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Danish, US donors to the rescue as UK faces sperm shortage

By: Tamlin Magee | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jun 30, 2014 2:44 pm

The United Kingdom is having to import sperm stocks from abroad due to a serious shortage of donors in Britain, the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority has warned.


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According to a report from the group, imports make up almost a quarter of donated samples in Britain. It's thought that native donations dropped considerably thanks to the dropping of a clause that would have offered total anonymity to donors in 2005. Back in '05, imports made up just one in ten samples in Britain.


The majority of these are from the United States and Denmark, with the latter country being home to the biggest sperm bank in the world. You can check out the official British government records here, should you want to for any reason.

UK kids prefer tablets, smartphones to portable consoles

By: Tamlin Magee | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jun 30, 2014 2:05 pm

Nintendo has long had a reputation - fair or not - as being the chief console manufacturer for family-friendly, children's gaming. But now, at least in the United Kingdom, kids are ditching the 3DS for gaming on tablets instead.


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According to a study from Futuresource Consulting, just under half of children between 3 and 12 own a tablet - and 30 percent between 3 and 4 have one of their own as well. Parents interviewed for the study agreed they'd be more likely to buy a tablet for their children over the coming months, taking precedence over smartphones or portable consoles.


Older children are more likely to have their own smartphone than a tablet - at 46 percent for those aged 11-12. Parents could quite possibly save money by buying a portable console such as a 3DS for their sprogs, as moms and dads were reported to be spending over 100 pounds - 170 US dollars - on mobile apps every single year, not accounting for the cost of the devices themselves.

Scientists create supercooling system to keep organs fresh for days

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jun 30, 2014 2:01 pm

One of the big challenges when it comes to performing organ transplants is to keep the organ fresh during the trip from the donor to the recipient. If the two live in different part of the country or world, keeping those organs fresh and viable can be difficult. Scientists have devised a new supercooling method that has the potential to keep the organs fresh for days.


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Currently organs can only remain fresh and viable for less than 24 hours during transportation. Scientists have developed a new supercooling process that in lab tests has shown to be able to keep a rat liver fresh and viable for three days.


The supercooling technique reportedly connects the organ to a machine that perfuses it with nutrients and cools it so minus 6C. The breakthrough could eventually lead to the ability to share donated organs around the world.

NASA flying saucer ship completes successful test of the coast of Hawa

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jun 30, 2014 1:04 pm

NASA has been testing out a new spacecraft that will eventually be used on missions to Mars called the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator or LDSD. This spacecraft looks like a flying saucer and inflates something NASA calls a Supersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator that looks like a large doughnut, but is a pressure vessel that is designed to slow the spacecraft during the first stages of entry into the atmosphere of Mars.


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During the test, the spacecraft was lifted from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai using a giant helium filled balloon. Once to an altitude of 36,500 meters, the spacecraft was release and pushed to 55,000 meters at a speed of Mach 4 using a solid fuel thruster.


The inflatable air bags were then deployed to slow the vehicle during decent to Mach 2.5. NASA says that the test went mostly well, but the Supersonic Disk Sail Parachute didn't deploy properly. The spacecraft was recovered along with all the data recorders and vehicle hardware from the waters off the Hawaiian coast.

iPhone 5S available for under $100 at several US stores

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jun 30, 2014 12:05 pm

Rumors continue to swirl that Apple is getting set to launch a new version of the iPhone in the coming months. One of the things that often happens ahead of the launch of a new Apple product is the existing version of that product getting cheaper. That has now happened with price cuts on the iPhone 5S.


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If you want a new iPhone 5S, you can hop into Apple's own store and pay $199 for the device with a new contract. If you want to save some big money, you can instead go to Walmart where you can get the iPhone 5S for $99 right now. Walmart says that the new $99 price will be permanent and is good for the 5S on AT&T Verizon, Sprint, and US Cellular.


If you want the cheaper and more colorful iPhone 5C, you can get that device for $29 with a new 2-year agreement. If you have an older iPhone to trade, you might want to try out The Shack, known as Radio Shack before. At that store, with the trade in of an older iPhone, you can get the iPhone 5S at no cost.

GM issues recall on 475,000 more vehicles including 2014-15 trucks

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Business, Politics & Money | Posted: Jun 30, 2014 11:00 am

GM has been in some very hot water in the last several months with massive numbers of recalls on some of its most popular vehicles. One of the bestselling vehicles in the US is the Chevrolet Silverado truck and GM has now announced a massive recall on the vehicle.


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GM has issued a recall on 475,000 2014 to 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks. The reason for the recall on the trucks is a fault in the control module software that controls the four-wheel drive system on 4x4 vehicles. The fault in the software could cause the four-wheel drive system to switch into neutral automatically.


The result is that the trucks could simply roll away if the driver hasn't set the parking brake. Many drivers of vehicles with automatic transmissions don't use the parking brake. GM also announced recalls having to do with Caprice police cars and Chevrolet SS sedans due to an issue with windshield wipers.

Facebook ran an experiment to see if it could affect user's emotions

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Social Networking | Posted: Jun 30, 2014 10:23 am

Facebook is the biggest social network out there and as such, it has the ability to reach a huge amount of people each day around the world. Facebook has reportedly run an experiment that saw it mess with the newsfeeds of hundreds of thousands of users on its network in an attempt to see if it could alter the emotional state of the users.


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The experiment reportedly used 689,003 Facebook users without their knowledge. In the experiment, Facebook allegedly tweaked the newsfeed algorithms of the users in the experiment so that they saw an abnormally low number of positive or negative posts.


According to the team who ran the experiment, the people who saw more negative posts produced more negative posts themselves. The experiment also found that when the people saw more positive posts, made more positive posts themselves. Facebook says that this experiment was conducted for a single week in 2012 and none of the data use was associated with a specific person's Facebook account.

North Korea fires two ballistic missiles to provoke rivals

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jun 30, 2014 4:33 am

Just days after launching three short-range missiles, North Korea followed up with an additional missile test. South Korean military officials believe two short-range Scud ballistic missiles were fired, and the country didn't designate no-sail zones during the launch.


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It's not uncommon for North Korea to launch missiles while snubbing Washington and Seoul, as political tensions in Asia continue to mount. The Scud-type missiles launched from Wonsan and flew more than 300 miles, where they landed harmlessly into the ocean, military specialists in South Korea said. It's difficult to determine the true capabilities of the North Korean military, as the country sometimes greatly exaggerates its successes.


The country also plans to indict two Americans currently held in North Korea for "hostile acts," pressuring Washington and Seoul even further. It's a delicate time in the Korean Peninsula - earlier in the year it looked like both sides were willing to openly discuss political tensions - but talks have cooled with Pyongyang and Seoul slinging mud at one another.

Rare parrot that inspired animated film 'Rio' dies in Brazil

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Jun 30, 2014 3:51 am

According to a post on National Geographic, a rare blue Spix Macaw named Presley, who's story allegedly served as the inspiration for the 2011 animated film 'Rio' has died at the age of 40.


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Presley was smuggled out of Brazil in the early 1970's, later finding a home in Denver, Colorado. In 2002, it's owner sought a local pet shop for assistance, with a skeptical staff astonished to prove the validity of the callers story. He was in bad shape, but efforts to recuperate him were successful, leading him to being returned to his native Brazil. With under 100 Spix Macaw's alive today, it was hoped that Presley could widen the genetic pool for the rare and endangered species, but sadly he died before this could be accomplished.


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'Rio' and 'Rio 2' director Carlos Saldanha, who grew up in Rio de Janerio told BirdChannel in 2011 "I wanted the rarest bird, the blue macaw. I knew about the Lear's macaws, and how they've been having conservation successes in the wild. The same with the hyacinth macaws. But the Spix's macaw truly is the rarest".


In a sad coincidence, Twentieth Century Fox's 'Rio 2' hits Australian cinemas this week.

Google officials visit Cuba to discuss access to open Internet

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jun 30, 2014 3:38 am

Google executives recently visited Havana, Cuba, in an effort to discuss open Internet in the still restrictive nation. A team that included Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt headed to Havana to meet with officials and dissidents, "to promote the virtues of a free and open Internet."


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A report published by Freedom House in 2012 said just five percent of the citizens in Cuba have true access to the Internet, with one-fourth of the population using the state-sponsored "Intranet." The country remains one of the least connected nations in the world, with home connections still virtually non-existent - government officials, doctors, engineers, professors, and approved journalists tend to be the only ones with Internet access while in their offices.


Google has become more proactive approach to getting citizens around the world real access to the Internet. Trying to work with Cuba to open up Internet access will be a difficult process, but it's good to see the company at least trying to make strides.

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