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Earth

"Argonaut" Octopus Sucks Air Into Shell As Ballast 72

Posted by timothy
from the 8-legs-good dept.
audiovideodisco writes "Even among octopuses, the Argonaut must be one of the coolest. It gets its nickname — 'paper nautilus' — from the fragile shell the female assembles around herself after mating with the tiny male (whose tentacle/penis breaks off and remains in the female). For millennia, people have wondered what the shell was for; Aristotle thought the octopus used it as a boat and its tentacles as oars and sails. Now scientists who managed to study Argonauts in the wild confirm a different hypothesis: that the octopus sucks air into its shell and uses it for ballast as it weaves its way through the ocean like a tiny submarine. The researchers' beautiful video and photographs show just how the Argonaut pulls off this trick. The regular (non-paper) nautilus also uses its shell for ballast, but the distant relationship between it and all octopuses suggests this is a case of convergent evolution."
Space

Supermassive Black Hole Is Thrown Out of Galaxy 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the moving-to-better-quarters dept.
DarkKnightRadick writes "An undergrad student at the University of Utrecht, Marianne Heida, has found evidence of a supermassive black hole being tossed out of its galaxy. According to the article, the black hole — which has a mass equivalent to one billion suns — is possibly the culmination of two galaxies merging (or colliding, depending on how you like to look at it) and their black holes merging, creating one supermassive beast. The black hole was found using the Chandra Source Catalog (from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory). The direction of the expulsion is also possibly indicative of the direction of rotation of the two black holes as they circled each other before merging."
Earth

Aral Sea May Recover; Dead Sea Needs a Lifeline 131

Posted by timothy
from the just-needs-feng-shui-adjustment dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It's a tale of two seas. The drying up of the Aral Sea is considered one of the greatest environmental catastrophes in history, but the northern sector of the sea, at least, is showing signs of life. A dam completed in 2005 has increased the North Aral's span by 20 percent, and birds, fish, and people are all returning to the area. Meanwhile, the Dead Sea is still in the midst of precipitous decline, since too much water is being drawn out of the Jordan River for thirsty populations and crops. To keep the sea from shrinking more, scientists are pushing an ambitious scheme called the 'Red-Dead conduit,' which would channel huge amounts of water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. However, the environmental consequences of such a project may be troubling."
Image

How the Internet Didn't Fail As Predicted 259

Posted by samzenpus
from the series-of-popular-tubes dept.
Lord Byron Eee PC writes "Newsweek is carrying a navel-gazing piece on how wrong they were when in 1995 they published a story about how the Internet would fail. The original article states, 'Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we'll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.' The article continues to say that online shopping will never happen, that airline tickets won't be purchased over the web, and that newspapers have nothing to fear. It's an interesting look back at a time when the Internet was still a novelty and not yet a necessity."
Mozilla

Mozilla Rolls Out Firefox 3.6 RC, Nears Final 145

Posted by Soulskill
from the onwards-and-upwards dept.
CWmike writes "Mozilla has shipped a release candidate build of Firefox 3.6 that, barring problems, will become the final, finished version of the upgrade. Firefox 3.6 RC1, which followed a run of betas that started in early November, features nearly 100 bug fixes from the fifth beta that Mozilla issued Dec. 17. The fixes resolved numerous crash bugs, including one that brought down the browser when it was steered to Yahoo's front page. Another fix removed a small amount of code owned by Microsoft from Firefox. The code was pointed out by a Mozilla contributor, and after digging, another developer found the original Microsoft license agreement. 'Amusingly enough, it's actually really permissive. Really the only part that's problematic is the agreement to "include the copyright notice ... on your product label and as a part of the sign-on message for your software product,"' wrote Kyle Huey on Mozilla's Bugzilla. Even so, others working on the bug said the code needed to be replaced with Mozilla's own."

Comment: Re:You mean the G1? (Score 3, Insightful) 289

by undef (#28172313) Attached to: Rumors Flying About New iPhone Capabilities
I have an HTC Pro with ATT. The hardware itself is cool.

However, Windows Mobile is frustratingly slow, disorganized and unreliable.

Press a softkey and you can get GUI feedback that the button was pressed without the OS or app actually taking that action. That's bad enough, but when button presses can take 1 or 2 seconds to execute because of all the bloated WM overhead, then you don't know if you need to press the button again or wait.

If you do press it again and WM was just lagging, then you get two presses. Nice design feature.

WM is designed first as a Microsoft platform, then as a phone. The phone features integration on WM on the HTC Pro is terrible. The phone screens are miserably organized for quick / easy use. The contacts features have inconsistent use of buttons and softkeys. The dial and phone buttons change meaning. Even the volume functions are poorly designed for quick changes. The Touchflow GUI that was poorly integrated on top of WM is pretty - pretty useless. After one or two superfluous menu levels, you end up in the original balky WM GUI, which is what they were trying to cover up anyway.

I haven't loaded any extra apps on it that might destabilize it, but I have to reboot it at least once a week.

Yeah, the HTC Pro with WM is wonderful. <gag>
Security

+ - Gumbler Virus Infects Google Search, Deadliest Yet

Submitted by
nandemoari
nandemoari writes "A new malware worm that targets Google fans and uses Javascript to attack computers through vulnerabilities in Adobe PDF reader and Flash player is on the loose. According to SophosLabs, the virus known as JSRedir-R blows all other web-based malware out of the water. JSRedir-R accounted for 42 per cent of all malicious infections found on websites in a one week period. The malware, also known as 'Gumblar,' infected a new page every 4.5 seconds."
Programming

Worst Working Conditions You Had To Write Code In? 1127

Posted by samzenpus
from the 150-of-us-in-a-shoebox-in-the-middle-of-the-road dept.
sausaw writes "I recently had to write code in a hot dusty room for 20 days with temperatures near 107F (~41C); having nothing to sit on; a 64 Kbps inconsistent internet connection; warm water for drinking and a lot of distractions and interruptions. I am sure many people have been in similar situations and would like to know your experiences."

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