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NASA

Submission + - A talk with Neptec before Atlantis launch

Roland Piquepaille writes: "The countdown for the launch of space shuttle mission STS-117 is going well and a liftoff of the shuttle Atlantis tomorrow evening is highly possible. One of the goals of this NASA mission is to expand the International Space Station (ISS) by adding two 17.5 tons trusses to it. To do so, the astronauts will rely on the Space Vision System (SVS) developed by the Neptec Design Group which will provide them with position and attitude cues during assembly. Despite his busy schedule, Iain Christie, Neptec's president, talked with me today about his company, his relationship with NASA, and about the future. Read more for some excerpts of our conversation and of some exclusive pictures of Neptec systems."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - The Universal Calculator

e ^ (i * pi) writes: "Ever want to find the airspeed of an unladen swallow? Want to know the value of (4 * 7 + green) / apple? Someone has finally taken it upon themselves to create a calculator not bound by the ordinary limits of mathematics which refrains from limiting you to old fashioned "traditional" calculations. It even has a great documentation: "For numbers, this behaves pretty much as you would expect. For other types, not so much.""
Classic Games (Games)

Soviet Video Games from the 70s 66

vigmeister writes "A group of Russian kids have uncovered and rebuilt some arcade games from the Soviet era. These games apparently offered free play when someone played well, but no list of hi-scores. Roughly 32 of them have been found and although they are based on other arcade games, I hope these games were unique enough to offer playability for the present day arcade game lovers. 'Based largely (and crudely) on early Japanese designs, the games were distributed -- in the words of one military manual -- for the purposes of "entertainment and active leisure, as well as the development of visual-estimation abilities." Production of the games ceased with the collapse of communism, and as Nintendo consoles and PCs flooded the former Soviet states, the old arcade games were either destroyed or disappeared into warehouses and basements. It was mostly out of nostalgia that four friends at Moscow State Technical University began scouring the country to rescue these old games. '"
Power

Submission + - MIT powers lightbulb wirelessly

kcurtis writes: According to the Boston Globe, MIT Researchers lit a light bulb remotely. The successful experiment to lit a 60-watt light bulb from a power source two meters away, with no physical connection between the power source and the light bulb. Details about WiTricity, or wireless electricity, are scheduled to be reported today in Science Express, the advance online publication of the journal Science, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said.
Television

Submission + - Jericho Saved by Nuts

nicholasjay writes: CNN has an article saying that the "Nuts!" trick has worked. CBS has decided to bring back the series, Jericho, for seven more episodes. Even the president of entertainment at CBS issued a letter to Jericho community.

From the article:

"The renewal of "Jericho" also underscores that there is more to TV viewership than what the Nielsen ratings tell us. As more and more people watch their favorite shows when they want thanks to TiVo (TIVO) and other digital video recorders as well as through sites like Apple's (AAPL) iTunes and the networks' own Web sites, looking just at the "live" Nielsen rating may not give networks a true impression of how popular a show is."
Technology (Apple)

Submission + - New MacBook Pro Benchmarked against the Old

yonp writes: Apple released the Santa Rosa MacBook Pro this week, here is a write up about the new MacBook Pro. Be sure to click on the benchmark page and see the benchmark against the last gen MacBook Pro.

"No write up on any Apple product can get by without asking the question "Why would I spend so much on an Apple when I could buy an X from Y for just $Z?" Let's look at the new MacBook PRO; in 15" screen with 2Gb RAM and 256 meg graphics, it's $2,499... I could buy THREE Dell laptops for that sort of money; seriously; check out the Inspiring 6400 or whatever it's called but, I reckon that, as you've read this far, you're with me... you don't want a Dell, not even three of them. You want a cool laptop... join me as we go over to the dark side of premium consumer products."
Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - Gamer sues gold farmers

navygeek writes: Tired of contending with gold farmers in Blizzard's online sensation, World of Warcraft, gamer Antonio Hernadez has filed a class-action lawsuit against gold farming outfit IGE.

The attorney representing Hernandez in the case, Richard Newsome, told The Escapist, "Guys like Tony [Hernandez, the plaintiff] have paid their $15 for some entertainment, and IGE is polluting that entertainment. It's kind of like, if someone pays for a ticket to go see a movie, and if someone else comes in behind them and kicks their seat, you can get them to stop doing that."
Details on the lawsuit may be found at Gamespot and The Escapist. The actual complaint can be found here, PDF warning.
Communications

Submission + - TouchFlo ain't no match for the iPhone's interface

ZigstonR writes: CNET.co.uk has a full review of the iPhone-like HTC Touch. CNet gives it a thumbs up and writes that the TouchFlo interface looks great. That said, they clearly state that the TouchFlo interface is no match for what the iPhone is going to offer, "The TouchFlo menu presents you with a set of applications, media apps and contacts that you navigate through by swiping your thumb left and right. It's presented in a three-dimensional way and gives the illusion that you're turning a multi-faced block. It works rather well, although you have to press the screen a little harder than you might think. Unfortunately, as soon as you click one of the thumb-sized buttons, you're ejected back into the less thumb-friendly Windows Mobile interface. You then need to pull out a stylus to input text messages or browse Web pages properly. The lack of a phone-wide finger-friendly interface isn't great — compared to the iPhone this is pretty lacklustre, but compared to most of the Windows Mobile devices out there it's a great improvement."
Displays

Submission + - Man sues Gateway because he can't read EULA

Scoopy writes: California resident Dennis Sheehan took Gateway to small claims court after he reportedly received a defective computer and little technical support from the PC manufacturer. Gateway responded with their own lawyer and a 2-inch thick stack of legal docs, and claimed that Sheehan violated the EULA, which requires that users give up their right to sue and settle these cases in private arbitration. Sheehan responded that he never read the EULA, which pops up when the user first starts the computer, because the graphics were scrambled — precisely the problem he had complained to tech support in the first place. A judge sided with Sheehan on May 24 and the case will proceed to small claims court.

A lawyer is quoted as saying that Sheehan, a high school dropout who is arguing his own case, is in for a world of hurt: 'This poor guy now faces daunting reality of having to litigate this on appeal against Gateway...By winning, he's lost.'
Republicans

Submission + - Congressman Orrin Hatch caught pirating software

Rocketship Underpant writes: "Orrin Hatch, the Congressman viewed by many as a shill for corporate copyright interests, recently stated that people who download copyrighted materials should have their computers destroyed as punishment. However, as Wired.com reports, Hatch's own website uses copyrighted software without permission — a Javascript menu system developed by a British company. Is Mr. Hatch accepting volunteers to go through his home and office destroying all his computers, or were his comments to Congress just a bunch of hypocritical hot air?"
Biotech

Submission + - Slow Drug Tests Cause False Positives

MissDemeanor writes: Wired science reports that chemists at the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia have proven that the illicit drug Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate is slowly produced in refrigerated urine samples, which could cause innocent people to accidentally test positive. Drug testing labs often have a massive backlog of samples. This means that a urine sample could be left in a refrigerator for months before it is tested. During that time, the drug known as liquid ecstasy, forms naturally and can lead to a false positive result that fools even the most rigorous laboratory testing by gas chromatography mass spectrometry. To make matters worse, the field test for GHB gives a false positive when exposed to natural soaps.

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