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Submission + - Colin Pillinger dies 1

Smivs writes: The BBC report that planetary scientist Professor Colin Pillinger, best known for his involvement in Britain's Beagle 2 Mars mission, has died aged 70.
Prof Pillinger was the driving force behind the ultimately doomed Mars lander, and was awarded a CBE in 2003.
His spokesman said he suffered a brain haemorrhage at his home in Cambridge and later died in hospital.

Submission + - Most silent movies have now been lost 4

Smivs writes: Of the nearly 11,000 silent films made between 1912 and 1930, only 14% still exist in their original format, Library of Congress research has found.
  And 11% of those that survive only exist as foreign versions or on lower-quality formats, meaning an original 20th century art form has all but disappeared.
  Silent films were at their peak between in the early part of the century when — before network radio or television — going to the cinema was the most popular form of entertainment.
  Famous films now considered lost include Cleopatra from 1917, The Great Gatsby from 1926, Lon Chaney's London After Midnight from 1927, and The Patriot from 1928.
  Librarian of Congress James Billington says "The loss of American silent-era feature films constitutes an alarming and irretrievable loss to our nation's cultural record."

Submission + - LHC to shut down for a year due to desighn faults (

Smivs writes: "The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) must close at the end of 2011 for up to a year to address design issues, according to an LHC director.

Dr Steve Myers told BBC News the faults will delay the machine reaching its full potential for two years.

The atom smasher will reach world record collision energies later this month at 7 trillion electron volts.

But joints between the machine's magnets must be strengthened before higher-energy collisions can commence.

The Geneva-based machine only recently restarted after being out of action for 14 months following an accident in September 2008."

Submission + - New Linux-based laptop for computer 'virgins'.

Smivs writes: "The BBC are carrying a report on how people confused and frustrated by computers can now turn to a laptop called Alex built just for them. Based on Linux, the laptop comes with simplified e-mail, web browsing, image editing and office software. Those who sign up for Alex pay £39.95 a month for telephone support, software updates and broadband access.

The Broadband Computer Company, who developed Alex and which is based in Newcastle, has been working on this project for three years, and didn't immediately adopt a Linux solution — in fact, the first big trial was based on Windows. But the company's Chief Technology Officer Barney Morrison-Lyons says that was never going to be the right route: "The biggest problem with Microsoft is badly-written software — the operating system allows you to write software badly unlike Mac or Linux." Mr Hudson, one of the company's founders, said the company also intends to launch an application store for Alex for customers who want to add more features and functions to their computer. "People who love Linux will be keen to develop for this," he said."

Submission + - British geology maps now free to all.

Smivs writes: "Now you can find out what's under your feet by using the British Geological Survey's (BGS) new OpenGeoscience portal. It allows the public to study all the UK's rocks on a simple Google map, down to a scale of 1:50,000. Toggling the map shows overlying towns and streets. A range of educational and professional tools are also brought together on the website, including the huge national geological archive of photographs. The BBC report that Tens of thousands of images have been amassed into the BGS library over the decades, showing different rock forms around Britain, fossil types, and the impact on the landscape of natural events such as flooding. The whole archive is now searchable and free to use for non-commercial purposes. Those who live in Edinburgh, for example, can see how their city is built on top of an ancient volcano. Glaswegians on the other hand will notice that their city is built on the remains of an ancient tropical forest, evident in the coal measures and fossil trees that can be seen today."

Submission + - Vegetarian spider found

Smivs writes: "The BBC are reporting on a spider that dines almost exclusively on plants . It is the first-known predominantly vegetarian spider; all of the other known 40,000 spider species are thought to be mainly carnivorous. Bagheera kiplingi, which is found in Central America and Mexico, bucks the meat-eating trend by feasting on acacia plants. The jumping arachnid, which is 5-6mm long, has developed a taste for the tips of the acacia plants — known as Beltian bodies — which are packed full of protein. To reach this leafy fare, the spider has to evade the attention of ants, which live in the hollow spines of the tree, but the crafty Bagheera kiplingi has found a way to evade the ants and safely reach it's food."

It is your destiny. - Darth Vader