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Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine 217

anomnomnomymous writes "Just a week after Unity announced its engine is now available for free to indie users, Epic Games has revealed a free version of its popular Unreal Engine technology. Called the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), it is a free edition of UE3 that allows community, modder and indie users more access to the engine's features and is available for all. Epic said game developers, students, hobbyists, researchers, creators of 3D visualizations and simulations plus digital filmmakers can all take advantage of the UDK for non-commercial use. The UDK site also offers detailed product features, technical documentation, commercial licensing terms and support resources."

Low-Energy Laser Etching May Replace Fruit Labels Screenshot-sm 475

MikeChino writes "How many times have you bit into a piece of fruit only to find that you're also chomping on a sticker label? The small sticky labels have long been the bane of waste-conscious fruit and vegetable eaters, but that might all change thanks to new technology that uses a low-energy carbon dioxide laser beam to etch information directly onto produce. No more peeling those annoying labels! So far the technology is being used on a number of fruits and vegetables in New Zealand, Australia, and Pacific Rim countries, and it's currently going through the final stages of review by the FDA. Once the technology is approved in the US, researchers from the University of Florida and the USDA Agricultural Research Service hope that it will be used in Florida's massive grapefruit industry."

Some Early Adopters Stung By Ubuntu's Karmic Koala 1231

Norsefire writes to mention a Register piece reporting that early adopters are having a tough time with Karmic Koala, Ubuntu's latest release. "Ubuntu 9.10 is causing outrage and frustration, with early adopters wishing they'd stuck with previous versions of the Linux distro. Blank and flickering screens, failure to recognize hard drives, defaulting to the old 2.6.28 Linux kernel, and failure to get encryption running are taking their toll, as early adopters turn to the web for answers and log fresh bug reports in Ubuntu forums." What has been your experience if you've moved to Karmic?
Sun Microsystems

ZFS Gets Built-In Deduplication 386

elREG writes to mention that Sun's ZFS now has built-in deduplication utilizing a master hash function to map duplicate blocks of data to a single block instead of storing multiples. "File-level deduplication has the lowest processing overhead but is the least efficient method. Block-level dedupe requires more processing power, and is said to be good for virtual machine images. Byte-range dedupe uses the most processing power and is ideal for small pieces of data that may be replicated and are not block-aligned, such as e-mail attachments. Sun reckons such deduplication is best done at the application level since an app would know about the data. ZFS provides block-level deduplication, using SHA256 hashing, and it maps naturally to ZFS's 256-bit block checksums. The deduplication is done inline, with ZFS assuming it's running with a multi-threaded operating system and on a server with lots of processing power. A multi-core server, in other words."

Sony Demo'ing 360 Degree 3-D Tabletop Display 102

JoshuaInNippon writes "Sony announced via a Japanese press release that they will be showing off a prototype of a tabletop 360 degree 3-D display that can be seen in any direction without special glasses at the Digital Content Expo 2009 in Tokyo, from October 22-25. The device is quite small, at just over 10 inches tall and 5 inches in diameter. The display, using LEDs, currently supports an image that is 96 pixels wide by 128 pixels tall, with 24-bit full color. Sony also says it could have a number of applications, such as a digital sign, a digital frame, a medical display, or a virtual pet. Looking at the product image, who else wants to bet on the latter?)"

1/3 of People Can't Tell 48Kbps Audio From 160Kbps 567

An anonymous reader writes "Results of a blind listening test show that a third of people can't tell the difference between music encoded at 48Kbps and the same music encoded at 160Kbps. The test was conducted by CNet to find out whether streaming music service Spotify sounded better than new rival Sky Songs. Spotify uses 160Kbps OGG compression for its free service, whereas Sky Songs uses 48Kbps AAC+ compression. Over a third of participants thought the lower bit rate sounded better."

Yale Physicists Measure 'Persistent Current' 68

eldavojohn writes "Modern processors rely on wires mere nanometers wide, and now Yale physicists have successfully measured a theoretical 'persistent current' that flows through them when they are formed into rings. The researchers predict this will help us understand how electrons behave in metals — more specifically, the quantum mechanical effect that influences how these electrons move through the metals. Hopefully, this work will shed new light on what dangers (or uses) quantum effects could have on classical processors as the inner workings shrink in size. The breakthrough involved rethinking how to measure this theoretical effect, as they previously relied on superconducting quantum interference devices to measure the magnetic field such a current would create — complicated devices that gave incorrect and inconsistent measurements. Instead, they turned to nothing but mechanical devices, known as cantilevers ('little floppy diving boards with the nanometer rings sitting on top'), that yielded measurements with a full order of magnitude more precision."

How To Make Science Popular Again? 899

Ars Technica has an interesting look at the recent book Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, a collaboration between Chris Mooney, writer and author of The Republican War on Science, and scientist Sheril Kirshenbaum. While it seems the book's substance is somewhat lacking it raises an interesting point; how can science be better integrated with mainstream culture for greater understanding and acceptance? "We must all rally toward a single goal: without sacrificing the growth of knowledge or scientific innovation, we must invest in a sweeping project to make science relevant to the whole of America's citizenry. We recognize there are many heroes out there already toiling toward this end and launching promising initiatives, ranging from the Year of Science to the World Science Festival to ScienceDebate. But what we need — and currently lack — is the systematic acceptance of the idea that these actions are integral parts of the job description of scientists themselves. Not just their delegates, or surrogates, in the media or the classrooms."

Comment C# (Score 1) 634

C# is a modern, multi-paradigm, feature-rich and evolving language. It can be most intriguing for a young programmer because you can play at various levels of abstraction (from unsafe all the way up to LINQ) and express computation in various ways (you may do a Lambda expression for one thing and a method for another). And you can use it as a scripting language, as well. Young programmers running Windows can always get Visual Studio for free via DreamSpark. Young programmers running anything else can get MonoDevelop. There really is no excuse to skip this incredibly productive language. The plus side? migrating from C# to other paradigms should be simple. And the C# user community is just as friendly as any other free language's (minus the "RTFM, N00b!" replies.)

IBM Computer Program To Take On 'Jeopardy!' 213

longacre writes "I.B.M. plans to announce Monday that it is in the final stages of completing a computer program to compete against human 'Jeopardy!' contestants. If the program beats the humans, the field of artificial intelligence will have made a leap forward. ... The team is aiming not at a true thinking machine but at a new class of software that can 'understand' human questions and respond to them correctly. Such a program would have enormous economic implications. ... The proposed contest is an effort by I.B.M. to prove that its researchers can make significant technical progress by picking "grand challenges" like its early chess foray. The new bid is based on three years of work by a team that has grown to 20 experts in fields like natural language processing, machine learning and information retrieval. ... Under the rules of the match that the company has negotiated with the 'Jeopardy!' producers, the computer will not have to emulate all human qualities. It will receive questions as electronic text. The human contestants will both see the text of each question and hear it spoken by the show's host, Alex Trebek. ... Mr. Friedman added that they were also thinking about whom the human contestants should be and were considering inviting Ken Jennings, the 'Jeopardy!' contestant who won 74 consecutive times and collected $2.52 million in 2004."

Is Your Mood a Result of Where You Live? 364

Ed writes "Apparently, the Centers for Disease Control released a study indicating that geography can have a significant impact on mood. You may not be surprised to learn that Kentucky is more depressing than Hawaii. However, ranking up there with Hawaii are Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin. Frustratingly, they have not yet published the study on the web, so it is left as an exercise for the reader to find the original study and post a link for the rest of us."

Mexican Government To Document Cell Phone Use 232

Alyssey writes "The Mexican government wants to have a database to track every cellphone number in the country (in Spanish, Google translation) and whom it belongs to. They want to tie in the CURP (Unique Registration Population Code in Spanish, like the Social Security Number in the US) with cellphone numbers. If Mexicans don't send in their number and CURP via SMS before April 10, 2010, their cellphone number will be blocked. The new law was published back in February and is going into effect now."

How Do I Put an Invention Into the Public Domain? 233

Nefarious Wheel writes "I have a couple of inventions — mechanical devices, based on physical principles — that I believe could transform certain aspects of industry. The trouble is, I can't afford to file patents, and even if I could, I'm not sure that would be the best way for these devices to be made available as widely as I'd like. Is there some way to publish the details of these innovations in the public domain in such a way as to protect them from being snaffled away by some patent troll? I'd be happy with a contribution (or simple attribution) model for recompense, which could be zero to whatever, but that's not as important to me as getting the ideas out there for anyone who wants to use them. This isn't copyright, and I know of no patent equivalent to Creative Commons. In short, what's the best way to protect an invention against someone filing a patent on it, short of patenting the device yourself? Can this be done?"

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... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"