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Submission + - Court orders retrial in Google Maps-related murder case (

netbuzz writes: Ruling that a judge erred in blocking two computer security experts from testifying that an incriminating Google Maps search record found on the defendant’s laptop was planted there, a North Carolina appeals court has ordered a new trial for ex-Cisco employee Bradley Cooper, convicted two years ago in the 2008 strangulation death of his wife Nancy. "The sole physical evidence linking Defendant to Ms. Cooper's murder was the alleged Google Map search, conducted on Defendant's laptop, of the exact area where Ms. Cooper's body was discovered," wrote the appeals court. "We hold ... that erroneously preventing Defendant from presenting expert testimony, challenging arguably the strongest piece of the State's evidence, constituted reversible error and requires a new trial."

Submission + - How to Spot Crappy Coffee ( 2

sciencehabit writes: People who enjoy the most expensive coffee in the world can soon sip without worry: Researchers have come up with a way to tell if their cuppa joe is real or faux. The luxury drink in question—Kopi Luwak—is produced from coffee beans pooped out by the palm civet, a time-consuming process that helps contribute to the beverage’s price tag of between $330 to $500 per kilogram. In a new study, researchers chemically analyzed four different blends of coffee—authentic Kopi Luwak, regular coffee, a 50/50 mix of the two, and a brew of coffee beans that producers had chemically treated in an attempt to simulate mammalian digestion. Of the hundreds of organic substances naturally present in coffee, a handful enabled the team to distinguish Kopi Luwak from the other brews. The technique may even be sensitive enough to distinguish pure Kopi Luwak from versions adulterated with varying percentages of other coffees—which offers some degree of reassurance when your morning mud costs about $15 a cup.

Submission + - Hubble Discovers 'Planetary Graveyard' (

astroengine writes: The Hubble Space Telescope has discovered rocky remains of planetary material ‘polluting’ the atmospheres of two white dwarfs — a sign that these stars likely have (or had) planetary systems and that asteroids are currently being shredded by extreme tidal forces. Although white dwarfs with polluted atmospheres have been observed before, this is the first time evidence of planetary systems have been discovered in stars belonging to a relatively young cluster of stars. “We have identified chemical evidence for the building blocks of rocky planets,” said Jay Farihi of the University of Cambridge in a Hubble news release. “When these stars were born, they built planets, and there’s a good chance that they currently retain some of them. The signs of rocky debris we are seeing are evidence of this — it is at least as rocky as the most primitive terrestrial bodies in our Solar System.”

Submission + - Nanotech Dental Fillers Kill Bacteria and Regenerate Decayed Teeth (

An anonymous reader writes: A team of bioengineers have created the first cavity-filling composite that destroys harmful bacteria and restores tooth enamel lost by decay. Instead of just limiting tooth decay with conventional fillings, the new material, made with nanotechnology, controls destructive bacteria that co-exist in the natural colony of microbes in the mouth and to rebuild the tooth’s minerals, according to lead researcher Professor Huakun Xu from Maryland University School of Dentistry.

Submission + - Microsubmarines May Help Clean Up Oil Spills (

Zothecula writes: If anything good came out of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, it was that it got people thinking about technologies for cleaning up future spills. While things like magnetic soap, nanosponges, and autonomous robots are all in the works, a group of scientists recently announced the results of their research into another possibility – oil droplet-gathering microsubmarines.

Submission + - Attacks Target MHTML Bug in All Windows Versions (

Trailrunner7 writes: There is a wave of ongoing attacks against a bug in MHTML that affects all of the current versions of Windows, and there seems to be little recourse for sites trying to protect their users from the attacks. The bug has been publicly known since January and there are reports that Microsoft knew about it as far back as 2007.

The current spate of attacks is targeting users of Internet Explorer, and experts are recommending that users install the FixIt mitigation that Microsoft released in January to help protect against the attacks. Attackers have been targeting the MHTML vulnerability since at least January, and the bug itself may have been known in some corners of the security community for several years.


Submission + - Nokia Admits Billion Dollar Nokia Deal is Risky (

Stoobalou writes: Nokia has warned investors that it's taking a big risk with its deal with Microsoft to develop handsets for Windows Phone 7.
The Microsoft deal marks the first time Nokia has ever agreed to develop hardware for a third-party operating system, and the company's annual report — filed on Friday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) — highlights a range of 'risk factors' associated with the change in policy.
By signing the agreement, which could see Microsoft paying Nokia a rumoured $1 billion, the Finnish company admits it has pinned its hopes on a mobile platform that remains — in the company's own words — 'unproven'.


Submission + - 40th Anniversary of the Computer Virus (

Orome1 writes: This year marks the 40th anniversary of Creeper, the world’s first computer virus. From Creeper to Stuxnet, the last four decades saw the number of malware instances boom from 1,300 in 1990, to 50,000 in 2000, to over 200 million in 2010. Besides sheer quantity, viruses, which were originally used as academic proof of concepts, quickly turned into geek pranks, then evolved into cybercriminal tools. By 2005, the virus scene had been monetized, and virtually all viruses were developed with the sole purpose of making money via more or less complex business models.

"The Avis WIZARD decides if you get to drive a car. Your head won't touch the pillow of a Sheraton unless their computer says it's okay." -- Arthur Miller