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Submission + - Science Manual for U.S. Judges (

An anonymous reader writes: American court judges need to learn science! That's the message from the National Academies and the National Research Council, which today released the first new edition in 11 years of the Reference Manual of Scientific Evidence. It has new chapters about forensic science, mental health, and neuroscience, but unfortunately nothing about computer science. The manual is available as a free download and it's also online.

Submission + - The Loudness Wars May Be Ending

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Mike Barthel writes about a technique called brick-wall limiting, where songs are engineered to seem louder by bringing the quiet parts to the same level as the loud parts and pushing the volume level of the entire song to the highest point possible. "Because of the need to stand out on radio and other platforms, there's a strategic advantage to having a new song sound just a little louder than every other song. As a result, for a period, each new release came out a little louder than the last, and the average level of loudness on CDs crept up (youtube) to such a degree that albums actually sounded distorted, as if they were being played through broken speakers." But the loudness wars may be coming to an end. Taking advantage of the trend towards listening to music from the digital "cloud"—via services like Pandora, Spotify, and Apple's forthcoming iCloud—a proposal by audio engineer Thomas Lund, already adopted as a universal standard (PDF) by the International Telecommunications Union, would institute a volume limit on any songs downloaded from the cloud effectively removing the strategic advantage of loudness. Lund's proposal would do the same thing for any music you could buy. "Once a piece of music is ingested into this system, there is no longer any value in trying to make a recording louder just to stand out," says legendary engineer Bob Ludwig, who has been working with Lund. "There will be nothing to gain from a musical point of view. Louder will no longer be better!""

Submission + - Report Claims ARM To Hold 23% Laptop Share by 2015 (

MojoKid writes: "Windows 8's primary feature (at least thus far) is its ability to run on ARM processors and, by extension, its tablet-centric UI. According to analyst firm IHS-iSuppli, official Windows support will give the ARM architecture the ability to do what no other CPU design has ever done: break the x86 monopoly. iSuppli predicts that ARM, which is expected to account for three percent of the notebook market in 2012, will skyrocket to 22.9 percent by the end of 2015. Porting Windows 8 to ARM and building a tablet-friendly version of the Windows OS are both ground-breaking but neither guarantees ARM's ascension at the rate iSuppli projects. ARM, meanwhile, is even more optimistic--the company has claimed it'll hold a whopping 40 percent of the market by 2015."

Submission + - The Queen sets a code-breaking challenge (

mikejuk writes: Queen Elizabeth II has made her first ever visit to Bletchley Park, the home of the UK's World War II code-breaking efforts and now a museum. To mark the occasion The Queen has issued a code cracking challenge of her own "The Agent X Code Book Challenge" aimed at getting children interested in cryptography. Perhaps a royal programming or general technology challenge is next....

Submission + - Researchers: Search engines supplanting our memory (

splitenz writes: Ubiquitous availability of the Internet may be causing a shift in how much information we retain in our memories, researchers claim. Because search engines such as Google and Bing are so readily at hand, through desktop computers and mobile phones, we feel less need to remember details that can be easily looked up, note researchers from three US universities.

Their conclusions are contained in a new study, entitled "Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips".


Submission + - White dwarves on collision course ( writes: White dwarfs are the burned-out cores of stars like our Sun. Astronomers have discovered a pair of white dwarfs spiraling into one another at breakneck speeds. Today, these white dwarfs are so near they make a complete orbit in just 13 minutes, but they are gradually slipping closer together. About 900,000 years from now — a blink of an eye in astronomical time — they will merge and possibly explode as a supernova. By watching the stars converge, scientists will test both Einstein's general theory of relativity and the origin of some peculiar supernovae.

The two white dwarfs are circling at a bracing speed of 370 miles per second (600 km/s), or 180 times faster than the fastest jet on Earth.

"I nearly fell out of my chair at the telescope when I saw one star change its speed by a staggering 750 miles per second in just a few minutes," said Smithsonian astronomer Warren Brown, lead author of the paper reporting the find.


Submission + - Astronaut survives homeopathic pill overdose (

An anonymous reader writes: A group from a Swedish science organisation, with astronaut Christer Fuglesang in the lead, took an overdose of sleeping pills in Almedalen, at 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
"We're risking our lives for science," wrote Fuglesang in an opinion piece for newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, signed by the organisation Vetenskap och Folkbildning (VoF), a non-profit organisation working towards promoting popular science education, and discrediting false science.
"Either we die, and for the first time the effect of homeopathy will be proven. Or we survive, in which case we expect Swedish politicians to rethink their stand on alternative medicine's use in healthcare," they wrote in Svenska Dagbladet.


Submission + - Test if any site is blocked in China in real-time (

hugheseyau writes: "There has been a lot of hype recently around Chinese internet censorship, particularly around the blocking of Google+ before it was even launched! Have you ever wondered what life is like behind the 'Great Firewall of China'? You can now test if any website is blocked in China in real-time at"

Submission + - STS-135 ET to Transmit Video During Re-Entry

k6mfw writes: STS-135 External Tank to Transmit Video During Re-Entry
M0ODV on writes:
âNASA engineers have installed a camera on the external fuel tank (ET) which will transmit live pictures of its destructive burn up on re-entry. The live FM transmitted signal will be on 2272.5 MHz at 10 watts. The camera captures images at (NTSC) frame rate of 30 frames per second and will burn up over the Pacifc Ocean over the east coast of New Zealand, entry interface (EI) will begin at 400,000 ft over southern Australia and can be seen with the naked eye.”

STS-135: External Tank death camera ready

“We have not yet been able to analytically confirm if a plasma blackout condition will present a TV reception problem prior to breakup.”

STS-135: Tank Camera modification aimed at filming footage of ET-138’s death

“The prospect of footage from the tank itself — as it vents and starts to disintegrate — on the final ever shuttle mission, may not be up to the high standards of the Soyuz ‘Flyabout’ footage of Endeavour and the ISS, but it would provide a potentially stunning viewpoint of the final Shuttle ET, prior to its demise.”

Submission + - NYTimes Editorial Highlights Cable Box Power Use (

An anonymous reader writes: Standard cable set-top boxes are one of the biggest home power drains in the U.S., and the issue has become so big lately that the New York Times has devoted an editorial to asking the Energy Department to mandate energy conservation regulations for the boxes. From the article: a study found that "found that in 2010, the 160 million set-top boxes around the country consumed about 27 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, roughly the annual output of nine coal-fired power plants, costing consumers $3 billion. Together, a set-top box and a high definition video recorder can consume as much power as good-sized refrigerator." Currently, following the EPA's recommendations for power usage in the boxes is voluntary, and when the Times inquired about why the boxes use so much power, "one manufacturing company said nobody ever asked them to use less power."

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