RocketAcademy writes "ABC News is reporting that Phantom of the Opera singer/actress Sarah Brightman outbid NASA for a seat on a Soyuz flight to the International Space Station. Brightman reportedly paid more than $51 million. If that story is true, there may be some interesting bidding wars in the future."
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Bruce Perens writes "I found myself alone in a room, in front of a deep square or rectangular pool of impressively clear, still water. There was a pile of material at the bottom of the pool, and a blue glow of Cherenkov radiation in the water around it. To this day, I can't explain how an unsupervised kid could ever have gotten in there."
New submitter juliohm writes "As of January, Brazil intends to put into action a new system that will track vehicles of all kinds via radio frequency chips. It will take a few years to accomplish, but authorities will eventually require all vehicles to have an electronic chip installed, which will match every car to its rightful owner. The chip will send the car's identification to antennas on highways and streets, soon to be spread all over the country. Eventually, it will be illegal to own a car without one. Besides real time monitoring of traffic conditions, authorities will be able to integrate all kinds of services, such as traffic tickets, licensing and annual taxes, automatic toll charge, and much more. Benefits also include more security, since the system will make it harder for thieves to run far away with stolen vehicles, much less leave the country with one."
SternisheFan sends this excerpt from ZDNet: "Regulators from five countries joined together in an operation to crack down on a series of companies orchestrating one of the most widespread Internet scams of the decade. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other international regulatory authorities today said they shut down a global criminal network that bilked tens of thousands of consumers by pretending to be tech support providers. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, speaking during a press conference with a Microsoft executive and regulators from Australia and Canada, said 14 companies and 17 individuals were targeted in the investigation. In the course of the crackdown, U.S. authorities already have frozen $188,000 in assets, but Leibowitz said that would increase over time thanks to international efforts."
brumgrunt writes "Not every sci-fi film released in 2013 will be a sequel or franchise movie. Den Of Geek has highlighted the ten sci-fi movies that might just offer something a little different from the PG-13, family-centric norm." The list includes Elysium, from the writer/director of District 9. It's "set in 2159, where Earth has become so hopelessly overcrowded that the richest members of society live on a luxurious orbiting space station." There's also After Earth, directed (but not written) by M. Night Shyamalan, which stars Will Smith and his son Jaden. They "crash land on Earth at some point in the future, by which time it's become a dangerous place devoid of human life." And, of course, there's Ender's Game.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google seems determined to press forward with Google Glass technology, filing a patent for a Google Glass wristwatch. As pointed out by CNET, the timepiece includes a camera and a touch screen that, once flipped up, acts as a secondary display. In the patent, Google refers to the device as a 'smart-watch. Whether or not a Google Glass wristwatch ever appears on the marketplace — just because a tech titan patents a particular invention doesn't mean it's bound for store shelves anytime soon — the appearance of augmented-reality accessories brings up a handful of interesting issues for everyone from app developers to those tasked with handling massive amounts of corporate data.For app developers, augmented-reality devices raise the prospect of broader ecosystems and spiraling complexity. It's one thing to build an app for smartphones and tablets — but what if that app also needs to handle streams of data ported from a pair of tricked-out sunglasses or a wristwatch, or send information in a concise and timely way to a tiny screen an inch in front of someone's left eye?"
dcblogs writes "Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman told financial analysts today that it will take until 2016 to turn the company around. Surprisingly, Whitman put some of the blame for the company's woes on its IT systems, which she said have hurt its internal operations. To fix its IT problems, Whitman said the company is adopting Salesforce and HR system Workday. The company also plans to cut product lines. It said it makes 2,100 different laser printers alone; it wants to reduce that by half. 'In every business we're going to benefit from focusing on a smaller number of offerings that we can invest in and really make matter,' said Whitman."
New submitter CelestialScience writes "The heavens have aligned in a way never seen before, with two exoplanets overlapping as they cross their star. Teruyuki Hirano of the University of Tokyo, Japan, and colleagues used data from the Kepler space telescope to probe KOI-94, a star seemingly orbited by four planets. It seems that one planet candidate, KOI-94.03, passed in front of the star and then the innermost candidate, KOI-94.01, passed between the two. The phenomenon is so new it doesn't yet have a name, though suggestions include 'planet-planet eclipse,' 'double transit,' 'syzygy' and 'exosyzygy.'"
concealment points out comments from MPAA CEO Chris Dodd, who has acknowledged that SOPA and PIPA were soundly — and perhaps permanently — defeated. Quoting Ars Technica: "Dodd sounded chastened, with a tone that was a far cry from the rhetoric the MPAA was putting out in January. 'When SOPA-PIPA blew up, it was a transformative event,' said Dodd. 'There were eight million e-mails [to elected representatives] in two days.' That caused senators to run away from the legislation. 'People were dropping their names as co-sponsors within minutes, not hours,' he said. 'These bills are dead, they're not coming back,' said Dodd. 'And they shouldn't.' He said the MPAA isn't focused on getting similar legislation passed in the future, at the moment. 'I think we're better served by sitting down [with the tech sector and SOPA opponents] and seeing what we agree on.' Still, Dodd did say that some of the reaction to SOPA and PIPA was 'over the top' — specifically, the allegations of censorship, implied by the black bar over Google search logo or the complete shutdown of Wikipedia. 'DNS filtering goes on every day on the Internet,' said Dodd. 'Obviously it needs to be done very carefully. But five million pages were taken off Google last year [for IP violations]. To Google's great credit, it recently changed its algorithm to a point where, when there are enough complaints about a site, it moves that site down on their page — which I applaud.'"
eldavojohn writes "A recent peer reviewed paper and survey by Cliff Frohlich of the University of Texas' Institute for Geophysics reveals a correlation between an increase in earthquakes and the emergence of fracking sites in the Barnett Shale, Texas. To clarify, it is not the actual act of hydrofracking that induces earthquakes, but more likely the final process of injecting wastewater into the site, according to Oliver Boyd, a USGS seismologist. Boyd said, 'Most, if not all, geophysicists expect induced earthquakes to be more likely from wastewater injection rather than hydrofracking. This is because the wastewater injection tends to occur at greater depth, where earthquakes are more likely to nucleate. I also agree [with Frohlich] that induced earthquakes are likely to persist for some time (months to years) after wastewater injection has ceased.' Frohlich added, 'Faults are everywhere. A lot of them are stuck, but if you pump water in there, it reduces friction and the fault slips a little. I can't prove that that's what happened, but it's a plausible explanation.' In the U.S. alone this correlation has been noted several times."
jfruh writes "Klout is a new social media service that attempts to quantify how much 'influence' you have, based on your social media profile. Their metrics are bizarre — privacy blogger Dan Tynan has been rated as highly influential on the topic of cigars, despite having only smoked one, decades ago. Nevertheless, Klout scores have real-world consequences, with people deemed influential getting discounts on concert tickets or free access to airport VIP lounges (in hopes that they'll tweet about it, presumably)."
An anonymous reader writes "One of the major themes of the ongoing presidential election in the United States has been the perceived need to bring product manufacturing back to the United States. A recent announcement from Lenovo is going to play to this point; the PC manufacturer said today that it's building a U.S. location in Whitsett, North Carolina. The new facility is small, with just over 100 people and is being built for a modest $2M, but Lenovo states that it's merely the beginning of a larger initiative." It makes sense: their U.S. HQ is a stone's throw away in RTP.
Shipud writes "Bioinformatics science which deals with the study of methods for storing, retrieving, and analyzing molecular biology data. Byte Size Biology writes about ROSALIND, a cool concept in learning bioinformatics, similar to Project Euler. You are given problems of increasing difficulty to solve. Start with nucleotide counting (trivial) and end with genome assembly (putting it mildly, not so trivial). To solve a problem, you download a sample data set, write your code and debug it. Once you think you are ready, you have a time limit to solve and provide an answer for the actual problem dataset. If you mess up, there is a timed new dataset to download. This thing is coder-addictive. Currently in Beta, but a lot of fun and seems stable."
zacharye writes "When Microsoft announced earlier this year that it will launch an own-brand tablet to compete directly with its various vendor partners working on Windows 8-based tablet PCs of their own, there was some backlash. Privately — and sometimes even publicly — long-time Microsoft partners took it as an attack on their businesses and questioned why Microsoft would be so brazen. But with nowhere else to turn thanks to Windows' overwhelming PC dominance, these vendors had no choice but to continue developing Windows 8 devices and compete directly with their software supplier. Though events may play out a bit differently in the smartphone market, where Microsoft has yet to stage the comeback it promised two years ago, BGR has learned that the Redmond, Washington-based company plans to release its own Windows Phone 8 smartphone in the coming months."
CmdrTaco sent in a link to his weblog post looking back on his experience running Slashdot for fifteen years: "For me the story of Slashdot is utterly inseparable from my own life. I built it while still in college: when normal people did their homework or had personal lives, I spent my evenings making icons in The Gimp, crafting perl in vim or writing a new story to share with my friends. I’ll never forget the nights spent tailing the access_log and celebrating a line from microsoft.com or mit.edu with friends like Jeff, Dave, Nate, and Kurt."