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Science

Submission + - Did vikings use the same compass as birds and bees (brightsideofnews.com)

An anonymous reader writes: If you've been wondering how Vikings found their way from Scandinavia to America, polarizing light birds and bees use as a season-and-latitude-independent compass calibration reference may be the answer.

In the case of the Vikings, they possibly used one of two crystals, cordierite, also called lolite, of Norway, or calcite of Iceland.

By holding a polarizing crystal up to the sky and rotating it, you can determine the direction of the Sun. Summer, when sailors far north ventured upon the seas, they were confronted with nearly perpetual daylight, preventing them from using the stars to navigate. Light consists of electromagnetic waves that oscillate perpendicular to the direction of the light's travel. When the oscillations all point in the same direction, the light is polarized.

The Internet

Submission + - IP addresses ‘not enough’ for legal ac (which.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: A judgment issued today by Judge Birss in the Patents County Court has derailed the threatening letter-writing activities by legal firms such as ACS:Law in pursuit of illegal file-sharers.

In his judgment, Judge Birss questioned whether IP addresses could be used as sound evidence in identifying someone and accuse them of illegal file-sharing. He reasoned that IP addresses were not enough, citing unsecured home wireless networks and the fact that an IP address doesn’t identify the individual that is alleged to have illegally file-shared.

The Internet

Submission + - How a small tweak can cripple your web sales (pcpro.co.uk) 1

Barence writes: PC Pro has a blog revealing how a minor tweak to a website's design can have a crippling affect on sales conversion rates. BigCommerce, a hosted ecommerce service, recently pushed out a minor update to all its shops. Gone was the simple, tree-type list of categories and subcategories to be replaced by a swanky new “fly-out” menu. That small tweak led to a 75% drop in conversation rates on one site, as the many sub-categories of products on offer were hidden and the small tweak made the website navigation much more complicated for the average user.

Submission + - Scientology proven false... by their counsel (npr.org)

drinkypoo writes: "In one very interesting moment, Davis said, 'Of course, if it's true that Mr. Hubbard was never injured during the war, then he never did heal himself using Dianetics principles, then Dianetics is based on a lie, and then Scientology is based on a lie. The truth is that Mr. Hubbard was a war hero.' And the way he phrased that, that everything depended on whether Hubbard had sustained these injuries and healed himself was like a wager on the table." And to drive the point home, "And [a researcher] had inquired about Howard D. Thompson, this lieutenant commander that supposedly signed this notice of separation. And the archivist at the time said they had thoroughly researched the roles of Navy officers at the time, and there was no such person."

Comment To hell with those codecs; the real story here is: (Score 1, Interesting) 686

Received: from [17.248.4.102] (wave-dhcp102.apple.com [17.248.4.102]) by
  et.apple.com (Sun Java(tm) System Messaging Server 6.3-7.04 (built Sep 26
  2008; 32bit)) with ESMTPSA id for
  hugo at fsfe dot org; Fri, 30 Apr 2010 06:21:16 -0700 (PDT)

Not even apple thinks xserves are worth a shit

I freaking knew it

Comment Hilarious (Score 5, Insightful) 230

This guy's worried about "narrowing the ways in which developers think about and write networked applications" in a world where people are reinventing wall(1) as twitter, IRC as friendfeed, and other web 2.0 'innovations.' You want to widen developers' thinking about networking? Leave sockets alone and close off port 80.
PC Games (Games)

An In-Depth Look At Game Piracy 504

TweakGuides is running a detailed examination of PC game piracy. The author begins with a look at the legal, moral, and monetary issues behind copyright infringement, and goes on to measure the scale of game piracy and how it affects developers and publishers. He also discusses some of the intended solutions to piracy. He provides examples of copy protection and DRM schemes that have perhaps done more harm than good, as well as less intrusive measures which are enjoying more success. The author criticizes the "culture of piracy" that has developed, saying. "Fast forward to the 21st century, and piracy has apparently somehow become a political struggle, a fight against greedy corporations and evil copy protection, and in some cases, I've even seen some people refer to the rise of piracy as a 'revolution.' What an absolute farce. ... Piracy is the result of human nature: when faced with the option of getting something for free or paying for it, and in the absence of any significant risks, you don't need complex economic studies to show you that most people will opt for the free route."

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