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Earth

Watch 200 Years of Global Growth In 4 Minutes 270

kkleiner writes "A professor of international health in Sweden, Hans Rosling has a long history of exploring the facts and figures that surround our changing world. In the a segment of the BBC series, Rosling gives one of his most famous lectures with a new twist. Using 120,000+ bits of data and augmented reality, the exuberant professor takes us through the last 200 years of global history and its uneven growth of wealth and health." This is really worth watching. Seriously.
Google

Google Warns Irish Government Against Tax Increase 542

theodp writes "The Irish government has been given a stark warning from some of the biggest American companies in Ireland on the risk of a mass exodus if the country's controversial low corporate tax rate is raised in return for an IMF/EU bailout to shore up the country's beleaguered banking system. According to The Telegraph, a statement signed by senior execs at Microsoft, HP, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, and Intel points out that although Ireland's tax rate may be low in European terms, it is not when compared with locations such as Singapore, India and China. Separately, the head of Google's 2,000-strong European HQ in Dublin told the Belfast Telegraph, 'anything that impinges on Ireland's competitiveness is going to be a big thing for Google,' adding, 'anything that increases the cost-base of a business is negative for competitiveness.'"
Security

Submission + - Shocker - Press Make Up China Internet Hijack (arbornetworks.com)

sturgeon writes: Yesterday, Slashdot and most of the world's major media outlets reported on China's April 2010 hijack of "15% of Internet traffic," including sensitive US government and defense sites. The alarm came following a US Government report on China / US economic and security relations released on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, no one much bother with fact checking or actually reading the report. The actual study never makes any estimate of Internet traffic diverted during the hijack — it only cites a blog post to suggest large volumes of traffic were involved. And curiously, the cited blog at the heart of the report never mentions traffic at all — only routes. You have to go to an interview with a third-party security researcher in a minor trade magazine to first come up with the 15% number (and this article never explains where the number came from).

In an amazing review of real data and actual facts, Arbor Nework's Craig Labovitz has a blog post looking at the traffic volumes involved in the incident (only a couple of Gigabits per second or a "statistically insignificant" percentage of Internet traffic).

Red Hat Software

Alternative To the 200-Line Linux Kernel Patch 402

climenole writes "Phoronix recently published an article regarding a ~200 line Linux Kernel patch that improves responsiveness under system strain. Well, Lennart Poettering, a Red Hat developer, replied to Linus Torvalds on a mailing list with an alternative to this patch that does the same thing yet all you have to do is run 2 commands and paste 4 lines in your ~/.bashrc file."
Medicine

Submission + - More Complexity in Brain Than All Earths Computers

B1oodAnge1 writes: CNET reports that researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have spent the past few years engineering a new imaging model, which they call array tomography... Their work appears in the journal Neuron this week. They found that the brain's complexity is beyond anything they'd imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief, says Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and senior author of the paper describing the study:

"One synapse, by itself, is more like a microprocessor--with both memory-storage and information-processing elements--than a mere on/off switch. In fact, one synapse may contain on the order of 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth."
Security

Stuxnet Was Designed To Subtly Interfere With Uranium Enrichment 334

ceswiedler writes "Wired is reporting that the Stuxnet worm was apparently designed to subtly interfere with uranium enrichment by periodically speeding or slowing specific frequency converter drives spinning between 807Hz and 1210Hz. The goal was not to cause a major malfunction (which would be quickly noticed), but rather to degrade the quality of the enriched uranium to the point where much of it wouldn't be useful in atomic weapons. Statistics from 2009 show that the number of enriched centrifuges operational in Iran mysteriously declined from about 4,700 to about 3,900 at around the time the worm was spreading in Iran."
NASA

NASA Announces Discovery of 30-Year-Old Black Hole 195

broknstrngz tips news of an announcement today from NASA about the discovery of a black hole in the M100 galaxy, roughly 50 million light-years from Earth. The discovery is notable because, if confirmed, it's now the youngest known black hole, born from the remains of a supernova we observed in 1979. Bad Astronomer Phil Plait explains why scientists think it collapsed to a black hole, rather than a neutron star: "The way a neutron star emits X-rays is different than that of a black hole. As a neutron star cools, the X-ray emission will fade. However, a black hole blasts out X-rays as material falls in; that stuff forms a flat disk, called an accretion disk, around the black hole. As this matter falls onto the newly created black hole, it gets heated to unimaginable temperatures — millions of degrees — and blasts out X-rays. In that case, the X-rays emitted would be steady over time. What astronomers have found is that the X-rays from SN1979c have been steady in brightness over observations from 1995 – 2007. This is very strong evidence that the star’s core did indeed collapse into a black hole." He also warns that we're not certain quite yet, and we'll have to keep our eye on it to make sure it's not a pulsar.
Businesses

The Monopolies That Dominate the Internet 342

Tim Wu has a piece up at the Wall Street Journal pointing out that the free-market, open Internet — "competition in its purest form" — has evolved to be dominated by monopolies. Wu argues that this is nothing new, and that each wave of information technology in the US has followed a similar pattern. "Today's Internet borders will probably change eventually, especially as new markets appear. But it's hard to avoid the conclusion that we are living in an age of large information monopolies. Could it be that the free market on the Internet actually tends toward monopolies? Could it even be that demand, of all things, is actually winnowing the online free market — that Americans, so diverse and individualistic, actually love these monopolies? ... Info-monopolies tend to be good-to-great in the short term and bad-to-terrible in the long term."
Google

Google Says 3rd Parties Would Be Liable For Java Infringement 236

angry tapir writes "Third parties, not Google, would be liable for any Java copyright violations in the Android mobile OS, according to a filing Google made in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Oracle sued Google in August over a number of alleged Java patent and copyright violations in Android."
Input Devices

Kinect Hacked, Adafruit Bounty Won 262

scharkalvin writes "Adafruit has announced a winner to their bounty for an open source driver for the MS Kinect. From the article: 'We have verified that it works and have a screenshot from another member in the hacking community (thanks qdot!) who was also able to use the code. Congrats to Hector! He's running all this on a Linux laptop (his code works with OpenGL) and doesn't even have an Xbox!'" We talked about Adafruit's bounty yesterday.
Businesses

What's the Oracle Trial Against SAP Really About? 160

Ponca City writes "Chris O'Brien writes in the Merucry News that Larry Ellison's lawsuit against bitter rival SAP gives Ellison the opportunity to deliver the final humiliation to his company's greatest foe of the past decade while sending a blunt message to Oracle's next great enemy, Hewlett-Packard: 'This is who you are fighting. This is how determined we are to win. Get ready.' O'Brien writes that it's a crafty bit of psychological warfare that is already having the desired effect. When Oracle decided to subpoena former SAP CEO Léo Apotheker after he was appointed president and CEO of HP, Apotheker decided to stay out of the country to avoid testifying so now we have the bizarre spectacle of the new CEO of the largest technology company in the world unable to show his face in Silicon Valley. Ellison loves to fight. In gaining control of PeopleSoft, Ellison demonstrated the love of combat and confrontation that has made him one of the wealthiest men on the planet. He waged an 18-month hostile takeover bid to acquire the company, and fought off an effort by the US Department of Justice to torpedo the deal. 'Oracle probably could have settled this case [with SAP],' writes O'Brien. 'But why pass up a glorious chance to subpoena Apotheker and send your new opponent running in circles?'"
Politics

Submission + - Obama: offshoring fears are outdated, unwarranted (networkworld.com)

alphadogg writes: The perception that Indian call centers and back office operations cost U.S. jobs is an old stereotype that ignores today’s reality that two-way trade between the U.S. and India is helping create jobs and raise the standard of living in both countries, U.S. President Barack Obama told a gathering of business executives in Mumbai on Saturday.

President Obama’s remarks come after some moves in the U.S. that had Indian outsourcers worried that the U.S. may get protectionist in the wake of job losses in the country. The state of Ohio, for example, banned earlier this year the expenditure of public funds for offshore purposes.

U.S. exports to India have quadrupled in recent years, and currently support tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs in the U.S., he said in a speech that was also streamed live. In addition, there are jobs supported by exports to India of agriculture products, travel and education services.

President Obama, who is in India on a three-day visit, said that more than 20 deals worth about $10 billion were announced on the first day of his visit. The deals, in a variety of areas including aircraft, turbines, and mining equipment, could potentially create over 50,000 jobs in the U.S., he added.

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