krou writes "Amateur astronomer Peter Shah has stunned astronomers around the world with amazing photos of the universe taken from his garden shed. Shah spent £20,000 on the equipment, hooking up a telescope in his shed to his home computer, and the results are being compared to images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. 'Most men like to putter about in their garden shed,' said Shah, 'but mine is a bit more high tech than most. I have fitted it with a sliding roof so I can sit in comfort and look at the heavens. I have a very modest set up, but it just goes to show that a window to the universe is there for all of us – even with the smallest budgets. I had to be patient and take the images over a period of several months because the skies in Britain are often clouded over and you need clear conditions.' His images include the Monkey's head nebula, M33 Pinwheel Galaxy, Andromeda Galaxy and the Flaming Star Nebula, and are being put together for a book."
We may have to rethink the assumption that Silicon Valley is the hotbed of innovation in which all the world's best and brightest want to work and live. TechCrunch has a piece by an invited expert on the reverse brain drain already evident and growing in the US as Indian, Chinese, and European students and workers in the US plan to return home, or already have. From an extensive interview with Chinese and Indian workers who had already left: "We learned that these workers returned in their prime: the average age of the Indian returnees was 30 and the Chinese was 33. They were really well educated: 51% of the Chinese held masters degrees and 41% had PhDs. Among Indians, 66% held a masters and 12% had PhDs. These degrees were mostly in management, technology, and science. ... What propelled them to return home? Some 84% of the Chinese and 69% of the Indians cited professional opportunities. And while they make less money in absolute terms at home, most said their salaries brought a 'better quality of life' than what they had in the US. ... A return ticket home also put their career on steroids. About 10% of the Indians polled had held senior management jobs in the US. That number rose to 44% after they returned home. Among the Chinese, the number rose from 9% in the US to 36% in China."
Barence writes "Acer has unveiled an Aspire netbook that dual boots Google Android and Windows 7. 'User demand is not there for [other forms of] Linux [but] we never give up. We adjust,' said Jim Wong, Acer senior corporate vice president. 'We introduce Android with the Windows OS, and why Android? Because it has the best connectivity built into the OS.' Acer has also talked up Google's forthcoming Chrome OS. 'Chrome can be a viable alternative to Microsoft's OSes for web applications on different mobile devices,' he explained."
Naznarreb writes "R. Clayton Miller has an extremely impressive GUI concept he's calling 10/GUI (video; written description here). Essentially, it combines the high-bandwidth input possibilities of multi-touch interfaces with the ease and immediacy of a mouse. The video is quite interesting, and, for me at least, pretty jaw dropping. This is a dramatic re-imagining of the current mouse/screen schema, one that I think has significant potential."
Stony Stevenson writes "A light has been shone on one of the great mysteries of the internet. What is the point of the two forward slashes that sit directly in front of the 'www' in every internet website address? The answer, according to Tim Berners-Lee, who had an important role in the creation of the web, is that there isn't one. Berners-Lee revisited that design decision during a recent talk with Paul Mohr of the NY Times when Mohr asked if he would do any differently, given the chance. 'Look at all the paper and trees, he said, that could have been saved if people had not had to write or type out those slashes on paper over the years — not to mention the human labor and time spent typing those two keystrokes countless millions of times in browser address boxes.'"
mvip tips the latest in a long line of premature announcements of the demise of email. "The Wall Street Journal article Why Email No Longer Rules is making the rounds online. Fast Company provided a fast response, highlighting the technical shortcomings of trying to replace email with Facebook and Twitter (where do the attachments go?). Email Service Guide points out that Facebook and Twitter are ineffective for one-off communications. With Google Wave on the horizon, we'll probably have to go through the whole charade yet again."
An anonymous reader writes This year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded to three scientists who have solved a major problem in biology: how the chromosomes can be copied in a complete way during cell divisions and how they are protected against degradation. The Nobel Laureates have shown that the solution is to be found in the ends of the chromosomes, called the telomeres, and in an enzyme that forms them."
An anonymous reader writes 'Thousands of recent computer purchasers who are expecting to receive free upgrades to Windows 7 when it is released on October 22 may be surprised to learn that some big computer makers are quietly tacking on hefty processing fees as high as $17 to mail out those disks to some buyers.' How about they process $0 to click a link and download a file?
pickens writes "The asteroid that impacted earth 65 million years ago killed off dinosaurs, but microalgae bounced back from the global extinction in about 100 years or less. Julio Sepúlveda, a geochemist at MIT, studied the molecular remains of microorganisms by extracting organic residues from rocks dated to the K-T extinction (in this research referred to as Cretaceous-Paleogene), and his results show that the ocean algae community greatly shrunk in size but only for about a century. 'We found that primary production in this part of the ocean recovered extremely rapidly after the impact,' says Julio Sepúlveda. Algae leave certain signatures of organic compounds and isotopes of carbon and nitrogen; bacteria leave different signatures. In the earliest layers after the asteroid impact, the researchers found much evidence for bacteria but little for algae, suggesting that right after the impact, algae production was greatly reduced. But the chemical signs of algae start to increase immediately above this layer. A full recovery of the ocean ecosystem probably took about a million years, but the quick rebound of photosynthesizing algae seems to confirm models that suggest the impact delivered a swift, abrupt blow to the Earth's environment."
Matt_dk writes "The US firm Space Adventures said on Friday it will be able to send two space tourists into orbit at once from 2012 onwards, on Soyuz spacecraft. 'We have been working on this project for a number of years,' said Sergey Kostenko, the head of the company's office in Russia. Each Soyuz will carry two tourists and a professional astronaut. One of the tourists will have to pass a year-and-a-half training course as a flight engineer. Space Adventures has been authorized by the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos to select and contract candidates for space tourist trips." Meanwhile, the AP has a look back at the delays and disappointments in the commercial spaceflight industry since Burt Rutan captured the Ansari X Prize 5 years ago — no space company has yet announced a date for commercial availability.
langelgjm writes "An article from yesterday's New York Times asks the question: will books be Napsterized? So far, piracy of books has not reached the degree of music or movie piracy, in part due to the lack of good equipment on which to read and enjoy pirated books. The article points to the growing adoption of e-book readers as the publishing industry's newest nemesis. With ever-cheaper ways to conveniently use pirated books, authors and publishers may be facing serious changes ahead. This is something I wrote about three months ago in my journal, where I called the Kindle DX an 'iPod for books.'"
Reuters has a report about research being done on the in-game economies of MMOs like EverQuest II and World of Warcraft to better understand much larger economic situations in the real world. The games are used as case studies where researchers can do controlled experiments that they couldn't necessarily attempt if real money or goods were involved. "After studying 314 million transactions within the fantasy world of Norrath in EverQuest II, including trading in-game goods like armor, shields, leather, herbs and food, the researchers were able to calculate the GDP of one of the game servers (the back-end computer that hosts thousands of players in one world). As more people opened accounts and flocked to Norrath, spending money on new items, researchers saw inflation spike more than 50 percent in five months. 'We have seen that kind of volatility during times of war and in developing nations in the real world,' said [Dmitri Williams, assistant professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication]. 'Our own economy has turned out to be less stable than we'd all assumed.'"
reporter writes "According to a startling report just covered by the New York Times, 'senior staff members of the United Nations nuclear agency have concluded in a confidential analysis that Iran has acquired sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable atom bomb.' In 2007, American intelligence erroneously concluded that Tehran in 2003 stopped further research into designing a nuclear bomb. This conclusion was contradicted by German, French, and Israeli intelligence. Recently, London also concluded that the American assessment is incorrect. So, here we are. The Iranians have the knowledge to build a nuclear bomb and have been working relentlessly to perfect its design. Tehran is apparently able to create the components (e.g. enriched uranium) that can be assembled into such a weapon. Meanwhile, Jerusalem is communicating with the Kremlin about a list of Russian scientists it believes are assisting Iran's efforts to develop the bomb."
adeelarshad82 writes "Windows Vista lost market share last month for the first time in almost two years, a sign that users are already abandoning the oft-ridiculed operating system in favor of the new Windows 7. According to Web metrics firm Net Applications, Vista dropped 0.2 percentage points during September to end the month at an 18.6% slice of the operating system pie. Windows 7, meanwhile, gained 0.3 percentage points, its biggest one-month gain since Microsoft began handing out the new OS to the public in January 2009. Windows 7 powered an estimated 1.5% of all computers that connected to the Internet last month, also a record."