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Archive for January, 2006

New planet-hunting method could find more Earths

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

By Deborah Zabarenko | Reuters

[A]n international team has detected a cold planet about 5-1/2 times more massive than Earth…about 20,000 light-years away…close to the center of the Milky Way.

…the team used a technique called gravitational microlensing…[which] uses a network of telescopes to watch for changes in light coming from distant stars. If another star passes between a distant star and a telescope on Earth, the gravity of the intervening star acts like a lens and magnifies the incoming light.

When a planet is circling the closer star, the planet’s gravity can add its own signature to the light…

Study: College students lack literacy for complex tasks

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

More than half of students at four-year colleges — and at least 75 percent at two-year colleges — lack the literacy to handle complex, real-life tasks such as understanding credit card offers, a study found.

US plans to ‘fight the net’ revealed

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

By Adam Brookes
BBC Pentagon correspondent

A newly declassified document gives a fascinating glimpse into the US military’s plans for “information operations”…Perhaps the most startling aspect of the roadmap is its acknowledgement that information put out as part of the military’s psychological operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans….It seems to see the internet as being equivalent to an enemy weapons system….The US military seeks the capability to knock out every telephone, every networked computer, every radar system on the planet.

Smokers who stop ‘on a whim’ more likely to succeed

Friday, January 27th, 2006

By Celia Hall, Medical Editor / Telegraph

People who stop smoking “on a whim” are more likely to kick the habit in the longer term than those who plan to do it, researchers say today.