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Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026 275

An anonymous reader writes Elon Musk says that he'll put the first human boots on Mars well before the 2020s are over. "I'm hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years, I think it's certainly possible for that to occur," he said. "But the thing that matters long term is to have a self-sustaining city on Mars, to make life multiplanetary." He acknowledged that the company's plans were too long-term to attract many hedge fund managers, which makes it hard for SpaceX to go public anytime soon. "We need to get where things a steady and predictable," Musk said. "Maybe we're close to developing the Mars vehicle, or ideally we've flown it a few times, then I think going public would make more sense."

UK Cryptographers Call For UK and US To Out Weakened Products 105

Trailrunner7 writes "A group of cryptographers in the UK has published a letter that calls on authorities in that country and the United States to conduct an investigation to determine which security products, protocols and standards have been deliberately weakened by the countries' intelligence services. The letter, signed by a number of researchers from the University of Bristol and other universities, said that the NSA and British GCHQ 'have been acting against the interests of the public that they are meant to serve.' The appeal comes a couple of weeks after leaked documents from the NSA and its UK counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, showed that the two agencies have been collaborating on projects that give them the ability to subvert encryption protocols and also have been working with unnamed security vendors to insert backdoors into hardware and software products."

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: Forget the iPad, Surface Is the Tablet People Want 403

zacharye writes "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer undoubtedly knows that Apple has sold more than 100 million iPad tablets at this point, but according to the outspoken executive, that's not the tablet people really want. While speaking with CNBC, Ballmer said no company has built a tablet he believes customers want. 'You can go through the products from all those guys and none of them has a product that you can really use. Not Apple. Not Google. Not Amazon. Nobody has a product that lets you work and play that can be your tablet and your PC. Not at any price point,' he says."

LiftPort Wants To Build Space Elevator On the Moon By 2020 210

Zothecula writes "When the late Neil Armstrong and the crew of Apollo 11 went to the Moon, they did so sitting atop a rocket the size of a skyscraper that blasted out jets of smoke and flame as it hurtled skyward. For over half a century, that is how all astronauts have gone into space. It's all very dramatic, but it's also expensive. Wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to take the elevator? That's the question that Michael Laine, CEO of LiftPort in Seattle, Washington, hopes to answer with the development of a transportation system that swaps space-rockets for space-ribbons. LiftPort ultimately wants to build a space elevator on Earth, but the company isn't planning on doing it in one go. Instead, Laine and his team are settling for a more modest goal – building an elevator on the Moon by 2020. This is much easier. For one thing, there’s no air on the Moon, so no icing problems. Also, the lower gravity means that no unobtainium is needed for the ribbon. Kevlar is strong enough for the job. And finally, there’s very little in the way of satellites or debris to contend with."

Obayashi To Build Space Elevator By 2050 488

mattr writes "Japan's Obayashi Corp. has announced plans to build a space elevator by 2050. They are famous for wrecking skylines with the over-sized bullet train station in Kyoto, the world's tallest self-supporting tower Tokyo Sky Tree and just recently, the beginnings of the Taipei Dome. It will take a week at 200 kph for your party of 30 to reach the 36,000-km-high terminal station, while the counterweight [swings along at] 96 km high, a quarter of the way to the Moon."

Energy Firm Wants To Be First To Mine the Moon 251

coondoggie writes "By 2020, the Shackleton Energy Company says it intends to be operating the world's first lunar base and propellant depot for all manner of spacecraft. Shackleton stated that after a phase of robotic prospecting, its crews will establish the infrastructure in space and basecamps in the lunar polar crater regions to supervise industrial machinery for mining, processing and transporting lunar products to market in Low Earth Orbit and beyond. The company said it will use a mix of industrial astronauts and advanced robotic systems to provide a strategically-assured, continuous supply of propellants for spacecraft."

Red Hat Urges USPTO To Deny Most Software Patents 175

Julie188 writes "The United States Patent and Trademark Office asked for public input on how it should use the Supreme Court's Bilski decision to guide it when granting new patents. Not surprisingly, Red Hat took them up on it. The USPTO should use Bilski and the fact that the machine transformation test is 'important' to Just Say No to most software patents, it advised. Rob Tiller, Red Hat's Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, IP, is hopeful that the patent office will listen and put an end to the crazy software patent situation that has turned patents into weapons that hinder innovation."

Japanese Consortium Projects a Humanoid Robot On the Moon By 2015 151

JoshuaInNippon writes "A Japanese manufacturing cooperative named Astro-Technology SOHLA announced on April 27th that they are planning to create and send a two-legged humanoid robot to the moon, have it draw the Japanese flag on the surface, and hopefully then get it to return to the Earth, all by the year 2015. The group wants to inspire people, particularly in Japan, about space and generate confidence among SMEs to create low-cost space technology. While the idea may seem far-fetched to some, SOHLA had success in building a small low-cost satellite named Maido-1, which was launched into space aboard a Japanese H-IIA rocket in early 2009. The group also commented that they want to have their future humanoid robot hitch a ride to the moon with a surveying rover that JAXA is building."

Microsoft and Apple Rumble Into Middle Age 367

Hugh Pickens writes "Bill Briggs writes on MSNBC that the two tech titans are rumbling into middle age as Microsoft marked its 35th birthday on Sunday and Apple turned 34 late last week. But while Microsoft, to some, appears a tad flabby in the middle — a Chrysler Town & Country driver with a 9 pm bedtime — Apple, in some eyes, looks sleeker and younger — a hipster in a ragtop Beemer packed with chic friends sporting mobile toys. 'The difference between the two companies is that Apple has been fearless about transformational change while Microsoft has been reluctant to leave its past behind,' says Casey Ayers, president of MegatonApps. 'Microsoft has always been loath to change and risk alienating some of its customers, but its inability to leave the past behind has left their product line bloated and dysfunctional.' On current accounting ledgers, Microsoft overshadows Apple: Microsoft's market cap is $255.75 billion; Apple's is $213.98 billion. But Apple is getting awfully big — awfully fast — in Microsoft's rearview mirror. Consider that a decade ago Microsoft's market cap was almost $590 billion and Apple's was about $16 billion. So while Apple cheered its opening weekend of iPad sales, what wish should Microsoft have made when it blew out its birthday candles Sunday? 'More than anything, Microsoft's birthday wish should be for fearless leadership,' says Ayers. 'Without someone at the top who feels an urgency to constantly innovate in meaningful ways, Microsoft will shrink and become less relevant with each birthday to come.'"

When Will AI Surpass Human Intelligence? 979

destinyland writes "21 AI experts have predicted the date for four artificial intelligence milestones. Seven predict AIs will achieve Nobel prize-winning performance within 20 years, while five predict that will be accompanied by superhuman intelligence. (The other milestones are passing a 3rd grade-level test, and passing a Turing test.) One also predicted that in 30 years, 'virtually all the intellectual work that is done by trained human beings ... can be done by computers for pennies an hour,' adding that AI 'is likely to eliminate almost all of today's decently paying jobs.' The experts also estimated the probability that an AI passing a Turing test would result in an outcome that's bad for humanity ... and four estimated that probability was greater than 60% — regardless of whether the developer was private, military, or even open source."
Operating Systems

ARM-Powered Laptops To Increase Linux Market Share 296

Charbax writes "Last April, Microsoft argued that it controlled the netbook OS market for devices sold in certain Microsoft-friendly US retail stores, while ABI Research claims that Linux actually has 32% of the worldwide netbook market, and that its market-share is growing. At the recent Netbook World Summit in Paris France, Aaron J. Seigo, Community leader at the KDE Foundation, and Arnaud Laprévote, CTO at Mandriva Linux, give us their estimation for next year's Linux market share (video) in the consumer laptop market. Their estimation is that Linux will dominate in ARM-powered laptops and that those may take over a significant share of the overall laptop market by their significantly cheaper prices (as low as $80), longer battery life (as long as 20-40 hours on a small battery using the Pixel Qi screens), as well as lower size and weight. Running some of the Chromium OS builds for ARM available shortly and having a full browser experience on those cheaper and better ARM-powered Linux laptops could make it a significant mass market success to shake up the Intel and Microsoft consumer PC/laptop monopoly in its boots."
The Courts

Nesson & Camara Increase Attack Against RIAA 193

eldavojohn writes "We talked about Charlie Nesson of Harvard Law School before, and it may not have been known to you, but he is backing former student and Jammie Thomas' new lawyer, K.A.D. Camara. Ars is reporting that Nesson is upping the charges against the RIAA. Not only is file-sharing fair use, but the $100,000,000 the RIAA has collected through fear is due back to those wrongly accused. He's also increasing the number of fronts he's fighting. On Camara's website, he indicates that in another case, Brittany English (pro bono), they 'are asking the courts to declare that statutory damages like these — 150,000:1 — are unconstitutional and that the RIAA's campaign to extract settlements from individuals by the threat of such unconstitutional damages is itself unlawful, enjoin the RIAA's unlawful campaign, and order the RIAA to return the $100M+ that it obtained as a result of its unlawful campaign.'"
Linux Business

"Good Enough" Computers Are the Future 515

An anonymous reader writes "Over on the PC World blog, Keir Thomas engages in some speculative thinking. Pretending to be writing from the year 2025, he describes a world of 'Good Enough computing,' wherein ultra-cheap PCs and notebooks (created to help end-users weather the 'Great Recession' of the early 21st century) are coupled to open source operating systems. This is possible because even the cheapest chips have all the power most people need nowadays. In what is effectively the present situation with netbooks writ large, he sees a future where Microsoft is priced out of the entire desktop operating system market and can't compete. It's a fun read that raises some interesting points."
The Courts

Pirate Bay Trial Ends In Jail Sentences 1870

myvirtualid writes "The Globe and Mail reports that the Pirate Bay defendants were each sentenced Friday to one year in jail. According to the article, 'Judge Tomas Norstrom told reporters that the court took into account that the site was "commercially driven" when it made the ruling. The defendants have denied any commercial motives behind the site.' The defendants said before the verdict that they would appeal if they were found guilty. 'Stay calm — Nothing will happen to TPB, us personally or file sharing whatsoever. This is just a theater for the media,' Mr. Sunde said Friday in a posting on social networking site Twitter." Update: 04/17 12:16 GMT by T : Several updates, below.

ARM — Heretic In the Church of Intel, Moore's Law 390

ericatcw writes "For 30+ years, the PC industry has been as obsessed with under-the-hood performance: MIPs, MHz, transistors per chip. Blame Moore's Law, which effectively laid down the Gospel of marketing PCs like sports cars. But with mobile PCs and green computing coming to the fore, enter ARM, which is challenging the Gospel according to Moore with chips that are low-powered in both senses of the word. Some of its most popular CPUs have 100,000 transistors, fewer than a 12 MHz Intel 286 CPU from 1982 (download PDF). But they also consume as little as a quarter of a watt, which is why netbook makers are embracing them. It's 'megahertz per milli-watt,' that counts, according to ARM exec Ian Drew, who predicts that 6-10 ARM-based netbooks running Linux and costing just around $200 should arrive this year starting in July."

Use the Force, Luke.