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Submission + - Scientists discover nearby 'diamond planet' (extremetech.com) 1

MrSeb writes: "Scientists at Yale University have discovered a nearby super-Earth that is a “diamond planet” — a planet that has a mantle made of graphite and diamond. The planet, called 55 Cancri e, is just 40 light years from Earth and orbits the binary star 55 Cancri, which is located in the constellation of Cancer. When the planet was first observed last year, it was originally thought to be a water planet, similar to Earth, but new information has allowed the scientists to infer that the planet is much more likely to be a diamond planet. The Yale scientists estimate that as much as one third of 55 Cancri e’s mass is made up of diamond — the same as three Earth masses, or roughly 18×1024kg. This is a few trillion times more diamond than has ever been mined on Earth. The identification of just a single diamond-rich planet is massive news. In recent years we have identified hundreds of rocky, Earth-like planets — and until now, we had assumed they had similar make-ups. It is now fairly safe to assume that there are millions of diamond planets in the universe."

Submission + - 19,000 emails against and 0 in favour of Draft Communications Bill (computerworlduk.com)

Qedward writes: Open source writer Glyn Moody discusses the Draft Communications Bill (aka Snooper's Charter) in the UK and how the Joint Parliamentary Committee that had been considering the bill received almost 19,000 emails during its consultation period.

He notes: "Out of 19,000 emails received by the Committee on the subject of the proposed Draft Communications Bill, not a single one was in favour of it, or even agreed with its premise. Has there ever been a bill so universally rejected by the public in a consultation? Clearly, it must be thrown out completely."...

Unfortunately the link to the consultation document itself is also now broken.


Submission + - New Zealand turning Hobbits into cash, literally (cbsnews.com)

Curseyoukhan writes: "With its economy struggling, New Zealand hopes to cash in on "The Hobbit" by turning it into actual cash. The nation is releasing special commemorative coins depicting characters from J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved book. The coin release coincides with the premiere of the first installment in Peter Jackson's film adaptation of the book. It is also part of a publicity campaign aimed to rebrand the country "100 percent Middle Earth.""

Submission + - Prince of Sealand dies (guardian.co.uk)

jdavidb writes: 46 years ago, occupying an abandoned WWII platform off the coast of Britain, Paddy Roy Bates declared independence, naming himself Prince of the Principality of Sealand. Today, Bates has passed away at 91.

Long time Slashdot readers will remember Sealand as the site of HavenCo, an unsuccessful data warehousing company that tried to operate from Sealand outside the reach of larger nations' legal structures. They may also remember plans that the Pirate Bay had at one time to buy Sealand.

Bates had moved to a care home a few years ago, naming his son Michael Regent of Sealand.


Submission + - Linux Developers Still Reject NVIDIA Using DMA-BUF (phoronix.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Many Linux laptop users are quick to bash NVIDIA over their lack of proper Optimus support. In August NVIDIA confirmed they were working on NVIDIA Optimus Linux support. As part of their Optimus Linux implementation they want to use DMA-BUF for the multi-GPU interactions just like the open-source drivers, so that they can all work together. Unfortunately, the developers of the linux kernel prevent NVIDIA to finish their implementation by not allowing non-GPL drivers to use this unified buffer sharing infrastructure.

Should NVIDIA use the F-word to respond to their intransigence ?


Submission + - Conficker worm still being tracked, but evidence collection slows (networkworld.com)

alphadogg writes: The notorious malware known as the Conficker worm still infects computers, a sort of wild horse with no rider, but investigators appear no closer to finding its creator. Also known as "Downandup," Conficker was discovered in November 2008, exploiting a vulnerability in Windows XP that allowed remote file execution when file-sharing was enabled. Microsoft patched it a month later. At its peak, Conficker infected upwards of 7 million computers, and Microsoft still ranks Conficker as the second-most prevalent malware family on domain-joined computers. Security researchers with the Conficker Working Group along with vendors including Microsoft successfully cut off the Conficker's operators from the botnet, but the group is still working to try to find Conficker's master. The problem is that botnet operators have stayed away from Conficker and not tried to reclaim it, a welcome development but one that leaves researchers with a lack of fresh electronic leads. "Well, we sort of won in that regard," , said Jose Nazario, a malware researcher. "On the other hand, if they're not interacting with it, there's no more evidence coming in."

Submission + - Want to Dispose of Apple's iPod Packaging? Just Add Water (mashable.com)

concealment writes: "The EarPod case doesn’t completely disappear, but when placed in warm water, it pretty soon becomes pliable, and soon falls apart. After a few minutes, the result is a bunch of pulp (see inset photo). Do not, however, try to dip the iPhone 5‘s EarPod case into water. That thing is all hard plastic."

Submission + - Aiming for 350kmh, China is Trying Out Its New Train (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: "On a trial run in northeastern China, the new Harbin-Dalian high-speed train flew through mountainous provinces at peak speeds of 300km/h, or 186mph. It made the 921 km trip from Harbin to Dalian in only four hours, a distance that’s roughly equivalent to cruising from Washington, D.C. to Montreal. That is one fast train, and it’s going to get faster.

Once engineers pass it through a couple more safety checks and test runs, China Northern Railways’ modified CRH380A trains will be able to cruise the same track at a nostril-scorching 350km/h average — or 217mph. This cuts the same trip down by nearly an hour. Conditioned for incredible disparities in regional climate along the line, the weather-proofed train cars will be able to comfortably withstand temperatures from 104 degrees Fahrenheit down to 40 below.

While Chines bullet train accidents, like that one the Wenzhou line last year, are cause for shady coverups and speculation that the trains are going too fast, accidents in the People’s Republic are far off the pace of the record setting countries like India, which experiences disturbances almost weekly. Even the United States — with the largest rail network on the planet — experiences more than those reported within a 1.3 billion person country. (Of course, as the attempted Wenzhou coverup highlighted, there is a question of how many malfunctions don’t get reported.)"


Submission + - Motorola's Whacked Lapdock Can Make Raspberry Pi Base (slashdot.org)

Nerval's Lobster writes: "Poor sales have driven Motorola Mobility to whack the Webtop, its attempt to make Android into an all-in-one operating system for both smartphones and traditional PCs.

Motorola confirmed the death to CNET before issuing a widely circulated statement. Webtop allowed users to plug their Motorola device into a special laptop dock, which could then display Web pages and files on a full screen. Supported devices included the Motorola Atrix 2, which launched with Android 2.3 (“Gingerbread”) and a dual-core 1GHz processor.

For those few who bought a Webtop and now need something to do with it, Liliputing posted an article earlier this year about using the device to transform Raspberry Pi into a laptop (with the aid of some key accessories). Raspberry Pi’s homebrew computer features a 700MHz processor capable of overclocking to 1GHz and 256MB of RAM, as well as an SD card for longer storage—specs that lag those of the latest smartphones, but Raspberry Pi has the virtue of being quite a bit cheaper at $35."

Submission + - Economic Decline Has Less Impact on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

An anonymous reader writes: The contribution of economic decline in reducing greenhouse gas emissions is very low, reveals a new study. Researcher Richard York of the University of Oregon studied data collected between 1960 and 2008 from more than 150 nations in order to analyze the impact of economic decline on greenhouse gas emissions.

Submission + - The Rise of Open Education (openeducation.us)

killectric writes: "The open education movement is picking up steam as David Wiley, who was recently named Senior Fellow at Digital Promise (http://www.digitalpromise.org/), has just launched his Winter 2012 Openness in Education class-- a MOOC or Massively Open Online Course in which anyone can participate. Badges are awarded for completion. The course begins with the topics Open Licensing and Open Source.

Other notable MOOCs include DS106 (http://ds106.us/) and Change11 (http://change.mooc.ca/). They are representative of the new educational possibilities that technology offers and the importance of Open Educational Resources (OER) to provide educational opportunities to people who might not otherwise be able afford or access education traditionally."


Submission + - Arfa Karim Randhawa Youngest Microsoft Certified P (ibtimes.com)

Empresz writes: Arfa Karim Randhawa, who at 9 years old became the world's youngest Microsoft Certified Professional, has died on Saturday at the age of 16. She suffered an epileptic seizure and cardiac arrest and was hospitalized for nearly a month before dying.

Piezo Crystals Harness Sound To Generate Hydrogen 187

MikeChino writes "Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered that a mix of zinc oxide crystals, water, and noise pollution can efficiently produce hydrogen without the need for a dirty catalyst like oil. To generate the clean hydrogen, researchers produced a new type of zinc oxide crystals that absorb vibrations when placed in water. The vibrations cause the crystals to develop areas with strong positive and negative charges — a reaction that rips the surrounding water molecules and releases hydrogen and oxygen. The mechanism, dubbed the piezoelectrochemical effect, converts 18% of energy from vibrations into hydrogen gas (compared to 10% from conventional piezoelectric materials), and since any vibration can produce the effect, the system could one day be used to generate power from anything that produces noise — cars whizzing by on the highway, crashing waves in the ocean, or planes landing at an airport."

Submission + - Verizon Denounces Network Neutrality (internetnews.com) 1

darthcamaro writes: There are a lot of opinions in the U.S debate over network neutrality. The FCC is set to announce their ruling tomorrow but today Verizon's CEO Ivan Seidenberg came out with a stinging attack against it. Speaking at the big Supercomm conference in Chicago, Verizon's chief blasted network neutrality as a burdonsome regime that that could put the U.S back into a full blow recession.

"If a burdensome regime of network neutrality is imposed on all parts of the Internet industry, it will inject an extraordinary amount of bureaucratic oversight into the economy's main growth engine to the future," Seidenberg said."We can't create a smart economy by dumbing down our critical infrastructure. "We can't move forward by pitting network providers and applications developers against each other when the real promise of broadband is an expanding pie for everyone."

Submission + - Iran's nuclear ambitions (theglobeandmail.com)

selven writes: "Following Iran's revelation regarding its secret nuclear enrichment plant, western leaders are banding together against it, saying that it violates Articles 2 and 3 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and suggesting serious sanctions against the country if it refuses to back down on its uranium enrichment program. Iran maintains that it nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only and that it's not fair for the US to be criticizing them in this way while having thousands of nuclear warheads."

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed." -- Robin, The Boy Wonder