Apr 192013
 


IBM is seen as a good gauge of technology demand because it sells to major companies and governments around the world. That said, it’s not immune from economic uncertainty and currency fluctuations, which showed in the quarter’s results.

IBM said Thursday that it earned $3.03 billion, or $2.70 per share, in the January-March period. That’s down from $3.07 billion, or $2.61 per share, in the same period a year earlier. Last year’s quarter had more outstanding shares, which lowers per-share results.

Earnings excluding one-time items were $3 per share in the latest quarter, below Wall Street’s expectations of $3.05 per share.

Revenue fell 5 percent, to $23.41 billion from $24.67 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected revenue of $24.7 billion

“Despite a solid start and good client demand we did not close a number of software and mainframe transactions that have moved into the second quarter,” said IBM CEO Ginni Rometty in a statement. “The services business performed as expected with strong profit growth and significant new business in the quarter.”

Chief Financial Officer Mark Loughridge said on a conference call that weakness in the Japanese yen hurt the quarter’s results. A weak yen translates to fewer dollars for IBM on sales in Japan. Adjusted for currency fluctuations, IBM said its revenue would have only declined by 3 percent for the quarter, rather than 5 percent.

IBM kept its full-year guidance intact. It still expects adjusted, per-share earnings of at least $16.70 for 2013. Analysts predict $16.77. Rometty said the company expects to close the delayed transactions and expects to benefit from investments in growth initiatives. She said IBM is also trying to improve the weaker parts of its business.

The company has been focusing on growing its software business, which is more profitable, over hardware.

Revenue from technology services declined 4 percent during the quarter, to $9.6 billion, and business services revenue fell 3 percent, to $4.5 billion. Software revenue was flat at $5.6 billion, while hardware revenue dropped 17 percent to $3.1 billion.

Shares of the Armonk, New York-based company fell $7.55, or 3.6 percent, to $199.60 in after-hours trading. Before the earnings announcement, the stock had closed down $2.52, or 1.2 percent, at $207.15.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Article source: http://phys.org/news285521586.html

Apr 192013
 


The first new species of dinosaur from Madagascar in nearly a decade was announced today, filling an important gap in the island’s fossil record.

Dahalokely tokana (pronounced “dah-HAH-loo-KAY-lee too-KAH-nah”) is estimated to have been between nine and 14 feet long, and it lived around 90 million years ago. Dahalokely belongs to a group called abelisauroids, carnivorous dinosaurs common to the southern continents. Up to this point, no dinosaur remains from between 165 and 70 million years ago could be identified to the species level in Madagascar–a 95 million year gap in the fossil record. Dahalokely shortens this gap by 20 million years.

The fossils of Dahalokely were excavated in 2007 and 2010, near the city of Antsiranana (Diego-Suarez) in northernmost Madagascar. Bones recovered included vertebrae and ribs. Because this area of the skeleton is so distinct in some dinosaurs, the research team was able to definitively identify the specimen as a new species. Several unique features—including the shape of some cavities on the side of the vertebrae—were unlike those in any other dinosaur. Other features in the vertebrae identified Dahalokely as an abelisauroid dinosaur.


New carnivorous dinosaur from Madagascar raises more questions than it answers
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Paleontologist Andrew Farke, lead author of the study naming Dahalokely, at the discovery site for the animal. Copyright Andrew Farke and Joseph Sertich

When Dahalokely was alive, Madagascar was connected to India, and the two landmasses were isolated in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Geological evidence indicates that India and Madagascar separated around 88 million years ago, just after Dahalokely lived. Thus, Dahalokely potentially could have been ancestral to animals that lived later in both Madagascar and India. However, not quite enough of Dahalokely is yet known to resolve this issue. The bones known so far preserve an intriguing mix of features found in dinosaurs from both Madagascar and India.

“We had always suspected that abelisauroids were in Madagascar 90 million years ago, because they were also found in younger rocks on the island. Dahalokely nicely confirms this hypothesis,” said project leader Andrew Farke, Augustyn Family Curator of Paleontology at the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. Farke continued, “But, the fossils of Dahalokely are tantalizingly incomplete—there is so much more we want to know. Was Dahalokely closely related to later abelisauroids on Madagascar, or did it die out without descendents?”

The name “Dahalokely tokana” is from the Malagasy language, meaning “lonely small bandit.” This refers to the presumed carnivorous diet of the animal, as well as to the fact that it lived at a time when the landmasses of India and Madagascar together were isolated from the rest of the world.

“This dinosaur was closely related to other famous dinosaurs from the southern continents, like the horned Carnotaurus from Argentina and Majungasaurus, also from Madagascar,” said project member Joe Sertich, Curator of Dinosaurs at the Denver Museum of Nature Science and the team member who discovered the new dinosaur. “This just reinforces the importance of exploring new areas around the world where undiscovered dinosaur species are still waiting,” added Sertich.

The research was funded by the Jurassic Foundation, Sigma Xi, National Science Foundation, and the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. The paper naming Dahalokely appears in the April 18, 2013, release of the journal PLOS ONE.

More information: Farke, A. A., and J. J. W. Sertich. 2013. An abelisauroid theropod dinosaur from the Turonian of Madagascar. PLOS ONE 8(4). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062047

Journal reference:

PLoS ONE
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Provided by Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology

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Article source: http://phys.org/news285522002.html

Apr 192013
 


“We detected seismic waves created by the oceans waves both hitting the East Coast and smashing into each other,” with the most intense seismic activity recorded when Sandy turned toward Long Island, New York and New Jersey, says Keith Koper, director of the University of Utah Seismograph Stations.

“We were able to track the hurricane by looking at the ‘microseisms’ [relatively small seismic waves] generated by Sandy,” says Oner Sufri, a University of Utah geology and geophysics doctoral student and first author of the study with Koper. “As the storm turned west-northwest, the seismometers lit up.”

Sufri was scheduled to present the preliminary, unpublished findings in Salt Lake City Thursday, April 18 during the Seismological Society of America‘s annual meeting.

There is no magnitude scale for the microseisms generated by Sandy, but Koper says they range from roughly 2 to 3 on a quake magnitude scale. The conversion is difficult because earthquakes pack a quick punch, while storms unleash their energy for many hours.

The shaking was caused partly by waves hitting the East Coast, but much more by waves colliding with other waves in the ocean, setting up “standing waves” that reach the seafloor and transmit energy to it, Sufri and Koper say.

While many people may not realize it, earthquakes are not the only events that generate seismic waves. So do mining and mine collapses; storm winds, waves and tornadoes; traffic, construction and other urban activities; and meteors hitting Earth.

“They are not earthquakes; they are seismic waves,” says Koper, a seismologist and associate professor of geology and geophysics. “Seismic waves can be created by a range of causes. … We have beautiful seismic records of the meteor that hit Russia. That’s not an earthquake, but it created ground motion.”

While Sandy’s seismicity may be news to many, Koper says microseisms just as strong were detected before and after the superstorm from North Pacific and North Atlantic storms that never hit land but created “serious ocean wave action.”

Koper adds: “Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was recorded by a seismic array in California, and they could track the path of the storm remotely using seismometers.”

In a related study set for presentation on Friday at the seismology meeting, Koper and geophysics undergraduate student YeouHui Wong found preliminary evidence that seismometers near Utah’s Great Salt Lake are picking up seismic waves generated either by waves or winds on the lake.

Koper says researchers wonder if microseisms from storms and other causes might trigger tiny but real earthquakes, but “that hasn’t been investigated yet,” he says.

Earthscope Picks up Seismic Waves from Ocean Wave Collisions

The microseisms generated by Sandy were detected by Earthscope, a National Science Foundation-funded array of about 500 portable seismometers that were first placed in California in 2004 and have been leapfrogging eastward so that most now are located east of line running from Minnesota to east Texas, and west of a line from Lake Erie to Florida. Some remain scattered across the Midwest and West, with a heavier concentration in the Pacific Northwest.

Earthscope’s purpose is to use seismic waves from quakes and other sources to make images of Earth’s crust and upper mantle beneath North America – similar to how X-rays are used to make CT scans of the human body. To do it accurately, scientists must understand all sources of seismic waves.

Sufri says the new study included Earthscope data from Oct. 18 to Nov. 3, 2012, “which coincides with the passage of Hurricane Sandy, and we tried to understand microseisms that were generated.”

Sandy caused a damaging storm surge due to its size – almost 1,100 miles in diameter for tropical-storm-force winds – more than its intensity, which was 3 when it hit Cuba and 2 off the Northeast coast.

“The energy generated by Sandy is going to be used to image the crust and upper mantle under North America,” says Koper, noting that Earthscope uses years of seismic data to construct images. “We are using seismic waves created by ocean waves to make images of the continent.”

Normal ocean waves “decay with depth very quickly,” says Koper. But when Sandy turned, there was a sudden increase in waves hitting waves to create “standing waves” like those created when you throw two pebbles in a pond and the ripples intersect. “Pressure generated by standing waves remains significant at the seafloor,” he says.

“When Sandy made that turn to the northwest, although wind speeds didn’t get dramatically bigger, the seismic energy that was created got tremendously bigger because the ocean’s standing waves were larger from the wave-wave interaction,” he adds.

Not only did the seismic waves become more energetic, “but the periods got longer so, in a sense, the sound of those seismic waves got deeper – less treble, more bass – as the storm turned,” Koper says.

Seismic Tracking of Hurricanes

Seismologists can track Sandy and other big storms because seismometers detect three components of motion: one vertical and two horizontal. If most of the energy on a seismometer is detected with a north-south motion, it means the source of the energy is north or south of the device.

“If you have enough seismometers, you can get enough data to get arrows to point at the source,” Koper says.

He says the seismologists didn’t track Sandy in real time, but the seismographic data of the storm suggests it might be possible to help track storms in the future using their seismicity.

Sufri speculates that seismic tracking of storms might allow observations that satellites can miss, and perhaps could help researchers “understand how climate is changing and how it is affecting our oceans – are we seeing more intense storms and increasing numbers of storms?”

Koper says the Sandy study “is exploratory science where we are trying to learn fundamental things about how the atmosphere, oceans and solid Earth interact.”

More information: The Seismological Society of America Salt Lake City meeting website, including study abstracts, is at: seismosoc.org/meetings/2013/

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University of Utah
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Article source: http://phys.org/news285522267.html

Apr 192013
 


Microsoft said revenues came in at $20.49 billion, up from $17.41 billion in the year-earlier period. The company’s earnings per share came in at 72 cents per share—above the 68 cents per share forecast by analysts.

The company’s Windows division reported a 23 percent increase in revenues compared with last year.

Microsoft also announced that chief financial officer Peter Klein will leave the company after the current fiscal year, with a new CFO to be named from its finance leadership team in the coming weeks.

Microsoft has come under scrutiny in recent weeks after industry reports showed a steep decline in personal computer sales, on account of the rise of tablets and smartphones.

Microsoft’s Windows system has been a defining element of PC systems.

“The bold bets we made on cloud services are paying off as people increasingly choose Microsoft services including Office 365, Windows Azure, Xbox LIVE, and Skype,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive officer.

“While there is still work to do, we are optimistic that the bets we’ve made on Windows devices position us well for the long-term.”

(c) 2013 AFP

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Article source: http://phys.org/news285525155.html

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