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Space

+ - China Space Official Confounded by SpaceX Price->

Submitted by hackingbear
hackingbear (988354) writes "Declining to speak for attribution, the Chinese officials from Great Wall Industry, a marketing arm of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CAST), say they find the published prices on the SpaceX website very low for the services offered, and concede they could not match them with the Long March series of launch vehicles even if it were possible for them to launch satellites with U.S. components in them. According to the SpaceX website, launch on a Falcon 9 — which has an advertised lift capacity of 10,450 kg. (23,000 lb.) — from Cape Canaveral costs $54 million — $59.5 million. If the SpaceX price is real and its quality is proven, both are big IFs, it is remarkable to see that US can beat China in term of price. Between August 1996 and August 2009, the Chinese rockets have achieved 75 consecutive successful launches were conducted, ending with a partial failure in the launch of Palapa-D on August 31, 2009. If we all learn from SpaceX, maybe soon China will outsource from the US."
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Books

+ - Book Review for "R Graphs Cookbook"->

Submitted by
RickJWagner
RickJWagner writes "Once upon a time, I thought communication was one of my strong suits. Alas, a few years into my programming career I realized I'm more of the heads-down codeslinging type, not one of the schmoozing managerial types. So when I have a point to make, I really like to have my data ready to do the talking for me. In that capacity, this book is a very good weapon to have in the arsenal.

Right away, you should realize this is not a book that teaches R. R (an excellent open source statistical language) is a great tool for any technician. I've used it to analyze logs, find performance bottlenecks, and make sense of mountains of nearly unrecognizable data. But this book doesn't teach R, it teaches R graphing.

It turns out R has excellent graphing capabilities. You can draw scatter plots, line plots, pie graphs, bar charts, histograms, box and whisker plots, heat maps, contour maps and 'regular' maps. These are all good for demonstrating data in different ways, and the book lightly explains which graph will help you illustrate which point.

If you're getting a little interested, you'll also want to know that all this graphing can be scripted and scheduled. So you can get data-driven reports on a schedule, easily accomplished once you know how to write the graphing scripts (which are then scheduled using cron or a similar facility). One small caveat: To prepare your data for presentation, I think it's usually necessary to partner R with another language that's better for text extracting and manipulation. I prefer Python for this task, you might like another language.

The book is exceptionally easy to read and work with. This doesn't mean it's simplistic, though. Anyone who's tangled with R's graphing without a good example will testify that figuring out the various functions and arguments necessary to wrangle a descriptive graph can be really difficult. This book gives you the kind of graphs you need, with the bells and whistles you're going to want, in a series of snippets you can run immediately.

The book is written in Packt's 'Recipe' format. In a nutshell, this means that it's a series of how-to sections worded in a templated form. There are headings for sections that inform you what you're going to accomplish, how it's done, and why it worked. You quickly realize it's a repetitive format, but it serves to make the book an excellent resource for quick reference.

Another really nice feature of the book is the downloadable source code and matching data. Knowing the data is half the battle, really. The specific formulas given are certainly useful, but without knowing how the underlying data is formatted you really wouldn't get nearly the practical value. For that reason, I urge anyone using this book to be sure they examine the underlying data for at least the first few formulas. After that, it'll be automatic, you'll know you want to look at that data when you're trying to master some graph type. Then when you go to make your own data ready for graphing, you reach for that secondary language like Python, extract the fields you want in a way similar to your example data set, and presto-- you've got the graph you want.

The book starts out with a first chapter that introduces the kinds of graphs you'll be able to produce and situations where each type is most useful. The next chapters, up until the final one, are in-depth sections on each of the graph types. Maps are treated to a different chapter than pie graphs, for instance. The final chapter covers putting final touches on your graphs, including saving them in different formats (PDF, PNG, JPEG, etc.) and niceties like adding scientific notations, mathematical symbols, etc.

The book states that the target audience is experienced R programmers. I really don't think that's necessary, though. There is an obligatory R installation section, and I think that a reasonably competent programmer with Google at his disposal could get off the ground (for graphing purposes) with this book and a little bumbling. If you already know R, then you needn't worry at all, there is nothing here that will look foreign to you.

If I could change one thing about the book, I'd want a comprehensive index of all the functions and arguments that augment the basic core functions that produce the example graphs. These functions and arguments tweak the basic function in ways that make them much more appealing than what the basic function alone can provide. But the book isn't able to show each and every combination with each graphing function, so it's up to the reader to figure out how to pick some of the options from one recipe and apply it to another. It's not difficult to do, but having an index to help you find the options you want would make this process easier.

Final grade: 8 out of 10.

The book can be found here: https://www.packtpub.com/r-graph-cookbook/book

 "

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Government

+ - Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Pins US Job Losses on iPad

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. went on an anti-technology rant on Friday on the floor of Congress, blaming the iPad for eliminating thousands of American jobs. 'Why do you need to go to Borders anymore?' asked Jackson. 'Why do you need to go to Barnes & Noble? Buy an iPad, download your book, download your newspaper, download your magazine.' Jackson continued: 'What becomes of publishing companies and publishing company jobs? And what becomes of bookstores and librarians and all of the jobs associated with paper? Well, in the not too distant future, such jobs simply will not exist. Steve Jobs is doing pretty well. He's created the iPad. Certainly, it has made life more efficient for Americans, but the iPad is produced in China. It is not produced here in the United States. So, the Chinese get to take advantage of our First Amendment value — that is to provide freedom of speech through the iPad to the American people. But there is no protection for jobs here in America to ensure that the American people are being put to work.'"

+ - Judge Rules That Police Can Bar High I.Q. Scores-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A Federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a man who was barred from the New London police force because he scored too high on an intelligence test. Judge Dorsey ruled that Mr. Jordan was not denied equal protection because the city of New London applied the same standard to everyone: anyone who scored too high was rejected."
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+ - Judge Reveals Secret Righthaven Copyright Contract

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Joe Mullin writes in Paid Content that US District Judge Roger Hunt has unsealed the confidential agreement between Righthaven and the Las Vegas Review-Journal that has allowed Righthaven to sue over more than 250 charities, impoverished hobby bloggers, reporters, and the newspaper’s own sources for $150,000 each in damages and forfeiture of the sites' domain names, and the contents of the agreement could end up being ruinous for Righthaven’s campaign of copyright lawsuits. The problem is that Stephens Media, the company that owns the Las Vegas Review-Journal, didn’t actually assign any of the rights related to copyright to Righthaven except the right to sue—and that has been found in Silvers vs. Sony Pictures to be illegal under case law. In other words, none the important things that come with a copyright—such as the right to make copies of a work, or distribute it, or make “derivative works”—were handed off to Righthaven. Only the right to sue was given, and that makes the copyright transfer bogus, argue lawyers for the Democratic Underground who are being sued for one of its website users posting the first four paragraphs of a 34 paragraph story. “There is an old adage in the law that, if the facts are on your side, you pound on the facts. If the law is on your side, you pound on the law," says Judge Hunt who joins District Judge John Kane in becoming angry at Righthaven’s litigation behavior. "If neither the facts nor the law is on your side, you pound on the table. It appears there is a lot of table pounding going on here.”"
Security

+ - Are Computer Crooks Renting Out Your PC?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Brian Krebs posted an interesting piece today looking at an invite-only service marketed on shadowy underground forums that lets crooks "rent" or "buy" access to individual botted PCs that can be used to tunnel traffic. The story looks at the mechanics of renting out bots, and the author traces some of the infected systems back to real businesses. From the post: "The Limited; Santiam Memorial Hospital in Stayton, Ore.; Salem, Mass. based North Shore Medical Center; marketing communications firm McCann-Erickson Worldwide; and the Greater Reno-Tahoe Economic Development Authority.""
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Google

+ - Feds Approve Google's Purchase of ITA Software->

Submitted by
itwbennett
itwbennett writes "The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) has approved Google's $700 million acquisition of online flight-data specialist ITA Software, but with stringent conditions. From a DOJ press release announcing its approval of the purchase:

[I]n order for Google Inc. to proceed with its proposed acquisition of ITA Software Inc., the department will require Google to develop and license travel software, to establish internal firewall procedures and to continue software research and development. The department said that the proposed settlement will protect competition for airfare comparison and booking websites and ensure those websites using ITA’s software will be able to power their websites to compete against any airfare website Google may introduce.

"

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Cloud

+ - Google Entering Live Streaming With YouTube Live->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "YouTube has already live streamed a number of popular concerts, sporting events, and interviews, but most were one-time deals. Now Google wants to crank it up a notch, and has announced YouTube Live.
YouTube Live integrates live streaming capabilities and discovery tools directly into the YouTube platform. This means a new YouTube Live browse page at youtube.com/live, where you can always find live events happening on YouTube and add events to your calendar, as well as the ability to subscribe to your favorite YouTube live-streaming partners and be notified of upcoming live streams on your customized homepage."

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Communications

+ - Kyoto Prize Laureate Unsnarls Electronic Networks->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Electronic networks--from wireless cellular to the Internet--are often too big to simulate node-by-node, but new uses of graph theory are unsnarling them, according to former Microsoft Research fellow and electronics-guru Laszlo Lovasz, who spoke at the Kyoto Prize Symposium this week. "We are identifying what is common to these networks—mathematically—so that even very large networks can be accurately modeled," said Lovasz. He also showed some very cool methods that anybody can use to make any network--even simple organizational charts--easier to read. And even if you don't use them for real work, they are just fun to play with (his app, for instance, allows you to input a random network, which it then redraws right before your eyes so no connections cross over each other, making them extremely legible)."
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Government

+ - US can conduct warrantless searches of computers->

Submitted by suraj.sun
suraj.sun (1348507) writes "U.S. can conduct warrantless searches of computers seized at borders, appeals court rules:

Laptop computers and other digital devices carried into the U.S. may be seized from travelers without a warrant and sent to a secondary site for forensic inspection, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled last week. The ruling is the second in less than a year that allows the U.S. government to conduct warrantless, offsite searches of digital devices seized at the country's borders.

A federal court in Michigan last May issued a similar ruling in a case challenging the constitutionality of the warrantless seizure of a computer at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Several other courts, including the Ninth Circuit itself, have ruled that warrantless, suspicion-less searches of laptops and other digital devices can take place at U.S. border locations.

ComputerWorld: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9215554/U.S._can_conduct_offsite_searches_of_computers_seized_at_borders_court_rules"

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Apple

+ - Remembering the Apple I->

Submitted by
harrymcc
harrymcc writes "This month marks the 35th anniversary of Apple--and the 35th anniversary of the Apple I, its first computer. It was a single-board computer that was unimaginably more rudimentary than any modern Mac--it didn't even come with a case and keyboard standard--but in its design, sales, and marketing we can see the beginnings of the Apple approach that continues to this day. I'm celebrating with a look at this significant machine."
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+ - 30 years to clean up Fukushima Daichi->

Submitted by 0WaitState
0WaitState (231806) writes "Damaged reactors at the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant may take three decades to decommission and cost operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. more than 1 trillion yen ($12 billion), engineers and analysts said.

Also related, the problems with disposing of 55 thousand tons of radioactive water"

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DRM

+ - AirTunes private key cracked->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Hacker James Laird has reportedly extracted the private RSA key for the AirTunes (RAOP) protocol from the ROM of his AirPort Express. If confirmed, third party media software such as VLC ( http://comments.gmane.org/gmane.comp.video.videolan.vlc.devel/77383 ) could convince iTunes that they are valid Apple ApEx.

The public key had already been exposed by Jon Lech Johansen a few years ago."

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