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Submission + - NASA: Asteroid did not kill the dinosaurs (sky.com)

Meshach writes: NASA is now saying that the dinosaurs were not killed by a giant asteroid. Turns out that the asteroid impact suspected to be the culprit hit the Earth 20 million years earlier then previously thought meaning that its consequences were long gone when the extinction took place. This news makes the ultimate reason behind the dinosaur's demise unknown.

Submission + - The global church under attack

berbmit writes: "... the widest gathering of Christians in the history of the Church, today announced that their internet communication to the outside world had been hacked"

I guess a high concentration of Christians is not enough to prevent attack (http://www.lausanne.org/news-releases/cyber-attack-hits-global-church-gathering.html). The 2010 Lausanne conference, the largest gathering of church leaders, had their ability to stream the conference to other centers around the world compromised by hacking. Initial suspicions are directed at China (http://www.outreachmagazine.com/blogs/lausanne/3864-Lausanne-Congress-Cyber-Attack.html), who also denied their national delegates permission to attend (http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2010/10/lausanne_delega.html).

Apparently two Indian IT support staff from Bangelore, managed to sort it out after two days.

Submission + - Risk Aversion as a Barrier to Space Exploration (riehlworldview.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Writing in Popular Mechanics, Rand Simberg argues that space exploration and risk-aversion don't mix.

Everyone has noted that the bottom line of the report is that NASA doesn't have enough money to both go beyond low Earth orbit (LEO) and continue the other politically mandated missions. But it's worth noting a couple other aspects of the summary: From the very beginning of the document, there are two disturbing statements. First: "Human safety can never be absolutely assured, but throughout this report, it is treated as a sine qua non. It is not discussed in extensive detail because any concepts falling short in human safety have simply been eliminated from consideration." Second, in its list of fundamental questions: "On what should the next heavy-lift launch vehicle be based?" Both of these statements (though more subtly in the case of the second) are about risk, and NASA's costly and extreme aversion to it ever since Apollo. Recall the famous words of Gene Kranz (that he never actually said, despite the fact that he used it as a title for his autobiography) from the movie Apollo 13: "Failure is not an option." The problem with that is, as some have responded, that success gets very expensive. This is the cost of risk aversion.

It does seem that the early, less risk-averse NASA accomplished a lot more. But can our political system today tolerate things that don't work the first time?


Submission + - Blur and Radiohead join forces to battle Governmen

TheWin32Guy writes: "The telegraph.co.uk reports: "Blur and Radiohead are among a host of bands calling on the Government to abandon proposals to cut off the internet connections of people who illegally download music. "

From the article:

Ed O'Brien, the Radiohead guitarist, said: "My generation grew up with the point of view that you pay for your music. Every generation has a different method. "

"File sharing is like a sampler, like taping your mate's music. You go, 'I like that, I'll go and buy the album'. Or, âyou know what, I'll go and see them live'. What's going on is a huge paradigm shift."

Nick Mason, drummer with Pink Floyd, said: "The last thing we want to be doing is going to war with our fan base. File sharing means a new generation of fans for us.""

Submission + - NASA Scientists Levitate Mice (yahoo.com) 1

sterlingda writes: "Scientists working on behalf of NASA built a device to simulate variable levels of gravity. It consists of a superconducting magnet that generates a field powerful enough to levitate the water inside living animals. Experiments are being run to test how they respond to microgravity, both physically and psychologically."
Hardware Hacking

Engineering Students Build Robotic Foosball Players 59

Andre writes "As their final-year project, an eight-man team of fourth-year electrical and computer-engineering students at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, constructed a robot-controlled, motor-and-actuator foosball table capable of playing against human opponents in a two-on-two fashion; one mechanical player controls two defensive rods (goalies and full-backs) and the other controls two offensive rods (half-backs and forwards). They considered the computers 'medium-skilled' players in that they were very competitive against beginners and fairly competitive against intermediates."

MIT Building Batteries Using Viruses 98

thefickler writes "Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are now using viruses to build cathodes for Lithium-Ion batteries. Three years ago these same researchers found they could build an anode using viruses. Creating both the anode and cathode using viruses will make batteries easy to build. This nanoscale battery technology will allow batteries to be lightweight and to 'take the shape of their container' rather than creating containers for the batteries, which could open up new possibilities for car and electronics manufacturers."

FileFront Reopens Its Doors 25

boarder8925 writes "FileFront, who announced on March 24th that they would be shutting down, has been given new life. The original owners of the website bought it back from Ziff Davis Media, who shut down FileFront because it had become financially unviable. 'We're happy to announce to the gaming community that as of today, April 1st, 2009, FileFront is a completely independent company again and is no longer part of Ziff Davis Media. All previously suspended services should be active and working again. We thank Ziff Davis Media for their cooperation and willingness to keep the site and community alive.' They repeatedly state that this is not an April Fool's Day joke, and indeed the site appears to be up and running as usual."

NASA In Colbert Conundrum Over Space Station 398

After Stephen Colbert won the vote in NASA's contest to name a new module on the International Space Station, NASA found itself in a tough spot. According to Reuters, "Contest rules stipulate that the agency retains the right to basically do whatever it wants," but it may not be all that easy. At first NASA floated the idea of naming the new module's toilet "Colbert." But Last Thursday Congressman Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., urged the agency to respect the people's wishes. And Colbert turned up the heat on yesterday's weekly show: "So NASA, I urge you to heed Congressman Fattah's call for democracy in orbit. Either name that node after me, or I too will reject democracy and seize power as space's evil tyrant overlord. Ball's in your court."

Star Trek Sequel Already Planned 213

bowman9991 writes "Paramount Pictures are so confident about the box office potential of the upcoming Star Trek reboot directed by J. J. Abrams that they're already working on a sequel. They've hired Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof to write the screenplay. We're looking at a possible 2011 release for the next Star Trek movie with the same cast. Now that they've committed themselves, let's hope it lives up to expectations."

Irish Domain Registry Banning Adult Domains 222

Karate Sid writes "An Irish adult website has blogged about the Irish domain registry banning adult domain names, including porn.ie and pornography.ie. The IEDR's reasoning is that the words 'porn' and 'pornography' are offensive and immoral. Of interest is how Sex.ie took legal action against the IEDR — and proved that neither word is offensive — yet still lost the case, as the IEDR are the highest authority in Ireland when it comes to deciding what is and isn't an offensive domain."

Blizzard Asserts Rights Over Independent Add-Ons 344

bugnuts writes "Blizzard has announced a policy change regarding add-ons for the popular game World of Warcraft which asserts requirements on UI programmers, such as disallowing charging for the program, obfuscation, or soliciting donations. Add-ons are voluntarily-installed UI programs that add functionality to the game, programmed in Lua, which can do various tasks that hook into the WoW engine. The new policy has some obvious requirements, such as not loading the servers or spamming users, and it looks like an attempt to make things more accessible and free for the end user. But unlike FOSS, it adds other requirements that assert control over these independently coded programs, such as distribution and fees. Blizzard can already control the ultimate functionality of add-ons by changing the hooks into the WoW engine. They have exercised this ability in the past, e.g. to disable add-ons that automate movement and facilitate 'one-button' combat. Should they be able to make demands on independent programmers' copyrighted works, such as forbidding download fees or advertising, when those programmers are not under contract to code for Blizzard? Is this like Microsoft asserting control over what programmers may code for Windows?"

"Spock, did you see the looks on their faces?" "Yes, Captain, a sort of vacant contentment."