Crackberry: Wireless Email for the Office

Sprint, its cellular division Sprint PCS and Cingular Wireless–say they have created wireless messaging services that are secure enough for use by corporations and their mobile work forces.

The new services, two of which were launched Monday, are expected to put pressure on Research in Motion, the maker of the popular Blackberry wireless paging devices that now dominate the wireless corporate e-mail market with approximately 289,000 subscribers. Most are corporate clients, among whom the devices have the nickname “Crackberry” because of their addictive nature.

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VC Investments at Lowest Level Since ’98

Shellshocked venture capitalists became even more stingy with their money in the first quarter, curtailing their investments in startups to the lowest level since 1998, according to a report released Monday.

The $5.1 billion that venture capitalists invested during the three months ended March 31 represented a 53 percent drop from the same time last year, according to statistics compiled by Ernst & Young and VentureOne. The first-quarter volume marked the lowest quarterly amount since startups raised $4.8 billion during the final three months of 1998, the report said.

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Wireless Cable

A new television technology is coming after eight long years of debate.

It’s digital. It’s wireless. It’s local. It offers high-speed Internet access. It is akin to digital cable — but without any cables.

The service does not yet have a catchy one-word name like “satellite” or “cable.” When the Federal Communications Commission approved the technological service last week, it referred to it as a “multichannel video distribution and data service.”

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Survey: Few in U.S. Understand Science

Few people in the United States understand the scientific process and many believe in mysterious psychic powers and may be quick to accept phony science reports, according to a national survey.

The survey, part of the National Science Foundation’s biennial report on the state of science understanding, research, education and investment, found that the belief in “pseudoscience” is common in America. The study found that science literacy has improved only slightly since the previous survey and that 70 percent of American adults do not understand the scientific process. More here.

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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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