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Submission + - New Yeast Strain Doubles Biofuel Production ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: A team of researchers has developed a new strain of yeast that could make the production of biofuels two times more efficient by breaking down an elusive sugar chain present in plant stems called xylose. Up until now, two processes have been used to break down all of the sugars contained in plants — one for simple sugars and one for complex sugars. This new yeast has the ability to break down simple and complex sugars at once, making the production of biofuels faster and yielding more end product.

Submission + - IBM Makes A Super Memory Breakthrough 3

adeelarshad82 writes: IBM says they have made a significant leap forward in the viability of "Racetrack memory," a new technology design which has the potential to exponentially increase computing power. This new tech could give devices the ability to store as much as 100 times more information than they do now, which would be accessed at far greater speeds while utilizing "much less" energy than today's designs. In the future, a single portable device might be able to hold as much memory as today's business-class servers and run on a single battery charge for weeks at a time. Racetrack memory works by storing data as magnetic regions (also called domains), which would be transported along nanowire "racetracks." Instead of forcing a computer to seek out the data it needs, as traditional computing systems do, the information would automatically slide along the racetrack to where it could be used.

Submission + - Why Teach Programming with BASIC ( 3

chromatic writes: "To answer the perennial question "How can we teach kids how to program?", we created a web-based programming environment. As we began to write lessons and examples, we surprised ourselves. Modern languages may be powerful and useful for writing real programs, but BASIC and Logo are great languages for demonstrating the joy of programming."

Submission + - Stephen Fry Security Whoopsie Leads to Prank (

An anonymous reader writes: Hoppity-skippety technology commentator of all our hearts Stephen Fry has made a regrettable security blunder. After filming in Oxford at the famous Bodleian Library yesterday, the enthusiastic luvvie was granted a reader's card – a rare privilege, as normally access to the archives is granted only to members of Oxford University (Fry went to Cambridge himself). "I'm now a reader! *faints at the honour and glory of it all* Thanks @BodleianLibs" tweeted the excited thespian. He even went so far as to post a photo of his new library card on his website to prove it. Unfortunately, according to our informants, Fry neglected to change his password from the default setting.

Comment This is the 21st century for Frak's sake (Score 5, Insightful) 762

How many more? How many more uncompleted series, idiotic product placements and other Brainwashing Network TV Executive decisions are we going to face before we finally get away from the middle man? I’m probably going to disconnect my DirecTV box now because there really isn’t anything left to watch on network TV. The networks keep eliminating anything resembling creative content and continue to deprive America of some of the finest writings out there. How much longer do we have to wait before enough of us get together to form an online media company that works? I’ve got a nice monitor / computer setup. For what it costs of DirecTV for one year, I could afford a very nice Computer / Monitor setup. And if I’m patient enough to time-shift my TV, I could do the same for online content. The model would be extraordinarily affordable if folks were to band together. One million regular viewers of a TV series on network TV is laughable. One million regular viewers of online content is a smash hit. Add in some micro currency ($0.99 cents a month / viewer) and for twelve million a year, anyone certainly could put together a creative and production team that works. I don’t know why Network TV folks don’t take content and put it in web only mode if it works better. For example, SGU and Caprica maybe is a better model for the online universe. That is where the audience is anyway. So put ads up on TV saying “Exclusively online”. If viewer-ship rises enough on the web then maybe transition it back to TV. Why the hell does everything need to be TV centric anymore? This is the 21st century for frak’s sake.

Holy See Declares a "Unique Copyright" On the Pope 447

An anonymous reader sends in news of what must be some kind of record in overreaching intellectual property claims: the Vatican has declared that the name, image, and any symbols of the Pope are for exclusive use of the Holy See. They may have a point if, as the declaration hints, some have used "ecclesiastical or pontifical symbols and logos to attribute credibility and authority to initiatives" unrelated to the Vatican. But how much room will they allow for fair use? Will high school newspapers have to remove the Papal Coat of Arms from their Vatican news columns? The royalty schedule was not released, so it's not clear how much Slashdot will have to pay to run this story (or if there will be a penalty for the accompanying pagan idol).
The Courts

CRIA Faces $60 Billion Lawsuit 280

jvillain writes "The Canadian Recording Industry Association faces a lawsuit for 60 billion dollars over willful infringement. These numbers may sound outrageous, yet they are based on the same rules that led the recording industry to claim a single file sharer is liable for millions in damages. Since these exact same companies are currently in the middle of trying to force the Canadian government to bring in a DMCA for Canada, it will be interesting to see how they try to spin this."

Comment Re:Bonded VPNs - Mikrotik (Score 1) 180

Two Mikrotik routers would also work very well ( You can pick up the whole thing for about $250-$300 for two of 'em and set it all up inside of about 15 minutes a piece. They're extremely reliable and the 4.0 release includes all kinds of fancy things that you can do to monitor, automatically fail over links and more.

Alabama Wages War Against the Perfect Weed 360

pickens writes "Dan Berry writes in the NY Times that the State of Alabama is spending millions of dollars in federal stimulus money to combat Cogongrass, a.k.a. the perfect weed, the killer weed, and the weed from another continent. A weed that 'evokes those old science-fiction movies in which clueless citizens ignore reports of an alien invasion.' Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is considered one of the 10 worst weeds in the world. 'It can take over fields and forests, ruining crops, destroying native plants, upsetting the ecosystem,' writes Berry. 'It is very difficult to kill. It burns extremely hot. And its serrated leaves and grainy composition mean that animals with even the most indiscriminate palates — goats, for example — say no thanks.' Alabama's overall strategy is to draw a line across the state at Highway 80 and eradicate everything north of it; then, in phases, to try to control it to the south. But the weed is so resilient that you can't kill it with one application of herbicide, you have to return several months later and do it again. 'People think this is just a grass,' says forester Stephen Pecot. 'They don't understand that cogongrass can replace an entire ecosystem.' Left unchecked, Pecot says 'it could spread all the way to Michigan.'"

Teenager Invents Cheap Solar Panel From Human Hair 366

Renoise writes "Milan Karki, 18, who comes from a village in rural Nepal, believes he has found the solution to the developing world's energy needs. A solar panel made from human hair. The hair replaces silicon, a pricey component typically used in solar panels, and means the panels can be produced at a low cost for those with no access to power. The solar panel, which produces 9 volts (18 watts) of energy, costs around $38 US (£23) to make from raw materials. Gentlemen, start your beards. The future of hair farming is here!"

The Coming Problems For Rolling Out 3D TV 232

holy_calamity writes "Now that Sony has announced it will sell 3D-capable televisions in 2010, people are thinking more seriously about the rocky road leading to mainstream 3D TV adoption. New Scientist says that not only do program makers lack the technology to make shows in 3D, but that little is known about the creative problems posed by shooting shows that make use of a whole new dimension, and what works for audiences. Engadget's own pundit focuses on the more predictable problems of format wars between competing 3D display technologies. Suddenly 2010 seems a little too soon."

Why the BSA Is Less Reviled Than the RIAA 371

Hugh Pickens writes "The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is a trade group established in 1988 representing a number of the world's largest software makers whose principal activity is trying to stop copyright infringement of software produced by its members, performing roughly the same function for the software industry that the RIAA performs for the music industry. Yet, as Bill Patry, author of a 7-volume treatise on US copyright law and currently Senior Copyright Counsel at Google, notes on his blog the BSA is a 'far less unpopular organization' than the RIAA because there are three key differences between the BSA's campaigns and the RIAA's. First, BSA's members have always offered their products for sale to the public, through any channel that wants to sell them. Second, BSA's members are consumer-oriented; they try to develop products that respond to consumers' needs, and not, the reverse: focusing on what they want to sell to consumers. Third, because consumers can easily purchase BSA's members products, those who copy without paying are simply scofflaws. 'I think the fact that the public does not object to BSA's campaign proves my point [that]... people do not want things for free; they are willing to pay for them,' writes Patry. 'It should not be surprising that when consumers are not treated with respect, they react negatively. That's something the software industry learned long ago, and that's why people don't object to the BSA's enforcement campaign.'"
PC Games (Games)

StarCraft II Single-Player Details Revealed 206

As Blizzcon approaches, a number of gaming sites were invited out to California to get an early look at the single-player campaign for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. Kotaku has a detailed write-up (spoiler-free version), and 1Up summarizes one of the missions: "... you're on a planet with an alternating day/night cycle (every five minutes, it switches): during daylight, you're safe. You can build forces and go out and destroy structures. At night, the infected Terrans will relentlessly stream towards your base — necessitating a strong defense against the 'zombie horde.'" An interview with some of the developers is available, in which lead designer Dustin Browder says Blizzard will continue their trend of having downloadable maps and other improvements throughout the game's life. BlizzPlanet posted a mission guide for the part of the game they got to see, and new video footage has been released that shows off the single-player mode.
The Media

Murdoch Says, "We'll Charge For All Our Sites" 881

Oracle Goddess writes "In what appears to be a carefully planned suicide, Rupert Murdoch announced that his media giant News Corporation Ltd intends to charge for all its news websites in a bid to lift revenues, as the transition towards online media permanently changes the advertising landscape. 'The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive methods of distribution, but it has not made content free. Accordingly we intend to charge for all our news websites,' Murdoch said."

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