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NASA

NASA's Stunning Close-Up Photos of Comet Hartley 2 62

Several readers have sent word that NASA's EPOXI spacecraft performed a close approach to comet Hartley 2 yesterday, taking pictures within roughly 700km of the nucleus. Bad Astronomer Phil Plait has a collection of some fantastic photographs, and you can check out a ton of other images on the mission website. The Planetary Society blog put together a neat animation of the flyby. NASA's mission fact sheet (PDF) explains EPOXI's background — it's the supplemental mission of the Deep Impact craft that smashed a small probe into a different comet back in 2005 — and why Hartley 2 was chosen for this flyby (they couldn't find their original target).
Education

Intel, Microsoft Despised the XO Laptop 521

gregsim writes "The Wall Street Journal today reports that the new XO laptop, centerpiece of the One Laptop Per Child project, is stimulating an active response from both Intel and Microsoft. The companies evidently feel threatened by the little upstart, intended to help third-world children. (The XO runs Linux and uses AMD chips.) Microsoft has cut their software to $3 each and Intel has designed their own laptop called the Classmate to sell between $230 and $300, nearly double the XO's price. Rather than defend the relative merits of his creation, professor Negroponte is crying foul and (if the article is to be believed) not even arguing the technical merits. The initial demand for the XO has fallen well below Mr. Negroponte's projections as Intel and Microsoft have successfully argued that their entries are superior. 45,000 have been ordered through the Give One, Get One campaign. I am happy that I ordered mine — it will be a landmark model in any case."

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_

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