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Submission + - How Blockbuster Could Have Owned Netflix

schnell writes: Your age probably determines whether you think of Blockbuster Video as a fond memory or a dinosaur predestined for extinction. While the last Blockbuster rental at the last remaining Blockbuster video store took place last week, Variety retells a now-classic story of how Blockbuster could have bought Netflix for a song, but didn't because it failed to take the new DVD-by-mail and video streaming markets seriously. Who is next to join Blockbuster, Polaroid, Borders and Best Buy on the ash heap of superseded retail business models?

Submission + - The paradox of Julian Assange and Wikileaks

schnell writes: "The New Statesman is publishing a new in-depth article that examines in detail the seemingly paradoxical nature of Wikileaks' brave mission of public transparency with the private opaqueness of Julian Assange's leadership. On one hand, Wikileaks created "a transparency mechanism to hold governments and corporations to account" when nobody else could or would. On the other hand, Wikileaks itself was "guilty of the same obfuscation and misinformation as those it sought to expose, while its supporters are expected to follow, unquestioningly, in blinkered, cultish devotion." If Wikileaks performs a public service exposing the secrets of others but censors its own secrets, does it really matter? Or are the ethics of the organization and its leader inseparable?"

Submission + - Is Earth a Borderline Planet for Life?

Hugh Pickens writes: ""Plate tectonics are essential to life as we know it," says Planetary Scientist Diana Valencia of Harvard University. According to Valencia, movement of huge chunks, or plates, of a planet's surface, are crucial to a planet's habitability because they enable complex chemistry and recycle substances like carbon dioxide, which acts as a thermostat and keeps Earth balmy. Valencia and her colleagues examined planetary extremes to determine whether plate tectonics would be more or less likely on different-sized rocky worlds. "Our calculations show that bigger is better when it comes to the habitability of rocky planets," says Valencia. If so-called "Super-Earths," planets more than twice the size of Earth (pdf) and up to 10 times as massive are as common as observations suggest, then it is inevitable that some will enjoy Earth-like orbits and could be excellent havens for life. Earth itself was found to be a borderline case, not surprisingly since the slightly smaller planet Venus is tectonically inactive and Mars is in a stagnant lid convection. "It might not be a coincidence that Earth is the largest rocky planet in our solar system, and also the only one with life," said Valencia."
Data Storage

Submission + - What OS/FS to use for 16TB storage array? 1TBx16!!

Dan Cabrera writes: "So I just took delivery of a large package (pickup truck bed sized box) labeled 'server' — turns out it's the one I've been waiting for a while from a client. We had some miscommunication and I assumed this was a 2-4, maybe 5TB system for use as a production content shared drive, but it turned into a real monster, SuperMicro SC-836 with HighPoint 2240 Controller and *16*x*1TB* Hitachi drives in a RAID5 array. It's got WinXP64 loaded, but there must be a better solution after reading of ZFS and related technology now available as open source, no? Looking forward to your comments and suggestions! I'll repost with some benchmarks as this puppy grows up (into the wee hours of the morning I'll work :) Happy SD'in! PS: Just need a large drive to save rendered projects to and backup music/other projects (This is for a world known DJ, so the each tour/show can involve a LOT of media!) ...and, how the heck am I gonna do off-site backup for this in event of disaster? Ay-yay-yi!"

Submission + - Chernobyl Mushrooms Feeding on Radiation

cowtamer writes: According to a National Geographic Article certain fungi can use ionizing radiation to perform "radiosynthesis" using the pigment melanin (the same one in our skin that protects us from UV radiation). It is speculated that this might be useful on long space voyages where energy from the Sun is not readily available.

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead