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First Measurement of Magnetic Field In Earth's Core 34

An anonymous reader writes "A University of California, Berkeley, geophysicist has made the first-ever measurement of the strength of the magnetic field inside Earth's core, 1,800 miles underground. The magnetic field strength is 25 Gauss, or 50 times stronger than the magnetic field at the surface that makes compass needles align north-south. Though this number is in the middle of the range geophysicists predict, it puts constraints on the identity of the heat sources in the core that keep the internal dynamo running to maintain this magnetic field."

Submission + - Microsoft to issue refunds for software licenses

BitHive writes: ""The New York Times reports that The FTC has reached a record $52 million settlement with Microsoft over the company's wrongly charging customers "mystery" licensing fees over the past several years — the largest settlement in FTC history. With the action, Microsoft's total costs associated with false license fees reached $78.9 billion, the largest payout for false business practices in the software industry. 'People shouldn't find mystery fees when they open their computer bills — and they certainly shouldn't have to pay for softwares they didn't want and didn't use,' says FTC Chairman Gene Lewbowski. 'In these rough economic times, every $199 counts.' Microsoft said in a news release that its overcharges were inadvertent. 'We accept responsibility for those errors, and apologize to our customers who received accidental software charges on their bills.'""

Police Called Over 11-Year-Old's Science Project Screenshot-sm 687

garg0yle writes "Police in San Diego were called to investigate an 11-year-old's science project, consisting of 'a motion detector made out of an empty Gatorade bottle and some electronics,' after the vice-principal came to the conclusion that it was a bomb. Charges aren't being laid against the youth, but it's being recommended that he and his family 'get counseling.' Apparently, the student violated school policies — I'm assuming these are policies against having any kind of independent thought?"

CMU Web-Scraping Learns English, One Word At a Time 148

blee37 writes "Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have developed a web-scraping AI program that never dies. It runs continuously, extracting information from the web and using that information to learn more about the English language. The idea is for a never ending learner like this to one day be able to become conversant in the English language." It's not that the program couldn't stop running; the idea is that there's no fixed end-point. Rather, its progress in categorizing complex word relationships is the object of the research. See also CMU's "Read the Web" research project site.

Apache May Stop 1.3, 2.0 Series Releases 77

Dan Jones writes "The Apache Software Foundation may stop releasing new versions of the older 1.3 and 2.0 series of its flagship Web server product with most development now focused on the 2.2 series. Nothing is final yet, but messages to the Apache httpd developer mailing list recommend the formal deprecation of the 1.3.x branch, with most citing a lack of development activity. The Apache HTTP server project is one of the most successful and popular open source projects and has become an integral part of the technology stack for thousands of Web and SaaS applications. The first generation of Apache was released in 1995, and the 2.0 series began in 2002. Apache httpd 2.2 began in 2005, with the latest release (October 2009) being 2.2.14. However, the most recent releases of the 1.3 and 2.0 series servers were back in January 2008. With the combined total of active 1.3 and 2.0 series Apache Web servers well into the millions, any decision to end-of-life either product will be watched closely."

NASA To Cryogenically Freeze Satellite Mirrors 47

coondoggie writes "NASA said it will soon move some of the larger (46 lb) mirror segments of its future James Webb Space Telescope into a cryogenic test facility that will freeze the mirrors to -414 degrees Fahrenheit (~25 K). Specifically, NASA will freeze six of the 18 Webb telescope mirror segments at the X-ray and Cryogenic Facility, or XRCF, at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, in a test to ensure the critical mirrors can withstand the extreme space environments. All 18 segments will eventually be tested at the site. The test chamber takes approximately five days to cool a mirror segment to cryogenic temperatures."

Massive Solar Updraft Towers Planned For Arizona 572

MikeChino writes "Australia-based EnviroMission Ltd recently announced plans to build two solar updraft towers that span hundreds of acres in La Paz County, Arizona. Solar updraft technology sounds promising enough: generate hot air with a giant greenhouse, channel the air into a chimney-like device, and let the warm wind turn a wind turbine to produce energy. The scale of the devices would be staggering — each plant would consist of a 2,400 foot chimney over a greenhouse measuring four square miles. The Southern California Public Power Authority has approved EnviroMission as a provider, although there’s still plenty of work to be done before the $750 million, 200 megawatt project can begin."

Minnesota Introduces World's First Carbon Tariff 303

hollywoodb writes "The first carbon tax to reduce the greenhouse gases from imports comes not between two nations, but between two states. Minnesota has passed a measure to stop carbon at its border with North Dakota. To encourage the switch to clean, renewable energy, Minnesota plans to add a carbon fee of between $4 and $34 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions to the cost of coal-fired electricity, to begin in 2012 ... Minnesota has been generally pushing for cleaner power within its borders, but the utility companies that operate in MN have, over the past decades, sited a lot of coal power plants on the relatively cheap and open land of North Dakota, which is preparing a legal battle against Minnesota over the tariff."
United States

Submission + - Ron Paul Survival Reports Released 2

Veinor writes: "The New Republic has released several scans of Ron Paul's old Survival Reports, as well as other miscellaneous documents, dating from 1978 to 1995. Many of the quotes, such as in the November 1990 article where Martin Luther King is called "a world-class adulterer" who "seduced underage girls and boys" and "replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration," and the January 1994 edition, where he claims gay men with AIDS "enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick," could potentially damage the Republican presidential hopeful's bid."

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