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Government

NASA Employee Suspended For Blogging At Work 211

BobJacobsen writes "FCW has an article about a NASA employee that was suspended for blogging on government time. Seems the unnamed employee's 'politically partisan' blog entries were a violation of the Hatch Act. The article ends with a chilling quote from the government's Special Counsel in the case: 'Today, modern office technology multiplies the opportunities for employees to abuse their positions and — as in this serious case — to be penalized, even removed from their job, with just a few clicks of a mouse.'" Thing is, he was soliciting campaign donations and writing partisan stuff.
Mars

Phoenix Mars Lander Updates 138

spandex_panda writes "There are a few pictures of the Mars Lander on the ground — you can see its parachute and its heat shield a few kilometers away, too. There's a very cool looking picture of it floating down, actually captured while it's in the air with its parachute out!" We also have a YouTube video all about the robot arm that will dig down and probably find a groundhog who we all hope will see his shadow.
Biotech

Ancestry Surprises From New Genetics Analysis Method 223

An anonymous reader commends a recently published study involving a new way to analyze genetic variation in human populations (full article published in PLOS Genetics): "[S]cientists from Ireland, the UK and the US analysed 2,540 genetic markers in the DNA of almost 1,000 people from around the world whose genetic material had been collected by the Human Genome Diversity Project. The results include a number of surprises... the Yakut people of northern Siberia were found to have received a significant genetic contribution from the population of the Orkney Islands, which lie off the coast of Scotland... there must have been a period of gene flow from northern Europe to east Asia. The study also shed light on the peopling of the Americas, as the results suggest that the native populations of north and south America have different origins."
Microsoft

Submission + - IIT Bombay, Microsoft at loggerheads over OOXML (rediff.com)

heytal writes: "Microsoft has courted a major controversy in India by complaining to the government of India that those who voted against OOXML were working against "national interests". Prof. D. B. Phatak from IIT Bombay has raised his voice against this complaint and has demanded an apology from Microsoft. He says "... the complaints have painted these organisations and their representatives, including the Indian delegation which attended the Ballot Resolution Meeting (BRM in Geneva this February), as acting against Indian national interests. This is the most derogatory accusation to any Indian...," The letter adds: "I have a special word of thanks to the officials of Microsoft, some of whom have been personal friends for years... I, of course, still await the action from Microsoft which I have requested, viz., formal withdrawal of all complaints, and a formal apology to my institute." More details at Rediff.com"
Linux Business

Submission + - Phoenix Landing - Open Source makes it to Mars! (ostatic.com) 1

ruphus13 writes: With the landing of Phoenix on Mars, OSS made its way to Mars too. From the article, "the amount of software coordination and lack of commercial software geared to the aerospace industry continues to make custom software necessary for almost every mission. Linux, the gcc compiler, visualization libraries and more have allowed NASA to expand the capabilities of their missions beyond their greatest expectations." The OSS community should be proud!
Software

Submission + - Why is Firehose so hostile? 15

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Can anyone explain to me why Slashdot's Firehose is made to be so unfriendly? It's a great idea, but in practice it's infuriating. If you see a submitted article, and click on one of the links, you can't go back to the story. You have to start all over again. If you set the filters to what you're interested in, you have to re-set them all over again. Even if you just RTFA you are punished by losing your settings. Why shouldn't Slashdot encourage people to participate in the Firehose. For a busy person, it's almost impossible to be involved. And this bizarre lack of 'stickiness' makes everything take 10 times as much times as it needs to."
Microsoft

Submission + - GameStop drops Microsoft's Zune (www.cbc.ca)

Maow writes: GameStop, which operates in Canada and other countries through its EB Games brand, has decided to stop selling Microsoft Corp.'s Zune digital music player because of a lack of demand.

Microsoft earlier this month announced it had sold two million Zunes since their launch in November 2006 ... Apple in its most recent quarter sold 10.6 million iPods, or more than five times Microsoft's cumulative total over a year and a half.

Robotics

Submission + - Biped walking robots that walk like man (tudelft.nl)

ErrorBase writes: "Since the start of the Delft Biorobotics Laboratory research has been done on the development of walking bipeds, based on the principle of passive dynamic walking. Flame is our first fully 3D walking robot with electric actuation. Similar as in the previous model, Maxon DC motors are used to actuate several joints: two sagittal ankle joints, two sagittal knee joints, two sagittal hip joints and one lateral hip joint (for sideways foot placement)."
Programming

Submission + - G++ STL Gets Smoked! 1

smilindog2000 writes: "How fast do you think your carefully coded STL based algorithms really are? If they rely on set, multiset, map, or multimap, then probably not so fast. A new DataDraw benchmark shows STL based code running about 4X slower and using 80% more memory than raw C code created by the GPL'ed DataDraw database generator. Does speed still count? The guys behind DataDraw think so."
Businesses

Submission + - After You, it's .Me now - Web turns inwards! (pluggd.in)

sinha writes: "The .Me domain will be launched in another few days and the booking has already started. Web 2.0 was first about YOU (i.e. YouTube, "You" were the Time's person of the year in 2006), but suddenly the web has turned inwards and now, its all about .ME!"
Software

Submission + - Skype goes dark, may be offline until Friday (computerworld.com)

jcatcw writes: Skype is blaming software issues for a lengthy outage that may last for more than 24 hours. Some users claims there's a log-in authentication failure. "Those that are in stay in and those trying to sign in can't get in," according to Tom Keating. In what maybe an implicit acknowledgment, the company is recommending that users leave their client software active.
The Internet

Submission + - For Videotron, Unlimited Access now means 100Gb

An anonymous reader writes: Canadian Internet access provider Videotron just sent a letter to all its "Extreme High Speed Unlimited Internet Access" customers announcing that, as of October the 1st, unlimited would mean 100Gb/month.

Over limit Gbs will cost 1.50$CA each.

The Videotron.ca Web site still advertizes the package as unlimited.
Networking

Submission + - TJX Security Breach described (techdirt.com)

Bunderfeld writes: "I was reading over at TechDirt and saw this story, thought everyone else would find it enlightening

"...The breach was apparently perpetrated by using poorly secured in-store kiosks, which were on the corporate network and not behind firewalls. Attackers stuck USB keys in the kiosks and loaded software that allowed them to be controlled remotely, and used as gateways onto the network.""

Announcements

Submission + - Watermarking to replace DRM? 3

An anonymous reader writes: News.com has an article on the announcement of Microsoft and Universal to introduce watermarking technology into audio files. The technology could serve several purposes including tracking file sharing statistics and insertion of advertisements into audio tracks. The article goes on to suggest that watermarking could possibly replace DRM in the near future.

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