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Microsoft Needs a “Splash” with Windows 10

July 29, 2015 | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Global rollouts of Microsoft’s new operating system (OS) Windows 10 begin at midnight and, with the release, the company is “opting for significance over stability,” according to Kevin Paul Scott, co-founder of brand consulting firm ADDO Worldwide.

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Google’s Internet Balloons Coming to Sri Lanka

July 31, 2015 3:15 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Floating in the sky, the polyethylene plastic balloon looks shriveled towards the bottom, but bulbous at the top. The balloon travels approximately 20 km above Earth into the stratosphere. Its base is outfitted with an array of solar panels, capable of producing 100 W of power, which keep its electronics running during the day while storing enough charge for use at night.

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Amid Dwindling Tree Population, Chimps Eat Clay for Minerals

July 31, 2015 12:15 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The chimpanzee sits atop a log. One hand is gripped onto a dangling branch, while the other is caked with clay. Gingerly, the primate cradles the clay into its mouth. After a mouthful, it wipes its hand on the log and gets off it. Univ. of Oxford researchers found that chimpanzees in Uganda’s Budongo Forest have started eating clay to boost the minerals in their diet.

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Saltwater Lamps for Those in Need

July 31, 2015 9:00 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In first world countries, light and electricity may be something taken for granted. When one ambles into a business office, it’s uncommon to marvel at the fluorescents above when they flicker on. All it takes is the simple flip of a switch. The interplay between light and dark literally at one’s fingertips. However, that’s not how it is throughout the world.

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Calling an Old Antibiotic to the Plate

July 30, 2015 7:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Polymyxin B is an old antibiotic stepping into the modern day limelight. Discovered in the 1950s, and used in the early 1960s, the antibiotic has high rates of nephrotoxicity, or kidney toxicity. As alternative antibiotics became available, its use was diminished. Left on the backburner, it was only being called upon as a last resort in medical situations.

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Bedfellows: Humans and Neanderthals

July 30, 2015 3:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Early modern humans and Neanderthals were close bedfellows. Fossil evidence from one of the earliest modern humans in Europe shows the specimen shared between 6 and 9% of its genome with Neanderthals, the highest amount of any human sequenced to date, according to recent findings.

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Mars Orbiter Makes Moves for 2016 Landing

July 30, 2015 12:50 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Launched in August 2005, and arriving at the Red Planet in March 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been orbiting the planet, collecting high-resolution imaging, spectral data and atmospheric and subsurface profiles. In its time, the spacecraft has returned several times more data about Mars than all other deep-space missions combined. NASA is currently conducting 16 deep-space missions.

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Fossil Discovery Highlights Alaskan Marine Reptile

July 30, 2015 8:39 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

For Patrick Druckenmiller, the Earth sciences curator at the Univ. of Alaska Museum, the discovery of an ancient marine reptile fossil in the Alaskan mountains illustrates the perfect marriage between nonprofessional and professional paleontologists when it comes to fossil discovery.

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Four-pronged Flu Prevention

July 29, 2015 7:30 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Comments

Influenza is a viral infection that lasts for about a week and affects the nose, throat, bronchi and lungs. It is characterized by sudden onset of high fever, aching muscles, headache and severe malaise, non-productive cough, sore throat and rhinitis. The virus can be easily transmitted from person-to-person, but is also classified as a zoonotic virus, as it can affect animals and be transmitted from animals to people, as well.

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AI Researchers Warn Against “Arms Race”

July 28, 2015 6:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky, Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak are among the many signatories of a letter warning against the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and weapons, something the Future of Life Institute sees as feasible within years.

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The Top Three Reasons Why New Products Fail

July 28, 2015 4:00 pm | by Victor Covone | Comments

No one said launching a new product was easy. It requires a great idea, innovation, marketing, a competitive edge and, ultimately, getting others to care about the problem you’re trying to solve. This plays out weekly on Shark Tank—a flood of people enter the tank believing they have the next great idea.

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Cosmic Winds Shape Galaxy Evolution

July 28, 2015 1:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

The cloudy oval nucleus of NGC 4921, a spiral galaxy, morphs into a spiraling cinnamon swirl as it extends outwards. The brown turns to blue wisps and the faint arms loop around, fading against a background of stars and other galaxies. NGC 4921 is located in the Coma cluster, 300 million light years from Earth, and is the closest high-mass cluster to our solar system.

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Largest Radio Telescope Set for 2016 Completion

July 28, 2015 10:00 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In the mountains of China’s Guizhou Province, workers began constructing the panels of the world’s largest radio telescope, with a dish the size of 30 football fields and shaped like a bowl. According to the Xinhua News Agency, last week technicians began assembling the telescope’s reflector, which is 500 m in diameter and made up of 4,450 panels.

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WTO to Eliminate Tariffs on Over 200 IT Products

July 27, 2015 8:45 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Fifty-four World Trade Organization (WTO) members recently reached an agreement to expand the scope of the organization’s Information Technology Agreement (ITA), effectively phasing out hundreds of tariffs on information technology exports worldwide.

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High-Elevation Fires on the Rise in Sierra Nevada

July 27, 2015 5:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

In August 2013, a forest fire blazed through California’s Sierra Nevada. It burned approximately 257,314 acres, and suppression costs alone numbered around $127 million. According the Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s estimates, the Rim Fire released 11,352,608 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is akin to annual greenhouse emissions form 2.3 million cars, or annual carbon dioxide emissions from 3.2 coal fired power plants.

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Funds Bolster Algae Biofuel Development

July 27, 2015 2:15 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Comments

Rotifers are semitransparent microscopic animals. Watching them feed under a microscope, one can’t help but feel a sense of awe at nature’s complexity. Its oval-shaped body rotates as it ingests small beads of algae. However, grazers, such as rotifers and chytrids, can account for a 30% loss in annual algal biomass, according to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

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