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Space

Spectrum of Light Captured From Distant World 32

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-are-you-made-of dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Cosmos: "Astronomers have made the first direct capture of a spectrum of light from a planet outside the Solar System and are deciphering its composition. The light was snared from a giant planet that orbits a bright young star called HR 8799 about 130 light-years from Earth, said the European Southern Observatory (ESO). ... The find is important, because hidden within a light spectrum are clues about the relative amounts of different elements in the planet's atmosphere. 'The features observed in the spectrum are not compatible with current theoretical models,' said co-author Wolfgang Brandner. 'We need to take into account a more detailed description of the atmospheric dust clouds, or accept that the atmosphere has a different chemical composition from that previously assumed.' The result represents a milestone in the search for life elsewhere in the universe, said the ESO. Until now, astronomers have been able to get only an indirect light sample from an exoplanet, as worlds beyond our Solar System are called. They do this by measuring the spectrum of a star twice — while an orbiting exoplanet passes near to the front of it, and again while the planet is directly behind it. The planet's spectrum is thus calculated by subtracting one light sample from another."
Businesses

How 10 Iconic Tech Products Got Their Names 247

Posted by timothy
from the slash-dev-slash-random dept.
lgmac writes "Think Windows Azure is a stupid name? Ever wonder how iPod, BlackBerry and Twitter got their names? Author Tom Wailgum goes inside the process of creating tech product names that are cool but not exclusionary, marketable, and most of all, free of copyright and trademark gotchas. Here's the scoop on ten iconic tech products and how they got their monikers, plus a chat with the man responsible for naming Azure, BlackBerry, and more. (What's the one he wishes he'd named but didn't? Google.)"
The Internet

China To Run Out of IPv4 Addresses In 830 Days 619

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the blame-canada dept.
JagsLive writes "China is running out of IP addresses unless it makes the switch to IPv6. According to the China Internet Network Information Center, under the current allocation speed, China's IPv4 address resources can only meet the demand of 830 more days and if no proper measures are taken by then, new Chinese netizens will not be able to gain normal access to the Internet. Li Kai, director in charge of the IP business for CNNIC's international department, says that if a netizen wants to get access to the Internet, an IP address will be necessary to analyze the domain name and view the pages. At present, most of the networks in China use IPv4 addresses. As a basic resource for the Internet, the IPv4 addresses are limited and 80% of the final allocation IP addresses have been used."
The Military

Tiny, Morphing, Electricity-Stealing Spy Planes Developed 163

Posted by Zonk
from the go-go-gadget-gadgetery dept.
tkohler writes "The Air Force Research Lab is developing an Electric Motor-powered Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) that can 'harvest' energy when needed by attaching itself to a power line. It can also temporarily change its shape to look more like innocuous piece of trash hanging from the cable. For domestic spying, maybe it will morph into a pair of sneakers?"
Security

3.2 Billion Dollars Lost to Phishing in 2007 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the hello-sir-madam-from-nigeria dept.
mrneutron2003 brings us FastSilicon's summary of a Gartner survey which found that 3.2 billion dollars were lost in 2007 to phishing scams. "Gartner's latest survey into the realm of phishing attacks paints a rather bleak picture for 2007, with a record estimated loss of $3.2 Billion (that's Billion, with a B) U.S. Dollars. Overall loss per incident fell (to $886 from $1,244 lost on average in 2006) but the numbers of individuals who fell victim rose quite sharply from 2.3 Million in 2006 to a staggering 3.6 Million. Though online portals Paypal and eBay remained the most spoofed brands, it appears phishers are getting more creative utilizing fake electronic greetings cards, foreign businesses, and charitable organizations in their attacks on consumers. Furthermore these criminals are increasingly targeting debit card and banking credentials rather than credit cards, because the fraud protection mechanisms there are far weaker, according to a study done at The University of California at Berkeley.
Handhelds

Does Constant Access Shatter the Home/Work Boundary? 321

Posted by Zonk
from the and-is-that-a-bad-thing dept.
StonyandCher has passed us a link to PCWorld.au, once again raising the tough topic of work/life separation. A department of the Australian government went ahead with a purchase of dozens of Blackberry communication devices, but is now delaying their deployment. The reason: "Staff expressed fears about BlackBerries contributing to a longer working day and felt it was going a step too far because mobile phones are adequate for out-of-office contact. Not everyone agreed, however, with some senior executives claiming a BlackBerry can contribute to work/life balance by facilitating telecommuting and more flexible schedules. " For the time being this issue is on hold for those staffers, but how does this issue fall for you? Is constant accessibility freeing or just another chain around your neck?
Spam

Spam Trap Claims 10x-100x Accuracy Gain 419

Posted by kdawson
from the see-it-when-i-believe-it dept.
SpiritGod21 writes in with a NYTimes article on a new approach to spam detection that claims out-of-the-box improvement of 1 or 2 orders of magnitude over existing approaches. The article wanders off into human-interest territory as the inventor, Steven T. Kirsch, has an incurable disease and an engineer's approach to fighting it. But a description of the anti-spam tech, based on the reputation of the receiver and not the sender, is worth a read.
Math

The Gap Between Stats and Understanding In Flu Cases 83

Posted by Zonk
from the we-need-more-science dept.
KentuckyFC writes "Bird flu gets all the headlines but ordinary flu kills several orders of magnitude more people each year and represents a significant threat to our society. The frightening thing about ordinary flu is how little we understand about how it spreads. According to a report at the physics arXiv blog, researchers trying to model this process say they still don't know some basic probabilities associated with infection (pdf, abstract). For instance, given that the disease has manifested itself clinically in an individual, what are the chances of that person dying? And if a virus can be caught from a number of different host species (as it might eventually be with bird flu) what is the probability of transmission?"
Patents

Vonage Settles With Verizon for at Least $80M 74

Posted by Zonk
from the tough-room dept.
netbuzz writes "Fresh off agreeing to pay Sprint Nextel $80 million earlier this month, Vonage has now agreed to compensate Verizon at least $80 million to settle their patent dispute, and the total could hit $117 million depending on the outcome of appeals Vonage has pending. 'If Vonage wins rehearing on either the '574 or '711 patent or if the injunction is vacated as to the '574 or '711 patent, Vonage will pay Verizon $80 million. If Vonage does not win rehearing on either the '574 or '711 patent, or if the stay is lifted reinstating the injunction, Vonage will pay Verizon $117.5 million.' And, of course, don't forget AT&T just recently opened charges against the company as well."
Networking

Aussie Claims Copper Broadband now 200x Faster 208

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the alarms-going-off-in-brain dept.
SkiifGeek writes "Winner of Melbourne University's Chancellor's Prize for Excellence, Dr John Papandriopoulos could soon find himself the focus of a number of networking companies and government agencies interested in wringing more performance from existing network infrastructure. Dr John developed a set of algorithms (US and Aussie patents pending) that reduce the impact of cross talk on data streams sharing the same physical copper line, taking less than a year to achieve the breakthrough. It is claimed that the algorithms can produce up to 200x improvement over existing copper broadband performance (quoted as being between one and 25 mbit/sec), with up to 200 mbit/sec apparently being deliverable. If the mathematical theories are within even an order of magnitude of the actual gains achieved, Dr John's work is likely to have widespread implications for future bandwidth availability across the globe."
Power

Electric Motorcycle Inventor Crashes at Wired Conference 337

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the egg-on-face dept.
not5150 writes "The inventor of the electric 'KillaCycle" motorcycle was taken to the hospital for x-rays after demonstrating the vehicle to reporters. Bill Dube, a government scientist during the day and bike builder at night, attempted a burnout in front of the Los Angeles Convention Center during the Wired NextFest fair. Fueled by the "most powerful" lithium-ion batteries in the world, the bike accelerated uncontrollably into another car. There's a video interview (thankfully before the crash) and footage of Dube crashing."
Science

Scientists Offer 'Overwhelming' Evidence Terran Life Began in Space 556

Posted by Zonk
from the we-are-all-made-of-stardust dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Using data from recent comet-probing space missions, British scientists are reporting today that the odds of life starting on Earth rather than inside a comet are one trillion trillion (10 to the power of 24) to one against. That is, we're not originally from around here. Radiation in comets could keep water in liquid form for millions of years, they say, which along with the clay and organic molecules found on-board would provide an ideal incubator. 'Professor Wickramasinghe said: "The findings of the comet missions, which surprised many, strengthen the argument for panspermia. We now have a mechanism for how it could have happened. All the necessary elements - clay, organic molecules and water - are there. The longer time scale and the greater mass of comets make it overwhelmingly more likely that life began in space than on earth."'" jamie points out that the author of this paper has many 'fringe' theories. Your mileage may vary.

God may be subtle, but he isn't plain mean. -- Albert Einstein

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