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Submission + - Six Atari 2600 "vaporware" games from 1983 found! (digitpress.com)

Anonymous Coward writes: "Six previously unreleased Atari VCS/2600 games that were developed by Jerry Lawson’s company, Video Soft, are at last being released! The games were mentioned in press releases from the early 1980s and were long thought to have been just one of the many vaporware titles that never materialized. Not only do they exist in prototype form, but all were far enough along in development to be playable, with half of them considered to be complete!

Thanks to Jerry Lawson and the efforts of a few, dedicated Atari fans, the prototypes were archived, new artwork was created, and cartridges were produced. Each includes both a box and manual, and production is limited to 100 numbered copies of each title. Only 100 of each will ever be produced. This is the single-largest cache of unreleased Atari VCS/2600 prototypes to ever be released at one time!"

Google

Submission + - Tech Expertise Not Important in Google Managers 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "For much of its 13-year history, Google has taken a pretty simple approach to management: Leave people alone but if employees become stuck, they should ask their bosses, whose deep technical expertise propelled them into management in the first place. Now the NY Times reports that statisticians at Google looking for characteristics that define good managers have gathered more than 10,000 observations about managers — across more than 100 variables, from various performance reviews, feedback surveys and other reports and found that technical expertise ranks dead last among Google’s eight most important characteristics of good managers (reg. may be required). What Google employees value most are even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings, who helped people puzzle through problems by asking questions, not dictating answers, and who took an interest in employees’ lives and careers. “In the Google context, we’d always believed that to be a manager, particularly on the engineering side, you need to be as deep or deeper a technical expert than the people who work for you,” says Laszlo Bock, Google’s vice president for “people operations,” which is Googlespeak for human resources. “It turns out that that’s absolutely the least important thing. It’s important, but pales in comparison. Much more important is just making that connection and being accessible.”"
Open Source

LibreOffice 3.3 Released Today 470

mikejuk writes "Only four months after the formation of the Document Foundation by leading members of the OpenOffice.org community, it has launched LibreOffice 3.3, the first stable release of its alternative Open Source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. Since the fork was announced at the end of September the number of developers 'hacking' LibreOffice has gone from fewer than twenty to well over one hundred, allowing the Document Foundation to make its first release ahead of schedule The split of a large open source office suite comes at a time when it isn't even clear if there is a long term future for office suites at all. What is more puzzling is what the existence of two camps creating such huge codebases for a fundamental application type says about the whole state of open source development at this time. It clearly isn't the idealistic world it tries to present itself as."
Sci-Fi

BBC To Dispose of Douglas Adams Website 189

An anonymous reader writes "The BBC has announced their intention to dispose of the H2G2 website, originally founded by Douglas Adams. This comes as part of an initiative by the BBC to cut their online spending by 25%. 'BBC Online will be reorganised into five portfolios of "products." All parts of BBC Online have to fit with these. Over the past year all areas of the site have been reviewed to see where, and if, they fit. Sadly ... H2G2 does not fit in the new shape of BBC Online. However, H2G2 is unusual. It is a pre-existing community that the BBC brought into its fold, not a community that the BBC set up from scratch. So rather than closing it, we've decided to explore another option. This process has been referred to elsewhere as the "disposal" of H2G2. I'll admit this is not a great choice of words, but what is means is that we'll be looking for proposals from others to take on the running of H2G2.' One option under discussion is a community buyout."
Science

Nature Publisher Launches PLoS ONE Competitor 62

linhares writes "Nature's Publishing Group is launching a new journal, Scientific Reports, announced earlier this month. The press release makes it clear that it is molded after PLoS ONE: 'Scientific Reports will publish original research papers of interest to specialists within a given field in the natural sciences. It will not set a threshold of perceived importance for the papers that it publishes; rather, Scientific Reports will publish all papers that are judged to be technically valid and original. To enable the community to evaluate the importance of papers post-peer review, the Scientific Reports website will include most-downloaded, most-emailed, and most-blogged lists. All research papers will benefit from rapid peer review and publication, and will be deposited in PubMed Central.' Perhaps readers may find it ironic that PLoS ONE, first dismissed by Nature as an 'online database' 'relying on bulk, cheap publishing of lower quality papers to subsidize its handful of high-quality flagship journals' seems to be setting the standards for 'a new era in publishing.'"
Facebook

How Facebook Responded To Tunisian Hacks 227

jamie writes "Facebook's security team opens up, shedding light on a revolution that could become a parable for Internet activism. Quoting: 'After more than ten days of intensive investigation and study, Facebook's security team realized something very, very bad was going on. The country's Internet service providers were running a malicious piece of code that was recording users' login information when they went to sites like Facebook. By January 5, it was clear that an entire country's worth of passwords were in the process of being stolen right in the midst of the greatest political upheaval in two decades. Sullivan and his team decided they needed a country-level solution — and fast. Though Sullivan said Facebook has encountered a wide variety of security problems and been involved in various political situations, they'd never seen anything like what was happening in Tunisia.'"
Education

Cosmological Constant Not Fine Tuned For Life 536

eldavojohn writes "A common argument one might encounter in intelligent design or the arduous process of resolving science with religion is that the physical constants of our world are fine tuned for life by some creator or designer. A University of Alberta theoretical physicist claims quite the opposite when it comes to the cosmological constant. His paper says that our ever expanding universe has a positive cosmological constant and he explains that the optimum cosmological constant for maximizing the chances of life in the universe would be slightly negative: 'any positive value of the constant would tend to decrease the fraction of matter that forms into galaxies, reducing the amount available for life. Therefore the measured value of the cosmological constant, which is positive, is evidence against the idea that the constants have been fine-tuned for life.'"
Science

34,000-Year-Old Organisms Found Buried Alive 150

cold fjord writes "A scientist has made a weird and wonderful find. 'It's a tale that has all the trappings of a cult 1960s sci-fi movie: Scientists bring back ancient salt crystals, dug up from deep below Death Valley for climate research. The sparkling crystals are carefully packed away until, years later, a young, unknown researcher takes a second look at the 34,000-year-old crystals and discovers, trapped inside, something strange. Something... alive.' The Geological Society of America's current issue of GSA Today has the academic paper."
NASA

Low Quality Alloy Cause of Shuttle Main Tank Issue 118

BJ_Covert_Action writes "NASA engineers have finally discovered the root cause of the cracks that have been found on space shuttle Discovery's main external tank. The main tank, one of the 'Super Lightweight Tank' models developed by Lockheed-Martin, employs an aluminum-lithium alloy developed by Lockheed-Martin specifically for this application. The new alloy is used in various structural stringers throughout the SLWT design. Unfortunately, the batch of this alloy used in the tank that is currently mated with the Discovery shuttle appears to be of low quality. The alloy used in the stringers has a 'mottled' appearance, compared to the nominal appearance typically used in the main tank stringers (see picture in article). This appearance is indicative of a fracture threshold that is significantly lower than typical. NASA has determined, through testing, that this low grade alloy has only 65% of the fracture strength of the nominal alloy typically used. NASA engineers have devised a potential fix to the problem that they are currently testing to ensure the repair will cause no unintended consequences. NASA plans to have the Discovery shuttle ready to launch again by February 24th, 2011."
Cellphones

HiJacking the iPhone's Headset Port 96

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the University of Michigan describe how to hijack the iPhone's headset port to power peripherals, establish bi-directional communications with them, and interface various sensors, all without jailbreaking your iPhone or having to pay thousands to access to the Apple Dock Connector. This makes it possible for students, hackers, and DIYers to extend the phone's functionality to the physical world. The team is giving away 20 HiJack modules/programmers to enable new apps."
United Kingdom

EDSAC Computer To Be Rebuilt 97

nk497 writes with this bit from PCPro: "The first working stored-program computer is set to be rebuilt at Bletchley Park, home to the UK's National Museum of Computing. The Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator ran its first programme in 1949, and was two metres high. Its 3,000 vacuum tubes took up four metres of floor space, and it could perform 650 instructions per second. All data input was via paper tape. The EDSAC used mercury-filled tubes for memory, but in the interests of safety, the replica will use an alternative non-toxic substance. Rebuilding it will take four years, and the public can visit to watch the work as it happens."
Government

US Revamps NIST's Standard-Setting Efforts 64

coondoggie writes "The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been given new marching orders: expand work with the private sector to develop standards for a range of key technologies such as cloud computing, emergency communications and tracking, green manufacturing and high performance green building construction. NIST could see its core science and technology budget double by 2017. NIST has also cut the number of labs it runs to 6 from 10. NIST labs now include engineering, physical measurement, information technology, material measurement, the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology and the NIST Center for Neutron Research."
Science

Should Dolphins Be Treated As Non-Human Persons? 785

Hugh Pickens writes "Dolphins have long been recognized as among the most intelligent of animals, but now the Times reports that a series of behavioral studies suggest that dolphins, especially species such as the bottlenose, have distinct personalities, a strong sense of self, can think about the future and are so bright that they should be treated as 'non-human persons.' 'Many dolphin brains are larger than our own and second in mass only to the human brain when corrected for body size,' says Lori Marino, a zoologist at Emory University. 'The neuroanatomy suggests psychological continuity between humans and dolphins and has profound implications for the ethics of human-dolphin interactions.' For example, one study found that dolphins can recognize their image in a mirror as a reflection of themselves — a finding that indicates self-awareness similar to that seen in higher primates and elephants. Other studies have found that dolphins are capable of advanced cognitive abilities such as problem-solving, artificial language comprehension, and complex social behavior, indicating that dolphins are far more intellectually and emotionally sophisticated than previously thought. Thomas White, professor of ethics at Loyola Marymount University, has written a series of academic studies suggesting dolphins should have rights, claiming that the current relationship between humans and dolphins is, in effect, equivalent to the relationship between whites and black slaves two centuries ago."
Businesses

Examining Indie Game Pricing 188

As the second Humble Indie Bundle flourishes, having taken in over $1.5 million in pay-what-you-want sales, the Opposable Thumbs blog has taken a look at indie game pricing in general, trying to determine how low price points and frequent sales affect their popularity in an ocean of $60 blockbusters. Quoting: "... in the short term these sales are a good thing. They bring in more sales, more revenue, and expand the reach of games that frequently have very little marketing support behind them, if any. For those games, getting on the front page of Steam is a huge boost, putting it in front of a huge audience of gamers. But what are the long-term effects? If most players are buying these games at a severely reduced price, how does that influence the perception of indie games at large? It's not an easy question to answer, especially considering how relatively new these sales are, making it difficult to judge their long-term effects. But it's clear they're somewhat of a double-edged sword. Exposure is good, but price erosion isn't. 'When it comes to perception, a deep discount gets people playing the game that [they] wouldn't play otherwise, and I think that has both positive and negative effects,' [2D Boy co-founder Ron Carmel] told Ars. 'The negative is that if I'm willing to pay $5 but not $20, I probably don't want to play that game very much, so maybe I'm not as excited about it after I play it and maybe I drive down the average appreciation of the game.'"
Moon

NASA Strikes Gold and Water On the Moon 421

tcd004 writes "The PBS NewsHour reports: there is water on the moon — along with a long list of other compounds, including mercury, gold and silver. That's according to a more detailed analysis of the cold lunar soil near the moon's South Pole. The results were released as six papers by a large team of scientists in the journal, Science Thursday. [Note: Nature's papers are behind a paywall; for a few more details, reader coondoggie points out a a story at Network World.] The data comes from the October 2009 mission, when NASA slammed a booster rocket traveling nearly 6,000 miles per hour into the moon and blasted out a hole. Trailing close behind it was a second spacecraft, rigged with a spectrometer to study the lunar plume released by the blast. The mission is called LCROSS, for Lunar Crater Observer and Sensing Satellite."

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