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Suppresed Video of Japanese Reactor Sodium Leak 341

James Hardine writes "Following an announcement this week that the infamous Japanese Monju fast-breeder nuclear reactor would be re-opened with a new plutonium core, Wikileaks has released suppressed video footage of the disaster that led to its closure in 1995. The video shows men in silver 'space suits' exploring the reactor in which sodium compounds hang from the air ducts like icicles. Unlike conventional reactors, fast-breeder reactors, which 'breed' plutonium, use sodium rather than water as a coolant. This type of coolant creates a potentially hazardous situation as sodium is highly corrosive and reacts violently with both water and air. Government officials at first played down the extent of damage at the reactor and denied the existence of a videotape showing the sodium spill. The deputy general manager, Shigeo Nishimura, 49, jumped to his death the day after a news conference at which he and other officials revealed the extent of the cover-up. His family is currently suing the government at Japan's High Court."

Orbital Express Launches Tonight 137

airshowfan writes "When a geosynchronous satellite is launched into space, no human ever gets to touch it again. This means that, other than for minor software issues, there is no way to fix it if it breaks, so it has to work perfectly, almost autonomously, for 20 years non-stop. There is also no way to refuel it once it's out of thruster fuel, the reason why it can't last more than 20 years even if it gets to that mark working very well, with batteries and solar cells still going, which is often the case. If only there were a robotic spacecraft in geostationary orbit that could change broken satellite components and refuel those older satellites, then satellites would be a lot less risky and would last a lot longer. Does this robotic spacecraft mechanic sound like science fiction? It launches tonight."

Inside the iPhone — 3G, ARM, OS X, 3rd Partyware 318

DECS writes "After heading off the top ten myths of the iPhone, Daniel Eran of RoughlyDrafted has written a series of articles looking 'Inside the iPhone,' exploring (1) why Apple didn't target faster 3G networks, (2) a substantiated look at how the iPhone is indeed running OS X (contrary to reports that it isn't), and (3) what it means to users and developers, and how ARM is involved, in Mac OS X, ARM, and iPod OS X, and why the supposedly 'closed' system Apple describes for the iPhone won't preclude third party development."

Flickr Search Hack Powered by Mouse-Made Doodles 79

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Retrievr gives budding artists an impractical but addictive way to find photographs on Flickr: a search engine powered exclusively by mouse-made doodles. From the article: 'Retrievr, Mr. Langreiter says, "doesn't look at specific forms." Art history buffs might like to think of it as photo-search by way of Impressionism. The Retrievr engine dissects a photo like a gallery connoisseur who lost his bifocals: It focuses on regions of colors rather than specific shapes and lines. "It is, actually, a simple scheme," says Mr. Langreiter. Retrievr creates and stores a compact representation of each photo in its database. The system pulls only the most important features — broad shapes, blocks of color and spatial relationships between different colored areas — out of detailed images to create shorthand approximations of every photo. (The storage mechanism extracts the 120 "strongest" features from an image to create something called a "wavelet transform," which contains much less data than the photo itself and facilitates lightning-fast searches.)'"

The Software Internet Database 67

Larry points out an interesting project called The Software Internet Database, the goal of which "is to compile the largest database of software titles and credits on the Internet. This includes all types of software such as operating systems, security, financial, mapping, browsers, video editing, games, word processing, and more. They have made a good start but still need more titles. Please take some time to submit missing titles so that they may compile the database faster." It would be informative to have a subway-map overhead view to know which of these are still available from their makers,have been folded into other products, or are now abandonware.

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