esocid writes in with a followup to the recent discussion about the possibility that our galaxy's central black hole could reignite. "Using NASA, Japanese, and European X-ray satellites, a team of Japanese astronomers has discovered that Sagittarius A* let loose a powerful flare three centuries before the time at which we are observing it (i.e., 26,000 years in the past). X-ray pulses emanating from just outside the black hole take 300 years to traverse the distance between the central black hole and a large cloud known as Sagittarius B2, so the cloud responds to events that occurred 300 years earlier. 'By observing how this cloud lit up and faded over 10 years, we could trace back the black hole's activity 300 years ago,' says team member Katsuji Koyama of Kyoto University. 'The black hole was a million times brighter three centuries ago.'"
jason writes "YouTube has never really been known for streaming videos at a high resolution, but it appears that they are taking early steps at providing higher quality videos. The project was announced last year by the site's co-founder Steve Chen, and now appears to be in the earliest stages of deployment. By adding a parameter onto the end of a video's URL you're able to watch it in a higher quality (in terms of audio and video) that is actually quite noticeable. Not all videos have been converted at this point, but they do have millions upon millions of videos that they need to do."
ZonkerWilliam recommends a bulletin from the American Institute of Physics, which discusses a study noting that recent spacecraft, such as NEAR, appear to display velocity anomalies much like those seen in Pioneer 10 (which were observed beginning ten years ago). The anomalies amount to up to 13 mm/sec., with a measurement accuracy of 0.1 mm/sec. Quoting: "A new look at the trajectories for various spacecraft as they fly past the Earth finds in each case a tiny amount of surplus velocity. For craft that pursue a path mostly symmetrical with respect to the equator, the effect is minimal. For craft that pursue a more unsymmetrical path, the effect is larger."
Matthew Whalley writes "Researchers got hold of published and unpublished data from drug companies regarding the effectiveness of the most common antidepressant drugs. Previously, when meta-analyses have been conducted on only the published data, the drugs were shown to have a clinically significant effect. However, when the unpublished data is taken into account the difference between the effects of drug and placebo becomes clinically meaningless — just a 1 or 2 point difference on a 30-point depression rating scale — except for the most severely depressed patients. Doctors do not recommend that patients come off antidepressant drugs without support, but this study is likely to lead to a rethink regarding how the drugs are licensed and prescribed."
pha7boy writes "NASA has made a recent award of 171 million dollars to Orbital Sciences Corp. of Virginia in order to aid the company in developing a feasible space cargo delivery service. 'The US space agency intends to hold an open competition in the years ahead for actual space station cargo-delivery contracts, but Orbital of Dulles, VA, is one of two companies receiving financial help from NASA to develop their proposed systems. The other is Space Exploration Technologies of El Segundo, CA.'"
superbrose notes that despite lots of legal difficulties regarding Internet privacy, the UK government is going ahead with plans to punish ISPs for allowing their customers to download illegal music and films. The claim is that there is "rampant piracy" in Britain with more than 6 million broadband users downloading files illegally every year. "The government will on Friday tell internet service providers they will be hit with legal sanctions from April next year unless they take concrete steps to curb illegal downloads of music and films. Britain would be one of the first countries in the world to impose such sanctions. Service providers say what the government wants them to do would be like asking the Royal Mail to monitor the contents of every envelope posted."
By 'documentary films,' perhaps you mean 'historical documents.'
MojoKid writes "AMD disclosed a few details today regarding their upcoming mobile platform technologies, codenamed 'Griffin' and 'Puma'. According to AMD, Griffin will be manufactured at 65nm and it will feature a new mobile optimized on-die Northbridge with a power optimized DDR2 memory controller, HyperTransport 3 connectivity, and larger L2 caches than current designs. The new memory controller should also extend battery life thanks to new power saving features, that allow the controller to operate on a separate power plane and at a lower voltage than the execution cores."
Mordok-DestroyerOfWo writes "Researchers from the IBM Almaden research lab and the University of Nevada have created a simulation of half a mouse brain on the BlueGene L supercomputer. 'Half a real mouse brain is thought to have about eight million neurons each one of which can have up to 8,000 synapses, or connections, with other nerve fibres. Modelling such a system, the trio wrote, puts "tremendous constraints on computation, communication and memory capacity of any computing platform."' Although there's more to creating a mind than setting up the infrastructure, does this mean that we may see a system for human mental storage within our lifetimes?"
jas_public writes "Since the human and chimp families split about 6 million years ago, chimpanzee genes seem to have evolved more than human genes. The results, detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, go against the conventional wisdom that humans are the result of a high degree of genetic selection, evidenced by our relatively large brains, cognitive abilities, and bipedalism. The researchers found that 'substantially more genes in chimps evolved in ways that were beneficial than was the case with human genes.'"
prostoalex writes "MarketWatch columnist John C. Dvorak tells the public to stop fretting about YouTube's business model and just start enjoying the functionality: "Since I like to run videos on my blog this turns out to be a great way to both transcode and save bandwidth since YouTube picks up the tab on the video stream. Would I pay for this service, yes. I have seriously looked at the alternatives to YouTube. With no exceptions they are all flawed.""