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The Internet

FCC Declares Intention To Enforce Net Neutrality 343

Posted by kdawson
from the play-nice-now dept.
Unequivocal writes "The FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, told Congress today that the 'Federal Communications Commission plans to keep the Internet free of increased user fees based on heavy Web traffic and slow downloads. ...Genachowski... told The Hill that his agency will support "net neutrality" and go after anyone who violates its tenets. "One thing I would say so that there is no confusion out there is that this FCC will support net neutrality and will enforce any violation of net neutrality principles," Genachowski said when asked what he could do in his position to keep the Internet fair, free and open to all Americans. The statement by Genachowski comes as the commission remains locked in litigation with Comcast. The cable provider is appealing a court decision by challenging the FCC's authority to penalize the company for limiting Web traffic to its consumers.' It looks like the good guys are winning, unless the appeals court rules against the FCC."
Sci-Fi

How Do You Greet an Extraterrestrial? 803

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-is-your-policy-on-death-rays dept.
The LA Times is running a story about Earth Speaks, a companion project to SETI, which focuses on how we would communicate with intelligent extraterrestrial life, should we happen to discover it. Far more effort has been devoted to searching for signals or a means to communicate than the question of what we might say once contact is established, and the folks at SETI have set up a website to gather opinions on what the best questions and statements are. "So far, the messages break down into a few distinct categories. Some people want to throw a block party to welcome the aliens to the neighborhood. Others, less trusting, would warn the aliens that we've got guns and know how to use them. Another group, possibly influenced by having seen too many movies, would have us hide under the bed until they go away. 'If we discover intelligent life beyond Earth, we should not reply — we should freeze and play dead,' wrote one contributor." What would you say first to an alien?
Microsoft

Ballmer Threatens To Pull Out of the US 1142

Posted by Soulskill
from the tax-schmax dept.
theodp writes "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is threatening to move Microsoft employees offshore if Congress enacts President Obama's plans to curb tax avoidance by US corporations. 'It makes US jobs more expensive,' complained billionaire Ballmer. 'We're better off taking lots of people and moving them out of the US as opposed to keeping them inside the US.' According to 2006 reports, Microsoft transferred $16 billion in assets to secretive Dublin subsidiaries to shave billions off its US tax bill. 'Corporate tax is part of the overall advantage of doing business in Ireland,' acknowledged Ballmer in 2005. 'It would be disingenuous to say otherwise.'"
Mars

Mars Robot May Destroy Life It Was Sent To Find 129

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oops-sorry-my-bad dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "New Scientist reports that instead of identifying chemicals that could point to life, NASA's robot explorers may have been toasting them by mistake. Even if Mars never had life, comets and asteroids that have struck the planet should have scattered at least some organic molecules over its surface but landers have failed to detect even minute quantities of organic compounds. Now scientists say they may have stumbled on something in the Martian soil that may have, in effect, been hiding the organics: a class of chemicals called perchlorates. At low temperatures, perchlorates are relatively harmless but when heated to hundreds of degrees Celsius perchlorates release a lot of oxygen, which tends to cause any nearby combustible material to burn. The Phoenix and Viking landers looked for organic molecules by heating soil samples to similarly high temperatures to evaporate them and analyse them in gas form. When Douglas Ming of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and colleagues tried heating organics and perchlorates like this on Earth, the resulting combustion left no trace of organics behind. "We haven't looked the right way," says Chris McKay of NASA's Ames Research Center. Jeffrey Bada of the University of California, San Diego, agrees that a new approach is needed. He is leading work on a new instrument called Urey which will be able to detect organic material at concentrations as low as a few parts per trillion. The good news is that, although Urey heats its samples, it does so in water, so the organics cannot burn up."

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