Saturday, August 7, 2010


Foldit is a revolutionary new computer game enabling you to contribute to important scientific research. This page describes the science behind Foldit and how your playing can help.

In a Video Game, Tackling the Complexities of Protein Folding
By John Markoff
New York Times
In a match that pitted video game players against the best known computer program designed for the task, the gamers outperformed the software in figuring out how 10 proteins fold into their three-dimensional configurations.

Best Cars for Teenagers? No One Can Agree

By Cheryl Jensen
New York Times

If you think it is easy to recommend the top vehicles for teenagers, you are so wrong.

Two New Paths to the Dream: Regeneration

By Nicholas Wade
New York Times

Two research reports published Friday offer novel approaches to the age-old dream of regenerating the body from its own cells. Graphic

Battle Looms Over Huge Costs of Public Pensions

By Ron Lieber
New York Times

There’s a class war coming to the world of government pensions.

The haves are retirees who were once state or municipal workers. Their seemingly guaranteed and ever-escalating monthly pension benefits are breaking budgets nationwide.

The have-nots are taxpayers who don’t have generous pensions. 

Demystifying, and Maybe Decreasing, the Emergency Room Bill

By Lesley Alderman
New York Times

DURING a snowstorm last winter, my 6-year-old son fell and cut his chin — not outside on the ice, but inside on the tile bathroom floor. My husband walked our son, Charlie, through the knee-high snow to the local emergency room.

Immigrant Conversations

Citizenship From Birth Is Challenged on the Right
By Julia Preston
New York Times

Friday, August 6, 2010

Parisians Find Playground Under the Streets

By Don Duncan
Wall Street Journal

PARIS—While many Parisians go out on the town on Saturday evenings, a small but growing number go under it.

Beneath Paris lies a network of some 155 miles of tunnels known as "the catacombs"—an underground labyrinth that serves as the weekend playground for bands of urban explorers. One recent Saturday, several dozen "cataphiles," as these explorers are known, climbed down an embankment in south Paris to a unused railroad track. After a short walk, they disappear into a hole in the side of a railway tunnel to the catacombs, 65 feet below. Slideshow

Where temperature strayed from average

By NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies\
New York Times

As It Shrinks, the Dead Sea Nourishes Promises of an Economic Bloom

By Isabel Kershner
New York Times

KALIA, West Bank — For many, the shrinking of the Dead Sea has long signaled its impending demise. But even with its waters steadily disappearing, the ancient salt lake, where no fish can survive, is showing other signs of life.

My Food-a-pedia

Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
United States Department of Agriculture

Quick access to food info.
Find the calories and MyPyramid food groups for a food, or compare two foods.
Enter food name: [Search]

Mobile Internet More Popular in China than in U.S.

Shan Phillips, Vice President, Greater China, Telecom Practice, The Nielsen Company

On the streets of Guangzhou, Harbin and Shanghai, the mobile phone has become ubiquitous. Once the domain of the elite, it now seems that just about everybody has one. Widespread ownership of mobiles is only a fairly recent development in China, but consumers there have fully embraced the technology and in some ways are using it more robustly than their American and European counterparts.

New Realities of an Older America

By Stanford Center on Longevity

The challenges of baby boomers reaching old age, combined with a growing, more diverse population, will drive major changes, challenges and decisions in U.S. families, workplaces and communities, according toNEW REALITIES of an OLDER AMERICA: Challenges, Changes and Questions, a new report from the Stanford Center on Longevity.

Technology helps absent obstetricians stay app on things

By Jennifer Brown
The Denver Post

Dr. Reid Goodman was out for lunch when he flicked on his iPhone and realized something was seriously wrong — his patient in labor at Rose Medical Center was in trouble.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

10 Surprising Ways Your State May Tax You Next


Remember the line from The Beatles' "Taxman"? -- "If you try to walk, I'll tax your feet"?

There may be some truth in it--literally. Facing large budget shortfalls and unwilling to raise general taxes in a slow economy, states are looking for creative ways to raise a little extra revenue here and there, including taxing shoe repair. Here are some of the proposed new taxes and user fees under review by state governments across the country. Some plans will be met with public scorn; others will be adopted with little notice. This is a slideshow

How to Find Cheaper College Textbooks

By Tara Siegel Bernard
New York Times

You might call it the college student’s first lesson in exploitation: paying $100 for a textbook, then getting a mere $12 when reselling to the campus bookstore at the end of the semester.

You can count the number of books in the world on 25,972,976 hands

The Official Google Blog

Ever wonder just how many different books there are in the world? After some intensive analysis, we've come up with a number. Standing on the shoulders of giants—libraries and cataloging organizations—and based on our computational resources and experience of organizing millions of books through our Books Library Project and Books Partner Program since 2004, we’ve determined that number.

And May the Best Nurdle Win

By Clifford M. Marks and Ellen Byron
Wall Street Journal

A pair of toothpaste makers have squared off in court over a marketing icon, the "nurdle."

For the uninitiated, the nurdle is that curvy squirt of toothpaste—perfectly shaped in advertisements—that people use to scrub their pearly whites.

Stalkers Exploit Cellphone GPS

By Justin Scheck
Wall Street Journal

Phone companies know where their customers' cellphones are, often within a radius of less than 100 feet. That tracking technology has rescued lost drivers, helped authorities find kidnap victims and let parents keep tabs on their kids.

From the NYPD to JetBlue

By Scott McCartney
Wall Street Journal

Some airlines try to hire flight attendants who are young and attractive. JetBlue Airways has a type, too: cops and fire fighters.

Feds admit storing checkpoint body scan images

Declan McCullagh

For the last few years, federal agencies have defended body scanning by insisting that all images will be discarded as soon as they're viewed. The Transportation Security Administration claimed last summer, for instance, that "scanned images cannot be stored or recorded."


United State Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Showering is one of the leading ways we use water in the home, accounting for nearly 17 percent of residential indoor water use, or about 30 gallons per household per day. That's nearly 1.2 trillion gallons of water used in the United States annually just for showering, or enough to supply the water needs of New York and New Jersey for a year! By retrofitting your entire bathroom with WaterSense labeled fixtures, you can save even more.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

War on terror's other cost: undeserved anger at all Muslims

By Thomas W. Young
Christian Science Monitor

This September and October, Americans mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the ninth year of war in Afghanistan, respectively. This war has become arguably the longest in our history. Given the jihad-until-doomsday rhetoric of the Islamists, the war on terror will probably stay with us in one form or another for the foreseeable future.

Women More Attracted When Men Wear Red: Study

Department of Health and Human Services
TUESDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Men looking to attract the opposite sex may want to add red to their wardrobe, a new study finds.

Free-Range Landscaping

By Gwendolyn Bounds
Wall Street Journal

Recently, the patch of weeds behind Steve Holdaway's Chapel Hill, N.C., home grew so unkempt that he hired outside help. For six hours, the crew's members tackled tall grass and thorny blackberry plants and toiled without a break—other than to chew their cud, that is.

His workers: seven hungry—and carbon-emission-free—goats.

Information Explosion & Cloud Storage

Wikibon Blog

Even in 2009′s “Great Recession,” the amount of digital information grew 62% over 2008 to 800 billion gigabytes (0.8 Zettabytes). It is projected that the amount of digital information that will be created in 2010 could fill 75 billion fully-loaded 16 GB Apple iPads.


By Highway Loss Data Institute

ARLINGTON, VA—The rate at which people file insurance claims for theft is highest for

versions of the 2007-09 Cadillac Escalade, a luxury SUV, followed by the Ford F-250 crew

pickup, Infiniti G37 luxury car, and Dodge Charger with a HEMI engine. Theft rates for

these vehicles are 3 to 5 times as high as the average for all vehicles. These are the

latest theft loss results for passenger vehicles 1 to 3 years old published by the Highway

Loss Data Institute (HLDI), an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Breast Milk Sugars Give Infants a Protective Coat

By Nicholad Wade
New York Times

A large part of human milk cannot be digested by babies and seems to have a purpose quite different from infant nutrition — that of influencing the composition of the bacteria in the infant’s gut.

Tracing Oil Reserves to Their Tiny Origins

By William J. Broad
New York Times

In 1913, as the automobile zoomed into American life, The Outing Magazine gave its readers a bit of background on what fueled the new motorcars in “The Story of Gasoline.” After a brief vignette describing the death of “old Colonel Stegosaurus Ugulatus,” the article explained that “yesterday you poured the remains of the dinosaur from a measuring-can — which, let us hope, held five gallons, full measure — into your gasoline tank.”

Empowering oil rig workers to stop operations not a fail-safe plan

By David S. Hilzenrath
Washington Post

Overlooked among the systems that apparently failed in the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe is what could be the most crucial safety device of all: the human blowout preventer.

[As I read this article it reminded me of a management case study, a classic, that we covered in my graduate management program. It is entitled, "Case Study 1: The Blast in Centralia No. 5: A Mine Disaster No One Stopped in Richard J. Stillman II's Public Administration: Concepts and Cases, 9th Edition. It is the first case study in the book going back many editions. Over 100 men died in that disaster and it is still considered one of the worst industrial tragedies ever. This article on the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe reads just like it. It prompts the question, "Are we learning anything?"]

Technological advances usher in the future of reading

By Alex Pham and David Sarno
(Los Angeles Times)
Seattle Times

Emma Teitgen, 12, thought the chemistry book her teacher recommended would make perfect bedside reading. Perfect because it might help her fall asleep.

Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics fight over $28B Navy contract

Littoral Combat Ship (Slide Show)

What Americans Do Online: Social Media And Games Dominate Activity


Americans spend nearly a quarter of their time online on social networking sites and blogs, up from 15.8 percent just a year ago (43 percent increase) according to new research released today from The Nielsen Company. The research revealed that Americans spend a third their online time (36 percent) communicating and networking across social networks, blogs, personal email and instant messaging.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Peak Water

Wall Street Journal

Harry Reid has decided that Senate Democrats will put off their cap-and-tax energy ambitions for now, focusing on smaller-scale subsidies and mandates. Anyone who thinks this counts as a "compromise" might visit Arizona, where the green campaign for renewable energy is forcing the state to confront the limits of a nonrenewable resource—water.

Ignorance By Degrees

By Mark Bauerlein
Wall Street Journal

Higher education may be heading for a reckoning. For a long time, despite the occasional charge of liberal dogma on campus or of a watered-down curriculum, people tended to think the best of the college and university they attended. Perhaps they attributed their career success or that of their friends to a diploma. Or they felt moved by a particular professor or class. Or they received treatment at a university hospital or otherwise profited from university-based scientific research. Or they just loved March Madness.

What They Know: A Glossary

Key Tracking Terminology
Wall Street Journal

Too many laws, too many prisoners

The Economist

THREE pickup trucks pulled up outside George Norris’s home in Spring, Texas. Six armed police in flak jackets jumped out. Thinking they must have come to the wrong place, Mr Norris opened his front door, and was startled to be shoved against a wall and frisked for weapons. He was forced into a chair for four hours while officers ransacked his house. They pulled out drawers, rifled through papers, dumped things on the floor and eventually loaded 37 boxes of Mr Norris’s possessions onto their pickups. They refused to tell him what he had done wrong. “It wasn’t fun, I can tell you that,” he recalls.

Trading Karate Kicks for Deadly Force (Krav Maga)

By Lynnley Browning
New York Times


“The groin!” exclaimed Madison Schiavi.

Madison, an 8-year-old with a reddish-brown ponytail, had minced no words with her quick (and correct) response to the suggestion that she “talk about some vital spots we can hit.”