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+ - Joint Dust Analysis Deflates Big Bang Signal->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Last March, when a group of astronomers announced that they had detected faint swirls in the sky that almost certainly reflected undulations in the shape of the early universe, experts agreed it could be one of the greatest cosmological discoveries of all time. If confirmed, the undulating “gravitational waves” would amount to near-proof of the Big Bang theory known as inflation, and their magnitude would reveal exactly how energetically the universe inflated 13.8 billion years ago, when, according to the theory, it grew from a speck in a fraction of a second.

But soon, many had doubts. The rising skepticism was validated this week, with a definitive analysis showing that the swirl pattern detected by the astronomers fits the profile of radiating space dust rather than gravitational waves.

Scientists cross-checked the data, which were gathered by the BICEP2 telescope, pixel-for-pixel against observations by the Planck telescope, which was better attuned to differences between dust and gravitational waves. The analysis confirmed what a previous Planck study suggested: Dust obscuring the patch of the sky probed by BICEP2 generated most if not all of the observed swirl pattern.

The results appeared in a leaked press release Thursday evening intended to accompany a paper that has been submitted for publication in Physical Review Letters.

So where, one might ask, does the new analysis leave the theory of cosmic inflation?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Nordic countries not the utopia they seem.->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Today the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's daily morning program The Current interviewed English author Michael Booth who explored each Nordic state with the aim of investigating the myth of the northern utopias. Then he wrote a book about it: The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia.

Nearly a decade ago, the writer moved to his wife's native Denmark. It was ranked as the happiest country in the world at the time, but Booth was somewhat baffled. He found the reality of life in a Nordic country quite different from the way the rest of the world believes it to be — a bastion of equality, social harmony, and rosy cheeks.

A podcast of the interview is available from The Current's podcast page."
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+ - How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft

Submitted by (3830033) writes "James B. Stewart writes in the NYT that in 1998 Bill Gates said in an interview that he “couldn’t imagine a situation in which Apple would ever be bigger and more profitable than Microsoft" but less than two decades later, Apple, with a market capitalization more than double Microsoft’s, has won. The most successful companies need a vision, and both Apple and Microsoft have one. But according to Stewart, Apple’s vision was more radical and, as it turns out, more farsighted. Where Microsoft foresaw a computer on every person’s desk, Apple went a big step further: Its vision was a computer in every pocket. “Apple has been very visionary in creating and expanding significant new consumer electronics categories,” says Toni Sacconaghi. “Unique, disruptive innovation is really hard to do. Doing it multiple times, as Apple has, is extremely difficult." According to Jobs' biographer Walter Isaacson, Microsoft seemed to have the better business for a long time. “But in the end, it didn’t create products of ethereal beauty. Steve believed you had to control every brush stroke from beginning to end. Not because he was a control freak, but because he had a passion for perfection.” Can Apple continue to live by Jobs’s disruptive creed now that the company is as successful as Microsoft once was? According to Robert Cihra it was one thing for Apple to cannibalize its iPod or Mac businesses, but quite another to risk its iPhone juggernaut. “The question investors have is, what’s the next iPhone? There’s no obvious answer. It’s almost impossible to think of anything that will create a $140 billion business out of nothing.”"

Comment: Re:What the Macbook 13" should be (Score 1) 114

Wrong. Latitude is Dell's business laptop brand. Supposed to be stronger/better than the home user laptop. Price, wrong again. With the same specs (SSD+8GB at the time), prices were similar. Yes, most of the Latitude product line was built on the same model. I wouldn't comment if that laptop wouldn't have been that deceitful. And I reply to an AC because I really feel Dell deserves that.

+ - LibreOffice gets a streamlined makeover, native alternatives for major Microsoft->

Submitted by TechCurmudgeon
TechCurmudgeon (3904121) writes "From PCWorld:
The Document foundation announced availability of the latest version of LibreOffice on Thursday, which it says is the most beautiful version of the open source productivity suite yet. LibreOffice 4.4 also fixes some compatibility issues with files that are saved in Microsoft's OOXML formats. LibreOffice 4.4 has got a lot of UX and design love," Jan "Kendy" Holesovsky, who leads the design team for Libreoffice, said in a statement.

LibreOffice 4.4 is currently available for Windows:"

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+ - D-Link Routers Vulnerable To DNS Hijacking 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "At least one and likely more D-Link routers as well as those of other manufacturers using the same firmware are vulnerable to remote changing of DNS settings and, effectively, traffic hijacking, a Bulgarian security researcher has discovered. Todor Donev, a member of the Ethical Hacker research team, says that the vulnerability is found in the ZynOS firmware of the device, D-Link's DSL-2740R ADSL modem/wireless router. The firmware in question is implemented in many networking equipment manufactured by D-Link, TP-Link Technologies and ZTE, he noted for Computerworld."

+ - US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One->

Submitted by Tyketto
Tyketto (97265) writes "Following up on a previous story about its replacement, the US Air Force has selected the Boeing 747-8 to replace the aging Presidential fleet of two VC-25s, which are converted B747-200s. With the only other suitable aircraft being the Airbus A380, the USAF cited Boeing's 50-year history of building presidential aircraft as their reason to skip competition and opt directly for the aircraft, which due to dwindling sales and prospects, may be the last 747s to be produced."
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+ - FCC Approved Change in the definition of Broadband->

Submitted by halfEvilTech
halfEvilTech (1171369) writes "As part of its 2015 Broadband Progress Report, the Federal Communications Commission has voted to change the definition of broadband by raising the minimum download speeds needed from 4Mbps to 25Mbps, and the minimum upload speed from 1Mbps to 3Mbps, which effectively triples the number of US households without broadband access. Currently, 6.3 percent of US households don’t have access to broadband under the previous 4Mpbs/1Mbps threshold, while another 13.1 percent don't have access to broadband under the new 25Mbps downstream threshold."
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Comment: Re:What the Macbook 13" should be (Score 2) 114

I'd have a hard time to trust Dell re. specs & perfs. Couple of years ago, a not-so-tecky colleague bought a Dell Latitude 15" (roughly) at the time I bought the MBA 13" (and helped her to config etc...). The Dell battery was ~2h (5h MBA) while 5-7 h advertised - the Dell was already much heavier, much thicker compared to the MBA (ok, 13" vs 15" but look at the MBA 15"..) ... but the advertised battery life was valid "if you purchase the [ugly] battery extension" that makes the device even more thicker. The build quality of the Latitude was pretty bad - closing the lid makes some noise like the plastic threatens to crack. The keyboard design has been botched up (eg arrow keys near small pg up/dn) and the touchpad .... the touchpad works like hell. The guys still didn't figure in 2012 what a touchpad algo should be.
Don't know about this new model - but I'd be very cautious before purchasing a dell myself.

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk