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Opossums Overrun Brooklyn, Fail To Eliminate Rats 343

__roo writes "In a bizarre case of life imitates the Simpsons, New York City officials introduced a population of opossums into Brooklyn parks and under the boardwalk at Coney Island, apparently convinced that the opossums would eat all of the rats in the borough and then conveniently die of starvation. Several years later, the opossums have not only failed to eliminate the rat epidemic from New York City, but they have thrived, turning into a sharp-toothed, foul-odored epidemic of their own."

Astronomers Solve the Mystery of 'Hanny's Voorwerp' 123

KentuckyFC writes "In 2007, a Dutch school teacher named Hanny van Arkel discovered a huge blob of green-glowing gas while combing though images to classify galaxies. Hanny's Voorwerp (meaning Hanny's object in Dutch) is astounding because astronomers have never seen anything like it. Although galactic in scale, it is clearly not a galaxy because it does not contain any stars. That raises an obvious question: what is causing the gas to glow? Now a new survey of the region of sky seems to have solved the problem. The Voorwerp lies close to a spiral galaxy which astronomers now say hides a massive black hole at its center. The infall of matter into the black hole generates a cone of radiation emitted in a specific direction. The great cloud of gas that is Hanny's Voorwerp just happens to be in the firing line, ionizing the gas and causing it to glow green. That lays to rest an earlier theory that the cloud was reflecting an echo of light from a short galactic flare up that occurred 10,000 years ago. It also explains why Voorwerps are so rare: these radiation cones are highly directional so only occasionally do unlucky gas clouds get caught in the crossfire."

Slackware 13.1 Released 155

Several readers made sure we are aware that Slackware 13.1 release is out. Here's the list of mirrors. "Slackware 13.1 brings many updates and enhancements, among which you'll find two of the most advanced desktop environments available today: Xfce 4.6.1, a fast and lightweight but visually appealing and easy-to-use desktop environment, and KDE 4.4.3, a recent stable release of the new 4.4.x series of the award-winning KDE desktop environment."

Feed Playstation Creator Steps Down From Sony (

Since he was appointed as the head of Sony two years ago, Howard Stringer has been trying to turn the company around. It's been a struggle, both as the company deals with a number of quality problems, but also as it's pushed new products and technologies on consumers with little success. Some of them, like Blu-ray DVDs, are simply overpriced and unappealing, while others are so burdened with DRM that they're largely useless. The Playstation 3 was supposed to be a big part of the company's turnaround, but it was delayed as Sony waited for the Blu-ray drive to be ready -- and then the cost of the drive helped contribute to the reported $300 per-unit loss Sony takes on each PS3. Perhaps the only saving grace there is that PS3 sales haven't been too high, holding down the losses. It's not too surprising, then, to see the head of Sony's video game unit, Ken Kutaragi, announce he's stepping down. Kutaragi created the Playstation and led the unit during the launch and lifespan of the PS2 -- Sony's last significant, large-scale hit product -- but couldn't repeat the trick with the PS3. It's also worth noting that Kutaragi was about the only Sony exec to admit that the company's love affair with DRM was holding it back. Kutaragi had been replaced as president (but not chairman and CEO) of the unit last November by Kaz Hirai, who will take over his other roles as well. It's hard to see this shift leading to any substantial changes, when it's becoming increasingly clear that's what's needed at Sony.

Feed Antivirus is dead? (

Blog: Despite theories that new threats are simply too fast, stealthy, and targeted for tried-and-true antivirus software, antivirus is not dead. But its role has changed.
Linux Business

Submission + - Linux Kernel 2.6.21 Released

Daishiman writes: "The new Linux kernel has been released, with a host of notable features. Linus Torvalds writes on the Linux Kernel Mailing List:

"If the goal for 2.6.20 was to be a stable release (and it was), the goal for 2.6.21 is to have just survived the big timer-related changes and some of the other surprises (just as an example: we were apparently unlucky enough to hit what looks like a previously unknown hardware errata in one of the ethernet drivers that got updated etc)."

Other notable feature is the new scheduler."

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.