Archive for January, 2007

MySpace Donates Sex Offenders Database

MySpace, the popular social network, has donated their US sex offenders database to a center which helps track down missing children. It is well known that many sexual predators use social networking sites like MySpace to look for possible victims. The database is meant to help law enforcement in their investigation. It is hoped that with access to their database, further incidents can be avoided and the children will be safer.

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The MySpace database actualy compiles the convicted sex offender registries of 50 US states. It is to be noted that each state had their own individual list. MySpace teamed up with Sentinel Tech, a background investigation company, to create a technology that compiled the lists into one database. It also has photo matching among its tools which cross-checks images submitted, as well as their descriptions, against the sex offender registries. MySpace is therefore better able to identify sexual predators and block or delete their accounts.

Many feel though that this is still insufficient action on the part of MySpace. People wonder why they have not put in place a simple program to determine people’s age from the outset; though since most predators would lie, that isn’t much of a deterrent.

Commercial Space Flights

branson-richard-cp-9130971.jpgHave you ever dreamed of going into space but know that the chances of your becoming an astronaut is anywhere from slim to none? Don’t despair. Thanks to enterprising businessmen like Richard Branson, you may still be able to fulfill your dream.

Branson’s company, Virgin Galactic, has already signed an agreement with Swedish company, Spaceport, to search for a possible launch site for a great view of the aurora borealis. They are looking at Kiruna airport as a possible launch site. This airport located on the northern area of the US has been a launch site for satellites. If it is found suitable for a good look at the northern lights, tours will begin in 2011 or 2012.

In the meantime, other concerns are being resolved as well. No trip of this kind has ever been made before so these companies have no idea of the effect of the phenomena may have on any spacecraft. Test runs are scheduled for this February.

Fossil Treasure Trove In Australia

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We have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge about everything. This includes a desire to solve the many mysteries of the past and reweave some of the lost tapestries of history. So a find like the caves in the southern Nullarbor plains of Australia is treasure indeed.

The caves contained fossils, complete skeletons of animals that are no longer found today. Most of these creatures are found to be from the middle pleistocene era. The bones have been dated to confirm that these are from creatures living 800,000 to 200,000 years ago. Some of these species did not make it past the ice-age.

With the use of the fossils, 8 new species of kangaroo have been completely identified. Two of the species are of tree dwelling kangaroos, kangaroos that adapted to living in the branches of trees. There were also fossils of various species wallaby, various species of large lizards among them one of the King’s skink (a large lizard), mulgara and a pair of parrots.

Internet Code of Conduct

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At last! Steps are being taken to put a code of conduct on the net. With so many millions of users spanning the globe, it is about time that some measures are taken to protect the interests of the users.

Talks on this matter were initiated by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Vodafone groups. Working with human rights groups they aim to have the code available before the end of the year. The target is to get more protection for the internet journalists. Currently, exercising ones right to free speech online can get one thrown in jail. They also aim to get rid of the practice of monitoring legitimate online activity.

If they are successful, clearer guidelines will be in place and internet users can be properly held accountable for their online actions. The internet is meant to be free for all to use but some safeguards must indeed be put in place without curtailing the freedom of the people.

Cigarettes: More Addictive than Ever

cigarette-nicotine-addiction4.JPGHarvard University conducted a study that has the tobacco companies on the defensive. The results of the study show that the tobacco companies have been manufacturing cigarettes that have higher nicotine content. This means that people become more addicted and it will be harder for them to quit should they want to.

The study was conducted using data that these companies provided themselves, from the period of 1997 to 2005. They provided their filter designs as well as their measurement of nicotine per stick of cigarette and how many puffs it would take to finish a stick. The nicotine levels rose in all brands, in all categories irregardless of whether it was regular, menthol, light or ultra light. The increase was as much as 10% says Greg Connolly, one of the authors of the study and former director of the Tobacco Control Program of the state health agency.

Major tobacco manufacturer, Philip Morris, is challenging the findings of this study. They insist that while the nicotine levels may have fluctuated a little per batch, the 1997 and 2006 batch have identical nicotine levels.

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