Kozar_The_Malignant writes "The secretive X-37B robotic space plane has returned to Earth after a seven-month mission. This was the vehicle's first flight. Looking like a cross between a Predator Drone and the Space Shuttle, it landed at Vandenberg AFB in California, which was to have been the military's shuttle launch facility. Speculation is that the X-37B is an orbital spy platform."
Many of you have submitted a story about Irish filmmaker George Clarke, who claims to have found a person using a cellphone in the "unused footage" section of the DVD The Circus, a Charlie Chaplin movie filmed in 1928. To me the bigger mystery is how someone who appears to be the offspring of Ram-Man and The Penguin got into a movie in the first place, especially if they were talking to a little metal box on set. Watch the video and decide for yourself.
Julie188 writes "Greg Kroah-Hartman has released five new stable Linux kernels, correcting minor errors of their predecessors and including improvements which are unlikely to generate new errors. As so often with kernel versions in the stable series, it remains undisclosed if the new versions contain changes which fix security vulnerabilities, although the number of changes and some of the descriptions of those changes certainly suggest that all the new versions contain security fixes."
Humunculus writes "Of more worldly issues, NASA's latest multimillion-dollar stratosphere-bound balloon launch has gone horribly wrong and crashed into a car, turning it over and narrowly missing two elderly people who were observing the launch. The payload fared worse, reportedly being smashed into a 'thousand pieces.'"
lord_rotorooter writes "Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, introduced a bill that would ruin restaurant food and baked goods as we know them. The measure (if passed) would ban the use of all forms of salt in the preparation and cooking of food for all restaurants or bakeries. While the use of too much salt can contribute to health problems, the complete banning of salt would have negative impacts on food chemistry. Not only does salt enhance flavor, it controls bacteria, slows yeast activity and strengthens dough by tightening gluten. Salt also inhibits the growth of microbes that spoil cheese."
Several readers have written with a fun followup to yesterday's IE6 funeral. Apparently Microsoft, in a rare moment of self-jest, took the time to send flowers, condolences, and a promise to meet at MIX. The card reads: "Thanks for the good times IE6, see you all @ MIX when we show a little piece of IE Heaven. The Internet Explorer Team @ Microsoft."
Trailrunner7 writes with this snippet from ThreatPost: "Apple's first Mac OS X security update for 2010 is out, providing cover for at least 12 serious vulnerabilities. The update, rated critical, plugs security holes that could lead to code execution vulnerabilities if a Mac user is tricked into opening audio files or surfing to a rigged Web site." Hit the link for a list of the highlights among these fixes.
Gregory Diamos writes "An open source project, Ocelot, has recently released a just-in-time compiler for CUDA, allowing the same programs to be run on NVIDIA GPUs or x86 CPUs and providing an alternative to OpenCL. A description of the compiler was recently posted on the NVIDIA forums. The compiler works by translating GPU instructions to LLVM and then generating native code for any LLVM target. It has been validated against over 100 CUDA applications. All of the code is available under the New BSD license."
A feature at Gamasutra examines one of the foundations of many MMORPGs — the idea that class roles within such a game fall into three basic categories: tank, healer, and damage dealer. The article evaluates the pros and cons of such an arrangement and takes a look at some alternatives. "Eliminating specialized roles means that we do away with boxing a class into a single role. Without Tanks, each class would have features that would help them participate in and survive many different encounters like heavy armor, strong avoidance, or some class or magical abilities that allow them to disengage from direct combat. Without specialized DPS, all classes should be able to do damage in order to defeat enemies. Some classes might specialize in damage type, like area of effect (AoE) damage; others might be able to exploit enemy weaknesses, and some might just be good at swinging a sharpened bit of metal in the right direction at a rapid rate. This design isn't just about having each class able to fill any trinity role. MMO combat would feel more dynamic in this system. Every player would have to react to combat events and defend against attacks."
SoundGuyNoise sends in a story that brings into relief just how unsettled is the question of whether police can use GPS to track suspects without a warrant. Just a couple of days ago a Wisconsin appeals court ruled that such tracking is OK; and today an appeals court in New York reached the opposite conclusion. "It was wrong for a police investigator to slap a GPS tracking device under a defendant's van to track his movements, the state's top court ruled today. A sharply divided NY Court of Appeals, in a 4-3 decision, reversed the burglary conviction of defendant Scott Weaver, 41, of Watervliet. Four years ago, State Police tracked Weaver over 65 days in connection with the burglary investigation."
alphadogg writes "Clinical tests on a four-year, $1.74 million project for NASA, called the Virtual Space Station, are expected to begin in the Boston area by next month. The effort is designed to address the onset of depression in astronauts while they are in outer space. In the project, sponsored by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, a recorded video therapist guides astronauts through a widely used depression therapy called 'problem-solving treatment.'" Here's a related story from a few weeks ago. Those astronauts got it rough.
Roland Piquepaille writes "Flower robots are not new, and some have already been developed in the US. Now, South Korean researchers have created a robotic plant which acts like real ones. This robot has humidifying, oxygen-producing, aroma-emitting, and kinetic functions. It is about 1.30 meters tall and 40 centimeters in diameter. The robotic plant can interact with people when they approach, and it can 'dance' when music is played. The researchers don't say when a commercial version of their flowers will come to the market. They also don't mention a retail price."
JagsLive writes "When purchasing server processors directly from Intel, Google has insisted on a guarantee that the chips can operate at temperatures five degrees centigrade higher than their standard qualification, according to a former Google employee. This allowed the search giant to maintain higher temperatures within its data centers, the ex-employee says, and save millions of dollars each year in cooling costs."
More amusing is HEAD slashdot.org | grep Bender