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Power

Hydrogen-Powered cars with Zero-Carbon-Emission? 203

Posted by Zonk
from the look-up-in-the-sky-it's-some-sort-of-pastry dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have a bright idea — at least at first sight. They want to create a sustainable transportation system by using hydrogen-powered cars. They would like to create an infrastructure where people could use a liquid fuel for driving while the carbon emission in their vehicles is trapped for later processing at a fueling station. 'The carbon would then be shuttled back to a processing plant where it could be transformed into liquid fuel.' Where will all this liquid carbon be stored? The researchers don't know. They suggest that it could be stored in geological formations or under the oceans."
Science

The Rules of the Swarm 166

Posted by samzenpus
from the welcome-to-the-collective dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Researchers are starting to discover the simple rules that allow swarms of thousands of relatively simple animals to form a collective brain able to make decisions and move like a single organism. To get a sense of swarms, Dr. Iain Couzin, a mathematical biologist at the Collective Animal Behaviour Laboratory at Princeton University, builds computer models of virtual swarms with thousands of individual agents that he can program to follow a few simple rules. Among the findings are that swarm behavior has patterns common to many different species, that just as liquid water can suddenly begin to boil, swarm behavior can also change abruptly in character, and that just a few leaders can guide a swarm effectively by creating a bias in the swarm's movement that steers it in a particular direction. The rules of the swarm may also apply to the cells inside our bodies and researchers are working with cancer biologists to discover the rules by which cancer cells work together to build tumors or migrate through tissues. Even brain cells may follow the same rules for collective behavior seen in locusts or fish. "How does your brain take this information and come to a collective decision about what you're seeing?" Dr. Couzin says. The answer, he suspects, may lie in our inner swarm."
Space

The Story of Baikonur, Russia's Space City 237

Posted by Zonk
from the you're-the-rocket-man dept.
eldavojohn writes "There's an article up on Physorg about Russian space launch city Baikonur, rented by Russia from Kazakhstan. Although it is essentially the same as it was in the 60's and 70's, it is amazingly efficient and still operational. 'Even the technology hasn't changed much. The Soyuz spacecraft designed in the mid-1960s is still in service, somewhat modified. It can only be used once, but costs just $25 million. The newest Endeavor space shuttle cost $2 billion, but is reusable. Life and work in Baikonur and its cosmodrome are also pretty much what they were in the Soviet era. The town of 70,000 - unbearably hot in summer, freezing cold in winter and dusty year round - is isolated by hundreds of miles of scrubland.'" We last discussed Baikonur back in 2005.
The Internet

BBC's iPlayer To Be Crossplatform 232

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the coming-around dept.
craig1709 writes "10 Downing Street has responded to the petition to open up iPlayer access for those on other operating systems. While the wording is confusing, near as I can tell, they say they will make the iPlayer available to users of those operating systems. 'The BBC Trust made it a condition of approval for the BBC's on-demand services that the iPlayer is available to users of a range of operating systems, and has given a commitment that it will ensure that the BBC meets this demand as soon as possible. They will measure the BBC's progress on this every six months and publish the findings.'"
The Courts

Record Company Collusion a Defense to RIAA Case? 275

Posted by samzenpus
from the fight-the-power dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Is collusion by the record companies a defense to an RIAA case? We're about to find out, because the RIAA has made a motion to strike the affirmative defense of Marie Lindor, who alleged that "the plaintiffs, who are competitors, are a cartel acting collusively in violation of the antitrust laws and of public policy, by tying their copyrights to each other, collusively litigating and settling all cases together, and by entering into an unlawful agreement among themselves to prosecute and to dispose of all cases in accordance with a uniform agreement, and through common lawyers, thus overreaching the bounds and scope of whatever copyrights they might have" in UMG v. Lindor."
Book Reviews

The Principles of Beautiful Web Design 209

Posted by samzenpus
from the make-it-pretty dept.
Trent Lucier writes "Fellow programmers, beware! Graphic designers have been invading our territory. A flood of books have been released aimed at artists who want to learn web development skills. Oh, it starts innocently enough, usually with CSS and XHTML. But soon they are learning JavaScript, PHP, and even SQL! What have we techies fought back with? What material is there for us to boost our artistic right-brain power? Sadly, our motley collection of Gimp tutorials alone will not win this battle. We need something stronger. We need to understand the principles of graphic design. But the shelves have been empty of books that make this topic accessible to tech-minded people. Well, empty until now." Read below for the rest of Trent's review.
Data Storage

+ - Google paper on disk reliability

Submitted by oski4410
oski4410 (1065340) writes "The Google engineers just published a paper on Failure Trends in a Large Disk Drive Population. Based on a study of 100,000 disk drives over 5 years they find some interesting stuff. To quote from the abstract:

"Our analysis identifies several parameters from the drive's self monitoring facility (SMART) that correlate highly with failures. Despite this high correlation, we conclude that models based on SMART parameters alone are unlikely to be useful for predicting individual drive failures. Surprisingly, we found that temperature and activity levels were much less correlated with drive failures than previously reported.""
Google

+ - Google Search Screws Over SomethingAwful.com

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "You may have heard of the humour website SomethingAwful.com. Apparently, for all of their long history they've been having a problem where their website is listed far down Google's results (often last) for searches related to the site (such as the names of features and articles on the site). For example, when I google for "Photoshop Phriday", the site isn't in the first ten pages of results, despite the fact that Google has indexed the relevent page. In fact, the first result is a noproxy.us proxied version of the relevant page, and the rest of the results are blog and forum entries referring to Something Awful. (Results are apparently better on many non-English versions of Google, however.)

It's far from clear what's causing this; the site's PageRank is apparently fine. Attempts to contact Google have fallen on deaf ears and dumb autoresponders. The site was even recently redesigned in the hope of fixing the problem, with no luck so far. Is the world's most popular search engine really this broken, and how much money are people bringing in from knowing the black magic to work around it?"
The Internet

Walmart Rejects Firefox and Safari 555

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the also-dalmations-have-spots dept.
babooo404 writes "Last week, Walmart launched their online video download service. Immediately there were posts that the service did not work with the Firefox or Safari browsers. There was a collective, "WTF" when this happened as this is 2007, not 1997. Now it appears that reports are out that Walmart has completely turned off the ability to get into the application at all by Firefox, Safari or any other browser it does not like."
The Internet

Woman Wins Right to Criticize Surgeon on Website 250

Posted by samzenpus
from the tell-it-like-it-is dept.
Scoopy writes "The website of a cosmetic surgery patient critical of her Sacramento surgeon's work is protected free speech, an appeals court said in an opinion that could have statewide implications. The website contains before and after photographs of 33-year-old Georgette Gilbert, who said the surgery left her with one eyebrow higher than the other and a surprised look permanently affixed to her face. The website was challenged in a defamation suit filed by surgeon Jonathan Sykes, a prominent professor and television commentator on the subject of cosmetic surgery. Although the Sacramento-based 3rd District Court of Appeal only mentions Sykes, the opinion suggests that others who use 'hot topics' of public interest in their advertisements and promotions may shed protections against defamation afforded to ordinary citizens."
Windows

Vista DRM Cracked by Security Researcher 379

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the only-a-matter-of-time dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Security researcher Alex Ionescu claims to have successfully bypassed the much discussed DRM protection in Windows Vista, called 'Protected Media Path' (PMP), which is designed to seriously degrade the playback quality of any video and audio running on systems with hardware components not explicitly approved by Microsoft. The bypass of the DRM protection was in turn performed by breaking the Driver Signing / PatchGuard protection in the new operating system. Alex is now quite nervous about what an army of lawyers backed by draconian copyright laws could do to him if he released the details, but he claims to be currently looking into the details of safely releasing his details about this at the moment though."
Education

Professors To Ban Students From Citing Wikipedia 507

Posted by Zonk
from the we-have-these-things-called-books dept.
Inisheer writes "History professors at Middlebury College are tired of having all their students submit the same bad information on term papers. The culprit: Wikipedia — the user-created encyclopedia that's full of great stuff, and also full of inaccuracies. Now the the entire History department has voted to ban students from citing it as a resource. An outright ban was considered, but dropped because enforcement seemed impossible. Other professors at the school agree, but note that they're also enthusiastic contributors to Wikipedia. The article discusses the valuable role that Wikipedia can play, while also pointed out the need for critical and primary sources in college-level research." What role, if any, do you think Wikipedia should play in education?
Education

Global Warming Only a Theory, Says School Board 1089

Posted by Zonk
from the i'd-think-seattle-would-know-about-rain dept.
BendingSpoons writes "A Seattle school board has placed a moratorium on screenings of 'An Inconvenient Truth', having found its subject matter too controversial. Echoing the language of the evolution debate, the school board found that students must be told that global warming is only a theory and presented with an opposing viewpoint. The ban was prompted by the complaints of a parent: '"Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He's not a schoolteacher," said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who also said that he believes the Earth is 14,000 years old. "The information that's being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is ... The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn't in the DVD."'"

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