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Submission + - Did the politicians do all the math on solar energy? (

gadget junkie writes: Funnily enough, Northern European countries have put the most solar panels in place. in this story on the Daily Telegraph, some of the foreseable problems seem to emerge: grid bottleneck, wide differences between peak output and average output. The suggested solution is mindboggling to an economic analyst like me: install them at an angle which would cause them to generate the most energy in the afternoon (namely: face west, and all will be fine). This adds to the cost obviously, since it is less efficient. Why is it practically impossible to get an unbiased economic study on alternative energy?

Antarctic's First Plane, Found In Ice 110

Arvisp writes "In 1912 Australian explorer Douglas Mawson planned to fly over the southern pole. His lost plane has now been found. The plane – the first off the Vickers production line in Britain – was built in 1911, only eight years after the Wright brothers executed the first powered flight. For the past three years, a team of Australian explorers has been engaged in a fruitless search for the aircraft, last seen in 1975. Then on Friday, a carpenter with the team, Mark Farrell, struck gold: wandering along the icy shore near the team's camp, he noticed large fragments of metal sitting among the rocks, just a few inches beneath the water."

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."

Submission + - Proton beams sent around the LHC (

feldhaus writes: The BBC reports that the first beams for over one year have been successfully sent around the complete circumference of the Large Hadron Collider. Engineers do not yet have a stable circulating beam but they hope to by 0600 GMT on Saturday.

Submission + - Bing Censoring all Chinese Language Querys ( 2

boggis writes: Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times journalist is calling for a boycott of Microsoft Bing (so don't click that link). They have censored search requests at the request of the Chinese Government (like certain others). The difference is that Bing have censored all searches done anywhere in simplified Chinese characters (The characters used in mainland China). This means that a Chinese speaker searching for Tiananmen anywhere in the world now gets the impression that it is just a lovely place to visit.

Submission + - Microsoft Security Essentials final released 1

Bimal writes: After a short three-month beta program, Microsoft is officially releasing Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), its free, real-time consumer antimalware solution for fighting viruses, spyware, rootkits, and Trojans. MSE is yet another layer of defense the company is offering to help its customers fight the threats that plague Windows PCs. Microsoft Security Essentials is available for Windows XP 32-bit, Windows Vista/7 32-bit, and Windows Vista/7 64-bit. "Ars puts MSE through its paces and finds an unobtrusive app with a clean interface that protected us in the dark corners of the Internet." The software received positive notes when in beta, but now it's available to the public.

Submission + - Cosmic Rays Hit Space Age High (

jcgam69 writes: "NASA spacecraft are measuring record-high levels of cosmic rays--a side-effect of the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century. The cosmic ray storm appears to be intensifying, say researchers, and the peak may be yet to come."

"Today's robots are very primitive, capable of understanding only a few simple instructions such as 'go left', 'go right', and 'build car'." --John Sladek