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Space

Super-Earths Discovered Orbiting Nearby, Sun-Like Star 242

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-for-one dept.
likuidkewl writes "Two super-earths, 5 and 7.5 times the size of our home, were found to be orbiting 61 Virginis a mere 28 light years away. 'These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,' said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Among hundreds of our nearest stellar neighbors, 61 Vir stands out as being the most nearly similar to the Sun in terms of age, mass, and other essential properties."
The Internet

How Habbo Succeeded 57

Posted by Zonk
from the oh-those-wacky-fins dept.
The other keynote on Thursday at GDC Austin homed in on the growing collusion between Web 2.0 site and online gaming, with an examination of the wildly successful Habbo Hotel by world creator Sulka Haro. Habbo is more of an online hang-out space than a game, thought it does have many game elements. The service grew from humble origins to now offer a home to almost 7.5 Million unique users per month. From Gamasutra's coverage: "Globally, the game attracts around 51% boys and 49% girls. '13-16 seems to be the predominant age group we're getting.' But in different territories the story may be different. For example, in Japan there are a lot of younger kids playing, but there's also a hardcore cadre of housewives who play in their own cliques. When it comes to the U.S., Haro posited, 'I guess in the States the tipping point is when you get your driver's license and you can actually go somewhere to meet people.' A big concern of Habbo players is to create a private space where their parents don't know what's going on -- and this extends to when they get in trouble."
Mars

Spirit and Opportunity Are Back Online 145

Posted by kdawson
from the back-after-a-good-long-hunker dept.
PinkyGigglebrain sends us news that the Mars rovers have survived the dust storms that have swept the surface of Mars for the last 6 weeks. How well they survived remains to be seen. Due to a combination of dust still suspended in the atmosphere and dust on the rovers' solar panels, they are only producing about half the power they normally would. The article is a little sparse on the exact health of the rovers but it's good to know they are still with us.
Data Storage

Tech Magazine Loses June Issue, No Backup 245

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the happens-to-everyone dept.
Gareth writes "Business 2.0, a magazine published by Time, has been warning their readers against the hazards of not taking backups of computer files. So much so that in an article published by them in 2003, they 'likened backups to flossing — everyone knows it's important, but few devote enough thought or energy to it.' Last week, Business 2.0 got caught forgetting to floss as the magazine's editorial system crashed, wiping out all the work that had been done for its June issue. The backup server failed to back up."
Music

U2 Bringing Spider-man to Broadway 110

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the doing-the-things-that-a-spider-can dept.
Music Juice writes "A Broadway musical based on the web-slinging superhero is in the works, Marvel Studios said Friday. It will be directed by Tony winner Julie Taymor with new music and lyrics by U2 frontman Bono and guitarist The Edge. The musical will be the first time a Marvel Comics character has been the subject of a show on Broadway, the company said. No opening date was announced, but Marvel said a reading would take place this summer. "
Science

A Step Towards an Invisibility Cloak 172

Posted by kdawson
from the who-goes-there dept.
An anonymous reader alerts us to work out of Purdue University in Indiana, where researchers have produced a design for a method of cloaking objects of any shape and size at a single wavelength of visible light. The math for such an invisibility effect was worked out last year at Duke and in the UK, but the new work, to be published in Nature Photonics this month, is the first practical design. The lead researcher, Vladimir Shalaev, notes that even though the current design works only at a single wavelength, and so would not convey true invisibility, it could still be useful — against, for example, night-vision goggles or laser target designators. Shalaev calls the technical challenge of producing an all-wavelengths cloak "doable in principle."
Classic Games (Games)

NiGHTS Into Dreams Remake Now Official 25

Posted by Zonk
from the must-be-dreaming-need-to-wake-up dept.
The classic Sega Saturn title NiGHTS Into Dreams is finally, finally, getting a sequel. Joystiq reports on news at Famitsu, saying that a NiD sequel will be coming to the Wii this winter. "Takashi Izuka of Sonic Team USA is Producer of NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams. He leaves Famitsu, and the rest of the weeping-with-tears-of-joy world, with this comment: 'In 1996, we created the NiGHTS character to achieve a concept of being refreshed from being able to fly in the sky. 11 years later, at last, we have broken our silence. NiGHTS will now fly in a new dream world: new stages, new story, and on the new Wii platform.'"
Math

Old Islamic Tile Patterns Show Modern Math Insight 538

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the high-tech-tetris dept.
arbitraryaardvark writes "Reuters reports that medieval Muslims made a mega math marvel. Tile patterns on middle eastern mosques display a kind of quasicrystalline effect that was unknown in the west until rediscovered by Penrose in the 1970s. 'Quasicrystalline patterns comprise a set of interlocking units whose pattern never repeats, even when extended infinitely in all directions, and possess a special form of symmetry.' It isn't known if the mosque designers understood the math behind the patterns or not."
Television

+ - DRM - not to fight piracy but to boost profits

Submitted by
paltemalte
paltemalte writes "Off the record the big studios readily admits that DRM is not meant to fight piracy. Its meant to boost studio profits by taking away the rights that regular paying customers expect. Like being able to view your movie in any compatible device, or letting a friend borrow it. From the story:
For almost ten years now I have argued that digital rights management has little to do with piracy, but that is instead a carefully plotted ruse to undercut fair use and then create new revenue streams where there were previously none. I will briefly repeat my argument here before relating a prime example of it in the wild.
In a nutshell: DRM's sole purpose is to maximize revenues by minimizing your rights so that they can sell them back to you."
Security

+ - Hard drive data eradication

Submitted by
Creighton Bildstein
Creighton Bildstein writes "I'd like to know how businesses are dealing with their sensitive data-containing hard drives at the end of the technology lifecycle in their PCs, laptops and servers. Do they: A) Format the drives and sell or donate the machines B) Wipe the drives with Dept. of Defense software and then sell or donate the machines C) Completely destroy the drives via a shredder or something similar and dispose of the PC, laptop or server in an environmentally- friendly manner"
Wii

Nintendo To Replace Wiimote Wrist Straps 223

Posted by Zonk
from the avoiding-flying-wiimotes-seems-like-a-good-thing dept.
Kotaku has word that, after much giggling and photo-taking, Nintendo is replacing all of the Wiimote straps shipped with the original release of the console. There is a strap replacement form available, to get new straps sent to you. From the article: "Once your replacement wrist strap has shipped, you will receive a confirmation email from Nintendo. We expect to begin shipping replacement straps around December 21st. It will take 5 to 9 days for delivery depending on your location. Please do not contact Nintendo regarding your replacement wrist strap until after that time period has passed. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your interest in our products." Update: 12/15 17:07 GMT by Z : I used the right term here in the text, but Edge Online notes that recall is not the right term to use here. Title corrected.
Operating Systems

Why Do Computers Take So Long to Boot Up? 975

Posted by Zonk
from the tired-hampsters dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Computers take too long to boot up, and it doesn't make sense to me. Mine takes around 30 seconds; it is double or triple that for some of my friends' computers that I have used. Why can't a computer turn on and off in an instant just like a TV? 99% of boots, my computer is doing the exact same thing. Then I get to Windows XP with maybe 50 to 75 megs of stuff in memory. My computer should be smart enough to just load that junk into memory and go with it. You could put this data right at the very start of the hard drive. Whenever you do something with the computer that actually changes what happens during boot, it could go through the real booting process and save the results. Doing this would also give you instant restarts. You just hit your restart button, the computer reloads the memory image, and you can be working again. Or am I wrong? Why haven't companies made it a priority to have 'instant on' desktops and laptops?"

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