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NASA

+ - Dying Man Shares Unseen Challenger Video-> 1

Submitted by longacre
longacre (1090157) writes "An amateur video of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion has been made public for the first time. The Florida man who filmed it from his front yard on his new Betamax camcorder turned the tape over to an educational organization a week before he died this past December. The Space Exploration Archive has since published the video into the public domain in time for the 24th anniversary of the catastrophe. Despite being shot from about 70 miles from Cape Canaveral, the shuttle and the explosion can be seen quite clearly. It is unclear why he never shared the footage with NASA or the media. NASA officials say they were not aware of the video, but are interested in examining it now that it has been made available."
Link to Original Source
United States

+ - Is the US Suffering an Innovation 'Brain Drain'?

Submitted by
eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes "A recent article I read was looking for answers in the United States' drop in broadband rankings and proposed an 'innovation brain drain' as one of the reasons. Being an ego-centric American, I initially dismissed the idea but thought more about it and now am more curious as to what everyone else thinks. Do you think that the US is suffering from lack of innovation? If so, what's causing it? What's so different today from a period renowned for innovation? Poor schooling or grade inflation? Governing laws, regulations or patents? Economy? Growing difference in pay? A sense that everything is 'good enough' or lack of necessity? Political & military problems? I know I've read posters warning that the US is falling behind in several fields but I'd like to hear ideas why that is."
Movies

+ - Revolution OS -the award winning documentary

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "This article calls Revolution OS the finest documentaries created which traces the path taken by GNU, Free Software, Open Source and Linux. The whole documentary all of 1 hour and 10 minutes long consists of bits and pieces of conversation with various leaders of the community which of course includes Linus Torvalds, Eric Raymond, Richard M Stallman, Bruce Perens and many others.

In the documentary, Linus Torvalds calls RMS the great philosopher of the movement and himself the engineer.

The documentary produced by J.T.S Moore also shows snippets of publicity the movement received in the main stream media such as in CNBC and The New York Times. Some prominent people from Slashdot also make their appearances in the documentary. The article goads you to watch and enjoy it and as a follow up buy the DVD to support the cause."
Biotech

When the Earth Was Purple 278

Posted by kdawson
from the how-violet-was-my-valley dept.
Ollabelle writes "It's always been a bit of a mystery why plants absorb red and blue light, reflecting green, when the sun emits the peak energy of the visible spectrum in the green. A new theory offers one possible answer: that the first chlorophyll-utilizing microbes evolved to exploit the red-and-blue light that older green-absorbing microbes didn't use, eventually out-competing them through greater efficiency and the rise of oxygen."
Math

+ - Berkeley Ph.D. Proves "Jesus Tomb" Improba

Submitted by
Daniel Foster
Daniel Foster writes "Looks like the 'Jesus Tomb' people got their math wrong. Dr. Randy Ingermanson (Ph.D. in physics from U.C. Berkeley) recalculates the statistical probability used by the Jesus Tomb book and documentary and finds that 'Jesus of Nazareth is EXTREMELY UNLIKELY to be the Jesus found in the family tomb.' He says, 'My estimate is that the odds are at least 10,000 to 1 AGAINST Jesus of Nazareth being the man found in the tomb.' Check out his data and decide for yourself whether he's onto something."
Announcements

+ - Jeff Hawkins' Cortex Simulation Platform Available

Submitted by
UnreasonableMan
UnreasonableMan writes "Jeff Hawkins is best known for founding Palm Computing and Handspring, but for the last eighteen months he's been working on his third company, Numenta. In his 2005 book, On Intelligence, Hawkins laid out a theoretical framework describing how the neocortex processes sensory inputs and provides outputs back to the body. Numenta's goal is to build a software model of the human brain capable of face recognition, object identification, driving, and other tasks currently better suited to humans.

For an overview see Hawkins' 2005 presentation at UC Berkeley. It includes a demonstration of an early version of the software that can recognize handwritten letters and distinguish between stick figure dogs and cats. Whitepapers are available at Numenta's website.

Numenta wisely decided to build a community of developers rather than try to make everything proprietary. Yesterday they released the first version of their free development platform and the source code for their algorithms to anyone who wants to download it."
Space

Milky Way's Black Hole a Gamma Source? 100

Posted by kdawson
from the high-energy-pinball dept.
eldavojohn writes "A paper recently accepted for publication (preprint here) proposes a sound explanation for the source of the gamma rays that permeate our galaxy. The Milky Way's central object Sagittarius A*, widely believed to be a supermassive black hole, is now suspected to be the source. To test this theory, two scientists created a computer model to track the protons, flung outward with energies up to 100 TeV by the intense magnetic fields near the event horizon, as they make a random walk through the plasma environment. It can take thousands of years for them to travel 10 light-years from the black hole, where they collide with lower-energy protons to form pions. These decay into gamma radiation emanating from a torus-shaped region around the central object."
Media

+ - Researcher Laments Being Published in Science

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Voltage Gate has a story about a researcher who was recently published in Science without his approval. It turns out that he is a blogger himself, and wrote a long commentary about how his wishes to publish in an open access journal (like PLoS) were ignored."

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.

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