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Earth

New Jersey Outshines Most Others In Solar Energy 240

Posted by timothy
from the cutting-through-the-haze dept.
An anonymous reader points out this CNBC story which says that "New Jersey—known more for its turnpike, shopping malls and industrial sprawl—has become a solar energy powerhouse, outshining sunnier states like Hawaii and Nevada. And it's largely because of incentives that make it cheaper for residents and businesses to buy and install solar power systems."
Space

Sunspots Return 276

Posted by kdawson
from the try-this-proven-acne-cure dept.
We're emerging from the longest, deepest sunspot drought since 1913 (we discussed its depths here) with the appearance of a robust group of sunspots over the weekend. Recently we discussed a possible explanation for the prolonged minimum. The Fox News article quotes observer Michael Buxton of Ocean Beach, Calif.: "This is the best sunspot I've seen in two years." jamie found a NASA site where you can generate a movie of the recent sunspot's movement — try selecting the first image type and bumping the resolution to 1024. The magnetic field lines are clearly visible.
Math

String Theory Predicts Behavior of Superfluids 348

Posted by kdawson
from the good-for-something dept.
schrodingers_rabbit writes "Despite formidable odds, condensed matter physicists have made a breakthrough most thought impossible — finding a practical use for string theory. The initial breakthrough was made by physicist and cosmologist Juan Maldacena. His theory states that the known universe is only a 2D construct in anti-de-Sitter space, projected into 3 dimensions. This theory manages to model black holes and quantum theory congruently, a feat that has eluded scientists for decades; but it fails to correspond to the shape of space-time in the known universe. However, it does predict thermodynamic properties of black holes, including higher-dimensional viscosity — the equations for which elegantly and almost exactly calculate the behavior of quark-gluon plasma and other superfluids. According to Jan Zaanen at the University of Leiden, 'The theory is calculating precisely what we are seeing in experiments.' Unfortunately, the correspondence cannot prove or disprove string theory, although it is a positive step." Not an easy path to follow: one condensed matter theorist said, "It took two years and two 1000-page books of dense mathematics, but I learned string theory and got kind of enchanted by it. [When the string-theory related] thing began to... make predictions about high-temperature superconductors, my traditional mainstay, I was one of the few condensed matter physicists with the preparation to take it up."
The Courts

Wife of Harried Pirate Bay Witness Gets Buried in Internet Love 470

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the thanks-for-lending-us-your-hubby dept.
treqie writes "During the trial of pirate bay yesterday, a professor (Roger Wallis) took the witness stand. He told the court things that the prosecutors did not want to hear. The prosecutors then tried to discredit both him and his team's work in the area, as well as his title, it was a real spectacle. In the end, the judge asked if he wanted compensation for being there — he replied that he did not want anything, but they could send flowers to his wife. Many listening online heard, and began sending her flowers, from all over the world. As of this submission, the sum is over 40,000 SEK worth of flowers. There's even a Facebook group for it."
The Almighty Buck

How To Handle Corporate Blackmail? 675

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the slashdot-is-not-a-lawyer dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I have been in a software engineering position at a large company for approximately seven years. Recently, for a variety of reasons, I accepted a new job working for a local software company. I have given my employer three weeks' notice, instead of the standard two, as a courtesy. In return, it has been implied that, in spite my record of above-average performance appraisals and promotions, I will be marked as leaving the company 'on bad terms' if I refuse to extend my departure date further. With only three weeks remaining, I am hesitant to rock the boat by contacting our HR department, but this concerns me and seems like an extremely unethical practice. I live in an 'at-will' employment state, so I know that they have no legal recourse to keep me. I am concerned about the references they could give in the future; having spent a large majority of my career at this company, I will be dependent on them for references to verify my career experience. Has anyone ever run into this kind of situation before?"
The Internet

Jurassic Web 430

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the set-the-wayback-machine dept.
theodp writes "It wasn't so long ago, but Slate's Farhad Manjoo notes that The Internet of 1996 is almost unrecognizable compared with what we have today. No YouTube, Digg, Huffington Post, Gawker, Google, Twitter, Facebook, or Wikipedia. In 1996, Americans with Internet access spent fewer than 30 minutes a month surfing the Web and were paying for the Internet by the hour. Today, Nielsen says we spend about 27 hours a month online (present company excepted, of course!)." I thought in 1996 all we did was idle in IRC channels while we wrote code in other terminals.
Movies

Slumdog Millionaire Takes Home 8 Oscars 317

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stuff-to-see dept.
Ben Burtt was robbed of his overly deserved Oscars for the sound on Wall-E, and Heath Ledger's Joker unsurprisingly got a posthumous statue, but the big winner for the night was Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire with Picture, Director, Song, and five others. Go ahead movie nerds: talk amongst yourself.
Java

Sun Slips Firefox Extension Into Java Update 311

Posted by timothy
from the we-thought-you-wanted-it dept.
pcardno writes "It seems it's not just Microsoft that have spotted a good opportunity to distribute their software through Firefox Addons. On installing the latest annoying, sysbar bubble based Java update, my Firefox informed me that I had a wonderful new Java addon automatically. Here's the addon screenshot. Yes, I could opt out of it, but why are Sun installing Addons to my Firefox without me making specific choices in the application itself? To be clear — I have never chosen to install this Addon, yet it has been installed without my permission with the latest Java Update."
NASA

NASA Tests New Moon Engine 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the rocket-fuel-green-cheese-hybrid dept.
Iddo Genuth writes "Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne of West Palm Beach, Florida has successfully completed the third round of its Common Extensible Cryogenic Engine (CECE) testing for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). CECE is a new deep throttling engine designed to reduce thrust and allow a spacecraft to land gently on the moon, Mars, or some other non-terrestrial surface." NASA is also set to launch a new satellite on Tuesday — the Orbital Carbon Observatory — that will monitor the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. On the research front, NASA has announced this year's Centennial Challenges. $2 million in prizes are available for a major breakthrough in tether strength (one of the major obstacles for developing a space elevator), and another $2 million is being offered to competitors who are able to beam power to a device climbing a cable at a height of up to one kilometer.
Microsoft

Microsoft.com Makes IE8 Incompatibility List 358

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the my-head-just-asplodered dept.
nickull writes "Microsoft is tracking incompatible Web sites for its upcoming Internet Explorer 8 browser and has posted a list that now contains about 2,400 names — including Microsoft.com. Apparently, even though Microsoft's IE8 team is doing the 'right' thing by finally making IE more standards-compliant, they are risking 'breaking the Web' because the vast majority of Web sites are still written to work correctly with previous, non-standards-compliant versions of IE."
Mars

Mars Winds Clean Spirit's Solar Panels Again 269

Posted by timothy
from the like-mom-making-the-bed dept.
Titoxd writes "In a blast from the past, NASA reports that Spirit's solar panels have received a much-needed cleaning courtesy of the Red Planet. The report states, 'The cleaning boosts Spirit's daily energy supply by about 30 watt-hours, to about 240 watt-hours from 210 watt-hours. The rover uses about 180 watt-hours per day for basic survival and communications, so this increase roughly doubles the amount of discretionary power for activities such as driving and using instruments.'"
Security

Hackers Jump On Newest IE7 Bug 162

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hop-on-pop dept.
CWmike writes "Attackers are already exploiting a bug in Internet Explorer 7 that Microsoft patched just last week, security researchers warned today. Although the attacks are currently in 'very, very small numbers,' they may be just the forerunner of a larger campaign, said Trend Micro's Jamz Yaneza. 'I see this as a proof-of-concept,' said Yaneza, who noted that the exploit's payload is extremely straightforward and explained that there has been no attempt to mask it by, say, planting a root kit on the victimized PC at the same time. 'I wouldn't be surprised to see this [exploit] show up in one of those Chinese exploit kits,' he added. The new attack code, which Trend Micro dubbed 'XML_Dloadr.a,' arrives in a spam message as a malicious file masquerading as a Microsoft Word document."
Science

Race For the "God Particle" Heats Up 397

Posted by kdawson
from the mister-higgs-i-presume dept.
SpuriousLogic writes "CERN is losing ground rapidly in the race to discover the elusive Higgs boson, its American rival claims. Fermilab say the odds of their Tevatron accelerator finding it first are now 50-50 at worst, and up to 96% at best. CERN's Lyn Evans admitted the accident which will halt the $7B Large Hadron Collider until September may cost them one of the biggest prizes in physics."

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