Daily Archives: September 19, 2011

Galactic Views (3)

                                                                                                                                        
SPACE WATCH

Herschel Mission Finds Galactic Growth Slow and Steady
NASA – The Herschel Infrared Space Observatory discovered that galaxies do not always need to collide with each other to drive vigorous star birth. The finding overturns a long-held assumption and paints a more stately picture of how galaxies evolve. The new results are based on Herschel’s observations of two patches of sky, each about one-third the size of the full moon.

These observations are unique because Herschel can obtain data at a wide range of infrared light and reveal a more complete picture of star birth than ever seen before.

Herschel is a European Space Agency cornerstone mission, with science instruments provided by consortia of European institutes and with important participation by NASA JPL, which contributed mission-enabling technology for two of Herschel’s three science instruments. Image Credit: ESA–AOES Medialab

Navigating the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act

By John Villasenor – The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) approved in September 2011 constitutes the most significant overhaul of the American patent system in decades. The legislation was signed into law by President Obama on September 16, 2011.

The new law will move the United States away from a “first to invent” system and closer to the “first to file” approach used in much of the rest of the world. Other important changes include a new proceeding in the U .S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) for third-party challenges to the validity of a recently issued patent, an expanded mechanism for a third party to provide information to the PTO that could be used to narrow or eliminate claims in a pending patent application being prosecuted by a commercial rival, and the introduction of a new, broadly applicable patent infringement defense based on prior commercial use.

It will take many years to develop a mature body of case law and legal scholarship on the full impact of the AIA. What is clear today is that it will profoundly impact the ways that patents are filed, prosecuted, and litigated in the coming years. more> http://is.gd/oMRSU0

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Financial Crisis: can the euro hope to survive?

By Martin Vander Weyer – Look behind each of the week’s news items and it’s hard not to feel a sense of despair. US Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner was in Wroclaw not to slap his European counterparts on the back for their efforts to date, but to warn them to stop bickering and address the “catastrophic risk” inherent in a widespread state of unsustainable debt and fiscal delinquency.

It is apparent not only that US banks have lost confidence in their European counterparts and have started shutting them out of inter-bank funding markets. And it is because of that widely held sentiment in the US financial community – the belief that European banks are sitting on crippling losses on their government bond holdings. more> http://is.gd/S7jJpc

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Fingertip-size microscope has potential for studying the brain

R&D Mag – A readily portable miniature microscope weighing less than 2 g and tiny enough to balance on your fingertip has been developed by Stanford University researchers.

“You could put 10 of these in your pocket and take them out to the field to do ecological studies of soil or give them to aid workers to carry, so they could potentially do on-the-spot medical screening for diseases such as tuberculosis,” says Mark Schnitzer, associate professor of biology and of applied physics at Stanford. more> http://is.gd/tTLWwv

Cyber-attack: A big one is coming says US Cyber Command General

By Michael Cooney – A destructive attack from cyberspace “is coming, in my opinion. It is a question of time. What we don’t know is how far out it is,” and whether it will target commercial infrastructure, government networks or mobile platforms Army Gen. Keith Alexander told attendees of the  “Maneuvering in Cyberspace” symposium this week.

“We were the country that developed the Internet, the iPhone, the iPad [and] some of these other great technologies,” he said. “We ought to be the first to secure it.” more> http://is.gd/3gDwpX

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