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Phoenix Digs First Mars Soil Sample To Analyze 116

An anonymous reader writes "Nearly two weeks after its historic landing, the US Mars probe Phoenix has scooped up its first sample of Martian soil and begun analyzing it for water and organic compounds. The test dig made Sunday by the Phoenix Mars Lander's 8-foot-long robotic arm uncovered bits of bright specks in the soil believed to be ice or salt. Mission controllers will send instructions to the lander to dump the sample into one of the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer (TEGA) ovens. The TEGA ovens, which are about an inch long and the diameter of a pencil lead, will heat up the soil samples and use a mass spectrometer to detect the gases that come off the samples, which will shed light on some of the materials in the soil, specifically those formed by the process of liquid water."

Scientists Surprised to Find Earth's Biosphere Booming 692

radioweather writes "An article from the Financial Post says that recent studies of biosphere imaging from the NASA SEAWIFS satellite indicate that the Earth's biomass is booming: 'The results surprised Steven Running of the University of Montana and Ramakrishna Nemani of NASA, scientists involved in analyzing the NASA satellite data. They found that over a period of almost two decades, the Earth as a whole became more bountiful by a whopping 6.2%. About 25% of the Earth's vegetated landmass — almost 110 million square kilometers — enjoyed significant increases and only 7% showed significant declines. When the satellite data zooms in, it finds that each square meter of land, on average, now produces almost 500 grams of greenery per year.' Their 2004 study, and other more recent ones, point to the warming of the planet and the presence of CO2, fertilizing the biota and resulting in the increased green side effect."

Music Industry Tells Advertisers to Boycott "Pirate" Baidu 206

An anonymous reader points to a story at PC Authority, which begins: "Music industry representatives have warned advertisers to stop supporting Baidu, China's largest search engine, because they believe it is encouraging music piracy. Baidu is the largest source of pirated music in China, according to the representatives, who describe the company as 'incorrigible.' The Chinese firm's music search engine is accessed through what is described as a prominent link on the company's home page."

No, David Pogue, Ebook Piracy Is Not a Given 268

adamengst writes "David Pogue recently wrote a widely read blog post in which he explains that piracy is the reason he doesn't make his books available in PDF format. But in this article, TidBITS publisher Adam Engst disagrees strongly with Pogue's opinion, using sales numbers from the Take Control series of ebooks (150,000+ copies sold since 2004 with virtually no copying) as proof that making electronic versions not only doesn't necessarily lead to piracy, it may be the best way of preventing illicit sharing."

Phoronix Releases Linux Benchmarking Platform 34

KernelPie writes "The Linux hardware site has announced the release of Phoronix Test Suite 1.0, a Linux-based testing platform designed for benchmarking software and hardware. This suite ships with 57 tests and 23 test suites, which contain everything from open-source games to file encryption to encoding software. In addition, they have a global database where users can submit benchmark results and more — with over 1,000 submissions already. This testing software is licensed under the GPLv3 and is available for download."

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