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Earth

40 Million Year Old Primate Fossils Found In Asia 91

sosaited writes "It has been widely believed that our ancestors originated out of Africa, but a paper published in Nature by Carnegie Museum of Natural History scientists puts this in doubt. The paper is based on the fossils of four primate species found in Asia which are 40 million years old, during which period Africa was thought to not have these species. The diversity and timing of the new anthropoids raises two scenarios. Anthropoids might simply have emerged in Africa much earlier than thought, and gone undiscovered by modern paleontologists. Or they could have crossed over from Asia, where evidence suggests that anthropoids lived 55 million years ago, flourishing and diversifying in the wide-open ecological niches of an anthropoid-free Africa."
Space

Collision of Two Asteroids Spotted For the First Time 31

sciencehabit writes "Astronomers report that a small asteroid located in the inner asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter took a major hit early last year. Previously rendered only in artists' conceptions, the first asteroid collision known in modern times revealed itself in a tail of debris streaming from what astronomers at first assumed was a comet. Instead of a steady stream of dust, however, they found boulders near the object with dust moving away from them."
Robotics

The Best Robots of 2009 51

kkleiner writes "Singularity Hub has just unveiled its second annual roundup of the best robots of the year. In 2009 robots continued their advance towards world domination with several impressive breakouts in areas such as walking, automation, and agility, while still lacking in adaptability and reasoning ability. It will be several years until robots can gain the artificial intelligence that will truly make them remarkable, but in the meantime they are still pretty awesome."
Programming

An Open Source Compiler From CUDA To X86-Multicore 71

Gregory Diamos writes "An open source project, Ocelot, has recently released a just-in-time compiler for CUDA, allowing the same programs to be run on NVIDIA GPUs or x86 CPUs and providing an alternative to OpenCL. A description of the compiler was recently posted on the NVIDIA forums. The compiler works by translating GPU instructions to LLVM and then generating native code for any LLVM target. It has been validated against over 100 CUDA applications. All of the code is available under the New BSD license."
Space

Super-Earths Discovered Orbiting Nearby, Sun-Like Star 242

likuidkewl writes "Two super-earths, 5 and 7.5 times the size of our home, were found to be orbiting 61 Virginis a mere 28 light years away. 'These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,' said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Among hundreds of our nearest stellar neighbors, 61 Vir stands out as being the most nearly similar to the Sun in terms of age, mass, and other essential properties."
Space

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."
Microsoft

Submission + - Comcast Hijacking DNS w/Microsoft's Help? 2

Brian Olson writes: "I read the article a few days ago and tested my Comcast connection for DNS hijacking and all was well. Just a little while ago I mis-typed a URL and new thing I know I'm at a Comcast search engine page. I immediately called to complain about what Comcast described as a "service" and they supposedly removed me from the list if victims. My first thought was to spam www.stophijackingmydnsqueries_comcast.com for a few days and see if that got their attention, but I'll wait to see if this "service" is actually removed.

Here's where it gets really interesting. So while capturing the traffic to get the above dns query packet, I couldn't help but lookup the response IP (208.68.139.38). I was shocked to discover that it was not a Comcast IP, since I was redirected to a Comcast search page (http://search2.comcast.com/)...but low and behold, an IP for "FAST Search & Transfer Inc." Who? Well, the organization doesn't have a webpage, nor any useful information in Google searches. Hmmmm...the only information I see is the netblock information:

RTechHandle: JHH10-ARIN
RTechName: Hutchinson, James Henry
RTechPhone: +1-781-433-8999
RTechEmail: james.hutchinson@microsoft.com

Really? Did Microsoft make some sort of backdoor deal with Comcast? I don't know...but it surely seems so to me! There's the info...maybe someone can do more with it than I."

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