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Education

Ocean-Crossing Dragonflies Discovered 95

Posted by samzenpus
from the incredible-journey dept.
grrlscientist writes "While living and working as a marine biologist in Maldives, Charles Anderson noticed sudden explosions of dragonflies at certain times of year. He explains how he carefully tracked the path of a plain, little dragonfly called the Globe Skimmer, Pantala flavescens, only to discover that it had the longest migratory journey of any insect in the world."
Microsoft

US Court Tells Microsoft To Stop Selling Word 403

Posted by Soulskill
from the somebody's-not-having-a-good-day dept.
oranghutan writes "A judge in a Texas court has given Microsoft 60 days to comply with an order to stop selling Word products in their existing state as the result of a patent infringement suit filed by i4i. According to the injunction, Microsoft is forbidden from selling Word products that let people create XML documents, which both the 2003 and 2007 versions let you do. Michael Cherry, an analyst quoted in the article, said, 'It's going to take a long time for this kind of thing to get sorted out.' Few believe the injunction will actually stop Word from being sold because there are ways of working around it. In early 2009, a jury in the Texas court ordered Microsoft to pay i4i $200 million for infringing on the patent. ZDNet has a look at the patent itself, saying it 'sounds a bit generic.'"
Space

NASA Sticking To Imperial Units For Shuttle Replacement 901

Posted by Soulskill
from the stones-per-furlong dept.
JerryQ sends in a story at New Scientist about the criticism NASA is taking for deciding to use Imperial units in the development of the Constellation program, their project to replace the space shuttle. "The sticking point is that Ares is a shuttle-derived design — it uses solid rocket boosters whose dimensions and technology are based on those currently strapped to either side of the shuttle's giant liquid fuel tank. And the shuttle's 30-year-old specifications, design drawings and software are rooted in pounds and feet rather than newtons and meters. ... NASA recently calculated that converting the relevant drawings, software and documentation to the 'International System' of units (SI) would cost a total of $370 million — almost half the cost of a 2009 shuttle launch, which costs a total of $759 million. 'We found the cost of converting to SI would exceed what we can afford,' says [NASA spokesman Grey Hautaluoma]."
The Military

Hitler's Stealth Fighter 582

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-for-a-whole-new-round-of-ww2-games dept.
DesScorp writes "Aviation Week reports on a television special from the National Geographic Channel on what may have been the world's first true stealth fighter, the Horten Ho 229, a wooden design that was to include a layer of carbon material sandwiched in the leading edge to defeat radar. Northrop Grumman, experts at stealth technology from their Tacit Blue and B-2 programs, have built a full-size replica of the airframe and tested it at their desert facilities where they determined that the design was indeed stealthy, and would have been practically invisible to Britain's Chain Home radar system of WWII."
Games

Videogame Places You're Not Supposed To Go 261

Posted by Soulskill
from the is-second-life-one-of-them dept.
Ssquared22 writes "The eight far-off realms in this article exist for different reasons. They could be developer test areas, or forgotten pieces of landscape that somehow made their way into the final code. Whatever their reason for being, they all have one thing in common: they weren't meant to be explored by the likes of you and me. But through persistence, hacks or some combination of the two, you can take in these rare delights for yourself. Pack your bags." What odd, interesting, or funny game locations have you wandered into?
Mozilla

Mozilla To Launch "Build Your Own Browser" 171

Posted by kdawson
from the have-it-your-way dept.
angry tapir sends in a piece from Down Under which begins "Mozilla is readying a program that will allow companies to build their own customized browsers based on the next version of Firefox, which will be out in a few weeks. ... Through the Build Your Own Browser program, which will start sometime soon after Firefox 3.5 is released at the end of June, companies can use a Web application provided by Mozilla to specify certain customizations for the browser, such as bookmarks to certain sites or corporate intranets or portals. ... The bulk of enterprises still use Internet Explorer if they mandate a browser for company use, because Microsoft provides provisioning and installation software for IE that makes it easy for enterprises to control browser settings and install across all corporate desktops, said Forrester analyst Sheri McLeish. Mozilla has not historically done this, but something like the Build Your Own Browser program is a good start to encourage enterprises to use Firefox over IE."

Comment: Re:Maybe Jeff can explain this (Score 1) 139

by Walles (#28240333) Attached to: Hacker Jeff Moss Sworn Into Homeland Security Advisory Council

The encryption is a one-way street. One (simple, understandable and entirely useless for security) example of such an "encryption" function would be to simply count the letters typed.

If somebody's password is "foo", it would be stored as "3". Given "3", it's impossible to tell that the password was "foo".

When I want to log in, I type "foo", the login program converts what I typed into "3", and compares that value to what it has stored. Also "3". Access granted.

If I had typed "fluff", that would have been converted to "5", and access would have been denied.

Obviously, with this scheme, I could just as well have typed "pig", and that would have granted me access as well. But Unix doesn't simply count letters, and collisions like this are unlikely. The function used is also such that coming up with something yielding a given hash (the "3" in the above example) is really hard.

Patents

Supreme Court To Review "Business Method" Patents 181

Posted by kdawson
from the bilious-over-bilski dept.
xzvf alerts us to big news on the patent front: the Supreme Court decided today to review the validity of "business method" patents. In particular, the Supremes will look over the "In re: Bilski" case, which we have discussed before. "By agreeing to weigh in on the case, the high court is venturing into controversial terrain. Critics of business-method patents say it was never the intent of the law to protect such things, which in their view are often far closer to abstract concepts or mathematical algorithms rather than physical inventions. Proponents say they are key to promoting innovation in today's knowledge- and service-based economy. ... The court's decision to review the Bilski case caught many observers by surprise. The Bilski patent claims are widely viewed as vulnerable to challenge on a number of grounds, and the sense among some experts was it would make a poor test case. ... The Supreme Court won't hear arguments in Bilski until its next term, which begins in October. A ruling is likely during the first half of 2010."

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