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NASA has set a News Conference on an Astrobiology Discovery that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.

NASA is set to hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Dec. 2.

They are going to discuss a astrobiology find that is going to have an impact on the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.

Really have they found Aliens?

Well Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution, and future of life in the universe, Earth is the only known inhabited planet in the universe to date. However, this may state to change on Thursday.

The news conference will be held at the NASA Headquarters auditorium in Washington, and will be broadcast live through NASA Television and streamed online at

The Participants are

  • Mary Voytek, director, Astrobiology Program, NASA Headquarters, Washington

(From NASA)

Dr. Mary A. Voytek, a microbiologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Reston, VA, took charge of NASA’s Astrobiology Program effective September 15, 2008, as Interim Senior Scientist for Astrobiology in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA HQ. Dr. Voytek’s primary research interest is aquatic microbial ecology and biogeochemistry. She studies environmental controls on microbial transformations of nutrients, xenobiotic, and metals in freshwater and marine systems. She has worked in several extreme environments including Antarctica, hyper saline lakes, deep-sea hydrothermal vents, and terrestrial deep- subsurface sites. At the USGS, she heads the Microbiology and Molecular Ecology team. She has conducted deep-biosphere studies at the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure. The most recent results of this research project were published in the June 27, 2008, issue of Science.


  • Felisa Wolfe-Simon, NASA astrobiology research fellow, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, Calif.

(From Wikipedia)

Dr. Felisa Wolfe-Simon of the US Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California, has been studying possible arsenic based life forms at Mono lake, sampling the mud, reducing phosphorus levels, and hoping to show that there is a different form of life propagating in the arsenic-rich waters.

(From New York Times)

Could the Mono Lake arsenic prove there is a shadow biosphere?

Do alien life forms exist in a Californian lake? Could there be a shadow biosphere? One scientist is trying to find out

(From Astrobiology Magazine)

Mono Lake, just east of Yosemite National Park, is a place of bizarre natural beauty. It also boasts one of the highest natural concentrations of arsenic on Earth. The latter fact, says geomicrobiologist Felisa Wolfe-Simon, makes it a good spot to look for alien life.

  • Pamela Conrad, astrobiologist, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

(From AMASE)

Pamela Conrad, an astrobiologist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has traveled to the ends of the Earth to study life. Her main work is on planetary habitability assessment. It focuses on the development of approaches and measurements for assessment of habitability on planetary surface environments and the development of non-invasive optical methods for the in situ "triaging" of potential rock sample targets, including induced native fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy at various excitation wavelengths. She is interested in the short-range remote sensing of chemical biosignitures and the stability and environment distribution of chemical biosignitures.


  • Steven Benner, distinguished fellow, Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, Gainesville, Fla.

(From Wikipedia)

Steven A. Benner is a former V.T. & Louise Jackson Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Florida Department of Chemistry. He was also a faculty member in the Department of Molecular Cell Biology.

Benner left University of Florida in late December 2005 to found The Westheimer Institute of Science and Technology (TWIST) in Honor of Frank Westheimer. He also created the Foundation For Applied Molecular Evolution (FFAME).

Benner has also founded Eragen Biosciences and Firebird Bimolecular Science's LLC .

Benner joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 1997, after working at Harvard University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

He received his B.S./M.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University under the supervision of Robert Burns Woodward and Frank Westheimer.

  • James Elser, professor, Arizona State University, Tempe

(From ASU)

Dr. Elser's research involves the integrative field of biological stoichiometry, the study of balance of energy and multiple chemical elements in living systems. While this work is primarily ecological in focus and includes studies of both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and biota, the approach uses an evolutionary perspective to integrate levels of organization from the molecule and cell to the ecosystem. Specific studies involve observational and experimental studies at various scales, including laboratory cultures, short-term field experiments and sustained whole-ecosystem manipulations. Over the years, field sites have included the Experimental Lakes Area in Ontario, Canada; lakes of the Arctic; lakes, forests, and grasslands of the upper Midwest; desert springs in Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert; and the surrounding Sonoran Desert. In addition, Dr. Elser collaborates extensively with mathematicians in developing quantitative theoretical approaches to these questions.  In more recent work he has extended the work to investigate the connections among C:N:P stoichiometry, growth rate, rRNA physiology and genetics, and ecological dynamics in diverse biota and ecosystems and to evaluate the application of these ideas to tumor dynamics. Currently, he is an active member of the ASU’s NASA-funded Astrobiology project “Follow the Elements” and a co-organizer of ASU’s Sustainable Phosphorus Initiative.


Looking at Felisa Wolfe-Simon’s work in Mono lake could this leave us clues on what the conference is going to be about?



New iOS 4.2.1 for the iPad: Multitasking

Apple recently came out with the new Operating System for their tablet computer, the iPad. Even though the Apple iPad has only been out since April, it has already become one of the most revolutionary gadgets on the market today, and this most recent upgrade was the most anticipated upgrade since its initial release.

The screen shot above shows a typical iPad home screen, with the main apps which come installed on the device after the upgrade to the latest operating system, which is iOS 4.2.1. These apps include the following:

  • Safari, the web browser
  • Email, the email program
  • Photos, for viewing photos and images
  • iPod, for browsing and playing the music library
  • Calendar, for viewing and adding appointments
  • Contacts, for keeping contact lists
  • Videos, for watching TV shows and movies
  • Notes, for editing notes
  • Maps, for displaying map information
  • Youtube, for viewing videos from
  • iTunes, for downloading and browsing movies and music
  • App Store, for browsing and downloading apps
  • Settings, for viewing and changing iPad device settings
  • Game Center, for setting global user gaming information

The Safari, Email, Photos and iPod apps appear on all home screens on the iPad while all other apps will scroll to the side when you flick you finger across the screen. Basically, the iPad screen looks the same once the upgrade has completed, until you click the Home button twice in a row quickly. This raises up the wallpaper and reveals the multi-tasking toolbar at the bottom of the home screen, as illustrated below. This is the biggest feature found in this upgrade of the operating system.

The bottom screenshot shows the apps which had been started since the iPad had been powered on. All these apps remain in memory and can be re-displayed on the screen by simply tapping them once from the multi-tasking bar on the very bottom of the ipad Home screen. The major drawback of this feature is that the more apps are running, more memory is used, which causes things to slow down considerably.

One way to remedy the situation, is to tap and hold any one of the apps displayed on the bottom until they begin to shake or wiggle. While they’re wiggling, minus signs are displayed on the top left corners on every icon representing every app. Tapping these minus-icons will in fact close the apps which are no longer needed, freeing up memory and improving the performance of the iPad device. This is highly recommended and certainly something to keep in mind, definitely after having used the ipad for several hours. Closing apps will free up memory and improve the performance of the device. Another thing people have noted is that the iPad had used the battery more quickly since the upgrade, and that me be due to the new multitasking feature. Although it is nice to have this feature, keep in mind that running so many apps at the same time will come at a price, which is calculated in processor speed and battery life. Be careful and take time to close those apps, which are no longer needed!

More about iOS 4.2 from Apple

Android: Root

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One of the most important aspects of Android is it's openness. This is what truly sets it apart from iOS and Apple's seemingly dictatorial handling of it's products.

So what is root?
Well if you want a literal definition, has quite a few of them.

Rooting is similar to jailbreaking an iPod or iPhone, but it's much easier, not near as risky, and technically not jailbreaking but taking admin control of your device.

I want to emphasize this, rooting is not jailbreaking, rooting is something entirely different and better.

There are many guides scattered throughout the internet on how to root specific phones and I will post links at the end of this article for some of the more popular handsets available right now. This article is not a guide on how to root, but is more of an explanation on why you should or shouldn't root.

Here are a few things that having root access allows you to do:
You will have 100% full access and control over your system.

You will be able to alter or replace system files.
You can change anything and everything to make your device truly your own. Anything from applying a new theme to a new bootloader.

You can run special apps that give you more control over your system or do things that require more control over your system.

  • SuperUser (lets you approve or deny the use of root access to any program)
  • Task Manager For Root (Lets you kill apps. Task managers are very controversial in the Android community and many people say they ruin your phone while others say they are a necessity.)
  • Tether apps (like the one found at [])
Rooting also lets you backup your system in case something bad happens.

There is an infinite number of other things rooting lets you do to your phone such as overclocking your phone or applying new ROMs (like a different version of Android, made by different programmers in the Android community based off of the original source code released by google).

The Motorola Droid has been the best phone i ever bought for many reasons. It has a great keyboard, it runs the newest version of Android, it has a large enough screen for my needs, but most importantly, it is very easily rooted. In addition to being easily rooted, it is also easily overclocked to amazing speeds. The Droid comes stock with a 550 mhz processor. Mine runs at 1ghz. Other people have recorded speeds of up to 1.3ghz, more than twice the original speed with little effect on battery life or cpu temperature.

More recent Motorola phones have not been as easily rooted as the original Droid. They have encrypted bootloaders and also what is called an efuse which SUPPOSEDLY fries the phone if you try to hack it. But the dedicated Android community has successfully hacked it and the Droid X and Droid 2 can be now be overclocked. More importantly though is the fact that the recovery image can be replaced, allowing for custom ROMs to be installed.

A good place to start rooting is Android Forums They have many guides on how to root, links to custom ROMs, and also a large community to help you out with any problem or question you might have.

Guides to rooting:
Droid 2
Droid X
Galaxy S
HTC Incredible
Nexus 1

What is Android?

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Android is an operating system, originally made for cell phones, but is also available for tablets. Android has also been ported to run on desktop computers as well.

Android has recently taken the mobile phone market by storm. As of September 7th 2010, Android holds 16.3% of the smartphone market, as compared to the iPhone's iOS 14.7%. Android is one of the most rapidly growing smartphone platforms available right now, and is projected to hold 51.2% of the smartphone market by 2014.

Dan Morrill explained in On Android Compatibility, “Android is not a specification, or a distribution in the traditional Linux sense. It’s not a collection of replaceable components. Android is a chunk of software that you port to a device.”

Linux · Underneath everything is a reasonably up-to-date Linux Kernel. Android runs on Linux, but but it isn't exactly a distro because it leaves out so much that people expect in one: libraries and shells and editors and GUIs and programming frameworks. It’s a pretty naked kernel, which becomes obvious the first time you find yourself using a shell on an Android device.

Dalvik · The next big piece of Android is Dalvik, comprising the VM and a whole bunch of basic runtime essentials. All the standard APIs that you use to create Android apps are defined in terms of Dalvik classes and interfaces and objects and methods.

How It’s Generated · Native code is currently produced more or less exclusively by compiling C or C++ code; but that isn't the only way you can code for Android. Dalvik code is currently produced by generating Java bytecodes and translating them, but again, there are many ways you can program apps for Android.

Android apps are defined as code that runs on the platform and uses the APIs. As long as an app does these things properly, it doesn't matter how it got generated.

What’s In an App? · An Android app lives in what’s called an APK file, basically a ZIP file with a particular internal file layout that allows it to be run in place, without unpacking. There’s nothing magic about them, you can email them around and drop them on USB drives and extract pieces by unzipping.

Android is an amazing operating system, but there is much more to it than all this technical mumbo-jumbo. The part of Android that i believe everybody should look into because it personifies open source nature of Android, is rooting. More on rooting in my next article.


Best Blogs Of The WEB

I’ve been looking a lot lately at online blogs and I have come across some great bloggers, I came across some of the more well known bloggers and some great bloggers that aren’t as popular.

I’m going to start with Benjamin Heckendorn.


Ben has been around for a while blogging on about all his technology modifications and hacks, he has become most famous for his Xbox and Ps3 Portable Laptops.

Recently ben heck has entered Revision3 creating his own TV show The Ben Heck Show, he features the construction of his Xbox 360 laptop build as well as some user chosen mods such as the one handed Xbox controller.



Next up Chris Pirillo.



Chris came famous back in 1996 with Lockergnome, offering tons of tricks and tips for all the applications you could possibly run on your operating system.

It still contains all the suggestions chris could give for on great websites and software you can use no matter how wacky it can seem.

Chris Pirillo also runs a social network, forum and blogging network based on the ning platform, which made the beginning of my friendship with Rex Torres (Script Boy) and Joe Whitcomb (Zezura).

Chris Streams Live on Ustream and is one of the top popular streams on ustream, you can also view the stream on YouTube (Personal Blog)



Then Finally Snick from



This blog isn’t extremely popular but it is one of the most friendly around, It’s writers focus on all things technology related, I even had the opportunity to blog for Snick not that long ago.

It’s defiantly a must read blog.



Lance Burrows

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iPhone Case Make’s Slide out Keyboard Like Droid Childs Play

We have seen case’s that have there flip out keyboards but nothing as good as the new Keyboard Buddy iPhone 4 Case from BoxWave, the case features a integrated slide-out Bluetooth keyboard, BoxWave says the battery is good for up to 45 days though depending on how efficient you are with the physical on off switch this could be extended.
One downside to the new case is the shift key on the left side making it awkward to type with the right hand while holding down the shift key.
It is a perfect addition to the iPhone 4 providing sleek protection when not in use and makes the perfect adaption to fast messaging and IM competing even more with the Blackberry and Droid.
The BoxWave case is available for $69.95 here

Virgin Galactic booking flights to space now

Want to go to space?
Got $200,000 and a $20,000 deposit?
Well it is the perfect opportunity for anyone, I really want to travel to space and cant wait to see what the future brings but I guess I wont have to wait to long thanks to Richard Branson the first space port has been built in New Mexico, Virgin Galactic is now taking bookings to travel to space on there site.
One day everyone will have the opportunity to travel to space and maybe even to other planets well that’s my dream anyway.