8 that they could be vulnerable to remote code execution hacks. The company said that users of IE 9 and 10 were not susceptible to similar attacks and recommended that anyone using the older browsers upgrade. Still, customers who still run Windows XP can not upgrade to IE 9 and 10 without upgrading their OS.

Microsoft’s confirmation comes after reports from several security groups that the attack sprung from the Council of Foreign Relations website, creating a “watering hole attack” that left people who visited the site through older versions of the browser open to further attack.

The company has released a workaround for the problem, and said that it is working on a patch for IE 6, 7, and 8, but did not give a time period as to when those patches would be released. The Council of Foreign Relations told The Washington Free Beacon that it was investigating the situation and working to prevent security breaches like this down the line.

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via Ars Technica » Technology Lab http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/technology-lab/~3/gNIJRzPU-KM/

Paper Waste Makes Good Insulating Bricks

Researchers in Spain have mixed paper industry waste with ceramic material used in the construction industry and created a brick that has low thermal conductivity and so is a good insulator. 

What’s the catch? Its mechanical resistance still requires improvement. 

The scientists collected cellulous waste from a paper factory (recycled) along with sludge from the purification of its waste water. In their laboratory they then mixed this material with clay used in construction and passed the mixture through a pressure and extrusion machine to obtain bricks.

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This Is Not A Rainforest!

This is not a rainforest!
A story wherein I reveal resistant and deliberate ignorance.

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Researchers have described a new selective target in muscle regeneration. This is the association of alpha-enolase protein and plasmin, findings which could be used to develop new treatments to regenerate muscular injuries or dystrophies. 

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In 1991, the Pinatubo volcano eruption was a disaster for the Philippines and the effects were noticed across the world – it threw tons of ash and other particles into the atmosphere, which caused less sunlight to reach the Earth’s surface. Global temperatures dropped by half a degree for years after that.

Clearly, volcanic eruptions can have a strong short-term impact on climate but a group of researchers are delighting doomsday believers by contending climate change will have an impact on volcanic eruptions. The researchers from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and Harvard University say they have strong evidence by using models of major volcanic eruptions around the Pacific Ocean over the past 1 million years.

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The relationship between the work of science and works of fiction has gone on for a long time. It’s time to put a ring on that finger.
It’s no secret that fiction writers have been pilfering ideas from science for generations. Verne did it. Wells, Asimov, Clarke, Bradbury, Matheson, and of course Crichton, had a lot of success by finding out what was hot in science, taking an imaginary leap to the next step (or next hundred steps), and then turning it into a story, and a profit. This trend has continued with movies, which routinely feature scientific factoids that have been Googled, copied and pasted from dubious or legitimate sites. Let’s face it. Fiction needs Science in order to thrive.

But what does Science get out of it?
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