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Mars

Submission + - 71 Percent of U.S. See Humans On Mars By 2033 (discovery.com) 2

astroengine writes: "In a recent poll funded by the non-profit Explore Mars, 71% of respondents agreed that the US will send a human to Mars within the next two decades. Unfortunately, on average, the sample of 1,101 people surveyed thought the US government allocated 2.4% of the federal budget to NASA — in reality it's only 0.5%. With this in mind, 75% of the respondents agreed/strongly agreed that NASA's budget should be increased to explore Mars through manned and robotic means."
News

Submission + - Pepsi to release new Breakfast Mnt Dew (freep.com)

skade88 writes: Pepsi will release on Feb 28th a new Breakfast Mnt Dew. The new drink called Kick Start is Mnt Dew mixed with fruit juice. It will come in two flavors, Citrus and Fruit Punch. "Our consumers told us they are looking for an alternative to traditional morning beverages – one that tastes great, includes real fruit juice and has just the right amount of kick to help them start their days," said Greg Lyons, Mountain Dew's vice president of marketing.

Maybe this is the drink the Pope needs to keep going. New marketing campaign maybe? :D

Games

Submission + - Inside the Project Holodeck VR Game World, First Impressions (roadtovr.com)

Hesh writes: "The space-pirates themed Project Holodeck game (http://www.ProjectHolodeck.com) out of USC is a VR game that is initially targeted for the Oculus Rift and will marry VR with a world so interactive and immersive that it feels like you can almost reach out and touch it. Ben Lang over at RoadToVR recently got a chance to sit down with the team and try it out and came out extremely impressed with how immersive the experience was: '...at one point I needed to set the Razer Hydra controllers down to adjust my helmet and I nearly tried to set them down on a virtual table next to me. There was no table in real life — had I not quickly realized what I was about to do, I would have dropped the controllers straight onto the floor below.'"
Hardware

Submission + - Raspberry Pi Gets A $25 Camera (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: Raspberry Pi seems to be developing into a complete system for DIY. Now we have a video camera to add to the list of goodies — and it's only $25. The slightly bad news is that it is only 5 mega pixels, but this is reasonable for such a low-cost module and for the computing powers of the Pi — it's still more than 1080p Hi-Def video for example. It is directly interfaced to the GPU via a special connector on the board, i.e. not the GPIO, with a bandwidth good enough for video. The module is expected to be available in about a month — there is some work to do on the drivers.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Alternatives to the Canonical Computer Science Degree 1

connorblack writes: "I want to be a web developer, and everyday I ask myself the same question: why am I wasting my time getting a computer science degree? I feel like I'm trapped- most of the courses I spend all my time on are far removed from the skills I need to succeed as a web developer. But on the other hand, I can't imagine another degree that would allow me to stay in a programming mindset. The fact is that web development has taken huge bounds in the last few years, and sadly most universities haven't caught up. Computer science is a field that overlaps with web development, but getting a computer science degree to become a web developer is like getting a zoology degree to become a veterinarian. Close, but no cigar. So here's the deal: I'm in my second year of a computer science degree, and the thought of wasting two more years, getting left in the dust, and becoming irrelevant has me horrified. I want to start my web development career now. Or at least as soon as possible. I can drop out and devote 6 months to teaching myself, but I want something more structured. Something that has the benefits of a classroom and an authority figure, but which teaches me exactly what I need to know to do what I want to do. Any suggestions?"

Submission + - Corporations Profiting from Drug War Ask Eric Holder to Stop Legal Pot (reason.com) 3

cathyreisenwitz writes: "A coalition of interest groups whose members profit off marijuana prohibition, including the former leader of a chain of abusive teen rehab centers, have sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that the Department of Justice prevent Colorado and Washington from taxing and regulating marijuana."

Submission + - Texas school board searching for another theory besides evolution (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: [Ars Technica] recently reviewed the documentary The Revisionaries, which chronicles the actions of the Texas state school board as it attempted to rewrite the science and history standards that had been prepared by experts in education and the relevant subjects. For biology, the board's revisions meant that textbook publishers were instructed to help teachers and students "analyze all sides of scientific information" about evolution. Given that ideas only reach the status of theory if they have overwhelming evidence supporting them, it isn't at all clear what "all sides" would involve.
Censorship

Submission + - ACTA and SOPA make a return via TAFTA (techdirt.com)

poetmatt writes: Techdirt notes that a new trade agreement is being released which will reintroduce the same IP maximalist issues from ACTA, SOPA and TPP previously, this time named TAFTA.

FTA: "More details are starting to come out as the main EU negotiator for ACTA, Karel de Gucht, came to DC to see about getting things kicked off, on an agreement that's being called TAFTA — the Trans Atlantic "Free Trade" Agreement. Of course, instead of recognizing the lessons from previous failed efforts to push for broken maximalist policies, it appears that the plan is to try, try again.

Submission + - SPAM: Every single Internet Explorer at risk ..

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has lined up a bumper Patch Tuesday this month to snap shut a backbreaking 57 security vulnerabilities in its products.

Five of the 12 software updates addressing the gaping holes will tackle critical flaws that allow miscreants to execute code remotely on vulnerable systems.

In all, the soon-to-be-patched vulnerabilities exist in the Windows operating system, Internet Explorer web browser, Microsoft Server Software, Microsoft Office and the .NET framework.

Link to Original Source
XBox (Games)

Submission + - If Xbox rumors are true, Microsoft may be making a huge mistake (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: EDGE Online has the rumored details and specs on the next-generation console, which some fans call the Xbox 720. The specs look great and rumors of a Blu-ray player are excellent news. But one thing gives me major pause: a persistent Internet connection is required and the console will not allow for users to play second-hand games. EDGE went on to say that all disc-based games for the new console will include one-time-use online activation codes.

As it is, activation codes are used on PC games, and gamers hate it. However, the PC market is small compared to consoles. This attempt at gaining control over buying and play habits of consoles is far more significant and needs to be pushed back.

From attempts by the record companies to tax blank tapes back in the 1980s to record labels attacking used record stores to Circuit City's epic failure with Divx, content owners have barely masked their greed and desire to control your consumption habits over the years. Generally speaking, when you buy something, you have a right to do what you want with it. The record industry tried to stop used CD sales and failed. Back in 1993, Garth Brooks (at the height of his popularity) attempted to refuse selling an album in stores that also sold used CDs, and it blew up in his face. Not only that, but the major labels wound up under an FTC antitrust investigation for their attempts to stunt used CD sales.

Security

Submission + - Children Turning Into Malicious Code Developers (net-security.org)

Orome1 writes: "In a world filled with laptops, tablets and smartphones, today’s children become digitally fluent far earlier than previous generations. Now, AVG has found evidence that pre-teens are writing malware designed to steal login details from online gamers, both young and old. While stealing someone’s game logins may at first seem a minor problem, online gaming accounts are often connected to credit card details to enable in-game purchases, and may also have virtual currency attached to them amounting to hundreds of dollars. Furthermore, many gamers unfortunately use the same login details for social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, potentially putting the victim at risk of cyber-bullying, in addition to identity theft and major inconvenience."
Science

Submission + - Ancestor of All Placental Mammals Revealed (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: The ancestor of all placental mammals—the diverse lineage that includes almost all species of mammals living today, including humans—was a tiny, furry-tailed creature that evolved shortly after the dinosaurs disappeared, a new study suggests. The hypothetical creature, not found in the fossil record but inferred from it, probably was a tree-climbing, insect-eating mammal that weighed between 6 and 245 grams—somewhere between a small shrew and a mid-sized rat. It was furry, had a long tail, gave birth to a single young, and had a complex brain with a large lobe for interpreting smells and a corpus callosum, the bundle of nerve fibers that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The period following the dinosaur die-offs could be considered a "big bang" of mammalian diversification, with species representing as many as 10 major groups of placentals appearing within a 200,000-year interval.
Space

Submission + - No Transmitting Aliens Detected in Kepler SETI Search (discovery.com)

astroengine writes: "By focusing the Green Bank radio telescope on stars hosting (candidate) exoplanets identified by NASA's Kepler space telescope, it is hoped that one of those star systems may also play host to a sufficiently evolved alien race capable of transmitting radio signals into space. But in a study headed by ex-SETI chief Jill Tarter, the conclusion of this first attempt is blunt: “No signals of extraterrestrial origin were found.” But this is the just first of the "directed" SETI searches that has put some very important limits on the probability of finding sufficiently advanced alien civilizations in our galaxy."

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