MSNBC has up an article discussing the results of a Newsweek poll on faith and religion among members of the US populace. Given the straightforward question, 'Is evolution well-supported by evidence and widely accepted within the scientific community?', some 48% of Americans said 'No'. Furthermore, 34% of college graduates said they accept the Biblical story of creation as fact. An alarmingly high number of individuals responded that they believe the earth is only 10,000 years old, and that a deity created our species in its present form at the start of that period.
mr_3ntropy writes "Speaking to a sold out crowd at the Berkeley Physics Oppenheimer Lecture, Hawking said yesterday that he now believes the universe spontaneously popped into existence from nothing. He said more work is needed to prove this but we have time because 'Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.' There is also a Webcast available (Realplayer or Real Alternative required)."
narramissic writes "After 13 years as a loyal Red Hat user, Eric Raymond, co-founder of the Open Source Initiative, is switching to the Ubuntu distribution. In a message distributed to Linux mailing lists and news organizations, Raymond cited technical issues with Red Hat, such as the way repositories are maintained, the submission process and 'stagnant' development of Red Hat's packaging technology, as well as governance problems, the failure to gain desktop market share and the failure to include proprietary media formats. 'Over the last five years, I've watched Red Hat/Fedora throw away what was at one time a near-unassailable lead in technical prowess, market share and community prestige,' Raymond wrote. 'The blunders have been legion on both technical and political levels.'"
kad77 writes "It appears that, despite skepticism, 'muslix64' was the real deal. Starting from a riddle posted on pastebin.com, members on the doom9 forum identified the Title key for the HD-DVD release 'Serenity.' Volume Unique Keys and Title keys for other discs followed within hours, confirming that software HD-DVD players, like any common program, store important run-time data in memory. Here's a link to decryption utility and sleuthing info in the original doom9 forum thread. The Fair Use crowd has won Round One; now how will the industry respond?"
H4x0r Jim Duggan writes "The first recorded talk by Richard Stallman on free software was in 1986, so I've picked from the 2006 recordings and have made a transcript of a recent talk: The Free Software Movement and the Future of Freedom. Those two are the only transcripts of his general free software talk. Others that exist are on specific topics such as patents, GPLv3, copyright, etc. For those who've been reading Slashdot during the gradual evolution of Stallman's pronouncements, it's interesting to see what has changed over 20 years."
autophile writes "It's official: M-Law's 10th Annual Wacky Warning Label Contest is over. First prize has gone to a washing machine label urging not to put people in washers. Started to promote awareness of excessive litigation, the contest highlights common sense warning labels, such as the one that warns not to dry cellphones in microwave ovens. Companies find it necessary to stick crazy warnings on their products because of previous insane lawsuits: 'A front loader (washing machine) is just at the right height — speaking now as a mother and not a corporate spokeswoman — for a four-year-old,' said Patti Andresen Shew of Alliance Laundry Systems. Personally, I think a four-year-old precocious enough to read and understand all the warning labels hidden all over a product probably doesn't need those labels."
Roland Piquepaille writes "An international team of researchers has discovered a new generation of optical molecules which interact 50% more strongly with light than any molecules ever tested. These organic molecules, known as chromophores, have been theorized by physicists at Washington State University, synthesized by chemists in China and tested for their actual optical properties by chemists in Belgium. But if they're excellent candidates for being used in optical technologies such as optical switches and Internet connections, these new materials should not be used before several years — if ever. Read more for additional details and a picture of the physicist who broke a law he established in 1999."
netbuzz writes "The Sony brand name took a beating last year over all those burning batteries and the rootkit fallout, right? Wrong, at least according to a recent survey of 2,000 adults who are apparently willing to forgive just about anything ... if you give them the right reason. Other technology companies, most anyway, also fare well in the brand survey. From the article: 'According to the survey, the Sony brand finished a gaudy ninth among the "Top 20 Winners for 2006," sandwiched comfortably between a couple of saintly American icons: Oprah and the National Football League. Moreover, the respondents see Sony climbing to No. 4 among this year's gainers, right above Amazon and eBay. Moral: Build a better PlayStation and the American consumer will forgive all else.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Ever wondered, how P2P software like Skype directly exchanges data — despite the fact, that both machines are sitting behind a firewall that only permits outgoing traffic? Read about the hole punching techniques, that make a firewall admin's nightmares come true."
jpheasant writes "Eric Raymond argues time is running out to win over the iPod generation. To get there, he says the Linux community will need to make 'compromises.' For starters: 'Linux believers will have to reach out beyond self-absorbed geeks who learns Klingon and attends science fiction conventions in his spare time.'" From the article: "I mean that we need to be prepared to go to the rights holders for these proprietary codecs and say, we'll give you money, give us a license; and this is something that the Linux community has a huge antipathy to doing because we've got all this idealism about open source. And in the long run, I think that's true, I view comprising with the proprietary codec vendors as a tactical move designed to get us larger end user market shares, so that in the end we can push more things to the open."
BBCWatcher writes "Mike McCurry, former Clinton Administration Press Secretary turned telecommunications industry lobbyist, reacts to his many new critics in the battle over Net Neutrality: "There are millions and millions of good Democrats who get paid by corporations," he said, "and I think every time we bash corporations, we just turn off people who are in the middle of the political spectrum." Among others, top political blogger Markos Moulitsas Zúniga responded swiftly to McCurry's latest assertions: "What a dishonest piece of sh[..] McCurry has become. This is an anti-corporatist jihad, is it? Is that why we are aligned with Microsoft, Google, and eBay? And when did the Christian Coalition and the Gun Owners of America join the 'left'? What a pathetic attempt to marginalize those of us working for net neutrality....McCurry is now a sad, sad, pathetic man.""
Robert writes "Steve Ballmer told investors recently that Microsoft's biggest challenge is embracing software-as-a-service business models, as embodied by rival Google Inc. Investing in software as a service and advertising-supported businesses is a challenge like that which the company faced at the dawn of the open-source movement. To paraphrase him heavily, the takeaway was: Yes, we're investing a lot, but it's riskier, long-term, not to do so. We have a lot of cool stuff coming up and, yes, we are also playing catch-up on a couple of fronts. His speech came a month after Microsoft revealed that its R&D budget for fiscal 2007, which ends mid-2007, would rise to $6.2bn." From the article: "We've got to make this transition, which our industry is making, from software as a product to software as a service ... If you want to be a leading software company, you've got to be a leading software-as-a-service company."