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Linux

Linus Torvalds Speaks Out on Future of Linux 520

SlinkySausage writes "Linus Torvalds has laid out his plans for the future of Linux, including the 3.0 kernel [there probably won't be one], problems with the Linux release cycles and which distro he personally runs on his home PC. '"Compile everything by hand" ones simply weren't interesting to me,' Torvalds says."
Space

Strange Asteroids Baffle Scientists 125

Raver32 writes to mention that two nearby asteroids may be evidence of a new class of asteroid or long eroded mini-world. Mineral evidence gathered using photometric data shows these asteroids to contain basalt not normally found in asteroid belt objects. "The lack of basalt and another mineral, olivine, in asteroid belt objects has long puzzled scientists. These two minerals would have formed the crust and mantle, respectively, of belt objects the size of Vesta or larger; theory predicts that more than half of all asteroids should be composed of one or the other of these substances"
Hardware

New Idea Could Lead to Quantum RAM 109

KentuckyFC writes to tell us that scientists in Italy and the US have designed a new method of retrieving information from quantum memory that could allow them to create "Quantum RAM". "Giovannetti's idea is to send the address down the branching tree of connections in such a way that it only affects one switch at a time. The first address qubit sets a switch at the first branching point to go one way or the other; the second qubit is sent that way and sets the switch at the next branching point, and so on. The total number of entangled quantum systems is smaller, and they are not so susceptible to interference, allowing information to be retrieved from memory intact."
The Almighty Buck

Science Blogger Sued for Unfavorable Book Review 588

tigerhawkvok writes "Recently, new author Stuart Privar provided Professor PZ Meyers of Pharyngula a copy of his book, Lifecode, for review. Over the course of the review itself and a few follow-ups, it became evident that the content was nonsense (including, among other things, ten-legged spiders and other phenomena strongly at odds with developmental biology). However, the common threat of lawsuits finally became a reality, and now Privar is suing Myers for $15 million. Can calling someone a 'classic crackpot' in the face of such incorrect data have any chance at making it to court, or even winning the suit?"
Google

Google Earth Gets Star-Gazing Add On 142

Tom F writes to mention BBC News is reporting that Google has released a new add on for Google Earth that will allow users to search a 3D rendition of over 1 million stars and 200 million galaxies called Google Sky. "Optional layers allow users to explore images from the Hubble Space Telescope as well as animations of lunar cycles. [...] Users can overlay the night sky with other information such as galaxies, constellations and detailed images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Imagery for the system came from six research institutions including the Digital Sky Survey Consortium, the Palomar Observatory in California and the United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre. "
Privacy

Secrecy of Voting Machines Ballots At Risk 256

JimBobJoe writes "On Monday, Cnet published the findings I made as an Ohio poll worker regarding a major oversight in my state's election's system: Using a combination of public records, plus the voting machine paper trails, you can figure out how people voted. Though most agree that voting machine paper trails are a necessity, they can cause privacy problems which aren't easily mitigated. 'It's an especially pointed concern in Ohio, a traditional swing state in presidential elections that awarded George Bush a narrow victory over John Kerry three years ago. Ohio law permits anyone to walk into a county election office and obtain two crucial documents: a list of voters in the order they voted, and a time-stamped list of the actual votes. "We simply take the two pieces of paper together, merge them, and then we have which voter voted and in which way," said James Moyer, a longtime privacy activist and poll worker who lives in Columbus, Ohio.'"
Patents

DARPA Files Patent On Predictive Simulation 150

An anonymous reader writes "New Scientist has a post on a patent filed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), seeking to control a new potent predictive simulation. The patent outlines the process, which may someday allow researchers to accurately predict the behavior of observed subjects. They're not there yet, but not for lack of trying. It already works in some military war game scenarios, says the patent. 'Parunak says his model can successfully detect players' emotions, and then predict future actions accordingly. He believes the technique could one day be applied to predict the behavior of adversaries in military combat situations, competitive business tactics, and even multiplayer computer games. The patent application gives an interesting insight into DARPA's goals. The agency has pumped a lot of money into AI in recent years without reaping major rewards. One day computers may find a way to accurately second-guess humans, but I suspect we may have to wait a little longer yet.'"
The Internet

Monster.com Attacked, User Data Stolen 196

Placid writes "The BBC has an article detailing a successful attack on the US recruitment site, Monster.com. According to the article, 'A computer program was used to access the employers' section of the website using stolen log-in credentials' and that the stolen details were 'uploaded to a remote web server'. Apparently, this remote server 'held over 1.6 million entries with personal information belonging to several hundred thousands of candidates, mainly based in the US, who had posted their resumes to the Monster.com website'. The article also links the break-in to a phishing e-mail sent out recently where personal details were used to entice users to download a 'Monster Job Seeker Tool.'"
Movies

NYT Confirms Movie Studios Paid to Support HD DVD 441

An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times has confirmed the story that Paramount and DreamWorks Animation were paid $150 million for an exclusive HD-DVD deal that will last 18 months. 'Paramount and DreamWorks Animation declined to comment. Microsoft, the most prominent technology company supporting HD DVDs, said it could not rule out payment but said it wrote no checks. "We provided no financial incentives to Paramount or DreamWorks whatsoever," said Amir Majidimehr, the head of Microsoft's consumer media technology group.'" We discussed Paramount's defection on Monday.
Education

Free Tuition for Math, Science, and Engineering? 766

Gibbs-Duhem writes "Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus wants free college tuition for US math, science, and engineering majors conditional upon working or teaching in the field for at least four years. From the article: 'The goal, he said in an interview last week, is to better prepare children for school and get more of them into college to make the United States more globally competitive, particularly with countries like China and India. "I think the challenge is fierce, and I think we have a real obligation to go the extra mile and redo things a bit differently, so we leave this place in better shape than we found it," Baucus said.' Do you think this would help with the US's lackluster performance in these fields?"

Top 25 Hottest Open-Source Projects at Microsoft Codeplex 306

willdavid writes "Via CNet, a link to a blog post with the top 25 most active open-source projects on Microsoft's Codeplex site. As the CNet blogger notes, 'Codeplex is interesting to me for several reasons, but primarily because it demonstrates something that I've argued for many years now: open source on the Windows platform is a huge opportunity for Microsoft. It is something for the company to embrace, not despise.'"

Nanotechnology Boosts Solar Cell Performance 176

Roland Piquepaille writes "Physicists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) say they have improved the performance of solar cells by 60 percent. And they obtained this spectacular result by using a very simple trick. They've coated the solar cells with a film of 1-nanometer thick silicon fluorescing nanoparticles. The researchers also said that this process could be easily incorporated into the manufacturing process of solar cells with very little additional cost. Read more for additional references and a photo of a researcher holding a silicon solar cell coated with a film of silicon nanoparticles."
Google

Google Re-Refunds Video Purchases 129

holymodal writes "In a new post to the Google blog Bindu Reddy, the Google Video product manager, admits that only offering refunds via Google Checkout was a bad idea: 'We should have anticipated that some users would see a Checkout credit as nothing more than an extra step of a different (and annoyingly self-serving) kind. Our bad.' Google now plans to issue customers a full credit card refund, while allowing them to keep the Checkout credit and extending the life of purchased videos another six months."
United States

Most Laws Attempting Limits of Violent Videogames Fail 365

circletimessquare writes "Good news for common sense: the New York Times examines the track record of state laws attempting to put additional limits on violent videogames, and finds that the courts have struck almost all of them down as unconstitutional. Especially notable is this gem of a quote, from Judge Richard A. Posner: 'Violence has always been and remains a central interest of humankind and a recurrent, even obsessive theme of culture both high and low ... It engages the interest of children from an early age, as anyone familiar with the classic fairy tales collected by Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault are aware. To shield children right up to the age of 18 from exposure to violent descriptions and images would not only be quixotic, but deforming; it would leave them unequipped to cope with the world as we know it.'"
Privacy

US Shuts Down Controversial Anti-Terror Database 238

coondoggie writes "The massive anti-terror database established by the US government has been criticized for keeping track of regular everyday citizens. Computerworld reports that as of September 17th, the database will be shut down. 'The Threat and Local Observation Notices or TALON, was established in 2002 by then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz as a way to collect and evaluate information about possible threats to U.S. service members and defense civilians all over the world. Congress and others protested its apparent use as an unauthorized citizen tracking database. The TALON system came under fire in 2005 for improperly storing information about some civilian individuals and non-government-affiliated groups on its database. The Air Force developed TALON... in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a way to gather data on possible terrorist threats. Anti-war groups and other organizations, protested after it was revealed last year that the military had monitored anti-war activities, organizations and individuals who attended peace rallies.'"

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