Fear the Rukwatitan! New TITANOSAUR unearthed in Tanzania – Register

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Pic Paleontologists at Ohio University in the US have unearthed the partial skeleton of an entirely new species of titanosaur – the massive herbivores that were the largest animals ever to walk on the planet.

Rukwatitan bisepultus

“Looks like Derek ate a bad shrub. You OK, mate?”

The new specimen, Rukwatitan bisepultus, was found in a quarry in Tanzania’s Rukwa Rift Basin. The team managed to recover vertebrae, ribs, pelvic bones, and – crucially – a nearly complete set of leg bones that allows the boffins to work out exactly how large the specimen would have been.

Paleontologists think Argentinosaurus was the world’s largest titanosaur, but that’s difficult to measure as there are only a few fragmentary remains and no complete limbs. Dreadnoughtus schrani, which was first described last week, is a more complete skeleton and may have been larger.

Rukwatitan bisepultus skeleton

Missing a lot of bones, but the team has found the important stuff

Rukwatitan is smaller than both of these species, but not by much. The fossilized creature had legs more than two metres tall, and is thought to have weighed as much as several adult elephants. The titanosaur lived in what is now Africa about 100 million years ago, and it differs from other sauropods found on the continent.

“There may have been certain environmental features, such as deserts, large waterways and/or mountain ranges, that would have limited the movement of animals and promoted the evolution of regionally distinct faunas,” said Patrick O’Connor, a professor of anatomy in the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Only additional data on the faunas and paleo environments from around the continent will let us further test such hypotheses.”

The team has now published its results in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. ®

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Source Article from http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/09/09/new_titanosaur_species_unearthed_in_tanzanian_quarry/
Fear the Rukwatitan! New TITANOSAUR unearthed in Tanzania – Register
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UN climate agency reports carbon dioxide growing at alarming rate – Los Angeles Times

Carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere reached a record high last year and grew at the fastest rate in 30 years, the United Nations’ climate agency reported Tuesday.

The World Meteorological Organization’s latest Greenhouse Gas Bulletin “injected even greater urgency into the need for concerted international action against accelerating and potentially devastating climate change,” the U.N. agency said.

Source Article from http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-un-climate-carbon-dioxide-20140909-story.html
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Photos: Supermoon in Vancouver and around the world – Vancouver Sun

The full moon seen last night, also known as a harvest moon, is the third and final supermoon of 2014. The phenomenon, which scientists call a “perigee moon,� occurs when the moon is near the horizon and appears larger and brighter than other full moons.

VIEW MORE PHOTOS HERE, or if you’re using a mobile app, tap the story image and swipe.

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Climate change threatens more than half North American birds – SFGate

(09-09) 16:04 PDT San Francisco

Dozens of Bay Area birds, including owls, hawks, shorebirds and signature species like the brown pelican, golden and bald eagle, are in jeopardy because of climate change, a study by the National Audubon Society revealed Tuesday.

The seven-year study of North American birds found that more than 300 avian species – more than half the birds in North America – will be in dire straits by 2080 unless something is done to reduce carbon emissions.

The list of birds on the brink included common Bay Area birds like American Avocets and Marbled Godwits. The Willet, commonly seen on the San Francisco Bay shoreline, would also be facing long odds by the end of the century, as would many local ducks, gulls, hummingbirds and grebes, the report states.

The outlook is particularly bad for already endangered or threatened species like the California least tern and clapper rail, according to the Audubon model.

“What the science is really showing us is that climate is the most serious threat to birds on the continent,” said Cindy Margulis, the executive director of the Golden Gate Audubon Society. “We could lose half of all the species on the continent just from climate change, and that’s not even considering all the other threats. So that is a serious wake up call. If we don’t do something now it is going to be too late for the birds and for us.”

Audubon Society researchers used 40 years of data collected during annual Christmas bird counts and U.S. Geological Survey summer breeding surveys and compared the information with national climate data. The resulting model, which will be published in peer reviewed journals, is the most detailed study ever done on how a changing climate will affect birds, which scientists regard as a key indicator species of ecosystem health.

The results, which project bird populations 66 years from now, provide a startling picture of a world wracked by changing weather patterns and huge ecosystem imbalances as species migrate from place to place struggling to adapt and survive.

The issue is particularly salient in California where the landmark climate change initiative, AB32, was passed in 2006. The state has since implemented the country’s first cap-and-trade program with the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by at least 17 percent over the next decade.

The problem, however, requires a global response and only California has acted. Despite measurable sea level rise and melting Arctic ice, a national campaign funded largely by oil and gas interests has been launched to infuse doubt into climate science. Republicans in Congress have refused to even consider legislation.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is predicting huge impacts, including species extinctions and at least a 2-foot rise in the sea level over the next 100 years, if world leaders do not act to curb carbon emissions.

Of the 588 species Audubon studied, 314 are likely to find themselves in jeopardy by 2080, according to the report. Dozens of avian species across the country – including songbirds, raptors, waterfowl and waders – could actually be facing extinction.

Brown pelicans, which are regularly seen diving for fish off Stinson Beach, are among the species in California that are in danger, according to the report. Sea level rise and changing ocean conditions in Mexico, their summer nesting grounds, could impact their breeding success. The brown pelican, which was near extinction in the 1970s from DDT poisoning, has made a remarkable comeback and was removed from the U.S. Endangered Species list in 2009.

The American white pelican is also in peril. They may not be able to find enough fish to sustain their young in the warming inland lakes and river systems where they breed, Audubon officials said.

Both golden and bald eagles, both prevalent in the Bay Area, could find it exceedingly difficult to find prey by 2080, the report said. Hotter, drier conditions in the Altamont region, which supports the highest density population of golden eagles in the world, could lead to a reduction in the raptor’s prey.

The report predicts that the golden eagle, which has a territorial range of 70 miles, will lose 41 percent of its breeding range and 16 percent of its non-breeding range.

“Golden eagles are ferocious predators of rodents. They naturally control the rodent pests for us,” said Margulis, explaining the effect their loss could have on humans. “Birds are also pollinators, seed distributors and insect controllers. Without birds, we could get catastrophic swarms of insects.”

Warming temperatures would leave the bald eagle with only 26 percent of its current breeding range by 2080, according to the climate models. Bald eagles also suffered serious declines because of pesticides and hunting, but rebounded after DDT was outlawed. The species was removed from the Endangered Species List in 2007.

Also imperiled by climate change will be the American Avocet, a white and black bird that turns an apricot color during breeding season, according to the Audubon report. It breeds along San Francisco Bay. The yellow-billed magpie, which is only found in California and is often seen in the Sunol area, may also be in trouble before the end of the century.

Other Bay Area avian types on the at-risk list include Black Oystercatchers, Marbled Godwits, American Kestrels, Swainson’s Hawks, Northern Harriers and Burrowing Owls.

The report, which covered Alaska, Canada, and the lower 48 states, classified 126 of the 314 at-risk species as climate endangered, meaning they are projected to lose more than half of their current range by 2050. The other 188 species are classified in the report as climate threatened and are expected to lose more than 50 percent of their current range by 2080 if global warming continues at its current pace.

“Birds are very highly tuned, extremely sensitive and intricately involved with the climates where we find them,” Margulis said. “Once we start to change where the birds can actually survive, we cause disconnects between where the birds are and where their prey is. As these systems get increasingly out of whack, the species will not be able to adapt fast enough.

The bottom line, she said, is “if we don’t act, our grandchildren will never forgive us. I promise you that.”

Peter Fimrite is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: pfimrite@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @pfimrite

Source Article from http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Climate-change-threatens-more-than-half-North-5744604.php
Climate change threatens more than half North American birds – SFGate
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Ancient Egyptians documented animal extinctions – UPI.com

CAIRO, Sept. 9 (UPI) – Some six millennia ago, 37 species of large-bodied mammals roamed the deserts and river valleys of modern Egypt. Today, there are only eight. And as new research shows, ancient Egyptian art has helped tell the story of ecological loss in North Africa.

Among the animals depicted in the paintings of Egypt’s Predynastic Period, the period prior to 3,100 BCE, are lions, wild dogs, elephants, oryx, hartebeest, and giraffe. This art is not only beautiful, but scientifically valuable.

Using Egyptian art, researchers at the University of Bristol, in the United Kingdom, were able to fill in gaps in the ecological timeline — a timeline, that until now, has been primarily informed by paleontological evidence.

This newly detailed timeline has offered scientists a better understanding of the consequences of extinctions over time. What researchers found is that extinctions have a compounding effect. Early in history, when biodiversity was high, a single extinction had a limited impact. Over time, as the animal community featured fewer and fewer species, a single extinction proved to have a larger and larger impact on the ecosystem’s health.

“What was once a rich and diverse mammalian community is very different now,” the study’s lead author Justin Yeakel said. Yeakel completed most of his research as a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, but is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Santa Fe Institute.

Yeakel’s work relied heavily on the ecological record compiled by zoologist Dale Osborn — specifically Osborn’s 1998 book The Mammals of Ancient Egypt.

“As the number of species declined, one of the primary things that was lost was the ecological redundancy of the system,” explained Yeakel. “There were multiple species of gazelles and other small herbivores, which are important because so many different predators prey on them.”

“When there are fewer of those small herbivores, the loss of any one species has a much greater effect on the stability of the system and can lead to additional extinctions,” Yeakel added.

The study was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source Article from http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2014/09/09/Ancient-Egyptians-documented-animal-extinctions/7231410298068/
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Apple launches Apple Watch, dives into wearable market – Fox News


Apple finally made its big entry into the wearable technology market on Tuesday, unveiling the Apple Watch, its long-anticipated smartwatch.

“It’s the next chapter in Apple’s story,” declared Apple CEO Tim Cook during a packed event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California. Despite plenty of pre-event chatter that the device would be available in time for the holiday season, the Apple Watch will not be out until early next year, priced from $349.

As expected, Apple also unveiled new additions to its iPhone family at the event, with Cook launching the 4.7 inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, which he touted as the biggest advancements in iPhone history.

They are thinner than previous versions of the iPhone, and the devices feature Retina HD displays and an enhanced A8 processor which is 50 percent more efficient than the A7 processor found on the iPhone 5s and 5c. The phones also mark the debut of Apple Pay, a contactless mobile payment technology. Companies working with Apple on Apple Pay include Mastercard, Visa and American Express and retailers such as Target and Whole Foods.

Tech analysts had hoped that Apple would launch the watch in time for the lucrative holiday season, particularly at a time when rival Samsung is ramping up its efforts in the smartwatch space.

Consumers, however, should not see the Apple Watch as a replacement for their existing devices. During his speech, Cook made it clear that the Apple Watch is not a standalone device, explaining that the watch is designed to work with the iPhone.

Three versions of the watch were launched at the event – Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition, a high-end version of the technology built using 18-karat rose or yellow gold. The watch will also be available in two sizes – 38 mm and 42 mm.

Smartwatch technologies have hardly set the world alight, so consumers were keen to see how Apple plans to set itself apart from rivals. The Apple Watch certainly boasts some interesting features, such as its ‘Digital Crown’ – a small dial on the side of the device that is used to navigate through the watch’s screens.

During his speech, Cook explained that the device’s small screen made it impractical to transfer the iPhone interface to Apple Watch. Other features of Apple Watch include a “taptic engine,” which subtly vibrates to let users know when they have received a message or a notification from a source such as Facebook. Apple has also built sensors into the back of the Apple Watch to monitor vital signs such as heart rate and support the company’s drive into health and fitness technology.

Apple appears to be pushing variety as a core element of its smartwatch strategy, touting a host of different straps that can be used with the device, from a ‘Sport Band’ built from Elastomer to a leather quilted leather loop to a stainless steel bracelet.

Charles King, principal analyst of the Hayward, Calif.-based tech research firm Pund-IT, said he was surprised that Apple will not launch its smartwatch until 2015.

“It just doesn’t make any sense to me at all,” he told FoxNews.com. “If you’re going to launch a luxury item weeks before a holiday buying season starts and then tell people that it won’t be available in time for the holiday season – what’s the point?”

King also noted that some Apple users may face a costly upgrade if they want to use the Apple Watch. The device only works with iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6 or 6 Plus running iOS8, the latest version of Apple’s operating system.

“You could be looking at spending $1,000 for a watch and a smartphone,” he said. “I am sure that there are plenty of Apple fans who will pay that, but I have trouble seeing it as widely adopted as the iPhone.”

Both of the new phones come in gold, silver and space gray. Pricing for the iPhone 6 starts at $199 for a 16GB version, $299 for a 64GB model and a 128GB version for $399. The iPhone 6 Plus starts at $299 for a 16GB model, $399 for a 64GB version and $499 for a 128GB model of the phone.

The devices will be available in the U.S. on September 19.






Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/09/09/new-larger-iphones-unveiled/
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Microsoft Said Near $2 Billion Deal for Minecraft Maker – Businessweek

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US), maker of the Xbox
video-game console, is in discussions to acquire Mojang AB, the
software maker behind the popular game Minecraft, for more than
$2 billion, two people with knowledge of the talks said.

Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, is in
serious talks with 4-year-old Mojang, said the people, who asked
not to be named because the negotiations aren’t public. Frank Shaw, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft,
declined to comment. Mojang representatives didn’t immediately
respond to e-mails outside of normal business hours.

An accord to acquire Mojang would be the biggest deal
struck since Satya Nadella took over as Microsoft’s chief
executive officer in February, succeeding Steve Ballmer. Nadella
has been shifting the company’s focus more toward Internet-based
services and cloud computing. The company has renewed a push to
woo serious gamers to the Xbox, following a lackluster attempt
to turn the machine into a device to serve up broader content
such as movies and music.

“It’s one of the greatest success stories in gaming over
the last 10 years,” said Doug Creutz, an analyst at Cowen & Co.
in New York, referring to Mojang. “They’ve sold a lot of copies
of Minecraft over the Xbox.”

Microsoft’s talks with Mojang were reported earlier today
by the Wall Street Journal.

Mojang, based in Stockholm, was founded in 2010 by Markus Persson, after he coded Minecraft on a lark in 2009 as a side
project when he came home from working his day job at King.com,
a U.K.-based gaming site.

Virtual World

For a while, users could only buy Minecraft on Persson’s
website, where it retailed for 15 euros. The game puts users
inside a vast, pixelated landscape. The goal, as much as there
is one, is to avoid being eaten by monsters that come out after
dark. By April 2011, Minecraft, which is a bit like playing Lego
in a virtual world, had sold more than 1.75 million copies.

Minecraft is made for multiple platforms including
consoles, computers and mobile devices. As of June, the company
had sold more than 54 million copies of the game in all its
forms. It was the No. 2 best-selling game by physical retail
copies sold in July for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, behind
Sony Corp.’s The Last of Us for PlayStation consoles, according
to research firm NPD Group Inc. It was the No. 3 game in June.

Minecraft was made available for the newest generation of
consoles, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, earlier this month.
Microsoft, if it completes the deal, will keep the game
available for rival products, said a person familiar with the
company’s plans.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Dina Bass in Seattle at
Alex Sherman in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Pui-Wing Tam at
Jillian Ward

Source Article from http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-09-09/microsoft-said-near-2-billion-deal-for-minecraft-maker
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Intel tells software crowd it’s pushing well beyond PCs – San Jose Mercury News

SAN FRANCISCO — Eager to prove it hasn’t lost its technological edge, Intel on Tuesday told its annual gathering of software developers about innovations it’s working on, everything from smart bracelets and wheelchairs to biometric systems for replacing passwords and equipment that can recharge computerized devices without clunky power cords.

“We’re driven to build things,” CEO Brian Krzanich said at the San Francisco event, which drew 4,500 developers who design software for products powered by Intel’s chips. “We never quit trying to make things better.”

FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2011, file photo, the Intel logo is displayed on the exterior of Intel headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif.

The Santa Clara company derives most of its revenue from selling chips for personal computers and servers, which share data and programs on a computer network. But with PC sales flattening in recent years, Intel has been striving to push its chips into mobile devices and other equipment, including the exploding array of smart devices being developed as part of the so-called Internet of Things.

After touting the use of its chip in a smart bracelet recently unveiled by Opening Ceremony of New York and its partnership to develop fashionable wearable devices with the Fossil Group of Richardson, Texas, Krzanich showed off a new Intel-powered Dell device that he hailed as the world’s thinnest tablet. He and Dell CEO Michael Dell demonstrated one of the gadget’s innovative capabilities, which enables it to measure items it photographs, so someone considering buying a sofa, for example, can determine before lugging the furniture home if it will fit in their living room.

Krzanich also played a video in which paralyzed physicist Stephen Hawking praised Intel for helping develop computerized wheelchairs that will help a disabled person “monitor important information about their health, the status of their wheelchair and the accessibility of the place that they visit — significantly improving their day-to-day life.”

In another presentation, Intel Senior Vice President Kirk Skaugen demonstrated a technology that will let consumers wirelessly charge their PC and other devices. He also noted that beginning next year, “we’re going to eliminate those passwords” for computerized gadgets by letting people access them through biometric verification, which identifies people by their fingerprint, face, voice or other physical features.

Industry analyst Patrick Moorhead, who attended the conference, said he was especially impressed with some of Intel’s latest chip innovations and technology it has developed that lets people manipulate images in three dimensions with hand and finger gestures.

“My biggest takeaway” from the event, he said, was “just how serious Intel is about mobility and the Internet of Things.”

Contact Steve Johnson at 408-920-5043. Follow him at Twitter.com/steveatmercnews.

Source Article from http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_26499344/intel-tells-software-crowd-its-pushing-well-beyond
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Websites Plan Online Protest Backing Net Neutrality Wednesday – Wall Street Journal

Dozens of Web companies and advocacy groups, including reddit, Netflix Inc. and Upworthy, are planning an online protest Wednesday to urge regulators to ban any fast lanes on the Internet.

The protestors plan to place a spinning-wheel icon on their websites to convey their view that the Internet would function slowly if regulators let broadband providers privilege some content at others’ expense. The icons wouldn’t actually slow down…

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For Apple Watch, fitness is all in the wrist – SFGate

Apple on Tuesday revealed its first new product since the iPad when it unveiled the Apple Watch – a wearable designed to be everything from a personal health and fitness trainer to a TV remote control.

Apple is using the Watch as its entry into the growing but nascent market for wearable computers.

“Apple Watch is the most personal device Apple has ever created,” CEO Tim Cook said during Tuesday’s media event in Cupertino.

As has been the case with Apple in the past, the company is not the first mover in the smart watch category. In June, Google revealed three Android Wear smart watches that will soon be available to consumers – the LG G Watch, the Samsung Gear Live and its own upcoming Motorola Moto 360.

But because it has sensors that track a person’s activity, Apple is simultaneously making an aggressive move into territory carved out by popular health and fitness monitoring devices such as the Fitbit.

Analyst Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies of San Jose said Apple “nailed the design elements” of the Watch, which in many ways looks very much like a traditional watch. The company even turned one classic watch feature – a winding stem that sticks out from the side – into a navigation tool.

Instead of a pinching, zooming and swiping with fingers on the small screen, Watch owners will navigate using the stem, which Apple calls a Digital Crown, much as users of early iPods navigate using scroll wheels.

The watch doesn’t work by itself – it will need to sync with the newer model iPhones – the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which are being released this month, or the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c. And the device isn’t cheap – it will cost $349 when it goes on sale early next year.

Those factors considered, Bajarin predicts the Apple Watch “will be a blockbuster hit with people who can afford them.”

Apple is trying to make the Watch a fashion accessory, creating three different “collections” – a standard Apple Watch, a more durable Apple Watch Sport and a stylish Apple Watch Edition. Each collection has various watchband styles in different materials and colors.

The watch does give app-makers another screen to reach customers, and they were already chomping at the bit to create Watch apps.

“Not surprisingly, the integration of health sensors is a key feature,” said Mark McDonald, co-founder of Appster, an Australian app development company that recently opened U.S. headquarters in San Francisco.

“The wrist is prime real estate, but there is no point trying to duplicate the functionality of a smartphone on a ridiculously small display,” he said in an e-mail. “The use of a watch for tracking health and fitness activities is a naturally good fit for this device and makes it a better experience than a traditional smartphone.”

Benny Evangelista is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: bevangelista@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @sfchroniclebenny

Source Article from http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/For-Apple-Watch-fitness-is-all-in-the-wrist-5744650.php
For Apple Watch, fitness is all in the wrist – SFGate
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