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Submission + - Space industry in Russia to receive $69 billion until 2020

An anonymous reader writes: The space agency and industry in Russia will receive a strong increase in budget over the coming 8 years, according to Russia's national news agency RIA Novosti. In the last week of December, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev greenlighted a budget of $68.71 billion on funding Russia's space industry from 2013 to 2020.

Submission + - Elementary, my dear Watson (

Jetra writes: “Do you believe in love in first sight?”

Those are the first words that a shirtless, tattooed, hairy-chested Sherlock Holmes (played by Jonny Lee Miller) speaks to Watson in the new CBS procedural “Elementary.”

Lucy Liu, from the show and movie Charlie's Angels replaces the slow-witted Dr. Watson from Sir Conan Doyle's stories. To most people, this may come as a slap in his face, but I think it brings the Sherlock Holmes of the "Gaslight Era" to the more modern world where civil rights put women in the jobs of men.

The main plot of the story is that Sherlock Holmes is a recent drug addict out of rehab. On finding this out. Dr. Watson goes to confront him about being his companion, making sure he doesn't relapse.

The way I would put the new Sherlock Holmes is a marriage of Sheldon (Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory)) and Dr. House (Hugh Laurie (House)); Egotistical, smart, and very willing to put others down for the sake of being right.

What bothers me is that it seems that the show leans heavily on Lucy Liu's appearances for eye candy. The eccentricy of Holmes is only there just to prove that he's eccentric. His constant butts with the law make me think that this is more of a 1930's cop film rather than about a detective and solving various cases.

This show is by no means bad, but the first episode really grinds the teeth in what Sherlock Holmes is supposed to be: suave, clear-minded, and willing to prove he's right yet give all credit to the police because he enjoys the use fo his art rather than the dissection of it.

Hopefully, we'll get to see more. I think that, even though its got some rough narrative, this could turn out to be a great show that might get swept under the radar like The Event.


Submission + - Brown Signs California Bill for Free Textbooks (

bcrowell writes: California Governor Jerry Brown has signed SB 1052 and 1053, authored by state senator Darrell Steinberg, to create free textbooks for 50 core lower-division college courses.

SB 1052 creates a California Open Education Resources Council, made up of faculty from the UC, Cal State, and community college systems. The council is supposed to pick 50 core courses. They are then to establish a "competitive request-for-proposal process in which faculty members, publishers, and other interested parties would apply for funds to produce, in 2013, 50 high-quality, affordable, digital open source textbooks and related materials, meeting specified requirements." The bill doesn't become operative unless the legislature funds it — a questionable process in California's current political situation. The books could be either newly produced (which seems unlikely, given the 1-year time frame stated) or existing ones that the state would buy or have free access to. Unlike former Gov. Schwarzenegger's failed K-12 free textbook program, this one specifically defines what it means by "open source," rather than using the term as a feel-good phrase; books have to be under a CC-BY (or CC-BY-SA?) license, in XML format. They're supposed to be modularized and conform to state and W3C accessibility guidelines. Faculty would not be required to use the free books.

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