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Sept. 5, 2012 at 6:59 PM
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Cellphone users concerned over app privacy

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- More than half of U.S. mobile device users have uninstalled or avoided certain apps, worried how the app collects or shares information, a survey found.

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found that of the 88 percent of U.S. adults who own cellphones, 43 percent said they download cellphone applications.

However, of those app users, 54 percent reported deciding against installing an app once they learned the extent of the personal information they would be sharing when using the app, Pew reported Wednesday.

And 30 percent said they had uninstalled an app they had already downloaded and installed when they learned it was collecting types of personal information they didn't want shared.

Overall, 57 percent of all app users have either uninstalled an app or declined to install an app in the first place out of concern about having to share personal information, Pew said.

The survey of 2,254 adults was conducted between March 15 and April 3, with a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.


'Sideways' aircraft for supersonic speed?

MIAMI, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- An aircraft that could pivot 90 degrees in midair after takeoff to reach supersonic speeds has been given $100,000 in NASA funding, its research team says.

Ge-Cheng Zha, an aerospace engineer at the University of Miami, with colleagues from Florida State University, has proposed the supersonic, bidirectional flying wing aircraft, essentially two flying wings on top of one another at a 90-degree angle that would take off facing one way for subsonic flight and then rotate another way for supersonic flight.

Jet engines on top of the aircraft would rotate to remain facing forward as the plane turned sideways to transition between inflight modes, InnovationNewsDaily reported.

Its designers suggest the aircraft could attain supersonic speeds without producing a sonic boom, the Achilles heel that limited where the supersonic Concorde passenger jet could fly over populated land masses.

"I am hoping to develop an environmentally friendly and economically viable airplane for supersonic civil transport in the next 20 to 30 years," Zha said. "Imagine flying from New York to Tokyo in 4 hours instead of 15 hours."


'Junk' DNA found to have important purpose

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- So-called "junk DNA," genetic material in our cells long considered without purpose, plays a vital role in regulating our genes, international researchers say.

A study of the 98 percent of the human genome that is not, strictly speaking, genes suggests more than three-quarters of entire allotment of DNA is active at some point in our lives, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

"This concept of 'junk DNA' is really not accurate," said Richard Myers, one of the leaders of the 400-scientist Encyclopedia of DNA Elements Project, nicknamed Encode.

"It is an outdated metaphor to explain our genome."

The Human Genome Project had revealed human cells contain only about 21,000 genes, far fewer than most biologists had predicted, and those genes comprised just 2 percent of the cell's DNA.

Parts of the genome once thought to be "junk" may have an important role in regulating genes, switching them on and off, influencing their output, controlling their timing and coordinating their activity with other genes, the new findings suggest.

"There is a modest number of genes and an immense number of elements that choreograph how those genes are used," said Eric D. Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, the federal agency that paid for the research.

At least 4 million sections of the genome are involved in manipulating the activity of genes, researchers suggest.

"The genome is just alive with stuff. We just really didn't realize that before," Ewan Birney of the European Bioinformatics Institute in England said.


Resting place of British king sought

LEICESTER, England, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Researchers searching for Britain's King Richard III say they've discovered the lost ruins of a church considered the site of his 15th century burial.

The University of Leicester, leading the search for the burial place, has reported archaeologists have found the medieval Grey Friars Church, the exact location of which had been lost over the centuries.

Defeated at the battle of Bosworth in 1485, at the end of the civil war between the House of Lancaster and the House of York, the king's body, stripped and mutilated, was brought to Leicester where he was buried in the church of the Franciscan Friary known as the Grey Friars.

"The discoveries so far leave us in no doubt that we are on the site of Leicester's Franciscan Friary, meaning we have crossed the first significant hurdle of the investigation," lead archaeologist Richard Buckley said.

The archaeologists have dug trenches that have exposed floors and walls.

"The size of the walls, the orientation of the building, its position and the presence of medieval inlaid floor tiles and architectural fragments makes this almost certainly the church of the Grey Friars," he said.

"The next step -- which may include extending the trenches -- will seek to gain more information on the church in the hope that we can identify the location of the choir and high altar.

"Finding the choir is especially important as this is where Richard III is recorded as having been buried."

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