Cool Links

A group of researchers are teaching Waldrapps,  the northern bald ibis, to learn a migration route by teaching them to follow a microlight.

It's part of a wider conservation plan to save this critically endangered bird - because the birds are usually taught migration paths by their parents, impossible because the birds are raised in captivity, an artificial way to teach them is necessary.   
As is often the case when anti-science hysteria turns evidence issues into political and cultural wars, the opportunities for rational discussion get lost.  

Lord Sainsbury says it is time for a new debate on GM foods as he thinks they will help feed the world population estimated to reach 9 billion people by 2050.
A cool link for today for the title alone, but discovery of an oceanic cousin of the Mimivirus — the Cafeteria roenbergensis virus — which has the second-largest viral genome ever found in a single-celled host, is cool in its own right.
Can't get enough romance, even on an airplane?   Air New Zealand is for you.   They are about to offer what MSNBC calls "Cuddle Class" on Auckland-LA Flights starting next April - it's ostensibly for families so don't get crazy and let out the little Maori tribesman in you.
China loves intellectual property rights when it is used by China against other countries but only then - if you've ever worked for a company that sells products in China, you know that you have zero recourse when someone starts selling your intellectual property for a dollar outside your office, but China says they take rights seriously.

If so, oops, The People's Daily, official mouthpiece for the Communist Party of China, let this one slip through in its review of the iPad - 
Courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Richard Vedder at the Chronicle notes that 5,000 Ph.D.s are working as ... janitors.

Did those of us who went to college before a political party decided a college education was 'a right' know there would be diminishing returns to a college education once everyone had one?  Sure we did, but that's no miracle of economics.  Heck, even Paul Krugman could have figured that out.   

Vedder agrees.
In the modern world of Wikileaks and ClimateGate, where and how you get things and their credibility matters less than how opponents can make political hay with it, the impact on science is evident as well.

Jennifer Couzin-Frankel and Gretchen Vogel writing at Science detail how accusations of scientific fraud from an anonymous e-mail address sent to the researchers in question but also to other prominent stem cell biologists, several scientific journals, and reporters has the paper authors defending themselves, virtually without cause.   
Appearing on CNN’s “Parker Spitzer” program last week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that people who don’t like Google’s Street View cars taking pictures of their homes and businesses “can just move” afterward to protect their privacy. Ironically, he said this on the very day that Google admitted those cars captured more than just fragments of personal payload data.
Dr. Paul Shin, Chemical Instrumentation Manager at CSU Northridge, has long been a science outreach guy.   He's also more recently a fighting cancer guy.    But he has done so much for ... well, everyone ... that the science cheerleaders at the USA Science&Engineering Festival (he could not attend due to health issues) sent him a special message when they found out he could not go.

Interesting trivia fact; who is the only player in baseball history to appear in the World Series against the team that traded him that same year?   If you guessed Bengie Molina because his name is in the title, you are correct.

The Giants had Molina as a catcher from 2007 until they discovered rookie Buster Posey was an offensive force and should be playing every day, so Molina was traded to the Texas Rangers, where he helped them get to the World Series as well.   That was a good move because Posey is much better on offense and much younger but Molina was a valuable guy to San Francisco in developing their young pitchers to where they are today.
Beneath its dreary shroud of clouds, Venus could be positively hopping: Planetary geologists have spotted a lava flow they say is just decades old. If confirmed, it would be the youngest evidence for volcanism on Venus.

Some researchers believe that Venus is geologically active, since more than 1,000 volcanoes dot its surface but definitive evidence that the planet is active today, like Earth, and not long dead, like Mars, has been elusive.
Want to become a terrorist?  It's easier than you think to get sucked in, writes New Scientist.

The anthropology of terrorism makes for compelling fieldwork and Scott Atran is on a quest to understand what makes people kill and die for a cause.   He says he has met with the Hamas high command in Damascus, unpacked the web of connections behind the 9/11 and 2004 Madrid train attacks and been forced to flee for his life from militants in Indonesia and Pakistan unsettled by his probings.
Some people feel like they were born in the wrong century and should have been born when there were cowboys or knights or whatever.   Paul Krugman simply thinks he was born in the wrong decade and should have come along two decades earlier than he did, when money was free, the Great Society was just being funded and activism mattered. 
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his organization are famously liberal with the secrets of the U.S. military but he is not so forthcoming about his own private affairs.

Assange walked out of a CNN interview after the reporter asked him about his often terse relationship with fellow workers and the court case in which he was cleared of sex abuse charges in Sweden.
You think Batman's pretty cool, don't you?  Outside of America, they make Batman even cooler because he guns down bad guys and has sex with the ladies he rescues. 

Other countries have been working around the clock to improve our cultural icons in similar. From, here are 9 ripoffs that are better than the US originals, proving you can create something awesome no matter where you're from or how limited your budget is, as long as you don't give a shit about copyrights.
The Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies posted its assessment of 800 health claims earlier this week, including some from manufacturers whose products include so-called functional ingredients like probiotics, which are food additives proponents claim can stimulate the immune system to aid digestion or inhibit pathogens.
In the first study designed to show how much dogs 'prefer' their owners, scientists say they have also shown just how much dogs rely on seeing their owners faces in order to recognize them.

The researchers writing in the journal
Animal Behaviour measured how much dogs prefer to gaze at and follow their owners, rather than a stranger and described how dogs had difficulty recognizing their human "best friend" when the person had their face covered.
In a move designed to help revive the tradition of taking a nap after lunch, Spain's first national siesta championship is underway in Madrid.

Participants are monitored as they lie down for a 20-minute nap and they have pulse monitors attached to their bodies.   A maximum of 20,000 points is awarded to those who manage to sleep for the full 20 minutes and sleeping fewer minutes means fewer points but judges also award marks for original sleeping positions, the loudest snore and the most eye-catching outfits.

Talk of significant cuts in the UK's science budget had some researchers in the country worried about a "brain drain" of researchers to other countries but the government has sent a signal to scientists and engineers in the UK that research is still a priority - sort of. Genomeweb has the details.
Autism was described as early as 1940 but only recently has there been a marked increase in the diagnosis of the broader class of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) - one in 110 children in 2006 and that diagnosis increased at an average annual rate of 57% between 2002 and 2006. The escalating health care expenditures associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has the health community concerned.