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+ - Lord British Wants to Make Space Travel Affordable->

Submitted by sigma_epsilon
sigma_epsilon (1701846) writes "Ars Technica has a wonderful article on the Opposable Thumbs blog about Lord British's efforts to bring space travel down from a $50 million venture to as little as $25,000 using reusable rockets, and the impact that could have on climate preservation, as well as jump starting a private space industry."
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Comment: Re:Governments tend (Score 1) 433

by sigma_epsilon (#34811264) Attached to: Internet Downloading Costs To Rise In Canada

I don't think that you understand the benefits of that regulation.

If people could buy insurance policies across state lines, states would have no ability to force insurance providers to conform to certain standards of service. Instead of each state being able to mandate certain minimum standards, insurance companies could locate only in the state which has the lowest bar and the most loopholes in regulations. Much like how all patent lawsuits are filed in Texas, there could be a 'race to the bottom' between states, with each trying to give companies the most incentives to locate in the states and benefit from the tax revenue.

This is beneficial to just the one state, and hurts all other states which then 1) do not benefit from tax revenue and 2) screws over everyone by offering subpar care.

Basically, instead of having an issue in the one city, it spreads to the whole nation.

Welcome to a world of corporations willing to let customers go bankrupt and suffer through illness to increase their profit margins.

+ - Kiwi Alchemy->

Submitted by Master Moose
Master Moose (1243274) writes "New Zealand researchers have cracked what seems like modern-day alchemy, transforming one kiwifruit into 100 plastic spoons and the city's sewage into electricity.

Researcher Martin Markotsis said the secret was a chemical process that made kiwifruit melt like plastic in standard factory equipment.

Small batches of prototypes have been made, mixing different amounts of kiwifruit, corn and other secret, but organic, additives.

The project is now picking the best mixture — with the right strength and flexibility — and ramping up production to a commercial scale. One piece of fruit, about 90g, can make more than 100 of utensils.

The global market for bioplastics is expected to grow 20-fold in a decade, with overseas rivals building mobile phones from cashew nut shells and corn."

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Cellphones

Android Fork Brings Froyo To 12 Smartphones 193

Posted by timothy
from the sticking-it-to-the-phone-companies dept.
jj110888 writes "CyanogenMod has just been updated to version 6.0, bringing Android Open Source Project 2.2 (Froyo) to several devices. This fork includes enchantments to many of the built-in apps, Ad-hoc network connectivity, OpenVPN support, Bluetooth HID, Incognito browsing, extensive control over audio and UI elements, and more found in the extensive CHANGELOG. The CyanogenMod team uses an instance of Google's gerrit tool for code review and patch submission, helping make this former backport of Android 1.6 to T-Mobile's G1 into thriving development for the G1/MyTouch/MyTouch 1.2, Droid, Nexus One, HTC Aria, HTC Desire, HTC Evo 4G (minus 4G and HDMI output), Droid Incredible, and MyTouch Slide. HTC Hero (including Droid Eris) are coming soon for 6.0, with Samsung Galaxy S devices expected to be supported in 6.1."
Idle

+ - Man Single-Handedly Builds Underground Subway->

Submitted by jerryjamesstone
jerryjamesstone (1641841) writes "Everybody is into rail these days; it is the greenest way to get around next to a bike. Leonid Mulyanchik has been into it for years since before the Berlin Wall fell, since before the first Macintosh, building "his own private underground Metro railway system." English-Russia says that he has been doing it with his pension, that it is all legal and approved and that he is still at it. Gizmodo calls it "inspiring, one man against all odds type of persistence, but more the obsessive, borderline insane persistence.""
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Image

Happy Towel Day 122

Posted by samzenpus
from the wringing-out-the-wit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While Douglas Adams continues his attempt to set a new record for the longest extended lunch break, geeks all over the universe pay tribute to the beloved author by celebrating the tenth edition of Towel Day. Towel Day is more alive than ever. This year Richard Dawkins, one of Adams' best friends, has tweeted a Towel Day reminder to his numerous followers. The CERN Bulletin has published an article on Towel Day. There has been TV coverage and there will be a radio interview. The Military Republic of the Deltan Imperium, a newly formed micronation, has recognized Towel Day as an official holiday. In Hungary several hundreds of hitchhiker fans want to have a picnic together in a park. And there's a concert, a free downloadable nerdrap album, a free game being released, the list goes on and on."

Comment: Re:Nail on the head (Score 1) 249

by sigma_epsilon (#32139584) Attached to: Nintendo To Take On Piracy In 3-D

While a lot of slashdotters support Software as a Service, very few, if any, would support Music as a Service.

Pandora. I pay for it. Media as a service works as long as the media is actually a service, not a more obnoxious way to get something that you could store locally anyway. The whole point of SaaS is to provide added benefit at the expense of requiring an internet connection. It's why WoW works, and why Steam works, but why Ubi's DRM doesn't. With WoW, you get other players by connecting to the server. With Steam, you can host your games in the cloud. With Pandora, you can take advantage of their algorithms. With DRM, you just have to connect to the internet without any additional benefit.

Censorship

Switzerland Passes Violent Games Ban 294

Posted by Soulskill
from the they're-just-mad-they-suck-at-olympic-hockey dept.
BanjoTed writes with a followup to news from February that the Swiss government was pursuing a ban on violent video games. He writes "Sadly, Switzerland has now passed the law that paves the way for an outright ban on violent video games in the country. The full implications of the ruling will not be known until the government reveals the exact requirements that will be laid down by the new legislation – a decision that has not yet been made. What is certain though is that the Swiss authorities have now obtained the power to introduce any measures they see fit. The likeliest outcome seems to be an outright ban on the production, distribution and sale of any games deemed to be unsuitable – most likely anything with either a PEGI 16+ or PEGI 18+ certificate."

+ - JK Rowling sued for plagiarism-> 1

Submitted by sigma_epsilon
sigma_epsilon (1701846) writes "JK Rowling was accused of plagiarizing 'Willy the Wizard,' by Adrian Jacobs, a 36-page book about, well, another wizard.

From the article:

"The suit claims Rowling's book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire copied substantial parts of Jacobs' 36-page book The Adventures of Willy the Wizard – No 1 Livid Land. The plagiarism claims stem from both Willy and Harry being required to solve a task as part of a contest, which they achieve in a bathroom assisted by clues from helpers."

"I estimate it's a billion-dollar case," Markson [lawyer for the prosecution] said. "That'll be the decision of the courts, obviously."

As if we needed another example of copyright law being taken way further than it was ever meant to be. Note that the estate of Adrian Jacobs, who is deceased, is suing, not the author herself."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Big Battle (Score 1) 463

by sigma_epsilon (#30843514) Attached to: Bing To Become Default iPhone Search?
I really don't think it makes sense to say that Bing is better than Google. It seems to be a decent engine, but they haven't published their algorithms and thus we really have no idea what's going on behind the scenes. Google, on the other hand, has refined PageRank for a while and I can say with certainty that the math behind it is pretty clever and makes a lot of both intuitive and mathematical sense. Also, Google didn't buy off everyone and his brother for 10% market share. Honestly, if Apple seriously goes down this path it would probably be the worst choice they've made about the iPhone since slaving it to AT&T's botched network, but it might just be like letting the music labels get variable pricing for songs on iTunes. We got DRM removed and some cheaper songs, Apple looked good for ditiching DRM, and -surprise surprise- no one bought the 1.29 songs. Could be an easy way to get the phone further subsidized, and then have 99.9% of the userbase go through an extra step during setup to reconfigure the search engine when they buy their new, cheaper phone.
Biotech

Drug Reverses Effects of Sleep Deprivation 610

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sign-me-up-for-that-study dept.
Ryan O'Rourke writes "According to a study led by Dr. Sam A. Deadwyler and published by the Public Library of Science Biology, a new drug called CX717 developed by Cortex Pharmaceuticals has been shown to reverse the biological and behavioral effects of sleep deprivation. Tests performed on monkeys that were subjected to 30-36 hours of sleep deprivation revealed an average test performance accuracy drop to 63 percent, but that performance was restored to 84 percent after administering CX717. During normal alert conditions, performance accuracy of the animals was improved from an average of 75 percent to 90 percent after an injection of CX717. It is also believed the drug may help prevent or restore memory loss in Alzheimer's patients."

A penny saved is a penny to squander. -- Ambrose Bierce

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