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Government

State Rep. Says Biking Is Not Earth Friendly Because Breathing Produces CO2 976

terbeaux writes "The fact that Rep Ed Orcutt (R — WA) wants to tax bicycle use is not extraordinary. The representative's irrational conviction is. SeattleBikeBlog has confirmed reports that Orcutt does not feel bicycling is environmentally friendly because the activity causes cyclists to have 'an increased heart rate and respiration.' When they contacted him he clarified that 'You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car...' Cascade blog has posted the full exchange between Rep Ed Orcutt and a citizen concerned about the new tax."
Math

Full Review of the Color TI-84 Plus 233

KermMartian writes "The TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition isn't the first color-screen graphing calculator, or even TI's first color calculator, but it's a refresh of a 17-year-old line that many have mocked as antiquated and overpriced. From an advanced review model, the math features look familiar, solid, and augmented with some new goodies, while programming looks about on par with its siblings. The requisite teardown uncovers the new battery, Flash, ASIC/CPU, and LCD used in the device. Although there are some qualms about its speed and very gentle hardware upgrades beyond the screen, it looks to be an indication that TI will continue this inveterate line for years to come." Lots of screenshots and pictures of the innards too.
Transportation

What To Do With a 1,000 Foot Wrecked Cruise Ship? 416

Hugh Pickens writes "What do you do with a 1,000-foot wreck that's full of fuel and half-submerged on a rocky ledge in the middle of an Italian marine sanctuary? Remove it. Very carefully. Stuck on a rocky shoal off the Tuscan island of Giglio, leaving the wreck where it is probably isn't an option but removing a massive ship that's run hard aground and incurred major damage to the hull involves logistical and environmental issues that are just as large. First there's the fuel. A half a million gallons of fuel could wreak havoc on the marine ecosystem — the ship is smack in the middle of the Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean Marine Mammals. Engineers may need to go in from the side using a special drill to cut through the fuel tanks in a process called hot tapping. 'You fasten a flange with a valve on it, you drill through, access the tank, pull the drill back out, close the valve, and then attach a pumping apparatus to that,' says Tim Beaver, president of the American Salvage Association. 'It's a difficult task, but it's doable.' Then if it's determined that the Costa Concordia can be saved, engineers could try to refloat the ship and tug it back to dry dock for refurbishing. The job will likely require 'a combination of barges equipped with winches and cranes' to pull the cruise liner off its side then once the Concordia is off the rocks, 'they are going to have to fight to keep it afloat, just like you would a battle-damaged ship.' Another alternative is to cut the vessel into smaller, manageable parts using a giant cutting wire coated with a material as hard as diamonds called a cheese wire in a method was used to dismember the 55,000-ton Norwegian-flagged MV Tricolor. Regardless of how the Concordia is removed, it's going to be a difficult, expensive and drawn-out process. 'I don't see it taking much less than a year, and I think it could take longer,' says Bob Umbdenstock, director of planning at Resolve Marine Group."
Iphone

Was the iPod Accessory Port Inspired By a 40-Year-Old Camera? 263

An anonymous reader writes "While Samsung has been accused of repeatedly borrowing everything from Apple's hardware, to packaging and accessories, it appears that all current iDevices share a port which is very similar to one found on a forty-year-old Polaroid camera. It gets more interesting when you realize that camera was the 'supreme achievement' of a man Steve Jobs idolized. Edwin Land was the creator of the Polaroid camera and, if Steve Jobs obsessed over Land's devices the way many do with iPhones, etc. today, there's a chance this similarity is not a coincidence."
Graphics

Wolfenstein Ray Traced and Anti-Aliased, At 1080p 158

An anonymous reader writes "After Intel displayed their research demo Wolfenstein: Ray Traced on Tablets, the latest progress at IDF focuses on high(est)-end gaming now running at 1080p. Besides image-based post-processing (HDR, Depth of Field) there is now also an implementation of a smart way of calculating anti-aliasing through using mesh IDs and normals and applying adaptive 16x supersampling. All that is powered by the 'cloud,' consisting of a server that holds eight Knights Ferry cards (total of 256 cores / 1024 threads). A lot of hardware, but the next iteration of the 'Many Integrated Core' (MIC) architecture, named Knights Corner (and featuring 50+ cores), might be just around the corner."
Iphone

A Professional Perspective On Apple's Retina Display 346

Reader BWJones, who is a retinal scientist, sends in this detailed analysis of the iPhone 4's "retinal display," which includes photomicrographs of the display pixels of earlier generations of iPhone as well as the iPad. Well worth a read. "... as you can see from these images of the displays I captured under a microscope, the pixels are not square. Rather they are rectangular, and while the short axis is 78 microns, the long axis on the iPhone 4 pixel is somewhere in the neighborhood of 102 microns. ... While [an earlier analysis by] Dr. Soneira was partially correct with respect to the retina, Apple's Retina Display adequately represents the resolution at which images fall upon our retina. ... [I] find Apple's claims stand up to what the human eye can perceive."
First Person Shooters (Games)

New Open Source FPS Blood Frontier Shows Promise 242

Softhaus writes "The guys at Blood Frontier have been busy for the last two years working on a new FPS called (surprise) Blood Frontier . This game is an enhanced Cube 2 engine with original artwork and new gameplay (including a kid-mode, which optionally turns off the blood — a nice option for a change). Add the new paintball mode and you have a real 'game community' here. The code is all there (complete for you to play with), the team listens to feedback from the community, and the game is great! It's nice to see these talented guys showing a true free software attitude. They've mentioned that the first actual release is scheduled for next Friday. Does anyone know of other great open source games that are truly 'open?'"
Hardware Hacking

The Ultimate Reset Button 184

Gary writes "The gigantic red switch looks more like a mushroom straight out of Super Mario. It can be connected easily using two wires and can be activated in any direction. To get rid of the blue screen of death all you have to do is hit it with something (like, a fist)."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Pitting a Mac Plus Against an AMD Dual Core 364

In the Age of Computer Bloat someone has decided to do a performance comparison between a 1986 Mac Plus and a 2007 AMD Dual core, each running appropriate software. Computer Bloat does not fare so well. "In order to keep the hoots and hollers of 'unfair comparison' at a minimum, we designed the tests to be as fair and equitable as possible. We focussed on running tests that reflect how the user perceives the computing experience... And no, we didn't include processing-heavy modern software like Photoshop or Crysis! We selected very basic everyday functions that were performed equally by the 1980's and the 2007 Microsoft applications."
It's funny.  Laugh.

John McCain's MySpace Page "Pranked" 503

Several readers let us know about a little problem with presidential hopeful John McCain's MySpace page. Looks as though some staffer didn't read the fine print of the "credit" clause when selecting a template for the page. The template author and CEO of Newsvine, Mike Davidson, noticed this and didn't care too much. But the McCain page was pulling an image from Davidson's site, costing him bandwidth every time someone visited the candidate's MySpace page. So Davidson changed the image in question to read: "Today I announce that I have reversed my position and come out in full support of gay marriage... particularly marriage between two passionate females." Here is Davidson's account of the "immaculate hack".

Peter Jackson Will Not Be Making The Hobbit 467

An anonymous reader writes "Due to legal wranglings with New Line Cinema over accounting issues for Lord Of The Rings, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh will not be involved in the making of either The Hobbit or the planned Lord of the Rings prequel." I suppose there is still a chance that Jackson & Co. could end up involved, but at this point that looks unlikely.

uTube.com Business Stalled by YouTube Purchase Hype 202

prostoalex writes "Google's acquisition of online video sharing site YouTube.com resulted in massive traffic headed to uTube.com, "the number one supplier of used Tube & Pipe equipment in the world!", according to the site. CNN Money reports: "The company, which sells used machinery for making tubes to clients worldwide, has seen its site utube.com knocked off line by millions of online searchers looking for video site. "It's killing us," said Ralph Girkins, president and owner of the 22-year-old business. "All my worldwide reps use our Web site. Customers all over the world use it to bring up photos of the machinery, descriptions and specifications there."""

Microsoft Customers Balk at Hard Sell 353

HangingChad writes "ComputerWorld is running an article about Microsoft's latest type of sales force scare tactic. Apparently Microsoft is using the new title of 'engagement manager' to attempt sales via intimidation. From the article: 'Indeed, according to Microsoft's Web site, the responsibility of someone with Lawless' title of "engagement manager" is to "perform as an integrated member of the account team, drive business development and closing of new services engagements in targeted accounts."'"

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