Interesting Reading #552 - Gluing locks, F-150 powertrains, Star Wars Theme Park, Worst VC Investments and much more...

by | Aug 12, 2010 11:00 PM ET

Thousands of online banking customers have accounts emptied by 'most dangerous trojan virus ever created' - "Cyber criminals have raided the accounts of thousands of British internet bank customers in one of the most sophisticated attacks of its kind. The fraudsters used a malicious computer programme that hides on home computers to steal confidential passwords and account details from at least 3,000 people..." See also: New ‘Sophisticated' Trojan, Which Is Undetectable, Has Emptied Bank Accounts Worldwide

Following protons on a trip to (and through) the LHC - "All the focus on the LHC is generally on the enormous, 26km circumference of the main accelerator ring. But, according to Paul Collier, the head of CERN's Beams Department, the protons that form the main beams of the LHC travel roughly 6 million kilometers before even reaching the LHC, and these early steps are essential to making the LHC the highest energy, highest intensity particle collider ever built. And once inside the LHC, the proton beams still need to be accelerated and shaped even further before collisions can take place. To help you understand how it all works, we'll take a complete trip from the proton source to the detectors within the LHC, and explain how each step contributes to the final output..."

Building Muscle Doesn't Require Lifting Heavy Weights, Study Shows - "Current gym dogma holds that to build muscle size you need to lift heavy weights. However, a new study conducted at McMaster University has shown that a similar degree of muscle building can be achieved by using lighter weights. The secret is to pump iron until you reach muscle fatigue..."

Pea plant grows inside man's lung - "A Massachusetts man who was rushed to hospital with a collapsed lung came home with an unusual diagnosis: a pea plant was growing in his lung..."

Identified Gene May Bring on New Superbug - "Some British patients who underwent plastic surgery in South Asia were infected with a bacteria carrying a specialized gene that has the potential to turn almost any other bacteria into an antibiotic-resistant bug, according to an article published today in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases..."

Airphone 4 Review (Fake iPhone 4):

The Anti-Wrinkle Diet - "Sun exposure, smoking, genetics, aging, skimping on produce and "good" fats, eating a diet high in saturated fat and refined carbohydrates, and other factors all conspire to erode collagen and elastin, the fibers that keep skin smooth, flexible, and firm..."

Android GPS navigation: X-wing edition - "Why settle for a Star Wars voice pack when you can completely replace your boring, "useful" navigation system will an authentic X-wing targeting computer? That's thinking of Flash-developer Christopher Caleb, at least, who put his skills to use to develop this note-perfect Adobe AIR-based app for Android. Of course, you won't get anything like maps or points-of-interest, but you will see your destination slowly approach in the "trench" as you get near it, and Caleb has of course thrown in plenty of R2-D2 sounds and Rebel Alliance pilot chatter for good measure. To top it off, you can also simply switch it to a clock mode when you're not on a trench run road trip. Head on past the break to check it out in action..."

Dual Antennas Would Boost Cell-Phone Signals - "The recent furor over the iPhone 4's antenna has made consumers aware of the constraints designers face when trying to build sleek, compact gadgets that also get a good connection. Researchers at Rice University have come up with a design that could make signal worries a thing of the past, and extend battery life as well. The design uses two antennas that focus their power in different directions..."

Google's 7 net neutrality commandments listed and explained - "Last week, we joined the rest of the news and blog world in worrying about what Verizon and Google's net neutrality "deal" would mean for the future of the Internet. Now, the two companies iterated a spirit of openness, but it's too early to sigh in relief yet..."

How the Google/Verizon proposal could kill the internet in 5 years - "Earlier this week Google and Verizon pledged to uphold a set of network principles that could transform the internet into a husk of its former self. Let's look down the barrel of the Googlezon* future. Keep in mind that the two-page Googlezon proposal, which you can read here, isn't law, though both companies have requested that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) turn it into a formal regulation. Even if it isn't law, though, Googlezon has stated it will follow the proposal's principles. And mostly those principles are harbingers of a dystopian media future...."

Analysis: Google-Verizon model could pinch Hollywood - "Hollywood players increasingly looking at wireless devices as mini-theaters could be pinched by the policing of Internet traffic as proposed by Verizon and Google..."

Verizon and Google's Net Neutrality Agreement Explained: What Does it Mean to You? - "What does Google and Verizon's net neutrality proposal actually propose? And what does it mean for you?"

Facts about our network neutrality policy proposal - "Over the past few days there's been a lot of discussion surrounding our announcement of a policy proposal on network neutrality we put together with Verizon. On balance, we believe this proposal represents real progress on what has become a very contentious issue, and we think it could help move the network neutrality debate forward constructively..."

Google's Brin And Page Shouted At Each Other Over Google's Decision To Become Evil (Target Ads)--Then Brin Caved - "In the latest installment, WSJ reporter Jessica Vascellaro describes an internal document by a DoubleClick executive that was designed to help Google get into the display ad tracking and targeting game. There doesn't seem to have been much of interest in the document (at least nothing that the article mentioned), but Jessica observes that Google's thinking on cookie-based targeting evolved considerably over the years--from "nfw" to "well, everyone else is doing it, so we will, too.""

Facebook Criticizes Google Verizon Net Neutrality Pact - "FCC Commissioner Copps urges the agency to reassert authority over broadband telecommunications as the social network provider advocates principles of net neutrality for both landline and wireless networks..."

Eleven Tips For Buying A $1,000 Beater On Craigslist - "Times are tough, and it doesn't look like there's going to be any major economic recovery in the near future. A lot of people, myself included, have cut way back on spending just to make ends meet. Still, you can only cut back so far: ours is a culture based around the automobile, and you need a reliable set of wheels to get to and from work, the grocery store, your therapist, etc..."

Interest Rate Trends - "Three month, one year, three year and long-term trends of national average mortgage rates on 30-, 15-year fixed, 1-year (CMT-indexed) and 5/1 combined adjustable rate mortgages..."

Dark-matter search plunges physicists to new depths - " This month physicist Juan Collar and his associates are taking their attempt to unmask the secret identity of dark matter into a Canadian mine more than a mile underground. .."

Nuclear Reactor Renaissance - "The new reactor designs fall into three categories. First, there are the new light-water reactors, which aren't radically different from what's out there right now but add better safety features. Then there are the small modular reactors that produce less than 300 megawatts but can be scaled up. Need more power? Just add more modules to your plant. Finally, there are the really-out-there designs, known in the industry as Generation IV..."

Hydrogen bombshell: Rewriting life's history - "Oxygen is supposed to have driven the evolution of complex life – but the discovery of animals that thrive without it tells a different story..."

How Rice Can Resurrect Your Cell Phone and Other Natural Tech Fixes - "For every luxury electronics bring us, there comes an equal but opposite frustration. Flashlights go dim right as the power shuts off; the romantic date-night movie has a fatal scratch. To spare yourself some headaches, use these tips to repair common electronics damages without using harsh chemicals or expensive products!"

Astronauts embark on second spacewalk to fix cooling system - " NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station Wednesday began a second spacewalk to work on repairing a failed cooling system, the space agency said..."

Giant Mecca clock seeks to call time on Greenwich - "A standard time by which other clocks were set was needed to organise global travel and communications, but in the Islamic world the idea that it should be centred on a part of London is seen as a colonial anachronism. As Mohammed al-Arkubi, manager of one of the hotels in the complex, put it: "Putting Mecca time in the face of Greenwich Mean Time. This is the goal." "

Ford unveils quartet of new F-150 powertrains - "Confirming one of the worst-kept secrets in the industry, Ford Motor Company announced today that its 2011 F-150 lineup will receive four new powertrains, ranging from a base 3.7-liter V6 to a pair of V8s and even a twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6..."

Our Neandertal Brethren: Why They Were Not a Separate Species - "According to the late Harvard University biologist Ernst W. Mayr, the greatest evolutionary theorist since Charles Darwin, “species are groups of actually or potentially interbreeding natural populations which are reproductively isolated from other such groups.”.."

S.F. Artist Imagines an Incredible Star Wars Theme Park

Green machine: Don't burn plant waste, bury it - "When it comes to using plant waste to mitigate climate change, most people think of turning it into ethanol or biodiesel for use as a fuel. But a new study suggests we may have more to gain by converting plant material into biochar, a type of charcoal, and burying it in farmers' fields..."

People & Power - Drug Money:

The 7 greatest Internet hoaxes - "The unraveling of “Jenny”, the women who so cleverly fake-quit her broker job via dry erase board, took approximately 12 hours. In the iInternet hoax world unfortunately, it doesn't really compare to some of these whoppers that were both more popular and had more longevity...."

America Is 'Bankrupt Mickey Mouse Economy': CIO - "America is a "Mickey Mouse economy" that is technically bankrupt, according to Jochen Wermuth, the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) and managing partner at Wermuth Asset Management. "America today looks like Russia in 1998. Consumers, companies and the government are all highly indebted. America as a result is a bankrupt Mickey Mouse economy," Wermuth told CNBC..."

Exclusive: Sony Ericsson to introduce Android 3.0 gaming platform and PSP Go-like smartphone - "Digg this!There's no question that gaming on the Android platform has heretofore been relatively underwhelming, but that looks like it's all about to change. It seems that Sony Ericsson -- a company that has yet to even introduce an Android 2.0 device -- is at work on a project to redefine gaming on Google's mobile platform. We now know (via a trusted source) that the company is actively and heavily developing a brand new gaming platform, ecosystem, and device (possibly alongside Google) which are already in the late stages of planning. And we've got the goods on it...."

Best Family Cars of 2010 - "Forget dirty diesels. The Jetta's direct-injection engine and self-cleaning filter reduce noxious emissions by up to 95 percent. Its turbocharged engine lends extra power while delivering mpg that surpasses most compacts. Premium accoutrements -- heated front seats, a touchscreen sound system, three power outlets, and rear heat and A/C vents to keep your kids comfy -- make this one of the best bargains in any showroom. The engine is a bit noisy, but parents who value the feel of a sporty sedan won't mind the trade-off..."

A Masterpiece of Nature? Yuck! - "A friend recently sent around an e-mail with the subject line “lost cat bulletin.” Open the message and — gack! — there was a head-on shot of a star-nosed mole, its “Dawn of the Dead” digging claws in full view and its hallmark nasal boutonniere of 22 highly sensitive feelers looking like fresh bits of sirloin being extruded through a meat grinder..."

7 Of The Worst VC Investments Of All Time - "Every venture capitalist wants to fund the next Google. What could be better than investing a paltry few million, walking away and pocketing a cool one or two hundred after the IPO? Indeed, such dreams are exactly what propels the entire VC industry forward. Yet, succeeding as a venture capitalist usually much harder than that. If spotting the Next Big Thing were something that anyone with a quick wit and some business savvy could effortlessly do, such stories would be the rule instead of the exception.Instead, we find that for every titanic tale of venture-backed startup success, there are dozens of colossal failures. Today, Focus remembers seven startups that turned out to be gigantic wastes of VC money..."

13 JOBS IN HARD TIMES - "Although most Americans would, of course, suffer in an economic depression, some careers should remain strong, maybe even bolstered by tough times. Take a look at our slide show and see which jobs may work for you. The navigation begins to your right..."

Tosh.0: Internet Laughs, on TV - "The Tosh.0 formula is simple: for most of the show, Tosh stands in front of a green screen, talking to a live audience and deconstructing the latest viral nuttiness on the Internet, from guerrilla hits like "Giant Butt Girl" to classics like "David after Dentist." Think America's Funniest Home Videos meets Best Week Ever and then sniffs glue with the cast from Jackass..."

Sticky situation! Anti-bike vigilante is gluing locks in Williamsburg - "No bicycle in Williamsburg is safe. A longtime neighborhood resident has gotten so frustrated by sidewalks packed with parked bicycles that he has actually begun injecting Krazy Glue into locks as a form of vigilante injustice...."

Muslims begin Ramadan observance - "More than one billion Muslims across the world have begun observing Ramadan with soaring temperatures in the Middle East and elsewhere set to pose a challenge for many worshippers..."

Complete Guide to Maximizing Your Android Phone's Battery Life - "You're no doubt reading this article because you've got a shiny new Android phone, but there's just one problem: you're so addicted that the battery runs out on a daily basis. Instead of putting the phone down, let's maximize the battery life..."

Are you ready for a world without antibiotics? - "Antibiotics are a bedrock of modern medicine. But in the very near future, we're going to have to learn to live without them once again. And it's going to get nasty..."

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