gravitational waves generated during inflation. The researchers believe the signal they detected was cosmic in origin and did not come from
Schizophrenia, which affects 1 in 100 people
worldwide and an estimated 2.4 million
Americans, exacts tremendous social costs and
great human suffering. Drugs can calm the inner voices,
delusions and hallucinations, but few patients recover
fully, and there is no cure. Nor are there predictive
tests or internal markers for the disease — it must be
diagnosed by outward signs alone.
But this problem is at last yielding
to progress on the genetic front.
In July, an international
consortium of schizophrenia
researchers, mounting what
it calls the largest biological
experiment in the history of
psychiatry, reported 108 regions
in the genome associated with
schizophrenia. Two dozen of
these genetic links had been
recorded before, but more than
80 were new. Neuroscientists
now have many more avenues
for exploring the biologi ... Detalii... »
Earlier in 2014, cosmologists
thought they were finally
closing in on an answer
to that age-old question, “How
did it all begin?” In March,
Harvard astrophysicist John Kovac
announced that a small telescope
at the South Pole called BICEP2
(short for Background Imaging of
Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization)
had captured signals that apparently
come from “the first trillionth of a
trillionth of a trillionth of a second
in the history of the universe.”
Independent confirmation was
still needed, said Kovac, who heads
the BICEP2 team, but if the result
held up, it would mean scientists were on the verge of
witnessing and understanding the moment of creation
for our cosmos. Then data from the European Space
Agency’s Planck space telescope rolled in six months later,
casting doub ... Detalii... »
The Home Depot and Target breaches were examples of how our commercial infrastructure is very vulnerable to those who want to exploit it. As criminals increase their sophistication, they will pick bigger and more complex targets. That targeting won’t be for the intellectual challenge — it will be because bigger targets have more to offer. Theft of millions of credit card transactions provides a huge body of information to break up and resell to other criminals. Theft of medical data, design and marketing plans, and financial information is a growing business with little in the way to discourage it. It took months before the Home Depot and Target breaches were detected. It took more time before the companies patched their software, then assured customers that the patched systems were safe. Can we really trust that ... Detalii... »
The vast majority of terror killings on airlines are by bombs hidden in checked luggage. To date, less than half of all checked baggage (and almost no cargo) is screened for explosives.
El Al Airlines, with the world’s most efficient security, is often consulted for anti-terror advice. In 1987 an Israeli expert drafted a thorough security plan for Pan American Airways. It involved profiling passengers, hiring only professional security staff (not minimum-wage high school dropouts), and carefully inspecting all carry-on items, checked baggage, and hold cargo.
The company rejected the idea as “overly expensive” and “intrusive to passengers.” A year later, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland—from a bomb in unin
spected checked baggage. Pan Am soon after went out of business.
As long as airlines continue to gamble with passengers’ safety just for the sake of stockholders’ dividends, we are all in d ... Detalii... »
Anyone who travels by air has good reason to be concerned. Besides post-9/11 jitters, we increasingly hear reports of flaws in the air traffic system, overworked flight controllers, computer failures at peak traffic hours, near misses in the air and on the ground.
One carefully underreported threat (don’t panic the customers) is shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles—easy to operate, inexpensive, and readily available—presently impossible for civilian airliners to defend against. Our airplanes are, if not sitting, at least slow-flying ducks for terrorists.
Cited again and again is incompetence at all levels of the agencies tasked with aviation security. Most “security measures” supposedly in place to protect air travelers are highly cosmetic. Officials at the highest levels proclaim that “the government is doing everything in its power to counter terrorism.” We hope that this brief review of airport ... Detalii... »