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Medicine

Fighting Mosquitoes With GM Mosquitoes 521

doug141 writes "Scientists are releasing genetically modified male mosquitoes that produce flightless female offspring. The male offspring go on to wipe out another generation of females. This is similar to the way screwworms were eradicated in the U.S., except with nature itself making more of the modified males. Field trials are already underway."
Power

Scientists Create New Type of Superconductor Wires 96

An anonymous reader writes "Scientists in Israel have used technology created at a U.S.-funded national research lab to created a new kind of wire spun from sapphire crystals, that is a vastly better conductor than traditional copper wires. The research could have profound implications for renewable energy since much of the generation is in remote locations. It could help bring more electricity from renewable sources to cities."
Security

A Linux Distro From the US Department of Defense 210

donadony writes "The Lightweight Portable Security distribution was created by the Software Protection Initiative under the direction of the Air Force Research Laboratory and the U.S. Department Of Defense. The idea behind it is that government workers can use a CD-ROM or USB stick to boot into a tamper proof, pristine desktop when using insecure computers such as those available in hotels or a worker's own home. The environment that it offers should be largely resistant to Internet-borne security threats such as viruses and spyware, particularly when launched from read-only media such as a CDROM. The LPS system does not mount the hard drive of the host machine, so leaves no trace of the user's activities behind."
Graphics

Upscaling Retro 8-Bit Pixel Art To Vector Graphics 325

An anonymous reader writes "Two researchers — Johannes Kopf from Microsoft, and Dani Lischinski from The Hebrew University — have successfully created an algorithm that depixelizes and upscales low-resolution 8-bit 'pixel art' into lush vector graphics. The algorithm identifies pixel-level details (original paper — PDF) to accurately shade the new image — but more importantly, the algorithm can create smooth, curved contour lines from only-connected-on-the-diagonal single pixels. At long last, we might be able to play Super Mario Bros. on a big screen without stretching our beloved plumber's pixels to breaking point. You really must look at the sample images." Scroll down in the paper to see how their technique stacks up against some others, including Adobe's Live Trace.

Comment 2/129? (Score 1) 193

Interesting that we're not counting Columbia as a "launch" disaster. The foam that broke off and hit the orbiter wing happened on launch, so in my mind we're at 2/129, not 1/129. That particular failure mode is directly attributable to the questionable decision to mount the orbiter to the side of the stack, rather than on top: switching back to the "astronauts at the top of the stack" seems like a clear way to remove a bunch of that type of failure modes.

Social Networks

Facebook Scrambles To Contain ToS Fallout 409

Ian Lamont writes "Anger over Facebook's ToS update has forced the company to scramble. Yesterday, a spokesman released a statement that said Facebook has never 'claimed ownership of material that users upload,' and is trying to be more open to users about how their data is being handled. Mark Zuckerberg has also weighed in, stating 'we wouldn't share your information in a way you wouldn't want.' Facebook members are skeptical, however — protests have sprung up on blogs, message boards, and a new Facebook group called 'People Against the new Terms of Service' that has added more than 10,000 members today."
Windows

Windows 7 To Come In Multiple Versions 821

Crazy Taco writes "Tom's Hardware reports on newly discovered screenshots that reveal Microsoft is planning to release their newest version of Windows in multiple confusing versions ... again. The information comes from the latest version of the Windows 7 beta, build 7025 (the public beta is build 7000), and shows a screen during installation that asks the user which version of the OS he or she would like to install. Who's up for guessing what the difference is between Windows 7 'Starter' and Windows 7 'Home Basic?'"
Mars

Mars Desert Research Station Simulates Mars Base 122

An anonymous reader writes "Placing humans on Mars will be an extraordinary feat in itself, not to mention even living in such a harsh environment. To help train future astronauts to sustain life on Mars, the Mars Society has created the Mars Desert Research Station. The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is one of four planned simulated Mars habitats (or Mars Analogue Research Station Programme) maintained by the Mars Society. Crews sign up for two week shifts during the winter months (it's too hot in the summer for pleasant simulation). Crews are not paid during their time at the station, but do get valuable experience."
Transportation

MIT and NASA Designing Silent Aircraft 176

Iddo Genuth writes "Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics recently won a contract from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to design quieter, more energy efficient, and more environmentally friendly commercial airplanes. The two-million-dollar contract from NASA is just an initial step in bringing green technologies to the sky."
Businesses

Submission + - Amazon offers text message shopping (wired.com)

bevoblake writes: Striking fear into the hearts of brick and mortar stores everywhere: Amazon is now offering a text-message shopping system. According to Wired, "Amazon TextBuyIt, which launched late Tuesday, lets people text the name of a product, its description or its UPC or ISBN to 262966 (that's "Amazon" on the keypad) from anywhere their cell phones work — including from inside physical stores. If Amazon stocks matching items, the service returns two results at a time. Shoppers can immediately buy one of the first two the selections by texting back the number '1' or '2,' or they can ask for more by texting the letter 'M.'"

Does this mean I can stop trying to load Amazon's searches from my tiny cell phone browser when I comparison shop?

Education

Scientists' Success Or Failure Correlated With Beer 349

mernil sends in an article from the NYTimes that casts a glance at a study done in the Czech Republic (natch) on what divides the successful scientists from the duffers. "Ever since there have been scientists, there have been those who are wildly successful, publishing one well-received paper after another, and those who are not. And since nearly the same time, there have been scholars arguing over what makes the difference. What is it that turns one scientist into more of a Darwin and another into more of a dud? After years of argument over the roles of factors like genius, sex, and dumb luck, a new study shows that something entirely unexpected and considerably sudsier may be at play in determining the success or failure of scientists — beer."

Reznor Follows Radiohead, Offers Free Album 327

An anonymous reader writes "Convinced the current music business infrastructure (requiring artists to rely on labels) is broken, Nine Inch Nails front man, Trent Reznor, released his band's new album, Ghosts I — IV (Ghosts Volumes One though Four), on Sunday at 6 PM via his official site, marking yet another business experiment for this artist in the changing music market."
NASA

Radio Telescopes on Moon to Study Cosmic Dark Ages 118

The Narrative Fallacy brings news that NASA has awarded a $500,000 grant to develop plans for an array of radio telescopes to be located on the moon. The telescopes would be used to gather data from the earliest stars and galaxies, observations of which are difficult from Earth due to the ionosphere and terrestrial broadcasts. The grant was part of NASA's sponsoring of 19 "Next Generation Astronomy Missions." Quoting: "The Lunar Array for Radio Cosmology (LARC) project ... is planned as a huge array of hundreds of telescope modules designed to pick up very-low-frequency radio emissions. The array will cover an area of up to two square kilometers; the modules would be moved into place on the lunar surface by automated vehicles. The new lunar telescopes would add greatly to the capabilities of a low-frequency radio telescope array now under construction in Western Australia, one of the most radio-quiet areas on Earth."

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