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Submission + - Microsoft to buy Skype for $8B (wsj.com)

PenquinCoder writes: "Microsoft has agreed to buy Skype for $8.5 billion in cash. Skype will become a new business division within Microsoft, and Skype Chief Executive Tony Bates will assume the title of president of the Microsoft Skype Division, reporting directly to Mr. Ballmer. The companies said Skype would support Microsoft devices like Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and Windows devices, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live and other communities. Microsoft plans to continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms. "

Yet somehow, I can't help but think 'There goes any hope for a up to date build of Skype for Linux...'

Submission + - Quantum state created in largest object yet (bbc.co.uk)

SpuriousLogic writes: Researchers have created a "quantum state" in the largest object yet.
Such states, in which an object is effectively in two places at once, have until now only been accomplished with single particles, atoms and molecules.
In this experiment, published in the journal Nature, scientists produced a quantum state in an object billions of times larger than previous tests.
The team says the result could have significant implications in quantum computing.
Now, Professor Cleland and his team have moved that dividing line, using an object just big enough to be seen with the naked eye.
They used a tiny piece of what is known as a piezoelectric material, which expands and contracts when an electrical current is run through it.
The result is a huge push toward answering the question of whether quantum mechanical effects simply disappear in objects beyond a certain size.
"As far as mechanical objects are concerned, the dividing line was at around 60 atoms," Professor Cleland said.
"With this experiment, we've shown that the dividing line can be pushed up all the way to about a trillion atoms."


Wii Balance Board Gives $18,000 Medical Device a Run For Its Money 422

Gizmodo highlights a very cool repurposing effort for the Wii's Balance Board accessory. Rather than the specialized force platforms used to quantify patients' ability to balance after a trauma like stroke, doctors at the University of Melbourne thought that a Balance Board might serve as well. Says the article: "When doctors disassembled the board, they found the accelerometers and strain gauges to be of 'excellent' quality. 'I was shocked given the price: it was an extremely impressive strain gauge set-up.'" Games controllers you'd expect to be durable and at least fairly accurate; what's surprising is just how much comparable, purpose-built devices cost. In this case, the Balance Board (just under $100) was compared favorably with a test platform that costs just a shade less than $18,000.

Submission + - China Arrests Thousands in Internet Porn Crackdown (reuters.com)

Clandestine_Blaze writes: Chinese police have arrested 5,394 people — with another 4,186 criminal cases in the works — in one of the largest crackdowns on Internet porn in the country. Even more arrests were expected in 2010, according to the Ministry of Public Security's website (In Chinese or Google translated into English). According to the Reuters article on the crackdown, one of the justifications was that the pornography was 'threatening the emotional health of children.'

From the English translation of the Ministry of Public Security's website linked above, it appears that certain provinces are also offering 1,000 yuan and 2,000 yuan awards, per person, for reporting illegal websites to the Government.

Submission + - 787 Takes First Flight (thestreet.com)

Aquineas writes: Only a couple of years late, at 10:30am PST Boeing's 787 Dreamliner finally flew today in Everett, Washington.

Submission + - Scientists convert wasted heat to electricity (mit.edu) 1

Julie188 writes: New MIT research points the way to a technology that might make it possible to harvest much of the wasted heat produced by everything from computer processor chips to car engines to electric powerplants, and turn it into usable electricity. More than half of the energy consumed worldwide is wasted, most of it in the form of excess heat.

Submission + - SPAM: Skin-based LEDs offer medical read-outs

destinyland writes: Researchers at three universities are combining efforts on super-thin silicon transistors that can be embedded in your skin. Their LEDs can act as in-body tattoos that display blood-sugar readings, and other possible medical applications include deep-brain stimulation for Parkinson's patients and possibly even interfacing with the nervous system. But this article also suggests non-medical applications, including "Animated and programmable LED tattoos connected to your brain... You could show off your latest Flash animations, watch TV on your arm, or have a built-in PDA screen."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - The Psychology of Scam Victims (lightbluetouchpaper.org)

harryjohnston writes: Frank Stajano, ARM lecturer in Ubiquitous Computing Systems at the University of Cambridge, and Paul Wilson, writer/presenter for the popular BBC Three series "The Real Hustle", have written a fascinating technical report (PDF) on the psychology of scam victims, based on the television series but with particular emphasis on how real-world scams (and the psychology behind them) translate into electronic scams, and on what security engineers need to know in order to mitigate the risks.
The Internet

Submission + - Automatically Generated Status Updates (gizmag.com)

ElectricSteve writes: If you thought the status updates you already see on social networks weren't quite inane enough, prepare for the next level — automatically generated status updates. European researchers are working on a project called Awareness Services and Systems Towards Theory and Realization (ASTRA), and exploring the concept they call "pervasive awareness".

Submission + - Most Security Products Fail to Perform (net-security.org) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Nearly 80 percent of security products fail to perform as intended when first tested and generally require two or more cycles of testing before achieving certification, according to a new ICSA Labs report that details lessons gleaned from testing thousands of security products over 20 years. Across seven product categories core product functionality accounted for 78 percent of initial test failures. For example, an anti-virus product failing to prevent infection and for firewalls or an IPS product not filtering malicious traffic. Rounding out the top three is the startling finding that 44 percent of security products had inherent security problems. Security testing issues range from vulnerabilities that compromise the confidentiality or integrity of the system to random behavior that affects product availability.

Submission + - Microsoft gets a Slap from Google - Hires Don Dodg (thetechnologycafe.com)

samzbest writes: As part of a global workforce cut down strategy, Microsoft recently fired Don Dodge, Microsoft’s “ambassador to startups” and a renowned industry specialists in assisting Startups to grow out of scratch. He was one of the pioneers of the Microsoft BizSpark program as well.
Today, as TechCrunch’s Micheal Arrington, posts that, he learnt from “reliable sources” that Dodge was hired by Google for the position of developer evangelism, the same position he worked for at Microsoft.


Submission + - SPAM: Insurance + cryonics = you are your beneficiary

destinyland writes: A science writer discovers it's possible to finance your cryogenic preservation using life insurance — and then leave a huge death benefit to your future thawed self! "Most in the middle class, if they seriously want it, can afford it now. So by taking the right steps, you can look forward to waking up one bright future morning from cryopreservation the proud owner of a bank account brimming with money!" There's one important caveat: some insist that money "will have no meaning in a future dominated by advanced molecular manufacturing or other engines of mega-abundance." (This article appeared in the fall issue of H+ magazine...)
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Sony Ericsson To Ditch Proprietary Ways

should_be_linear writes: New Sony Ericsson smartphone Xperia X10 may suggest major revamp of way not only Sony Ericsson but Sony Corp. in general is doing business. Basically, all long-standing proprietary stuff are ditched at once: 3,5mm audio jack instead of SE port, microSD card instead of M2, Android instead of Windows Mobile. Unlike any other previous Sony or SE product, as far as I can remember, this phone is following open standards. Perhaps they learned their lesson from rootkit debacle and underwhelming rate of Blu-ray adoption.

Submission + - Attack of the PowerPoint-Wielding Professors

theodp writes: Over at Carolyn Blogs, CS student Carolyn offers an interesting take on why learning from PowerPoint lectures is frustrating. Unlike an old school chalk talk, professors who use PowerPoint tend to present topics very quickly, leaving little time to digest the visuals and take learning-reinforcing notes. Also, profs who use the ready-made PowerPoint lectures that ship with many textbooks tend to come across as less than connected with their material. Then there are professors who just don’t know how to use PowerPoint, a problem that is by no means limited to college classes.

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