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Submission + - ISS laptops switching from Windows XP to Debian

SgtKeeling writes: Dozens of Windows XP laptops on the International Space Station are being switched to Debian 6. A manager involved in the switch said, "We needed an operating system that was stable and reliable – one that would give us in-house control. So if we needed to patch, adjust or adapt, we could." The Linux Foundation provided two development courses to help with developing apps related specifically to the needs of the ISS.
In 2008 Slashdot noted a story about a virus on the ISS laptops which had come up on an astronaut's USB flash drive.
Space

Submission + - New Comet Discovered—May Become "One of Brightest in History" (nationalgeographic.com)

intellitech writes: From the article: 'If astronomers' early predictions hold true, the holidays next year may hold a glowing gift for stargazers—a superbright comet, just discovered streaking near Saturn. Even with powerful telescopes, comet 2012 S1 (ISON) is now just a faint glow in the constellation Cancer. But the ball of ice and rocks might become visible to the naked eye for a few months in late 2013 and early 2014—perhaps outshining the moon, astronomers say. The comet is already remarkably bright, given how far it is from the sun, astronomer Raminder Singh Samra said. What's more, 2012 S1 seems to be following the path of the Great Comet of 1680, considered one of the most spectacular ever seen from Earth.'
Space

Submission + - Rogue Planets Could Harbor Life (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: A pair of astronomers believe that life could exist on frozen worlds ejected from their planetary systems. The idea is that these worlds would contain hidden oceans, frozen on top but heated from underneath by geothermal activity. These worlds may even be closer to us than many nearby star systems.
Government

Submission + - World Bank Apps for Development Challenge Now Open (readwriteweb.com)

emilyann writes: The World Bank works with a network of specialists all over the world to gather and curate a large body of economic development data each year. The organization has made a few million dollars from subscription sales of its datasets to universities and other institutional subscribers — but last year the Bank decided it would rather give the data away for free and see what would happen.

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