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Science

Dark Matter Particles May Have Been Detected 156

During two seminars at Stanford and Fermilab on Thursday, researchers described signals for two events detected deep in an old iron mine in Minnesota that might mark the first detection of dark matter — or not. The presenters said the chances that the signals they detected were caused by something other than "neutralino" dark matter particles was 23 percent. "One source indicates that we'd need less than 10 total detections within the CDMS' range in order to have a high degree of confidence in the results." The NY Times describes the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search methodology: "The cryogenic experiment is nearly half a mile underground in an old iron mine in Soudan, Minn., to shield it from cosmic rays. It consists of a stack of germanium and silicon detectors, cooled to one-hundredth of a degree Kelvin. When a particle hits one of the detectors, it produces an electrical charge and deposits a small bit of energy in the form of heat, each of which are independently measured. By comparing the amounts of charge and heat left behind, the collaboration’s physicists can tell so-called wimps from more mundane particles like neutrons, which are expected to flood the underground chamber from radioactivity in the rocks around it." Here are the research team's summary notes of the latest results (PDF).
Graphics

Microsoft Promises Not To Sue Moonlight 2.0 Users 233

darthcamaro writes "Moonlight 2.0, Novell's open source implementation of the Microsoft media framework, is now available and comes with a new patent promise from Microsoft. Any Linux user can use it now without worrying about being sued: '"A really important change in how the community and individuals will see and use Moonlight is a change and extension to the patent covenant that Microsoft provides to Novell and its end users," Brian Goldfarb, director of Web and user experience platforms at Microsoft, told InternetNews.com. "We're now increasing the reach of the agreement — Microsoft's commitment not to sue Novell or Novell's customers now extends to redistributors."'"
Science

New Superconductor World Record Surpasses 250K 271

myrrdyn writes to tell us that a new superconductivity record high of 254 Kelvin (-19C, -2F) has been recorded. According to the article this is the first time a superconductive state has been observed at a temperature comparable to a household freezer. "This achievement was accomplished by combining two previously successful structure types: the upper part of a 9212/2212C and the lower part of a 1223. The chemical elements remain the same as those used in the 242K material announced in May 2009. The host compound has the formula (Tl4Ba)Ba2Ca2Cu7Oy and is believed to attain 254K superconductivity when a 9223 structure forms"
Patents

Patent Claim Could Block Import of Toyota's Hybrid Cars 451

JynxMe writes "Paice is a tiny Florida company that has patented a way to apply force to a car's wheels from an electric motor or internal combustion engine. Paice thinks that Toyota is infringing on its technology, and is going after the automaker in court. The legal spat became much more serious for Toyota this week, when the US International Trade Commission decided to investigate the matter. In the worst-case scenario for Toyota, the commission could ban the hybrid Camry, third-generation Prius, Lexus HS250h sedan and Lexus RX450h SUV."
Businesses

Oracle Fined For Benchmark Claims 81

pickens writes "Information Week reports that the Transaction Processing Council, which sets benchmarks for measuring database performance, has fined Oracle $10,000 for Oracle's ads published August 27 and September 3 on the front page of the Wall Street Journal which violate the 'fair use' rules that govern TPC members by 'comparing an existing TPC result to something that does not exist.' The ads said to expect a product announcement on October 14 that would demonstrate that some sort of hybrid Oracle-Sun setup would offer two-digit performance on the TPC-C online transaction processing test compared to IBM's 6 million transaction per minute result on its Power 595 running AIX and DB2. The TPC Council serves as a neutral forum where benchmark results are aired and compared. 'At the time of publication, they didn't have anything' submitted to the council says Michael Majdalany, administrator of the council adding that that Oracle is free to use TPC numbers once it submits an audited result for the Sun-Oracle system. Fines by the TPC are infrequent, with the last action — a $5,000 fine — levied against Microsoft in 2005 for unsupported claims about SQL Server. 'It takes a fairly serious violation to warrant a member being fined,' says Majdalany."
Image

Pain-Free Animals Could Take Suffering Out of Farming 429

Philosopher Adam Shriver suggested that genetically engineering cows to feel no pain could be an acceptable alternative to eliminating factory farming in a paper published in Neuroscience. Work by neuroscientist Zhou-Feng Chen at Washington University may turn Shriver's suggestion a reality. Chen has been working on identifying the genes that control "affective" pain, the unpleasantness part of a painful sensation. He has managed to isolate a gene called P311, and has found that mice who do not have P311 don't have negative associations with pain, although they do react negatively to heat and pressure. This could end much of the concern about cruel farming practices, but unfortunately still leaves my design for the fiery hamburger punch in the unethical column.
Cellphones

Nokia Releases Linux Handset 484

galaxy writes "Nokia releases their first Linux mobile handset, the N900 The handset is based on the latest release of Maemo, the Nokia mobile Linux platform, and includes e.g. GSM and 3G access (with HSPA, giving datarates of up to 10Mbps downlink and 2Mbps uplink on suitable networks), WLAN, Bluetooth, camera, assisted GPS and, most importantly, a touchscreen complemented by a hardware QWERTY under a slider. The beast is powered by an ARM Cortex-A8 processor at 600 MHz, has PowerVR SGX with OpenGL ES 2.0 support, 32GB internal memory etc."
Games

Games Fail To Portray Gender and Ethnic Diversity 590

eldavojohn writes "A new study has found that game characters tend not to reflect cultural diversity. According to the paper from researchers across four universities (PDF): 'A large-scale content analysis of characters in video games was employed to answer questions about their representations of gender, race and age in comparison to the US population. The sample included 150 games from a year across nine platforms, with the results weighted according to game sales. ... The results show a systematic over-representation of males, white and adults and a systematic under-representation of females, Hispanics, Native Americans, children and the elderly.' The researchers also note that games 'function as crucial gatekeepers for interest in science, technology, engineering and math,' and that without these groups represented properly, 'it may place underrepresented groups behind the curve.'"
Education

Study Catches Birds Splitting Into Separate Species 153

webdoodle writes "A new study finds that a change in a single gene has sent two closely related bird populations on their way to becoming two distinct species. The study, published in the August issue of the American Naturalist, is one of only a few to investigate the specific genetic changes that drive two populations toward speciation."
The Internet

British Library Puts Oldest Surviving Bible Online 568

Peace Corps Library writes "BBC reports that about 800 pages of the earliest surviving Christian Bible, the 1,600-year-old Codex Sinaiticus manuscript, have been recovered and put on the Internet. 'The Codex Sinaiticus is one of the world's greatest written treasures,' says Dr. Scot McKendrick, head of Western manuscripts at the British Library. 'This 1,600-year-old manuscript offers a window into the development of early Christianity and first-hand evidence of how the text of the Bible was transmitted from generation to generation.' The New Testament of the Codex Sinaiticus appears in Koine Greek, the original vernacular language, and the Old Testament in the version, known as the Septuagint, that was adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians. For 1,500 years, the Codex Sinaiticus lay undisturbed in a Sinai monastery until it was found in 1844 and split between Egypt, Russia, Germany, and Britain. It is thought to have survived because the desert air was ideal for preservation and because the monastery, on a Christian island in a Muslim sea, remained untouched, its walls unconquered. The British Library is marking the online launch of the manuscript with an exhibition which includes a range of historic items and artifacts linked to the document. 'The availability of the virtual manuscript for study by scholars around the world creates opportunities for collaborative research that would not have been possible just a few years ago.'"
The Media

Don't Copy That Floppy! Gets a Sequel 523

theodp writes "Back in 1992, the SIIA released Don't Copy That Floppy!, a goofy video in which anti-piracy rapper MC Double Def DP convinces a young lad not to copy a game by appealing to his sense of right and wrong. Now, to address what it calls 'new generations and new temptations,' the SIIA has uploaded a trailer for a new anti-piracy rap video — Don't Copy That 2 — that will be released this summer. To underscore the video's it's-not-just-a-copy-it's-a-crime message, the new film is a tad darker than the original. A smug teen who's downloading files from 'Pirates Palace' and 'Tune Weasel' finds his world turned upside down when automatic weapons-toting government agents break down the door and take his Mom away in handcuffs. The teen finds himself in a prison jumpsuit forced to tattoo shirtless adult inmates who eventually turn on him, physically attack him, and make him run for his life back to his jail cell (image summarizing his plight)."
Software

SoftMaker Office 2008 vs. OpenOffice.org 3.1 214

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy examines would-be Microsoft Office competitors SoftMaker Office and OpenOffice.org and finds the results surprising. OpenOffice.org — frequently cited as the most viable Office competitor — has pushed for Office interoperability in version 3.1, adding import support for files in Office 2007's native Open XML format. But, as Kennedy found in Office-compatibility testing, that support remains mostly skin deep. 'Factor in OpenOffice's other well-documented warts — buggy Java implementation, CPU-hogging auto-update system, quirky font rendering — and it's easy to see why the vast majority of IT shops continue to reject this pretender to the Microsoft Office throne,' Kennedy writes. SoftMaker Office, however, 'shows that good things often still come in small packages.' Geared more toward mobile computing, the suite's 'compact footprint and low overhead make it ideal for underpowered systems, and its excellent compatibility with Office 2003 file formats means it's a safe choice for heterogeneous environments where external data access isn't a priority.'" Note that SoftMaker Office is not free software — it costs $79.95 — and there is no version for Macintosh.
Java

Ask Jazz Technical Lead Dr. Erich Gamma 83

As IBM continues to build out Jazz, their community-oriented development site, technical lead Dr. Erich Gamma has offered to answer questions about Jazz or anything else in his realm of expertise. Among his many accomplishments, Erich worked with Kent Beck on the Java unit testing framework, JUnit, and was actively involved until JUnit 4. Dr. Gamma was also one of the fathers of Eclipse and the original lead on the Eclipse Java development tools. Feel free to fire away on Eclipse, Java, JUnit, the Rational suite, the Jazz site, or anything else you think Erich might be able to answer. Usual Slashdot interview rules apply. Update 19:05 GMT by SM: As pointed out by user Hop-Frog, Dr. Gamma is also co-author of the influential computer science textbook Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software.
Businesses

Tesla Nabs $465M Government Loan To Build Model S 505

SignalFreq writes "Tesla Motors, based in San Carlos, California, was approved yesterday for $465M in loans from the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. Tesla plans to use $365M of the money to finance a manufacturing facility for the Model S (review, Letterman video) and $100M for a powertrain manufacturing plant in the SF Bay Area. 'Tesla will use the ATVM loan precisely the way that Congress intended — as the capital needed to build sustainable transport,' said Tesla CEO and Product Architect Elon Musk. Tesla expects the Model S to ship in late 2011 and the base cost to be $57,400 ($49,900 after a federal tax credit). Ford received $5.9B and Nissan received $1.6B under the same program."

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