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Comment extraterrestrial intelligence is there (Score 1) 293

Just a random thought: Your civilization figured out how to travel FTL, or very close to speed of light. You are also advanced enough to easily avoid obstacles such as asteroid collisions, high radiation etc. Where would you go to search for other intelligent species from outskirt of the galaxy where you evolved? I think going to downtown (to the center of the galaxy) makes the perfect sense. Suns are closer, other species come to this place to study about the galaxy. So, basically this is the perfect place to meet other civilizations. Unlike searching in the boonies (what we are doing at the moment).

Submission + - NH may adopt approval voting ( 1

Okian Warrior writes: The people at FreeKeene report:

Four Republican state representatives have sponsored a bill that would replace first-past-the-post voting with approval voting for all state offices and presidential primaries.

Under this system, voters would select every candidate they approve of (regardless of party), and the candidate with the highest overall vote total wins. This reduces strategic voting, and would often make elections easier for moderate and libertarian candidates.

The bill, HB240, will have a public hearing Tuesday, February 1st, with the House Election Law committee.

You can view specifics of the bill here.


Submission + - P != NP 1

morsch writes: "Researcher Vinay Deolalikar from HP Labs claims proof that P != NP. The 100 page paper has apparently not been peer-reviewed yet, so feel free to dig in and find some flaws. However, the attempt seems to be genuine, and Deolalikar has published papers in the same field in the past. So this may be the real thing! Given that one million USD prize money from the Millenium Prize is involved, it will certainly get enough scrutiny. Greg Baker broke the story on his blog, including the email Deolalikar sent around."

Submission + - More than 10% of Mozilla bug finders refuse cash (

angry tapir writes: "The open-source Mozilla project has been offering cash bounties for security bugs for six years now, but often bug finders simply turn down the cash. Between 10 percent and 15 percent of the serious security bugs reported since Mozilla launched its bug bounty program have been provided free of charge, according to Mozilla."
Operating Systems

Submission + - Why OSNews Is No Longer About OS News

jones_supa writes: "Thom Holwerda, an editor for OSNews answers the question "what's up with the lack of, you know, operating system news on OSNews?". He observes how the desktop operating system scene has settled at the three big ones, forming "Macwinilux". The alternatives just are no more practical. "Sure, there's the occasional 'Blubbilux Gets FAT32 Support', but beyond that whoopdidoo, it's a scary empty wasteland out there." OSNews plans to move on other fronts such as mobile operating systems, HTML5, and technology patents."

Submission + - Obama: information becomes a distraction 2

zaphod writes: According to Obama, ...information becomes a distraction... when it comes to iPads, Xbox, etc. (all items he admits not knowing how to use). Basically saying we are getting too much information too quickly and from "unreliable sources". Of course, he's referring to talk radio, blogs and other mediums that tend to disagree with his political views. Is Obama suggesting that we go back to the days where news and information were spoon fed and filtered to us? Granted, there will always be mis-information, but we had that with the before this "distracting information" (right Dan Rather?).

Submission + - Jammie Thomas verdict reduced from $1.92M to $54k (

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: The $1.92 million dollar RIAA verdict in Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset has been reduced from $1,920,000 to $54,000. The judge indicated that he found even the reduced amount to be 'harsh' and that, were he — rather than the jury — determining the proper damages, he might well have awarded even less. In his 38-page decision (PDF), Judge Michael J. Davis concluded that $2250 per infringed work was the maximum amount a jury could reasonably award without the result being a 'shock to the conscience', and indicated that he was relying solely on standard principles of 'remittitur', without reaching the constitutional due process arguments advanced by Ms. Thomas-Rasset's counsel. Judge Davis also indicated that he was relying in part upon the defendant's having lied under oath during the trial. The judge stated that 'statutory damages must still bear some relation to actual damages'.

Submission + - SPAM: BBC News - Nokia hits back at Apple patent claim

Suki I writes: Phone maker Nokia has said it will "defend itself vigorously" after Apple launched the latest salvo in an ongoing legal wrangle between the two firms.
On 15 January, Apple filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) asking it to block Nokia imports to the US.
It is the latest move in a series of legal proceedings that started in October when Nokia sued Apple.
The Finnish firm alleged that Apple's iPhone infringed 10 of its patents.

Link to Original Source

ESA Wants ISS Extended To 2020 88

Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that the European Space Agency's (ESA) Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain says that uncertainty is undermining the best use of the ISS and that only guaranteeing the ISS's longevity would cause more scientists to come forward to run experiments on the orbiting laboratory. 'I am convinced that stopping the station in 2015 would be a mistake because we cannot attract the best scientists if we are telling them today "you are welcome on the space station but you'd better be quick because in 2015 we close the shop,'' says Dordain. One of the biggest issues holding up an agreement on station-life extension is the human spaceflight review ordered by US President Barack Obama and the future of US participation in the ISS is intimately tied to the outcome of that review. Dordain says that no one partner in the ISS project could unilaterally call an end to the platform and that a meeting would be held in Japan later in the year where he hoped the partners could get some clarity going forward."

Adding Up the Explanations For ACTA's "Shameful Secret" 165

Several sources are reporting on a Google event this week that attempted to bring some transparency to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that has so far been treated like a "shameful secret." Unfortunately, not many concrete details were uncovered, so Ars tried to lay out why there has been so much secrecy, especially from an administration that has been preaching transparency. "The reason for that was obvious: there's little of substance that's known about the treaty, and those lawyers in the room and on the panel who had seen one small part of it were under a nondisclosure agreement. In most contexts, the lack of any hard information might lead to a discussion of mind-numbing generality and irrelevance, but this transparency talk was quite fascinating—in large part because one of the most influential copyright lobbyists in Washington was on the panel attempting to make his case. [...] [MPAA/RIAA Champion Steven] Metalitz took on three other panelists and a moderator, all of whom were less than sympathetic to his positions, and he made the lengthiest case for both ACTA and its secrecy that we have ever heard. It was also surprisingly unconvincing."

Palm Opens Dev Program, Offers $1M For Top App 91

CWmike writes "Palm opened up its webOS developer program to the public this week in a bid to close the gap with the number of iPhone and Android apps. Palm will also open up its application distribution channel to developers and Web sites, giving them access to detailed information about applications and statistics, such as the number of downloads. This will allow them to build their own application directories and application ranking mechanisms, Palm's Katie Mitic said. 'As an incentive to developers interested in building their own directories, Palm is offering $1 million to the developer with the most downloads of free and paid applications between February and May, Mitic said. Palm also announced a plug-in development kit for WebOS that allows developers to extend the OS's capabilities using code written in C and C++. Over time, these plug-ins will be incorporated into the software development kit, she said. The plug-in development kit will be released at the Game Developers Conference in March, but a handful of game developers have already put the kit to use. EA Mobile, Laminar Research, Gameloft and Glu all released games that were developed using plug-ins. Those games include 3D titles, such as EA Mobile Need for Speed Undercover, and are now available.'"

Submission + - The Spiky Penis Gets the Girl ( 1

sciencehabit writes: Hooked penises, long observed on fly genitalia, seem to function like peacock tails, reports ScienceNOW. That is, they help males beat out their rivals for females. How do scientists know this? They zapped fly penises with a laser, and looked at how successful they were mating. "We can cut the tiniest of structures with the highest of precision," says evolutionary ecologist Michal Polak of the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, "all without harming the fly." The researchers placed cut and uncut males in vials alone with a female. Cut males vigorously attempted to mate, but--unlike the uncut males--most slid off the females, unable to copulate. When cut males did manage to hang on long enough, they proved just as fertile as uncut males, showing that spines had little to do with postinsemination sexual selection. Instead, the genital spines give an advantage before insemination by fastening the genitalia together like Velcro fasteners. The study provides some important insight into one of Darwin's oldest ideas--sexual selection--just cross your fingers this technology never makes it past animal testing.

Submission + - Google Applies to become Energy Marketer

necro81 writes: Google consumes massive amounts of electrical energy to power its data centers across the country and world. Now it has created a subsidiary, Google Energy LLC, and applied (pdf) to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to become a utility-scale energy trader. Google's stated aim is to be able to purchase renewable energy directly from producers at bulk rates, pursuing its goal of becoming carbon neutral. It is likely that Google Energy would also permit Google's own renewable energy projects to sell their energy at more favorable rates. Google reportedly does not have plans to actively become an energy broker, a la Enron.

Submission + - Air Canada told to provide nut-free zone

JamJam writes: Air Canada has been told to create a special "buffer zone" on flights for people who are allergic to nuts. The Canadian Transportation Agency has ruled that passengers who have nut allergies should be considered disabled and accommodated by the airline. Air Canada has a month to come up with an appropriate section of seats where passengers with nut allergies would be seated. The ruling involved a complaint from Sophia Huyer who has a severe nut allergy and travels frequently. Ms. Huyer once spent 40 minutes in the washroom during a flight while snacks were being served.

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