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Businesses

Oracle Responds To MySQL Purchase Concerns 156

Luke has no name writes "Yesterday we discussed MySQL founder Monty Widenius's objections to the acquisition of MySQL by Oracle. Today, Oracle released a statement to address some of these issues. Among their commitments, Oracle says they intend to continue releasing MySQL under the GPL, allow vendors to produce 'any-license' third-party engines, maintain the Reference Manual, invest millions into the product, and create a 'customer advisory board.' The pledges are still not enough for some, however."
Businesses

Comcast to Buy 51% of NBC, GE Goes After 49% 258

An anonymous reader writes to tell us that Comcast and General Electric announced a joint venture yesterday to control NBC Universal, with Comcast coming out with the controlling interest. Comcast's hopes seem to be on succeeding in a marriage of distribution and content, where Time Warner failed. "The deal was approved by the companies' boards, and is subject to regulatory approval. GE said it expects the deal to go through in the third quarter of 2010. Congress has already said it will hold a hearing to investigate whether Comcast will gain 'undue advantages' from the deal that gives it access to programming."
Politics

Scientists Step Down After CRU Hack Fallout 874

An anonymous reader writes "In the wake of the recent release of thousands of private files and emails after a server of the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia was hacked, Prof. Phil Jones is stepping down as head of the CRU. Prof. Michael Mann, another prominent climate scientist, is also under inquiry by Penn State University."
Programming

Microsoft Open Sources .NET Micro Framework 320

An anonymous reader writes "Back in July, Microsoft announced it was making .NET available under its Community Promise, which in theory allowed free software developers to use the technology without fear of patent lawsuits. Not surprisingly, many free software geeks were unconvinced by the promise (after all, what's a promise compared to an actual open licence?), but now Microsoft has taken things to the next level by releasing the .NET Micro Framework under the Apache 2.0 licence. Yes, you read that correctly: a sizeable chunk of .NET is about to go open source."
Cellphones

AT&T's City-By-City Plan To Up Wireless Coverage 158

alphadogg writes "AT&T has created different mobile calling models for every major city in America as it tries to improve a network that has come under fire for poor performance as the data-friendly iPhone has proliferated, an executive said Thursday. Other carriers just use one nationwide calling model to plan for all cities, claimed CTO John Donovan, speaking at the Open Mobile Summit conference in San Francisco. The nation's second-largest mobile operator has had a hard time planning for bandwidth needs in the rapidly changing mobile world, Donovan said. AT&T has seen rapidly growing mobile data usage — and much criticism over its 3G coverage — as the exclusive iPhone carrier in the US. 'If a network is not fully loaded, it's hard to know exactly how much demand is out there,' Donovan said. 'You put all you can in the ground, and they eat it all up, and then you put more in there, and they eat it all up.'" The story notes that mobile data at AT&T has grown 4,932% over the last 3 years.

Comment Broadband Solution (Score 3, Insightful) 387

The problem with Net Neutrality is the last mile. Thus instead of adding more regulation in the form of Net Neutrality, the government needs to address the issue of government granted monopolies on the last mile. Once that is addressed, Net Neutrality issues will fade away. But Net Neutrality can be used as a stick to get more competition in the last mile.

What needs to happen is the Federal government needs to tally up how much tax payer money has gone to the telecoms, add interest, and then tell the telecoms that they need to pay back X billion dollars, once they have done that, they will own outright their own network. The money paid back to the government goes into a fund available to other ISP's that want to lay their own fiber.

Local municipalities would build, if they haven't already, a pipe in the right of ways in front of every house, going to every house. This pipe is what competing ISP’s would use to lay cable in, instead of having to dig separate trenches themselves. The local government would charge a minimal maintenance fee to any ISP who wants to lay cable in the pipe. The telecoms would also pay the same fee, even if they are not using the pipe, which would be for access to the right of way in front of, and through people’s property. This way the construction and maintenance of the pipe is guaranteed without any higher taxes.

Comment Re:Libertarians assume government the only evil (Score 1) 944

A monopoly can not exist with out the government getting involved. "IP" or Copyrights, Patents, Trademarks, etc are a form of a (supposed) limited grant of monopoly power over a particular idea. If we equate less government with getting rid of "IP", then there would be no monopolies because Corporations wouldn't have the Government around to act as their police.

Medicine

A New Robotic Hand That Can "Feel" 112

Dyne09 writes "The BBC is running a video report about a group of Swiss and Italian scientists who have created the 'Smart Hand,' a robotic hand with forty sensors that 'connect directly to the brain.' Though fuzzy on the details, the report says the hand provides sensor feedback to a willing test subject, a 22-year-old man who lost his hand to cancer three years ago. How long until we have access to Star Wars-esque robotic limbs?"
Biotech

Scientists Write Memories Directly Into Fly Brains 137

TheClockworkSoul writes "Researchers at the University of Oxford have devised a way to write memories onto the brains of flies, revealing which brain cells are involved in making bad memories. The researchers said that in flies, just 12 brain cells were responsible for what is known as 'associative learning.' They modified these neurons by adding receptors for ATP, so that the cells activate in the presence of the chemical, but since ATP isn't usually found floating around a fly's brain, the flies generally behave just like any other fly. Most interestingly, however, is that the scientists then injected ATP into the flies' brains, in a form that was locked inside a light-sensitive chemical cage. When they shined a laser on the fly brains, the ATP was released, and the 'associative learning' cells were activated. The laser flash was paired with an odor, effectively giving the fly a memory of a bad experience with the odor that it never actually had, such that it then avoided the odor in later experiments. The researchers describe their findings in the journal Cell."

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