SciTech Briefs

Statistics released for social networks

The number of American adults using social networking sites has risen from 5 to 50 percent in the past six years, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. The same study also found that 89 percent of adults aged 18–29 are users, and they are twice as likely to integrate the habit into their daily routine. Although such forms of communication are becoming widespread, the same study found signs of a slowdown; one in five participants described their usage as “boring” or “time-consuming.”

Source: The New York Times

CEO Steve Jobs resigns from Apple

After 15 years as CEO of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs resigned last Wednesday due to health complications. He has been described as a visionary and facilitated the launch and success of Apple products such as the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. At roughly $376 per share, Apple is currently the highest-traded of all blue-chip companies. Former Chief Operating Officer Timothy D. Cook took over as the new CEO of Apple and was given 1 million shares of stock worth a total of $383 million.

Source: The New York Times

New evidence of archaic humans

A group of human fossils belonging to what researchers dub “Denisovans” were recently discovered in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. After the discovery, several top anthropologists gathered at the archeological site to determine what information the discovery yielded about the ancient world. Researchers believe the Denisovans inhabited Earth around 30,000 to 50,000 years ago and may have contributed immune system cells that are still present in modern humans.

Source: Science

Hurricane Irene hits East Coast

Hurricane Irene, a Category 1 storm at landfall, struck the East Coast Saturday, causing millions to evacuate their homes. Irene made landfall with 90-m.p.h. winds in North Carolina and continued up through New England Sunday. New York City declared mandatory evacuations for areas near the water including Battery Park. Governors of seven Mid-Atlantic and New England states, along with District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Grey, have declared states of emergency and urged citizens to evacuate.

Source: Washington Post

Virginia hit by earthquake

A 5.8-magnitude earthquake centered in Virginia sent waves of shock across most of the eastern seaboard last Tuesday. This was the strongest quake in 67 years for the East Coast. Most of the damage was only superficial, but the natural disaster shut down Washington, D.C. and many businesses for the day. The epicenter was about 87 miles south of Washington, but aftershocks spooked residents as far as Jacksonville, Fla.

Source: Washington Post

Botox approved to aid bladder control

Botulinum toxin, or Botox, has just been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat urinary incontinence. Researchers found that injections of Botox allowed patients with neurological conditions to have more bladder control. Since its approval in 2002, Botox has also been cleared to treat six other health maladies, including migraines and sweating. Overall, sales for Botox treatments in 2010 reached $1.5 billion.

Source: Time