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Technology

Submission + - Bessel beam "tractor beam" concept theoretically demonstrated (gizmag.com)

cylonlover writes: Last year, NASA revealed it was evaluating three potential “tractor beam” technologies to deliver planetary or atmospheric particles to a robotic rover or orbiting spacecraft. At the time, the third of these, which involved the use of a Bessel beam, only existed on paper. Researchers at Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) have now proven the theory behind the concept, demonstrating how a tractor beam can be realized in the real world – albeit on a very small scale.
Android

Submission + - Xamarin: "Android Ported to C#" (xamarin.com)

Eirenarch writes: "Xamarin has just announced that they got the Java part of Android ported to C# via machine translation. The resulting OS called XobotOS is available on Github. They claim some serious performance gains over Dalvik. For them this is an experiment that they are not planning to focus on but they will be using some of the technologies in Mono for Android."
Space

Submission + - Venus to Appear in Once-In-A-Lifetime Event (sciencedaily.com)

revealingheart writes: ScienceDaily reports that on 5 and 6 June this year, millions of people around the world will be able to see Venus pass across the face of the Sun in what will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It will take Venus about six hours to complete its transit, appearing as a small black dot on the Sun's surface, in an event that will not happen again until 2117.

Transits of Venus occur only on the very rare occasions when Venus and Earth are in a line with the Sun. At other times Venus passes below or above the Sun because the two orbits are at a slight angle to each other. Transits occur in pairs separated by eight years, with the gap between pairs of transits alternating between 105.5 and 121.5 years — the last transit was in 2004.

"We are fortunate in that we are truly living in a golden period of planetary transits and it is one of which I hope astronomers can take full advantage," writes Jay M Pasachoff, an astronomer at Williams College, Massachusetts.

Businesses

Submission + - IBM offers retirement with job guarantee through 2013 (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: IBM is offering employees who are nearing retirement — and may be worried about a layoff — a one-time voluntary program that would ensure their employment through Dec. 31, 2013. The program, described in a letter addressed to IBM managers, "offers participants 70% of their pay for working 60% of their schedule." Participating employees would receive "the same benefits they do today, most at a full-time level, including health benefits and 401(k) Plus Plan automatic company contributions." IBM isn't offering the program in lieu of U.S. workforce cutbacks. In 2006, IBM employed about 127,000 in U.S. The Alliance@IBM, a CWA local, now estimates the U.S. workforce at around 95,000. How far IBM will go in cutting gets debate, including one radical estimate.
Cloud

Submission + - IBM dumps Siebel in favour of open-source SugarCRM (computerworlduk.com)

sweetpea86 writes: IBM is planning to replace its Siebel based customer relationship management products with software owned by open-source software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendor SugarCRM. This is the second major contract loss for Siebel, as HP recently revealed that it too would be replacing the platform with products provided by SaaS vendor Salesforce.com. However, the changes are perhaps unsurprising given that Siebel was bought by Oracle in 2005 for £3.5 billion.
KDE

KDE 4.6 Beta 1 – a First Look 224

dmbkiwi writes "The first beta release of KDE SC 4.6 was released yesterday. OpenSUSE had packages up almost immediately, so being curious as to what's new, I've downloaded and upgraded to the new release. These are my impressions thus far."
Security

Submission + - Boffins devise early-warning bot spotter (theregister.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers have devised a way to easily detect internet names generated by so-called domain-fluxing botnets, a method that could provide a first-alarm system of sorts that alerts admins of infections on their networks.

Submission + - Is Telstra violating the GPL? (delimiter.com.au)

daria42 writes: Uh oh ... looks like Australia's largest telco Telstra hasn't exactly been paying attention to its responsibilities under the GNU GPL. Australian coder Angus Gratton has been investigating the company's branded T-Hub, T-Box and T-Touch products — all based on Linux, and all without any source code or GPL license attached. Naughty. However it's not as though Telstra is the only one to blame — the goods are manufactured by Sagem, Netgem and Huawei respectively.
Transportation

Submission + - Nissan to Surround its Cars With Safety Bubbles (mobilesynergetics.com)

DeviceGuru writes: In addition to pioneering the world's first mass-marketed all-electric vehicle, Nissan has been busy developing advanced safety systems that reduce the risk of accidents by wrapping a virtual safety bubble around the car (check out the videos especially the first one). Nissan's collision-avoidance technologies encompass both active and passive safety features. The vehicle's on-board intelligent safety system categorizes potential risks into different phases of driving, and activates various barriers to provide multiple layers of protection depending on the type of approaching risk. Based on risk data collected, the car provides suitable safe-driving prompts to the driver to help avoid the risk, and also offers a succession of other safety features as the risk approaches or in case a crash occurs. Gives new meaning to 'leave the driving to us,' eh?

Submission + - TV Tropes Self-Censoring under Google Pressure (tvtropes.org) 1

mvdwege writes: "The popular wiki TV Tropes, a site dedicated to the discussion of various tropes, clichés and other common devices in fiction has suddenly decided to put various of its pages behind a 'possibly family-unsafe' content warning, apparently due to pressure by Google withdrawing its ads.

What puzzles me most is the content that is put behind this warning. TV Tropes features no explicit sexual content, and no explicit violence. It does of course discuss these things, as is its remit, but without actual explicit depictions. In fact, something as relatively innocuous as children being raised by two females, whatever the reason are put behind the content warning, even if the page itself doesn't take a stand on the issue, merely satisfying itself by describing the occurence of this in fiction."

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Open source viewfinder / tablet project (kickstarter.com)

olafura writes: This is a great project to raise money towards open source hardware design for a tablet computer that would be used for a viewfinder in the Apertus project. The kickstart project has already raised 1/4 of the money in only 5 days. This could run what ever other platform we could imagine like Android, Meego, Google Chrome OS or just plain Debian.
Google

Submission + - Hulu, NBC, and other sites block Google TV (vortex.com)

padarjohn writes: Imagine the protests that would ensue if Internet services arbitrarily blocked video only to Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers! Or if Hulu and the other networks decided they'd refuse to stream video to HP and Dell computers because those manufacturers hadn't made deals with the services to the latter's liking.

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