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Pictorial Tour of World's Longest Linear Accelerator 79

Wired has a great pictorial tour of their recent visit to Stanford University's linear accelerator, the longest in the world. The accelerator has been the vehicle upon which three Nobel Prizes were earned and a the next big project will boast an electron laser roughly 10 billion times more powerful than existing x-ray sources.

Robot Interprets, Plays Back Dreams 142

foobarx writes "Digital artists have created a humanoid robot which uses brainwave activity recorded during sleep to playback an interpretation of your dreams. The artists, Brendan Burns and Fernando Orellana used machine learning to find patterns in the brainwaves and then matched these patterns to dreams which they remembered having. Others have noted the possible hazards of this new technology."

Satellite Spotters Make Government Uneasy 439

An anonymous reader found an interesting little story about satellite spotters and how, not surprisingly, their painstakingly methodical hobby doesn't exactly make gazillion dollar government agencies all that excited. Of course the article raises the very obvious point that if a guy with a pair of binoculars in his back yard can spot a satellite, so can the Chinese government.

Courts May Revisit Software Patents 259

An anonymous reader writes "It looks like the courts may finally be gearing up to overturn the ruling that opened the floodgates for both software and business model patents. It's been nearly ten years since the US courts decided that business methods were patentable and that most software could be patentable — and we've all seen what's happened since then. With all the efforts to fix the patent system lately, it appears that the court that originally made that decision may be regretting it, and has agreed to hear a new case that could overturn that ruling and restore some sanity to the patent system."

'Hundreds of Worlds' in Milky Way 334

Raphael Emportu writes "BBC news is reporting that rocky planets, possibly with conditions suitable for life, may be more common than previously thought in our galaxy, a study has found. New evidence suggests more than half the Sun-like stars in the Milky Way could have similar planetary systems. There may also be hundreds of undiscovered worlds in outer parts of our Solar System, astronomers believe. Future studies of such worlds will radically alter our understanding of how planets are formed, they say."
The Almighty Buck

Toshiba To Halt HD-DVD Production 494

Multiple users have written to tell us that Toshiba is planning to halt production of devices related to HD-DVD. According to Japanese broadcasting network NHK, Toshiba will lose "hundreds of millions of dollars" as the format war finally draws to a close. Regardless, investors are pleased that Toshiba has made the decision to cut its losses. This comes after a last-ditch price cut was unable to prevent Wal-mart from throwing their lot in with Blu-ray, although some sources suggest that Wal-mart was already aware of Toshiba's plans to withdraw from fight.

China Plans to Surpass the U.S. in Nanotech Development 282

SoyChemist writes "Sociologists at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting have reported that China is making major investments in nanotechnology. Their aim is to 'leapfrog' past the United States in technological development by focusing on long-ranging scientific goals. So far, the Chinese government has poured about $400 million into the young field of research. Considering the low cost of equipment and labor over there, that is a very large sum of money, and China's investment is expected to 'rise considerably.'"
Linux Business

Why Linux Doesn't Spread - the Curse of Being Free 1243

Vlad Dolezal tips us to a philosophical take on why Linux hasn't grown to challenge Windows as the most popular operating system. According to the author, the reason is simple; Linux is free, and humans tend not to equate free things with being valuable. "Here's what Compy McNewb sees. He can get both OS's for free. But one of them is worth over three hundred dollars, while the other one is worth nothing. 'That's not true!' I hear you scream. 'Linux is worth a lot! It's just being offered for free!' I know it's not true that Linux is worth less than Windows. It's far more valuable to the end user in terms of getting things done. But that's not what Average Joe Computer Newbie sees. He sees a free product versus a three-hundred-dollar product he can get free. It's all about the perception!"

New Material Can Selectively Capture CO2 285

Socguy brings us a story from CBC News about a recently developed crystal that can soak up carbon dioxide gas "like a sponge." Chemists from UCLA believe that the crystals will become a cheap, stable method to absorb emissions at power plants. We discussed a prototype for another CO2 extraction device last year. Quoting: "'The technical challenge of selectively removing carbon dioxide has been overcome,' said UCLA chemistry professor Omar Yaghi in a statement. The porous structures can be heated to high temperatures without decomposing and can be boiled in water or solvents for a week and remain stable, making them suitable for use in hot, energy-producing environments like power plants. The highly porous crystals also had what the researchers called 'extraordinary capacity for storing CO2': one litre of the crystals could store about 83 litres of CO2."

Patent Troll Attacks Cable, Digital TV Standards 164

DavidGarganta writes "A patent troll firm in suburban Philadelphia, Rembrandt IP Management, is trying to force large cable operators and major broadcasters to pay substantial license fees on the transmission of digital TV signals and Internet services. The firm is apparently trying to get 0.5% of all revenues from services that supposedly infringe on the patents. The targeted companies include ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Charter and Cablevision. According to MultiChannel News, Rembrandt's assault is especially aggressive, even for a patent troll: 'It is attacking two key technology standards used by the cable and broadcast industries, CableLabs' DOCSIS and the Advanced Television Systems Committee's digital-TV spec. "If they're successful, this could affect everything from the cost of cable service to the price of TVs," said the attorney close to the litigation, who spoke only on condition of anonymity.'"
Linux Business

Submission + - Open-source community's double standard on MySQL (

AlexGr writes: "Matt Asay raises a really good point in his CNET News Blog: Deja vu. Remember 2002? That's when Red Hat decided to split its code into Red Hat Advanced Server (now Red Hat Enterprise Linux) and Fedora. Howls of protest and endless hand-wringing ensued: How dare Red Hat not give everything away for free? Enter 2007. MySQL decides to comply with the GNU General Public License and only give its tested, certified Enterprise code to those who pay for the service underlying that code (gasp!). Immediately cries of protest are raised, How dare MySQL not give everything away for free? g=head"

Submission + - The $100 personal gym?

Corson writes: "CBC reports that the 21st century diabetes epidemic affects almost 7.5% of the world population, almost 250 million people. Diabetes, or complications from the disease, now kills 3.8 million people a year or about the same number as HIV/AIDS. Nine out of 10 Canadians with diabetes have Type 2 and the percentage is probably similar in other developed countries. There is no cure for this condition; diet and exercise are recommended to keep Type 2 diabets and its complications in check. While there is hope that new drug therapies will become available in the near future (see also /. article Bone Hormone Linked to Obesity and Diabetes), one of the experts cited indicates that "There is no doubt that this is linked to the epidemics of overweight and obesity, and there is no doubt that this increase in overweight and obesity is linked to the profound way in which the life of those children and adolescents has changed over the past 10 to 20 years." But exercising is more easy said than done — for reasons that have to do mainly with mood, fatigue, time, and money. I wonder if the time has come to consider building an affordable, "$100 Personal Gym" that everyone could have in their bedroom to exercise on a regular basis with minimal time and financial constraints. Also, given that " long as developing countries continue to embrace the bad health habits associated with affluence, the diabetes epidemic will continue to grow.", they might benefit more from such a device than from the $100 Laptop."

Submission + - Ziff Davis Launches Green Technology Site (

mikemuch writes: "Part of Ziff's suite of newer blog-style sites like Appscout and Gearlog, the new GoodCleanTech launched last Thursday and focuses on all things green and technical. Recent entries include stuff like a tidal turbine project in the East River, a wind-up MP3 player, and a combo solar/electric barbecue. And of course there's reportage of Al Gore's every movement."

Community vs. Corporate Linux, The Coming Divide 201

tobyj writes " discusses the great divide that will separate corporate Linux (companies that are working with Microsoft) and community Linux (companies that haven't yet partnered with Microsoft) and their impact on Linux as a whole. Matt Hartley writes, "For Linux enthusiasts, the rules are simple and clear to interpret. But for Microsoft and its Linux partners, we will see plenty of them pointing to self-created loopholes, which will result in fierce debate, and perhaps even worse, blatant defiance. As a collective community, we'd like to think that this whole issue will just blow over, but with the massive migration of so many Windows users and companies that wish to capitalize on this migration, defiance of the GPL will happen and more so than ever before."

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