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Submission + - Black Death Discovered In Oregon (ibtimes.com)

redletterdave writes: "The Black Death, a strain of bubonic plague that destroyed nearly a third of Europe's entire population between 1347 and 1369, has been found in Oregon. Health officials in Portland have confirmed that a man contracted the plague after getting bitten by a cat. The unidentified man, who is currently in his 50s, had tried to pry a dead mouse from a stray cat's mouth on June 2 when the cat attacked him. Days later, fever and sickness drove the man to check himself into Oregon's St. Charles Medical Center, where he is currently in "critical condition.""

Submission + - Sun Leaves No Shock Wave in its Wake (discovery.com)

astroengine writes: "The sun and all that surrounds it — us included — are having a slower ride through space than originally thought, new findings from a NASA satellite shows. Precise measurements of neutrally charged particles such as helium flowing into the solar system from interstellar space show the heliosphere — the region of space under the sun's influence — is moving at 52,000 mph relative to the outside environment. That's a change from 59,000 mph measured by NASA's now-defunct Ulysses spacecraft. That 7,000-mph difference may not sound like much, but the effect of the speed is squared.

"This reduction of 7,000 mph is a reduction of about 25 percent of the pressure pushing on the heliosphere that we thought was there is actually there," David McComas, lead scientist for NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, told Discovery News. The upshot is that no shock wave is being produced by the sun's heliosphere in the interstellar medium we're in now."

The Internet

Submission + - Statcounter: 1366x768 monitors beat 1024x768 monitors for the first time (statcounter.com)

mpol writes: "Statcounter released new statistics today and 1366x768 monitors feature now the most used screen resolution on the internet.
These screens are available in most cheap laptops, and therefore probably sold and used very much. With 19.2% it is beating the old 4:3 resolution, which still has 18.6% usage share.
And you do know, you have lies, damn lies, and statistics."


Submission + - Apple should put all its money into R&D (newyorker.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A piece in The New Yorker arguing that Apple shouldn't spend its $100b cash pile on dividends, or whatever: it should instead create an R&D skunk works, like DARPA, or Xerox PARC, or the old Bell Labs. The pieces makes the case that this would be good for everyone (if some of the tech is shared) and good for Apple.

Submission + - Prometheus/Alien movie showing up June 8. New trailer on Alien Prequel News. 2

axlr8or writes: The long awaited return of Ridley Scott to the world of SciFi comes to fruition on June 8. Long having finished production, a new trailer has arrived and you can watch it on the 'Alien Prequel News' homepage. You won't be disappointed. Although the movie can now be summed up from the trailer alone, I think there will be a lot of new things to see in the movie.

Submission + - NVIDIA Challenges Apple's iPad Benchmarks (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: "At the iPad unveiling last week, Apple flashed up a slide claiming that the iPad 2 was 2x as fast as Nvidia's Tegra 3, while the new iPad would be 4x more powerful than Team Green's best tablet. NVIDIA's response boils down to "it's flattering to be compared to you, but how about a little data on which tests you ran and how you crunched the numbers?" NVIDIA is right to call Apple out on the meaningless nature of such a comparison, and the company is likely feeling a bit dogpiled given that TI was waving unverified webpage benchmarks around less than two weeks ago. That said, the Imagination Technologies (PowerVR) GPUs built into the iPad 2 and the new iPad both utilize tile-based rendering. In some ways, 2012 is a repeat of 2001 — memory bandwidth is at an absolute premium because adding more bandwidth has a direct impact on power consumption. The GPU inside NVIDIA's Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 is a traditional chip, which means its subject to significant overdraw, especially at higher resolutions. Apple's comparisons may be bogus, but Tegra 3's bandwidth issue they indirectly point to aren't. It will be interesting to see NVIDIA's next move and what their rumored Tegra 3+ chip might bring."

Submission + - Apple Sneaks Out Free Tool for Deploying iPad Army (wired.com)

MikeatWired writes: "Apple has released a free tool that helps organizations configure and deploy large numbers of iPads and iPhones. The tool was not mentioned when Apple unveiled its latest iPad during a press event in San Francisco on Wednesday morning, but it’s now available from the company’s online Mac App Store. 'Apple Configurator makes it easy for anyone to mass configure and deploy iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in a school, business, or institution,' reads Apple’s description of the software. According to Apple’s website, the tool lets users configure up to 30 iOS devices at a time. 'Apple Configurator can be used by larger organizations and businesses to set up new devices, install enterprise apps, and enroll each device with a Mobile Device Management solution for remote management by an IT administrator,” the site reads. “It is perfect for the classroom or student lab where devices need to be quickly refreshed and kept up to date with the correct settings, approved policies, apps and data. Apple Configurator can also be used to personalize devices with data and documents for specific users.' Is IT ready for the invading iPad Army?"

Submission + - Anonymous, Decentralized and Uncensored File-Sharing is Booming (torrentfreak.com)

PatPending writes: FTA: "The RetroShare network allows people to create a private and encrypted file-sharing network. Users add friends by exchanging PGP certificates with people they trust. All the communication is encrypted using OpenSSL and files that are downloaded from strangers always go through a trusted friend.

In other words, it’s a true Darknet and virtually impossible to monitor by outsiders.

RetroShare founder DrBob told us that while the software has been around since 2006, all of a sudden there’s been a surge in downloads. “The interest in RetroShare has massively shot up over the last two months,” he said."


Submission + - How Steve Jobs Patent-Trolled Bill Gates

theodp writes: Apple, which is currently waging IP war on Android vendors, is no stranger to patent trolling. Citing the Steve Jobs bio, Forbes' Eric Jackson recalls how Steve Jobs used patents to get Bill Gates to make a 1997 investment in Apple. Recalled Jobs: 'Microsoft was walking over Apple’s patents. I said [to Gates], “If we kept up our lawsuits, a few years from now we could win a billion-dollar patent suit. You know it, and I know it. But Apple’s not going to survive that long if we’re at war. I know that. So let’s figure out how to settle this right away. All I need is a commitment that Microsoft will keep developing for the Mac and an investment by Microsoft in Apple so it has a stake in our success.' Next thing you know, BillG was lording over Jobs at Macworld Boston, as the pair announced the $150 million investment that breathed new life into then-struggling Apple. So, does Gates deserve some credit for creating the world's most valuable company?
The Military

Submission + - The Mind of a Sniper

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "BBC reports that Chris Kyle, who with 255 claimed known kills, is the most deadly sniper in American history, has published a book that provides an unusual insight into the psychology of a soldier who waits, watches and kills. In his first kill in 2003 he saw a woman, with a child close by, approaching his troops with a grenade ready to detonate in her hand. "This was the first time I was going to have to kill someone. I didn't know whether I was going to be able to do it, man, woman or whatever," says Kyle. "The woman was already dead. I was just making sure she didn't take any Marines with her." Married with two children and now retired from the military, Kyle claims to have no regrets. "Every person I killed I strongly believe they were bad." A study into snipers in Israel has shown that snipers are much less likely than other soldiers to dehumanize their enemy because snipers can see their targets with great clarity and sometimes must observe them for hours or even days. "It's killing that is very distant but also very personal," says anthropologist Neta Bar. "I would even say intimate." Bar studied attitudes to killing among 30 Israeli snipers who served in the Palestinian territories from 2000 to 2003, to examine whether killing is unnatural or traumatic for human beings and found that the snipers she studied were rational and intelligent young men (PDF). "When many people think of a sniper, they think of a person who randomly shoots people," says Gunnery Sgt. Richard Tisdale, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Scout Sniper School, one of the hardest training courses in the military, with a failure rate of more than 60% and a long list of prerequisites for recruits, including a high degree of maturity, equanimity and common sense. "A sniper selects his target and fires upon it. Marksmanship makes up only 10 percent of being a sniper.""

Submission + - Copyright Industry Calls For Broad Search Engine C (torrentfreak.com)

suraj.sun writes: At a behind-closed-doors meeting facilitated by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, copyright holders have handed out a list of demands to Google, Bing and Yahoo. To curb the growing piracy problem, Hollywood and the major music labels want the search engines to de-list popular filesharing sites such as The Pirate Bay, and give higher ranking to authorized sites.

If the copyright industry had their way, Google and other search engines would no longer link to sites such as The Pirate Bay and isoHunt. In a detailed proposal handed out during a meeting with Google, Yahoo and Bing, various copyright holders made their demands clear.

The document, which describes a government-overlooked “Voluntary Code of Practice” for search engines, was not intended for public consumption but the Open Rights Group obtained it through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.



Submission + - What Happened to Winter?

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "This year the temperature in Minneapolis didn't fall to zero degrees until January 12, the daytime high in Rapid City, South Dakota hit a record-setting 71 on January 5, and just a couple of days before New Year's, visitors to Park City, Utah, skied on man-made snow and dined al fresco — without their parkas — as Eryn Brown reports that a combination of factors has trapped winter's cold air over Canada and Alaska, making for unseasonably warm weather in the Lower 48 and creating disappointment for outdoor enthusiasts who revelled in last year’s snow. "The talk across the whole country has been, 'Where has winter been?'" says Dale Eck, who runs the global forecast center at the Weather Channel in Atlanta. The culprit is a mercurial weather pattern called the Arctic oscillation. André Viau, a climatologist at the University of Ottawa, describes the polar jet stream as similar to a ribbon that snakes across the continent, at the intersection of the colder air in the north and the warmer air that’s farther south. When the Artic oscillation is weak, or negative, the ribbon buckles, allowing colder Arctic air to penetrate farther south. This season, however, the oscillation has been almost exclusively positive. Strong polar winds have pulled the ribbon of the jet stream so taut, “it’s been almost straight,” says Viau, preventing Arctic air from escaping southward. Last week, the strength of the oscillation finally relaxed, moving first to neutral and then to negative, allowing dense Arctic air to flow south and bring the first bone-chilling temperatures of the winter south. But even with the recent dip, it’s possible this winter will go on record as one of our warmest says Canadian climatologist David Phillips. "Memories of this winter will be quite something: short and mild.”"

Submission + - Physicists create model solar system with Trojan A

Rocky Mudbutt writes: Physorg.com reports that graduate students at Rice University have created a Rydberg atom with a comma shaped wave function that mimics the Trojan asteroids associated with Jupiter. Using a linearly polarized sinusoidal electric field whose period slowly increased, the electron wave function was coerced into an orbit approximately the size of a period. Measuring this has shown that Bohr's prediction is correct, the classical and quantum descriptions of the orbiting electron wave packets match.

For the paper see Creating and Transporting Trojan Wave Packets.

Submission + - RIM Co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis to st (thetechblock.com)

thetechblock writes: "The Wall Street Journal is reporting that RIM’s Co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis will step down from their leadership positions at RIM. They will be replaced by one of RIM’s two COOs, Thorsten Heins. Additionally, another board member, Barbara Stymiest, will replace them as chairwoman of RIM’s board."

"The most important thing in a man is not what he knows, but what he is." -- Narciso Yepes