An anonymous reader writes "People who are outgoing, optimistic, easygoing, and have a good sense of humor and a large social network are likely to live longer than others who don't possess these personality traits, according to new research (abstract). The study reveals how saying, 'It's in their genes' could refer to more than just genetic variations that give a physiological advantage, like having high levels of HDL ('good') cholesterol, because people with positive personality traits appear to live longer than those who do not."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
Hexydes writes "Early in the morning (5:53 am EST) on May 26th, 2012, NASA gave the go-ahead for the Expedition 31 crew to begin the procedure to open the hatch on the Dragon capsule, now directly attached to the ISS. 'The hatch opening begins four days of operations to unload more than 1,000 pounds of cargo from the first commercial spacecraft to visit the space station and reload it with experiments and cargo for a return trip to Earth. It is scheduled for splashdown several hundred miles west of California on May 31. Wearing protective masks and goggles, as is customary for the opening of a hatch to any newly arrived vehicle at the station, Pettit entered the Dragon with Station Commander Oleg Kononenko. The goggles and masks will be removed once the station atmosphere has had a chance to mix air with the air inside the Dragon itself.' Here is a video of the procedure."
hessian writes "Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology achieved a 17-percent increase in boiling efficiency by using an acoustic field to enhance heat transfer. The acoustic field does this by efficiently removing vapor bubbles from the heated surface and suppressing the formation of an insulating vapor film."
gollum123 writes with this excerpt from the NY Times: "For more than a decade, almost all processed foods in the United States — cereals, snack foods, salad dressings — have contained ingredients from plants whose DNA was manipulated in a laboratory. Regulators and many scientists say these pose no danger. But as Americans ask more pointed questions about what they are eating, popular suspicions about the health and environmental effects of biotechnology are fueling a movement to require that food from genetically modified crops be labeled, if not eliminated. The most closely watched labeling effort is a proposed ballot initiative in California that cleared a crucial hurdle this month, setting the stage for a probable November vote that could influence not just food packaging but the future of American agriculture. Tens of millions of dollars are expected to be spent on the election showdown. It pits consumer groups and the organic food industry, both of which support mandatory labeling, against more conventional farmers, agricultural biotechnology companies like Monsanto and many of the nation's best-known food brands like Kellogg's and Kraft."
Today at 9:56AM EDT (13:56 GMT) the robotic arm on the International Space Station successfully captured SpaceX's Dragon capsule. It's the first time a commercial craft has connected with the ISS, and the first time a spacecraft made in the U.S. has gone to the station since the retirement of the shuttle. The approach was delayed temporarily as engineers worked out bad sensor readings due to light reflected off the ISS's Kibo laboratory. "To work around the problem, SpaceX narrowed the field of view for the laser sensor so that it wouldn't pick up light from the offending reflector. Dragon then returned to the 30-meter checkpoint and moved in for the final approach." If all goes well today, the capsule will most likely be opened tomorrow. Video of the operation is being broadcast live on NASA TV.
ananyo writes "The battle for the world's largest radio telescope has ended in a draw. As an earlier Slashdot story suggested, South Africa and Australia are to split the Square Kilometre Array, a €1.5 billion (US$1.9 billion) project made up of 3,000 15-meter-wide dishes and an even larger number of simple antennas. The decision was announced at a meeting outside of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, following a vote by SKA's international board."
Marian the Librarian writes "UCSF is among the first public institutions to adopt an open access policy, and is the largest scientific institution to have such a policy. The policy, voted unanimously by the faculty, will allow UCSF authors to put electronic versions of their published scientific articles on an open access repository making their research findings freely available to the public. Dr. Richard A. Schneider, who led the initiative, said, 'Our primary motivation is to make our research available to anyone who is interested in it, whether they are members of the general public or scientists without costly subscriptions to journals. The decision is a huge step forward in eliminating barriers to scientific research.'"
Anonymous Squonk writes "The measurement of the sun currently in use was actually calculated over 120 years ago, and is off by hundreds of kilometers. Thousands of ordinary Japanese citizens worked together to improve this estimate. By measuring the borders of the 'ring of fire' effect of the recent eclipse, and using the known size and distance from the Earth of the sun, the radius of the Sun was measured as 696,010 kilometers, with a margin of error of only 20 kilometers."
pcritter writes "In a rare coup for accountants' association CPA Australia, CEO Alex Malley interviews Neil Armstrong, whose dad worked as an Auditor, bringing him back four decades to the pinnacle of the space race. Neil reveals, 'I thought we had a 90 per cent chance of getting back safely to Earth on that flight but only a 50-50 chance of making a landing on that first attempt.' The four-part video series is now posted on CPA Australia's website."
coondoggie writes "NASA today gently reminded any future Moon explorers that any relics of its Apollo missions or other U.S. lunar artifacts should be off limits and are considered historic sites. NASA issued the reminder in conjunction with the X Prize Foundation and its Google Lunar X Prize competition which will use NASA's Moon sites guidelines as it sifts through the 26 teams currently developing systems and spacecraft to land on the Moon."
Fluffeh writes "It seems that the U.S. Supreme Court has an itch it just can't scratch. A patent granted to the Ultramercial company covers the concept of allowing users to watch a pre-roll advertisement as an alternative to paying for premium content and the company is demanding fees from the likes of Hulu and YouTube. Another company called WildTangent, however, is challenging Ultramercial's 'invention' as merely an abstract idea not eligible for patent protection. Add to this a recent ruling by the Supreme Court restricting patents — albeit on medical diagnostic techniques — and you get into a bit of a pickle. The Supreme Court is now sending the Ultramercial case back to the lower courts for another round, which doesn't mean that the court disagrees with the original ruling, but rather that it thinks it is a patent case that is relevant to the situation and they want to re-examine it under this new light."
ananyo writes "After 35 years, astronomer Jill Tarter is retiring from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) — a field she helped pioneer and popularize, most recently at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. Tarter, who inspired the late Carl Sagan to create the fictional character Ellie Arroway, heroine of the book and movie Contact, says she will instead focus her efforts on what she calls 'the search for intelligent funding.'"
First time accepted submitter ziegenberg writes "The lunar rover 'Asimov' developed by the Part-Time Scientists, and due to land in 2014, will be the first autonomously navigated rover on the Moon. Its autonomous navigation system is a major technological leap. While the Russian Moon rovers Lunokhod 1 and 2 in the early 70s were fully controlled from Earth, today's Mars rovers like NASA's Mars Exploration Rover 'Opportunity,' which has been tirelessly exploring the Red Planet since 2004, are autonomous. However, Opportunity requires nearly three minutes to process a pair of images — a delay that causes it to move at an average speed of just 1 cm/sec or less. New developments by the technology partnership between the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics and the PTS have created, for the first time, an autonomous navigation system for a rover that has the capacity to process multiple images per second. The technology boosts a stereo camera that Asimov will use to calculate its own motion, generate a 2.5-dimensional environmental model, evaluate the site and determine a collision-free path — all in real time."
An anonymous reader writes "First we had a superhydrophobic spray that meant no dirt or sweat could stick to your clothes. Then a hydrophobic nanocoating was created for circuit boards to make them water resistant. Now MIT has gone a step further and solved one of the ongoing problems of using condiments: they've figured out how to make a food-safe superhydrophobic coating for food packaging. It means ketchup and mayonnaise will no longer be stuck to the insides of the bottle, and therefore there will no longer be any waste. What's amusing is this seems to be a happy accident. The MIT team was actually investigating slippery coatings to stop gas and oil lines clogging as well as how to stop a surface from having ice form on it. Now their lab is filled with condiments for continued testing of their food-safe version."
An anonymous reader writes "By taking skin cells and turning them into stem cells, a technique that is already well known, researchers at Technion Israel Institute of Technology were able to generate beating heart cells — a medical first. 'We have shown that it's possible to take skin cells from an elderly patient with advanced heart failure and end up with his own beating cells in a laboratory dish that are healthy and young — the equivalent to the stage of his heart cells when he was just born,' Lior Gepstein, study author and professor of medicine said."