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Man Builds His Own Subway 174

Posted by samzenpus
from the everyone-needs-a-hobby dept.
jerryjamesstone writes "Everybody is into rail these days; it is the greenest way to get around next to a bike. Leonid Mulyanchik has been into it for years since before the Berlin Wall fell, since before the first Macintosh, building his own private underground Metro railway system. English-Russia says that he has been doing it with his pension, that it is all legal and approved and that he is still at it. Gizmodo calls it 'Partly the traditional, inspiring, one man against all odds type of persistence, but more the obsessive, borderline insane persistence.'" Update: 06/02 07:33 GMT by T : And if you're the type to visit Burning Man, you can actually ride a home-made monorail this summer, too.

Comment: Cable lock-in and units are standnalone (Score 1) 490

by TalShiar00 (#31291774) Attached to: The Sad History and (Possibly) Bright Future of TiVo

There are 2 main reasons I see that more people to not have a Tivo
1) It is competing products, try getting the numbers for people with a DVR. Most people I know have a cable or satellite or U-verse DVR instead. While truely being more expensive int he long run they feel the $24 a month is less expensive than a few hundred for a HD tivo plus the monthly or lifetime service. However they are getting killed because you are locked into using local cable company. HD will only use cable card and you can use a IR transmitter to change the channel on a satellite box for non-HD but the channel changing is painfully slow and it will occasionally miss the channel change and you wont have your show recorded.

2) Their killer app would be to have while house DVR system where by you have a single dual tuner HD tivo to records all shows. Then you would purchase individual client boxes (100-200 price range) that have a small HD, ethernet connection and remote receiver. This way you can call up your recordings on any TV in your house and start the video stream immediately rather than spending hundreds on individual tivos, service agreements, and setting up recordings.

Businesses

GameStop, Other Retailers Subpoenaed Over Credit Card Information Sharing 117

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
New York State's Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, has subpoenaed a number of online retailers, including GameStop, Barnes & Noble, Ticketmaster and Staples, over the way they pass information to marketing firms while processing transactions. MSNBC explains the scenario thus: "You're on the site of a well-known retailer and you make a purchase. As soon as you complete the transaction a pop-up window appears. It offers a discount on your next purchase. Click on the ad and you are automatically redirected to another company's site where you are signed up for a buying club, travel club or credit card protection service. The yearly cost is usually $100 to $145. Here's where things really get smarmy. Even though you did not give that second company any account information, they will bill the credit or debit card number you used to make the original purchase. You didn't have to provide your account number because the 'trusted' retailer gave it to them for a cut of the action." While there is no law preventing this sort of behavior, Cuomo hopes the investigation will pressure these companies to change their ways, or at least inform customers when their information might be shared.

Comment: Best part of the story is the lack of copyright (Score -1, Offtopic) 327

by TalShiar00 (#30988432) Attached to: "Calvin and Hobbes" Creator Bill Watterson Looks Back With No Regrets

All /. readers are well aware of our erosion of freedoms when it comes to fair use and DRM. The fact that Bill did not copyright his work yes can still live a good and his original comics are popular need to be seen as an example when corporate giants are pushing to extend their copyright privileges for hundreds of years.
I live in the town where Charles Schultz (Peanuts) lived a good portion of his life, I know his kids and how much money they have all given to charities and community development. I respect the family for what they do but I respect Bill far more allowing his work to be part of global comminuty and not restricting who can even draw his characters even not for profit. Bill may not be the third largest earning dead celebrity (http://www.forbes.com/2007/10/26/top-dead-celebrity-biz-media-deadcelebs07-cz_lg_1029celeb_slide_4.html) but we all owe him a big thank you for his pioneering efforts whether intentional or not

Science

Antarctic's First Plane, Found In Ice 110

Posted by timothy
from the ice-tractor-cometh dept.
Arvisp writes "In 1912 Australian explorer Douglas Mawson planned to fly over the southern pole. His lost plane has now been found. The plane – the first off the Vickers production line in Britain – was built in 1911, only eight years after the Wright brothers executed the first powered flight. For the past three years, a team of Australian explorers has been engaged in a fruitless search for the aircraft, last seen in 1975. Then on Friday, a carpenter with the team, Mark Farrell, struck gold: wandering along the icy shore near the team's camp, he noticed large fragments of metal sitting among the rocks, just a few inches beneath the water."
Space

Astronomers Discover 33 Pairs of Waltzing Black Holes 101

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the teach-them-to-foxtrot dept.
Astronomers from UC Berkeley have identified 33 pairs of waltzing black holes, closing the gap somewhat between the observed population of super-massive black hole pairs and what had been predicted by theory. "Astronomical observations have shown that 1) nearly every galaxy has a central super-massive black hole (with a mass of a million to a billion times the mass of the Sun), and 2) galaxies commonly collide and merge to form new, more massive galaxies. As a consequence of these two observations, a merger between two galaxies should bring two super-massive black holes to the new, more massive galaxy formed from the merger. The two black holes gradually in-spiral toward the center of this galaxy, engaging in a gravitational tug-of-war with the surrounding stars. The result is a black hole dance, choreographed by Newton himself. Such a dance is expected to occur in our own Milky Way Galaxy in about 3 billion years, when it collides with the Andromeda Galaxy."
Space

Super-Earths Discovered Orbiting Nearby, Sun-Like Star 242

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-for-one dept.
likuidkewl writes "Two super-earths, 5 and 7.5 times the size of our home, were found to be orbiting 61 Virginis a mere 28 light years away. 'These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,' said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Among hundreds of our nearest stellar neighbors, 61 Vir stands out as being the most nearly similar to the Sun in terms of age, mass, and other essential properties."
Idle

Hand Written Clock 86

Posted by samzenpus
from the up-to-the-minute dept.
a3buster writes "This clock does not actually have a man inside, but a flatscreen that plays a 24-hour loop of this video by the artist watching his own clock somewhere and painstakingly erasing and re-writing each minute. This video was taken at Design Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach 2009."

Comment: Switching to guns (Score 1) 627

by TalShiar00 (#30164732) Attached to: Laser Weapon Shoots Down Airplanes In Test

"As part of the overall counter-UAV demonstration, Boeing also successfully test-fired a lightweight 25mm machine gun from the Laser Avenger platform to potentially further the hybrid directed energy/kinetic energy capability against UAV threats." I hope the person demonstrating said, "He is too close for lasers, switching to guns"

Technology

What is the Current State of Home Automation? 409

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the skynet-wants-your-home-to-be-wired dept.
StonyCreekBare writes "What do people have to say about the current state of Home Automation software? Preferably Linux based, but mainly the field in general, and principally the DIY flavors as opposed to the upscale turnkey systems. I am familiar with Misterhouse, HomeSeer and Automated Living's HAL2000, all of which have serious flaws and weaknesses, but which sometimes succeed well in specific areas. But in all cases, the state of the art seems to have moved little in the last decade. Is any interesting work being done in this space? Or should I just grab one of the three and try to mold it to fit my vision of what it should be? Misterhouse at least is open source so I can add new features, but it has not had an update in a long long time and seems to be missing some modern stuff. The other two are expensive and closed source, and from all I can see, quite flawed, not the least by their dependence on intimate ties to Microsoft. Yet they seem to offer a lot more than Misterhouse despite their weaknesses. Is the Home Automation field as bleak as it appears? Or have I missed the forest for the trees?" What home automation projects have people tackled? Any examples of wild success or failure?
Cellphones

Apple vs. Google, Who Will Control the iPhone? 213

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that's-a-good-question dept.
Pieroxy writes "Theiphoneblog carries a nice article on the reason Apple rejected the Google Voice application even though it doesn't violate any terms and services. The article goes in depth over the issue of controlling the hardware (Apple) vs. controlling the software (Google & Apple so far) and how Apple doesn't want Google to take over a critical part of its phone. Just like Google is going into the OS business to make sure it never gets cut out, Apple is also building a huge data center to — they guess — take over some online cloud computing business of their own and be less dependent on Google for these services."
Privacy

Model Drops Lawsuit After Outing Anonymous Blogger 476

Posted by kdawson
from the you-can-pull-your-pants-up-now dept.
JumperCable writes "The NY Daily News is reporting that model Liskula Cohen, who was suing the 'Skanks of NYC' blogger for defamation, is dropping the lawsuit now that she has outed the anonymous blogger, who is a Fashion Institute of Technology student named Rosemary Port. This brings up the question of potential abuse of the legal system to 'out' anonymous authors even if there is no intention actually to pursue a case against an anonymous individual. Also, according to the article, the outed blogger intends to sue Google for $15 million because it 'breached its fiduciary duty to protect her expectation of anonymity.' Do Web hosting services even have a fiduciary duty to protect their clients, or is this all legal bluff and bluster?" Should such anonymity-busting court rulings include a provision for penalties if the plaintiff does not follow through with legal action after outing their target?
Biotech

Fully Functional Bioengineered Tooth Grown In a Mouse 264

Posted by kdawson
from the tooth-the-whole-tooth dept.
A couple of weeks back the Wall Street Journal reported on the first organ grown in vivo from stem cells — a tooth in the mouth of a mouse. Reader cdrpsab spotted the news on the MedGadget blog; the research had been reported earlier in the PNAS. From the WSJ: "The researchers at the Tokyo University of Science created a set of cells that contained genetic instructions to build a tooth, and then implanted this 'tooth germ' into the mouse's empty tooth socket. The tooth grew out of the socket and through the gums, as a natural tooth would. Once the engineered tooth matured, after 11 weeks, it had a similar shape, hardness and response to pain or stress as a natural tooth, and worked equally well for chewing. The researchers suggested that using similar techniques in humans could restore function to patients with organ failure."

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