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Second Penny Arcade Game Due Out This Week 68

Hothead Games has announced that the second episode of the Penny Arcade: On the Rain-slick Precipice of Darkness series is coming out this Wednesday, and they've released a trailer showing off some of the gameplay. ACG has an interview with Hothead's Joel DeYoung discussing the series and explaining some of the decision-making that went into its development. The game will launch for Linux, Mac, PC, and Xbox Live, with a PS3 version coming later. Feedback from players of the first game in the series inspired a $5 decrease in price this time around.
Space

One of HST's Cameras Is Back In Action 47

StupendousMan writes "One of the two big cameras aboard the Hubble Space Telescope is the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, or WFPC2 for short. As the most recent HST status report indicates, the camera was recently powered up again and sent commands to take some test images. Today (Sunday, Oct 26), I received E-mail from a colleague at STScI indicating that the calibration images were 'nominal.' That's NASA-speak for 'fine and dandy.' The E-mail goes on to say 'The data look nominal, indicating that Hubble optical imaging capabilities are in fine shape. (We can expect more glorious Hubble images in the near future.) ... Science with WFPC2 has resumed, and plans are underway to restore ACS/SBC to service this coming week.' Let's hope that the other big instrument, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), also comes back to life successfully. We should find out in just a week or so."
Software

OpenOffice.org V3.0 Sets Download Record, 80% Windows 451

thefickler writes "The newest version of OpenOffice, version 3.0, has set a download record in its first week of availability. Most surprising is the fact that over 80% of downloads were from Windows users. As one commentator noted, when it comes to a choice between almost identical software (e.g. Microsoft Office and OpenOffice), price is the determining factor."
Medicine

Half of American Doctors Often Prescribe Placebos 238

damn_registrars writes "'Half of all American doctors responding to a nationwide survey say they regularly prescribe placebos to patients. The results trouble medical ethicists, who say more research is needed to determine whether doctors must deceive patients in order for placebos to work.' The study just quoted goes on to say that the drugs most often used as placebo are headache pills, vitamins, and antibiotics. Studies on doctors in Europe and New Zealand have found similar results."
Communications

White Space Debate Intensifies As Vote Approaches 94

Ars Technica reports that the debate between broadcasters and white space supporters has intensified after each side recently made inflammatory comments and suggested that science would vindicate their position. Several organizations are pushing to delay the upcoming white space vote, in part because it takes place on the same day as the US presidential election. We recently discussed Google's claim that a test of this system was rigged to fail. From Ars: "The broadcasters contend that adjacent channel interference would be significant even at the 40 mW level proposed by Kevin Martin. In fact, they claim that such a device would interfere with digital television signals when the viewer is 25 miles from the television tower and the whitespace device is 10m or less from the TV set. At 50 miles from the television tower, a whitespace device within 50m from a set could allegedly cause interference. The broadcasters also want several safeguard requirements put on the technology that go beyond the new, lower-power transmission levels."
Software

Submission + - Do developers owe end users some level of support?

An anonymous reader writes: Tolis Group's BRU Server one of the most complex set of Python scripts around, and latest versions of the Mac OSX version of BRU Server have major compatibility issues. Users trying to get it running have been strung along for weeks waiting for Tolis to respond to support requests... only to find their free 30 days of support over — requiring users to pay for extended support contracts. Is this bait and switch after purchasing a bum product? Some users think so, and Tolis has had to shutter their user forums to censor the demands for some accountability for their product. Do developers have an obligation to provide support for their products? How about just enough to get it running on their "supported system configurations" after purchase?
United States

The World's Longest Tunnel 563

fusconed writes "Bloomberg reports that the Russian government is proposing to build an underground tunnel between Russia and Alaska for transporting goods, electricity and natural resources. The tunnel would be twice as long as that between the UK and France. The $10 — $12b cost is not something to be overlooked, but Russia claims the benefits would pay it off in 20 years. It would take 10 to 15 years to build, but being an Alaskan, it sounds good to me!"
Portables

Submission + - Michael Dell gets a laptop with Ubuntu

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