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The Almighty Buck

Bill to Require Open Access to Scientific Papers 213

Ponca City, We Love You writes "Congress is expected to vote this week on a bill requiring investigators funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to publish research papers only in journals that are made freely available within one year of publication. Until now, repeated efforts to legislate such a mandate have failed under pressure from the well-heeled journal publishing industry and some nonprofit scientific societies whose educational activities are supported by the profits from journals that they publish. Scientists assert that open access will speed innovation by making it easier for them to share and build on each other's findings. The measure is contained in a spending bill that boosts the biomedical agency's effective budget by 3.1%, to $29.8 billion in 2008. The open-access requirement in the bill would apply only during fiscal year 2008; it would need to be renewed in yearly spending bills in the future."
Space

Why ISS Computers Failed 324

Geoffrey.landis writes "It was only a small news item four months ago: all three of the Russian computers that control the International Space Station failed shortly after the Space Shuttle brought up a new solar array. But why did they fail? James Oberg, writing in IEEE Spectrum, details the detective work that led to a diagnosis." The article has good insights into the role the ISS plays as a laboratory for US-Russian technology cooperation — something that is likely to be crucial in any manned Mars mission.
Google

Google Unveils Flash Ads 225

Gailin writes "Google has announced and given some examples of their new Flash based ads. They seem to vary from average size to full screen-width Flash advertisements, with some interactive abilities. 'Gadget ads can incorporate real-time data feeds, images, video and much more in a single creative unit and can be developed using Flash, HTML or a combination of both. Designed to act more like content than a typical ad, they run on the Google(TM) content network, competing alongside text, image and video ads for placement. They support both cost-per-click and cost-per-impression pricing models, and offer a variety of contextual, site, geographic and demographic targeting options to ensure the ads reach relevant users with precision and scale.'"
Intel

DDR3 Isn't Worth The Money - Yet 120

An anonymous reader writes "With Intel's motherboard chipsets supporting both DDR2 and DDR3 memory, the question now is whether DDR3 is worth all that extra cash. Trustedreviews has a lengthy article on the topic, and it looks like (for the moment) the answer is no: 'Not to be too gloomy about this, but the bottom line is that it can only be advised to steer clear of DDR3 at present, as in terms of performance, which is what it's all about, it's a waste of money. Even fast DDR2 is, as we have demonstrated clearly, only worthwhile if you are actually overclocking, as it enables you to raise the front-side bus, without your memory causing a bottleneck. DDR3 will of course come into its own as speeds increase still further, enabling even higher front-side bus speeds to be achieved. For now though, DDR2 does its job, just fine.'"
Handhelds

How PDAs Are Saving Lives In Africa 53

Mark Goldberg writes "UN Dispatch, the United Nations affairs blog I write, just posted an item that may interest this community. Joel Selanikio, a medical doctor and technologist, writes to us from Zambia to relay how PDA devices are quietly revolutionizing public health services in sub-Saharan Africa. Selanikio runs a non-profit called DataDyne.org that trains local health officials to use PDAs equipped with an open source software tool to track outbreaks, coordinate vaccination efforts, and perform other vital public health tasks. So far, says Selanikio, the pilot program in Zambia has been a resounding success.
Hardware

Magnetic Wobbles Cause Hard Drive Failure 276

An anonymous reader writes "According to this report by IT PRO, scientists working at the University of California have discovered the main reason of hard drive failure. According to researchers, some materials used in hard drives are better at damping spin precession than others. Spin precession of magnetic material effects its neighbors' polarity and this can spread and cause sections of hard drives to spontaneously change polarity and lose data. This is known as a magnetic avalanche. So next time Windows fails to start, you'll know why!"
United States

US Military Leaks its Secrets Online 198

athloi writes "Detailed schematics of a military detainee holding facility in southern Iraq, geographical surveys and aerial photographs of two military airfields outside Baghdad and plans for a new fuel farm at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan are among the items accidentally left online by government agencies and contractors."
Space

Digitizing 100 Years of Astronomical Data 115

Maximum Prophet writes to mention that a collection of glass plates containing astronomical information from the late 19th century through the mid-1980s is being considered for digitization. "The accumulated result weighs heavily on its keepers on Observatory Hill, just up Garden Street from Harvard Square: more than half a million images constituting humanity's only record of a century's worth of sky. 'Besides being 25 percent of the world's total of astronomical photographic plates, this is the only collection that covers both hemispheres,' said Alison Doane, curator of a glass database occupying three floors, two of them subterranean, connected by corkscrew stairs. It weighs 165 tons and contains more than a petabyte of data. The scary thing is that there is no backup." I'm sure that anyone with a spare $5 million or so would be welcomed with open arms.
Power

Hybrid Cars No Better than 'Intelligent' Cars 883

eldavojohn writes "There's no doubt been a lot of analysis done recently on energy consumption, especially on the road. Now, a study released today reveals that cars with traffic flow sensors built into them can perform just as efficiently as hybrids. The concept of an 'intelligent' car that communicates with the highway or other cars is an old idea, but the idea of them using sensors to anticipate braking could vastly reduce fossil fuel consumption. From the article, 'Under the US and European cycles, hybrid-matching fuel economy was reached with a look-ahead predictability of less than 60 seconds. If the predictability was boosted to 180 seconds, the newly-intelligent car was 33 percent more fuel-efficient than when it was unconverted.' Now, the real question will be whether or not you can convince consumers that the three minutes of coasting up to a red light or halted traffic is worth the 33 percent less gas and replacing your brake pads/cylinders less often."
Movies

'Kryptonite' Discovered in Serbian Mine 272

Rubinstien writes "A mineralogist at London's Natural History Museum was contracted to help identify an unknown mineral found in a Serbian mine. While he initially thought the miners had discovered a unique compound, after its crystal structure was analyzed and identified the researcher was shocked to find the material already referenced in literature. Fictional literature. Dr. Chris Stanley, from the BBC article: 'Towards the end of my research I searched the web using the mineral's chemical formula — sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide — and was amazed to discover that same scientific name, written on a case of rock containing kryptonite stolen by Lex Luthor from a museum in the film Superman Returns ... I'm afraid it's not green and it doesn't glow either — although it will react to ultraviolet light by fluorescing a pinkish-orange.'"
Education

Ontario Proposes School Cyber-Bullying Law 267

nursegirl writes "Ontario announced today a proposal to change their education act to add both physical bullying and cyber-bullying to the list of behaviors that can get a student suspended or expelled. Posting comments, pictures, or videos attacking other students or teachers outside of school hours will carry the risk of school punishment, if the incident is believed to have an 'impact on school climate.'"
Privacy

Police Objecting to Tickets From Red-Light Cameras 807

caffiend666 writes "According to a Dallas Morning News article, any 'Dallas police officer in a marked squad car who is captured on the city's cameras running a red light will have to pay the $75 fine if the incident doesn't comply with state law ... Many police officers are angry about the proposed policy. The prevailing belief among officers has been that they can run red lights as they see fit.' Is this a case for or against governments relying on un-biased automated systems? Or, should anyone be able to control who is recorded on camera and who is held accountable?"

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