BEIJING (AFP) – Chinese archaeologists have uncovered previously unknown Great Wall ruins in a mountainous area in northeast China, state media reported Saturday.
The bricks and stones that once formed a section of the wall were found in mountains in Suizhong County in Liaoning province, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing a report by provincial relics and mapping authorities.
The section of walls was rebuilt in the Ming Dynasty from 1368-1644, but substantial parts had disappeared or eroded after years of neglect, the report said.
Generations of local farmers did not know the bricks and stones were part of the Great Wall and sometimes used them to build houses, local authorities said, adding no measures were ever put in place to protect the walls.
The earliest incarnation of the Great Wall was built more than 2,000 years ago to defend against invading northern nomadic tribes. But most sections still standing were rebuilt in later dynasties.
In recent times, the wall has suffered extensively at the hands of modern development, with parts of it destroyed to make way for roads and other forms of construction.
Cady Coleman won't be the only mom spending this year's Mother's Day away from her child and family, but she will be higher up than any other.
Coleman is a NASA astronaut who's been living 220 miles (350 km) above the planet on the International Space Station since December 2010. And, she's the only mom in space for Mother's Day (her five crewmates are all men).
Coleman and her husband Josh have a 10-year-old son.
"I miss them so much and I appreciate them," Coleman told the CBS television show The Talk, speaking recently from space. "It’s a lot of work for them for me to be gone. I'm just hoping that while I'm up here the things that I'll be doing end up being worth it, and I really think they will be."
A mom in space
While Cady Coleman is the only mother in space at the moment, she isn't the first. Many spaceflyers are parents; the first mom to fly to orbit was NASA astronaut Anna Fisher, who flew on the space shuttle Discovery's STS-51A mission in 1984.
Coleman is a retired colonel in the U.S. Air Force, and has a Ph.D. in polymer science and engineering. This trip to the International Space Station is her third mission to space, following two stints on the space shuttle Columbia in 1995 and 1999. Coleman is scheduled to return to Earth on May 23 on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft landing in Kazakhstan.
But even when Coleman has both feet on the ground, staying close to her family is never easy.
"My husband lives in Massachusetts, I live in Texas, and I spent the last three years getting ready for the space station, spending about a third of my time in ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
May 08 2011
Life is known to exist in some unimaginably harsh places, from frigid polar ice to scorching hydrothermal vents. Now scientists have found a smorgasbord of microbes thriving in another unlikely realm: the vast, hot, rocky environment within the Earth's crust beneath the ocean floor.
Some inhabitants of this realm have been collected by scientists using iron-containing rocks as bait. The rocks were suspended within special observatory systems deep below the Pacific Ocean floor.
"The microbes we were finding on these rocks were actually very unique. There are very few places on Earth they are found, and at this point we don't have a very good idea of what they can do," said Beth Orcutt, who led the project while at the University of Southern California. She is now a postdoctoral researcher in Denmark at the Center for Geomicrobiology.
A study she and others published recently focused on the results from one observatory located in the crust below the northeast Pacific Ocean, on the eastern flank of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Genetic analysis revealed that the microbes populating the rock samples there were "strikingly different" from microbial communities in related environments, including the surrounding seafloor and in hydrothermal vents, which spew hot water from beneath the crust into the ocean.
Many of the critters belong to the broad group of bacteria called Firmicutes, the genes suggested. But having an idea of where these organisms fit in their family tree is not the same as knowing what they do, Orcutt told LiveScience.
Scientists particularly want to discover how much the microbes are involved in the vital exchange of chemicals that continuously takes place between the below-ocean crust and the water.
The microbes live in an enormous reservoir of hot water beneath the ocean ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
AMSTERDAM – Denmark earns the biggest share of its national revenue from producing windmills and other clean technologies, the United States is rapidly expanding its clean-tech sector, but no country can match China's pace of growth, according to a new report obtained by The Associated Press.
China's production of green technologies has grown by a remarkable 77 per cent a year, according to the report, which was commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and which will be unveiled on Monday at an industry conference in Amsterdam.
"The Chinese have made, on the political level, a conscious decision to capture this market and to develop this market aggressively," said Donald Pols, an economist with the WWF.
Denmark, a longtime leader in wind energy, derives 3.1 percent of its gross domestic product from renewable energy technology and energy efficiency, or about euro6.5 billion ($9.4 billion), the report said.
China is the largest producer in money terms, earning more than euro44 billion ($64 billion), or 1.4 percent of its gross domestic product.
The U.S. ranks 17 in the production of clean technologies with 0.3 percent of GDP, or euro31.5 billion ($45 billion), but those industries have been expanding at a rate of 28 percent per year since 2008.
"The U.S. is growing substantially, so it seems the policy of (President Barack) Obama is working," Pols said. But the U.S. cannot compare with China, he said.
"When you speak to the Chinese, climate change is not an ideological issue. It's just a fact of life. While we debate climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy, the debate is passed in China," Pols said. "For them it's implementation. It's a growth sector, and they want to capture this sector."
The report was ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
May 06 2011
Sony has responded to the US House of Representatives regarding the breach of the PlayStation Network.
Sony's eight-page response is addressed to California representative Bono Mack answering the 13 questions she posed to Sony following the breach. Questions included 'When was Sony aware of the attack?', 'When did Sony notify legal authorities?', and 'Did Sony know who was responsible?'
As Sony has previously stated, the company said that it first became aware of the attack on April 19 because certain PSN systems rebooted when they were not scheduled to do so. On April 20, Sony discovered that data had been transferred from the PlayStation Network from an unauthorised outside intrusion. Since Sony could not determine the type of data that was transferred, the PlayStation Network was shut down for investigation.
Sony first contacted the FBI on April 22 with information regarding the attack. However, Sony claims that it had not yet discovered the full extent and scope of the attack at the time it contacted the FBI. The full scope of the attack included personal information stolen from 77 million PSN accounts, including 12.3 million users with credit card information stored on Sony's servers.
Sony stated that it has not received any indication from credit companies of an increase in fraudulent charges following the attack on PSN.
In response to Mack's questions, Sony stated that it does not know who exactly is responsible for the attack. However, in a separate statement to the US House, Sony mentioned that after the attacks a file was discovered on the SOE servers titled "Anonymous" with the words: "We are Legion."
It should be noted that the file planted on SOE servers is not conclusive proof of Anonymous's involvement. Prior to the PSN breach, several Sony websites were ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
May 01 2011
Sony has announced that a number of PSN services will resume over the next week
Posting on the EU PS Blog, the platform holder confirmed that PlayStation Home, online play, friends lists and chat functionality are soon to return.
Movie rentals, Music Unlimited, downloaded games and account management will also be reintroduced when the platform goes back online.
Access to the PlayStation Store is unlikely to be among the initial returned services as Sony said that it will reopen at some point "this month".
The studio also outlined the additional security measures it has brought in to ensure that the problem does not recur. Additional firewalls have been introduced and data protection levels and encryption have been enhanced.
Automated software monitoring and configuration management have also been implemented to help defend against new attacks, and improved detection software brought in to aid in their identification.
To compensate users for the disruption, Sony is offering a Welcome Back pack, which includes a 30-day subscription to PlayStation Plus. Current PS Plus users will be given an extra 30 days and free region-specific content. Qriocity subscribers will also receive an extra 30 days.
Addressing concerns that users' credit card information is at risk, the firm said that there is no evidence that any credit card information has been stolen, but urged account holders to "remain vigilant".
37 million PS3s and 16 million PSPs are connected to PSN worldwide. The service went down on the evening of Wednesday, April 20 as a result of hacker activity.
77 million customers affected
Notification delay: breach happened April 17-19
No law requiring companies to tell customers of breach
Passwords, logons, email addresses exposed
Nothing to stop hackers acquiring new credit cards
The head of the NSW Police fraud squad has warned Australian PlayStation users that they may have to cancel their credit cards after hackers stole enough information to even take out loans on the victims' behalf.
The Australian Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim, said he was "very concerned" and would contact Sony for more information on the breach, which security researchers have said may be the largest theft of identity data on record. His office has begun an "own motion investigation" into the matter.
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Despite its PlayStation Network being knocked offline for the past week, Sony waited until today to notify its 77 million customers that an "illegal and unauthorised person" gained access to their names, addresses, email address, birthdates, usernames, passwords, logins, security questions and more.
The company also could not rule out credit card numbers and expiry dates being stolen. But even if no credit cards were stolen, the other details are enough to cause significant identity theft issues.
"If you're armed with enough personal information you could basically do anything that the legitimate person could do themselves ... [such as] obtain various forms of credit, you could target their banking accounts," said NSW Police Detective Superintendent Col Dyson in a phone interview.
Detective Superintendent Dyson said those who obtained the personal information could use it to commit identity crimes or use the information to build a profile of the victims, which would then be ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Nokia may have left MeeGo out in the rain, but LG could be the one to bring it an umbrella. LG is said to be in talks to adopt MeeGo, an open source platform, on some or all of its smartphones, reports Reuters. ZTE and China Mobile may also be developing handsets based on the fledgling, still unfinished operating system.
Though Nokia and Intel began the MeeGo project together, the Finnish phone maker’s departure may actually benefit the OS. Previously, other manufacturers have stayed away due to Nokia’s dominant role in the platform’s development. “It’s opening opportunities for the others to come in,” said Valtteri Halla, a member of the technical steering group of MeeGo, earlier today. ”Discussions are taking place. You’ll see things coming out this year, pretty soon.”
LG is still coy about the platform, but isn’t denying the possibility. “At this point in time LG has no definitive plans to mass produce devices with MeeGo other than car infotainment systems,” said one spokesperson. Like a lot of manufacturers, as of late, LG is neck-deep in Android development. However, as more and more Android handsets hit the market, it may be searching for new ways to differentiate its platform.
Nokia isn’t completely cutting the cord yet, however. Though the company is now committed to developing Windows Phone handsets, it is still releasing Symbian devices and will make and release a single MeeGo device later this year. No details on the device are yet available.
Apr 16 2011
When a group of developers broke off from Oracle last year to establish the Document Foundation and create the new LibreOffice open-source office suite, it was unclear what would become of the well-known OpenOffice.org project they left behind. Today, Oracle has announced that it will no longer offer a commercial version of the OpenOffice.org software, and that it plans to move the suite to a purely community-based open source project.
In a statement, Oracle Chief Corporate Architect Edward Screven said, "Given the breadth of interest in free personal productivity applications and the rapid evolution of personal computing technologies, we believe the OpenOffice.org project would be best managed by an organization focused on serving that broad constituency on a non-commercial basis. We intend to begin working immediately with community members to further the continued success of Open Office. Oracle will continue to strongly support the adoption of open standards-based document formats, such as the Open Document Format (ODF)."
"Oracle has a long history of investing in the development and support of open source products," Screven continued. "We will continue to make large investments in open source technologies that are strategic to our customers including Linux and MySQL. Oracle is focused on Linux and MySQL because both of these products have won broad based adoption among commercial and government customers."
Oracle provided no additional information about OpenOffice.org, or its own proprietary Web-based office suite, Oracle Cloud Office, which also supports ODF.
NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – Although many American workers have embraced social media sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn, they are uncomfortable about sharing information about their sex lives or salaries, according to a new survey.
The poll of 2,118 adults showed that slightly more than three out of four participate in a social network site but they lean more toward posting things like restaurant reviews or vacation photos.
"In this era of over-sharing, people tend to clam up on a couple of topics, one of which is salary," said Rusty Rueff a career expert at Glassdoor.com, an employment website that commissioned the Harris poll.
"We've yet to get over the salary taboo offline, and it is often to the individual's benefit to become more comfortable discussing job information and insights with co-workers, friends and even family," he added in a statement.
The Harris online poll also showed that about 55 to 70 percent of people did not mind sharing non-personal information, but they were more guarded about their children's activities and their household purchases.
Only two percent said they were comfortable sharing information about their sex life or their salary details. Employees were also more inclined to share relationship status than employment status.
Rueff said that fear and societal norms are behind the reluctance to share job and pay information.
More women than men were likely to use social networking sites and people 18 to 34 years old were more inclined to share information on relationships, employment status and career advancement than other age groups, according to the survey.
Women were also more apt to share non-job related information on things like relationship status, vacation pictures and shopping trips.
College graduates were more likely to share job search information. People ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)