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Richard Branson Plans Orbital Spaceships For Virgin Galactic 177

Velcroman1 writes "Following the historic first rocket-powered flight of its SpaceShipTwo vehicle, Virgin Galactic plans to build a fleet of spaceships and begin ferrying hundreds of tourists into space in 2014. And then? A whole new kind of spacecraft, Sir Richard Branson said. 'We'll be building orbital spaceships after that,' Branson told Fox News Tuesday, 'so that people who want to go for a week or two can.' Assuming the cost is on the same scale, would you pay a few hundred grand for a few weeks in orbit?"

Google Pledges Not To Sue Any Open Source Projects Using Their Patents 153

sfcrazy writes "Google has announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge. In the pledge Google says that they will not sue any user, distributor, or developer of Open Source software on specified patents, unless first attacked. Under this pledge, Google is starting off with 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google. Google says that over time they intend to expand the set of Google's patents covered by the pledge to other technologies." This is in addition to the Open Invention Network, and their general work toward reforming the patent system. The patents covered in the OPN will be free to use in Free/Open Source software for the life of the patent, even if Google should transfer ownership to another party. Read the text of the pledge. It appears that interaction with non-copyleft licenses (MIT/BSD/Apache) is a bit weird: if you create a non-free fork it appears you are no longer covered under the pledge.

10 Ways To Celebrate International Pi Day 180

We'd like to wish you a happy Pi Day. It may be just as arbitrary as some other holidays (though perhaps easier to schedule than some), but any excuse for some delicious food is one I'll take. Reader alphadogg writes with a few suggestions of ways to take part in this convenient celebration of both rationality and irrationality. (And lead your comment with the number of digits you can recite offhand ...)

Submission Windows 8 proving less popular than Vista-> 5

NettiWelho writes: Data from Net Applications shows that Windows 8 is less popular than Windows Vista, the operating system that proved unpopular with the enthusiast audience.

Windows 8 usage uptake has slipped behind Vista’s in the same point in its release. Windows 8 online usage share is around 1.6% of all Windows PC’s which is less than the 2.2% share that Windows Vista commanded at the same two month mark after release.

Net Applications monitor operating system usage by recording OS version for around 40,000 sites it monitors for clients.

The slowdown for Windows 8 adoption is a bad sign for Microsoft who experienced great success with the release of Windows 7.

Data was measured up to the 22nd of December, so there is still time by the end of the month for Windows 8 to claim a higher percentage of the user base.

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Submission Raided for running a Tor exit node->

An anonymous reader writes: While this doesn't directly effect me it effects the industry I work in... A provider of VPS services was recently raided for running a TOR exit node. This brings forth the question: What can providers do as a whole to prevent their clients and themselves from being raided in the event someone "does something nasty"...
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Submission Microsoft alleged anticompetitive practices agains->

andydread writes: We discussed the accusation against Microsoft by Barnes and Noble about their patent attacks on Android. The details are out on the extent that Microsoft has gone to make open source undesirable in the marketplace. Barnes and Noble says that this is not just about Android. According to B&N Its about all open source in general and they have filed a detailed complaint (PDF) with the ITC spelling out what they call "extortive practices" on the part of Microsoft against open source. Now we have a list of the actual patents in question and B&N explaining how each one of these patents are invalid.
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Submission Huge Solar Array to Support NJ Data Center->

1sockchuck writes: Publisher McGraw-Hill will build a 50-acre solar array to offset the energy used by a data center on its campus. A number of recent data center projects (including sites for Facebook and Cisco) have integrated on-site solar power, but with outputs of 100 to 200 kilowatts of power, only a fraction of the total power requirements. The McGraw-Hill project in East Windsor, N.J. will generate 14 megawatts of solar power, dwarfing the other projects.
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Submission Casio F-91W Wristwatch Identifies You as Al-Qaida->

rrayst writes: According to the wikileaked Matrix of Threat Indicators for Enemy Combatants, owning a Casio F-91W may indicate "membership and participation in or support to hostilities against US and Coalition forces". "The possession of [the watch] and the silver-color version of this model, the A159W, is an indicator of al-Qaida training in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices (IEDs)." It is "a sign of al-Qaida", used "to make bombs", given to "students at [...] bomb-making training courses in Afghanistan".
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Submission UK to track all browsing, email, phone calls->

Sara Chan writes: The UK government plans to introduce legislation that will allow the police to track every phone call, email, text message and website visit made by the public. The information will include who is contacting whom, when and where and which websites are visited, but not the content of the conversations or messages. Every communications provider will be required to store the information for at least a year. Full story in The Telegraph.
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Submission Electricity from the air ->

Anonymous writes: Professor Fernando Galembeck, a UC chemist, is leading the study into the ways in which electricity builds up and spreads in the atmosphere, and how it could be collected. “Our research could pave the way for turning electricity from the atmosphere into an alternative energy source for the future," he stated. "Just as solar energy could free some households from paying electric bills, this promising new energy source could have a similar effect.”
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"It doesn't much signify whom one marries for one is sure to find out next morning it was someone else." -- Rogers