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Toys

How To Turn a Mini Maglite Into a Laser 605

Lucas123 writes "Using the laser from a DVD burner, this instructional video shows you how to create a hand-held laser that is powerful enough to light a match and pop a balloon. There's some soldering involved and the Maglite's bulb housing needs to be drilled out to fit the new laser diode, but with some basic skill, most people could do this. Just plain cool." Update: 07/09 12:23 GMT by KD : Warning, the device that results from following these instructions will blind you if you look into it.
Media (Apple)

Ultimate iPhone Review — Will It Blend? 347

I've been enjoying the Will it Blend videos forever. There's something about a labcoat clad crazy man putting things like marbles and soda cans into a blender and after reducing them to powder, warning you not to breathe in the particles. Well today they ask the ultimate question of the latest over-hyped internet sensation Will the iPhone Blend? Fans of these videos can probably guess the answer... and this story made my morning. I've been waiting for an excuse to link these forever. If you haven't seen these, you're in for a real treat.
Communications

FCC Approves iPhone 230

An anonymous reader alerted us that the iPhone is one step closer to hitting shelves. "The Federal Communications Commission approved Apple Inc.'s iPhone, clearing the way for the combined phone and music player to hit the shelves. Apple expects to begin selling the phones in late June. Some of the FCC documents confirm a few features of the phone, including it will have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and will operate in the 1900MHz and 850MHz frequency bands. The phone uses GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) technology and the low-speed GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) wireless data standard."
Robotics

A Robotic Cable Inspection System 65

Roland Piquepaille writes "In a short article, Popular Science reports that researchers at the University of Washington have built a robotic cable inspection system. This system should help utility companies to maintain their networks of subterranean cables. The robot, dubbed Cruiser, is about 4-feet-long and is designed like a snake. When it detects an anomaly on an underground cable, it sends a message to a human operator via Wi-Fi. The first field tests took place in New Orleans in December 2006. But a commercial version should not be available before 2012."
Games

Your Mom And Gaming 76

Tomorrow is Mother's Day in the US, and Newsweek's N'Gai Croal rightly estimates that many gamers owe a lot to their mothers. Because they indulged what they likely initially saw as a strange choice of hobby, we have a thriving gaming industry to enjoy today. The Level Up site offers an interview with a woman on the Newsweek staff who learned to tolerate those 'console things', and another piece where N'Gai interviews his own mom about his games-related past. "N'Gai: Growing up, you allowed us kids to have a computer, but we weren't allowed to have a videogame machine. What was your thinking behind that? Yvonne Croal: Well, in my estimation at that time, videogames were just another silly game. We certainly didn't want you to be spending 24/7 playing these games that we considered not productive in any way." If you're still looking for a gift for your own mom, Pop Cap is giving away a free copy of Bejeweled to anyone that signs up for their newsletter. Worked on my mom. Happy Mother's Day.
Space

Astronomers Again Baffled by Solar Observations 299

SteakNShake writes "Once again professional astronomers are struggling to understand observations of the sun. ScienceDaily reports that a team from Saint Andrew's University announced that the sun's magnetic fields dominate the behavior of the corona via a mechanism dubbed the 'solar skeleton.' Computer models continue to be built to mimic the observed behavior of the sun in terms of magnetic fields but apparently the ball is still being dropped; no mention in the announcement is made of the electric fields that must be the cause of the observed magnetic fields. Also conspicuously absent from the press releases is the conclusion that the sun's corona is so-dominated by electric and magnetic fields because it is a plasma. In light of past and present research revealing the electrical nature of the universe, this kind of crippling ignorance among professional astrophysicists is astonishing."
Education

Is The Term Paper Dead? 444

Reader gyges writes in to tell us that the Washington Post has picked up a piece he wrote about cut-and-paste plagiarism: "Plagiarism today is heavily invested with morality surrounding intellectual honesty. That is laudable. But truly distinguishing plagiarism is a matter of intent. Did I mean to copy, was it accidental (a trick of memory), was it polygenesis[?] ... Young people today are simply too far ahead of anything schools might do to curb their recycling efforts. Beyond simply selling used term papers online, Web sites such as StudentofFortune.com allow students to post specific questions and pay for answers." The author argues that in the era we're entering, schools need to rely far less on term papers in assessing students.
Music

University of Wisconsin-Madison Bucks RIAA 203

stephencrane informs us of an interesting development at UW Madison. The school, along with many others, has been sent "settlement letters" by the RIAA with instructions to forward them to particular students (or other university community members) that the RIAA believes guilty of illegal filesharing. The letters order the assumed filesharers to identify themselves and to pay for the content they are supposed to have "pirated." The university has sent a blanket letter to all students, reiterating the school's acceptable use policies, but has refused to forward individual letters without a valid subpoena. This lawyer's blog reproduces the letter. The campus newspaper has some coverage on the university's stance.
The Courts

P2P File Sharing Ruining Physical Piracy Business 192

TorrentFreak has a short post up talking with a former physical data pirate, who sold his wares in flea markets and made buckets of money in the 90s. By the end of the last decade, his money flow had dried up, and he places the blame squarely on the shoulders of P2P file sharing. "Tony is very clear about why his rags to riches story has gone back to rags again. 'File-sharing, P2P - call it what you like. When you asked a customer why he wasn't buying anything, 9 times out of 10 it was BitTorrent this, LimeWire that ...' P2P is a very powerful machine and although Tony could see that his operation was feeling its effects, he admits that he sat back and did nothing about it and consequently, his business has paid the ultimate price. Other industries affected by P2P should take note: Don't be a Tony. Overhaul your business model. Quickly." One would imagine overseas media sellers will have similar issues, as P2P networks become more common outside of the Western world.
Communications

Submission + - Apple and Cisco to share iPhone name

ackatack writes: The BBC is reporting that Apple and Cisco have come to an agreement regarding the use of the iPhone brand name that allows for both companies to use the name. Furthermore, the two will partner on products in the areas of security, consumer and business communications. From the story: "In a joint statement, Cisco and Apple said both companies could use the word iPhone on their products worldwide. All lawsuits connected with dispute have been dismissed."
Security

Ex-judge Gets 27 Months on Evidence From Hacked PC 610

netbsd_fan writes "A former California judge has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for possession of illegal pornography, based entirely on evidence gathered by an anonymous vigilante script kiddie in Canada. At any given time he was monitoring over 3,000 innocent people. The anonymous hacker says, "I would stay up late at night to see what I could drag out of their computers, which turned out to be more than I expected. I could read all of their e-mails without them knowing. As far as they were concerned, they didn't know their e-mails had even been opened. I could see who they were chatting with and read what they were saying as they typed."

Triple-Shape Plastics for Surgery 27

Roland Piquepaille writes "In Plastics' Day in Surgery, Red Herring reports that an international team of U.S. and German researchers has developed a new kind of plastic that can shift between three different shapes when the temperature increases. Even if these polymeric triple-shape materials have not emerged from the lab, they could eventually be employed as removable 'stents' and self-closing fasteners used by surgeons and more generally by the healthcare industry. The Emerging Tech ZDNet blog has additional references and pictures of these morphing plastics."

Firefox 2.0 Password Manager Bug Exposes Passwords 315

zbuffered writes, "Today, Mozilla made public bug #360493, which exposes Firefox's Password Manager on many public sites. The flaw derives from Firefox's willingness to supply the username and password stored on one page on a domain to another page on a domain. For example, username/password input tags on a Myspace user's site will be unhelpfully propagated with the visitor's Myspace.com credentials. It was first discovered in the wild by Netcraft on Oct. 27. As this proof-of-concept illustrates, because the username/password fields need not be visible on the page, your password can be stolen in an almost completely transparent fashion. Stopgap solutions include avoiding using Password Manager and the Master Password Timeout Firefox extension, which will at least cause a prompt before the fields are filled. However, in the original case detailed in the bug report, the phish mimicked the login.myspace.com site almost perfectly, causing many users to believe they needed to log in. A description of this new type of attack, dubbed the Reverse Cross-Site Request (RCSR) vulnerability, is available from the bug's original author."

Scott Adams Suggests Bill Gates For President 1224

gerrysteele writes to point out a recent post to the Dilbert blog, in which Scott Adams discusses the atheist ascendancy in America and rationalizes the need for an atheist leader. From the article: "Ask a deeply religious Christian if he'd rather live next to a bearded Muslim that may or may not be plotting a terror attack, or an atheist that may or may not show him how to set up a wireless network in his house. On the scale of prejudice, atheists don't seem so bad lately. I think that in an election cycle or two you will see an atheist business leader emerge as a legitimate candidate for president. And his name will be Bill Gates."

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