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Submission + - Earth-like planet discovered

dws90 writes: "A new, Earth-like planet has been discovered orbiting the star Gliese 581, approximately 20 lightyears away from Earth. According to the article, this "Super-Earth" has a mean temperature of 0-40 degrees Celsius, meaning it can possess liquid water, the backbone of life. Its radius is about 1.5x that of Earth's, and therefore scientists expect it to have a rocky or ocean surface. Scientists plan to launch a series of telescopes in space that will be able to study the planet for any of "tell-tale light signatures" that indicate the presence of life."

Earthlike Planet Orbiting Nearby Star 617

The Bad Astronomer writes "Astronomers in Europe have announced the discovery of a planet with only 5 times the Earth's mass, orbiting a red dwarf star 20 light years away. It orbits the star so closely that it only takes 13 days to go around... but the star is so cool that the temperature of the planet is between 0 and 40 Celsius. At this temperature there could be liquid water. Models indicate the planet is either rocky like the Earth or covered in an ocean. While it's not known if there actually is liquid water on the planet, this is a really big discovery, and indicates that we are getting ever closer to finding another Earth orbiting an alien star."
The Internet

Submission + - succinct definition of the internet?

magnamous writes: Ever since Senator Ted Stevens used the phrase "series of tubes" to describe his understanding of the Internet, I've noticed several stories and comments on Slashdot referencing how silly that is, the latest one being this one. Although I agree that that description is rather silly, each time I've found myself trying to come up with a succinct layman's definition of what the Internet is, and I come up short. Wikipedia has a gargantuan page describing the Internet, and Google's definitions offer pretty good descriptions of what the Internet is in a functional sense (with some throwing in terms that the layman wouldn't understand, or take the time to understand), but not really a good description of what it "is" in the physical sense that I think Sen. Stevens was trying to get at. What are your suggestions for a succinct layman's definition of the Internet?

I know some would say that laypeople should take the time to learn the technical, more accurate meaning of what the Internet is. The problem is that they won't. We all know laypeople. I live with two of them. When you start talking about "TCP/IP" or "DNS," or if you get far enough to start describing those terms, their eyes glaze over. That's what makes them laypeople — they don't care about the subject enough to learn about it in-depth; if they did, they'd be computer enthusiasts. So please keep in mind that, in order for this discussion to be useful, "succinct" and "layman's" are essential parts to any definition of the Internet given here. Also keep in mind that "succinct" doesn't necessarily mean one sentence; a relatively short paragraph would be fine, too — the main goal is to come up with something that physically describes the Internet which laypeople actually understand.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Firehose has a feed 2

For those who don't know, Slashdot subscribers have been able to peek into the Slashdot submission queue for awhile in a neat feature known as the Firehose. I don't use the Firehose very often, but it's nice to have it there, and it's one reason I'm still a Slashdot subscriber.

So I peeked in today, and noticed that there's now a Firehose feed. Not sure if I'd ever want to subscribe, but that's pretty cool.

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