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Submission + - NASA gives away over 1000 of its tool to the public (nextgov.com)

ganjadude writes: Once again NASA is giving back to the people. They just recently released over 1000 of the tools that it uses to the people in its second annual Software Catalog.
From the article :

The program tools are organized into 15 separate categories, which range in scope from aeronautics and propulsion, to system testing and handling, according to the catalog.
For example, the Vehicle Sketch Pad, or OpenVSP, is a tool NASA uses to design aircrafts by way of geometry modeling.

so go have a look and see what kind of use you can get from these tools

Submission + - Why there needs to be a quantum theory of gravity

StartsWithABang writes: If you’re not a theoretical physicist yourself, you might think that physics is physics — we ask questions about the Universe, do experiments/make observations, and get the answers — and math is just a tool that we use to help us get there. But that really sells the power of mathematics short. For a physical theory to be valid, there are a whole host of mathematical properties that theory needs to possess, including being free of logical inconsistencies, making predictions about observables, and that those predictions agree with observations. Yet when we look at our theory of gravitation at the smallest scales and with the strongest gravitational fields, our theory itself fails, which is precisely why we need a quantum theory of gravity.

Submission + - Microsoft, BSA and Others Push for Appeal on Oracle vs. Google Ruling (arstechnica.com)

sl4shd0rk writes: In 2012, Oracle took Google to court over the use of Java in Android. Judge William Alsup brought the ruling that the structure of APIs could not be copyrighted at all. Emerging from the proceedings, it was learned that Alsup himself had some programming background and wasn't bedazzled by by Oracle's thin arguments on the range-checking function. The ruling came, programmers rejoiced and Oracle vowed Appeal. It seems that time is coming now, nearly a year later, as Microsoft, BSA, EMC, Netapp, et al. get behind Oracle to overturn Alsup's ruling citing "destabilization" of the "entire software industry".

Submission + - Ask slashdot: What programming language should an old hack REALLY dig into? 1

An anonymous reader writes: I was a consultant for nearly 20 years and I got into projects where I had to work with a huge variety of software, operating systems, hardware, programming languages, and other assorted technologies. After retiring from that I have spent the last 10 years in a completely different sector. Now I find myself wanting to really focus on coding for personal reasons. You can imagine how out-of-touch I am since I never really was more than a hack to begin with. I can learn syntax and basics in a weekend, question is, what Language should I become native to? Never liked anything 'lower-level' than C, and I don't have the funds to 'buy' my development environment....help me slashdot..you're my only hope...
United Kingdom

Submission + - Unblocking The Pirate Bay The Hard Way Is Fun For Geeks (torrentfreak.com)

TheGift73 writes: "Now that The Pirate Bay is being blocked by ISPs in the UK, millions of people have a new interest in accessing the site, even if they didn’t before. The reasons for this are simple. Not only do people hate being told what they can and can’t do, people – especially geeks – love solving problems and puzzles. Unlocking The Pirate Bay with a straightforward proxy is just too boring, so just for fun let’s go the hard way round."

Submission + - Indian pharmaceutical Cipla slashes cancer drug prices by 76% (yahoo.com)

suraj.sun writes: Indian generic drug company Cipla said Friday it had slashed by up to 76 percent prices of three anti-cancer medicines in what it called a "humanitarian" move and promised to cut the costs of more products. There are 2.5 million cases of cancer diagnosed in India each year, according to the World Health Organisation, with most patients receiving inadequate treatment as drugs are priced beyond their reach. "Business is business, but it has to be linked with one's social responsibilities. This initiative of price reduction is a humanitarian approach by Cipla to support cancer patients," company chairman Y.K. Hamied said. The family-led company first hit headlines in 2001 when it offered to supply life-saving triple therapy AIDS drug cocktails at prices sharply below those of multinational firms with Hamied saying the move was for "social reasons". Cipla has been pushing the Indian government to allow widespread use of so-called "compulsory licences" for production of life-saving patented drugs to overcome barriers for people in accessing affordable medicines. Compulsory licences are allowed under the World Trade Organization's TRIPS Agreement, which governs trade and intellectual property rules. Analysts said Cipla's move could prompt a price war in the 15-billion-rupee Indian drug market — challenging multinationals which sell costly patented medicine and Indian firms whose generic range is less expensive but not as cheap as Cipla's.

Submission + - The Lengthening Arm of Uncle Sam's 'Pirate' Justice (torrentfreak.com)

TheGift73 writes: "Figures....

File-sharing was firmly on the agenda when the head of the US Department of Homeland Security touched down in the Australian capital last week. The four new agreements – promptly signed before Secretary Janet Napolitano flew back out of Canberra – were less about sharing season two of Game of Thrones and more about sharing the private, government held information of Australian citizens with US authorities."


Submission + - Almost 800 Major Companies support CISPA Bill (worldrealnews.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: World Real News has compiled an alphabetic list of 796 companies that support the CISPA cyber-intelligence sharing bill currently waiting in the senate. A cursory glance at the list of supporters reveals that almost everybody who is anybody in the corporate world is behind CISPA, from IBM, Intel and AMD, to Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and Facebook, to Exxon, Ford, Fujitsu, Goldman Sachs, General Electric and NTT Docomo. The picture that emerges from studying this list is almost tragic: While most grassroots internet users want to see this bill killed, because it would seriously encroach on everybody's right to internet privacy, just about every major corporation in the world seems to want to see CISPA pass, and backs it openly. It seems that the "war for the internet" may have turned into a "war between ordinary internet users, and large corporations/multinationals". Who will win this war at the end of the day is anybody's guess, but the list of corporate CISPA supporters sure is impressively long.
Open Source

Submission + - The GPL and Copyrightability APIs (publicknowledge.org)

dgharmon writes: "There's a dangerous meme going around that if Oracle loses its novel copyright claims against Google that suddenly the GPL will become unenforceable. This idea hinges on a misunderstanding about the difference between linking to a code library and merely using an API".

Submission + - Efficiency Record Advances Spray-on Solar Cells (gizmag.com)

Zothecula writes: Advancing solar technology is a trade-off between the efficiency of the cells themselves and the cost of producing and installing them. Quantum dot solar cells, which use nanoscale semiconductors to produce electricity, promise low-cost production and, because they can be sprayed or painted on, big benefits in terms of installation. In the efficiency stakes quantum cells don't score as well as silicon-based or CIGS solar cells, but a new efficiency record for colloidal quantum dot solar cells represents a big step towards narrowing the gap. This breakthrough isn't about the quantum dots though, it's about the wrapping.

Submission + - Chip Manufacturer Pioneer Dies (nytimes.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Julius Blank, who helped found Fairchild Semiconductor, died on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2011. To paraphrase: Fairchild became a prototype for high-tech start-ups and a training ground for a generation of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs; they scrounged parts, improvised equipment and tooled a set of machines that essentially became the first assembly line for the basic building blocks of the electronic world: electronic circuits made from wafers of silicon, or silicon chips.

Submission + - TOSAmend: Counteroffer Terms of Service Agreements (owocki.com)

BigSlowTarget writes: Are we simply subject to whatever a software provider demands of us in their clickthrough TOS agreement or are they real contracts where we can counteroffer our preferred terms and expect a refund if they are rejected? One blogger has come up with an applet to change TOS agreements and automatically submit the changes for approval (or rejection). Even he is not sure of the legal standing for the offer, but with these contracts so common they have been featured on South Park the issue certainly could be coming to the courts soon.

Submission + - Can fetus feel pain before 35 weeks? 1

RogerRoast writes: According to a new study published in Current Biology, human brain wiring does not mature until 35-37 weeks of gestation. The authors tested the changes in brain activity during the maturation of pain and touch discrimination in the preterm infant. Brain activation by tactile and painful stimulation occurs from an early preterm stage but there is a shift in the pattern and specificity of the response with age. The studies were done on pre-term infants. Based upon the results, fetuses are unlikely to feel pain before 35 weeks of gestation!

Submission + - Death by spontaneous combustion (bbc.co.uk)

idealsam writes: "First they tell us time travel is possible and now spontaneous combustion. The BBC reports of a case in Ireland where a coroner has just returned a verdict of death by spontaneous combustion."

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.