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Poll Finds 23 Percent of Texans Think Obama is Muslim Screenshot-sm 562

A University of Texas poll has found that 23 percent of Texans are convinced that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is a Muslim. Only 45 percent of the people polled correctly identified Obama as a Protestant Christian. Nationwide, the number of people who believe in the "Secret Muslim Conspiracy" is about the same as those who believe that the moon landing was faked (5-10 percent), which makes the high numbers in Texas unusual.
Books

Fraud Threat Halts Knuth's Hexadecimal-Dollar Checks 323

Barence writes "You may be aware of Donald Knuth, the creator of TeX and author of The Art of Computer Programming, who used to post checks to anyone who spotted an error in one of his books — one hexadecimal dollar, or $2.56. No one cashed them though. This blogger has two of them proudly on his wall, but the sad news is that modern day bank fraud has put a stop to Knuth's much-loved way of keeping his books free of errors." (Here's Knuth's own post about the sad change.)
Image

Math Prof Uncovers Secret Chord Screenshot-sm 177

chebucto writes "The opening chord to A Hard Day's Night is famous because for 40 years, no one quite knew exactly what chord Harrison was playing. Musicians, scholars and amateur guitar players alike had all come up with their own theories, but it took a Dalhousie mathematician to figure out the exact formula. Dr. Brown used Fourier transforms to find the notes in the chord, and deduced that another George — George Martin, the Beatles producer — also played on the chord, adding a piano chord that included an F note impossible to play with the other notes on the guitar."
Education

Wikipedia For Schools DVD Released 132

David Gerard writes "SOS Children's Villages has released the 2008/9 Wikipedia Selection for Schools5500 checked and reviewed articles matching the English National Curriculum, produced by SOS for use in their own schools in developing countries. The 2007 edition was a huge success, with distributions to schools in four countries, use by the Hole in the Wall education project, thousands of downloads and disks and around 6000 unique IPs a day visiting the online version — the most successful end-user distribution version of Wikipedia to date."
Data Storage

Why RAID 5 Stops Working In 2009 803

Lally Singh recommends a ZDNet piece predicting the imminent demise of RAID 5, noting that increasing storage and non-decreasing probability of disk failure will collide in a year or so. This reader adds, "Apparently, RAID 6 isn't far behind. I'll keep the ZFS plug short. Go ZFS. There, that was it." "Disk drive capacities double every 18-24 months. We have 1 TB drives now, and in 2009 we'll have 2 TB drives. With a 7-drive RAID 5 disk failure, you'll have 6 remaining 2 TB drives. As the RAID controller is busily reading through those 6 disks to reconstruct the data from the failed drive, it is almost certain it will see an [unrecoverable read error]. So the read fails ... The message 'we can't read this RAID volume' travels up the chain of command until an error message is presented on the screen. 12 TB of your carefully protected — you thought! — data is gone. Oh, you didn't back it up to tape? Bummer!"
Robotics

Robotic Surgery On a Beating Heart 54

An anonymous reader writes "Serious heart surgery usually involves stopping the organ and keeping the patient alive with a cardiopulmonary bypass machine. But this risks brain damage and requires a long recuperation. Scientists at Harvard University and Children's Hospital Boston have now developed a device that lets surgeons operate on a beating heart with a steady hand. The 'robotic' device uses 3-D ultrasound images to predict and compensate for the motion of the heart so that the surgeon can work on a faulty valve as it moves. The approach should improve recovery times and give a surgeon instant feedback on the success of the procedure, the researchers say. Here's a (slightly gory) video of the device in action."
Politics

Canada Election Result Bad News For DMCA Opponents 311

An anonymous reader writes "For those with a stake in the opposition of Jim Prentice's C-61, the Canadian DMCA, this previous week's election results will be displeasing. The Conservative Party, which promised to reintroduce the DMCA if elected, gained 19 seats this election, mostly at the expense of the flagging liberal party, a mere 12 short of a majority government. The increase in Conservative representation, as well as the relatively low profile of this issue amidst other, more pressing concerns, increases the likelihood that the son of C-61 will come to fruition. On a positive note, the number of MPs supporting Geist's copyright pledge has increased to 34. Given the Conservative Party's historic disregard of public opinion, however, the efforts of the copyright-pledge MPs will have to rally the full opposition across three major parties in order to defeat the bill. A mere 12 MPs now stand between the Canadian public and the MAFIAA's hungry maw."
Music

Record Label Infringes Own Copyright, Site Pulled 282

AnonCow sends in a peculiar story from TorrentFreak, which describes the plight of a free-download music site that has been summarily evicted from the Internet for violating its own copyright. The problem seems to revolve around the host's insistence that proof of copyright be snail-mailed to them. Kind of difficult when your copyright takes the form of a Creative Commons license that cannot be verified unless its site is up. "The website of an Internet-based record label which offers completely free music downloads has been taken down by its host for copyright infringement, even though it only offers its own music. Quote Unquote Records calls itself 'The First Ever Donation Based Record Label,' but is currently homeless after its host pulled the plug."
Portables (Apple)

Users Rage Over Missing FireWire On New MacBooks 820

CWmike writes "Apple customers, unhappy that the company dropped FireWire from its new MacBook (not the Pro), are venting their frustrations on the company's support forum in hundreds of messages. Within minutes of Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrapping up a launch event in Cupertino, Calif., users started several threads to vent over the omission. 'Apple really screwed up with no FireWire port,' said Russ Tolman, who inaugurated a thread that by Thursday has collected more than 300 messages and been viewed over 8,000 times. 'No MacBook with [FireWire] — no new MacBook for me,' added Simon Meyer in a message posted yesterday. Several mentioned that FireWire's disappearance means that the new MacBooks could not be connected to other Macs using Target Disk Mode, and one noted that iMovie will have no way to connect to new MacBooks. Others pointed out that the previous-generation MacBook, which Apple is still selling at a reduced price of $999, includes a FireWire port. Apple introduced FireWire into its product lines in 1999 and championed the standard."
Games

Dead Space Wants To Scare You 195

Kotaku recently ran a story questioning whether the survival-horror genre still exists, and how Dead Space may or may not fit into it. With reviews for the game starting to come in, Ars Technica reports that the game is, indeed, both scary and good. Gamespy wrote up a Dead Space survival guide, and Gamasutra has a lengthy interview with the game's senior producer. In the production of the game, the developers studied things like car wrecks and war scenes to increase the level of realism. They also want the game's sounds to terrify players, including appropriately timed silence. The launch trailer is also available, though it does contain spoilers.
Science

CERN Releases Analysis of LHC Incident 149

sash writes "From the fresh press release: 'Investigations at CERN following a large helium leak into sector 3-4 of the Large Hadron Collider tunnel have confirmed that cause of the incident was a faulty electrical connection between two of the accelerator's magnets. This resulted in mechanical damage and release of helium from the magnet cold mass into the tunnel. Proper safety procedures were in force, the safety systems performed as expected, and no one was put at risk. Sufficient spare components are in hand to ensure that the LHC is able to restart in 2009, and measures to prevent a similar incident in the future are being put in place.'"
Encryption

Schneier Calls Quantum Cryptography Impressive But Pointless 233

KindMind writes "Bruce Schneier writes in Wired that quantum cryptography, while an awesome technology, is actually pointless (that is, of no commercial value). His point is that the science of cryptography is not the weak point, but the other links in the chain (like people, etc.) are where it breaks down."
Google

Android Also Comes With a Kill-Switch 300

Aviran writes "The search giant is retaining the right to delete applications from Android handsets on a whim. Unlike Apple, the company has made no attempt to hide its intentions, and includes the details in the Android Market terms and conditions, as spotted by Computer World: 'Google may discover a product that violates the developer distribution agreement... in such an instance, Google retains the right to remotely remove those applications from your device at its sole discretion.'"
The Internet

Only 4.13% of the Web Is Standards-Compliant 406

Death Metal writes "Browser maker Opera has published the early results of an ongoing study that aims to provide insight into the structure of Internet content. To conduct this research project, Opera created the Metadata Analysis and Mining Application (MAMA), a tool that crawls the web and indexes the markup and scripting data from approximately 3.5 million pages."

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