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Fetus Don't Fail Me Now: How Scientists Raise Children 233

An anonymous reader writes "In the latest column from scientist, humor columnist, and stand-up comedian Adam Ruben, he examines his own umbilicus and considers how being a scientist will affect his approach to raising his only slightly post-fetal child. From the article: 'I don't know how other prospective fathers treat their wives' pregnancies, but I saw it as a science project. It had a protocol, parameters, a timeline, and even the one item that makes funding agencies happy: a deliverable. I found myself poking at my wife's abdomen, asking, "Who's Daddy's little gestating blastocyst? Who's recapitulating phylogeny?"'"
Books

DC Reboots Universe 292

An anonymous reader writes "Bob Wayne, Senior Vice President of Sales at DC Comics, has written to comic book retailers saying: 'Many of you have heard rumors that DC Comics has been working on a big publishing initiative for later this year. This is indeed an historic time for us as, come this September, we are relaunching the entire DC Universe line of comic books with all new first issues. 52 of them to be exact.' In addition, some characters are going to be younger, some may be missing, relationships are being changed, and Grant Morrison will pen a new Superman title."
Open Source

Oracle To Give OpenOffice.org To Apache Incubator 129

Julie188 writes "Oracle has finally officially spilled the beans: It's proposing OpenOffice.org as an Apache Incubator project — and not handing it to The Document Foundation. Oracle had announced earlier this year that it would be passing the torch to the community, but failed to provide any specifics about the ultimate destination. The Document Foundation is the organization behind the OpenOffice fork, LibreOffice."
Japan

A Handy Radiation Dose Chart From XKCD 392

An anonymous reader points out Randall Munroe's latest contribution to public health awareness, a "chart of how much ionizing radiation a person can absorb from various sources, compared visually. 1 Sievert will make you sick, many more will kill you, however, even small doses cumulatively increase cancer risk." It's a good way to think about the difference between Chernobyl and Fukushima.
Movies

How Watchmen Killed 'R'-rated Fantasy Movies 771

An anonymous reader writes "Of all the Hollywood properties consigned to development hell in the reductionist policy of the last 3-4 years of bad economy, the very last to have a prospect of a green light are expensive fantasy and SF projects that fall outside the 'family' remit. Not even the addition of James Cameron to David Fincher's Heavy Metal remake has stopped its begging-bowl passage from studio to studio; Robert Rodriguez's propriety of the Barbarella remake likewise toured the world in vain, apparently unmindful of the very unusual set of cultural and demographic circumstances that caused a major studio to back an 'erotic space opera' in 1968 — and to the fact that these circumstances are not likely to reoccur. David Fincher lamented in 2008 that the creation of dazzling artificial movie worlds is limited to family-friendly output — but in the long wake of the box-office disappointment of the 'R'-rated Watchmen movie, there seems no current prospect that the adults will ever get to play with the kids' toys again." The most frustrating part of this is that Watchmen was actually *good*.
NASA

How To Build a Telescope That Trumps Hubble 185

An anonymous reader writes "In cleanrooms around the country NASA and its contractors are building the James Webb Space Telescope, a marvel of engineering scheduled to launch in 2014. This gallery shows the features that will allow Webb to take the universe's baby pictures in infrared — most notably an 18-segment mirror and a 5-layer sunshield. I can't wait until Webb settles into its Lagrangian point way out beyond the moon and gets to work."
Cellphones

Taxes On Cell Phones Hit All-Time High 171

adeelarshad82 writes "As a breakdown of the top ten states with the highest and lowest taxes shows, the wireless consumers in Nebraska, Washington, and New York pay more than 20 percent of their wireless bills in taxes and fees, mostly due to the proliferation of archaic or duplicated surcharges. Experts from KSE Partners spent five years monitoring the federal, state, and local taxes imposed on wireless consumers. According to their analysis, wireless taxes grew three times faster than the retail sales rate between 2007 and 2010. The reason behind this is that legislators and Congressmen are targeting the wireless industry for tax money to relieve the burden from more recession-starved industries. In fact, a few states even tax wireless consumers for non wireless-related projects; for instance, Utah funds its poison-control centers with a poison-control surcharge found on wireless bills, and in 2009 Wisconsin imposed a police and fire protection fee to subsidize local departments."
NASA

Stardust Mission Makes First-Ever Return To Comet 47

RedEaredSlider writes "NASA's Stardust probe made its closest approach to comet Tempel-1 on Monday night, marking the first time a comet has ever been revisited by a spacecraft. The mission, formally called Stardust-NeXT, for New EXploration of Tempel-1, was launched on its way in 2006. On Monday night it came within 181 kilometers (112 miles) of the comet, taking pictures and measuring the amount and composition of dust in the comet's coma, the plume of gas that surrounds it. It approached the comet at about 10.6 kilometers (6.7 miles) per second, making it one of the fastest probes that has yet flown. Stardust made its closest approach at 11:39 p.m. Eastern and after that, swung around its high-gain antenna towards Earth to transmit its data. The comet and spacecraft are about 336 million kilometers (209 million miles) away, so signals take a full 18 minutes to get to Earth."
Android

Google To Merge Honeycomb and Gingerbread 158

eldavojohn writes "In Barcelona, Google's Eric Schmidt has been revealing future plans for Google, saying that the next release will merge smartphone and tablet versions of its mobile operating system Android. Aside from bragging about Android's growth, Schmidt tiptoed around a question of Google acquiring Twitter, instead offering the very nebulous statement that YouTube doubled its revenues last year."
Education

Quantum Physics For Everybody 145

fiziko writes in with a self-described "blatant self-promotion" of a worthwhile service for those wishing to go beyond Khan Academy physics: namely Bureau 42's Summer School. "As those who subscribe to the 'Sci-Fi News' slashbox may know, Bureau 42 has launched its first Summer School. This year we're doing a nine-part series (every Monday in July and August) taking readers from high school physics to graduate level physics, with no particular mathematical background required. Follow the link for part 1."
Image

Singer Murdered Hours After Denying Death Rumors 1

Mexican singer Sergio Vega may have spoken too soon when he denied reports of his death. He was murdered a few hours after telling entertainment website La Oreja that rumors of his demise were a bit premature. From the article: "Mexican media said that Vega's car was shot at by unidentified men who were following the vehicle in a truck. The shots injured Vega, making him lose control of the vehicle and crash it, according to El Debate newspaper. The gunmen then shot Vega again while he lay trapped in the car wreck."
Biotech

Cancer Cells Detected Using $400 Digital Camera 90

fergus07 writes "Researchers have detected oral cancer cells using a fiber-optic cable and an off-the-shelf Olympus E-330 camera worth $400. The work by Rice University biomedical engineers and researchers from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center could improve access to diagnostic imaging tools in many parts of the world where these expensive resources are scarce. In the tests, a common fluorescent dye was used to make cell nuclei glow brightly and images were taken using the tip of the fiber-optic bundle attached to the camera. The distorted nuclei, which indicate cancerous and pre-cancerous cells, could then be distinguished on the camera's LCD monitor."
Education

Science Historian Deciphers Plato's Code 402

Reader eldavojohn tips the news of a researcher in the UK, Jay Kennedy, who has uncovered a hidden code in the writings of Plato. From the University of Manchester press release: "[Dr. Kennedy said] 'I have shown rigorously that the books do contain codes and symbols and that unraveling them reveals the hidden philosophy of Plato. This is a true discovery, not simply reinterpretation.' ... The hidden codes show that Plato anticipated the Scientific Revolution 2,000 years before Isaac Newton, discovering its most important idea — the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics. ... Plato did not design his secret patterns purely for pleasure — it was for his own safety. Plato's ideas were a dangerous threat to Greek religion. He said that mathematical laws and not the gods controlled the universe. Plato's own teacher [Socrates] had been executed for heresy. Secrecy was normal in ancient times, especially for esoteric and religious knowledge, but for Plato it was a matter of life and death." Here is the paper (PDF), which was published in the journal Apeiron: A Journal of Ancient Philosophy and Science.
America Online

VLC 1.1 Forced To Drop Shoutcast Due To AOL Anti-OSS Provision 315

The folks over at VideoLAN are in the process of releasing version 1.1.0 of VLC, and one of the major changes is the removal of SHOUTcast, a media-streaming module from AOL-owned Nullsoft. "During the last year, the VLC developers have received several injunctions by e-mail from employees at AOL, asking us to either comply to a license not compatible with free software or remove the SHOUTcast capability in VLC." Within the license is a clause prohibiting the distribution of SHOUTcast with any product whose own license requires that it be "disclosed or distributed in source code form," "licensed for the purpose of making derivative works," or "redistributable at no charge." The license would also force VideoLAN to bundle Nullsoft adware with VLC. Update: 06/22 00:52 GMT by H : The 1.1 release is ready from their site; you can also read up on the release information.
Canada

Bionic-Eyed Man Wants To Stream Eye Video Online 115

An anonymous reader writes "According to this IEEE article, Canadian filmmaker Rob Spence, who calls himself Eyeborg because he replaced his false right eye with a bionic one, is showing off his latest prototype. The new bionic eye contains a battery-powered, wireless video camera that can transmit a low-res feed to a nearby receiver. Now Spence plans to share his 'vision' online, literally. According to the IEEE article, 'soon people will be able to log on to his video feed and view the world through his right eye.'"

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