National Archives sign at Kew Gardens Station

National Archives sign at Kew Gardens Station


First step in Net Neutrality adopted by USA's Federal Communications Commission

The United State's Federal Communications Commission (FCC), according to this ITI Weekly News Digest & NewsBreaks item, had taken the first step towards Net Neutrality by adopting a set of rules. According to ITI's review,

These rules were developed following a public rulemaking process that began in fall 2009 and included input from more than 100,000 individuals and organizations and several public workshops. The rules require all broadband providers to publicly disclose network management practices, restrict broadband providers from blocking internet content and applications, and bar fixed broadband providers from engaging in unreasonable discrimination in transmitting lawful network traffic. The FCC says that the rules ensure much-needed transparency and continued internet openness, while making clear that broadband providers can effectively manage their networks and respond to market demands

The ITI piece goes on to state that the FCC's action is not without its detractors and critics, including "Republicans in Congress", the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and EDUCAUSE.

The new rules are supposed to take effect "early in 2011."


The new stuff of life: arsenic

NASA, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, announced a momentous find on December 2, 02010, that of microorganisms that live off arsenic. According to the media release on their Web site
Researchers conducting tests in the harsh environment of Mono Lake in California have discovered the first known microorganism on Earth able to thrive and reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic. The microorganism substitutes arsenic for phosphorus in its cell components.

"The definition of life has just expanded," said Ed Weiler, NASA's associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at the agency's Headquarters in Washington. "As we pursue our efforts to seek signs of life in the solar system, we have to think more broadly, more diversely and consider life as we do not know it."

This finding of an alternative biochemistry makeup will alter biology textbooks and expand the scope of the search for life beyond Earth. The research is published in this week's edition of Science Express.
 Additional details about the find are available on NASA's Astrobiology site. Science Express is an online service of the Science journal.