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Earth

Why the LHC Won't Destroy the World 508

An anonymous reader writes "Most people are aware of the recent articles contending that the Large Hadron Collider at CERN might destroy the world. While most scientists have no such concerns, a recent preprint released to arxiv systematically dismantles the notion. The gist of the argument is this: Everything that will be created at the LHC is already being created by cosmic rays. If a black hole created by the LHC is interactive enough to destroy the world within the lifetime of the sun, similar black holes are already being created by cosmic rays. Such black holes would be stopped by dense cosmic objects (neutron stars and white dwarfs). A black hole stopped in one of these objects would eventually absorb it. We see sufficiently old neutron stars in the sky, thus any black hole that could be created at the LHC, even if it is stable, would have no effect on the earth on any meaningful timescale."
Space

Galaxy Zoo Produces a Rare Specimen 188

We discussed the Galaxy Zoo project soon after it launched last summer. Science News is now following developments about an odd celestial object that is fueling a lot of excitement among astronomers around the world. In August, a Dutch schoolteacher named Hanny, in the process of characterizing galaxy images, noticed a peculiar object and posted a query about it on the Galaxy Zoo blog. She called it a "Voorwerp," which Science News says is Dutch for "thing" but which Google translates as "subject." Hanny's Voorwerp emits mostly green light (the earlier report said blue). The best guess astronomers have now is that the Voorwerp is emitting "ghost light," i.e. it is "lit by the ultraviolet light and X-rays from a quasar that has vanished in the last 100,000 years," to quote astronomer Bill Keel. "As far as we can tell, it's an unprecedented thing," Keel added. Researchers are scrambling to book time on the Hubble and other major telescopes to get a closer look.

Voorwerp
Privacy

SSL Encryption Coming To The Pirate Bay 267

An anonymous reader writes "The Pirate Bay, in response to Sweden's new wiretapping law, will start offering SSL encryption to its user base this week. Although copyright issues really have little to do with national security, The Pirate Bay knows its population is uneasy with the recent legal change. The encryption will mostly benefit Swedish users living under the current law. Since The Pirate Bay and its servers are not hosted in Sweden, the additional security offered to outside users could be comparatively minimal."
Censorship

Submission + - Is ISP Web Content Filtering Here? 1

unixluv writes: "An ISP is testing web content filtering and content substitution software, see http://lauren.vortex.com/archive/000337.html. While it seems innocent enough, is this the wave of the future? Will your ISP censor your web experience? Now consider it in the context of The MPAA asking for ISP Content Filtering on /. this week. Is the RIAA next? Will this spawn a war of web tools to circumvent ISP tools?"
Media

Submission + - Scandinavian Free Software Award 2007 (fscons.org)

Ralf Gesellensetter writes: "According to an announcement of Free Software Foundation Europe, the Norwegian project Skolelinux is the winner of the first Free Software Scandinavian Award handed out during the Free Software Conference Scandinavia 2007 in Göteborg friday 2007-12-07.

The award underlines the engangement of Skolelinux in promoting the use of Free Software as well as the use of free and open standards and file formats. By using low cost or recycled hardware, schools and other public institutions can find a free and cheap IT solution meeting their needs."

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