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Submission + - When is a Honeyeater not a Honeyeater? (

grrlscientist writes: "Every once in awhile, I will read a scientific paper that astonishes and delights me so much that I can hardly wait to tell you all about it. Such is the situation with a newly published paper about the Hawai'ian Honeyeaters. In short, due to the remarkable power of convergent evolution, Hawai'ian Honeyeaters have thoroughly deceived taxonomists and ornithologists as to their true origin and identity for more than 200 years."

Submission + - Federal Research Funds for 2008 are Disappointing

SoyChemist writes: Wired Science has asked their readers to complain about the biggest problems with federal research funding. Some of the comments are quite revealing: Lead scientists must rush to buy supplies before their grants expire, they sometimes get stuck when equipment breaks and they did not anticipate replacement parts in their budget, and there are only token incentives for alternative energy research. Worst of all, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which could exceed $1.2 trillion, are particularly appalling when compared to the measly $6.43 billion requested by the National Science Foundation and $28.6 billion requested by the National Institutes of Health for supporting science in 2008.

Submission + - The Collaboration Tools Used by Wesnoth Devs (

stoolpigeon writes: "In a post to gmane.emacs.devel Eric S. Raymond describes the collaboration toolkit in use by the developers for Battle for Wesnoth. He lists each tool in the set and follows up with an explanation as to why he believes that combination makes for a more productive team. There is nothing all that new or revolutionary but I thought it was an interesting look into how team development can take place."

Submission + - Stephen Hawking joins attack on UK science cuts

Laxator2 writes: " Here is the story in the Telegraph about the sweeping cuts that the UK government plans to apply to Physics and Astronomy. Scientists will be in the impossibility to continue their involvement in projects in which they have already invested years of work and millions of pounds, like the ILC and the Gemini Observatory. Understandably, the scientists have petitioned the government to revise its decision, and now Prof. Stephen Hawking has added his name to the list of 3500 people that have signed the petition so far. More details in the article."

Submission + - Yahoo! becomes Platinum Sponsor of Apache Software (

jschauma writes: Yahoo! published a press release, announcing that "it has become a platinum sponsor of The Apache Software Foundation (ASF)." In their company blog, Yahoo! points out their particular interest in Lucene as well as Hadoop and that they have hired Doug Cutting, creator of both projects and VP at Apache. (Lucene powers the search on Wikipedia; Yahoo! also provides hosting capacity to Wikimedia.)

Submission + - Arthur C. Clarke's 90th Birthday Video Message

SoyChemist writes: Just before completing his 90th orbit around the sun, Sir Arthur C. Clarke recorded what may be one of his last messages to the world. "The golden age of space is only just beginning... Space travel and space tourism will one day become almost as commonplace as flying to exotic destinations on our own planet," said the legendary science fiction author. He wished for proof of extraterrestiral life, freedom from our addiction to oil, and an end to the civil war in Sri Lanka — his adopted home. The wheelchair-bound legend concluded by saying that in spite of his many accomplishments, he would most like to be remembered as a writer that entertained many people.

Submission + - Parts of the galactic halo rotate "backwards&# (

xPsi writes: "Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, researchers have recently discovered that the galactic halo has two distinct components which rotate in opposite directions. From the article 'The main galactic disk, home to our sun, rotates at an average speed of 500,000 mph. Surrounding the disk is what's now called the inner halo. It orbits in the same direction at about 50,000 mph. The outer halo, a sparsely populated region, spins in the opposite direction at roughly 100,000 mph.' This discovery provides some insight into how galaxies, ours in particular, are formed."

Computer Model Points To the Missing Matter 97

eldavojohn writes "There exists a little-known problem of missing regular matter that has perhaps been overshadowed by the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy. Computer models show that there should be about 40% more regular matter than we see... so where is it? From the article: 'The study indicated a significant portion of the gas is in the filaments — which connect galaxy clusters — hidden from direct observation in enormous gas clouds in intergalactic space known as the Warm-Hot Intergalactic Medium, or WHIM, said CU-Boulder Professor Jack Burns... The team performed one of the largest cosmological supercomputer simulations ever, cramming 2.5 percent of the visible universe inside a computer to model a region more than 1.5 billion light-years across.' This hypothesis will be investigated and hopefully proved/disproved when telescopes are completed in Chile and the Antarctic. The paper will be up for review in this week's edition of the the Astrophysical Journal."

Submission + - Iran builds supercomputer from banned AMD parts 2

Stony Stevenson writes: Iranian scientists claim to have used 216 microprocessors made by AMD to build the country's most powerful supercomputer, despite a ban on the export of U.S. computer equipment to the Middle Eastern nation. Scientists at the Iranian High Performance Computing Research Center at the country's Amirkabir University of Technology said they used a Linux-cluster architecture in building the system of Opteron processors. The supercomputer has a theoretical peak performance of 860 giga-flops, the posting said. The disclosure, made in an undated posting on Amirkabir's Web site, brought an immediate response Monday from AMD, which said it has never authorized shipments of products either directly or indirectly to Iran or any other embargoed country.

Submission + - What's new in Blade Runner: The Final Cut? (

tripper700 writes: "25 years since its original release, a definitive version of Ridley Scott's science fiction masterwork Blade Runner, Blade Runner: The Final Cut, has arrived. So what exactly has changed? And is it worth all the fuss? SFFMedia describes each change in detail. Is it just a patch up job attempting to cash in on a cult film? Or like an oil painter retouching a masterpiece, or a novelist polishing prose, is Ridley Scott simply trying to perfect his original vision?"

Submission + - NBC Universal gone from iTunes Store (

setteB.IT writes: "On December 1st, as announced three months ago, NBC Universal TV channels (Bravo, mun2, NBC, NBC News & CNBC, NBC Sports, Sci Fi, Sleuth, Telemundo and USA) disappeared from the networks available on US iTunes Store's TV shows. As noted before from setteB.IT some shows broadcasted in US from these channels are still available on US iTunes Store because they are produced from other Hollywood studios, like 20th Century Fox, ABC/Disney, Viacom... NBC Universal has recently opened NBC Direct and Hulu (with Fox) to distribute the shows over the web. Here is the article on setteB.IT in Italian and here the automatic translation from Google."

Submission + - New 64-bit Operating System Released (

losethos writes: "LoseThos is a free, open-source 64-bit PC operating system written from a clean slate. It features graphics, links and trees in source code and at the command-line. The command-line feeds into a C compiler line by line so you don't have a crappy shell like linux — you have a real programming language at the command line. See videos for a truely unique interface. Instead of icons, you have unbounded scalable vector graphics which send a macro to the command line. Version 3.13 has been release. It has compiler optimizations and much faster disk access."

Submission + - Embryonic Star Captured With Jets Flaring (

Tech.Luver writes: "A developing star wrapped in a black cocoon of dust is seen sprouting giant jets in a new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The stellar portrait, seen in infrared light, offers the first glimpse at a very early stage in the life of an embryonic sun-like star — a time when the star's natal envelope is beginning to flatten and collapse, and streams of gas are escaping. The observations will ultimately help astronomers better understand how stars and their planets form. ( )"

Submission + - Visually browsing wikipedia

mgogoulos writes: "Every day Wikipedia proves it's value as a great education and knowledge resource. Yet, there is only one way to browse it's plethora of information, and this some times can become frustrating, especially when we are only interested to get a quick idea on a search keyword. Indywikia is an open source project that aims to explore different ways of browsing the wikipedia universe. It is a GUI application that gives emphasis to the images, which are displayed in tenths on the main screen as thumbnails that get expanded to their native size once clicked. If there are not enough images, indywikia displays images of related links, that become our search items when clicked, thus providing a way to visually browse wikipedia! The text is presented on a basic structure, that is titles, their content and links."

Submission + - MPAA University 'Toolkit' Raises Privacy Concerns

NewbieV writes: "On the heels of the MPAA's efforts to eliminate peer-to-peer file sharing in colleges and universities, The Washington Post is reporting on a new development:

The Motion Picture of Association of America is urging some of the nation's largest universities to deploy custom software designed to pinpoint students who may be using the schools' networks to illegally download pirated movies. A closer look at the MPAA's software, however, raises some serious privacy and security concerns for both the entertainment industry and the schools that choose to deploy the technology.
The University Toolkit (website), also known as peerwatch, uses xubuntu, Snort, ntop and Apache to gather data and phone home. More from the article:

Steve Worona, director of policy and networking programs at EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association that promotes the use of information technology in higher learning, said he'd like to think that "no university network administrator in their right mind would install this toolkit on their networks." But he said some campus IT personnel may fail to dig too deeply into what the device actually does before installing it.

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