JThaddeus writes "The Associated Press reports that 'After nine months of tests, researchers in France have identified the head of France's King Henry IV.' Henry was assassinated in 1610, and his head has been missing. His body was dug up and decapitated during the French Revolution. Researchers found features similar to those in royal portraits, and radiocarbon dating confirms that the head dates to the 17th Century. Interestingly, 'Perfumers on the team used their professionally trained noses to identify specific embalming substances in the mouth used to hide nasty odors.' The results have been published an online medical journal."
Kymermosst writes "Today marks the last day that SunSolve will be available. Oracle sent the final pre-deployment details today for the retirement of SunSolve and the transition to its replacement, My Oracle Support Release 5.2, which begins tomorrow. People who work with Sun's hardware and software have long used SunSolve as a central location for specifications, patches, and documentation."
Knile writes "While not the youngest patent recipient ever (that would be a four year old in Texas), Bryce Gunderman has received a patent at age 8 for a space-saver that combines an outlet cover plate with a shelf. From the article: '"I thought how I was going to make a lot of money," Bryce said about what raced through his brain when he received the patent.'"
mernilio writes "According to UPI: 'A Massachusetts school district superintendent said a memo banning sixth graders from carrying pencils was written without district approval. North Brookfield School District interim Superintendent Gordon Noseworthy said Wendy Scott, one of two sixth-grade teachers at North Brookfield Elementary School, did not get approval from administrators before sending the memo to all sixth-grade parents, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported Thursday. The memo said students would no longer be allowed to bring writing implements to school. It said pencils would be provided for students in class and any students caught with pencils or pens after Nov. 15 would face disciplinary action for having materials 'to build weapons.'"
itwbennett writes "It's one of those questions that really should never come up, but as blogger Peter Smith points out, Stephen Toulouse, the head of Xbox Live enforcement, is used to fielding all sorts of strange questions. Recently, one of those questions was apparently 'Can I use a Swastika as my logo in Call of Duty: Black Ops?' When Toulouse responded with the obvious answer ('No, of course you can't, we'll ban you.') he was met with some pushback by people he refers to as 'contrarians' and 'internet pundits' who decided to educate him on the long and storied history of the swastika as a symbol of good fortune and how just because the Nazis used it, it doesn't make the symbol itself a bad thing. Toulouse covers the topic on his blog in a post titled Context and it's an interesting read if for no other reason than to get a peek inside the day-to-day issues the Xbox Live Enforcement team deals with."
One of England's oldest graveyards is under siege by badgers. Rev Simon Shouler now regularly patrols the grounds of St. Remigius Church looking for bones that the badgers have dug up. The badger is a protected species in England so they can not be killed, and attempts to have them relocated have been blocked by English Nature. From the article: "At least four graves have been disturbed so far; in one instance a child found a leg bone and took it home to his parents. ... Rev. Simon Shouler has been forced to carry out regular patrols to pick up stray bones, store them and re-inter them all in a new grave."
spopepro writes "While un-captioned cats might be of limited interest to the /. community, I found this column on how a fabricated statistic takes on a life of its own interesting. Starting with the Humane Society of the United States' (HSUS) claim that the unsterilized offspring of a cat will '...result in 420,000 cats in 5 years,' the author looks at other erroneous numbers, where they came from and why they won't go away."
DrFrasierCrane writes "You think you feel weighed down when your dentist lays that lead apron on you to take X-rays: how about the doctors who deal with radiation treatments and have to wear those aprons all day long? A Dallas, Texas, doctor has created a 'zero gravity' radiation suit for just that problem. From the article: 'Physicians are supposed to wear a lead apron during those procedures. It is back-breakingly heavy and doesn't cover the body completely. The zero gravity suit eliminates the weight and the exposed openings.'"
thsoundman writes with this excerpt from thegamersblog: "We live in a world where we have multiple platforms for gaming: PC, PS3, 360, Wii, etc. Each platform has varying amounts of power when it comes to playing games. Activision, one of the leading cross-platform publishers, wishes to move away from the 'walled gardens' set by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. ... [Activision CEO Bobby] Kotick’s solution is to turn to the PC, where it can set its own model for pricing — not unlike what Blizzard has done with World of Warcraft and Battle.net. Kotick stated that Activision would 'very aggressively' support the likes of HP and Dell in any attempt at making an easy 'plug-and-play' PC that would hook up directly to the TV."
jangel writes "While its strategy for mobile devices might be a mess, Microsoft has announced something we'll all benefit from. The company's patented design for battery contacts will allow users of portable devices — digital cameras, flashlights, remote controls, toys, you name it — to insert their batteries in any direction. Compatible with AA and AAA cells, among others, the 'InstaLoad' technology does not require special electronics or circuitry, the company claims."
crimeandpunishment writes "Housewives, college students, and others are working for a website that charges users an hourly rate for their companionship. No, it's not an escort service — at least it's not one 'with benefits.' It's a site called rentafriend.com, that's trying to carve out a niche in the 'everything's available online' business world. The seven-month-old site, patterned after hugely successful sites in Asia, has nearly 2,000 members who pay either a monthly or yearly fee to check out the pictures and profiles of more than 160,000 potential pals." I thought Craigslist had already cornered the market on renting a friend for an hour or two.
When Iron Baby wants O's, Iron Baby gets O's.
An anonymous reader tips a piece in Australian Geographic indicating that Pluto may be in for another demotion, as researchers work to define dwarf planets more exactly. "[Australian researchers] now argue that the radius which defines a dwarf planet should instead be from 200–300 km, depending on whether the object is made of ice or rock. They base their smaller radius on the limit at which objects naturally form a spherical rather than potato-like shape because of 'self-gravity.' Icy objects less than 200 km (or rocky objects less than 300 km) across are likely to be potato shapes, while objects larger than this are spherical. ... They call this limit the 'potato radius' ... [One researcher is quoted] 'I have no problem with there being hundreds of dwarf planets eventually.'"
A US judge has granted political asylum to a family who said they fled Germany to avoid persecution for home schooling their children. Uwe Romeike and his wife, Hannelore, moved to Tennessee after German authorities fined them for keeping their children out of school and sent police to escort them to classes. Mike Connelly, attorney for the Home School Legal Defence Association, argued the case. He says, "Home schoolers in Germany are a particular social group, which is one of the protected grounds under the asylum law. This judge looked at the evidence, he heard their testimony, and he felt that the way Germany is treating home schoolers is wrong. The rights being violated here are basic human rights."
goldaryn writes "Word from the BBC today is that Europe's biggest space company is seeking partners to help get a satellite-based solar power trial into orbit: 'EADS Astrium says the satellite system would collect the Sun's energy and transmit it to Earth via an infrared laser, to provide electricity. Space solar power has been talked about for more than 30 years as an attractive concept because it would be 'clean, inexhaustible, and available 24 hours a day.' However, there have always been question marks over its cost, efficiency and safety. But Astrium believes the technology is close to proving its maturity.'"