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Submission + - Another Way The LHC Could Destroy The Planet ( 7

KentuckyFC writes: "Just when you thought it was safe to switch on the LHC, another nightmare scenario has emerged that some critics believe could cause the particle accelerator to explode. The culprit this time is not an Earth-swallowing black hole but a "Bose supernova" in the accelerator's superfluid helium bath. Physicists have been playing with Bose Einstein Condensate or BECs for almost 20 years now. But in 2001, one group discovered that placing them in a powerful magnetic field could cause the attractive forces between atoms to become repulsive. That caused their BEC to explode in a Bose supernova, which was little more than a novelty when it was no more than a microscopic blob of cold matter. But superfluid liquid helium is also BEC. And physicists have suddenly remembered that the LHC is swimming in 700,000 litres of the stuff while zapping it by some of the most powerful magnetic fields on the planet. So is the LHC a Bose supernova waiting to go off? Not according to the CERN theory division which has published its calculations that show the LHC is safe (abstract). It also points out that no other superfluid helium handling facility has mysteriously blown itself to pieces."

Flaws In a BSA Software Piracy Report? 288

Ian Lamont writes "The Business Software Alliance has just released its state piracy study (full PDF also available). The BSA says that one in five pieces of software in use in the United States is unlicensed, and notes that piracy rates are highest in Ohio (27%). However, as noted by the Industry Standard, there are problems with the state study, and the way the BSA is presenting the data: the study only includes eight states, and it is making some questionable connections, including the claim that lost state and local tax revenue from piracy would have been enough to 'hire nearly 25,000 experienced police officers.'"

Submission + - Newly discovered fungus threatens world wheat crop 5

RickRussellTX writes: "The UN reports that a variety of the rust fungus originally detected in Uganda in 1999 has already spread as far north as Iran, threatening wheat production across its range. The fungus infects wheat stems and affects 80% of wheat varieties, putting crops at risk and threatening the food sources for billions of people across central Asia. Although scientists believe they can develop resistant hybrids, the fungus is moving much faster than anticipated and resistant hybrids may still be years away.

Meanwhile, national governments in the path of the fungus are telling folks that there is nothing to worry about."
Operating Systems

Submission + - FreeBSD 6.3 has been Released.

Efklides Stephanopoulos writes: "FreeBSD 6.3-RELEASE is out. "The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 6.3-RELEASE. This release continues the development of the 6-STABLE branch providing performance and stability improvements, many bug fixes and new features." Find more of the highlights and details of this here."

Submission + - FCC seeks input on throttling P2P traffic (

An anonymous reader writes: Cnet has an article indicating that the FCC is seeking input about what constitutes "reasonable network management" as it pertains to peer-to-peek traffic. Now's your chance to provide intelligent input to rebut Comcast's torrent throttling...

Feed Engadget: Microsoft due for another round of EU antitrust probes (

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets

Microsoft, the ever-present target of scorn from the little guy, has once again been hit with antitrust charges in the EU, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal today. This time it's charges related to the company's refusal to disclose "interoperability information" for a variety of products, including Office, which is keeping competitors from marketing compatible software (we've heard complaints of this type from Open Office users for some time). Additionally -- just as we reported in December -- Norwegian web browser outfit Opera is stepping up to the plate, alleging that Redmond's inclusion of Internet Explorer with its ubiquitous operating system leaves little room for rival companies to enter the game. Considering how Microsoft's last antitrust case went in the EU, this may bode poorly for the giant, though a ruling in favor of reforms could benefit the end user. Stay tuned to this space for more information as we get it.

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Submission + - Data theft has porn site customers worried ( 1

PenguinBoyDave writes: "In the "guess who lost your data this week" segment, Too-Much Media, a company that sells accounting software to porn websites says they were hacked, and personal information was taken, including subscriber lists and other information for various subscription-based porn websites."

Is Open Source Recession Proof? 285

DaMan writes "ZDNet asks Is open source recession proof? 'So, how might a recession affect open source software? Well, first off, I think that any business model that relies on volunteers could certainly see interest decline if times get tough. There are a lot of businesses that rely on people working for them for free because they get a pay check somewhere else, and I think that a recession would make people question working without getting any dollars in return.'"

Feed Science Daily: Pushing The Limits Of Computer Chip Miniaturization (

Over the last four decades, computer chips have found their way into virtually every electronic device in the world. During that time they have become smaller, cheaper and more powerful, but, for a team of European researchers, there is still plenty of scope to push back the limits of miniaturization. The first generation of CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) chips were based on a design process with lithographic features defining regions inside the transistors of 10 micrometers or more.

Feed Science Daily: Crash Warning System Monitors Nearby Traffic And Warns Of Possible Collisions (

Scientists have demonstrated in the lab a collision warning system for cars that could alert the driver several seconds in advance of an imminent impact. The device could save thousands of lives and usher in the first steps towards the 'connected car'. It knows its location, can talk to other cars and can tell the future. Are we entering the era of truly automated cars?


Submission + - Big Brother Wants Radio-control of your thermostat ( 3

Malachi Constant writes: "Californian bureaucrats appear likely to approve a proposal to allow utility companies to control your thermostat's temperature via radio during those nasty rolling blackout periods. The FM radio transmissions used to control temperature are described as "encrypted and encoded." I, for one, am hoping that the algorithm that protects them is another A5/1 or CSS."

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