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Stretchable, Flexible, Transparent Nanotube Speakers 76

An anonymous reader writes "Chinese researchers have realised that a sheet of nanotubes behaves like a speaker when you send an audio current through it. The technology opens the way for a range of new versatile speaker systems. A video shows the speakers in action — some are stretched, one has even been sewn into a flag."

Experimental Magnetic Shield Against Cosmic Rays 199

stiller writes "British scientists from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory have developed an experimental set-up in which a $20 magnet is used to deflect solar-wind-like radiation." Reader Dersaidin points out a slightly more enthusiastic article at Universe Today which emphasizes the possibilities of systems based on this phenomenon to protect astronauts during solar storms, writing "It's a good start. Hopefully, later versions will be able to protect spaceships from energy weapons. A beam from the LHC can melt a 500kg block of copper. Shields, check. Energy weapons, check. Now we just need a viable interstellar drive, and an energy source to power it all."

Is Ubuntu Getting Slower? 544

An anonymous reader writes "Phoronix has a new article where they provide Ubuntu 7.04, 7.10, 8.04, and 8.10 benchmarks and had ran many tests. In that article, when using an Intel notebook they witness major slowdowns in different areas and ask the question, Is Ubuntu getting slower? From the article: 'A number of significant kernel changes had went on between these Ubuntu Linux releases including the Completely Fair Scheduler, the SLUB allocator, tickless kernel support, etc. We had also repeated many of these tests to confirm we were not experiencing a performance fluke or other issue (even though the Phoronix Test Suite carries out each test in a completely automated and repeatable fashion) but nothing had changed. Ubuntu 7.04 was certainly the Feisty Fawn for performance, but based upon these results perhaps it would be better to call Ubuntu 7.10 the Gooey Gibbon, 8.04 the Hungover Heron, and 8.10 the Idling Ibex.'"

Indian Moon Mission Launched 305

hackerdownunder writes "India's maiden lunar mission (Chandrayaan-1) got off to a flying start today. Describing the launch as 'perfect and precise,' the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), G Madhavan Nair, said that it would be 14 days before the satellite would enter into lunar orbit. Chandrayaan carries eleven payloads: five designed and developed in India, three from the European Space Agency, one from Bulgaria and two from NASA."
Star Wars Prequels

LucasArts, Bioware Announce Star Wars MMO 346

LucasArts and Bioware held a press conference today to confirm what has been suspected for a long time: they're working on a Star Wars MMO. It will be called Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it will be a continuation of the Knights of the Old Republic franchise. Further coverage is available at Gamespot, and IGN has some of the concept art. An official website for the game was launched as well. "According to the game's official announcement, Star Wars: The Old Republic is set thousands of years before the rise of Darth Vader, with the galaxy divided by war between the Empire and the Sith. That's about 300 years after the events of KotOR, a time frame that, according to Zeschuk, 'is completely unexplored in the lore.' Players can take the role of either a Jedi, a Sith or other classic Star Wars characters -- and, as perhaps can be expected from BioWare, Muzyka says story will be a major component, underlying and driving all of the player's actions."

MUDs Turn 30 Years Old 238

Massively points out that today marks the 30th anniversary of the first Multi-User Dungeon (MUD) going live at Essex University in the UK. The game, referred to as MUD1, was created by Roy Trubshaw. Richard Bartle, a man who also worked on the game as a student at Essex, has a post discussing the milestone and talking about how MUDs relate to modern MMOs. What MUDs did you play?

Microsoft Calls Today Global Anti-Piracy Day 500

arcticstoat points out an article at Custom PC, according to which: "Microsoft has announced that today is Global Anti-Piracy Day. Launching several global initiatives, the aim is to raise awareness of the damage to software innovation that Microsoft says is caused by piracy. ... As well as educating people about piracy, Microsoft has also initiated a huge list of legal proceedings that it's taking out against pirates. Microsoft isn't messing about when it says 'global' either. The list of 49 countries that Microsoft is targeting spans six continents, and ranges from the UK and the US all the way through to Chile, Egypt, Kuwait, Indonesia and China." Interestingly enough, unauthorized copies of Vista might not be harming the company all that much: reader twitter was among several to contribute links to a related story at Computer World which highlights Microsoft attorney Bonnie MacNaughton's acknowledgement that pirates prefer Windows XP over Vista and Office 2003 over 2007.
The Courts

RIAA's Watchdog Affidavits For Your Reading Pleasure 22

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "MediaSentry, in an attempt to stonewall discovery in UMG v. Lindor, has turned over nothing other than a collection, apparently a complete collection, of its publicly filed affidavits. However, these do make interesting reading indeed, and as comments started trickling in on my blog, I realized that for the technically minded among you there are probably a number of good laughs in these materials. So in keeping with the Slashdot community's analysis of the RIAA's not very expert, 'expert' witness, I thought you might like to take a shot at its not very factual, 'fact' witness."

Messenger Discovers "Spider" Crater on Mercury 74

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property brings us a Washington Post story which discusses how scientists are finding surprises among the pictures sent back from Mercury by the Messenger spacecraft. In particular, images depicting a crater with over 100 troughs radiating out from it are stumping researchers. The crater is referred to as 'The Spider', and it occupies a basin that has turned out to be larger than once thought. NASA also has a discussion of the crater. The Messenger craft began taking the up-close photos earlier this month. From the Post: "Scientists were also surprised by evidence of ancient volcanoes on many parts of the planet's surface and how different it looks compared with the moon, which is about the same size. Unlike the moon, Mercury has huge cliffs, as well as formations snaking hundreds of miles that indicate patterns of fault activity from Mercury's earliest days, more than 4 billion years ago."

Chemist who falls in acid will be tripping for weeks.