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Space

Space Photos Taken From Shed Stun Astronomers 149

krou writes "Amateur astronomer Peter Shah has stunned astronomers around the world with amazing photos of the universe taken from his garden shed. Shah spent £20,000 on the equipment, hooking up a telescope in his shed to his home computer, and the results are being compared to images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. 'Most men like to putter about in their garden shed,' said Shah, 'but mine is a bit more high tech than most. I have fitted it with a sliding roof so I can sit in comfort and look at the heavens. I have a very modest set up, but it just goes to show that a window to the universe is there for all of us – even with the smallest budgets. I had to be patient and take the images over a period of several months because the skies in Britain are often clouded over and you need clear conditions.' His images include the Monkey's head nebula, M33 Pinwheel Galaxy, Andromeda Galaxy and the Flaming Star Nebula, and are being put together for a book."
Math

Man Uses Drake Equation To Explain Girlfriend Woes 538

artemis67 writes "A man studying in London has taken a mathematical equation that predicts the possibility of alien life in the universe to explain why he can't find a girlfriend. Peter Backus, a native of Seattle and PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, near London, in his paper, 'Why I don't have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK,' used math to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK. In describing the paper on the university Web site he wrote 'the results are not encouraging. The probability of finding love in the UK is only about 100 times better than the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy.'"
Mars

Mars Images Reveal Evidence of Ancient Lakes 128

Matt_dk writes "Spectacular satellite images suggest that Mars was warm enough to sustain lakes three billion years ago, a period that was previously thought to be too cold and arid to sustain water on the surface, according to research published today in the journal Geology. Earlier research had suggested that Mars had a warm and wet early history but that between 4 billion and 3.8 billion years ago, before the Hesperian Epoch, the planet lost most of its atmosphere and became cold and dry. In the new study, the researchers analysed detailed images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is currently circling the red planet, and concluded that there were later episodes where Mars experienced warm and wet periods."

Submission + - Thorium, the next nuclear fuel? (wired.com) 1

mrshermanoaks writes: When the nuclear choices were being made, we went with uranium because it had the byproduct of producing plutonium that could be weaponized. But thorium is safer and easier to work with, and may cause a lot fewer headaches. So why are we not building these reactors?
Moon

Did Chandrayaan Find Organic Matter On the Moon? 141

Matt_dk writes "Surendra Pal, associate director of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Satellite Centre says that Chandrayaan-1 picked up signatures of organic matter on parts of the Moon's surface. 'The findings are being analyzed and scrutinized for validation by ISRO scientists and peer reviewers,' Pal said. At a press conference Tuesday at the American Geophysical Union fall conference, scientists from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter also hinted at possible organics locked away in the lunar regolith. When asked directly about the Chandrayaan-1 claim of finding life on the Moon, NASA's chief lunar scientist, Mike Wargo, certainly did not dismiss the idea."
Science

Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132

An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"
Science

New Graphical Representation of the Periodic Table 140

KentuckyFC writes "The great power of Mendeleev's periodic table was that it allowed him to predict the properties of undiscovered elements. But can this arrangement be improved? Two new envisionings of the periodic table attempt to do just that. The first uses a new graphical representation that shows the relative sizes of atoms as well as their groups and periods. The other uses the same kind of group theoretical approach that particle physicists developed to classify particles by their symmetries (abstract). That helped particle physicists predict the existence of new particles, but may have limited utility for chemists who seem to have discovered (or predicted) all of the elements they need already."

Submission + - Swedish hackers in a squat fight eviction (hackerspaces.org) 4

lekernel writes: The newly opened Abbenay Hackspace in Stockholm has released a call for support in their struggle to keep their space. It was an empty office building until squatters moved in. The discussions with officials have stalled completely and the squatters live under the constant threat of police raids. Abbenay Hackspace is asking people to contact the landlord, and explain why creative spaces such as hackerspaces are important to them. Is there room for hackerspaces in major cities? Or is squatting the only viable strategy for hackerspaces in expensive areas?

Comment Re:Evil. (Score 4, Interesting) 390

I remember reading somewhere that there are processes in place for a patent submitter to deprecate a patent and forcefully render its content public domain. Am I remembering incorrectly? If not, then that would surely be a sign of goodwill as it would render the given content unpatentable.

Medicine

Medical Papers By Ghostwriters Pushed Hormone Therapy 289

krou writes "The New York Times reports on newly released court documents that show how pharmaceutical company Wyeth paid a medical communications firm to use ghost writers in drafting and publishing 26 papers between 1998 and 2005 backing the usage of hormone replacement therapy in women. The articles appeared in 18 journals, such as The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and The International Journal of Cardiology. The papers 'emphasized the benefits and de-emphasized the risks of taking hormones to protect against maladies like aging skin, heart disease and dementia,' and the apparent 'medical consensus benefited Wyeth ... as sales of its hormone drugs, called Premarin and Prempro, soared to nearly $2 billion in 2001.' The apparent consensus crumbled after a federal study in 2002 'found that menopausal women who took certain hormones had an increased risk of invasive breast cancer, heart disease and stroke.'"
Medicine

Scientists Turn Used LCDs Into Medicine 30

schliz writes "Scientists from the University of York have come up with a new recycling technique that extracts PVA from used LCD panels to create a 'a bioactive sponge.' The technique could allow recovered PVA to be used in pills, wound dressings and tissue scaffolds that aid human tissue regeneration. It could also keep waste LCD screens from incineration or landfill altogether."
Games

Unusual Physics Engine Game Ported To Linux 117

christian.einfeldt writes "Halloween has come early for Linux-loving gamers in the form of the scary Penumbra game trilogy, which has just recently been ported natively to GNU-Linux by the manufacturer, Frictional Games. The Penumbra games, named Overture, Black Plague and Requiem, are first-person survival horror and physics puzzle games which challenge the player to survive in a mine in Greenland which has been taken over by a monstrous infection/demon/cthulhu-esque thing. The graphics, sounds, and plot are all admirable in a scary sort of way. The protagonist is an ordinary human with no particular powers at all, who fumbles around in the dark mine fighting zombified dogs or fleeing from infected humans. But the game is remarkable for its physics engine — rather than just bump and acquire, the player must use the mouse to physically turn knobs and open doors; and the player can grab and throw pretty much anything in the environment. The physics engine drives objects to fly and fall exactly as one would expect. The porting of a game with such a deft physics engine natively to Linux might be one of the most noteworthy events for GNU-Linux gamers since the World of Goo Linux port."

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