Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. The theft of smartphones and tablets is skyrocketing in the Bay Area, particularly on mass transit, including BART, the Chron reports. The number of electronic devices stolen on BART doubled in 2012 compared to the year before. Thieves especially target iPhones and iPads. It’s called “Apple Picking.”
Ice fields in southern South America are rapidly losing volume and in most cases thinning at even the highest elevations, contributing to sea-level rise at "substantially higher" rates than observed from the 1970s through the 1990s, according to a study published Wednesday. The findings spell trouble for other glaciers worldwide.
The rapid melting, based on satellite observations, suggests the ice field's contribution to global sea-level rise has increased by half since the end of the 20th century, jumping from 0.04 millimeters per year to about .07 mm, and accounting for 2 percent of annual sea-level rise since 1998.
The first scientist to alert Americans to the prospect that human-caused climate change and global warming was already upon us was NASA climatologist James Hansen. In a sweltering Senate hall during the hot, dry summer of 1988, Hansen announced that "it is time to stop waffling.... The evidence is pretty strong that the [human-amplified] greenhouse effect is here." Given the prescience of James Hansen's science, we would be unwise to ignore his latest, more dire warning.
Researchers have improved solar cell performance by looking to leaves. The prototype mimics a leaf's chemical layers that catch the sunlight and send the energy to plant cells. The bio-inspired solar cells were 20 times better at creating electricity than traditionally designed solar cells made from the same materials.
During Mitt Romney’s surprise visit last week to the East Bay, the Republican presidential nominee made it clear that renewable-energy subsidies will be at the center of his campaign. At the shuttered Solyndra solar plant in Fremont, Romney characterized public investment in green energy as an assault on free enterprise and an example of big government excess. The free market, Romney contends, doesn’t need help from Uncle Sam, and Solyndra was the number-one “failure” of President Barack Obama’s first term.
As you've probably heard, Facebook filed a $5 billion IPO today — which makes it the biggest public offering in history, and which analysts say will push the company's total value to over $100 billion. Presented without commentary, here's a list of things that cost less than $5 billion:
-119,047,610 Big Macs
-2,666,666.67 of these (extremely ugly*) diamond Tiffany necklaces
Five former employees who are suing Lawrence Livermore Laboratory for wrongful termination held a press conference on Thursday to tell their personal stories as their case moves closer to trial set for late next month.
The five former employees talked about the humiliation, shame, and frustration they experienced when they were part of a massive layoff of 440 lab employees, most of whom were over the age of forty, in 2008, shortly after Congress turned over management of the lab to a partnership led by San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp.
Multiple news outlets reported that the former Apple CEO passed away today. He's credited not only with co-founding Apple, Inc. but with entirely reshaping the Silicon Valley — and, by extension, the world. Jobs stayed with the company up through August, even though he was battling pancreatic cancer. His successor, Tim Cook, took the executive chair on August 24. Jobs created a phenomenal legacy. May he rest in peace.
So declared researchers at John Hopkins University, who administered "magic" psilocybin mushrooms to subjects in a clinical setting, and found that those who took the drugs became more "creative, empathic, and curious, up to a year later," ABC 7 reports. Now, progressive scientists are suggesting new uses for the drug, as a therapy for cancer patients and even cigarette smokers. Sounds magical.
Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. Amazon.com reached a tentative deal with Democratic and Republican leaders of the state legislature, agreeing to scuttle its attempt to overturn the state’s new online sales tax law in exchange for not charging its customers sales tax until September 2012, the LA Times reports. The deal also gives Amazon time to convince the US Congress to establish a national standard for online sales taxes. But if Congress fails to do so by next September, then the online giant will start charging sales tax to its California customers. It’s unclear, however, whether Governor Jerry Brown will endorse the deal. Last week, Brown threw cold water on a proposal by Amazon to put off sales tax collection until 2014.