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G.I. Joe's developer Donald Levine dies at 86

Sun, 05/25/2014 - 11:39

G.I. Joe's developer Donald Levine dies at 86Washington, May 25 : The father of world's first action figure G. I. Joe, Donald Levine, has passed away. He was 86.

According to his wife, Levine, who was battling cancer, took his last breath at the Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island, Fox News reported.

They were about to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary, she added.

Levine, who had served in the Army had admitted to have came up with the idea of '111/2-inch articulated figure with 21 moving parts' as a way to honor veterans, and had developed the toy with his team as Hasbro's head of research and development.


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US curtails military ties with Thailand after coup

Sun, 05/25/2014 - 09:44

JOHN KIRBYWashington, May 25 - The US announced Saturday that it would curtail military ties with Thailand, including cancelling ongoing military exercises, as part of its efforts to heighten pressure on the Thai military to restore the civilian rule.

In response to the military coup in the Southeast Asian county, Washington has cancelled the ongoing Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2014 and rescinded an invitation to Royal Thai Armed Forces Commander General Thanasak Patimaprakorn to visit US Pacific Command in June, Xinhua quoted Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby as saying in a statement.


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California campus gunman killed 3 people at home before shooting rampage

Sun, 05/25/2014 - 09:36

California campus gunman killed 3 people at home before shooting rampageWashington, May 25 : A California gunman stabbed three people to death at his home before going on a shooting rampage near a Santa Barbara university that left an additional four dead, including the suspect.

During a press conference, police identified the 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, the son of Hollywood director Peter Rodger-an assistant director on 'The Hunger Games' films series.

According to Fox News, Rodger had earlier been identified by his family, who said they had called police weeks before about disturbing YouTube videos he had posted online.


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Google mulling acquisition of satellite startup 'Skybox' for $1bln: Report

Sat, 05/24/2014 - 18:44

 ReportWashington, May 24 : Google is reportedly considering acquiring small satellite startup 'Skybox' for 1 billion dollars.

Skybox is a California-based firm with its own satellite group that is specialized in data analytics and highly detailed images and videos of Earth, CNET reported.

Earlier, Google purchased drone maker Titan Aerospace, which signaled the company's interest in enhancing the imagery of Earth.

The acquisition of Skybox could prove helpful in advancing work that's being done by geospatial teams at Google Maps and Google Earth, the report added. (ANI)


How bats fine-tune flight with tiny muscles

Sat, 05/24/2014 - 16:59

How bats fine-tune flight with tiny musclesNew York, May 24 : Bats are the only mammals to have developed the capacity to fly and to find their prey. They can maneuvre flight in difficult environment in ways that birds cannot.

Researchers have now discovered that the synchronised acts of their tiny muscles can help bats fine tune their flight.

Birds and insects have stiff wings, but bats employ a network of nearly hair-thin muscles embedded in the membrane of their inherently floppy wing skin to adjust the wings’ stiffness and curvature while they fly, the study said.


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Google offers best pay and benefits to employees, leaving Apple, Microsoft behind: Survey

Sat, 05/24/2014 - 13:40

 SurveyWashington, May 24 - A new survey from Glassdoor has reportedly revealed that Google offers the best pay and benefits to its employees.

The survey is based on rankings voluntarily submitted by employees at each company.

According to The Verge, the tech titan offers an average base salary of 1,28,000 dollars to its engineers, whereas other companies like Facebook and Micrsoft pay 1,20,000 and 1,11,000 dollars, respectively.

Besides the good pay, Google also offers numerous other perks such as gourmet meals, luxurious surroundings, stocks and more, the report added. (ANI)


Google to produce tablets capable of clicking 3D images: Reports

Sat, 05/24/2014 - 13:25

 ReportsWashington, May 24 - Google is reportedly planning to produce 4000 prototype tablets which would be capable of clicking 3D images, ahead of Google's I/O developer conference next month.

According to The Verge, the tablet will have two rear facing cameras, infrared depth sensors, a 7-inch screen, and advanced sensors that can capture precise 3D images.

The tablet is a part of Google's project Tango, which is a research program that aims to produce devices capable of mapping the world around them.

Earlier, Google demonstrated a prototype smartphone, developed under project Tango, which was equipped to capture 3D images. (ANI)


New findings poke holes in Black Hole 'Doughnut' theory

Sat, 05/24/2014 - 13:12

New findings poke holes in Black Hole 'Doughnut' theoryWashington, May 24 : A team of astronomers using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) to survey more than 170,000 supermassive black holes have now decided to re-examine a decades-old theory about the varying appearances of these interstellar objects.

The unified theory of active, supermassive black holes, first developed in the late 1970s, was created to explain why black holes, though similar in nature, can look completely different. Some appear to be shrouded in dust, while others are exposed and easy to see.


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Russia's Vladimir Putin says will respect Ukraine vote

Sat, 05/24/2014 - 13:06

Russia's Vladimir Putin says will respect Ukraine voteWashington, May 24 : Russian president Vladimir Putin has reportedly said that he will respect the result of Ukraine's presidential elections.

Putin's remark is an indication of his acceptance of Ukraine's fate, which will be decided after the vote.

Meanwhile, increased violence in the east has reportedly hampered preparations for the polls.

According to FOX News, Ukraine's Defense Ministry reported that fighting between pro-Russia separatists and government forces appeared to be escalating, leaving 20 more rebels and one soldier dead.


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Fruit flies 'think' before they act: Study

Sat, 05/24/2014 - 13:01

 StudyWashington, May 24 - A new study suggests that fruit flies "think" before they act.

The study by researchers from the University of Oxford's Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour showed that fruit flies take longer to make more difficult decisions.

In experiments asking fruit flies to distinguish between ever closer concentrations of an odour, the researchers found that the flies don't act instinctively or impulsively. Instead they appear to accumulate information before committing to a choice.

Gathering information before making a decision has been considered a sign of higher intelligence, like that shown by primates and humans.


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'Violent' gamma-ray outbursts near supermassive black holes

Sat, 05/24/2014 - 12:00

'Violent' gamma-ray outbursts near supermassive black holesWashington, May 24 - An international team of astronomers led by Lars Fuhrmann from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, used some of the best single-dish radio telescopes for several years, in combination with NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, to study the place where high energy outbursts occur.

For the first time a connection between dramatic outbursts of high energy gamma-ray emission and their counterparts at many radio frequencies has been established for a large sample of galaxies.


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Kiwi not related to emu as previously believed

Sat, 05/24/2014 - 10:33

Kiwi not related to emu as previously believedWashington, May 24 - Australia can no longer lay claim to the origins of the iconic New Zealand kiwi following University of Adelaide research, which shows that the kiwi's closest relative is not the emu as was previously thought.

Instead, the diminutive kiwi is most closely related to the extinct Madagascan elephant bird - a 2-3 metre tall, 275 kg giant. And surprisingly, the study concluded, both of these flightless birds once flew.


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Jackie Kennedy's 'personal' letters to priest withdrawn from auction

Sat, 05/24/2014 - 10:20

Jackie Kennedy's 'personal' letters to priest withdrawn from auctionWashington, May 24 - Jacqueline Kennedy's letters to an Irish priest about her marriage, faith and the 1963 death of her husband John F Kennedy would no longer be auction, it has been revealed.

Sheppard's Irish Auction House said on their website that they were in the process of returning the archive and items related to the archive to the vendor, CNN. com reported.

The letters to the Rev. Joseph Leonard from a young Jacqueline Bouvier and later a married Jackie offers an insight into the private thoughts of Jackie.


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Sikh group appeals dismissal of 1984 case against Congress

Sat, 05/24/2014 - 09:56

Sikh group appeals dismissal of 1984 case against CongressNew York, May 24 - A US based Sikh group has challenged the dismissal of a rights violation case against India's Congress party relating to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots before the US Court of Appeals here.

Sikhs for Justice(SFJ) contends the case "touches and concerns" the US and the group has "institutional standing" to seek "declaratory judgment" on November 1984 violence against the Sikh community.

US District Court Judge Robert W. Sweet had on April 24 dismissed the lawsuit against Congress party for failure to show sufficient "touch and concern" to the US.


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Obama nominates Mexican-American as housing secretary

Sat, 05/24/2014 - 09:39

Obama nominates Mexican-American as housing secretaryWashington, May 24 - President Barack Obama has nominated San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, one of the Democratic Party's rising stars, to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The president praised Castro, 39, for "revitalising one of our most wonderful cities", while stressing that the Mexican-American mayor has "never forgotten where he comes from".

"Julian ha vivido el Sueno Americano," Obama said in Spanish.

"And it's precisely because he's lived out the American Dream that he'll work his tail off to make sure more people can travel that same path and earn their own dreams as well," the president said.


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US suspends military aid to Thailand after coup

Sat, 05/24/2014 - 08:47

US suspends military aid to Thailand after coupWashington, May 24 - The US has suspended about $3.5 million in military assistance to Thailand following a coup, the State Department said Friday.

The US is reviewing the rest of the annual direct assistance to Thailand -- which totalled $10.5 million in 2013 -- as well as other aid through global and regional programmes, Xinhua quoted State Department spokesperson Marie Harf as saying at a press briefing.

"We are reviewing all programmes to determine other assistance which we may suspend," Harf said.


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World Bank appoints new vice president

Sat, 05/24/2014 - 08:45

World Bank appoints new vice presidentWashington, May 24 - World Bank President Jim Yong Kim Friday announced the appointment of Hiroshi Naka as vice president and auditor general of the bank.

Naka, a Japanese national, has more than 25 years of experience working with the Japanese ministry of finance and multilateral organisations, where he specialised in issues such as economic sanctions, anti-money laundering, and supervision of financial institutions, Xinhua quoted the bank as saying.


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Skewed US budget to impact high-energy physics research?

Fri, 05/23/2014 - 17:45

Skewed US budget to impact high-energy physics research?Washington, May 23 : Fearing a cut in the domestic high-energy physics budget, scientists in the US have drawn up a plan to seek more international collaboration.

President Barack Obama’s budget request for 2015 proposed a 6.8 percent cut to the Department of Energy’s high-energy physics budget, down to $744 million (Rs. 4,352 crore).

“Under a low-funding regime, the US risks losing its status as a global leader in the high-energy physics,” predicted scientists in a latest report released by the Particle Physics Project Prioritisation Panel (P5), part of the US Department of Energy’s high-energy physics advisory group.


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Top 10 new species of 2014 revealed

Fri, 05/23/2014 - 16:24

Washington, May 23 : Scientists have selected the top 10 new species from approximately 18,000 new species named during the previous year.

According to the researchers of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry's (ESF) International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE), the list includes a quartet of tiny newcomers to science: a miniscule skeleton shrimp from Santa Catalina Island in California, a single-celled protist that does a credible imitation of a sponge, a clean room microbe that could be a hazard during space travel and a teensy fringed fairyfly named Tinkerbell.


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Edward Snowden threw 'crypto party' before blowing NSA whistle

Fri, 05/23/2014 - 16:12

Edward Snowden threw 'crypto party' before blowing NSA whistleWashington, May 23 : Whistleblower Edward Snowden used to teach crypto's about online privacy while he was working for the NSA.

Kevin Poulsen, a former black-hat hacker, wrote that Snowden organized a 'crypto party' along with activist Asher Wolf and Runa Sandvik, former developer for web network called Tor, the Verge reported.

Asher Wolf added that it was a huge risk for him to teach a 'crypto party' while he was working for the NSA.

However, neither of them had any suspicion about who Snowden was or his plans to expose the NSA material. (ANI)