I grew up in the 1970s when there was a big push to teach the metric system in elementary school. The teaching method was carefully designed to make kids hate the metric system. Instead of making it fun and practical, the focus was on memorizing *all* the prefixes, abbreviations, and conversions to & from imperial units. FAIL.
likuidkewl writes "Two super-earths, 5 and 7.5 times the size of our home, were found to be orbiting 61 Virginis a mere 28 light years away. 'These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,' said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Among hundreds of our nearest stellar neighbors, 61 Vir stands out as being the most nearly similar to the Sun in terms of age, mass, and other essential properties."
diegocg writes "Linus Torvalds has officially released the version 2.6.32 of the Linux kernel. New features include virtualization memory de-duplication, a rewrite of the writeback code faster and more scalable, many important Btrfs improvements and speedups, ATI R600/R700 3D and KMS support and other graphic improvements, a CFQ low latency mode, tracing improvements including a 'perf timechart' tool that tries to be a better bootchart, soft limits in the memory controller, support for the S+Core architecture, support for Intel Moorestown and its new firmware interface, run-time power management support, and many other improvements and new drivers. See the full changelog for more details."
SD-Arcadia writes to tell us that Theora 1.1 has officially been released. It features improved encoding, providing better video quality for a given file size, a faster decoder, bitrate controls to help with streaming, and two-pass encoding. "The new rate control module hits its target much more accurately and obeys strict buffer constraints, including dropping frames if necessary. The latter is needed to enable live streaming without disconnecting users or pausing to buffer during sudden motion. Obeying these constraints can yield substantially worse quality than the 1.0 encoder, whose rate control did not obey any such constraints, and often landed only in the vague neighborhood of the desired rate target. The new --soft-target option can relax a few of these constraints, but the new two-pass rate control mode gives quality approaching full 'constant quality' mode with a predictable output size. This should be the preferred encoding method when not doing live streaming. Two-pass may also be used with finite buffer constraints, for non-live streaming." A detailed writeup on the new release has been posted at Mozilla.
Oh, you mean like C++? Or maybe Perl? Ugh, no thanks. You can keep your JOY.
theodp writes "Many US colleges and universities have notices posted on their websites informing US companies that they're tax chumps if they hire students who are US citizens. 'In fact, a company may save money by hiring international students because the majority of them are exempt from Social Security (FICA) and Medicare tax requirements,' advises the taxpayer-supported University of Pittsburgh (pdf) as it makes the case against hiring its own US students. You'll find identical pitches made by the University of Delaware, the University of Cincinnati, Kansas State University, the University of Southern California, the University of Wisconsin, Iowa State University, and other public colleges and universities. The same message is also echoed by private schools, such as John Hopkins University, Brown University, Rollins College and Loyola University Chicago."
Al writes "Researchers at Boston University have developed a way to predict the behavior of different DNA segments and make synthetic biology a little bit more reliable. James Collins and colleagues have built libraries of component parts and a mathematical modeling system to help them predict the behavior of parts of a gene network. Like any self-respected bunch of grad students, they decided to demonstrate the approach by making beer. They engineered gene promoters to control when flocculation occurs in brewers yeast, which allowed them to finely control the flavor of the resulting beer."
An anonymous reader writes "The one summary judgement that puts a stick into SCO's spokes has just come down. SCO doesn't own the Unix copyrights. With that one decision, a whole bunch of other decisions will fall like dominoes. As PJ says, "That's Aaaaall, Folks!".
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070810Hot off the presses: Judge Dale Kimball has issued a 102-page ruling [PDF] on the numerous summary judgment motions in SCO v. Novell. Here is what matters most: [T]he court concludes that Novell is the owner of the UNIX and UnixWare Copyrights. That's Aaaaall, Folks! If anyone can please put this into text for us, that'd be simply great.
eldavojohn writes "Following our last history lesson of Linux 0.01, the Kernel Trap is talking about the following announcements that would lead to one of the greatest operating systems today. A great Linus quote on release 0.02 (just 19 days after 0.01): 'I can (well, almost) hear you asking yourselves "why?". Hurd will be out in a year (or two, or next month, who knows), and I've already got minix. This is a program for hackers by a hacker. I've enjoyed [sic] doing it, and somebody might enjoy looking at it and even modifying it for their own needs. It is still small enough to understand, use and modify, and I'm looking forward to any comments you might have.'"