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Science

Thousands of Blackbirds Fall From Sky Dead 577

Posted by samzenpus
from the silent-spring dept.
Dan East writes "In a fashion worthy of a King or Hitchcock novel, blackbirds began to fall from the sky dead in Arkansas yesterday. Somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 birds rained down on the small town of Beeb, Arkansas, with no visible trauma. Officials are making wild guesses as to what happened — lightning strike, high-altitude hail, or perhaps trauma from the sound of New Year's fireworks killed them."
Image

Jordanian Mayor Angry Over "Alien Invasion" Prank 217

Posted by samzenpus
from the war-of-the-worlds dept.
krou writes "Jordanian mayor Mohammed Mleihan has taken a dim view of local newspaper Al-Ghad's April Fools prank, which saw a front page story claiming that 'flying saucers flown by 3m (10ft) creatures had landed in the desert town of Jafr.' The paper claimed that communication networks had gone down, and people were fleeing the area. The mayor called the local security authorities, who combed the area, but they were unable to find any evidence of the aliens. Mr Mleihan is now considering suing because of the distress it caused to residents: 'Students didn't go to school, their parents were frightened and I almost evacuated the town's 13,000 residents. People were scared that aliens would attack them.'" I guess they've never heard of Orson Welles in Jordan.
Books

Puzzle In xkcd Book Finally Cracked 90

Posted by kdawson
from the be-there-or-be-somewhere-else dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After a little over five months of pondering, xkcd fans have cracked a puzzle hidden inside Randall Munroe's recent book xkcd: volume 0. Here is the start of the thread on the xkcd forums; and here is the post revealing the final message (a latitude and longitude plus a date and time)."
Games

Game Industry Vets On DRM 372

Posted by Soulskill
from the other-perspectives dept.
An anonymous reader points out an article at SavyGamer in which several game industry veterans were polled for their opinions on DRM. Cliff Harris of Positech Games said he didn't think his decision to stop using DRM significantly affected piracy of his games, accepting it as an unavoidable fact. "Maybe a few of the more honest people now buy the game rather than pirate it, but this sort of thing is impossible to measure. You can see how many people are cracking and uploading your game, but tracking downloads is harder. It seems any game, even if it's $0.99 has a five hour demo and is DRM-free and done by a nobel-peace prize winning game design legend, will be cracked and distributed on day one by some self righteous teenager anyway. People who crack and upload games don't give a damn what you've done to placate gamers, they crack it anyway." Nihal de Silva of Direct2Drive UK said his company hasn't noticed any sales patterns indicating customers are avoiding games with DRM. Richard Wilson of TIGA feels that customers should be adequately warned before buying a game that uses DRM, but makes no bones about the opinion that the resale of used games is not something publishers should worry about.
Image

Facebook Master Password Was "Chuck Norris" 319

Posted by samzenpus
from the ad-nauseum-roundhouse dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "A Facebook employee has given a tell-all interview with some very interesting things about Facebook's internals. Especially interesting are all the things relating to Facebook privacy. Basically, you don't have any. Nearly everything you've ever done on the site is recorded into a database. While they fire employees for snooping, more than a few have done it. There's an internal system to let them log into anyone's profile, though they have to be able to defend their reason for doing so. And they used to have a master password that could log into any Facebook profile: 'Chuck Norris.' Bruce Schneier might be jealous of that one."
Biotech

Hadrosaur Proteins Sequenced 81

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-tell-hammond dept.
jd writes "In a follow-up study to the one on proteins found in a T. Rex bone, the team responsible for the T. Rex study sequenced proteins found in an 80-million year old Hadrosaur fossil. According to the article, the proteins found confirm the results of the T. Rex study, proving that what was found in T. Rex was not a result of modern contamination, as had been claimed by skeptics, but was indeed the genuine thing: real dinosaur protein. Furthermore, despite the new fossil being 12 million years older, they claim they got more out — eight collagen peptides and 149 amino acids from four different samples. This, they say, places the Hadrosaur in the same family as T. Rex and Ostriches, but that not enough was recovered to say just how close or distant the relationship was."
Medicine

Reliable Male Contraceptive In the Works 519

Posted by kdawson
from the aichmophobia-belonephobia dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The BBC reports that recent tests in China indicate a monthly injection of testosterone, which works by temporarily blocking sperm production, could be as effective at preventing pregnancies as the female pill or condoms. In trials in China only one man in 100 fathered a child while on the injections, and six months after stopping the injections the mens' sperm counts returned to normal. The lead researcher said that if further tests proved successful, the treatment could become widely available in five years' time. Previous attempts to develop an effective and convenient male contraceptive have encountered problems over reliability and side effects, such as mood swings and a lowered sex drive. However, despite the injection having no serious side effects, almost a third of the 1,045 men in the two-and-a-half year study did not complete the trials; no reason was given for this."
Cellphones

Apple May Loosen Restrictions With iPhone 3.0 178

Posted by kdawson
from the minimallly-invasive dept.
mr100percent writes "Apple rejected the iPhone aggregator app Newspapers because of a topless photo in one of the app's subscribed-to papers. In the rejection message, Apple noted that Parental Controls have been announced for iPhone OS 3.0, adding that it 'would be appropriate to resubmit your application for review once this feature is available.' Rumor sites are speculating that Apple will relax their content restrictions once the 3.0 update puts parental controls in place. This may mean that apps like NIN will be allowed in the future."

Comment: Why Science Lost (Score 3, Informative) 646

by ronys (#27384293) Attached to: Mixed Outcome of Texas Textbook Vote

Superficially, the decision sounds fine - of course we want students to analyze the scientific evidence! The problem is that the creationists are going to come back with a novel definition of 'scientific' evidence that treats Intelligent Design as a scientific hypothesis, and they're going to demand textbooks that include a treatment of all kinds of nonsensical 'theories'. ID is not scientific. It has no evidence in its favor (pointing out that we lack intermediate fossils showing the evolution of the lesser red-necked Argentinian swamp leech is not evidence that it was designed). But the Discovery Institute does have another bad textbook waiting in the wings for the next round of textbook-buying decisions in Texas.

For more details, see here.

Bringing computers into the home won't change either one, but may revitalize the corner saloon.

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