A study authored by Christopher Nave, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, says that our personalities stay pretty much the same from early childhood all the way through old age. From the article: "Using data from a 1960s study of approximately 2,400 ethnically diverse schoolchildren (grades 1 - 6) in Hawaii, researchers compared teacher personality ratings of the students with videotaped interviews of 144 of those individuals 40 years later. They examined four personality attributes - talkativeness (called verbal fluency), adaptability (cope well with new situations), impulsiveness and self-minimizing behavior (essentially being humble to the point of minimizing one's importance)." This must explain my overriding need to be first captain when we pick kickball teams at the office.
Arvisp writes "In 1912 Australian explorer Douglas Mawson planned to fly over the southern pole. His lost plane has now been found. The plane – the first off the Vickers production line in Britain – was built in 1911, only eight years after the Wright brothers executed the first powered flight. For the past three years, a team of Australian explorers has been engaged in a fruitless search for the aircraft, last seen in 1975. Then on Friday, a carpenter with the team, Mark Farrell, struck gold: wandering along the icy shore near the team's camp, he noticed large fragments of metal sitting among the rocks, just a few inches beneath the water."
volcanopele writes "NASA and the European Space Agency announced today that they have selected the Europa/Jupiter System Mission as the next large mission to the outer solar system. For the last year, the Europa mission has been in competition with a proposal to send a mission to Saturn's moon Titan, as reported on Slashdot earlier. The Europa Mission includes two orbiters: one developed by NASA to orbit the icy moon Europa and another developed by ESA to orbit the solar system's largest moon, Ganymede. Both orbiters would spend up to 2.5 years in orbit around Jupiter before settling into orbit around their respective targets, studying Jupiter's satellites, rings, and of course the planet itself. The mission is scheduled to launch in 2020 and arrive at Jupiter in 2025 and 2026."
dan of the north notes a change of direction at Groklaw. Pamela Jones (PJ) writes: "I think we need to use this time to perfect our work and ensure Groklaw's preservation. It will require shutting down the daily articles and News Picks, at least for the forseeable future, but I'm convinced it's important to do it. One of the core purposes of Groklaw has always been to create a reliable record for historians and law schools to use our materials to teach and inform. ... I choose to make sure our work as fully reliable, comprehensive and, to the degree humanly possible, permanent. ... Groklaw's collection of materials is really valuable. I'd like to ensure that it survives. ... We've covered the SCO litigations since May of 2003, and it's the only complete record of this important phase in IT history."
Phil Schiller delivered the keynote at MacWorld, the first after the Steve Jobs era of keynotes. Here is Engadget's live blog. The big news, predicted by many rumor sites, was the introduction of the unibody 17" MacBook Pro. As rumored, the battery is not removable, but it's claimed to provide 8 hours of battery life (7 hours with the discrete graphics): "3x the charges and lifespan of the industry standard." $2,799, 2.66 GHz and 4 GB of RAM, 320GB hard drive, shipping at the end of January. There is a battery exchange program, and there is an option for a matte display. The other big news is that iTunes is going DRM-free: 8M songs today, all 10+M by the end of March. Song pricing will be flexible, as the studios have been demanding; the lowest song price is $0.69. Apple also introduced the beta of a Google Docs-like service, iWork.com.
toomanyairmiles writes "The Times of London reports that the United Kingdom's Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain to routinely hack into people's personal computers without a warrant. The move, which follows a decision by the European Union's council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs. They described it as a sinister extension of the surveillance state that drives 'a coach and horses' through privacy laws."
Ian Lamont writes "The Industry Standard has put together a collection of video highlights from Steve Jobs' Macworld keynotes since his return to Apple in the late 1990s. It's interesting to watch. Jobs was basically able to turn tech product demonstrations into convincing consumer spectacles that made even the simplest product feature — such as the handle on the clamshell iBook — seem innovative and utterly desirable. And while his appearance changed greatly over the years (compare his 1998 iMac demonstration with his "iPod Mini" keynote in 2004, when he was reportedly trying to treat cancer with a special diet), his enthusiasm never waned. Of course, he may make appearances at Apple's WWDC or other events, but a Macworld expo with Phil Schiller headlining just won't be the same."
Roland Piquepaille writes "The Cyberknife is not a real knife. This is a robot radiotherapy machine which works with great accuracy during treatment, thanks to its robotic arm which moves around a patient when he breathes. According to BBC News, the first Cyberknife will be operational in February 2009 in London, UK. But other machines have been installed in more than 15 countries, and have permitted doctors to treat 50,000 patients in the first semester of 2008. And the Cyberknife is more efficient than conventional radiotherapy devices. The current systems require twenty or more short sessions with low-dose radiation. On the contrary, and because it's extremely precise, a Cyberknife can deliver powerful radiation in just three sessions."
An anonymous reader writes "Apparently, Yellowstone National Park has been having a very unusual number of earthquakes. Many of the most recent tremors have been deeper underground, an ominous sign. Combine that with a rapid rise in elevation over the past three years, and the possibility that earthquake activity from surrounding areas could trigger such an eruption on its own, and you've got the possible warning signs of a supervolcano eruption that would wipe out half to 2/3 of the continental US, plunge global temperatures, and wipe out a very significant chunk of world food sources. Here's a little more info to make your New Year brighter!"
TaeKwonDood writes "LEDs don't beat CFLs in the home yet, but it's not simply because PG&E is getting rich making people feel like they are helping the environment buying CFLs made in China that are shipped to the US using a lot more fossil fuels than they save. It's a problem of indication versus illumination. However, some new discoveries are going to change all that."
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA's request for permission to appeal from the decision setting aside its $222,000 jury verdict has been denied by District Court Judge Michael J. Davis. In a brief, 6-page decision (PDF) the Judge dismissed the RIAA's arguments that there is a 'substantial ground for a difference of opinion' on the question of law presented, whether the Judge had erred in accepting the RIAA's proposed jury instruction that merely 'making files available' could constitute an infringement of the plaintiffs' distribution rights. He likewise dismissed their argument that granting permission for the appeal would 'materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation,' since (a) depending on the outcome of the trial, plaintiffs might not wish to appeal from the judgment, and (b) no matter how the appeals court rules on the 'making available' issue, the case will still have to continue in the lower court, since even if the RIAA wins on the 'making available' issue, the Court will still have to address the constitutionality of the large jury verdict, which may result in a new trial."
An anonymous reader writes "A startup named Mgestyk Technologies claims that they have an affordable solution for 'Minority Report'-like PC control. They have released a video in which they use hand gestures to play games like Halo and Guitar Hero, as well as perform 'multi-touch' interactions for applications like Google Earth. Engadget and Gizmodo discuss the potential of the technology but point out that the system has visible lag when used for gaming. Will camera-based interfaces ever meet the low-latency demands of gaming? For how much longer will we still be using keyboards, mice and joysticks?"
Sockatume writes "A coalition of seven UK digital music stores have created a logo for DRM-free, MP3 music. The 'MP3: 100% Compatible' logo allows the stores to emphasize the advantages of the format, namely that MP3 files will run on any device and won't keel over and die as DRM-laden files are wont to. The BPI — the UK equivalent of the RIAA — is backing the scheme, emphasizing that it will also allow users to identify legitimate stores."
Khemisty writes "Formation of an ocean is a rare event, one no scientist has ever witnessed. Yet this geophysical nativity is unfolding today in one of the hottest and most inhospitable corners of the globe. Africa is splitting apart at the seams. From the southern tip of the Red Sea southward through Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique, the continent is coming unstitched along a zone called the East African Rift." This stretching of the earth's crust has been going on for 20 million years, and within another 10 million the Red Sea will have broken through to create a new sea.