Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lost Music Instrument Recreated

New software has enabled researchers to recreate a long forgotten musical instrument called the Lituus. The 2.4m (8ft) long trumpet-like instrument was played in Ancient Rome but fell out of use some 300 years ago. Bach's motet (a choral musical composition) "O Jesu Christ, meins lebens licht" was one of the last pieces of music written for the Lituus. Now, for the first time, this 18th Century composition has been played as it should have been heard. Researchers from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the University of Edinburgh collaborated on the study.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

US launches Cyber Security Plan

US President Barack Obama has announced plans for securing American computer networks against cyber attacks. He said that from now on, America's digital infrastructure would be treated as a strategic national asset. He announced the creation of a cyber security office in the White House, and said he would personally appoint a "cyber tsar". Both US government and military bodies have reported repeated interference from hackers in recent years.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Mocking Birds songs

A team of US scientists has found that mockingbirds living in variable climates sing more elaborate songs. Complex tunes, sung by males to impress females, are likely to signal the birds' intelligence. Published in Current Biology, the findings suggest that females seek mates with superior singing skills - smart enough to survive harsh climes.

Carlos Botero, a researcher from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina, led the study. He and his colleagues compared recordings of 29 species of mockingbird, studying patterns in their songs including the number of different notes, the number of syllables and the birds' abilities to mimic other sounds.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pornographic videos removed from YouTube

Video-sharing website YouTube has removed hundreds of pornographic videos which were uploaded in what is believed to be a planned attack. The material was uploaded under names of famous teenage celebrities such as Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers. Many started with footage of children's videos before groups of adults performing graphic sex acts appeared on screen. YouTube owner Google said it was aware and addressing the problem.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Charles Bolden to lead NASA

President Barack Obama has chosen retired astronaut Charles Bolden to lead Nasa, ending months of speculation about the position. Lori Garver, a former Nasa official and space adviser to the Obama campaign, was named as his deputy. Both positions require US Senate confirmation. If confirmed, Maj-Gen Bolden, 62, would be only the second astronaut to lead Nasa during its 50-year history.