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Science

Thousands of Blackbirds Fall From Sky Dead 577

Posted by samzenpus
from the silent-spring dept.
Dan East writes "In a fashion worthy of a King or Hitchcock novel, blackbirds began to fall from the sky dead in Arkansas yesterday. Somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 birds rained down on the small town of Beeb, Arkansas, with no visible trauma. Officials are making wild guesses as to what happened — lightning strike, high-altitude hail, or perhaps trauma from the sound of New Year's fireworks killed them."
Earth

The Story of My As-Yet-Unverified Impact Crater 250

Posted by Soulskill
from the dent-in-the-world dept.
tetrahedrassface writes "When I was very young, my dad took me on a trip to his parents' farm. He wanted to show me 'The Crater.' We walked a long way through second generation hardwoods and finally stood on the rim of a hole that has no equal in this area. As I grew up, I became more interested in The Crater, and would always tell friends about it. It is roughly 1,200 feet across and 120 feet deep, and has a strange vibe about it. When you walk up to it, you feel like something really big happened here. Either the mother of all caves is down there, or a large object smashed into this place a long, long time ago. I bought aerial photos when I was twelve and later sent images from GIS to a geologist at a local university. He pretty much laughed me out of his office, saying that it was a sinkhole. He did wish me luck, however. It may be sinkhole. Who knows? Last week I borrowed a metal detector and went poking around, and have found the strangest shrapnel pieces I have ever seen. They are composed of a metal that reacts strongly to acids. The largest piece so far reacted with tap water and dish-washing detergent. My second trip today yielded lots of strange new pieces of metal, and hopefully, one day the truth will be known. Backyard science is so much fun. And who knows; if it is indeed a cave, maybe Cerberus resides there."
Science

Immaculate Conception In a Boa Constrictor 478

Posted by samzenpus
from the gold-frankincense-and-mice dept.
crudmonkey writes "Researchers have discovered a biological shocker: female boa constrictors are capable of giving birth asexually. But the surprise doesn't end there. The study in Biology Letters found that boa babies produced through this asexual reproduction — also known as parthenogenesis — sport a chromosomal oddity that researchers thought was impossible in reptiles. While researchers admit that the female in the study may have been a genetic freak, they say the findings should press researchers to re-think reptile reproduction. Virgin birth among reptiles, especially primitive ones like boas, they argue may be far commoner than ever expected."
Medicine

Possible Treatment For Ebola 157

Posted by samzenpus
from the there's-a-pill-for-that dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "Researchers at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases have found a class of drugs that could provide treatment for Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fever. The new drugs are called 'antisense' compounds, and they allow the immune system to attack the viruses before they can do enough damage to kill the patient. Travis Warren, research scientist at USAMRIID, said while the work is still preliminary -— the drugs have been tested only on primates — the results are so far promising. In the case of Ebola, five of eight monkeys infected with the virus lived, and with Marburg, all survived. The drugs were developed as part of a program to deal with possible bioterrorist threats, in partnership with AVI Biopharma."
Image

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Internet 92

Posted by samzenpus
from the vicky-who? dept.
MMBK writes "Our friends at JESS3 have unveiled The Ex-Blocker. It's a Firefox and Chrome plugin that erases all name and likeness of your ex from the Internet, even if they become a meme, or the president. You'll no longer have to threaten to delete your Facebook account or concoct an elaborate e-hoax to assuage the reality-shattering complications that are born from break-ups. Simply construct an Internet that omits bad vibes all together."
Businesses

New Call of Duty Titles Announced, Fired Devs Sue For Name 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the modern-legal-warfare dept.
eldavojohn writes "Activision has announced new Call of Duty titles while fired Infinity Ward Developer leads Jason West and Vince Zampella sue them for the rights to the name. According to Activision, 'The company intends to expand the Call of Duty brand with the same focus seen in its Blizzard Entertainment business unit. This will include a focus on high-margin digital online content and further[ing] the brand as the leading action entertainment franchise in new geographies, new genres and with new digital business models.' Ars opines that Activision is set to over-saturate the market with tons of CoD titles similar to how it expertly brought down Guitar Hero."
Image

Researchers Claim To Be Able To Determine Political Leaning By How Messy You Are 592

Posted by samzenpus
from the dirty-liberal dept.
According to a study to be published in The Journal of Political Psychology, you can tell someone's political affiliation by looking at the condition of their offices and bedrooms. Conservatives tend to be neat and liberals love a mess. Researchers found that the bedrooms and offices of liberals tend to be colorful and full of books about travel, ethnicity, feminism and music, along with music CDs covering folk, classic and modern rock, as well as art supplies, movie tickets and travel memorabilia. Their conservative contemporaries, on the other hand, tend to surround themselves with calendars, postage stamps, laundry baskets, irons and sewing materials. Their bedrooms and offices are well lit and decorated with sports paraphernalia and flags — especially American ones. Sam Gosling, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, says these room cues are "behavioral residue." The findings are just the latest in a series of recent attempts to unearth politics in personality, the brain and DNA. I, for one, support a woman's right to clean.
Programming

Getting Paid To Abandon an Open Source Project? 654

Posted by Soulskill
from the money-vs.-warm-fuzzies dept.
darkeye writes "I'm facing a difficult dilemma and looking for opinions. I've been contributing heavily to an open source project, making considerable changes to code organization and quality, but the work is unfinished at the moment. Now, a company is approaching me to continue my changes. They want to keep the improvements to themselves, which is possible since the project is published under the BSD license. That's fair, as they have all the rights to the work they pay for in full. However, they also want me to sign a non-competition clause, which would bar me from ever working on and publishing results for the original open source project itself, even if done separately, in my free time. How would you approach such a decision? On one side, they'd provide resources to work on an interesting project. On the other, it would make me an outcast in the project's community. Moreover, they would take ownership of not just what they paid for, but also my changes leading up to this moment, and I wouldn't be able to continue on my original codebase in an open source manner if I sign their contract."

Comment: FOIA (Score 5, Interesting) 396

by jfessler (#23089334) Attached to: FBI Lied To Support Need For PATRIOT Act Expansion
So, how long before FOIA is repealed? Anyone? Anyone?

What always surprises me is that people working for these bodies, like the FBI, are more than willing to commit these deeds, and yet seem to have no thought toward destroying the evidence, let alone complying with a FOIA request.

Or are we only seeing the violations committed by the stupid ones?
Security

+ - 13 New Apple Security Vulnerabilities Addressed

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday Apple released a new security update which is recommended for all Mac OS X 10.3.9 and Mac OS X 10.4.9 users. The update fixes security issues in bind, CarbonCore, CoreGraphics, crontabs, fetchmail, file, iChat, mDNSResponder, PPP, ruby, screen, texinfo and VPN. It is the first security update available since May 1st."
Databases

8 Reasons Not To Use MySQL (And 5 To Adopt It) 288

Posted by Zonk
from the for-every-product-turn-turn-turn dept.
Esther Schindler writes "Database decisions are never easy, even — or maybe especially — when one choice is extremely popular. To highlight the advantages and disadvantages of the open-source MySQL DBMS, CIO.com asked two open-source experts to enumerate the reasons to choose MySQL and to pick something else. Tina Gasperson takes the 5 reasons to use MySQL side, and Brent Toderash discusses 8 reasons not to. Note that this isn't an 'open source vs proprietary databases' comparison; it's about MySQL's suitability in enterprise situations."
Media

CSS of DVDs Ruled 'Ineffective' by Finnish Courts 222

Posted by Zonk
from the rip-away-my-pretties-rip-away dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The CSS protection used in DVDs has been ruled "ineffective" by Helsinki District Court. This means that CSS is not covered by the Finnish copyright law amendment of 2005 (based on EU Copyright Directive from 2001), allowing it to be freely circumvented. Quoting the press release: ' The conclusions of the court can be applied all over Europe since the word effective comes directly from the directive ... A protection measure is no longer effective, when there is widely available end-user software implementing a circumvention method. My understanding is that this is not technology-dependent. The decision can therefore be applied to Blu-Ray and HD-DVD as well in the future.'"

You can bring any calculator you like to the midterm, as long as it doesn't dim the lights when you turn it on. -- Hepler, Systems Design 182

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