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Government

+ - NY Times, LA Times Call for Amazon Tax Collection 1

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Recalling that CEO Jeff Bezos originally explored placing Amazon.com on an Indian Reservation near San Francisco to "have access to talent without all the tax consequences," the NY Times argues it's time to put an end to the e-tailer's 'entity isolation' tax-avoidance games. The LA Times chimes in, saying Amazon's claims that collecting sales tax constitute an undue burden are 'worth a horselaugh', noting that Amazon boasts it has no problem keeping track of millions of unique products."

Comment: Let the iPhones have the network (Score 1) 501

by Grei (#29704935) Attached to: Why AT&T Should Dump the iPhone's Unlimited Data Plan

I'm all in favor of the iPhones having AT&T's network. I don't have an iPhone and won't be getting one, and my phone has already been bumped off with 'Network Congestion' way too many times in the past few months.

Since AT&T's taken on the iPhone, there has been no network upgrade/expansion in the area I live. My basic phone service is as tempermental and annoying now as it was 5 years ago when I moved into this place. Even the 'upgrade plan' map that the salesperson gave me the last time I changed up phones is identical to the one I was given 5 years ago--just with the years changed to reflect the passing of the years.

After being with AT&T for over 10 years, I'll be changing to a carrier that does provide service to my home when I need to change phones next. Nothing AT&T can say will change that...they've had their chance these past 5 years.

Space

Soyuz 4/5 Made History 40 Years Ago Today 166

Posted by kdawson
from the probably-wearing-dockers dept.
dj writes in with a reminder that forty years ago, on January 16, 1969, the two Russian spacecraft Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 carried out the first docking between two manned spacecraft and transfer of crew between the craft. Wired's piece gives a gripping account of "one of the roughest re-entries in the history of space flight": "Soyuz 5's service module failed to detach at retrofire, causing the vehicle to assume an aerodynamic position that left the heat shield pointed the wrong way as it re-entered the atmosphere. The only thing standing between Volynov and a fiery death was the command module's thin hatch cover. The interior of Volynov's capsule filled with noxious fumes as the gaskets sealing the hatch started to burn, and it got very hot in there (which, a short time later was something he probably missed). ... But wait. There's more."
The Courts

RIAA's Request For Appeal Denied In Thomas Case 197

Posted by timothy
from the seeking-one-mulligan-too-many dept.
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."
Google

+ - Google Researching Alternative Energy, RE<C-> 1

Submitted by
dhardisty
dhardisty writes "I know slashdot is overrun with Google news, but this is good news nonetheless. Google plans to get into the business of finding limitless sources of energy, announcing Tuesday that it 'intends to develop and help stimulate the creation of renewable energy technologies that are cheaper than coal-generated power... The initiative, which Google is calling REC, using mathematical symbols to denote "renewable energy cheaper than coal," will be based in Google's research and development group.'"
Link to Original Source
Enlightenment

+ - New Scanner Takes Stunning Images of Your Insides ->

Submitted by Michelle
Michelle (666) writes "Philips Medical Systems has recently unveiled a new medical scanner that can take images of the inside of the body with stunning precision. Called the Brilliance Computerized Tomography (CT) scanner, the machine takes images of slices of the human body and combines them to create realistic images of organs, blood vessels, and other body parts. The images produced are nothing short of AMAZING."
Link to Original Source
Google

+ - Google Summer of Code extends to highschoolers->

Submitted by
phobonetik
phobonetik writes "Building on three successful years of engaging University students with over one hundred open source projects, the Google Summer of Code program is being complemented with the Google Highly Open Participation Contest, launched today. Running initially as a pilot involving 10 open source projects, the contest is open to any student enrolled in highschool education. Students choose from a list of several hundred predetermined tasks that improve the open source project, and get paid small sums for their successful completion. At the end of the contest (4th Feb 2008), each of the ten open source projects nominate their best contributor, who wins a grand prize."
Link to Original Source
The Almighty Buck

+ - The Taxman Barely Cometh

Submitted by
theodp
theodp writes "While Congress is considering lowering the 35% federal tax rate, a lot of companies don't need help from Washington. They've been finding legal ways to shrink their tax bill for years, with 'cross-border tax arbitrage' — getting profits out of the U.S. if taxes are lower offshore — emerging as one of the hottest tax-avoidance strategies. A list compiled by BusinessWeek of the S&P 500 companies sending in the smallest checks sports a number of high-tech household names, including Amazon and Yahoo, who respectively sent Uncle Sam 2.8% and 2.9% of their earnings before income taxes over the past five years, and Apple, which paid a whopping $0 in cash taxes last year."
Books

+ - The Future of Reading

Submitted by
theodp
theodp writes "With a seven-page cover story on The Future of Reading, Newsweek confirms all those rumors of Amazon's imminent introduction of the Kindle, a $399 e-book reader that aims to change the way we read. Kindle, which is named to evoke the crackling ignition of knowledge, has the dimensions of a paperback, weighs 10.3 oz., and uses E Ink technology on a 6-inch screen powered by a battery that gets up to 30 hours from a 2-hour charge. Kindle's real breakthrough is its EVDO-like wireless connectivity, which allows it to work anywhere, not just at Wi-Fi hotspots. More than 88,000 titles will be on sale at the Kindle store at launch, with NYT best sellers priced at $9.99. Subscribe to newspapers, magazines and even blogs, and content will be beamed automatically into your Kindle. Web access, including Wikipedia, Google search and PDF e-mail attachments, will also be available."
Biotech

+ - Did Volcanic Gas Kill Dinosaurs, Not Chicxulub?

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens
Hugh Pickens writes "Volcanic eruptions from the Deccan Flood Basalts in India that released huge amounts of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere may have had more to do with wiping out dinosaurs 65 million years ago than the meteorite strike at Chicxulub on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. Marine sediments drilled from the Chicxulub crater itself reveal that that the mass extinctions occurred 300,000 years after Chicxulub hit Earth. The Deccan volcanism began over a million years before the mass extinctions but it was a long cumulative process that continued releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere right up to the mass extinctions. "On land it must have been 7-8 degrees warmer," says Princeton University paleontologist Gerta Keller. "The Chicxulub impact alone could not have caused the mass extinction, because this impact predates the mass extinction." Keller also postulates a second larger and still unidentified meteor strike after Chicxulub, that left the famous extraterrestrial layer of iridium found in rocks worldwide and pushed earth's ecosystem over the brink. But where's the crater? "I wish I knew," says Keller."
Windows

+ - Vista not as ready for modern desktop as Linux? 1

Submitted by
Pr0xY
Pr0xY writes "Recently I purchased my new "gaming rig." So I decided to just go for and loaded up a new Dell XPS 720 with the works. Among other things, I got 4GB of RAM. To my (and many others according to google) surprise, x86 Vista only reports 3 and change GB of RAM.
I do some systems programming, so I had a clue as to what was going on, my first reaction was "PAE must not be enabled." Here's what's going on. With traditional paging, there is 4GB of physical address space available to a 32-bit x86 processor. This includes memory mapped devices, for example, your shiny new video card with 768 Megs of RAM takes up that much space of physical RAM your system can use. The solution is to use either PAE or PSE36, both provide up to 64GB of physical memory to a 32-bit x86 system. The limit of what you can map into memory at a time is still 4GB, but this allows motherboards to relocate the RAM that got displaced by hardware above the 4GB and still be usable.
However, it turns out that first of all, Vista automatically enables PAE if you want DEP since it is necessary for the NX bit. And in addition to that, Microsoft deliberately doesn't use RAM above the 4GB mark even with PAE for "compatibility reasons." The main issue being that DMA can't touch RAM higher than 4GB on x86. Microsoft could have easily had a special pool for this "high memory" in order to make some use of it when you know it's safe. This isn't impractical as the server editions of Windows are in fact able to use upwards of 4GB on 32-bit systems as well.
Linux has no issue using all 4GB of my RAM once I build my kernel with PAE support. Microsoft also claims that they support 4GB of RAM in their documentation. All in all, I find this whole thing to be a bit deceptive on Microsoft's part. Microsoft's solution: "Get Vista x86-64""
Announcements

+ - Fossil of New Whale Specis Rescued by Amateurs->

Submitted by
Kreigh
Kreigh writes "A team of amateur fossil hunters and rockhounds discovered a fossil whale in the tidal zone of Coos Bay, OR. Preliminary study indicates a new genus and species of whale in this probably eight million year old fossil. They rescued the eight foot long fossil from the rock in the Bay and plan on preparing it for exhibit at a Museum. You can find additional pictures here if you scroll down the page to the 'NARG Fossil Point Whale Skull Search & Rescue' link."
Link to Original Source
Quickies

+ - MIT's mini tractor beam

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "MIT scientists have developed a way to use light to grab and move minuscule particles on a microchip. The research could lead to fine-grained biological sensors and other precisely built nanoscale devices. Optical tweezers have been used on transparent media — like a microscope slide — that let the light shine through and hold objects in a tractor beam-like embrace. (This is possible because light's individual photons transfer minuscule amounts of force to particles they hit.) What's new in the optical tweezer from MIT's Matt Lang and David Appleyard is the use of infrared light. Unlike visible light, the infrared does not bounce off the silicon used as the basis for microchips. That means that MIT's optical tweezer can be used not just for study but to build structures on the surface of chips. Lang and Appleyard proved their technique by getting 16 live E. coli cells to spell out "MIT" on a chip."
NASA

+ - Solar Panel Rips on ISS->

Submitted by
bhmit1
bhmit1 writes "Nasa's solar panel woes continue with today's discovery, a rip on one of the recently moved panels. From the article: "The astronauts abruptly stopped the unfurling of the second panel, however, as soon as they saw the rip on the edge of the panel. The panel was almost completely unfurled when the rip was spotted. The astronauts beamed down photos of the torn and crumpled section so NASA can analyze them and determine the extent of the damage.""
Link to Original Source

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