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NASA's Skylab $400 Littering Fine Paid By DJ 111

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-gonna-pick-that-up? dept.
astroengine writes "Space Disco speaks with a Californian radio DJ about his role in raising, and paying, NASA's 30-year old littering fine levied by a Western Australian town. Skylab parts fell on Esperance in 1979, but the space agency's refusal to pay $400 has resulted in an entertaining annual grudge. Now the Barstow radio DJ is guest of honor at this weekend's 30th anniversary celebrations in Oz and the two small towns at opposite ends of the Pacific will be twinned... all because Skylab had a messy re-entry..."
Software

VLC 1.0.0 Released 419

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-supports-kitchen-sink dept.
rift321 writes "VLC media player, which we all know for simplifying the playback of pretty much any codec out there, has finally released version 1.0.0. Here's a quick list of improvements: live recording, instant pausing and frame-by-frame support, finer speed controls, new HD codecs (AES3, Dolby Digital Plus, TrueHD, Blu-Ray Linear PCM, Real Video 3.0 and 4.0), new formats (Raw Dirac, M2TS) and major improvements in many formats, new Dirac encoder and MP3 fixed-point encoder, video scaling in fullscreen, RTSP Trickplay support, zipped file playback, customizable toolbars, easier encoding GUI in Qt interface, better integration in Gtk environments, MTP devices on Linux, and AirTunes streaming."
Image

Passenger Avoids Delay By Fixing Plane Himself 178

Posted by samzenpus
from the flying-the-diy-skies dept.
It would be a shame if an engineer on a recent Thomas Cook Airlines flight doesn't get a complimentary first class upgrade every time he flies. The engineer was on flight TCX9641 when it was announced that the trip would be delayed eight hours, while a mechanic was flown in to fix a problem. Luckily for the other passengers, the engineer happened to work for Thomsonfly Airlines, which has a reciprocal maintenance agreement with Thomas Cook. After about 35 minutes the man fixed the problem and the flight was on its way. A spokeswoman for Thomas Cook said, "When they announced there was a technical problem he came forward and said who he was. We checked his licence and verified he was who he said he was, and he was able to fix the problem to avoid the delay. We are very grateful that he was on the flight that day."
Censorship

China Starts/Stops Blocking Google 142

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-they-can dept.
shekared was one of a number of readers to write in to tell a similar story. He says "I'm an American currently living and working in Chongqing, China. As of 9am (UTC +8) China began blocking google.com, gmail.com, google analytics and many if not most other google sites other than google.cn. Internet speed for connections outside the mainland have in general have come to a crawl. Surprisingly this has yet to pick up major coverage in the press. Using an open proxy or VPN for connection to hosts outside of the mainland continues to allow access to google, as does connecting directly to a google.com IP address. As of 6pm (UTC +8) access to gmail and google.com have returned to normal."
Social Networks

Where Does a Geek Find a Social Life? 1354

Posted by kdawson
from the meet-space dept.
JustShootMe writes "I have a question for my fellow Slashdotters, and yes, I realize I am entering the lion's den covered in tasty meat-flavored sauce. I have never been a very social person, preferring to throw myself into technology; therefore, I've been spectacularly unsuccessful in developing any meaningful interpersonal relationships. Lately I have begun to feel that this situation is not tenable, and I would like to fix it. But I really don't know how and haven't the faintest idea where to start. I know that I am in the minority and that there are many different kinds of Slashdot readers, most of whom have more experience in this realm than I do. So please tell me: how, and more importantly, where do you meet fellow geeks — preferably including some of the opposite gender — in meatspace?"
The Almighty Buck

A Look At the Tech Behind Burnout Paradise 44

Posted by Soulskill
from the eight-cylinders-of-awesome dept.
Eurogamer sat down with Richard Parr and Alex Fry of Criterion Games about the evolution of the technology behind Burnout Paradise , and how they engineered a complex, open world across multiple platforms. "Criterion's method of exacting the most performance from the new architecture isn't so much about threading as such, it's all about parallelization. Rather than lump different game aspects onto different threads (where massive latencies can build as each processor waits for the other to finish its work), game code is highly optimized to make use of what processors are available at any given moment on whatever target hardware, and by choosing the all-important balance points, the experience is like-for-like on all platforms. High-level management code that is unique to each platform then processes the game code according to the hardware that is available." The first part of their Q&A session has also been posted.
Operating Systems

+ - A Visual Expedition Inside the Linux File Systems->

Submitted by
RazvanM
RazvanM writes "This is an attempt to visualize the relations between the Linux File Systems through the eyes of the external symbols their kernel modules use. An initial plot was presented before but this time the scope is much broader. The analysis is done on 1377 kernel modules from 2.6.0 to 2.6.29 but there is also a small dip in the BSD world. The most thorough analysis is done on Daniel Phillips's tree which contains the latest two disk-based file systems for Linux: tux3 and btrfs. The main techniques used to established relations between file systems are hierarchical clustering and phylogenetic trees. Some other things that are presented include a set of rankings based on various properties related to the evolution of the external symbols from one release to another and complete timelines of the kernel releases for Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD. In total there are 78 figures and 10 animations. Happy viewing and commenting!"
Link to Original Source
Graphics

YouTube, HTML5, and Comparing H.264 With Theora 361

Posted by Soulskill
from the quality-vs-bandwidth dept.
David Gerard writes "Google Chrome includes Ogg support for the <video> element. It also includes support for the hideously encumbered H.264 format. Nice as an extra, but ... they're also testing HTML5 YouTube only for H.264 — meaning the largest video provider on the Net will make H.264 the primary codec and relegate the equally good open format Ogg/Theora firmly to the sidelines. Mike Shaver from Mozilla has fairly unambiguously asked Chris DiBona from Google what the heck Google thinks it's doing." DiBona responded with concerns that switching to Theora while maintaining quality would take up an incredible amount of bandwidth for a site like YouTube, though he made clear his support for the continued improvement of the project. Greg Maxwell jumped into the debate by comparing the quality of Ogg/Theora+Vorbis with the current YouTube implementations using H.263+MP3 and H.264+AAC. At the lower bitrate, Theora seems to have the clear edge, while the higher bitrate may slightly favor H.264. He concludes that YouTube's adoption of "an open unencumbered format in addition to or instead of their current offerings would not cause problems on the basis of quality or bitrate."
Image

Penguin Poop Seen From Space 86

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-eat-the-brown-ice dept.
Scientists have found ten new emperor penguin colonies by spotting their skid marks on the Antarctic ice from satellite images (video on page). The ice around the penguins gets very dirty because they congregate in a small area in very large colonies for months. Peter Fretwell, Mapping Expert, British Antarctic Survey says, "What we find is that we can see the guano (excrement) from space. They stay in the same space in very large colonies for eight months of the year and the ice around them gets very dirty, and it's that that we can see on the satellite images."
Music

Techniques and Styles of Video Game Music 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the badap-bop-boodop-beep!-boop! dept.
MarkN writes "Video game music has come to represent much more than just the beeps and boops of early video games that often got muted out of annoyance. It's a genre that stands on its own, stylistically and musically. It necessarily differs from typical soundtrack fare in a few important ways — it's written to accompany an activity rather than meant to be listened to passively, it is often required to loop and extend indefinitely, and it has the potential to be adaptive and respond to player feedback. In this article, I talk about some of the techniques used to make game music effective within its constraints and with all of its potential, and discuss how different styles and musical techniques can relate to the gameplay."
Medicine

German Doctor Cures an HIV Patient With a Bone Marrow Transplant 639

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-an-easy-one-though dept.
reporter writes "HIV is the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Until now, HIV has no cure and has led to the deaths of over 25 million people. However, a possible cure has appeared. Dr. Gero Hutter, a brilliant physician in Germany, replaced the bone marrow of an HIV patient with the bone marrow of a donor who has natural immunity to HIV. The new bone marrow in the patient then produced immune-system cells that are immune to HIV. Being unable to hijack any immune cell, the HIV has simply disappeared. The patient has been free of HIV for about 2 years. Some physicians at UCLA have developed a similar therapy and plan to commercialize it."
Image

New "MP3 100% Compatible" Logo For DRM-Free Music 263

Posted by kdawson
from the plays-for-sure-this-time-we-really-mean-it dept.
Sockatume writes "A coalition of seven UK digital music stores have created a logo for DRM-free, MP3 music. The 'MP3: 100% Compatible' logo allows the stores to emphasize the advantages of the format, namely that MP3 files will run on any device and won't keel over and die as DRM-laden files are wont to. The BPI — the UK equivalent of the RIAA — is backing the scheme, emphasizing that it will also allow users to identify legitimate stores."
Earth

World's Largest Flower Blooming In Streaming HD 61

Posted by timothy
from the fortune-is-in-the-nose-of-the-beholder dept.
npongratz writes "Standing at six feet tall and growing an inch per hour, a corpse flower is set to bloom at the Milwaukee Public Museum. You can keep tabs on this once-in-six-years event in streaming 1080p HD (using VLC), or a lower-bandwidth image feed. A live feed from the smelloscope is unfortunately a few centuries away from being invented."

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