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Submission + - Wild bird blinding Laser beacon announced

snot.dotted writes: "Southampton, UK. City council announced the construction of a Laser Beacon that will cost £249,000 or $487,590. To be constructed with four high powered lasers (5 watts, class 4) that will be visible for 20 miles and the lasers will be constantly running from dusk until midnight. Local astronomers pissed at the light pollution link to local news paper article, City council leaders unaware of diffraction and beam divergence! You can read their proposal here as a pdf Pidgeons and other wild birds likely to be blinded. Apparently a world first. Next, council to attach frickin' lasers to sharks. Dr Evil running for re-election again! more Beacon of the South Stories"

Submission + - What's hidden under Greenland ice?

Roland Piquepaille writes: "Ice has covered Greenland for millions of years. So what's hidden under this ice cap? Mountains and valleys? Rivers and lakes? Of course, we might know it sooner than we would have liked if the ice covering Greenland continues to melt. But researchers from Ohio State University have decided that they wanted to know it next year and have developed a radar to reveal views of land beneath polar ice. Their first tests of this new radar, which helps them to catch 3-D images of the ground under the ice, took place in May 2006. The next images will be shot in April 2007. Here are some images of the new GISMO device and what it can do."
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Submission + - Apple Developing iPhone and "Smart" Phone

anaesthetica writes: According to AppleInsider, Apple is not only working on a cellphone + mp3 player iPhone, but is working on a second model designed to be a smart phone, highly integrated with Mac OS and .Mac. The smart phone has gone through several iterations, as the notoriously demanding Mr. Jobs ordered the elite team working on the phone to redesign and re-engineer their prototypes. Capabilities are reported to include Front Row interface, syncing contacts and iCal with .Mac, "call ahead", iChat video conferencing integration, WiFi, and a slide-out keyboard. Too good to be true?

Submission + - CAPTCHA harder to break using animations

mlemos writes: "CAPTCHA validation is often used to prevent robots from abusing Web site resources. Usually CAPTCHA methods employ text written on fuzzy graphical images that the users must recognize.

However, there are already anti-CAPTCHA capable robots that employ artificial intelligence to reckon the text automatically.

László Zsidi is a PHP Web developer that has written an harder to break CAPTCHA solution. It consists in generating animated GIF images that exhibit the validation text.

Since the text never appears all at once in each of the animated frames, this solution certainly raises the bar in terms of difficulty for the robots to guess the validation text, making it very hard to defeat, if possible at all. There is an example screenshot that shows that this PHP component can be used to render an animated CAPTCHA with a 3D light effect running over the validation text.

The solution can run on most PHP installations as it only requires the GD library to render the animated graphic frames. László also provides another pure PHP class that is necessary to assemble the generated animated CAPTCHA frames into a single animated GIF image.

László just won the latest edition of the PHP Programming Innovation award for this achievement."

Submission + - PostgreSQL 8.2 Released

An anonymous reader writes: With the winter holidays approaching, the developers of PostgreSQL have released version 8.2 as a present to us all. Tests really do prove that this is a performance release. With this release will PostgreSQL finally shed it's slow reputation? PostgreSQL 8.2 is trouncing MySQL with query optimization improvements, indexing without blocking INSERT/UPDATE/DELETE operations, and more...

Yet how does it compare to the big boys, Oracle and DB2? This release of PostgreSQL it is still missing SQL:2003 Window Functions so critical in business reporting. That means Oracle and DB2 still reign supreme in the OLAP/Data warehouse market. Even without many of the SQL:2003 features, this is good release. Get PostgreSQL 8.2 and take it for a spin!

Submission + - US to give you a risk rating...

cayenne8 writes: It looks like the Dept. of Homeland security is at it again. This time, a data mining system, used to evalute you the air passenger as to your security risk, and give you a rating. You think you have problems with a faulty credit score? Wait till you get a faulty risk assessment rating...because you cannot legally find out what your rating is according to the article about the new Automated Targeting System.

"The Automated Targeting System (ATS) is a data-mining system that will let the agency create "risk assessments" of tens of millions of travelers. The information will be held for 40 years, and even U.S. citizens will have no right to view those risk assessments. "

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