Internet Radio ‘Day of Silence’ Protest

Hundreds of Internet radio stations and channels across America are shutting off their music streams on Wednesday, May 1st, in a “Day of Silence” to highlight their concern over the upcoming U.S. Copyright Office ruling on royalty rates that may shut down or bankrupt the vast majority of the nascent Internet radio industry.

The Librarian of Congress is required to set “sound recordings performance royalty” rates for Internet radio stations by May 21st — and an arbitration panel (a “CARP”) working for that office has recommended a rate of $.0014 per listener per song (or $.0007 for broadcast simulcasts). Many webcasters say the proposed royalty rate is the equivalent of 200% or more of their revenues.

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Scientists Closer To Predicting Space Weather

NASA and university scientists are watching the Sun in an effort to learn how better to predict space weather ‚ blasts of particles from the Sun that impact the magnetosphere, the magnetic bubble around the Earth.

With improvements in solar-storm prediction methods, scientists are looking toward advancements that may offer the opportunity to issue solar-weather watches, similar to tornado watches. This advance warning will give people on Earth more time to prepare by placing satellites in a safe configuration, planning the best time for astronaut space walks or rocket launches, and implementing contingency plans to deal with any power outages.

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Employees Now Pose Big Threat to Corporate Security

The UK government has just released their annual Information Security Breaches report, which shows that while 75 percent of large companies reported that external hackers and criminals were their biggest security threat last year, this year it seems employees themselves are the criminals.

The report was released at the Infosec trade show in London, and reveals that 48 percent of large companies blame an employee for their worst security incident this year. More here.

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High-Tech Pay Drops First Time in a Decade

Information Technology managers should see an average 8 percent decline in total compensation this year, while rank and file IT workers should expect their pay to fall by 11 percent, according to a study by high-technology trade publication Information Week.

The study found that IT managers earn a median base salary of $83,000 a year, while IT staffers make $61,000. The lower salaries many of them are seeing this year represents the first such drop in a decade, according to Information Week, which surveyed more than 10,000 people employed in high-tech. More here.

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Bull Clone Stumps Scientists Expecting Cow

A healthy bull calf born on a ranch in southeast Brazil astonished scientists who were expecting a female cloned from an adult cow.

Although not Brazil’s first cloned calf, it may be the first cloned from somatic, or adult, cells. And scientists have yet to explain how they got a bull from ear cells of a cow.

The project’s chief veterinarian, Jose Visintin, said on Monday the experiment “either erred in the laboratory or in the field.”

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Women Seek Wives So Family Lives On

Imagine being barren in a society where infertility is a virtual taboo and carrying on the family line is all important.

You have a husband and home, but feel ashamed and worthless because when you die, your name will be forgotten.

While the west looks to doctors and test tubes to overcome childlessness, many communities in Africa take an approach closer to home.

Here in Kenya, a woman who cannot conceive can simply marry another woman who is single and able to have children.

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Scientists Discover Gene Necessary for Female Fertility

Recent studies may provide added insight into the issue of unexplained infertility and offer the possibility of a new approach to treatment. Researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development were attempting to investigate premature ovarian failure when they discovered the “maternal effect” gene, or “Mater” gene in female mice.

The Mater gene in mice produces a protein gene necessary for a fertilized egg to develop. In mice with premature ovarian failure, it appeared as though an immune system attack on the protein produced by the Mater gene was the cause of the ovarian failure. Additionally, in female mice missing the Mater gene, fertilized eggs were unable to survive beyond the two-cell stage. The function of the protein was determined when researchers developed a strain of mice lacking both copies of the gene. They found that these mice were infertile.
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Calculating the Rate of Information Decay on the Web

Google has yet another application: measuring the rate of decay of information on the web. By plotting the number of results at 3,6, and 12 months for a series of phrases, this study claims to have uncovered a corresponding 60-70-80 percent decay rate. Essentially, 60% of the web changes every 3 months.

You may be amused by some of the phrases he notes as exceptional.
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Trends in Female Entrepreneurship

There is a trend toward female entrepreneurship. Between 1992 and 1997, the number of women-owned firms increased two-and-a-half times faster than all U.S. businesses (16% compared to 6%). Employment in women-owned firms grew more than three times the rate for all firms (28% compared to 8%). During this same time period, the number of women-owned firms with employees grew six times faster than the national average (37% compared to 6%). Payroll in women-owned firms grew at almost twice the rate for all firms (46% compared to 25%).

Instead of starting out on a mountain of credit, many women businesses start out with minimal financial resources and a more customized service for a smaller client base. According to a the Small Business Administration study, nearly three-fourths of women-owned firms which were founded in 1991, were still going three years later, as compared with two-thirds of all U.S. companies.

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Hair Storage Startup Sees Opportunity

Mike Blaylock’s San Francisco startup, Hairogenics Inc., is offering to preserve strands of your hair until science finds a better cure for baldness. He reasons that if sheep already can be cloned, it’s only a matter of time before some biotechnology company finds a way to duplicate real hair.

When that day comes, Blaylock says bald people will be glad they paid Hairogenics to stash their hair in a climate-controlled vault located 14 feet below a Portland, Ore. hair salon. The cost: $49.95 for the initial hair collection kit and a $10 annual storage fee after that. More hair.

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NASA, Florida University to Open Space Agricultural Center

As explorers venture farther from Earth and stay longer in the international space station, they will need to grow their own fresh veggies and learn how to be high-tech farmers in zero gravity.

Growing food in the starkness of space is a challenge that researchers from the University of Florida and NASA will tackle at a new Center for Space Agricultural Biotechnology Research and Education, or SABRE, to be unveiled Monday at the Kennedy Space Center in Brevard County.

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Scientists Discover Bubonic Plague Gene

It was the modification of a single gene that transformed a minor stomach irritant into the bubonic plague, killing a quarter of Europe’s 14th Century population, according to a new study.

A Swedish-US team of researchers found that the plague germ differs from other intestinal bacteria by only one gene – the gene that controls person to person transmission of the germ via an insect bite, according to an article to appear Friday in Science magazine.

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