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Finding of quill knobs on fossilized velociraptor bone demonstrates that even large dinosaurs were feathered and may have descended from animals capable of flight. Scientists have known for years that many dinosaurs had feathers. Now the presence of feathers has been documented in velociraptor, one of the most iconic of dinosaurs and a close relative of birds.

Biomedical engineers at The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston have announced pre-clinical test results in the September issue of the International Journal of Nanomedicine demonstrating the feasibility of a smart particle insulin release system that detects spikes in glucose or blood sugar levels and releases insulin to counteract them.

Toshiba Corporation today announced development of the "SpursEngine", a high-performance stream processor integrating Synergistic Processing Element (SPE) cores derived from the Cell Broadband Engine (Cell/B.E.). The SpursEngine is expressly designed to bring the powerful capabilities of the Cell/B.E. technology to consumer electronics, and to take video processing in digital consumer products to new levels of realism and image quality.

West Virginia is part of a wave of states that are embracing data center and server consolidation in their government I.T. operations. It's replacing 85 e-mail servers that run a half-dozen different applications with four Exchange-based systems -- two for production, and two for backup.

And that's just for starters. Kyle Schfer, West Virginia's chief technology officer, wants to extend the consolidation initiative to the state's financial, procurement and human resources management systems. The savings on hardware alone justify the move, according to Schfer, who said that West Virginia currently replaces as many as 20 e-mail servers annually as part of its regular hardware refresh cycle.

Schafer knows that consolidation is old hat to many of his corporate IT counterparts. "Most Fortune 500 organizations run with less than a half-dozen e-mail servers," he said.

And he speaks from experience: Before becoming West Virginia's CTO two years ago, he was director of technology and design at electric and gas utility NiSource Inc.'s corporate services subsidiary in Columbus, Ohio.

Having spent years in the private sector, Schafer found state government IT to be entirely different. Individual agencies often have autonomous IT departments, and centralized management of technology remains a work in progress for most states. Schafer said that in West Virginia, he found servers "housed all over the place" -- even in switch rooms and wiring closets. In addition, there were no central data backup or security controls.

"It was somewhat of a shock to me to come into state government and see the level of autonomy that state agencies had over the technical infrastructure," Schafer said. But now, states "are moving in the same direction that private industry has already taken," he added. "We're just a couple of years behind that curve."

Of 29 state governments surveyed last spring by the National Association of State Chief Information...

Just as Minneapolis now finds itself in the middle of a national debate on bridge safety, so the Puget Sound area was some 70 years ago. The infamous collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940 prompted a national discussion on bridge engineering. It also provided the impetus for founding University of Washington's Structural Research Laboratory, which opened its doors in 1948 in the school's department of civil and environmental engineering.

In the first experiments able to mimic the crushing, searing conditions found in Earth`s lower mantle, and simultaneously probe tell-tale properties of iron, scientists have discovered that material there behaves very differently than predicted by models. The research also points to the likelihood of a new zone deep in the Earth. The work is published in the September 21, 2007, issue of Science.

Since the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) began experiments in 1973, it has proven to be a bottomless well of scientific discovery. Now, a team of SLAC accelerator physicists is working to add new functionality to the SPEAR synchrotron accelerator. The team—James Safranek, Xiaobiao Huang and Andrei Terebilo—has tested a new "low-alpha mode" for SPEAR that results in shorter x-ray pulses that could be advantageous for some users.

You can't argue with free, even if it costs $400. On Wednesday, VoIP startup Ooma started selling a $400 box, the Ooma Hub, that allows users to make free calls within the United States. After the initial outlay for the device, which must be connected to a broadband router, calls are free forever.

"Ooma is the only company in the history of the telecom industry to offer you the opportunity to own your dial tone," the company says on its Web site, noting that there are no monthly fees or hidden costs.

In addition, Ooma offers a second-line feature (calls coming in when the first line is busy will ring on a second handset), online access to voicemail messages, three-way conferencing, call screening (like with old-style answering machines), and international calling for "pennies a minute."

"We're building the ultimate phone system for the house," Ooma CEO Andrew Frame said.

Exploiting Users' Landlines

Ooma naturally requires a high-speed Internet connection. Its real innovation, however, is in its exploitation of existing phone lines. Ooma routes calls over the Internet, then uses the local user's phone service to deliver the call to its final destination.

"If you have an Ooma phone in L.A. and you're calling New York, it makes a VoIP call to an Ooma box in New York and exploits that person's land line to finish the call," explained Yankee Group analyst Patrick Monaghan in a telephone interview. "By doing this they are able to circumvent the long-distance tolls they would have to pay to the carriers."

The local toll is covered by the flat-rate local service, Monaghan said, but "if there isn't a local box, it will make a pure VoIP call and they'll have to incur the local phone charges."

Security Concerns

Some bloggers have questioned the security of this "distributed termination" system, saying that...