SciTech Briefs

Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Facebook moves all users to new profile

While Facebook has been migrating its users to its new profile since last December, the change became mandatory for all users last Wednesday. The new profile removes the tabs in a user’s profile in favor of a category listing below the profile picture, and it no longer displays a user’s current status next to his or her name. The more controversial changes in the new profile include highlighting personal information — birth date, location, and the like — at the top of the main profile page.

Source: The Washington Post

Vaccine and autism study is a fraud

A study led by Andrew Wakefield and published in The Lancet, a leading British medical journal, in 1998 claimed to link the common vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) to autism in children. Since that time, Wakefield’s findings have been criticized, and the scientific community has claimed that his research practices did not meet acceptable standards. In a new development, though, The Lancet itself denounced Wakefield’s study as a fraud. A report by journalist Brian Deer found that the medical histories of the children in the study had been fabricated.

Source: The New York Times

Verizon network to add iPhone

In a move anticipated for months, Verizon Wireless and Apple Inc. announced Tuesday that Apple’s iPhone 4 would shortly be available for use on the Verizon network. This marks the first time that the iPhone will be usable in the United States on a carrier other than AT&T. It will be in stores in early February. The Verizon iPhone 4 will use the 3G CDMA network, rather than the 4G LTE network, which is faster and allows for simultaneous data and voice communications.
Source: The Washington Post

Painkillers receive FDA limits

The Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday that it would limit the amount of acetaminophen contained in several prescription painkillers. An overdose of acetaminophen — which is found in Tylenol, Vicodin, and Percocet, among other medications — can cause severe liver damage. Damage is more likely when the ingredient is combined with alcohol or other drugs, such as codeine. Such prescription medications will also be required to have a warning label. Over-the-counter medications such as normal Tylenol will not be affected.

Source: BusinessWeek

MySpace cuts staff by half

Pioneering social network MySpace announced Tuesday that 500 jobs — equivalent to almost 50 percent of the company’s worldwide employees — would be cut as it attempts to restructure itself. Though MySpace was once the premier social network, it has largely been replaced by Facebook, and in recent years the site has struggled to differentiate itself. News Corp., which is run by Rupert Murdoch, is the parent company of MySpace, and reports indicate that it is looking for opportunities to sell the website.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Earth’s orbit causes change in zodiac

A physical phenomenon known as precession has forced astrologers to add a new sign to the zodiac. Precession is a consequence of the moon’s gravity affecting the Earth’s orbit, in which the Earth’s axis “wobbles” over time. A complete rotation of the axis takes 26,000 years. This means that views of the night sky change, which means that zodiac signs change as well. The new sign is called Ophiuchus.