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Comment We don't need CS -- We need Tech Literacy (Score 5, Interesting) 300

We don't need coders -- We need people who know how computers work.

We need classes to teach people what the difference is between the OSes. We need people to know what https is. We need people who know why to VPN, what security is, and how to protect their info on the internet. We need anti-phishing anti-419 courses. Indeed, teaching C/S to the English teacher is wasted, but perhaps they knowing how the internet works is not lost?

Hardware Hacking

Head Tracking w/ the Wiimote 169

mrneutron2003 writes "This guy just doesn't know when to stop. Johnny Chung Lee graces us with yet another one of his inventive Wiimote projects. This time it involves using the Wiimote and a pair of inexpensive LED safety goggles (with the standard LED's replaced with InfraRed ones) to allow positional head tracking , achieving an effect similar to what is experienced with three dimensional displays and CAVE systems. The video dramatically illustrates the effect. Game developers take note. This simple little variation on infrared tracking could allow for some seriously immersive gameplay in the future." This guy deserves a medal.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Servicing the Population Surge

ardle writes: "About 150 scientists and government experts will meet in Iceland from August 31-September 4 to try to work out how to safeguard soils from over-use and desertification when more food is needed and some farmers are shifting land to biofuels."
Also FTA:"an area the size of Iceland loses it vegetation every year".

So — power or food? If there is a sustainable solution, who can provide it?
The Internet

Accurate Browser Statistics? 137

zyl0x asks: "A co-worker of mine has been made responsible for a large web application for our software product, and he was having a hard time deciding what functionality to implement, and whether or not to sacrifice functionality for a larger user base. With Walmart's harsh stand on browser compatibility, we got to thinking, exactly how many users would we be alienating by using some IE-only functionality on our website? We tried crawling the internet to get some current, accurate browser usage statistics, but we could only find stats for specific websites. I thought I'd try sending Google a request, since we imagine they'd have the lowest-common-denominator in terms of types of users, but I received an email from their press department telling me that they 'don't make that kind of information available.' Where can one get a current, accurate, and un-biased measurement of browser usage? Is it even possible?"

Submission + - Sony Set to Market Blu-ray as Winner of Format War

An anonymous reader writes: Seizing on widely reported January sales numbers, a Sony executive says that the studio plans to begin marketing Blu-ray as the winner of the high-def format war. "The message that we're going to put out to the consumer now is, now it is safe to make a choice," said Sony Pictures Home Entertainment worldwide president David Bishop. "No more fence-sitting is needed."

Submission + - First Wii mod chip that plays imports

Zeno McDohl writes: "Previous mod chips for the Wii would not boot games from other regions, but the WiiKey is claiming to do just that. Various sites have started shipping the mod chip today, and it seems that this mod chip is also upgradeable via a disc. It remains to be seen if Nintendo will release new firmware in attempt to hinder this, though."
Operating Systems

Novel OS Drives the '$100 laptop' 174

jrwr00 writes with a link to a CNN story about the $100 laptop's unique operating system. We've discussed the OLPC's UI before but the article offers a few new piece of information on the project, which is expected to roll out this year. From the article: "The XO machines are still being tweaked, and [OLPC UI] Sugar isn't expected to be tested by any kids until February. By July or so, several million are expected to reach Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan, Thailand and the Palestinian territory. Negroponte said three more African countries might sign on in the next two weeks. The Inter-American Development Bank is trying to get the laptops to multiple Central American countries."
Data Storage

A Terabyte of Data on a Regular DVD? 200

Roland Piquepaille writes "This is the promise of the 3-D Optical Data Storage system developed at the University of Central Florida (UCF). This technology allows to record and store at least 1,000 GB of data on multiple layers of a single disc. The system uses lasers to compact large amounts of information onto a DVD and the process involves shooting two different wavelengths of light onto the recording surface. By using several layers, this technique will increase the storage capacity of a standard DVD to more than a terabyte. Read more for additional references and a diagram showing how this two-photon 3D optical system reads data."

Laser Turns All Metals Black 333

Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers at the University of Rochester have found a way to change the properties of almost any metal by using a femtosecond laser pulse. This ultra-intense laser blast creates true 'black metal' from copper, gold or zinc by forming nanostructures at the surface of the metal. As these nanostructures capture radiation, the metals turn black. And as the process needs surprisingly low power, it could soon be used for a variety of applications, such as stealth planes, black jewels or car paintings. But read more for additional references and a picture of this femtosecond laser system."

Networking For Overconvenience 116

Roland Piquepaille writes "For several decades now, we've read that our homes will become smart and that we'll have many robotic slaves at our service. But it's never really worked. A recent European initiative called TEAHA (short for 'The European Application Home Alliance') wants to give another try, and it has enrolled some big industrial partners to make all our appliances interoperate seamlessly. Imagine a message on your TV telling you it's time to start the laundry! Read more for additional details and illustrations describing the concepts."

The Physics of a Good Store Location 72

Roland Piquepaille writes, "In 'Atomic Physics Predicts Successful Store Location,' LiveScience reports that a French physicist has applied methods used to study atomic interactions for another task: to 'help business owners find the best places to locate their stores.' Pablo Jensen has used his method for the city of Lyon and is now developing software with the local Chamber of Commerce to help future business owners. Read more for additional references and maps of the city of Lyon showing for example the best locations to open a bakery, according to atomic physics." Jensen says that more research is needed to know if this method would work in other cities.

A Buckyegg Breaks Pentagon Rules 137

Roland Piquepaille writes "Chemists from Virginia and California have cooked a soup of fullerenes which produced an improbable buckyegg. The egg-shaped structure of their 'buckyballs' was a complete surprise for the researchers. In fact, they wanted to trap some atoms of terbium in a buckyball "to make compounds that could be both medically useful and well-tolerated in the body." And they obtained a buckyegg which both violates some chemistry laws and the FIFA soccer laws which were used until the last World Cup. Read more for additional references and a picture of this buckyegg carrying metal molecules."

A Triple-Standard Disk 210

On the heels of the news of Toshiba's proposed double-standard disk comes word that Warner Brothers engineers have applied for a patent on a triple-standard disk. The new disk would offer HD-DVD and Blu-Ray on one side and standard DVD on the other. From the article: "Warner's plan is to create a disk with a Blu-ray top layer that works like a two-way mirror. This should reflect just enough blue light for a Blu-ray player to read it okay. But it should also let enough light through for HD-DVD players to ignore the Blu-ray recording and find a second HD-DVD layer beneath." See the patent application, filed last month.

"I have five dollars for each of you." -- Bernhard Goetz