sfcrazy writes "Google has announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge. In the pledge Google says that they will not sue any user, distributor, or developer of Open Source software on specified patents, unless first attacked. Under this pledge, Google is starting off with 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google. Google says that over time they intend to expand the set of Google's patents covered by the pledge to other technologies." This is in addition to the Open Invention Network, and their general work toward reforming the patent system. The patents covered in the OPN will be free to use in Free/Open Source software for the life of the patent, even if Google should transfer ownership to another party. Read the text of the pledge. It appears that interaction with non-copyleft licenses (MIT/BSD/Apache) is a bit weird: if you create a non-free fork it appears you are no longer covered under the pledge.
For the second time in as many years, a student has made a discovery while participating in the Pulsar Search Collaboratory (PSC), a joint program between the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and West Virginia University designed to get students and teachers involved in analyzing data from the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT). This time it was high school sophomore Shay Bloxton, who discovered a brand new pulsar. "For Bloxton, the pulsar discovery may be only her first in a scientific career. 'Participating in the PSC has definitely encouraged me to pursue my dream of being an astrophysicist,' she said, adding that she hopes to attend West Virginia University to study astrophysics. Late last year, another West Virginia student, from South Harrison High School, Lucas Bolyard, discovered a pulsar-like object called a rotating radio transient. His discovery also came through participation in the PSC."
Mike writes "Students from Turkey's Sakarya University have unveiled a remarkable attempt at creating Europe's most fuel-efficient vehicle. Dubbed the Sahimo, their pint-sized hydrogen car is cable of eking out an incredible 568 km on 1 liter of fuel (about 1,336 miles per gallon). An aerodynamic carbon-fiber construction keeps the vehicle's weight down to less than 110 kg (243 lbs), and the designers hope to push the Sahimo's performance even further to a full 1,000 km per 1 liter of fuel before participating in the Global Green Challenge in October."
selven was one of several readers to send in the news that Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. "Bernard Madoff's victims gasped and cheered when he was sentenced to 150 years in prison, but they walked away knowing little more about how he carried out the biggest robbery in Wall Street history. In one of the most dramatic courtroom conclusions to a corporate fraud case, the 71-year-old swindler was unemotional as he was berated by distraught investors during the 90-minute proceeding. Many former clients had hoped he would shed more light on his crime and explain why he victimized so many for so long. But he did not. Madoff called his crime 'an error of judgment' and his 'failure,' reiterating previous statements that he alone was responsible for the $65 billion investment fraud. His victims said they did not hear much new from Madoff in his five-minute statement. They also said they did not believe anything he said. As he handed down the maximum penalty allowed, US District Judge Denny Chin... [said], 'I simply do not get the sense that Mr. Madoff has done all that he could or told all that he knows.'"
rossturk writes "Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said, 'I'm a guy who doesn't see anything good having come from the Internet, period.' Why? Because people 'feel entitled' to have what they want when they want it, and if they can't get it for free, 'they'll steal it.' It's become customary to expect a somewhat limited perspective on things from old-world entertainment companies, but his inability to acknowledge that the Internet has changed everything makes me think he's a very confused man. Is this when we all give up hope that companies like Sony Pictures can adapt? Will we look back on this as one of the defining moments when the industrialized entertainment industry lost touch for good?"
Their political system is fundamentally different from the one in the US, because it allows smaller parties to flourish. Fringe parties with say less than 10% of the vote actually get some representation, unlike in the US where the best they can do is screw one of the two parties.
If the people who run Woolworth's website had ever read the famous Nabokov novel, seen one of the 2 movies based on it or listened to the police in the 80's they might have known that calling a line of beds for little girls, the Lolita line, wasn't the best Idea. "Now this has been brought to our attention, the product has been removed from sale with immediate effect. We will be talking to the supplier with regard to how the branding came about." says the company. Other controversial products like the Cobain trigger lock and Ahmadinejad's big book of fictional atrocities are still on the shelves.