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Space Photos Taken From Shed Stun Astronomers 149

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."

Man Uses Drake Equation To Explain Girlfriend Woes 538

artemis67 writes "A man studying in London has taken a mathematical equation that predicts the possibility of alien life in the universe to explain why he can't find a girlfriend. Peter Backus, a native of Seattle and PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, near London, in his paper, 'Why I don't have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK,' used math to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK. In describing the paper on the university Web site he wrote 'the results are not encouraging. The probability of finding love in the UK is only about 100 times better than the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy.'"

Mars Images Reveal Evidence of Ancient Lakes 128

Matt_dk writes "Spectacular satellite images suggest that Mars was warm enough to sustain lakes three billion years ago, a period that was previously thought to be too cold and arid to sustain water on the surface, according to research published today in the journal Geology. Earlier research had suggested that Mars had a warm and wet early history but that between 4 billion and 3.8 billion years ago, before the Hesperian Epoch, the planet lost most of its atmosphere and became cold and dry. In the new study, the researchers analysed detailed images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is currently circling the red planet, and concluded that there were later episodes where Mars experienced warm and wet periods."

Submission + - Thorium, the next nuclear fuel? ( 1

mrshermanoaks writes: When the nuclear choices were being made, we went with uranium because it had the byproduct of producing plutonium that could be weaponized. But thorium is safer and easier to work with, and may cause a lot fewer headaches. So why are we not building these reactors?

Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132

An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"

Submission + - Swedish hackers in a squat fight eviction ( 4

lekernel writes: The newly opened Abbenay Hackspace in Stockholm has released a call for support in their struggle to keep their space. It was an empty office building until squatters moved in. The discussions with officials have stalled completely and the squatters live under the constant threat of police raids. Abbenay Hackspace is asking people to contact the landlord, and explain why creative spaces such as hackerspaces are important to them. Is there room for hackerspaces in major cities? Or is squatting the only viable strategy for hackerspaces in expensive areas?

Scientists Turn Used LCDs Into Medicine 30

schliz writes "Scientists from the University of York have come up with a new recycling technique that extracts PVA from used LCD panels to create a 'a bioactive sponge.' The technique could allow recovered PVA to be used in pills, wound dressings and tissue scaffolds that aid human tissue regeneration. It could also keep waste LCD screens from incineration or landfill altogether."

Unusual Physics Engine Game Ported To Linux 117

christian.einfeldt writes "Halloween has come early for Linux-loving gamers in the form of the scary Penumbra game trilogy, which has just recently been ported natively to GNU-Linux by the manufacturer, Frictional Games. The Penumbra games, named Overture, Black Plague and Requiem, are first-person survival horror and physics puzzle games which challenge the player to survive in a mine in Greenland which has been taken over by a monstrous infection/demon/cthulhu-esque thing. The graphics, sounds, and plot are all admirable in a scary sort of way. The protagonist is an ordinary human with no particular powers at all, who fumbles around in the dark mine fighting zombified dogs or fleeing from infected humans. But the game is remarkable for its physics engine — rather than just bump and acquire, the player must use the mouse to physically turn knobs and open doors; and the player can grab and throw pretty much anything in the environment. The physics engine drives objects to fly and fall exactly as one would expect. The porting of a game with such a deft physics engine natively to Linux might be one of the most noteworthy events for GNU-Linux gamers since the World of Goo Linux port."
The Internet

Harvard Study Says Weak Copyright Benefits Society 326

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist summarizes an important new study on file sharing from economists Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf. The Harvard Business School working paper finds that given the increase in artistic production along with the greater public access conclude that 'weaker copyright protection, it seems, has benefited society.' The authors point out that file sharing may not result in reduced incentives to create if the willingness to pay for 'complements' such as concerts or author speaking tours increases."

Submission + - Buckyballs Polymerised into Buckywires ( 1

KentuckyFC writes: "Scientists have found a way to join buckyballs together so that they form buckywires. The wires form when buckyballs are dissolved in an aromatic hydrocarbon called 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene. The 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene links the balls together to make buckywires shaped like a string of pearls, which then precipatate out. This relatively simple procedure opens the door to industrial scale manufacture. Buckywires ought to be efficient light harvesters because of their great surface area and the way they can conduct photon-liberated electrons. But perhaps the area of greatest interest is drug delivery. The researchers suggest that buckywires ought to be safer than carbon nanotubes because the production method is entirely metal-free. That cannot be said of nanotubes because the reaction that forms them is catalysed by metallic nanoparticles."
The Media

Wikipedia Launches a New Mobile Interface, Seeks Help 70

hampton2600 writes "The Wikimedia Foundation is proud to present our new mobile site optimized for modern high-end phones. The interface is focused on being clean and easy to read on your mobile device. We currently officially support reading on the iPhone and Android phones. The new gateway is written entirely in Ruby (using the Merb framework) and the Git repository can be found here. We are looking for open source help with supporting other phone types and translations into new languages. Currently 8 languages are supported, but we'd like to support all languages Wikipedia supports. This is an active project and we are looking for new features, etc. from the community."

AMD Shows Upcoming Phenom II CPU At 6.0 GHz+ 159

Vigile writes "Today during a press briefing at AMD's offices in Austin, TX the company showed off some upcoming technology that should be available sometime early in 2009. What was most impressive was the overclocked speeds of the pending Phenom II X4 45nm processors. On air cooling AMD showed the quad-core CPU running at nearly 4.0 GHz while with much more extreme liquid nitrogen cooling help the same CPU reached over 6.0 GHz! It looks like AMD's newest processor might finally once again compete with the best from Intel, including its recent Core i7 CPUs."

Perimeter Institute Launches Modern Physics Resource 30

An anonymous reader writes "You can find six new online sources of info about hot topics in modern physics at the 'What We Research' outreach page of Perimeter Institute. The info includes text, graphics and online presentations dealing with Cosmology, Superstring Theory, Quantum Gravity, Quantum Foundations, Quantum Information and Particle Physics. The resource section at the bottom of each page recommends a wealth of interesting online lectures by some famous scientists. PI is an independent, nonprofit scientific research and outreach organization."

Submission + - British Village Requests Removal from GPS Maps ( 6

longacre writes: "The tiny village of Barrow Gurney, England has asked GPS map publisher Tele Atlas to remove them from the company's maps. The reason: truck drivers using GPS navigation devices are being directed to drive through the town despite the roads being too narrow for sidewalks, and causing numerous accidents. At the root of the problem lies the fact that the navigation maps used by trucks are the same as those used by passenger cars, which don't contain data on road width or no truck zones. Tele Atlas says they will release truck-appropriate databases at some point, but until then they advise local governments to make use of a technology dating back to the Romans: road signs."

All power corrupts, but we need electricity.