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Dinosaur Feather Color Discovered 219

anzha writes "Do you remember being a kid and told we'd never know what colors the dinosaurs were? For at least some, that's no longer true. Scientists working in the UK and China have closely examined the fossils of multiple theropods and actually found the colors and patterns that were present in the fossilized proto-feathers. So far, the answer is orange, black and white in banded and other patterns. The work also thoroughly thrashes the idea that fossils might not be feathers, but collagen fibers instead. If this holds up, Birds Are Dinosaurs. Period. And colorful!"

Comment Black Box Voting Is Bad (Score 1) 406

I've had a really bad feeling in my gut ever since that raid in that South American country turned up a computer with genuine, fake validated vote information for an election that had never taken place. We really need a transparent, verifiable means of keeping the system honest. Treating a voting machine like a black box, to the public, is a huge disservice. It also makes it harder to catch signs of tampering when nobody knows how the damn things work.


Ten Things We Still Don't Understand About Humans 397

ParticleGirl writes "New Scientist has an article examining 10 human features (bugs?) that we still don't understand, like blushing, laughing, and nose-picking. There are some interesting, speculative evolutionary explanations listed for each. '[Psychologist Robert R. Provine] thinks laughing began in our pre-human ancestors as a physiological response to tickling. Modern apes maintain the ancestral 'pant-pant' laugh when they are tickled during play, and this evolved into the human 'ha-ha.' Then, he argues, as our brains got bigger, laughter acquired a powerful social function — to bond people. Indeed, Robin Dunbar at the University of Oxford has found that laughing increases levels of endorphins, our body's natural opiates, which he believes helps to strengthen social relationships.'"

Comment Strange Billing System (Score 1) 76

This may also be an aspect of the really odd way in which the billing system is set up, in which it is actively confusing as to how you cancel your subscription. Some people have made the mistake, in the past, of thinking that by canceling their character IDs, they cancel billing (under the reasoning that if you're being charged for individual characters already). In reality, billing is halted by canceling payments associated with the player's ID of the game itself.

This is further compounded by the fact that, as far as I know, the only way to modify your account at all is through the client itself.


Submission + - Ray Bradbury Loves Libraries, Hates the Internet

Hugh Pickens writes: "When you are pushing 90, have written scores of famous novels, short stories and screenplays like Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, and have fulfilled your goal of taking a simulated ride to Mars, you're allowed to pursue your passions and to hold a grouchy attitude or two. The NY Times reports that among Ray Bradbury's passions, none burn quite as hot as his lifelong enthusiasm for halls of books. "Libraries raised me," Bradbury says. "I don't believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don't have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn't go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years." That's why Bradbury is helping raise $280,000 to keep libraries in Ventura County open. As for the Internet? Don't get him started. "The Internet is a big distraction," Bradbury says. "Yahoo called me eight weeks ago," he said, voice rising. "They wanted to put a book of mine on Yahoo! You know what I told them? 'To hell with you. To hell with you and to hell with the Internet.' Not to be equivocal Bradbury added that, "It's distracting. It's meaningless; it's not real. It's in the air somewhere.""

Submission + - Pirate Party may enter German parliament

pirap writes: "Today Joerg Tauss (SPD) announced the leave from his party due to a recently decided law which introduces entry-censorship in the German internet. As he is currently a member of the German parliament and just confirmed his application for the German Pirate Party (German press release), he may become the first pirate in a national parliament until the next elections in September."

Submission + - MediaSentry analysis wins music-download suit (

Anonymous Coward writes: "A Dartmouth professor's analysis of MediaSentry problems helped win a New Hampshire woman's RIAA music-download lawsuit. From his report: "All of Plaintiffs' claims are based on the assumption that MediaSentry's software and computer configuration are trustworthy and free of errors, and this log clearly represents a failure of the MediaSentry software to perform the operation it claims to describe," he wrote in his report, dated May 30. "In my opinion, these materials leave critical aspects of MediaSentry's evidence collection process undocumented. In my opinion, they express unwarranted assumptions regarding both software and network technologies involved, and attempt to create an illusion of evidence-supported certainty where it does not exist.""

Submission + - White House Panel Considers New Paths To Space (

Neil H. writes: The White House's Human Space Flight Plans blue-ribbon panel has posted the material from their first public meeting on the future of NASA's spaceflight program. NASA officials presented their Ares I rocket plans and their belief that they can work around its design flaws, with projected development costs ballooning to $35 billion. The panel also heard several alternative proposals, such as adapting already-existing EELV and SpaceX rockets to carry crew to orbit; these proposals would have better safety margins than the Ares I, be ready sooner, and cost NASA less than $2 billion to complete, but are politically unattractive.

Submission + - Google helps catch 'muggers' (

Bifurcati writes: "Two Dutch men have been arrested after a boy they allegedly mugged spotted them in Google StreetView. The 14-year-old boy was pulled off his bicycle in the town of Groningen in September and robbed of his mobile phone and about 250 dollars. He found the pictures in StreetView apparently by chance and while his attackers' faces were blurred (as per Google's rules) Google gave investigators the original unobscured pictures. The bad guys were also apparently twins...or there's some clever real life photoshopping going on!"

Submission + - Valve is actually releasing a Linux supported game (

ndogg writes: "There was some speculation last year about Valve possibly releasing Linux ports of Steam when some Linux libraries were found with Left 4 Dead. Some speculated that it had nothing to do with any client libraries at all, but instead perhaps with their servers. Now there's even more reason to believe that Steam is being ported to Linux since Valve is releasing a game called Dyson with Linux listed as among the requirements."

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