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Movies

Review: Cowboys & Aliens 225

The name pretty much sums it up: There are cowboys. There are aliens. And Iron Man Director Jon Favreau has blown a pretty penny trying to make the whole thing work, getting the sexiest woman alive from Maxim a few years back, as well as a James Bond and a Han Solo to convince you to come to the theater and watch 6-shooters take on the little green men. Spoilers may exist below, but I promise to keep the review mostly lacking substance: just like the movie.
NASA

Submission + - NASA to Launch $96mill Cleanup of Shuttle Program (inhabitat.com)

Elliot Chang writes: NASA reports that the pollution caused by Space Shuttle launches at Kennedy Space Center in Florida will cost the government $96 million and will take 30 years to properly clean up. NASA officially ended the Space Shuttle Program on July 21st as the Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down for the final time at the Kennedy Space Center. It seems that the plumes of smoke resulting from the 135 shuttle launches caused toxic chemicals to seep into the sandy soil around the space center.
Privacy

How Face Recognition Can Uncover SSNs 103

nonprofiteer writes "Building on previous work showing that social security numbers are not random, CMU researchers ran experiments in which they predicted students' social security numbers after taking a photo of them with a cheap webcam. Using off-the-shelf facial recognition technology and data-mining publicly available Facebook photos and profile information, they were able to come up with the social security numbers of several of the students. (More impressive, as they note that 60% of the students were foreign, and had no SSNs, leaving them a pool of less than 50)."
Programming

Submission + - Crunch can and should be avoided (shotgundentist.com)

An anonymous reader writes: An article about why crunch and unpaid overtime in the games industry isn't acceptable (and definitely not a necessary characteristic of the field).
Google

Google Running 900,000 Servers 127

1sockchuck writes "How many servers is Google using? The company won't say, but a new report places the number at about 900,000. The estimate is based on data Google shared with researcher Jonathan Koomey, for a new report on data center power use. The data updates a 2007 report to Congress, and includes a surprise: data centers are using less energy than projected, largely due to the impact of the recession (buying fewer servers) and virtualization."
The Almighty Buck

Blizzard Reveals Diablo 3 (Real Money) Auction House 384

trawg writes "At a special event at Blizzard HQ in California, gaming press were treated to the first look at the Diablo 3 auction house — featuring real-world money transactions across different regions allowing you to buy and sell items with real money. There'll be a listing fee and a sales fee for auctions, and while they're not talking dollar numbers just yet, Blizzard assures gamers that they're not looking to pinch pennies." Update: 08/01 17:41 GMT by S :The other big piece of news about Diablo 3 is that it will require a persistent connection to Battle.net to play, even for single-player mode. Eurogamer has a detailed write-up about the current state of the beta.
Android

Submission + - Samsung wont sell Android tablet in Australia (edibleapple.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In yet another blow to Android, Samsung has agreed not to sell the latest version of its tablet device in Australia until patent litigation in the country is completed.

Chrome Extension Helps Find Noisy Tabs 108

mutetab writes "I recently wrote a Chrome extension called MuteTab that helps you narrow down which tab is making a sound by detecting which tabs contain plugins, HTML5 audio/video, and Java applets. It also gives you a right click menu that will mute tabs (via Javascript APIs when available, otherwise hiding them like FlashBlock does) and can automatically mute background tabs. Be sure to read the FAQ writeup to learn about some ways we can improve detecting which tab has sound and mute it." This really seems like stuff that should be a built in browser preference: like maybe an option to only allow audio out of the visible tab.
Google

Submission + - Report: Google Running 900,000 Servers (datacenterknowledge.com)

1sockchuck writes: How many servers is Google using? The company won't say, but a new report places the number at about 900,000. The estimate is based on data Google shared with researcher Jonathan Koomey, for a new report on data center power use. The data updates a 2007 report to Congress, and includes a surprise: data centers are using less energy that projected, largely due to the impact of the recession (buying fewer servers) and virtualization.
News

Detroit Maker Faire Was Kinda Awesome 138

I was excited to have a chance to go to the Detroit Maker Faire this year. I've always wanted to attend such a thing, but the stars never aligned. I saw an entire tent filled with DIY 3D Printers making strange objects including the coolest polyhedral dice ever. Utilikilts held in place with suspenders! Haberdashery! Quilting! Blacksmithing! Books! A Cupcake Car! Gomp! Beer! Remote control turtles! A giant hay bailer! Numerous strange pedal powered forms of locomotion, and an entire garrison of Star Wars costumes... Besides, it's not often you have the opportunity to witness a giant steel dragon blow fireballs in a parking lot. I've shared a giant collection of photos if you want to see these things and more for a taste of the inspiring insanity I can't wait for next year... and between now and then I have some projects to tackle.
Games

Submission + - Blizzard Reveal the Diablo 3 Auction House (ausgamers.com)

trawg writes: "At a special event at Blizzard HQ in California, gaming press were treated to the first look at the Diablo 3 auction house — featuring real-world money transactions across different regions allowing you to buy and sell items with real money. There'll be a listing fee and a sales fee for auctions, and while they're not talking dollar numbers just yet, Blizzard assure gamers that they're not looking to pinch pennies."
Chrome

Submission + - Chrome Extension Helps Find Noisy Tabs (mutetab.com)

mutetab writes: "I recently wrote a Chrome extension called MuteTab that helps you narrow down which tab is making a sound by detecting which tabs contain plugins, HTML5 audio/video, and Java applets. It also gives you a right click menu that will mute tabs (via Javascript APIs when available, otherwise hiding them like FlashBlock does) and can automatically mute background tabs.

Be sure to read the FAQ writeup (http://www.mutetab.com/mutetabfaq.html#fixingbrowsersound) to learn about some ways we can improve detecting which tab has sound and mute it."

Music

Why Your Dad's 30-Year-Old Stereo Sounds Better Than Yours 674

asto21 writes "Cnet's Steve Guttenberg sheds light on this interesting development that over the years, actual sound quality became a secondary selling point since most people started buying their equipment either online or from big box retailers. People started caring more about the number of connections and wireless interfaces and wattage of systems. As a result, there was less money in R&D budgets to spend on advancements in sound."
Movies

What Happens After the Super-Hero Movie Bubble? 339

mattnyc99 writes "In the wake of a not-that-exciting Comic-Con come some (perhaps premature) reports on the so-called "Death of Superheroes" — what one financial group calls "the top of the (comic book) character remonetization cycle." In response, Esquire.com's Paul Schrodt has an interesting look down Hollywood geek road. From the article: "What happens after The Avengers, or Christopher Nolan's third and final Batman movie — after we've seen all there is to see of the best comic-book blockbusters ever made?""

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