The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (4/12)

09venus_ready-articleLargeImage of Live Volcanoes Discovered on Venus

Surface heat data from the Venus Express spacecraft show the most likely sites of volcanic activity on Venus. Researchers using data from the European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft said they spotted three active volcanoes that recently poured red hot lava onto the planet’s already broiling surface. The discovery, announced in a paper published Friday online in Science, suggests that Venus — like the Earth — is periodically resurfaced by lava flows, explaining why it seems devoid of craters.

2-britishscien British scientific expedition discovers world's deepest known undersea volcanic vents

A British scientific expedition has discovered the world's deepest undersea volcanic vents, known as 'black smokers', 3.1 miles (5000 metres) deep in the Cayman Trough in the Caribbean. Using a deep-diving vehicle remotely controlled from the Royal Research Ship James Cook, the scientists found slender spires made of copper and iron ores on the seafloor, erupting water hot enough to melt lead, nearly half a mile deeper than anyone has seen before. Deep-sea vents are undersea springs where superheated water erupts from the ocean floor. They were first seen in the Pacific three decades ago, but most are found between one and two miles deep. Scientists are fascinated by deep-sea vents because the scalding water that gushes from them nourishes lush colonies of deep-sea creatures, which has forced scientists to rewrite the rules of biology. Studying the life-forms that thrive in such unlikely havens is providing insights into patterns of marine life around the world, the possibility of life on other planets, and even how life on Earth began.

2moreglacier Two more glaciers gone from Glacier National Park

This undated photo provided by the National Park Service shows Iceberg Lake at Glacier National Park, Mt. Scientists on Wednesday, April 7, 2010 said that Glacier National Park has lost two more of its namesake moving icefields to climate change, which is shrinking the rivers of ice until they grind to a halt. (AP Photo/National Park Service). Glacier National Park has lost two more of its  The park's glaciers have been slowly melting away since about 1850, when the centuries-long Little Ice Age ended. They once numbered as many as 150, and 37 of those glaciers eventually were named.

Bikepath Readers Give Google Bike Maps ‘A’ for Effort, ‘B-’ for Execution

After first providing us with driving directions and then taking on turn-by-turn for public transportation and pedestrian travel, Google has tackled the bike commute. The beta version of Google’s bike-friendly directions offers some great routes for two-wheeled transportation as long as riders have brains under their helmets. Wired asked cyclists from all over the United States to try Google Bikes‘ suggestions for their daily rides. More than twenty of you got back to us with very detailed reviews. Some of you even sent in screenshots of the maps themselves, which earns you a collective A+ for effort. We hope you offered similar advice to Google on their “Report a Problem” link — that’s the only way to make the beta better.

Ipad-commitment Is Apple Really Committed to the iPad?

By now, you are drowning in commentary on the iPad. So, let me get to the point: Don't be fooled by the fancy hardware and "magical" talk: Apple isn't really committed to tablet computing...yet. This can be hard to appreciate when you hold a truly gorgeous object in your hand. Hardware seems much more convincing than a piece of software or website could ever be. But, unfortunately, hardware is easy*. That is why Nokia, and the like, can churn out hundreds of handset models a year for different markets. Software, on the other hand, is very very hard.

The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (4/08)

Lhc_hall_1 CERN creates 10 million mini-Big Bangs in one week

Physicists at the CERN research center said on Wednesday they had created 10 million mini-Big Bangs in the first week of mega-power operations of their marathon probe into the secrets of the cosmos. Spokesman James Gillies said the subterranean Large Hadron Collider (LHC), in which tiny particles of matter are smashed together at a fraction of a second under the speed of light, was functioning extremely well. Scientists keeping watch over the LHC's 27-km oval-shaped ring under the Swiss-French border near Geneva said collisions were now being recorded at 100 per second, twice as many as on the first mega-power day last week.

Blackcap Migratory Birds’ New Climate Change Strategy: Stay Home

Birds may have an unexpected strategy for adapting to climate change. In addition to migrating at different times to newly hospitable locales, they may also shorten their migrations, expending energy on breeding and eating rather than flying. “There’s lots of data on bird arrival and bird breeding times, and that gives the impression that these are the most important phenomena,” said zoologist Francisco Pulido of the Complutense University of Madrid. The basic impulse to migrate is likely just as important, “but it’s been much more difficult to show, and so it hasn’t been appreciated,” he said.

Space_construction10 Space Jobs From The Near Future

While other fledgling spaceflight companies, like Virgin Galactic, are not preparing to send people all the way up to the space station, they and other commercial companies are also making waves. So what will a job market for the aspiring space junkie look like in 20 - 30 years? For a long time, the single goal for kids that were spastic over spaceflight was to become an astronaut. Now, it looks like that job title is going to have some competition. Here are 10 non-scientist jobs I believe that youngsters should start to prepare for:

1-facebook-_MG_3850-1 Is Facebook Becoming the Whole World's Social Network?

Facebook's growth, which we already know is massive, is truly a global phenomenon, it turns out. And nations with the fastest membership growth rate are in South America, and Asia. Is Facebook becoming the global phone book? The data's surfaced at, with detailed analysis of both the numerical growth rate of members per nation for the month of March 2010, and the penetration Facebook's achieving among each nation's population. Check out the table above--some of those figures should stagger you. Particularly the monthly growth rate for Indonesia, the Philippines, Mexico, Argentina, and Malaysia--each of which showed around a 10% jump in Facebook membership in a single month. That's frankly astonishing.

09species1-sfSpan New Hominid Species Discovered in South Africa

Nine-year-old Matthew Berger dashed after his dog Tau into the high grass here one sunny morning, tripped over a log and stumbled onto a major archeological discovery. Scientists announced Thursday that he had found the bones of a new hominid species that lived almost two million years ago during the fateful, still mysterious period spanning the emergence of the human family.

The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (4/02)

_u3c0394_1 Why We Are Obsessed With the iPad

The iPad is the beginning of the end for computers as technology. Technology, after all, is stuff that doesn’t work yet, as Douglas Adams observed a decade ago. Once it starts working all the time — like chairs or electricity — you stop thinking about it as technology and start taking it for granted. On the iPad, websites look pretty much the same as they do on my computer display, with one important exception: They fill the screen. Instead of living inside a box with a URL bar and a bunch of buttons alongside other boxes and applications, content takes over the device. There’s almost no noticeable interface. On top of that, the screen is the most responsive touchscreen display I’ve ever had my hands on. Put your finger down on a page and wiggle it around, and the page follows your finger exactly, and instantly. Those two facts — the lack of interface and the instant responsiveness — lend a psychological concreteness to whatever you’re looking at.

Thinkcity Think City EV Heading to NYC Streets

Get ready, New Yorkers: Think's European-style hatchback EV is coming to a street near you. The highway-ready vehicle has been on sale in Europe for the past year, but New York metropolitan area residents will get first dibs in the U.S sometime in the coming months. The Think City EV isn't meant for speed demons--it has a top speed of 60 mph. But it gets big points for ease of use. The EV can charge from 0 to 80% capacity using a fast-charging 220 volt station, and the vehicle's battery system has a relatively impressive range of 112 miles to the charge. No word on exact pricing of the vehicle, but it will probably cost around $30,000 after a federal tax credit. Our thoughts: This is exactly what NYC doesn't need: more cars crowding the already gridlocked scene.

The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (3/31)

Pearl jam Pearl Jam: The Next Big Green Business?

Pearl Jam, one of the most iconic 90's rock bands, isn't just another idealist group offsetting its carbon footprint with pricey carbon credits. No, Pearl Jam is a Washington-area regional green business--at least according to guitarist Stone Gossard. In an interview with Reuters, Gossard explained: "Pearl Jam is a band but we are also a business," guitarist and co-founder Gossard told Reuters in a telephone interview. "We're seeing ourselves as a Washington business, a regional business that is acknowledging its carbon footprint and hoping to inspire other businesses. To that end, Pearl Jam has chosen to invest $210,000 in planting trees in Washington State to offset 7,000 tons of CO2 from the band's 2009 tour. The trees will offset both the band's transportation footprint as well as the CO2 racked up by fans traveling to concerts.

Google-china China Severs Access to Google Search

This really does look like the final blow in the war between Google's Search Engine and the censorship-loving Chinese authorities: The sword has fallen, severing all access to Google Search from inside China. Even the mobile site is being partly blocked. According to the Telegraph newspaper, in "almost every major Chinese city" users are reporting back that they simply cannot access Google's search engine results, even via Google's Hong Kong work-around. The government demands that companies comply with "self-regulation" censorship rules, and Google recently made good on its threat to stop censoring its service inside mainland China--part of a series of events that began with an allegedly Chinese-based hack attack at the end of 2009.

3745754523_d7b31afe67_o Only a Few of Us Can Multi-Task

Scientists have known for decades that the human brain has trouble simultaneously processing more than one stream of information. A growing body of more recent research has reinforced the notion there are serious cognitive challenges posed by various kinds of multitasking. But a few brains may do better than others. That is the finding of a new study from the University of Utah where researchers say they’ve discovered a class of “super-taskers.” The researchers found that about 2.5 percent of the college students they studied were able to simultaneously talk on the phone while navigating in a driving simulator. By comparison, the other students in the study saw their driving performance on fall 20 to 30 percent, according to David Strayer, a psychology professor involved in the study.

Tony-fadell iPod Creator Leaving Apple for Greentech Startups

Is greentech hotter than Apple? Tony Fadell, the so-called godfather of the iPod, stepped down from his role as special adviser to Steve Jobs this week to focus on work with consumer greentech companies. The reason, Fadell, told The New York Times, is that he wants to tell his kids and grandkids stories "beyond my iPod and iPhone ones."

The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (3/30)

Human-brain Brain Tweak Can Change Moral Decisions

Changing someone's moral response to a situation could be as easy as manipulating a piece of their brain, a new study finds. Previous research has shown that a brain region called the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), located at the brain's surface above and behind the right ear, is highly active when someone thinks about another person's intentions, thoughts and beliefs. In this new study, neuroscientists led by Rebecca Saxe of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology disrupted activity in volunteers' right TPJ by inducing a current in the brain using a magnetic field applied to the scalp. This impaired the participants' ability to make moral judgments that require an understanding of other people's intentions. For example, they were more likely to judge someone's failed attempt to harm another as morally permissible.

Article-0-080E80B3000005DC-379_468x342 iPad Apps Crush Competitors

Over the weekend a huge number of leaked images gave away what some of the first tranche of iPad apps will look like. Guess what? Everything we guessed about how exciting iPad will be has just been proved true--this thing's apps will rock. Check out the slew of apps screenshots that turned up in a posting over at BoyGeniusReport. These app snapshots underline one thing: The iPad is going to be a transformational mobile computing device. Check out the life-organizer app Bento for starters (screenshot below.) Its iPad implementation looks gorgeous, pretty much how an iPad multitouch app should appear, and the clever syncing with a desktop installation of the full Bento code means it's extremely versatile.

500x_admob_feb10_us_share How the iPhone Could End Up In Second Place

Here are the US mobile web traffic figures for iPhone OS and Android, getting ready to collide: Android, on its way up; iPhone, on its way down. So when will Android overtake the iPhone? Try next month. AdMob's Mobile Metrics Report sees a predictable continuation of what we'd seen before from the ad tracking firm—specifically, that Android is on a serious tear, thanks in no small part to the massive success of the Droid. But before, the iPhone seemed unassailable. Now, it's about to get trumped by Google's OS, on terms it defined. (In the US, that is. The rest of the world's still warming to Android, I guess.)

20100329__30dcasatw_500 NASA Discovers Pac-Man On Death Star Saturn Moon

Hold on to your Spiderman underpants because here's a planetary-sized nerdgasm. NASA's Cassini spacecraft has made the most amazing discovery in the history of science: Pac-Man actually lives on the Death Star. There. Beat that, Large Hadron Collider. This is the temperature map of Mimas, the Saturn's icy moon that looks like the AT&T logo. As you can see, it's basically a giant Pac-Man about to eat a power pellet. According to Cassini project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Linda Spilker, this is really weird:

The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (3/25)

Mars To Mars and back -- as real as it gets

A crew of six, including two Europeans, will soon begin a simulated mission to Mars in a mockup that includes an interplanetary spaceship, Mars lander and martian landscape. The Mars500 experiment, as long as a real journey to Mars, is the ultimate test of human endurance.Their mission is to mimic a full mission to Mars and back as accurately as possible without actually going there: Mars500 will be the first full-duration simulated mission to Mars, starting in a special facility in Moscow next summer. 250 days for the trip to Mars, 30 days on the surface and 240 days for the return journey, totaling 520 days.

Geoengineering_3a Six Ways We’re Already Geoengineering Earth

About 12 percent of Earth’s land surface is now used for crops. Some of the consequences are difficult to predict. It’s hard to know, for example, how agriculture in the Great Plains has affected weather. Other consequences are more obvious. Deforestation of the Amazon rain forest disrupts regional cycles of evaporation and condensation, raising the possibility that Earth’s lungs could become a savanna. Should the Amazon rain forest lose much of its carbon dioxide-absorbing capacities, planetary temperatures will rise. More immediately, fertilizers used in farming have injected vast amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus into regional environments. About 120 million tons of nitrogen are removed from the atmosphere each year and converted into fertilizer-friendly “reactive” forms, while 20 million tons of phosphorus are mined from the ground. In both cases, that’s far more than would enter the biosphere naturally, and most of it is carried by streams and rivers to the sea, where it fuels rapidly growing marine dead zones.

Google-pulls-out-of-China-004  Google Calls for Action on Web Limits

 A top Google executive on Wednesday called for rules to put pressure on governments that filter the Internet, saying the practice was hindering international trade. Alan Davidson, director of public policy for Google, told a joint Congressional panel that the United States should consider withholding development aid for countries that restrict certain Web sites. He said censorship had become more than a human rights issue and was hurting profit for foreign companies that rely on the Internet to reach customers. “The growing problem for Internet censorship is not isolated to one country or one region,” Mr. Davidson told the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. “No single company and no single industry can tackle Internet censorship on its own.”

The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (3/24)

Geo_lead_400 Climate Hackers Want to Write Their Own Rules

This week, 200 scientists will gather in an attempt to determine how research into the possibilities of geoengineering the planet to combat climate change should proceed.They say it’s necessary because of the riskiness and scale of the experiments that could be undertaken — and the moral implications of their work to intentionally alter the Earth’s climate. The group is meeting at the Asilomar resort in California, a dreamy enclave a few hours south of San Francisco. The gathering intentionally harkens back to the February 1975 meeting there of molecular biologists hashing out rules to govern what was then the hot-button scientific issue of the day: recombinant DNA and the possibility of biohazards.

Verizon-prepping-the-ipad How the Tablet Will Change the World

The iPad is the first embodiment of an entirely new category, one that Apple CEO Steve Jobs hopes will write the obituary for the computing paradigm that Apple itself helped develop. Everyone who jammed into the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on January 27, 2010, knew what they were there for: Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ introduction of a thin, always-on tablet device that would let people browse the Web, read books, send email, watch movies, and play games. It was also no surprise that the 1.5-pound iPad resembled an iPhone, right down to the single black button nestled below the bright 10-inch screen. But about an hour into the presentation, Apple showed something unexpected — something that not many people even noticed. In addition to the lean-back sorts of activities one expects from a tablet (demonstrated by Jobs while relaxing in a comfy black armchair), there was a surprising pitch for the iPad as a lean-forward device, one that runs a revamped version of Apple’s iWork productivity apps. In many ways, Jobs claimed, the iPad would be better than pricier laptops and desktops as a tool for high-end word processing and spreadsheets.

Ff_tablet_essays6b_f 13 of the Brightest Tech Minds Sound Off on the Rise of the Tablet

Is the tablet a new mobile computing device? Well, yes, it is, by default. But what is most interesting to me as a gamemaker is the impact that it can have in the least-mobile entertainment venue — the home. Aren’t home games played on consoles? Yes. But for years, more and more players, especially teens, have been migrating to laptops and Flash gaming. The Web has become not just a viable venue for games but also one of the most vibrant. The iPhone 3GS is already far superior to the Nintendo DS or PSP and is approaching the performance level of the Wii. A tablet that is powerful enough to handle great games and portable enough to take anywhere — with an immediate library of tens of thousands of inexpensive or free experiences from the App Store — will be serious competition for laptops.

The Daily Flash -Eco Space Tech (3/23)

Junkdna-crystallinks-com-2009 'Junk' DNA gets credit for making us who we are

By studying differences in transcription factors (proteins that attach to stretches of non-coding DNA and affect how nearby genes make proteins), researchers hope to unravel what makes people different in disease risk for specific ailments.Non-coding ("junk") DNA makes up about 98 per cent of the human genome. One recent study revealed dramatic differences between the non-coding DNA of people whose genes are 99 per cent the same.

201006_invisible Invisibility cloak created in 3-D

Scientists at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have created the first device to render an object invisible in three dimensions.The "cloak," described in the journal Science, hid an object from detection using light of wavelengths close to those that are visible to humans. 

Kindle-ipad Amazon Shows Off Kindle for iPad

Amazon has announced Kindle Apps for Tablet Computers (including Kindle for iPad), a rather polished e-reader application that both makes the Kindle itself look rather old-fashioned and explains why last week’s Mac version was so unfinished: The Amazon developers have clearly been spending all their time on this instead.The app offers all the usual Kindle features: Whispersync to keep your bookmarks and notes in sync between devices and the ability to load up any books you have previously bought. It also adds a lot of visual polish, from the obligatory page-turn animation (you can switch it off) to a fetching, full color grid-view of your library. You can adjust “paper” color, and change screen brightness from within the app.

Pr_tesla_sport_large_wide Tesla's Roadster Sport Zips the Light Fantastic

To drive the Tesla Roadster Sport is to learn the meaning of range anxiety.The souped-up version of Tesla's Roadster does not want for range: Apply a feather touch on the accelerator and you'll get some 236 miles on a charge. That's by far the best of the electric cars on the road or on the horizon.But you're not going to go easy. Stomping that go pedal is too much fun.The Sport is quick. Even though it uses the same AC induction motor as the base model Roadster, Elon's henchmen tweaked the firmware to boost the battery's output. The result is another 40 ponies, bringing the Sport to 288 horsepower. It'll hit 60 mph from a standstill in a Porsche-like 3.7 seconds.And then there's the handling. The Sport holds the road like a baby gripping a rattle. It is easy to hustle through corners, and, with a combined 13 settings on the car's adjustable shocks and sway bars, it's easy to tune out the Roadster's tendency toward oversteer. With the upgraded suspension, the ride is firm but not harsh — even on washboard roads. The car is porky at 2,700 pounds (that's what happens when you drop in a 900-pound lithium-ion battery pack), but it's too fast and nimble to be called a pig.

Custom5 China Counters Google Move by Blocking Hong Kong Site

As Google began redirecting tens of millions of Chinese users on Tuesday to its uncensored Web site in Hong Kong, the company’s remaining mainland operations came under pressure from its Chinese partners and from the government itself. The Chinese government moved on Tuesday to block access to the Hong Kong site, the use of which Google had hoped would allow it to keep its pledge to end censorship while retaining a share of China’s fast-growing internet search market. But mainland Chinese users on Tuesday could not see the uncensored Hong Kong content because government computers either blocked the content or filtered links to searches for objectionable content before it reached them.

The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (3/16)

16tier_CA0-hpMedium A Supersonic Jump, From 23 Miles in the Air

Ordinarily, Felix Baumgartner would not need a lot of practice in the science of falling. He has jumped off two of the tallest buildings in the world, as well as the statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro (a 95-foot leap for which he claimed a low-altitude record for parachuting). He has sky-dived across the English Channel. He once plunged into the black void of a 623-foot-deep cave, which he formerly considered the most difficult jump of his career. But now Fearless Felix, as his fans call him, has something more difficult on the agenda: jumping from a helium balloon in the stratosphere at least 120,000 feet above Earth. Within about half a minute, he figures, he would be going 690 miles per hour and become the first skydiver to break the speed of sound.

Image3565_b Medieval Child's Brain Found Preserved

Scientists were able to identify neurons and cerebral cells from the brain preserved from the 13th century. Found inside the skull of a 13th century A.D. 18-month-old child from northwestern France, the brain had been fixed in formalin solution since its discovery in 1998. "Although reduced by about 80 percent of its original weight, it has retained its anatomical characteristics and most of all, to a certain degree its cell structures," said anatomist and palaeopathologist Frank Ruhli, head of the Swiss Mummy Project at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. The brain was the only tissue preserved in the infant's skeletonized body. "It is a unique case of naturally-occurring preservation of human brain tissue in the absence of other soft tissues," Ruhli said. The grooves and furrows -- gyri and sulci -- that make up the surface of the brain's cerebral cortex were still clearly visible, as well the frontal, temporal and occipital lobe.

Seed-vault-278x225 Global Seed Vault now houses the world's most diverse collection of seeds.

'Doomsday' Seed Vault Reaching Milestone to Become the World's Most Diverse Repository of Food Crop Seeds The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was launched in 2008 to protect the world's food crops. This month, it reaches a new milestone.

500x_orionsn Roger Penrose: Non-stop cosmos

In famed British mathematician Roger Penrose's new book, Cycles of Time: an extraordinary new view of the universe is the next stop. The ideas in the book came to him five years ago, when he was worrying about the state of the universe. According to the standard view, dark energy will lead the universe into an eternal accelerating expansion. Every bit of matter will eventually lose contact with every other bit. "It all just seemed unbelievably boring to me," Penrose says. Then he found something interesting within it: at the very end of the universe, the only remaining particles will be massless. That means everything that exists will travel at the speed of light, making the flow of time meaningless. After a few mathematical manipulations of infinity, out popped a never-ending universe, where new big bangs are the inevitable result of a universe's demise. In Penrose's theory, one cosmos leads to another. "I used to call it a crazy scheme, but I'm starting to believe it now," he says.

Google Google ‘99.9%’ Sure To Shut China Search Engine

Talks with China over censorship have reached an apparent impasse and Google, the world’s largest search engine, is now “99.9 percent” certain to shut its Chinese search engine, the Financial Times said on Saturday. A Google spokeswoman would neither confirm nor deny the report to, saying only, “We can’t confirm that story.” Google also declined to elaborate on any aspect of the conflict or talks with the Chinese government.

Netflixwinpho Netflix App Streams Gorgeously on Windows Phone 7

Here's the first demo of Netflix running on Windows Phone 7. Keep in mind, it's technically a prototype, but equipped with show subscriptions and 3G streaming, Netflix is super hot on the platform. We want this. Now:

The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (3/2)

Earth1-browse Chilean Quake Likely Shifted Earth’s Axis, NASA Scientist Says

The earthquake that killed more than 700 people in Chile on Feb. 27 probably shifted the Earth’s axis and shortened the day, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist said. Earthquakes can involve shifting hundreds of kilometers of rock by several meters, changing the distribution of mass on the planet. This affects the Earth’s rotation, said Richard Gross, a geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who uses a computer model to calculate the effects. “The length of the day should have gotten shorter by 1.26 microseconds (millionths of a second),” Gross, said.

20100301-china-shipping-hamburg China Plans For Ice-Free Arctic Shipping - Would Shorten Trip to European Ports by 4000 Miles

It's not great secret that one of the consequences of the Arctic ice melting is that at some point in the next decade or two, in all likelihood, a permanent sea route will open up. Nations bordering the region have been arguing/discussing what will be newly important national boundaries for some time. But now, according to a new piece of research from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, China is preparing for a piece of the action.

S-CONCEPCION-large Megacities Today, Rubble Tomorrow: Haiti, Chile as Architectural Wake-Up Call

This week in The New York Times, Andrew Revkin published a wake-up call for megacities: Learn from Haiti; you might be next. And the problem is architecture. Earthquakes don't kill people, he says. Buildings do. "In recent earthquakes, buildings have acted as weapons of mass destruction," Roger Bilham, a seismologist who Revkin interviews, wrote in Nature. Most of the buildings in the world's fastest-growing cities are "rubble in waiting."

Facebook_twitter Pentagon Lets All US Troops Use Twitter, Facebook

Twitter and Facebook are joining U.S. troops on the front lines. A Department of Defense policy has opened up social networking sites to American troops, to help them stay in touch with friends and family on long deployments, and help the military increase recruitment. In an organization in which certain information simply cannot be shared, the new policy is seen as a remarkable nod toward openness. "We need to take advantage of these capabilities that are out there, this Web 2.0 phenomena," David Wennergren, deputy assistant secretary of defense for information technology, told the BBC.

4389330997_effed17db0 Sirius XM Again King of Car Radio

What a difference a year makes. Last February, fresh from merging the country's two biggest satellite radio companies, Sirius XM was on the verge of departing for the big broadcasting network in the sky. Saddled with backbreaking debt and facing a crumbling car market (its largest source of new business), bankruptcy was a very real possibility. The company--now helmed by former CBS president Mel Karmazin--reported net income of $14.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2009, versus a net loss over that time in 2008 of almost $246 million. And thanks to strengthening car sales, Sirius XM welcomed 257,000 new subscribers in the fourth quarter and now has nearly 19 million. It is projecting revenue growth this year of 7%, up to $2.7 billion. The signal couldn't be clearer!