History's Coming To writes: Decentralised social network startup Diaspora* announced on their blog today that they will become a "community project" with the intention of making it an entirely community-driven, community-run project.
Whether this is a sign of the project losing impetus, or whether this will provide the push needed to challenge commercially run social networks remains to be seen.
* If you're looking for the footnote there isn't one**, the asterisk is part of the name. Sorry, it's been a point of annoyance on/. before.
History's Coming To writes: "A Scottish primary school child under the pseudonym "Veg" has been blogging about school meals, including a photograph and comments on the nutritional value, taste and presentation. Veg has developing a worldwide following, with children from all over the world sending in pictures of their meals. The school and Veg's father have been fully supportive throughout. But Veg has been taken out of class by the head teacher and told to stop taking photos because Argyll & Bute Council (who control the school) don't like the publicity it is generating."
History's Coming To writes: "Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple. In a short letter he stated "I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come." He requested that he retain a position as Chairman and director, and suggested his interim replacement Tim Cook as the new CEO, an appointment that Apple has now confirmed."
History's Coming To writes: "Japanese pop fans are reportedly shocked to discover that Eguchi Aimi of pop group AKB48 doesn't exist. In fact, she's a computer generated composite of the other six members of the all-girl group. Motion captured elements of the human members have been pasted together to create a new band member — publicity stunt as it is, it's still quite impressive, and the band have released a "create your own composite" app. (via @qikipedia on Twitter)"
History's Coming To writes: As a sideline to being a science buyer for a bookshop I run an independent blog that lets me spout off about books I like and (hopefully) be seen as impartial. I recently reviewed Stuart Clark's new book, The Sky's Dark Labyrinth, a fictional account of Tycho, Kepler, Galileo and a bit of a fuss involving the nature of the heavens.
He's been good enough to give me an interview where he answers a few questions about the science/religion debate, theories of everything, and Galileo's favourite biscuits.
History's Coming To writes: The BBC is reporting that a Tory city councillor has been arrested over a "joke" he posted to Twitter suggesting that Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, a UK based writer, be stoned to death. The full tweet read "Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really.". Following complaints he was arrested under the Communications Act 2003 and bailed. He has since apologised. This comes on the same day that a conviction for a Twitter "joke" about blowing up an airport was upheld.
History's Coming To writes: A UK court has upheld a conviction handed down to Paul Chambers, a 27 year old accountant who posted a tweet reading "Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!". He claimed on appeal that it was clearly intended as a joke and should not have been taken seriously. The court disagreed, the appeal being dismissed on all counts and the original fine of £1000 standing.
History's Coming To writes: This truly is idle — in fact I think it's even a contender for a IgNobel award. I was recently inspired to write a short PHP script which generated the lyrics to Jim Steinman's cult hit "Total Eclipse Of The Heart". I managed a 22.4% saving based on characters and no whitespace. I'm sure this can be done better than my amateurish attempts though, and more interestingly, what's the most compressible classic rock ballad out there?
History's Coming To writes: Tommaso Dorigo, a physicist working on projects at both CERN and Fermilab has posted a strong suggestion that the decades old Tevatron accelerator in the US has pipped the European LHC to the post when it comes to the Higgs boson. The signal shows a three-sigma effect according to at least one of his sources, meaning there's a 0.3% chance that it's an experimental error. If true, the readings would indicate a Higgs mass of around 115-140GeV, very much at the lighter end of the theoretical range.
It's all highly speculative at present, with Dorigo himself admitting: "keeping particle physics in the press with hints of possible discoveries that later die out is more important than speaking loud and clear once in ten years, when a groundbreaking discovery is actually really made, and keeping silent the rest of the time."
History's Coming To writes: Several writers for the ScienceBlogs.com collective have Publicly resigned from the site, and many more have voiced concerns over parent company Seed's decision to include a paid blog under the nutrition category from PepsiCo. The blog is written by PepsiCo food scientists, detailing their work. The UK's Guardian newspaper has picked up on the story, and includes a letter from Seed editor Adam Bly which covers the company's rationale. Troy McClure has been quoted as saying "Now, turn to the next problem. If you have three Pepsis and drink one, how much more refreshed are you? You, the redhead in the Chicago school system?".
History's Coming To writes: The BBC is reporting that Facebook will be rolling out a simplified privacy system, after owner Mark Zuckerberg admits the company "missed the mark" with the previous policy. Whether or not convergent evolution will lead to a Unix type permissions system remains to be seen.
History's Coming To writes: "xkcd creator Randall Munroe has revealed on his blag that the acclaimed stick figure comic will be produced in real dead-tree book form. Fantastic news for all fans of comedy, maths, science and relationship screw-ups, especially given that the book will be sold in aid of charity "Room To Read". Rumours that the book contains an joke in the ISBN remain unconfirmed."
History's Coming To writes: Scientists from the University of Aberdeen are inspecting a small lump of rock from a quarry in Orkney for signs that life carried on metorites could survive re-entry. The BBC reports that the organic-rich rock was attached to the side of the ESA's Foton M3 and has recently been recovered.