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Earth

Humans Nearly Went Extinct 70,000 Years Ago 777

Posted by Soulskill
from the come-from-behind-victory dept.
Josh Fink brings us a CNN story discussing evidence found by researchers which indicates that humans came close to extinction roughly 70,000 years ago. A similar study by Stanford scientists suggests that droughts reduced the population to as few as 2,000 humans, who were scattered in small, isolated groups. Quoting: "'This study illustrates the extraordinary power of genetics to reveal insights into some of the key events in our species' history,' said Spencer Wells, National Geographic Society explorer in residence. 'Tiny bands of early humans, forced apart by harsh environmental conditions, coming back from the brink to reunite and populate the world. Truly an epic drama, written in our DNA.'"
Programming

Are C and C++ Losing Ground? 961

Posted by Soulskill
from the lots-of-ground-to-lose dept.
Pickens writes "Dr. Dobbs has an interesting interview with Paul Jansen, the managing director of TIOBE Software, about the Programming Community Index, which measures the popularity of programming languages by monitoring their web presence. Since the TIOBE index has been published now for more than 6 years, it gives an interesting picture about trends in the usage of programming languages. Jansen says not much has affected the top ten programming languages in the last five years, with only Python entering the top 10 (replacing COBOL), but C and C++ are definitely losing ground. 'Languages without automated garbage collection are getting out of fashion,' says Jansen. 'The chance of running into all kinds of memory problems is gradually outweighing the performance penalty you have to pay for garbage collection.'"
Microsoft

First Looks at Microsoft's New "Live Mesh" Platform 208

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the live-mesh-all-nude dept.
technirvana writes "Microsoft's Live Mesh service launched today as an invite-only 'technology preview.' It is Microsoft's attempt to tie all of our data together. Live Mesh synchronizes data across multiple devices (currently just Windows computers, but theoretically it will extend to mobile and other devices in the future) as well as to a web desktop that exists in the cloud. It can sync data across devices used by a single users, as well as create shared spaces for multiple users." And since it's run by Microsoft, you know you can trust it.
Data Storage

Seagate Ships Billionth Hard Drive 245

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the ok-how-much-pron-is-that-now dept.
Lucas123 writes "Seagate's first drive, shipped in 1979 was the ST506, which had a capacity of 5MB and cost a cool $1,500 — or $300 per megabyte. Today, a typical Seagate holds 1TB and cost just 1/5000th of a cent ($0.0002) per megabyte. Seagate, which claims to be the first company to ship a billion drives, says all those drives amounted to 79 million terabytes of capacity, enough for 158 billion hours of digital video or 1.2 trillion hours of MP3 songs." Update: 04/23 14:56 GMT by CT : The quoted fraction is wrong. Someone complain to ComputerWorld. Update: 04/23 15:13 GMT by CT : TY. The site is corrected to say "just 1/50th of a cent ($0.0002) per megabyte." The universal equation is once again balanced.
Music

EMI Says Online File Storage Is Illegal 405

Posted by kdawson
from the you-will-play-only-what-you-rent-from-us dept.
WiglyWorm writes "MP3tunes CEO Michael Robertson sent out an email to all users of the online music backup and place-shifting service MP3tunes.com, asking them to help publicize EMI's ridiculous and ignorant lawsuit against the company. EMI believes that consumers aren't allowed to store their music files online, and that MP3tunes is violating copyright law by providing a backup service."
Privacy

NJ Supreme Court Rules For Internet Privacy 84

Posted by timothy
from the now-let's-keep-isp-and-bank-records-private-too dept.
dprovine writes "The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that ISPs can't release customer information without a warrant. The unanimous decision reads in part 'We now hold that citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy protected by Article I ... of the New Jersey Constitution, in the subscriber information they provide to Internet service providers — just as New Jersey citizens have a privacy interest in their bank records stored by banks and telephone billing records kept by phone companies.'"
Privacy

British Police Use Facebook to Gather Evidence 128

Posted by timothy
from the nothing-at-all-creepy-about-that dept.
Amy Bennett writes "Move over police scanner and most-wanted poster. The Greater Manchester Police force has created a Facebook application to collect leads for investigations. The application delivers a real-time feed of police news and appeals for information. A 'Submit Intelligence' link takes a Facebook user to the police Web site where they can anonymously submit tips. Another link leads to the videos on YouTube featuring information on the police force, ongoing investigations and other advisories." As reader groschke writes, though, "Their access to user data raises significant civil liberties problems. They may be able to see more of your data than your friends or network members can — and you also expose your friends' data when you add the application. All without needing a subpoena or warrant."
Privacy

FBI and Next-Gen P2P Monitoring 122

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the big-brother-wants-to-give-you-a-hug dept.
AHuxley writes "Can the FBI get funding to create a next-generation network monitoring and database system for P2P networks, web sites, and chat rooms? Could the FBI's Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) network be opened to more law enforcement agents across the USA? Will the tracking of p2p users via 'unique serial numbers' generated from a person's computer be expanded from its first use in late 2005? Is your p2p application or plug-in sending back your MAC address, firmware revision, manufacture date, GUID or other details?" Could this story submitter pose any more questions in his submission? Won't someone please think of the ... oh, never mind.
Technology

UK Scientists Make Transistor One Atom Long, 10 Atoms Wide 186

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-win-this-round-moore dept.
Bibek Paudel points out a story about the latest step forward in the development of nano-scale circuits. Researchers from the University of Manchester have created some of the smallest transistors ever, measuring only one atom by 10 atoms. The transistors are made out of graphene, which has the potential to replace silicon in the never-ending hunt for smaller computer technology. From NewScientist: "There are other kinds of prototype transistors in this size range. But they usually need supercooling using liquid gas, says Novoselov. The new graphene devices work at room temperature. Such prototypes are typically made by building one atom at a time, or wiring up individual molecules. Those approaches are complex and impractical, Novoselov says. By contrast, the graphene transistors were made in the same way that silicon devices are, by etching them out of larger pieces of material. 'That's their big advantage,' he says."
Earth

Eco-Marathon Team Hits 2,843 mpg 314

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the hard-to-fit-your-groceries-in-there dept.
At this year's Shell Eco-marathon Americas event the team from Mater Dei High School shattered last year's record by traveling 2,843.4 miles on a single gallon of gasoline. "How did the Evansville, Ind., team come up with its winning airfoil-meets-teardrop design and beat out its largely collegiate competitors? "It comes from trial and error, seeing what works and what doesn't," an unidentified student and team member told a local newscaster Friday. Those top three vehicles, like most in the competition (25 out of 33 total), used internal combustion engines. The goal for all entrants was to travel as far as possible using as little fuel as possible. Vehicles--sans driver--couldn't weigh more than 160 kilograms (352 pounds), while drivers had to weigh at least 50 kilograms."
Security

Guerrilla IT, Embracing the Superuser? 423

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the which-one-am-i-again dept.
snydeq writes "First it's letting users manage their own PCs and now it's sanctioning the shadow IT projects they do on the down low: 'You probably know them. They're the ones who installed their own Wi-Fi network in the break room and distribute homemade number-crunching apps to their coworkers on e-mail. They're hacking their iPhones right now to work with your company's mail servers. In short, they're walking, talking IT governance nightmares. But they could be your biggest assets, if you use them wisely. The reason superusers go rogue is usually frustration, says Marquis. "It's a symptom of the IT organization being unable to meet or even understand the needs of its customers," he says. "Otherwise, it wouldn't be happening." The solution? Put them to work.'"
Networking

Satellite IDs Ships That Cut Cables 186

Posted by kdawson
from the busted-from-the-sky dept.
1sockchuck writes "Undersea telecom cable operator Reliance Globalcom was able to use satellite images to identify two ships that dropped anchor in the wrong place, damaging submarine cables and knocking Middle East nations offline in early February. The company used satellite images to study the movements of the two ships, and shared the information with officials in Dubai, who impounded the two vessels. The NANOG list has a discussion of where Reliance might have obtained satellite images to provide that level of detail. Google News links more coverage of the developments."
Earth

Flowers' Smell Not Traveling As Far 113

Posted by kdawson
from the bloom-is-off-the-rose dept.
Ant writes in to note a study indicating that, because of air pollution, the smell of flowers is not wafting as far as it once did. Pollutants from power plants and automobiles destroy flowers' aromas, the study suggests: "The scent molecules produced by flowers in a less polluted environment, such as in the 1800s, could travel for roughly 1,000 to 1,200 meters; but in today's polluted environment downwind of major cities, they may travel only 200 to 300 meters." The finding could help explain why some pollinators, particularly bees, are declining in certain parts of the world.
Government

Bill Gates's Wish Is Homeland Security's Command 374

Posted by kdawson
from the one-way-or-another dept.
theodp writes "PC World reports that DHS has extended the time foreign graduates of US colleges can stay in the country and work to almost two-and-a-half years, an 'emergency' change that drew kudos from Microsoft and other H-1B visa stakeholders. Looks like when Bill Gates says 'Jump,' the government asks 'How high?' Bill Gates's Congressional Testimony, March 12, 2008: 'Extending OPT from 12 to 29 months would help to alleviate the crisis employers are facing due to the current H-1B visa shortage. This only requires action by the Executive Branch, and Congress and this Committee should strongly urge the Department of Homeland Security to take such action immediately.' DHS Press Release, April 4, 2008: 'The US Department of Homeland Security released today an interim final rule extending the period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) from 12 to 29 months for qualified F-1 non-immigrant students.'"

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