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Submission + - Total Annihilation devs crowdsourcing a new RTS (

An anonymous reader writes: A group of developers from Uber Entertainment, who have worked on past titles such as Total Annihilation, Command & Conquer and Morrowind want to make a new game in the same vein as Total Annihilation, but on a planetary scale. Titled Planetary Annihilation, the game promises the original narrator from TA, Linux / OSX support, no DRM and modding support out of the box with more to come should they pass their funding targets. This looks like a title worth supporting.
The Military

Submission + - Archives Show Poison Dart Bombs Developed for WWII

Hugh Pickens writes: "BBC reports that newly opened archives from World War II show a coordinated project between Britain and Canada to develop millions of darts, to be dropped from aircraft in "500lb cluster projectiles" each containing 30,000 darts laced with a poison that could cause death "within 30 seconds" without damaging nearby buildings or equipment. A "grooved zinc alloy dart" would contain a small poison deposit in the hollow needle section, kept in place by a cotton and wax seal, while a paper tail would keep it flying straight at up to 250 ft per second. Under the heading "Lethality" the "Top Secret" note explained: "If penetrating into the flesh, will cause death if not plucked out within 30 seconds. If plucked out within this time will cause disablement by collapse. Collapse occurs within 1-5 minutes, and death within 30 minutes." Trials with the darts were conducted at an experimental station in Suffield, Alberta, Canada where in one experiment, the Canadians dressed sheep and goats in two layers of battledress material and positioned them across a wide area, some in trenches, to be exposed to the killer darts. It is unclear why the weapon was rejected although it is speculated that Britain may have worried that its enemies would adopt the poisoned darts and use them on British troops. "To our modern sensibilities it seems shocking and there's a real sense of viciousness about this weapon," says Mark Dunton, a contemporary history specialist at the National Archives. "But it shows the Allies were prepared to consider anything — no matter how gruesome — to secure a victory.""
The Internet

Submission + - Google mistook Jackson searches for net attack (

Slatterz writes: Web giant Google has admitted it thought the sudden spike in searches for Michael Jackson on Thursday was a massive, coordinated internet attack, leading it to post an error page on Google News. The company's director of product management, RJ Pittman, explained that search volume began to increase around 2pm PDT on Thursday and 'skyrocketed' by 3pm, finally stabilising at around 8pm. According to Pittman, last week also saw one of the largest mobile search spikes ever seen, with 5 of the top 20 searches about Jackson. Google wasn't the only site caught out by the extraordinary events. The Los Angeles Times web site also crashed soon after it broke the news of Jackson's death.

Visualizing Complex Data Sets? 180

markmcb writes "A year ago my company began using SAP as its ERP system, and there is still a great deal of focus on cleaning up the 'master data' that ultimately drives everything the system does. The issue we face is that the master data set is gigantic and not easy to wrap one's mind around. As powerful as SAP is, I find it does little to aid with useful visualization of data. I recently employed a custom solution using Ruby and Graphviz to help build graphs of master data flow from manual extracts, but I'm wondering what other people are doing to get similar results. Have you found good out-of-the-box solutions in things like data warehouses, or is this just one of those situations where customization has to fill a gap?"

First Earth-Sized Exoplanet May Have Been Found 222

Adam Korbitz writes "New Scientist is reporting the extrasolar planet MOA-2007-BLG-192Lb — whose discovery was announced just last summer — may actually be the first truly Earth-sized exoplanet to be identified. A new analysis suggests the planet weighs less than half the original estimate of 3.3 Earth masses; the new estimate pegs the planet's size at 1.4 Earth masses. The planet orbits a small red dwarf star, some 3,000 light-years from here, at an orbital distance of 0.62 astronomical units, about the same distance as Venus from our sun. One significance of the planet's discovery is that it points to the probable ubiquity of smaller terrestrial planets in somewhat Earth-like orbits around red dwarf stars, the oldest and most numerous stars in the galaxy. Here is a video report from the discoverers."

Presidential Inauguration Hardware and Other Challenges 176

holy_calamity writes "The FBI has released images of some of the kit that will be deployed to safeguard Obama's inauguration, including mine-proof armored trucks like those used in Iraq to protect against IEDs, and a large armored chamber that any bombs will be shoved inside to be transported away and perhaps detonated inside. Interesting, even though the really good stuff is presumably being kept under wraps." Relatedly, necro81 writes "The Inauguration of Barack Obama tomorrow is expected to put considerable stress on the cellphone network around Washington, DC. The expected crowd could top two million people, and many of them are expected to call, text, tweet, photo, and blog their way through the event. In response, the major wireless carriers in the area have spent millions of dollars upgrading their local networks and will bring in extra 'cells on wheels' (COWs) and 'cells on light trucks' (COLTs). They are also requesting that attendees limit their usage during the event, and avoid bandwidth-heavy activities — like uploading photos — until afterward."

The Science and Physics of Back To the Future 436

overthinkingit writes "A scientist has tried to apply serious math and physics, including the Law of Cosines, to analyze how the DeLorean in Back to the Future travels through both Time AND Space: 'in order to pull off the kind of time travel we see in the Back To The Future trilogy — the kind where the traveler is transposed in time, but remains stationary in the same relative position to where he/she left — the DeLorean would have to be an outstanding space ship, in addition to its already laudable work as a time-ship. According to Doc Brown's stopwatch, Einstein the dog travels precisely one minute into the future on this first jump, arriving, relative to their frame of reference, at the same location he left. But how far has this reference frame itself traveled during that one minute?'"

Comment Re:The competition isn't coming. (Score 1, Informative) 343

Ckwop wrote:
3. Have Microsoft dropped it's entire design team, the tabs look simply awful. That little grey bit to the right of the tabs allows you to create a new tab by clicking on it. That's fairly cool, but holy shit it just looks wrong.
Just FYI, because I discovered this by accident in Firefox: if you double click an empty spot on the tabs bar, you'll open up a new blank tab.

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