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Submission + - Microsoft's Windows 8: tragic mistake or stroke of genius? ( 1

bowman9991 writes: "When Windows 8 hits 26 October with multiple new tablets, PC desktop machines and ultra-books (and a new version of Microsoft Office), PC users everywhere will suddenly be faced with Microsoft's radically designed "Metro" user interface. Have Microsoft made a massive mistake by introducing an operating system that appears at first glance to be focused on touch and tablets when the majority still use non-touch machines? Or have they built a software system that will impress and thrive on any hardware form factor? Windows Vista or the greatest unified software master stroke of the 21st century?"

Submission + - MPAA: Piracy is NOT Theft After All (

TheGift73 writes: "For decades the entertainment industry used the word “theft” to refer to piracy.

Most famous is probably the “You Wouldn’t Steal a Car” ad. But virtually all press releases of outfits such as the MPAA refer to stealing or theft.

All of a sudden, however, MPAA boss Chris Dodd is whistling a different tune.

After the SOPA revolt earlier this year the movie industry group realized they have to position themselves better.

“We’re going to have to be more subtle and consumer-oriented,” Dodd says.

“We’re on the wrong track if we describe this as thievery.”

Technically MPAA’s boss doesn’t say that piracy isn’t theft, but just that it’s bad PR to keep using the term.

The real problem with the theft metaphor is that it’s not only inaccurate, but also widening the gap between people’s norms and copyright law."


Submission + - Augmented Reality escapes apps for mobile browser (

bbigbigmouth writes: "According to this SlashGear article, augmented reality could be coming to a browser window near you. The WSJ "Tech Europe" blog has more detail on this: "What this means is that any mobile website can implement AR which the user will be able to experience through a mobile browser rather than a special app or AR browser. It should also allow developers to offer AR without having to tailor it to each mobile platform."
The browser of choice for the first proof-of-concept seems to be Opera Mobile."

Submission + - Journalists Targeted and Harassed by Chicago PD During NATO Protest (

phx_zs writes: Numerous "citizen journalists" who have been streaming live video of the NATO and G8 meeting protests in Chicago have reported being followed, harassed, unlawfully detained and searched by the Chicago Police.
Video has surfaced showing one of these incidents occurring, during which the journalists say they were handcuffed, interrogated, and had their equipment destroyed.

Submission + - Nikola Tesla Wasn't God and Thomas Edison Wasn't the Devil (

dsinc writes: Forbes' Alex Knapp writes about the Tesla idolatry and confusing his genius for godhood: "Tesla wasn’t an ignored god-hero. Thomas Edison wasn’t the devil. They were both brilliant, strong-willed men who helped build our modern world. They both did great things and awful things. They were both brilliantly right about some things and just as brilliantly wrong about others. They had foibles, quirks, passions, misunderstandings and moments of wonder."

Submission + - Short but sweet meteor shower arrives Jan. 4 (

PolygamousRanchKid writes: Sky watchers are in for their first treat of 2012, as the short but intense Quadrantid meteor shower will light up the northern sky in the early morning of Jan. 4. According to a NASA web page on the Quadrantids, there could be as many as 200 meteors per hour, though the average rate is about 60 to 100 per hour. According to NASA, the shower originates from an asteroid, that may be a piece of a comet which broke apart several centuries ago, and that the meteors you will see before dawn on Jan. 4 are the small debris from this fragmentation. The Quadrantids have not been studied as extensively as some of the better-known meteor showers like the Perseids and Geminids, possibly because it's best visible in far northern latitudes, where its appearance coincides with cold weather. Another factor may be the short peak of the shower, which means some observers may miss it if they're not watching at just the right time if they're not in the right spot. According to, the shower can be hard to see because some of the meteors are faint, requiring exceptional observation conditions.

Submission + - Apple's Secret Weapon to Influence Industry Pricin

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Nick Wingfield writes in the NY Times that Apple’s present pricing strategy is a big change from the 1990s, when consumers regarded Apple as a producer of overpriced tech baubles, unable to compete effectively with its Macintosh family of computers against the far cheaper Windows PCs. Now within the premium product categories where Apple is most at home, comparable devices often do no better than match or slightly undercut Apple’s prices. “They’re not cheap, but I don’t think they’re viewed as high-priced anymore,” says Stewart Alsop. Winfield writes that Apple uses its growing manufacturing scale and logistics prowess to deliver Apple products at far more aggressive prices, which in turn gives it more power to influence pricing industrywide, and one of Apple's pricing secrets has been it's willingness to tap into its huge war chest — $82 billion in cash and marketable securities last quarter — to take big gambles by locking up supplies of parts for years. One example is when Apple struck a five-year, $1.25 billion deal in 2005 with manufacturers to secure flash memory chips for its iPods and other devices. By buying up manufacturing capacity ahead of time, Apple forces its competitors to scramble for the parts that are still available, raising costs for their products. “We’ve historically entered into certain agreements with different people to secure supply and other benefits,” says Apple CEO Tim Cook. "We think that was an absolutely fantastic use of Apple’s cash. ""

Submission + - IBM patents GPU databases (

An anonymous reader writes: According to the patent applications, using GPU acceleration for databases "may be written in any combination of one or more programming languages, including an object oriented programming language such as Java, Smalltalk, C++ or the like and conventional procedural programming languages, such as the "C" programming language or similar programming languages." To cover all of its bases, IBM also states that the "program code may execute entirely on the user's computer, partly on the user's computer, as a stand-alone software package, partly on the user's computer and partly on a remote computer or entirely on the remote computer or server."

Submission + - EU-US Cyber Excercise Tests SCADA And APT threatss (

judgecorp writes: "The first ever joint EU-US cyber security exercise takes place today. Cyber Atlantic 2011 has chosen to test Europe's readiness against SCADA attacks to infrastructure such as the power grid, and advanced persisten threat (APG) attacks designed to extract secret information. Following almost exactly a year after the Cyber Europe drill in 2010, it looks as if these exercises will be a regular feature."

Submission + - China completes first space docking test (

MrSeb writes: "China has joined two space vehicles together in orbit for the first time.

The unmanned Shenzhou 8 craft, launched earlier this week, made contact with the Tiangong-1 space lab at 1729 GMT. The union occurred over China itself.

Being able to dock two space vehicles together is a necessary capability for China if it wants to start building a space station towards the end of the decade."


Submission + - Inside Bill Gates' Brain (

An anonymous reader writes: A look at how Bill Gates thinks about philanthropy — and why he's once again betting on a cheap technology — this time, it's vaccines — to save millions of lives and end overpopulation at the same time. The cover of the new issue of Forbes.

Submission + - Spontaneous fission in Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 (

Kyusaku Natsume writes: Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday that some of the melted fuel in reactor 2 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant may have triggered a brief criticality event. Tsuyoshi Misawa, a reactor physics and engineering professor at Kyoto University's Research Reactor Institute, said that if Tepco's data are correct, "it's clear that the detection (of xenon-133 and -135) comes from nuclear fission."

Tepco spokesman Junichi Matsumoto said the test results suggest that either small-scale fission occurred in the melted fuel, or conditions to trigger criticality were temporarily met for some other reason. He said the same thing could also happen at reactors 1 and 3.

But because the reactor's temperature and pressure level have not changed, the fission would not have been large-scale, Matsumoto said, adding it would not thwart Tepco's schedule for achieving a cold shutdown at the reactors.

In response, boric acid water was injected again in November 2. The Japan Atomic Energy Agency evaluated that the TEPCO's analysis result of the short-half-life radionuclide such as Xe-133 and Xe-135 detection was valid. On the plus side, the concentration of radioactive materials in air is low enough that in some areas inside Fukushima Daiichi for the first time since the accident workers will not use full face masks, starting next week.


Submission + - Siri Gives Apple Two Year Advantage Over Android

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Gary Morgenthaler, a recognized expert in artificial intelligence and a Siri board member, says that Apple now has at least a two-year advantage over Google in the war for best smartphone platform. “What Siri has done is changed people’s expectations about what’s possible,” says Morgenthaler. “Apple has crossed a threshold; people now expect that you should be able to expect to speak ordinary English — and be understood. Siri has cracked the code.” The threshold, from mere speech recognition to natural language input and understanding, is one that Google cannot cross by replicating the technology or making an acquisition adds Morgenthaler. "There’s no company out there they can go buy." Morgenthaler's comments echo the recent article in Forbes Magazine, "Why Siri Is a Google Killer" that says that Apple's biggest advantage over any other voice application out there today is the massive data Siri will collect in the next 2 years — all being stored in Apple’s massive North Carolina data center — that will allow Siri to get better and better. "Siri is a new interface for customers wanting to get information," writes Eric Jackson. "At the moment, most of us still rely on Google for getting at the info we want. But Siri has a foot in the door and it’s trusting that it will win your confidence over time to do basic info gathering.""

Underwater Nuclear Power Plant Proposed In France 314

nicomede writes "The French state-owned DCNS (French military shipyard) announced today a concept study for an underwater nuclear reactor dedicated to power coastal communities in remote places. It is derived from nuclear submarine power plants, and its generator would be able to produce between 50 MWe and 250MWe. Such a plant would be fabricated and maintained in France, and dispatched for the different customers, thus reducing the risk for proliferation."

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.