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Recently Discovered Habitable World May Not Exist 231

sciencehabit better let Greg Dean know that "Two weeks ago, U.S.-based astronomers announced the discovery of the first Goldilocks planet circling another star: just the right size and just the right temperature to harbor alien life. But yesterday at an exoplanet meeting in Turin, Italy, Switzerland-based astronomers announced that they could find no trace of the prized planet in their observations of the same planetary system."

Torrent-Only Movie Denied IMDb Listing 207

An anonymous reader writes "A film set to be released for free via BitTorrent has been denied a listing in the Internet Movie Database. The Tunnel is currently in production and despite pleas from the makers, IMDb won't allow it on their site. The creators of this horror movie believe that because they have shunned an official distributor and chosen a BitTorrent model instead, this has put them at a disadvantage with the Amazon-owned site."

The Surprising Statistics Behind Flash and Apple 630

Barence writes "PC Pro's Tom Arah has dug up some statistics that cast severe doubt over Steve Jobs' assertion that Flash is the technology of the past, and Apple's iOS is the platform of the future. He quibbles with Net Applications' assertion that iOS growth is 'massive,' considering that mobile accounts for only 2.6% of web views, and the iOS share stands at only 1.1%. By comparison, Silverlight penetration now stands at 51% while 97% of web surfers have Flash installed, according to Stat Owl. 'At least when Bill Gates held the web to ransom he had the decency to first establish a dominant position,' Arah claims. 'In Steve Jobs' case, with only 1.1% market share, the would-be emperor isn't even wearing any clothes.'"

'Throttling' Broadband Provider Sued In Australia 130

destinyland writes "Optus has been severely throttling users who exceed a download quota, according to ZDNet — down from 100Mbps to 64Kbps — and it's drawn attention from federal regulators. Optus's ad campaign promises 'supersonic' speeds, and one technology blog notes that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission 'isn't happy about Optus' sensationalist claims, which it's sure breaches the Trade Practices Act.' Australia's trade commission called the practice 'misleading or deceptive,' and the broadband provider now has a date in court next month, the second one since a June hearing over 'unlimited' voice and data plans that actually had usage caps."

Facebook Competitor Diaspora Revealed 306

jamie writes "A post has just gone up on Diaspora's blog revealing what the project actually looks like for the first time. While it's not yet ready to be released to the public, the open-source social networking project is giving the world a glimpse of what it looks like today and also releasing the project code, as promised. At first glance, this preview version of Diaspora looks sparse, but clean. Oddly enough, with its big pictures and stream, it doesn't look unlike Apple's new Ping music social network mixed with yes, Facebook."

Adobe Releases New 64-Bit Flash Plugin For Linux 240

TheDarkener writes "Adobe seems to have made an about face regarding their support for native 64-bit Linux support for Flash today, and released a new preview Flash plugin named 'Square.' This includes a native 64-bit version for Linux, which I have verified works on my Debian Lenny LTSP server by simply copying to /usr/lib/iceweasel/plugins — with sound (which I was never able to figure out with running the 32-bit version with nspluginwrapper and pulseaudio)."

Nanoresonators Create Ultra-High-Res Displays 231

TuurlijkNiet writes with this excerpt from Linux for Devices: "Eat your heart out, 'Retina display.' A new technology unveiled yesterday will allow creating pixels eight times smaller than the ones on Apple's iPhone 4, eliminate the need for polarizer layers, and allow screens to make much more efficient use of available light, say University of Michigan researchers. ... The pixels in the nanoresonator displays are about ten times smaller than those on a typical computer screen, and about eight times smaller than the pixels on the iPhone 4, which are about 78 microns, according to Guo. Such pixel densities could make the technology useful in projection displays, as well as wearable, bendable or extremely compact displays, according to the researchers."
Hardware Hacking

Grad Student Invents Cheap Laser Cutter 137

An anonymous reader writes "Peter Jansen, a PhD student and member of the RepRap community, has constructed a working prototype of an inexpensive table-top laser cutter built out of old CD/DVD drives as an offshoot of his efforts to design an under $200 open-source Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printer. Where traditional laser cutters use powerful, fixed-focus beams, this new technique dynamically adjusts the focal point of the laser using a reciprocating motion similar to a reciprocating saw, allowing a far less powerful and inexpensive laser diode to be used. The technique is currently limited to cutting black materials to a depth of only a few millimeters, but should still be useful and enabling for Makers and other crafters. The end-goal is to create a hybrid inexpensive 3D printer that can be easily reconfigured for 2D laser cutting, providing powerful making tools to the desktop."
PlayStation (Games)

PS3 Hacked via USB Dongle 337

dlove67 writes " reports that the first PS3 modchip has been tested and confirmed to be working. Running off of a USB dongle, it appears to be relatively user friendly and claims to not void your warranty. Online gameplay works (at least for the time being). It's been a long time coming; cheers to the PS Jailbreak Guys." The video is attached below if you're curious. Can't help but point out that this wouldn't have happened if Sony hadn't decided to yank the Boot Other OS option.

Obama Wants Allies To Go After WikiLeaks 1088

krou writes "Coming on the back of human rights groups criticizing WikiLeaks, American officials are saying that the Obama administration is pressuring allies such as Australia, Britain, and Germany to open criminal investigations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and to try limit his ability to travel. 'It's not just our troops that are put in jeopardy by this leaking. It's UK troops, it's German troops, it's Australian troops — all of the NATO troops and foreign forces working together in Afghanistan,' said one American diplomatic official, who added that other governments should 'review whether the actions of WikiLeaks could constitute crimes under their own national-security laws.'"

Canonical Begins Tracking Ubuntu Installations 548

suraj.sun passes along this excerpt from Phoronix: "Just uploaded to the Ubuntu Lucid repository for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (and we imagine it will appear shortly in Maverick too for Ubuntu 10.10) is a new package called canonical-census, which marks its initial release. Curious about what this package provides, we did some digging and found it's for tracking Ubuntu installations by sending an 'I am alive' ping to Canonical on a daily basis. When the canonical-census package is installed, the program is to be added to the daily Cron jobs to be executed so that each day it will report to Canonical over HTTP the number of times this system previously sent to Canonical (this counter is stored locally and with it running on a daily basis it's thereby indicating how many days the Ubuntu installation has been active), the Ubuntu distributor channel, the product name as acquired by the system's DMI information, and which Ubuntu release is being used. That's all that canonical-census does, at least for now. Previously there haven't been such Ubuntu tracking measures attempted by Canonical."

Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" Frozen 202

edesio writes with a snippet from, trumpeting an announcement from the ongoing DebConf10 in NYC: "Debian's release managers have announced a major step in the development cycle of the upcoming stable release Debian 6.0 'Squeeze': Debian 'Squeeze' has now been frozen. In consequence this means that no more new features will be added and all work will now be concentrated on polishing Debian 'Squeeze' to achieve the quality Debian stable releases are known for. The upcoming release will use Linux 2.6.32 as its default kernel in the installer and on all Linux architectures.""

Apple Mines App Store Submissions For Patent Ideas 307

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Apple has started filing a bunch of patents on mobile applications. That might not be so interesting in and of itself, but if you look closely at the figures in one of the patents, you can see that it's a copy of the third-party Where To? application, which has been on the App Store since at least 2008. There's also a side-by-side comparison which should make it clear that the diagram was copied directly from their app. Even though it's true that the figures are just illustrations of a possible UI and not a part of the claimed invention, it's hard to see how they didn't get some of their ideas from Where To? It might also be the case that Apple isn't looking through the App Store submissions in order to patent other people's ideas, but it's difficult to explain some of these patents if they're not. And with the other patents listed, it's hard to see how old ideas where 'on the internet' has been replaced with the phrase 'on a mobile device' can promote the progress of science and useful arts. This seems like a good time to use Peer to Patent."

Giant Balloons Could Solve Space Junk Problem 210

An anonymous reader writes "More than 100,000 objects bigger than a centimeter wide hover around our planet, accounting for 4 million pounds of junk that befouls our atmosphere and threatens the expensive satellites we actually want in orbit. Dr. Kristen Gates, of Global Aerospace Corporation, proposes that we can clear the skies by attaching a football field-sized balloon to dead satellites, which would increase the orbital drag, eventually bringing a satellite down into the atmosphere where it would burn up. The GOLD — or Gossamer Orbit Lowering Device — unit is easily inflated in space, and best of all, if the deployed GOLD balloon collides with space junk, it won't deflate or break the junk into smaller, less manageable bits."

Rethinking Computer Design For an Optical World 187

holy_calamity writes "Technology Review looks at how some traditions of computer architecture are up for grabs with the arrival of optical interconnects like Intel's 50Gbps link unveiled last week. The extra speed makes it possible to consider moving a server's RAM a few feet from its CPUs to aid cooling and moving memory and computational power to peripherals like laptop docks and monitors."

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing for money.