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Space

How Civilizations Can Spread Across a Galaxy 272

New submitter kanweg writes: If you look at the Milky Way at night, it appears not much is changing. But over time, stars get closer and further to each other. Coryn Bailer-Jones, an astrophysicist at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, found that of 14 stars coming within three light-years of Earth, the closest encounter is likely to be HIP 85605, which now lies some 16 light years away in the constellation of Hercules. It will get a close as the Oort cloud.

This could be a (very long-term) method for human or alien civilizations to practice star hopping. Why travel 16 light-years through space when you can just wait until a star with a suitable planet gets close enough that you only have to cover the last stretch with an artificial spaceship? Take your time for a thoughtful response; it will take another 250,000 to 470,000 year before the close encounter.
Google

StarOffice Dropped From Google Pack 135

Barence writes "Sun's StarOffice suite has been mysteriously dropped from the Google Pack of free software. The office suite has been axed without any warning or explanation on the Google site. Is Google trying to drive more people towards its own online suite of office applications? Or has it been stung into action by Steve Ballmer's recent comment that Microsoft Office faces stronger competition from StarOffice than it does Google Docs and Spreadsheet?"

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