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Australia

Fine-Structure Constant Maybe Not So Constant 105

Posted by samzenpus
from the variety-is-the-spice-of-life dept.
Kilrah_il writes "The fine-structure constant, a coupling constant characterizing the strength of the electromagnetic interaction, has been measured lately by scientists from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and has been found to change slightly in light sent from quasars in galaxies as far back as 12 billion years ago. Although the results look promising, caution is advised: 'This would be sensational if it were real, but I'm still not completely convinced that it's not simply systematic errors' in the data, comments cosmologist Max Tegmark of MIT. Craig Hogan of the University of Chicago and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., acknowledges that 'it's a competent team and a thorough analysis.' But because the work has such profound implications for physics and requires such a high level of precision measurements, 'it needs more proof before we'll believe it.'"

Comment: Re:Vectrex (Score 1) 492

by meepzorb (#33065068) Attached to: Our Video Game Heritage Is Rotting Away

Sure, it would be nice if we had the capability to preserve every game out there.

Um... we do have this capability. You yourself said we could fit it all on a flash drive.

He didn't nominate himself to be the one deciding which games were good and which ones were bad.

He said 'worth saving'. "Worth" implies value. He sure seemed to be passing judgement. Or, rather, like you, going for the cheap contrarian points. Otherwise... why comment at all?

"Meh, the sun swallows the earth in a cosmic eyeblink. Why bother?"

Comment: Re:Vectrex (Score 3, Interesting) 492

by meepzorb (#33061564) Attached to: Our Video Game Heritage Is Rotting Away

But most art is lost. And for good reason: because it's not worth saving.

...and who decides this? You? By what metric is 'value' determined? And why is your aesthetic the only one that counts?

Most of the Roman graffiti preserved at Pompei has dubious artistic value, but has great value to historians (to give insight as to how the 'little people' lived and thought back then).

Just because something's a throwaway for you doesn't mean it won't be of value to someone else, at some future time.

Image

Prince Says Internet Is Over 450

Posted by samzenpus
from the it-was-fun-while-it-lasted dept.
the_arrow writes "According to the artist currently known as Prince, 'The internet's completely over.' At least that what he says in an interview with the British newspaper Mirror. Quoting Prince: 'The internet's like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you.'"
First Person Shooters (Games)

Call of Duty: Black Ops Announced 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-aboard-the-hype-train dept.
UgLyPuNk writes "In amongst all the lawsuits and signings, Activision and Treyarch have found the time to announce the latest in one of the world's best-selling video game franchises: Call of Duty: Black Ops is due to hit shelves November 9." The official site has a trailer, which has been dissected for details by the folks at GameTrailers.
Image

How the Internet Didn't Fail As Predicted 259

Posted by samzenpus
from the series-of-popular-tubes dept.
Lord Byron Eee PC writes "Newsweek is carrying a navel-gazing piece on how wrong they were when in 1995 they published a story about how the Internet would fail. The original article states, 'Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we'll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.' The article continues to say that online shopping will never happen, that airline tickets won't be purchased over the web, and that newspapers have nothing to fear. It's an interesting look back at a time when the Internet was still a novelty and not yet a necessity."
Mars

Mars Images Reveal Evidence of Ancient Lakes 128

Posted by timothy
from the older-I-get-the-wetter-mars-was dept.
Matt_dk writes "Spectacular satellite images suggest that Mars was warm enough to sustain lakes three billion years ago, a period that was previously thought to be too cold and arid to sustain water on the surface, according to research published today in the journal Geology. Earlier research had suggested that Mars had a warm and wet early history but that between 4 billion and 3.8 billion years ago, before the Hesperian Epoch, the planet lost most of its atmosphere and became cold and dry. In the new study, the researchers analysed detailed images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is currently circling the red planet, and concluded that there were later episodes where Mars experienced warm and wet periods."
Image

Best Man Rigs Newlyweds' Bed To Tweet During Sex 272

Posted by samzenpus
from the nice-feed dept.
When an UK man was asked to be the best man at a friend's wedding he agreed that he would not pull any pranks before or during the ceremony. Now the groom wishes he had extended the agreement to after the blessed occasion as well. The best man snuck into the newlyweds' house while they were away on their honeymoon and placed a pressure-sensitive device under their mattress. The device now automatically tweets when the couple have sex. The updates include the length of activity and how vigorous the act was on a scale of 1-10.
Media

Lack of Manpower May Kill VLC For Mac 398

Posted by timothy
from the vlc-generally-rocks dept.
plasmacutter writes "The Video Lan dev team has recently come forward with a notice that the number of active developers for the project's MacOS X releases has dropped to zero, prompting a halt in the release schedule. There is now a disturbing possibility that support for Mac will be dropped as of 1.1.0. As the most versatile and user-friendly solution for bridging the video compatibility gap between OS X and windows, this will be a terrible loss for the Mac community. There is still hope, however, if the right volunteers come forward."
Earth

Yellowstone Supervolcano Larger Than First Thought 451

Posted by timothy
from the even-superer dept.
drewtheman writes "New studies of the plumbing that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park shows the plume and the magma chamber under the volcano are larger than first thought and contradicts claims that only shallow hot rock exists. University of Utah research professor of geophysics Robert Smith led four separate studies that verify a plume of hot and molten rock at least 410 miles deep that rises at an angle from the northwest."
Space

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Posted by kdawson
from the toil-and-trouble dept.
Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."
Space

Herschel Spectroscopy of Future Supernova 21

Posted by Soulskill
from the that's-a-big-star dept.
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."

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