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PHP Gets Namespace Separators, With a Twist 523

jeevesbond writes "PHP is finally getting support for namespaces. However, after a couple hours of conversation, the developers picked '\' as the separator, instead of the more popular '::'. Fredrik Holmström points out some problems with this approach. The criteria for selection were ease of typing and parsing, how hard it was to make a typo, IDE compatibility, and the number of characters."
The Internet

Belgian ISP Scores Victory In Landmark P2P Case 76

secmartin writes "Belgian ISP Scarlet scored an important victory in the first major European test of copyright law. The interim decision forcing them to block transfers of copyrighted materials via P2P has been reversed, because the judge agreed with Scarlet that the measures the Belgian RIAA proposed to implement proved to be ineffective. A final decision is expected next year."

Distributed.net Finds Optimal 25-Mark Golomb Ruler 265

kpearson writes "Distributed.net's 8-year-old OGR-25 distributed computing project has just proven conclusively that the predicted shortest 25-mark Golomb ruler is optimal. 'The total length of the ruler is 480, with marks at positions: 0 12 29 39 72 91 146 157 160 161 166 191 207 214 258 290 316 354 372 394 396 431 459 467 480. (This ruler may alternatively be expressed in terms of the distance between those positions, which is how dnetc displays them: 12-17-10-33-19-...).' 124,387 people participated in the project and two people found the shortest ruler, one on October 10, 2007 and the other on March 24, 2008."

Half of American Doctors Often Prescribe Placebos 238

damn_registrars writes "'Half of all American doctors responding to a nationwide survey say they regularly prescribe placebos to patients. The results trouble medical ethicists, who say more research is needed to determine whether doctors must deceive patients in order for placebos to work.' The study just quoted goes on to say that the drugs most often used as placebo are headache pills, vitamins, and antibiotics. Studies on doctors in Europe and New Zealand have found similar results."
Operating Systems

What Normal Users Can Expect From Ubuntu 8.10 511

notthatwillsmith writes "With Ubuntu 8.10 due to be released in just a few days, Maximum PC pored through all the enhancements, updates, and new features that are bundled into the release of Intrepid Ibex and separated out the new features that are most exciting for Linux desktop users. Things to be excited about? With new versions of GNOME and X.Org, there's quite a bit, ranging from the context-sensitive Deskbar search to an audio and video compatible SIP client to the new Network Manager (manage wired, Wi-Fi, VPN, and cellular broadband connections in one place)."

Security Flaw In Android Web Browser 59

r writes "The New York Times reports on a security flaw discovered in the new Android phones. The article is light on details, but it hints at a security hole in the browser, allowing for trojans to install themselves in the same security partition as the browser: 'The risk in the Google design, according to Mr. Miller, who is a principal security analyst at Independent Security Evaluators in Baltimore, lies in the danger from within the Web browser partition in the phone. It would be possible, for example, for an intruder to install software that would capture keystrokes entered by the user when surfing to other Web sites. That would make it possible to steal identity information or passwords.'"

Small Bird Astounds Scientists With 11,200km Flight 99

Zeb writes "Scientists are marveling over a small female bar-tailed godwit somewhere in New Zealand who has a world record for non-stop flying — an epic 11,200 kilometers. A major international study into the birds has been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B and it offers an explanation as to why the godwits fly so far from Alaska to New Zealand in a single bound. The birds flew non-stop for up to and covered more than 11,200km. The flight path shows the birds did not feed en route and would be unlikely to sleep." The linked Wikipedia entry claims an even longer trip record, of 11,570 kilometers.
Data Storage

Shuttleworth On Redefining File Systems 414

moteyalpha writes "Mark Shuttleworth described the beginnings of what could a great step forward in making file systems more usable. I've personally had the experience of trying to find a file for a customer who had just finished editing a critical report, saved it, and then couldn't locate it to deliver to their client. Quoting: 'My biggest concern on this front is that it be done in a way that every desktop environment can embrace. We need a consistent experience across GNOME, KDE, OpenOffice and Firefox so that content can flow from app to app in a seamless fashion and the user's expectations can be met no matter which app or environment they happen to use. If someone sends a file to me over Empathy, and I want to open it in Amarok, then I shouldn't have to work with two completely different mental models of content storage.'"

Armadillo Aerospace Takes Level 1 Lunar Lander Prize 50

jedibfa writes "Las Cruces International Airport came alive with applause and cheers yesterday afternoon as John Carmack's Armadillo Aerospace took the first place prize for the Level 1 challenge of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, winning $350,000 and bragging rights. Adding to the excitement of the day, shortly before completing their second qualifying flight, Armadillo Aerospace and The Rocket Racing League announced a joint program to develop a sub-orbital tourist vehicle that will fly out of the New Mexico-based Spaceport America and cost less than $100,000 per ticket. On Sunday, the team will have three opportunities to go for the Level 2 challenge that more closely approximates the required performance for a real lunar landing. Good luck, Armadillo Aerospace, both on Sunday and in your new endeavor!" We discussed preparations for the challenge last week. Several other readers have contributed additional coverage, including the Space Fellowship's live blog of the event, the website for Truezer0, another team participating in the challenge, and a VentureBeat article discussing the economic downturn in space exploration, and how the X-prize competitions figure in. Today's Level 2 challenge will be covered live via webcast.

Underground Lab To Probe Ratio of Matter To Antimatter 82

Wired reports on the Enriched Xenon Observatory 200, a particle detector scientists hope will answer the question of why there is significantly more matter than antimatter in the universe. Quoting: "The new detector will try to fill in the picture, determining basic features of [neutrinos], like their mass and whether or not they, unlike almost all other particles, are their own antiparticles. That quirk is why some scientists believe neutrinos could be the mechanism for the creation of our matter-filled universe. Almost all other particles have an antiparticle twin that, if it comes into contact with the particle, immediately annihilates it. But if neutrinos are their own antiparticles they could conceivably be knocked onto matter's 'team,' thereby causing the cascading win for matter over antimatter that we know occurred. As the Indian theoretical physicist G. Rajasekaran put it in a speech [PDF] earlier this year, neutrinos that are their own antiparticles would explain 'how, after [the] annihilation of most of the particles with antiparticles, a finite but small residue of particles was left to make up the present Universe.'"
The Internet

Browsing Frugally Without Wasting Bandwidth? 450

forrestm writes "At home, my internet connection is limited to 1GB / month before I have to pay extra. At my university, I'm charged around 2.5c per megabyte. I rarely download anything big, but I often go through a large amount of bandwidth by simply browsing around. For example, when I play a YouTube video, click a link, and then return to the video, the whole video reloads. When I read some websites, such as BoingBoing.net or Cnet.com, my status bar shows a whole lot of data being transferred through other domains. Some pages seem to send/receive data at certain intervals for the duration of my visit. When I begin to enter a search in Firefox's search bar, a list of suggestions is automatically downloaded. In addition to this, Firefox often requests internet access of its own accord, even though I have automatic updating turned off. All this is costing me! How do I stop unsolicited use of my internet connection? How do I go about not wasting bandwidth like this?"

Hubble Repairs Hindered By Antiquated Computer Systems 193

Andrew Moseman writes "Part of the trouble NASA is encountering while fixing the Hubble Space Telescope comes from the fact that it's been up there for nearly two decades, and therefore carries computer systems long outdated here on Earth. 'One of the main computers that the Goddard team has been struggling with during the repair attempts runs on an Intel 486 chip, the height of 1989 technology.' Many of NASA's long-running missions rely on antiquated systems — the Voyager probes each have about 32k of memory — but the scientists say they can manage."

$29M To Start US Satellite Protection Program 74

coondoggie sends in a Network World piece that begins "The Air Force laid out $29 million in contracts this week to build space-based sensors that could detect threats or hazards and protect satellites in orbit. Assurance Technologies and Lockheed Martin Space Systems will split $20 million of the two-year contract that the Air Force says should ultimately demonstrate a viable sensing capability, as well as integration with other space systems to offer threat and hazard detection, assessment and notification ... The Air Force is looking to protect satellites from ground based lasers or anti-satellite missiles mostly."
The Internet

In UK, Broadband Limits Confuse Nine In Ten Users 217

Mark Jackson writes "ISPreview reports that 86% of UK broadband users don't understand the usage limits on their service, and nearly one million have reached or exceeded their ISPs limit in the last year. This is important because 56% of major providers are prepared to disconnect those who 'abuse' the service. However, it also shows how damaging bad marketing can be, with 6.2M people believing they have an 'unlimited' service with no restrictions. The UK Advertising Standards Authority is also blamed for making the problem worse by allowing providers to describe their services as unlimited even if there is a usage cap, as long as it is detailed in the small print. However, consumers are none the wiser with over 10 million broadband customers never reading their usage agreements and a further 1.8M not knowing whether they have read it or not. Unsurprisingly 7.5M do not even know their download limit, which is understandable when so few providers clarify it."

1000-mph Car Planned 380

Smivs notes a BBC report on a British team planning a 1000-mph record-breaking car. The previous land-speed record broke the sound barrier. The proposed vehicle will get from 0 to 1,050 mph in 40 seconds. "RAF pilot Andy Green made history in 1997 when he drove the Thrust SSC jet-powered vehicle at 763 mph (1,228 km/h). Now he intends to get behind the wheel of a car that is capable of reaching 1,000 mph (1,610 km/h). Known as Bloodhound, the new car will be powered by a rocket bolted to a Typhoon-Eurofighter jet engine. The team-members have been working on the concept for the past 18 months and expect to be ready to make their new record attempt in 2011."

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