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Space

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Posted by kdawson
from the toil-and-trouble dept.
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."
Image

Want to Eat Chocolate Every Day For a Year? 158

Posted by samzenpus
from the dental-nightmare dept.
Scientists from the University of East Anglia are studying the potential health benefits of dark chocolate, and need 40 female volunteers who would like to eat chocolate every day for a year. The chocolate loving 40 must be post-menopausal and have type 2 diabetes so it can be determined if the flavonoid compounds in chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease. Dr Peter Curtis, of the UEA's School of Medicine, said, "Our first volunteers are about to return for their final visit to see if the markers of heart health - such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels — have changed. A successful outcome could be the first step in developing new ways to improve the lives of people at increased risk of heart disease."
Media

+ - Brazilian site contains great anti-DRM guides

Submitted by
drmbreaker
drmbreaker writes "In Brazil, far from the claws of the DMCA, a webpage has been written in English with straightforward instructions on how to break the DRM in iTunes, DVDs, and other sources, as well as on how to use BitTorrent, and how to download videos from YouTube and other video sites. The instructions are simple and step-by-step, down to each click of the mouse. Anyone can follow them, not just techies. Most people do not realize that DVDs can be ripped, copied, and mixed almost as easily as CDs. Everyone deserves to know how this can be done, especially given how many tools today make this very easy indeed. The site stresses that it does not support piracy, and that these techniques should be used only to back-up or transcode media that is already legitimately owned. Remember, making back-up copies and transcoding media content to enjoy it on different platforms is a legal right we all should protect and practice. Please spread this site's address around to as to weaken the grip of DRM even further."
Software

+ - Why pirated software is a problem in the 3rd world

Submitted by RockDoctor
RockDoctor (15477) writes "Dark Reading, the security-related online journal, carries an article by one Nathan Spande who works in Cambodia. Locally he finds that OpenOffice.Org and MS Office are the same price ($2), or $7-20 by downloading. He discusses why the economics of OpenSource don't work in this environment, and how it contributes to global computer security issues through the "little extras" (trojans, spambots and other malware) that typically accompany such "local editions" of software. Spande's analysis strikes me as being solid. I still remember my suspiscion of buying software in Russia (a 5-language dictionary-thesaurus-pronunciation assistant) for $10, and my utter astonishment when it's on-line activation routine actually worked and left me (well, my wife) with a computer that is still working 2½ years later. Hmm, 4 new versions of Lingvo since we got her copy — maybe we should upgrade next time one of us is in Russia.
The economics of software outside the west are very different to what most people are used to."
Microsoft

+ - 7 reasons to use Windows Vista in a SMB environmen

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A blog asks the question if you should use Windows Vista or not — and answers it with a yes.

The Article shows 7 reasons why you should adopt Windows Vista, while mentioning that Vista isn't a revolution, but just a natural progression of Windows development. The focus is on the SMB market, ignoring home users and enterprise users altogether."
User Journal

SPAM: 'NYT' Reporter Who Got Iraqi WMDs Wrong Now Highlights Iran 3

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

Saturday's New York Times features an article, posted at the top of its Web site late Friday, that suggests very strongly that Iran is supplying the "deadliest weapon aimed at American troops" in Iraq. The author notes, "Any assertion of an Iranian contribution to attacks on Americans in Iraq is both politically and diplomatically volatile."

What is the source of this volatile information? Nothing less than "civilian and military officials from a broad range of government agencies."

Security

+ - Barack Obama's New Site Exploited

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "MyBarackObama.com, Barack Obama's social networking site allowing supporters to write blogs and organize events, is vulnerable to a cross site scripting attack. The hole would allow an attacker to gain access to a user's account if they visit a site containing malicious code. A description of the exploit is given along with sample code."
Mozilla

+ - flaw in way firefox updates extensions

Submitted by
Rishabh Singla
Rishabh Singla writes "mozilla firefox has a flaw in the way it tries to update extensions when there is no active internet connection. instead of simply telling the user that there is no internet connection available, firefox throws up an incorrect error message as well as removes all the available updates from the list. this could be irksome and maybe harmful to some.
check out the details here
http://rishabhsingla.blogspot.com/2007/02/mozilla- firefoxs-way-of-updating.html"
Space

+ - Is Astronaut "Abuse" Root Cause of Nowak I

Submitted by
Rob Carr
Rob Carr writes "A lot of speculation has been made on what caused astronaut mission specialist Lisa Nowak to break. None of the articles mention one of the worst stressors: the job of astronaut is one of the worst jobs in science. People are willing to pay tens of millions of dollars to be an astronaut, which doesn't give the astronaut much leverage with the employer. Since the beginning of spaceflight, NASA has treated its astronauts poorly even while promoting them as American heroes. The first public break came during the Skylab 4 mission when the astronauts staged a work stoppage because of the inhuman schedules they faced. On the ground, astronauts are hired "at will" and have to do any scut work or lab rat duty they're assigned. The steady strain of humiliation and disrespect can disrupt even the strongest of coping mechanisms. Did "astronaut abuse" set Nowak up for her breakdown? If not corrected, does NASA's treatment of its employees put missions away from Earth (like lunar colonies and manned trips to Mars) at grave risk?"
Education

+ - How a school created a new computer lab for free

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "iSolemamba school is in Durban, South Africa. Like every other school on the planet, it needed a computer lab. Basic infrastructure costs were covered, but there wasn't much money left over to buy computer equipment. Now iSolemamba school has a working computer lab, with computers running the latest software and quality training materials."

http://inpics.net/isolemamba/
http://digg.com/linux_unix/How_a_school_created_a_ new_computer_lab_for_free
http://etux.osrn.org.za/"
Education

+ - Girls of Engineering

Submitted by breadlord
breadlord (827860) writes "I can remember a few hardcore individuals standing in a circle at 4 AM after a (7 PM) Linux UG meeting in an old warehouse, talking on and on about anything tech. The problem was, you could count the number of females who attended on one hand, and they were often somebody's bored girlfriend. Occasionally we had an older woman who was there to solve a business problem, and she moved on afterward. This story made the Chicago Sun-Times earlier in the week, and I was surprised not to see it on /. Some folks at the U of I have put together a Girls of Engineering calendar, showing smart women in attractive circumstances. Besides supercomputing and the birth of web browsing, there are other reasons to get excited about technology in Urbana-Champaign. Of course there's a backlash as well, but as I'm a parent of a young daughter with hopes for her future, I like to see something that reconciles female attraction, which is widely hyped and institutionalized, with intelligence and exploration. Perhaps the two need to be associated more often. http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/246420,CST-NWS- calendar07.article"

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn

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