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Hawking Addresses Canadian Think Tank

WATERLOO, Ontario, June 21 (UPI) — Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking received a welcome befitting a celebrity as he prepared to give a lecture at a Canadian think tank, observers say.

Lecture attendees — Cabinet ministers, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and local politicians — arrived Sunday by limousine, luxury cars and even a helicopter at Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, The Globe and Mail reported.

Hawking, who suffers from a motor-neuron condition commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS, painstakingly operated the computer that creates a voice for his thoughts to deliver an address on his research, the newspaper said.

“We don’t know why we can do it, but we know how to do it,” Hawking said of efforts to understand the universe.

His lecture in front of 200 invited guests was broadcast on Canadian television Sunday evening, The Globe and Mail reported.

BlackBerry founder Michael Lazaridis created the Perimeter institute to study fundamental science questions regarding space, time and quantum physics, the newspaper said.

“I am hoping and expecting great things will happen here,” Hawking said of the institute, citing a combination of brilliant people and an intellectual environment where “magical progress can happen.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Recall of SpaghettiOs Announced

CAMDEN, N.J., June 18 (UPI) — The U.S. maker of SpaghettiOs says it is voluntarily recalling three varieties of the pasta product, which may have been under-processed.

Campbell Soup Co. is recalling SpaghettiOs with Meatballs, SpaghettiOs A to Z with Meatballs, and SpaghettiOs Fun Shapes with Meatballs (Cars), all in 14.75-ounce cans, the company said in a release Thursday.

Cans carrying a “Use By” date between June 2010 and December with factory code EST4K are being recalled, the company said.

The problem was discovered in a routine warehouse inspection at its Paris, Texas, facility, the company said, and the recall is limited to the United States.

Consumers who have purchased any of the affected items should return them to where they were purchased for exchange or refund, Campbell said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Hydrogen Storage-generating System Created

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., June 16 (UPI) — U.S. chemical engineers say they’ve developed a process called hydrothermolysis that generates and stores hydrogen to run fuel cells in cars.

Purdue University Professor Arvind Varma, who led the research, said the process uses a powdered chemical called ammonia borane, which has one of the highest hydrogen contents of all solid materials.

“This is the first process to provide exceptionally high hydrogen yield values at near the fuel-cell operating temperatures without using a catalyst, making it promising for hydrogen-powered vehicles,” he said. “We have a proof of concept.”

Ammonia borane contains 19.6 percent hydrogen, a high weight percentage that means a relatively small quantity and volume of the material are needed to store large amounts of hydrogen, Varma said.

“The key is how to efficiently release the hydrogen from this compound, and that is what we have discovered,” he said.

The research that included former doctoral student Moiz Diwan, postdoctoral researcher Hyun Tae Hwang and doctoral student Ahmad al-Kukhun was presented Tuesday in Philadelphia during the International Symposium on Chemical Reaction Engineering.

The study will also appear in an upcoming issue of the AIChE Journal, published by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Study: Macho Drivers Take More Risks

MONTREAL, May 27 (UPI) — The more “macho” a man is, the more risks he is likely to take while driving, researchers in Canada found.

Julie Langlois, a graduate student at the University of Montreal, said she found aggressive behavior is deeply rooted in the male stereotype.

“Aggressive driving allows some men to express their masculinity, which could serve as a predictor of dangerous driving,” Langlois said in a statement. “Cars are often a vehicle by which character traits are expressed and preventing risky behavior is an issue of public safety.”

Langlois used the Auburn Differential Masculinity Inventory — a questionnaire of 60 statements such as “men who cry are weak,” or “generally speaking, men are more intelligent than women.”

The researchers asked 22 men sitting in a driving simulator to “catch that car!” but didn’t tell them to disobey the law. The study subjects knew others had done the task in 7 minutes.

The study found some participants caught the car within 5 minutes, while some caught the car in 12 minutes and took fewer risks.

“Some men develop a passion for driving that can verge on the obsessive,” Langlois said. “They consider cars to be an extension of themselves and they become extremely aggressive if they are honked at or cut off.”

Langlois presented the findings at the annual conference of the Association francophone pour le savoir.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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EPA to impose permits on large polluters

WASHINGTON, May 14 (UPI) — Coal-fired power plants and other major U.S. emitters of greenhouse gases will need to seek pollution permits starting in 2011, federal regulators said.

The rule released Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency covers new sources of at least 100,000 tons of greenhouse gases a year and existing plants that increase emissions by 75,000 tons.

In its first two years, the rule is expected to affect about 15,550 coal-fired plants, refineries, cement makers, solid waste landfills and other big polluters, EPA spokeswoman Gina McCarthy told The New York Times in a story published Friday.

The rule would affect about 70 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, she said.

The EPA set its sights on larger polluters after scrapping a plan to require emitters of 25,000 tons of gases a year to seek permits. That plan would have imposed permits on family farms and large apartment buildings.

“What we realized at the 25,000 level was that we were going to be actually reaching sources that we did not intend to reach,” McCarthy said.

More cars vulnerable to computer hackers

SAN DIEGO, May 14 (UPI) — Increasingly sophisticated cars need to be protected from hackers who could tamper with computerized systems, U.S. scientists said.

As more cars become connected to the Internet through wireless systems, hackers could remotely sabotage the vehicles, The New York Times reported Friday.

In tests, computer security experts at the University of Washington and the University of California, San Diego, said they were able to remotely control braking, stop the engine and activate dozens of other functions, almost all of them while a car was in motion.

The researchers tested two versions of a late-model car in laboratory and field settings. The researchers did not publicly identify the manufacturer or model, but said they believed the cars were representative of the computer network systems found in many late-model cars today.

“You should expect that various entry points in the automotive environment are no more secure in the automotive environment than they are in your PC,” said Stefan Savage, a computer scientist in San Diego.

Dirty keyboards a health hazard

LONDON, May 14 (UPI) — Computer keyboards can be breeding grounds for E. coli and other hazardous organisms, scientists in Britain said.

Some keyboards in London offices showed traces of E. coli, coliforms and enterobacteria, which most likely were transmitted by mice and other vermin attracted to food morsels trapped between keys, the Royal Society of Chemistry said.

Office workers eat over their keyboards and drop crumbs by day and the vermin move in at night, leaving feces and disease, researchers said.

Workers can get sick by typing on a fouled keyboard and then picking up food or touching their faces with unwashed hands, the New York Daily News reported Friday.

Graphic designer Jean-Pierre Chery, 27, of New York, said he eats at his keyboard a lot and has never cleaned the crumbs that fall between the keys.

“I’ve got a whole ecosystem going on at the bottom of my keyboard right now,” Chery told the News.

Climate change killing lizards worldwide

SANTA CRUZ, Calif., May 14 (UPI) — Twenty percent of all lizard species could be extinct by 2080 because of rising temperatures involved in climate change, a California researcher said.

Lizards worldwide are far more susceptible to climate-warming extinction than previously thought because many species already live at the edge of their thermal limits, said Barry Sinervo of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Sinervo and colleagues from around the world said they reached their conclusions after comparing field studies of lizards in Mexico to lizard studies from other countries.

Rising temperatures already have driven an estimated 12 percent of Mexico’s Sceloporus lizard population to extinction, the scientists wrote in a recent issue of the journal Science.

“We are actually seeing lowland species moving upward in elevation, slowly driving upland species extinct, and if the upland species can’t evolve fast enough then they’re going to continue to go extinct,” Sinervo said in a release from the university Thursday.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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More Cars Vulnerable to Computer Hackers

SAN DIEGO, May 14 (UPI) — Increasingly sophisticated cars need to be protected from hackers who could tamper with computerized systems, U.S. scientists said.

As more cars become connected to the Internet through wireless systems, hackers could remotely sabotage the vehicles, The New York Times reported Friday.

In tests, computer security experts at the University of Washington and the University of California, San Diego, said they were able to remotely control braking, stop the engine and activate dozens of other functions, almost all of them while a car was in motion.

The researchers tested two versions of a late-model car in laboratory and field settings. The researchers did not publicly identify the manufacturer or model, but said they believed the cars were representative of the computer network systems found in many late-model cars today.

“You should expect that various entry points in the automotive environment are no more secure in the automotive environment than they are in your PC,” said Stefan Savage, a computer scientist in San Diego.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Is the 1 series BMW more efficient than the 3 series BMW?

Barring the 335d sedan, which apparently gets 36mpg on the highway, no. The BMW 1 series and the BMW 3 series have extremely comparable highway mpg numbers. Although one must keep in mind that the more you carry in a car, the worse your gas mileage will be, so if you get a 3 series with a higher capacity, you’ll use more gas. Whether or not you feel this is a hit to efficiency is up to you.

I hope this helped!

Citations:

http://www.bmwusa.com/standard/content/vehicles/2011/1/default.aspx

http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Content/Vehicles/2011/3/default.aspx?enc=/eiUrYOZAxtXbrazY6tfknvs2p4czl6fdqlc7VGB7GMJX5l1VO2sOAFdFIop/Xi0YqDUM/o7tGByNG5bybsokqo5Z/b/wdgoa45iuf3ivNfzmvxkVBPXdC+v9qWdWTABRFs6gNiBrlJ40M21xKYXSCtv4Y5m2Jr/A0vBuieMvi9Wz0gFmES/BkC

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EPA Monitoring Gulf Air and Water

WASHINGTON, May 8 (UPI) — As crude oil makes its way inland from the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. government has set up equipment to monitor air and water quality, officials said.

Officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said since the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico April 22, the agency has been monitoring and responding to potential public health and environmental concerns.

Air quality monitoring near Venice, La., indicated elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide at one monitor on Wednesday and two monitors Thursday and people near this area may have smelled what smells like rotten eggs. However, the source of the hydrogen sulfide is not known, the EPA said.

Inhaling the hydrogen sulfide may have caused irritation of the eyes, nose or throat, the EPA Web site said.

EPA’s emergency response teams also put up monitoring stations to monitor larger particulate matter. People may see elevated levels of particulate matter — at moderate levels — along the Gulf — but this is not due to the presence of the crude oil, particulate matter or ozone is not uncommon in the Gulf coast area this time of year from other man-made sources such as factories, power plants, or cars.

EPA health monitoring is at: http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/air.html.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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Historic tornado research project planned

BOULDER, Colo., April 29 (UPI) — More than 100 scientists will soon spend six weeks on the road across the U.S. Great Plains in what’s called the most ambitious tornado study in history.

The effort — called Vortex2 — is designed to surround tornadoes with an unprecedented fleet of mobile radars and sensitive instruments to examine in detail how tornadoes form, their patterns of damage and how to improve severe weather forecasting.

The May 1-June 15 international project involves scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Environment Canada, Pennsylvania State University, Texas Tech University, Lyndon State College, Purdue University, North Carolina State University and the universities of Oklahoma, Colorado, Massachusetts and Nebraska.

The researchers said the project covers the most active part of the U.S. tornado season on the Great Plains, where violent twisters are more common than on any other place on Earth.

“Tornadoes rank among the most destructive weather events on Earth, and it’s imperative that we learn more about how they develop and why some are so powerful and long-lived,” said David Dowell, an NCAR scientist who is one of the project’s principal investigators.

The first Vortex project was conducted in 1994 and 1995 and its findings are credited with improving National Weather Service tornado warnings.

The $11.9 million program is funded primarily by the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

FDA OKs advanced prostate cancer therapy

WASHINGTON, April 29 (UPI) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced approval Thursday of a new therapy for certain men suffering advanced prostate cancer.

The FDA said the drug, Provenge (sipuleucel-T), allows patients to use their own immune system to fight the disease. The drug is indicated for the treatment of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and is resistant to standard hormone treatment.

“The availability of Provenge provides a new treatment option for men with advanced prostate cancer, who currently have limited effective therapies available,” said Dr. Karen Midthun, acting director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

Provenge is an autologous cellular immunotherapy, designed to stimulate a patient’s own immune system to respond against the cancer. Each dose of Provenge is manufactured by obtaining a patient’s immune cells from the blood, the FDA said. The immune cells are then exposed to a protein that is found in most prostate cancers, linked to an immune stimulating substance. After that process, the patient’s own cells are returned to the patient to treat the prostate cancer.

Provenge, administered intravenously in a three-dose schedule given at about two-week intervals, is manufactured by the Dendreon Corp. in Seattle.

NASA develops new sensor technology

HAMPTON, Va., April 29 (UPI) — NASA scientists say they have developed a wireless sensor technology that can give operators of cars, planes, boats and trains more accurate fuel readings.

NASA senior scientist Stan Woodard at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and ATK Corp. electronics technician Bryant Taylor said their magnetic fluid-level measuring system eliminates the need for any electrical component or circuit to be in contact with combustible fuel or fuel vapors. The system is already in use by commercial and recreational boaters.

“This fundamental technology could be used to design an unlimited number of sensors for a variety of measurements,” Woodard said. “Just think about anything that you would want to measure. Don’t be surprised when you see this technology commercially available in your home or cars.”

Originally developed by NASA to retrofit aging aircraft with safety equipment, researchers said the technology is a spinoff for designing and using sensors without the shortcomings of many commonly used liquid storage measurement systems.

NASA said it has approved a partially exclusive license for wireless sensor technologies with Caplan Taylor Enterprises LLC of Newport News, Va, doing business as Tidewater Sensors.

More information is available at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/business/tg-detail-wirelessfluidsensor.html.

Discovery on how breast cancer may spread

SAN FRANCISCO, April 29 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say they have discovered how to predict if the most common form of breast cancer may later spread.

Lead author Karla Kerlikowske of the University of California, San Francisco, and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, says the most common form of breast cancer –ductal carcinoma in situ — rarely leads to death, but approximately 11 out of 100 women treated by lumpectomy develop invasive cancer within eight years of the initial diagnosis.

In this group of women, 1 percent to 2 percent of women die of breast cancer within 10 years of diagnosis, Kerlikowske says.

“Women will have much more information, so they can better know their risk of developing invasive cancer,” Kerlikowske says in a statement. “It will lead to a more personalized approach to treatment. As many as 44 percent of patients with ductal carcinoma in situ may not require any further treatment, and can rely instead on surveillance.”

The discovery allows physicians to pinpoint the group of patients with the lowest risk and the group at highest risk of developing invasive cancer, the researchers said.

The findings are published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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NASA Develops New Sensor Technology

HAMPTON, Va., April 29 (UPI) — NASA scientists say they have developed a wireless sensor technology that can give operators of cars, planes, boats and trains more accurate fuel readings.

NASA senior scientist Stan Woodard at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., and ATK Corp. electronics technician Bryant Taylor said their magnetic fluid-level measuring system eliminates the need for any electrical component or circuit to be in contact with combustible fuel or fuel vapors. The system is already in use by commercial and recreational boaters.

“This fundamental technology could be used to design an unlimited number of sensors for a variety of measurements,” Woodard said. “Just think about anything that you would want to measure. Don’t be surprised when you see this technology commercially available in your home or cars.”

Originally developed by NASA to retrofit aging aircraft with safety equipment, researchers said the technology is a spinoff for designing and using sensors without the shortcomings of many commonly used liquid storage measurement systems.

NASA said it has approved a partially exclusive license for wireless sensor technologies with Caplan Taylor Enterprises LLC of Newport News, Va, doing business as Tidewater Sensors.

More information is available at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/business/tg-detail-wirelessfluidsensor.html.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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