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Exam Board Deletes C and PHP From CompSci A-Levels 663

VitaminB52 writes "A-level computer science students will no longer be taught C, C#, or PHP from next year following a decision to withdraw the languages by the largest UK exam board. Schools teaching the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance's (AQA) COMP1 syllabus have been asked to use one of its other approved languages — Java, Pascal/Delphi, Python 2.6, Python 3.1, Visual Basic 6, and VB.Net 2008. Pascal/Delphi is 'highly recommended' by the exam board because it is stable and was designed to teach programming and problem-solving."

Supermassive Black Hole Is Thrown Out of Galaxy 167

DarkKnightRadick writes "An undergrad student at the University of Utrecht, Marianne Heida, has found evidence of a supermassive black hole being tossed out of its galaxy. According to the article, the black hole — which has a mass equivalent to one billion suns — is possibly the culmination of two galaxies merging (or colliding, depending on how you like to look at it) and their black holes merging, creating one supermassive beast. The black hole was found using the Chandra Source Catalog (from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory). The direction of the expulsion is also possibly indicative of the direction of rotation of the two black holes as they circled each other before merging."

Comment Eliminating the Gold farmers (Score 2, Interesting) 158

CCP introduced Game Time cards that can be purchased with real cash and then sold in game. Player rich in game can play from their in-game profits and casual players who would otherwise fund the farmers get cash from them. CCP keep all the money within their system and have virtually eliminated gold-farmers from their universe, it's not worth their time or the consumers risk when compared to the system they've made available themselves. Granted there's no way for a player to get cash out of the system, but once we start doing that there's going to be alot of Treasuries taking an interest in people with tax-free incomes.

Submission + - Green I.T.

WeirdMike writes: "Green IT: How Important Is It to You?
Lots of talk lately about "Green IT" — attention to energy-efficiency and, to some degree, other sustainability issues related to IT implementations in the enterprise. How Green IT aware is your business?

1. We've been thinking about Green IT for years
2. Just starting to look at it
3. It's on the to-do list...we'll get to it later this year
4. Not on the radar
5. I think there's some of that growing in my coffee mug"
The Courts

Submission + - First court system running on FOSS

vaidhy writes: One more for India. Allahabad high court in India is now running completely on FOSS software and supports ODF (open document format) and it provides the judgement in RSS format too. Sometime actions speak louder than words.

Submission + - Privacy concerns with Windows Vista's Shadow Copy (

lukas84 writes: "I've written about privacy concerns with Windows Vista's Shadow Copy feature. This feature allows users of the better Windows Vista editions to restore files from a direct online backup, without having to restore from tape.

This however brings new problems, as many people do not know about this new feature, and might consider data deleted which is still on their computer. Especially clearing your browser history might not do what you expect it to do."

United States

Submission + - No Climate Change Consensus Among Top Scientists (

Lawrence Person writes: "When Financial Post reporter Lawrence Solomon started interviewing top scientists who dissented from the global warming orthodoxy, he "accepted the prevailing view that scientists overwhelmingly believe that climate change threatens the planet. I doubted only claims that the dissenters were either kooks on the margins of science or sell-outs in the pockets of the oil companies...Now, after profiling more than 20 deniers, I do not know when I will stop — the list of distinguished scientists who question the IPCC grows daily, as does the number of emails I receive, many from scientists who express gratitude for my series. Somewhere along the way, I stopped believing that a scientific consensus exists on climate change. Certainly there is no consensus at the very top echelons of scientists — the ranks from which I have been drawing my subjects — and certainly there is no consensus among astrophysicists and other solar scientists, several of whom I have profiled. If anything, the majority view among these subsets of the scientific community may run in the opposite direction. Not only do most of my interviewees either discount or disparage the conventional wisdom as represented by the IPCC, many say their peers generally consider it to have little or no credibility. In one case, a top scientist told me that, to his knowledge, no respected scientist in his field accepts the IPCC position.""

Submission + - Battlestar Galactica to end after 4th season (

thanksforthecrabs writes: After months of the Sci Fi channel denying rumors, there's official word that the upcoming season is the end of the road for Battlestar Galactica. The decision to end is reportedly a creative one. With Dr. Who and BG ending — what will nerds do with their new-found free time? ar_dc

Submission + - Swimming Terrorists! (

"Rafalski" writes: "Wired's Danger Room Blog is reporting that scientists at the Acoustical Society of America will present some ground-breaking achievements at next month's meeting. Apparently, they now have a way, using sonar and some advanced software techniques and lots of expensive equipment, to track potential underwater swimming terrorists in our ports! The article features what they call an "acoustic tripwire" which can analyze ambient noise at a choke-point port entrance, and detect suspicious activity and track it! This is all really interesting but — why wouldn't Johnny Jihad simply jump into the water inside one of these choke-points? Personally — I think we have bigger problems than terrorists with submersible bombs swimming into our ports to blow themselves up."

Submission + - Get Your Genome Sequenced Here (

An anonymous reader writes: Forbes has a cover story on why new gene technologies are going to lead to a boom in tests that will tell you your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. "Soon all of us will be able to find out what ticking time bombs lie hidden inside our DNA ..." the article notes, "if we really want to know." enetic-testing-dna-tech-cx_mh_rl_0531dna_land.html

The reason for the boom: "Seven years later Moore's Law has come to gene hunting. Powering the revolution are new devices that speed-read DNA cheaper than ever before."

These new machines may make it possible to find out about your disease risk, and even to get your whole genome sequenced. A project at Harvard is seeking to sequence the DNA of thousands of people. See: html

Other features of interest:
-12 Gene Tests That Could Change Your Life: ble-tech_cz_rl_mh_0531genetests.html

-Video of a woman who took a radical step after finding out she had a cancer-causing gene. ncer053107

-A reporter gets genotyped: tml


Submission + - New Solar Cells Reach 40% Efficiency (

eldavojohn writes: "A subsidiary of Boeing has created a photovoltaic device at 40% efficiency which surpasses current solar cell capabilities (which held a theoretical 37% limit). The article notes that current technologies focus on a single range of photons with single-junction silicon cells that are specific to our sun. The team that developed this new technology experimented both with expanding the range of sunlight wavelengths harnessed and utilizing "concentrator multijunction solar cells that use high intensities of sunlight, the equivalent of 100s of suns, concentrated by lenses or mirrors." Their research paper is available from the Journal of Applied Physics Letters. The best part is that the team predicts they can push this to 58% efficiency."

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