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Submission + - Asteroid the 'Size of a Minivan' Exploded over California (

astroengine writes: "The source of loud "booms" accompanied by a bright object traveling through the skies of Nevada and California on Sunday morning has been confirmed: it was a meteor. A big one. It is thought to have been a small asteroid that slammed into the atmosphere at a speed of 15 kilometers per second (33,500 mph), turning into a fireball, delivering an energy of 3.8 kilotons of TNT as it broke up over California's Sierra Nevada mountains. Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, classified it as a "big event." "I am not saying there was a 3.8 kiloton explosion on the ground in California," Cooke told "I am saying that the meteor possessed this amount of energy before it broke apart in the atmosphere. (The map) shows the location of the atmospheric breakup, not impact with the ground." Interestingly, this event was bigger than asteroid 2008 TC3 that exploded over the skies of Sudan in 2008 after being detected before it hit."

Herschel Spectroscopy of Future Supernova 21

davecl writes "ESA's Herschel Space Telescope has released its first spectroscopic results. These include observations of VYCMa, a star 50 times as massive as the sun and soon to become a supernova, as well as a nearby galaxy, more distant colliding starburst galaxies and a comet in our own solar system. The spectra show more lines than have ever been seen in these objects in the far-infrared and will allow astronomers to work out the detailed chemistry and physics behind star and planet formation as well as the last stages of stellar evolution before VYCMa's eventual collapse into a supernova. More coverage is available at the Herschel Mission Blog, which I run."

Florida To Build Solar-Powered City 195

Mike writes "The sunny state of Florida just announced that they will begin construction this year on the world's first solar-powered city. A collaboration between Florida Power & Light and development firm Kitson & Partners, the 17,000 acre city will generate all of its electrical needs via a 75 megawatt, $300 million solar-powered generator. The city will also use smart grid technology to manage its power and allow all inhabitants of the community to monitor their energy consumption."

Apple Planning Video-Call iPhone 268

An anonymous reader writes "The recently awarded iPhone patent contains hidden claims which indicate Apple is planning to bring video calling and recording features to the iPhone, according to InfoWeek blogger Alex Wolfe. Buried within the 'embodiments' section of patent number 7,479,949 is this: 'In some embodiments, the functions may include telephoning, video conferencing, e-mailing, instant messaging, blogging, digital photographing, digital videoing, web browsing, digital music playing, and/or digital video playing.' Wolfe also cites language indicating Apple is aware that having a rear-facing camera is an impediment towards video calls (and also taking pictures of yourself.): 'In some embodiments, an optical sensor is located on the front of the device so that the user's image may be obtained for videoconferencing while the user views the other video conference participants on the touch screen display.' Screen caps of the patent drawing are also available."

Tim Russert Dies At 58 196

SputnikPanic writes "Tim Russert, NBC News' Washington bureau chief and moderator of the popular Sunday talk program Meet the Press, has died of an apparent heart attack. He was 58. Russert was known as an even-handed journalist who did not shy away from asking direct and often difficult questions of politicians regardless of their political persuasion. Earlier this year, Russert had been named by Time Magazine as one of the '100 most influential people in the world.'"

Journal Journal: Teaching Programming to Kids? 2

I'm an undergrad Math/CS student. One of my cousins, an exceptionally bright 11-year-old, is interested in learning to program. I'd like to give him some kind of direction; at least, more than I got: to teach him to avoid bad habits, use design patterns (OO vs procedural, especially) properly, and make sure that he stays interested. I'd like to see what Slashdot thinks: what are appropriate resources to use? Which language should I try to teach him? Are there any good books out there?

We're here to give you a computer, not a religion. - attributed to Bob Pariseau, at the introduction of the Amiga