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Science

India To Build Neutrino Observatory 102

TeriMaKiChooth writes "Only the fifth in the world, the facility is being called one of the biggest and most ambitious scientific projects ever undertaken by India. About 90 scientists from 26 organizations will be involved in the Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO), organizers say. Neutrinos are elusive, nearly mass-less elementary particles, sometimes called 'ghost particles.'"
Games

The $8,500 Gaming Table You Want 260

Recently I stumbled upon The Sultan Gaming Table. With a price tag of over $8K, it would have to be awesome: but it has little compartments for the players and DM as well as a drop-down playing surface. If you find the pricetag daunting then you are a sane person, and might instead want to look at the Emissary which starts at a "mere" $1,500 and has many of the same features. Honestly I just love the idea of having my minis on a playing surface underneath the dinner table. I ought to be allowed to expense one of these. I also wish they had more pictures and fewer renderings on the site.
Education

How Students Use Wikipedia 170

crazybilly writes "First Monday recently released a study about how college students actually use Wikipedia. Not surprisingly, they found, 'Overall, college students use Wikipedia. But, they do so knowing its limitation. They use Wikipedia just as most of us do — because it is a quick way to get started and it has some, but not deep, credibility.' The study offers some initial data to help settle the often heated controversy over Wikipedia's usefulness as a research tool and how it affects students' research."
The Internet

Submission + - Internet access is 'a fundamental right' (bbc.co.uk)

Warlord88 writes: Almost four in five people around the world believe that access to the internet is a fundamental right, a poll for the BBC World Service suggests. Countries such as Finland and Estonia have already ruled that access is a human right for their citizens. International bodies such as the UN are also pushing for universal net access.

The details of the poll can be found here

IT

Submission + - What To Expect From HTML5 (infoworld.com)

snydeq writes: InfoWorld's Neil McAllister takes a deeper look at HTML5, outlining what developers should expect from this overhaul of HTML — one that some believe could put an end to proprietary Web technologies such as Flash and Silverlight. Among the most eagerly anticipated additions to HTML5 are new elements and APIs that allow content authors to create rich media using nothing more than standards-based HTML. The standard also introduces browser-based application caches, which enable Web apps to store information on the client device. 'But for all of HTML5's new features, users shouldn't expect plug-ins to disappear overnight. The Web has a long history of many competing technologies and media formats, and the inertia of that legacy will be difficult to overcome. It may yet be many years before a pure-HTML5 browser will be able to match the capabilities of today's patchwork clients,' McAllister writes. 'In the end, browser market share may be the most significant hurdle for developers interested in making the most of HTML5. Until these legacy browsers are replaced with modern updates, Web developers may be stuck maintaining two versions of their sites: a rich version for HTML5-enabled users, and a version for legacy browsers that falls back on outdated rendering tricks.'
Biotech

Scientists Learn To Fabricate DNA Evidence 256

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that it is possible to fabricate blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor, and even to construct a sample of DNA to match someone's profile without obtaining any tissue from that person — if you have access to their DNA profile in a database. This undermines the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases. 'You can just engineer a crime scene,' said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper. 'Any biology undergraduate could perform this.' The scientists fabricated DNA samples in two ways. One requires a real, if tiny, DNA sample, perhaps from a strand of hair or a drinking cup. They amplified the tiny sample into a large quantity of DNA using a standard technique called whole genome amplification. The other technique relies on DNA profiles, stored in law enforcement databases as a series of numbers and letters corresponding to variations at 13 spots in a person's genome. The scientists cloned tiny DNA snippets representing the common variants at each spot, creating a library of such snippets. To prepare a phony DNA sample matching any profile, they just mixed the proper snippets together. Tania Simoncelli, science adviser to the American Civil Liberties Union, says the findings were worrisome. 'DNA is a lot easier to plant at a crime scene than fingerprints,' says Simoncelli. 'We're creating a criminal justice system that is increasingly relying on this technology.'"
Mozilla

Firefox Beta Scores 93 On Acid3 Test 282

CodeShark writes "Mozilla released their latest Firefox 3.X beta today (3.5b4), and increased their score on the Acid 3 test to 93 [on my XP laptop], with tests 70, 71, and tests 75-79 being the final challenges. Curiously though, the current release of the top Acid3 performer — Safari — still not only rates higher (I got scores of 99 once and 100 most of the time) but is usually faster by a little (1.1 sec avg. vs. 1.4 over ten runs apiece) but only because the new Firefox beta was all over the map — frequently better by 25% (.85sec) or tanking badly with rendering times in the 2.5 — 3 second range, and both suffer performance hits on one test (#69)."
Medicine

WHO Raises Swine Flu Threat Level 557

Solarch writes "Late in the afternoon on Wednesday, the WHO raised the pandemic threat level for H1N1 "swine flu" to 5. Global media outlets(such as CNN, Fox News, and the BBC) preempted normal broadcast coverage and immediately published stories on their websites. To clarify, the WHO's elevation is mainly a sign to governments that the virus is spreading quickly and that steps should be taken on a governmental level to stage supplies and medicines to combat a possible pandemic. Unfortunately, broadcast coverage focused on phrases like 'pandemic imminent' (CNN marquee). In other news, patient zero, the medical term for the initial human vector of a disease, has been tentatively identified in Mexico."
Patents

Apple Patent Claim Threatens To Block Or Delay W3C 332

Kelson writes "The W3C Widget specification is running into a problem: Apple claims a patent on automatic updates and is unwilling to license it royalty-free in the event that it impacts the spec. The W3C is investigating to determine whether the spec includes anything covered by the patent, and decide what to do."
Networking

Australia To Build Fiber-To-the-Premises Network 300

candiman writes "The Australian PM, Kevin Rudd, has just announced that none of the private sector submissions to build a National Broadband Network was up to the standard, so instead the government is going to form a private company to build a fiber to the premises network. The network will connect to 90% of premises delivering 100Mb/s. The remaining 10% will be reached with wireless and satellite delivering up to 12Mb/s. The network cost has been estimated at 43 billion AU dollars over 8 years of construction — and is expected to employ 47,000 people at peak. It will be wholesale only and completely open access. As an Australian who voted for the other guys, all I can say is, wow."
Patents

Apple Sued Over iPhone Browser 225

SpuriousLogic writes "A Los Angeles real estate developer is suing Apple for patent infringement over the way the iPhone navigates Web sites. The suit, which was filed on behalf of EMG Technology, seeks unspecified damages. EMG Technology is a company that holds the patents of Elliot Gottfurcht, the real estate developer, as well as Marlo Longstreet and Grant Gottfurcht. The company claims that the iPhone infringes on patent 7,441,196 — a patent that was approved only last month, after a filing process that began on March 13, 2006. That patent is for an invention that displays 'on-line content reformatted from a webpage in a hypertext markup language (HTML) format into an extensible markup language (XML) format to generate a sister site.' This sister site is a simplified version of the original site that is then displayed on any number of devices — including cell phones, EMG says."
Communications

The State of UK Broadband — Not So Fast 279

Barence writes "The deplorable speed of British broadband connections has been revealed in the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, which show that 42.3% of broadband connections are slower than 2Mb/sec. More worryingly, the ONS statistics are based on the connection's headline speed, not actual throughput, which means that many more British broadband connections are effectively below the 2Mb/sec barrier. Better still, a separate report issued yesterday by Ofcom revealed that the majority of broadband users had no idea about the speed of their connection anyway."
Music

At Atlantic Records, Digital Sales Surpass CDs 273

The NYTimes reports that Atlantic is the first major label to report getting a majority of its revenue from digital sales, not CDs. Analysts say that Atlantic is out in front — the industry as a whole isn't expected to hit the 50% mark until 2011. By 2013, music industry revenues will be 37% down from their 1999 levels (when Napster arrived on the scene), according to Forrester. "'It's not at all clear that digital economics can make up for the drop in physical,' said John Rose, a former executive at EMI ... Instead, the music industry is now hoping to find growth from a variety of other revenue streams it has not always had access to, like concert ticket sales and merchandise from artist tours. ... In virtually all... corners of the media world, executives are fighting to hold onto as much of their old business as possible while transitioning to digital — a difficult process that NBC Universal's chief executive ... has described as 'trading analog dollars for digital pennies.'"
The Media

90% of Gaming Addiction Patients Not Addicted 333

phorm writes "BBC is carrying an article which states that 90% of visitors to Europe's 'video game addiction clinic' are not, in fact, addicted. The problem is a social one rather than a psychological issue. In other words, the patients have turned to heavy gaming because they felt they didn't fit in elsewhere, or that they fit in better 'in the game' than elsewhere in 'the real world.' This has been discussed before, with arguments ranging from gaming being a good way to socialize, the clinical definition of gaming addiction, and claims than males are wired for video-game addiction."

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