theodp writes "Ever since she was a toddler, freelance writer Lily Burana has been a Stay Up Late kind of girl. When her kindergarten teacher asked students 'What time do you go to bed?,' young Lily felt compelled to lie rather than rat out her own mother by saying, 'Oh, between midnight and 1 a.m.' She still suffers from insomnia, but has discovered that Facebook is the Promised Land for the awake and alone. She finds comfort in the company of others who, like her, live counter to the conventional rhythm of a sunny-day world."
tuna writes "A real-world test by the Dutch province of Zeeland (a very windy place) demonstrates that small windmills are a fundamentally flawed technology (PDF of tests results in Dutch, English summary). Twelve much-hyped micro wind turbines were placed in a row on an open plain. Their energy yield was measured over a period of one year (April 1, 2008 — March 31, 2009), the average wind velocity during these 12 months was 3.8 meters per second, slightly higher than average. Three windmills broke. The others recorded ridiculously low yields, in spite of the optimal conditions. It would take up to 141 small windmills to power an average American household entirely using wind energy, for a total cost of 780,000 dollars. The test results show clearly that energy return is closely tied to rotor diameter, and that the design of the windmill hardly matters."
Barence writes "Microsoft yesterday unveiled its MSN Mobile Music service — and a surprise return to digital rights management (DRM). While companies such as Apple and Amazon have finally moved to music download services free of copy protection, MSN Mobile locks tracks to the mobile handset they are downloaded to. It also charges more than the other services per track, and offers no way to transfer your tracks to your new phone when you upgrade. The company's Head of Mobile UK spoke to PC Pro about the launch, but his answers are almost as baffling as the service itself. Best quote: Q: 'If I buy these songs on your service — and they're locked to my phone — what happens when I upgrade my phone in six months' time?' A: 'Well, I think you know the answer to that.'"
Several readers sent in news of theoretical work bolstering the proposition that the universe may be a hologram. The story begins at the German experiment GEO600, a laser inteferometer looking for gravity waves. For years, researchers there have been locating and eliminating sources of interference and noise from the experiment (they have not yet seen a gravity wave). For months they have been puzzling over a source of noise they could not explain. Then Craig Hogan, a Fermilab physicist, approached them with a possible answer: that GEO600 may have stumbled upon a fundamental limit where space-time stops behaving like a smooth continuum and instead dissolves into "grains." The "holographic principle" suggests that the universe at small scales would be "blurry," its smallest features far larger than Planck scale, and possibly accessible to current technology such as the GEO600. The holographic principle, if borne out, could help distinguish among competing theories of quantum gravity, but "We think it's at least a year too early to get excited," the lead GEO600 scientist said.
holy_calamity writes "New Scientist reports on a sneaky new approach to getting the immune system to fight cancer. An implant releases a 'molecular perfume' irresistible to messenger immune cells, which enter the implant where they are given a sample of the cancer's 'scent' and a disperse signal that sends them scurrying to the nearest lymph node. There they convince other immune cells to start attacking anything that matches the sample they picked up."
Roland Piquepaille writes "University of Delaware (UD) scientists and engineers are currently working at the South Pole under very harsh conditions. This research team is one of the many other ones working on the construction of IceCube, the world's largest neutrino telescope in the Antarctic ice, far beneath the continent's snow-covered surface. When it is completed in 2011, the telescope array will occupy a cubic kilometer of Antarctica. One of the lead researchers said that 'IceCube will provide new information about some of the most violent and far-away astrophysical events in the cosmos.' The UD team has even opened a blog to cover this expedition. It will be opened up to December 22, 2008. I guess they want to be back in Delaware for Christmas, but read more for additional details and references, including a diagram of this telescope array built inside ice."
Ian Lamont writes "Yoko Ono and EMI Records have backed down from their suit against the makers of a documentary film who used a 15-second fragment of a John Lennon song — but only after a Stanford Law School group got involved. Even though the use of the clip was clearly Fair Use, the case exposed a huge problem with the doctrine: It's becoming too expensive for people to actually take advantage of what is supposed to be a guaranteed right. Ironically, the song in question was Imagine."
MarketWatch reports that Best Buy has decided to toss $54 million into an acquisition of Napster. All told, the deal amounts to around $121 million, with about $67 million headed towards getting cash and short-term investments from Napster's balance sheet. "The deal will give Best Buy an online digital music retail outlet as well as a subscription streaming service that has about 700,000 subscribers. That could help Best Buy to compete against retail giant Wal-Mart, which has its own online digital music offering."
theodp writes "Mama, don't let your babies send e-mail and photos from Vancouver. A Portland family racked up nearly $20,000 in charges on their AT&T bill after their son headed north to Vancouver and used a laptop with an AirCard twenty-one times to send photos and e-mails back home. The family said they wished they would have received some kind of warning before receiving their chock-full-of-international-fees 200-page bill in the mail for $19,370. Guess they didn't read the fine print in that 'Stay connected whether you are traveling across town, the US, or the world' AT&T AirCard pitch. Hey, at least it wasn't $85,000."
ruphus13 writes "Firefox has been pushing version 3.0 very aggressively, and firmly believes that it is a solid product. The Download Day was just one of their ways to drum up user support for the new release. Now, Firefox is going to 'gently nudge' users of Firefox 2.0 to upgrade. Some users may have been waiting for their add-ons to get upgraded, but now Mozilla is planning to apply a little nudge. Sometime within the next week, people using Firefox 18.104.22.168 will see a request to upgrade and though you'll have the option to decline, it's likely Firefox will ask again anyway. Users will most likely be offered a second chance to upgrade after several weeks. (Mozilla will stop supporting version 2 in December.) It will be interesting to see if this speeds up the rate of upgrade by users, as well as upgrades of the add-ons."
An anonymous reader writes "Working for the Olympics as an IT contractor, I recently moved to the Media Village (where all of the reporters live) and was surprised the there was no free internet. BOCOG (Beijing Organizing Committee of the 2008 Olympic Games) is charging a ridiculous amount of money for ADSL service: for 512/512 it costs 7712.5 RMB (1131.20 USD); for 1M/512 it costs 9156.25 (1342.95 USD); for 2M/512 it costs a whopping 11,700 RMB (1716.05 USD). That is for only one month! For extra features like a fixed IP? That costs an additional 450 RMB (66 USD). I just can't believe that not only do I have to deal with the Great Firewall of China, but also pay through the nose to use it!"
MojoKid writes "Seagate announced three new consumer-level hard drives today, which it claims are the 'industry's first 1.5-terabyte desktop and half-terabyte notebook hard drives.' The company claims that it is able to greatly increase the areal density of its drive substrates by utilizing perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology that is capable of delivering more than triple the storage density of traditional longitudinal recording. Seagate's latest desktop-class hard drive, the Barracuda 7200.11, will be available in a 1.5TB capacity starting in August. The 3.5-inch drive is made up of four 375GB platters and has a 7,200-rpm rotational speed."
Dan Berlin writes "After announcing that Browser Sync was being discontinued, a lot of people asked for Google to open source the code so development could continue. Well, they've done just that. The code for browser sync is now available on code.google.com, and a blog post about the release can be found on the Google open source blog"
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "For the past 2 years, the RIAA and its attack dog SafeNet (formerly known as MediaSentry) have been trying to avoid disclosure in UMG v. Lindor by telling the judge that MediaSentry is NOT an expert, that it does not use any technical expertise to get the 'evidence', and that it does only 'what any other Kazaa user does'. We have just discovered that in administrative proceedings in Michigan, attacking it for engaging in the business of investigation without a license, MediaSentry has taken the exact opposite position, comparing itself to chemical engineers, surveyors, physicians, geologists, and other expert witnesses who rely on their technical expertise. Today we went public with some of the contradictions. Now let's hope Michigan's Department of Labor and Economic Growth finds out about it."
Paul Ellis writes "Mozilla's Asa Dotzler has said 'It's really hard for me to believe that either [Microsoft or Adobe] have the free and open Web at heart when they're actively subverting it with closed technologies like Flash and Silverlight.' But are they really subverting it? Where is the line between serving the consumer and subverting the Web? This blog post makes the case that the W3C's glacial process should share in the blame for the growth of proprietary technologies."