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Planck Mission Releases Images of Galactic Dust 40

davecl writes "The Planck satellite has released its first new science images, showing the large scale filamentary structure of cold dust in our own galaxy. This release coincides with the completion of its first survey of the entire sky a couple of weeks ago. There's lots more work to be done, and more observations to be made, before results are ready on the Big Bang, but these images demonstrate Planck's performance and capability. More information is available on the Planck mission blog (which I maintain)."

Gamma Ray Mystery Reestablished By Fermi Telescope 95

eldavojohn writes "New observations from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope reveal that our assumptions about the 'fog' of gamma rays in our universe are not entirely explained by black hole-powered jets emanating from active galaxies — as we previously hypothesized. For now, the researchers are representing the source of unaccounted gamma rays with a dragon (as in 'here be') symbol. A researcher explained that they are certain about this, given Fermi's observations: 'Active galaxies can explain less than 30 percent of the extragalactic gamma-ray background Fermi sees. That leaves a lot of room for scientific discovery as we puzzle out what else may be responsible.' And so we reopen the chapter on background gamma-rays in the science textbooks and hope this eventually sheds even more light on other mysteries of space — like star formation and dark matter."

Submission + - Dell Bait and Switch 1

coldfarnorth writes: I recently found out the hard way that if you buy a machine with Vista Ultimate installed on it from Dell, you get exactly half of what Microsoft sells as the same product. According to Microsoft's web page (at the bottom of the page), Vista Ultimate is the only version of windows for which you need not specify that you want either the 32-bit or the 64-bit version; Both are included. According to the Dell's website (Home and Home Office), you can order "Windows Vista Ultimate" on your computer. No provisos, no disclaimers, no asterisks, no fine print. You might think that the two products would be the same, but when my computer arrived I was shown to be, shall we say, a bit optimistic. Although Dell proudly touted it as a containing a 64-bit processor, it arrived with only the 32-bit version of Vista.

After calling Dell, dealing with two levels of scripted problem solving, explaining six ways that, I was not interested in a new computer, I merely wanted what had been specified at the time of sale, I was firmly told that that my only recourse was to speak to the Conflict Resolution Team. Still better, I could not call them, they would call me. After another brief circus, I spoke with a gentleman whose accent had been outsourced, and I was assured yet again that there was absolutely nothing that Dell could do about the confusion. Had I complained within 21 days of receiving the laptop, I could have returned it (but that date had passed).

The rest of the conversation was a debate on what Dell had offered when the computer was ordered. I pointed out that Microsoft only sold one version of Vista Ultimate and that if Dell was offering Vista Ultimate, it seemed reasonable to assume that I was getting the whole product, as Dell offered no information suggesting otherwise. His response was a gem: Why should I assume that the two products were the same? After all, Dell had presented nothing in writing to that effect. Further discussion proved equally futile, and the conversation ended.

That essentially left me out of options. I had gotten as far into Customer Service (ha) as anyone would let me go. I would be interested in hearing if anyone else has been bothered by this particular bait-and-switch, and have managed to get this resolved in their favor.
Christmas Cheer

Submission + - Crazy Carbon Neutral Christmas Lights (

HyperOgga writes: "This year we decided to do something completely different. Instead of wasting electricity we devised a way to power our Christmas lights with people power! To do this we attached a handle to our front fence which, when wound, generates electricity through a dynamo. Not only is this environmentally friendly but it's interactive and lots of fun. Everyone in our street seems to like it — every evening we get a steady stream of visitors winding it up and watching the lights glow."

Submission + - Russian SU-30 Jet Stops in Mid-Air without Stalls (

zygote writes: From
"The fighter can stall from high speed, stopping in less than a second. Then it demonstrates an ability to descend tail first without causing a compressor stall. It can also recover from a flat spin in less than a minute."

Link to video of the jet at

So, will the Russians sell it to the Chinese? Why don't we [the U.S.] have one? Or do we...?

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