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Math

+ - Medieval Islamic tiling reveals mathematical savvy

Submitted by
MattSparkes
MattSparkes writes "It turns out that Medieval Islamic designers used elaborate geometrical tiling patterns at least 500 years before Western mathematicians developed the concept. They are not quite perfect though, because the patterns show a few defects where a single tile was placed incorrectly. The defects are probably mistakes by workers putting together the design as there are only 11 defects out of 3700 tiles, and each can be corrected by a simple rotation. You just can't get the staff..."
PlayStation (Games)

+ - European PS3 to feature new hardware specification

Submitted by
jtorry
jtorry writes "Sony issued a press released today announcing that the PlayStation 3 to be launched in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Australasia on March 23 will utilise a new hardware specification. The European PS3 will ship complete with a 60GB hard drive, Blu-ray Disc player, built-in WI-Fi, a Sixaxis wireless controller and will be compatible with a "broad range of original PlayStation titles and a limited range of PlayStation 2 titles."

"PS3 is first and foremost a system that excels in playing games specifically designed to exploit the power and potential of the PS3 system," said David Reeves, President of SCEE. "Games designed for PS3 offer incredible graphics quality, stunning gameplay and massively improved audio and video fidelity that is simply not achievable with PS and PS2 games. Rather than concentrate on PS2 backwards compatibility, in the future, company resources will be increasingly focused on developing new games and entertainment features exclusively for PS3, truly taking advantage of this exciting technology."

Sony notes that some additional PS2 titles will become compatible on the PS3 via regular downloadable firmware update made through the PlayStation Network, playstation.com or via PS3 game discs. The first update will be available for launch on March 23. Gamers can check specific title compatibility using the Sony service found on eu.playstation.com. This site will be available on March 23.

To put this all into terms we can understand, the European PS3 will not feature as good backwards compatibility as the US and Japanese PS3. A Sony spokesperson told Reuters: "The backwards compatibility is not going to be as good as in the US and Japanese models."

As for a new hardware specification, analyst Datamonitor believes the Euro PS3 will feature a new cost-reducing chassis.

"By launching the PS3 in Europe with the new chassis, Sony has at a stroke removed one of the barriers to future price reductions, and providing it can make enough units available, Datamonitor believes there will be sustained growth in PS3 ownership as new users seek to benefit from the PS3's enhanced features and functionality," said the analyst.

http://www.pro-g.co.uk/news/23-02-2007-4854.html"
Security

+ - Mysterious 'Vladuz' again hacks eBay employee serv

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "The Register writes:
"A hacker has once again managed to pilfer eBay credentials that allow him to masquerade as an official company representative even as he taunts eBay officials on the company's message boards. It's at least the second time the person going by the name Vladuz has pulled off the prank, which is causing many users to question the adequacy of eBay security."
More at:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/20/ebay_consp iracy/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/23/vladuz_str ikes_again/"
Space

+ - Rocket creates 1000 new pieces of space junk

Submitted by
MattSparkes
MattSparkes writes "A Russian rocket exploded in orbit on monday, creating 1000 new pieces of space junk. It is one of the worst space debris events ever recorded, the amount created being roughly on par with China's recent test. Researchers are not yet certain what may have caused it to explode; It could have been hit by a micrometeoroid, or corrosion or mechanical failure of the rocket body could have caused the fuel and oxidiser to come into contact, leading to an explosion. 2006 was an especially bad year in terms of satellite break-ups, with eight objects breaking up in orbit."
Music

+ - Study shows file sharing has no effect on CD sales

Submitted by
jibjibjib
jibjibjib writes "Ars Technica reports that a study by Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf, recently published in the Journal of Political Economy, shows that file sharing is not responsible for declining CD sales figures.

The study, entitled "The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales: An Empirical Analysis," claims that "a one-standard-deviation increase in file sharing reduces an album's weekly sales by a mere 368 copies, an effect that is too small to be statistically distinguishable from zero.""
The Courts

+ - In Alabama, Sex Toys are Just Like Prostitution

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "A federal appeals court has upheld an Alabama law banning the sale of sex toys against a claim that the law conflicted with the Supreme Court's prior holding that private sexuality is protected by the Constitution. The court reasoned that, because sex toys are bought and sold in "public" transactions, selling them is just like prostitution, and therefore it could be banned."
Windows

+ - Vista "express" upgrade program bungled

Submitted by Josh M.
Josh M. (666) writes "Thousands of customers who purchased new Windows PCs this past Christmas are still waiting on their promised Windows Vista upgrades, despite the Vista launch occurring more than two weeks ago. Ars reports that Dell and HP have both pushed their shipping dates 6-8 weeks back after launch, meaning some people won't get their upgrades well into April. It turns out that because those customers get free Vista support, the OEMs are waiting for better driver support, hence the delay. So much for "express.""
Security

Drive-By Pharming Attack Could Hit Home Networks 185

Posted by Zonk
from the dive-behind-the-router dept.
Rob wrote in with a link to a CBR Online article discussing drive-by pharming, a new exploitation technique developed by Indiana University and Symantec Corporation. While it's not known if the technique is in use 'in the wild', the exploit could easily co-opt the web-browsing habits of a user that had not properly configured their router. "The attack works because most of the popular home routers ship with default passwords, default internal IP address ranges, and web-based configuration interfaces. The exploit is a single line of JavaScript loaded with a default router IP address, a default password, and an HTTP query designed to reconfigure the router to use the attacker's DNS servers." The article goes on to discuss several related and more advanced techniques related to this one, which security companies will have to keep in mind to guard against future attacks.
Businesses

+ - Work from home in your pyjamas

Submitted by
Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward writes "Pajamanation is a global marketplace for projects which people can do from home. You can bid for projects all over the world. And best of all, Pajamanation doesn't take a commission on your earnings! Very good for translators, web designers, graphic designers, illustrators, SEO experts...and well, actually pretty much anything. Pajamanation.com is FREE for a period up to March 15th 2007 so both micropreneurs and job-providers can test the service. You are welcome to post projects and homework jobs free of charge."
Mozilla

Over 27% of Firefox Patches Come from Volunteers 107

Posted by Zonk
from the those-who-make-our-browswer-awesome-be-saluted dept.
dolphinling writes "Everyone is aware that the Mozilla Corporation makes some money, and employs some people now. Google has full-time employees working on Firefox too, as do a number of other places. Yet despite that, in the six months up to Firefox 2 some 27% of the patches to Firefox were submitted by key volunteers, and those patches represent 24% of changes made to the source code. What's more, those numbers only counted contributers with 50 patches or more, so the actual numbers are probably quite a bit higher. It's good to see that even as Mozilla does so well in the business world, it can still keep its ties to the community so strong." They were running these number to find out who they need to start offering support to. So: contribute to Firefox, and you know you'll get a hand up. Nice work, folks.
Enlightenment

+ - Burying the Environmental Problem, Literally

Submitted by
MattSparkes
MattSparkes writes "The largest carbon burial experiment in the world began in earnest on Thursday when the drilling of a 2100-metre well began in southern Australia. If all goes well, carbon dioxide will be injected into the well in July. Carbon burial is one of several techniques being developed to reduce the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere when coal, oil, or gas are burned. The gas, which causes global warming, could be captured from power plants and then stored underground."

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