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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 9 declined, 2 accepted (11 total, 18.18% accepted)

Space

+ - When comets attack-> 1

Submitted by Red Flayer
Red Flayer (890720) writes "Popular Mechanics is running a story that describes one of the more interesting explanations for the Tunguska explosion of 1908:

Now, a controversial new scientific study suggests that a chunk of a comet caused the 5-10 megaton fireball, bouncing off the atmosphere and back into orbit around the sun. The scientists have even identified a candidate Tunguska object--now more than 100 million miles away--that will pass close to Earth again in 2045. Is there a hidden, but powerful, danger inside the seemingly harmless comet?

Please note that Popular Mechanics definition of "close to" is something different that most people's. At any rate, the key to this theory is that hydrogen and oxygen in the ice shard exploded upon entering the atmoshphere, resulting in the difficult-to-explain explosion pattern (previous theories contend that the object must have "skipped" on the atmosphere and then re-entered at the exact same spot). This would also sadly dash the theory that Nikola Tesla was responsible."
Link to Original Source

Microsoft

+ - Microsoft makes bid for Yahoo

Submitted by
Red Flayer
Red Flayer writes "It appears that Microsoft has rediscovered that the best way to do something is to find a company that already does that thing, and buy that company. Despite Microsoft's insistence that their search function is great, CNN Money is reporting that Microsoft has made a bid for Yahoo in the amount of US$46 Billion. This offer represents a premium of about 60% over what Yahoo shares were worth Thursday, and comes on the heels of the announcement that Yahoo will be laying off a thousand employees in the next month due to "headwinds" Yahoo will be facing in the coming year. Interestingly, though Yahoo futures shot up prior to the market opening Friday morning, Microsoft futures took a slight tumble (about 5%). So is Microsoft just looking to narrow the field of competitors, do they see real value in Yahoo's IP and/or client base, or both?"
United States

+ - Antigua wants compensation for US gambling law

Submitted by
Red Flayer
Red Flayer writes "Following yesterday's WTO formal adoption of the ruling that the US Law to restrict offshore online gambling is illegal:

The tiny Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda seeks compensation from the U.S. over its illegal restrictions on Internet gambling sites based overseas and on Tuesday asked other countries to join in as it targets Washington over its failure to comply with global trade rules.

Antigua, the smallest country to successfully litigate a case in the World Trade Organization's 12-year-history, also threatened to target American trademarks, copyrights and telecommunications companies after the WTO on Tuesday formally adopted a landmark decision reached in March that the United States' restrictions on online gambling were illegal.
>See the article from November on this topic for previous discussion."
Space

+ - Supermassive Supernova

Submitted by
Red Flayer
Red Flayer writes "National Geographic has an article up about an unprecedentedly bright supernova. David Pooley (of UCal Berkeley), one of the coauthors of the study referenced by the article, has stated that the likely source of the light is from materia ejected into space, which has been theorized for supermassive stars, but never observed. FTA:

The finding has ramifications for Eta Carinae, the most massive star in our galaxy, which lies just 7,400 light years away. This star, estimated to be 100 to 120 times the sun's mass, has been experiencing preliminary eruptions that could mean it will explode in a manner similar to SN 2006gy.

The results of the study by Smith and Pooley will be published in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal."
Operating Systems

+ - Microsoft to offer $3 introductory suite

Submitted by
Red Flayer
Red Flayer writes "PCWorld reports that Microsoft has announced its intentions to make a $3 suite of products available to students in developing nations.

More information about the Student Innovation Suite can be found on Microsoft's Web site. The low-priced software suite is part of Microsoft's Partners in Learning program, a five-year, $250 million plan to help educators distribute software and training to students.
Altruism, you might ask?

"You'll find that Microsoft would be fairly open if pushed that they don't go into a market for philanthropic reasons," said Clive Longbottom, founder and analyst of Quocirca, a technology research firm in London. He said Microsoft has to find more creative ways to distribute its software in emerging markets where open-source software and Linux have a foothold.
I guess this will help partly replace the wink-wink-nudge-nudge policy regarding piracy of Microsoft Products in developing nations."
Toys

+ - Where's my darn flying car?

Submitted by Red Flayer
Red Flayer (890720) writes "CNN reports that Urban Aeronautics (homepage) is coming along in the development of a flying car usable in urban environments. This small VTOL craft with encased rotors holds promise for urban search and rescue, utility work, and, of course, executive transport0. Mainstream adoption? Not likely, according to this 2003 article — and that is without consideration of the estimated US$ 1.5 million price tag."
United States

+ - US Gambling law may cause flouting of IP laws

Submitted by
Red Flayer
Red Flayer writes "Slate Magazine reports that the US's recent actions to clarify restrictions of on-line gambling may have some very important unintended consequences. Antigua has challenged the legitimacy of the US's partial restrictions under the WTO, claiming that the laws represent a free trade infringement. What is so significant about this is that Antigua would be fully justified (and I imagine, would get a lot of support from other nations) in ignoring the US's patent and trademark laws. Freetrade.org has a more in-depth analysis (albeit with a predetermined opinion on the topic). Pre-register now for your copy of Antiguasoft Vista."
The Internet

+ - One sheet manual for average joes?

Submitted by
Red Flayer writes "Like almost every Slashdotter, I'm often asked to help with problems friends, family, and acquaintances have with their computers. Almost always, these users have an infected windows box that needs to be cleaned (sometimes rebuilt). I hate leaving people in the lurch, but no one has the time to help everyone. Also, a lot of the users are not very computer literate — I have a hard time explaining important concepts to them when we don't share a vocabulary.

What I'd like to do is create a one-page 'manual' I can laminate and give to people requesting help, to get them started on the path to clean browsing. I figure several Slashdot users have already done something similar, so I thought I'd give a holler and see what's out there.

The requirements:

(1) Must define malware.
(2) Must describe how malware is typically acquired.
(3) Must *clearly* describe basic hard drive cleansing (running AV/AS software, where to acquire it)
(4) Must *clearly* describe forbidden activities.

Typically, the people who ask me for support out of the blue think that AOL is 'the internet' or some such nonsense — so I'm dealing with less-than-competent users, for whom a one-sheet reference could make a big difference."

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