Excerpts from science, technology, environment and health reports from around the web.
New closed-captioning glasses help deaf go out to movies
There will be a special attraction for deaf people in theatres soon. By the end of this month, Regal Cinemas plans to have distributed closed-captioning glasses to more than 6,000 theatres across the US.
Sony Entertainment Access Glasses are sort of like 3-D glasses, but for captioning. The captions are projected onto the glasses and appear to float about 10 feet in front of the user. They also come with audio tracks that describe the action on the screen for blind people, or they can boost the audio levels of the movie for those who are hard of hearing.
We’ve hit the carbon level we were warned about. Here’s what that means.
Over the last couple weeks, scientists and environmentalists have been keeping a particularly close eye on the Hawaii-based monitoring station that tracks how much carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere, as the count tiptoed closer to a record-smashing 400 parts per million (ppm). Thursday, we finally got there: The daily mean concentration was higher than at any time in human history, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported on Friday.
Don't worry: Earth is not about to go up in a ball of flame. The 400 ppm mark is only a milestone, 50 ppm over what legendary NASA scientist James Hansen has since 1988 called the safe zone for avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, and yet only halfway to what the IPCC predicts we'll reach by the end of the century.
Use these secret NSA Google search tips to become your own spy agency
There’s so much data available on the internet that even government cyberspies need a little help now and then to sift through it all. So to assist them, the National Security Agency produced a book to help its spies uncover intelligence hiding on the web.
The 643-page tome, called Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research, was released by the NSA following a FOIA request filed in April by MuckRock, a site that charges fees to process public records for activists and others.
Every burst of star formation can reshape the universe
One of the most violent and wondrous cosmic events is starburst, in which hundreds of millions of stars are born all at once. These are far rarer nowadays than they were in the early universe, but they do still happen... and the massive energy released during these periods can alter the future histories of entire galaxies.
It doesn’t matter if we never out of oil: We won’t want to burn it anymore
Mann's story is entirely about quantity of supply, not price nor the more efficient use it encourages. Yet mainstream analysts see "peak oil" emerging not in supply but in demand: OECD oil use peaked in 2005, US gasoline use peaked in 2007, and some analysts think world oil use may peak in this decade. Why? Modern technologies to save or displace oil cost far less than oil. The 2011 study Reinventing Fire [http://www.rmi.org/reinventingfire] found that an uncompromised, oil-free US automobile fleet would cost $18 per saved barrel, rising to about $25 per barrel for all transportation. That's many-fold cheaper than any source of oil Mann describes, yet he doesn't discuss efficient use or price. That's the big story: Like whale oil in the 1860s, oil has become uncompetitive even at low prices, long before becoming unavailable even at high prices.
Preventing migraines with a new kind of antibody
For many who suffer from chronic migraines, nothing can reliably prevent or dull the debilitating headaches that may strike as often as every other day.
A biopharmaceutical company in Bothell, Washington, may have a solution. It hopes that a monthly injection of an antibody that blocks a well-known migraine-triggering protein will prevent these headaches.
Glimpses of a world revealed by cell-phone data
Around the world, some mobile carriers have been releasing anonymous records of cell-phone data to researchers.
The data releases are not all the same, but can include records of which phones connected to which cell phone towers, providing a trace of caller movements; with whom the connection was made, providing a map of social networks; and what purchases were made, even through simple phones, providing a glimpse of economic activity. In many cases, such data is unavailable from any other source.
Compiled by Vasudevan Mukunth