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Why Don't We Invent That Tomorrow? 439

museumpeace writes "In the NYTimes book review blog, David Itzkoff takes a look at a new book devoted to predicting which 'science fiction' technologies may really fly some day. The author is Michio Kaku, one of the inventors of string theory, so he bears a hearing. His picks include light sabers, invisibility and force fields." Which sci-fi tech do you think needs to get invented over the weekend?

NASA to Announce New Commercial Space Partner 69

NewScientist is reporting that NASA has kicked their previous space partner, Rocketplane Kistler, to the curb and is in search of a new commercial space partner. The new partnership will try to develop a new shuttle to service the International Space Station. "The GAO's decision clears the way for NASA to select a new COTS partner in addition to SpaceX, whose partnership with NASA continues. Only $32 million was paid to Rocketplane Kistler, leaving $175 million for new partnerships."

Submission + - If you could do it all over, would you choose IT?

An anonymous reader writes: Given some of the complaints against IT and software as careers (long hours, offshoring, visa workers, ageism, boring projects, etc...), what would you do differently if you could do it all over again? Knowing what you know now, would you choose the same college major and the same career?

Submission + - MS Kills Visual FoxPro 10

smist08 writes: Microsoft today (http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/vfoxpro/bb308952 .aspx) announced there will be no VFP 10. They are releasing more source for VFP 9 as a way of sloughing off support.

Submission + - Linux reversible debugger achieves 2.0 release

An anonymous reader writes: UndoDB is a debugger for Linux that can step programs backwards as well as forwards. A powerful concept, but it has only now gained support for programs that use threads and signals. Jacob Rideout, a KDE developer, says of his experience using UndoDB: "I found the idea of [the] product amazing and a boon to my productivity ... I already have been able to fix a deadlock that was driving me crazy for a week in only 10 minutes". Full story on linuxdevices.com. The software isn't open source, but it can be used for free (as in beer) for non-commercial use.

Submission + - OpenBSD: Now 2 remote holes in more than 10 years

Saint Aardvark writes: "CoreLabs released an advisory today about a remote hole in OpenBSD. The vulnerability, which affects versions 3.1, 3.6, 3.8, 3.9, 4.0 and the upcoming 4.1 release (for code obtained prior to Feb 26th; the upcoming CD is fine), comes from the way OpenBSD's IPv6 code handles mbufs. Theo's terse announcement is an interesting counterpoint to Core Security's timetable, which details their efforts to convince the OpenBSD team of the flaw's seriousness. The workaround is to block IPv6. Discussion continues on Undeadly.org, and a short discussion of the flaw's details can be found here."

Submission + - No more JPEG?

Critical Facilities writes: "According to this story: Microsoft Corp. will soon submit a new photo format to an international standards organization that it says offers higher quality images with better compression, the company said on Thursday.
While light on the details, this is an interesting development that begs the question, is this another attempt to gain a proprietary foothold. That is, if this turns out to be true and catches on (and that's a big IF), would that mean yet another reason people would "need" Windows?"

Submission + - UK Conservatives want Open Source

aileanmacraith writes: "According to an article on the BBC, the Tories want to switch the UK Government to open-source software. They claim that it will save 5% of the IT expenditure and open up competition. From the article:

'[Shadow Chancellor George] Osborne said that despite a government report in 2004 saying there would be "significant savings" in hardware and software if open source software was used, many government departments had not implemented it. "The problem is that the cultural change has not taken place in government,"'.

Submission + - Microsoft blasts IBM in open letter

carlmenezes writes: Arstechnica has an article on Microsoft's open letter to IBM that adds fresh ammunition to the battle of words between those who support Microsoft's Open XML and OpenOffice.org's OpenDocument file formats. Microsoft has strong words for IBM, which it accuses of deliberately trying to sabotage Microsoft's attempt to get Open XML certified as a standard by the ECMA. In the letter, general managers Tom Robertson and Jean Paol write: "When ODF was under consideration, Microsoft made no effort to slow down the process because we recognized customers' interest in the standardization of document formats." In contrast, the authors charge that IBM "led a global campaign" urging that governments and other organizations demand that International Standards Organization (ISO) reject Open XML outright.
Could MS actually be getting a taste of their own medicine?

Submission + - Avoidance of the e-word in medical research

Ra Zen writes: An essay published in this week's PloS Biology (http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request =get-document&doi=10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.0050030) highlights the non-use of the word "evolution" in medical journal articles dealing with antimicrobial resistance. From the article, "the increase in resistance of human pathogens to antimicrobial agents is one of the best-documented examples of evolution in action... In spite of the importance of antimicrobial resistance, we show that the actual word 'evolution' is rarely used in the papers describing this research." The authors go on to show that the use of the word evolution in research articles is directly correlated to the use of the word in popular media describing those findings. This has created a minor stir among the Intelligent Design crowd, who regard this as "pro-evolutionary propaganda," as evidenced by the post on William Dembski's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Dembski) blog Uncommon Descent (http://www.uncommondescent.com/archives/2072).
The Internet

Submission + - Wikipedia is not failing

gadfium writes: Wikipedia is not failing is a reply to the essay "Wikipedia is failing" covered by Slashdot a couple of days ago. The essay evaluates Wikipedia's success or failure according to the criteria of overall size, organization, ease of navigation, breadth of coverage, depth of coverage, timeliness, readability, biases, and reliability in comparison to existing encyclopedias, especially Britannica.

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I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman