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Music

Pandora Trying Out Invasive Commercial Breaks 244

Posted by kdawson
from the knew-it-had-to-be-coming dept.
Nathan Halverson writes "The popular online radio service Pandora.com has added brief commercial interruptions to its service. Pandora says this is a trial and is targeted to a subset of listeners at this point. In one case, a brief ad for the Fox TV show 'Lie To Me' interrupted the music stream for about 15 seconds after ten songs had initially played, and the same commercial interrupted 22 songs later. 'But [Pandora's] founder promised the site will never carry as many audio ads as broadcast radio, despite the fact it pays substantially higher royalty fees to the recording industry.'"
Education

MIT Moves Away From Massive Lecture Halls 317

Posted by timothy
from the at-that-tuition-it-should-be-massage-tutoring dept.
eldavojohn writes "The New York Times is reporting on MIT's migration away from large lectures as many colleges and universities have. Attendance at these lectures often falls to 50 percent by the end of the semester. TEAL (Technology Enhanced Active Learning) gives the students a more hands on approach and may signal the death of the massive lecture hall synonymous with achieving a bachelors of science."
Power

New Generator Boosts Wind Turbine Efficiency 50% 315

Posted by kdawson
from the reap-the-whirlwind dept.
MagnetDroid writes "A startup company based in Vancouver has developed a new kind of generator that could harvest much more energy from the wind. The design could not only lower the cost of wind turbines but increase their power output by 50 percent to as much as 100 percent, in some locations. Normally, when wind speeds drop, a turbine's engine becomes less efficient. The new engine, from ExRo Technologies, runs efficiently over a wider range of conditions. The design replaces a mechanical transmission with what amounts to an electronic one. Magnets attached to a rotating shaft create a current, but individual coils can be turned on and off electronically at different wind speeds." The company will begin field-testing a small, 5KW wind turbine by early next year.
Programming

Open Source Killing Commercial Developer Tools 742

Posted by kdawson
from the evolving-ecosystem dept.
jexrand recommends an interview with John De Goes in which he argues: "The tools market is dead. Open source killed it." The software developer turned president of N-BRAIN explains the effect that open source has had on the developer tools market, and how this forced the company to release the personal edition of UNA free of charge. According to De Goes, selling a source-code editor, even a very good one, is all but impossible in the post-open source era, especially given that, "Some developers would rather quit their job than be forced to use a new editor or IDE." N-BRAIN's decision is but one in a string of similar announcements from tools companies announcing the free release of their previously commercial development tools.
The Internet

An Inside Look at the Great Firewall of China 165

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the must-protect-general's-secret-recipe dept.
alphadogg writes "An interview with James Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, who has experienced 'The Great Firewall of China' firsthand, an experience people from around the world will share this summer when the Olympics comes to that country. Based in Beijing, Fallows has researched the underlying technology that the Chinese use for Internet censorship. One good thing to know: With VPNs and proxies, you can get around it pretty easily." Will these Olympics lead to a more free China, or is it just corporate pandering?
Education

Does It Suck To Be An Engineering Student? 971

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the what-doesn't-suck dept.
Pickens writes "Aaron Rower has an interesting post on Wired with the "Top 5 Reasons it Sucks to be an Engineering Student" that includes awful textbooks, professors who are rarely encouraging, the dearth of quality counseling, and every assignment feels the same. Our favorite is that other disciplines have inflated grades. "Brilliant engineering students may earn surprisingly low grades while slackers in other departments score straight As for writing book reports and throwing together papers about their favorite zombie films," writes Rower. "Many of the brightest students may struggle while mediocre scholars can earn top scores." For many students, earning a degree in engineering is less than enjoyable and far from what they expected. If you want to complain about your education, this is your chance."
Space

+ - Iran launches Kavoshgar-1 rocket->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "NY Times: On Monday, Iran launched a research rocket from a new space center, in preparation for the launching in June of Iran's first domestically made satellite."
Link to Original Source
Robotics

Dutch Unveil Robot Gas Station Attendant 287

Posted by kdawson
from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.
Lucas123 writes "According to a Reuters' story, Dutch inventors today took the wraps off a $110,000 car-fueling robot they say is the first of its kind. (It was inspired by a cow milking robot.) After registering the car as it pulls up to the pump, the machine matches your fuel cap design with those in a database and your car's fuel type, and then a robotic arm fitted with multiple sensors extends from a regular gas pump, 'opens the car's flap, unscrews the cap, picks up the fuel nozzle and directs it towards the tank opening, much as a human arm would, and as efficiently.' Wait till Hollywood gets hold of this scenario."
Supercomputing

Tunguska Blast Was a Small Asteroid 277

Posted by kdawson
from the fire-came-by dept.
malachiorion writes "The Tunguska event, an explosion on June 30, 1908, cleared an 800-sq.-mi. swath of Siberian forest. Was it a UFO crash? An alien weapons test? Now, Sandia National Laboratories has released its own explanation for the Tunguska event. Using supercomputers to create a 3D simulation of the explosion, the Department of Energy-funded nuke lab has determined that Tunguska was, indeed, the explosion of a relatively small asteroid. The simulation videos are well worth checking out — they show a fireball slamming into the earth from the asteroid's air burst. The researchers caution that we should be keeping watch for many more small, potentially earth-impacting asteroids than we are currently tracking."
Television

Penetration Testing TV Series Coming 209

Posted by kdawson
from the tiger-team dept.
ChazeFroy writes "CourtTV (TruTV) has a new series starting Dec. 25 at 11 pm called 'Tiger Team.' It follows a group of elite penetration testers hired to test organizations' security using social engineering, wired/wireless penetration testing, and physically defeating security mechanisms (lock picking, dumpster diving, going through air vents/windows). They do all of this while avoiding the organizations' various security defenses as well as law enforcement. The stars of the show also did a radio spot this morning in Denver." Wonder how they socially engineer away the presence of a camera team in the air vents.
United States

Texas Science Director Forced To Resign Over ID Statements 984

Posted by Zonk
from the best-state-to-get-edumacated dept.
jeffporcaro writes "Texas' Director of Science Curriculum was 'forced to step down' for favoring evolution over intelligent design (ID). She apparently circulated an e-mail that was critical of ID — although state regulations require her not to have any opinion 'on a subject on which the agency must remain neutral.' 'The agency documents say that officials recommended firing Ms. Comer for repeated acts of misconduct and insubordination. The officials said forwarding the e-mail message conflicted with her job responsibilities and violated a directive that she not communicate with anyone outside the agency regarding a pending science curriculum review.'"

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