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Paintball Pellets As a Tool To Deflect Asteroids 153

SternisheFan sends this quote from an article at MIT's Technology Review: "In the event that a giant asteroid is headed toward Earth, you’d better hope that it’s blindingly white. A pale asteroid would reflect sunlight — and over time, this bouncing of photons off its surface could create enough of a force to push the asteroid off its course. How might one encourage such a deflection? The answer, according to an MIT graduate student: with a volley or two of space-launched paintballs. Sung Wook Paek, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, says if timed just right, pellets full of paint powder, launched in two rounds from a spacecraft at relatively close distance, would cover the front and back of an asteroid, more than doubling its reflectivity, or albedo. The initial force from the pellets would bump an asteroid off course; over time, the sun’s photons would deflect the asteroid even more."

The Boy Who Loved Batman 157

theodp writes "As a young boy, Batman producer Michael Uslan — a self-described 'ultimate comic book geek' — was traumatized to see the Caped Crusader being 'murdered' in front of his very eyes by the camp 60's TV series. 'I was horrified,' Uslan told a Harper College audience last week. 'I was horrified because the whole world was laughing at Batman, and that just killed me.' At that point, the 13-year-old vowed to teach the world about the Batman he knew, about the crusader who lurked in the shadows, about a darker, grittier superhero. As told in his memoir The Boy Who Loved Batman, he made good on that vow: Uslan has served as the executive producer of all Batman major motion pictures, from 1989's Batman to the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises (trailer)."

Microsoft Wrongly Gives Britain the Day Off 253

Barence writes "An error in Outlook's public holidays calendar has incorrectly given Britons the day off work. Today was originally meant to be a Bank Holiday in Britain, but the holiday was postponed for a week to coincide with the Queen's diamond jubilee next week. However, Microsoft Outlook and Windows Live services are still reporting today as Britain's Spring Bank Holiday, potentially tricking Britons into believing they have the day off work."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Researcher Runs IP Network Over Xylophones 83

joabj writes "Following up on experiments of running Internet Protocol(IP)-based networks with carrier pigeons or bongos, UofC grad student R. Stuart Geiger has demonstrated that it is possible to transmit simple ping requests across two computers using people playing xylophones. Throughput is roughly 1 baud, when the participants don't make any mistakes, or get bored and wander off. The OSI encapsulated model of networking makes this project doable, allowing humans to be inserted at Layer 1, the physical layer. Vint Cerf wasn't kidding when he used to say, 'IP on Everything.'"

Making a Privacy Monitor From an Old LCD 185

ryzvonusef writes "Instructables Member 'Dimovi' utilized a spare LCD monitor and converted it into a 'privacy' monitor. He took apart the monitor's plastic frame, cutting out the polarized film with a utility knife and removed the film adhesive from the glass panel before reassembling the monitor, which now shines a bright white regardless of what is actually being displayed on the screen. He then removed the lenses from a pair of theater 3D glasses, and replaced it with the polarized film he had just removed from the monitor. Now, he is the only one who can see what he is doing on his computer."

Facebook Holding Back Personal Data 125

itwbennett writes "Facebook has reduced the amount of personal data it releases to users as required by European Union law. Due to the volume of requests since Europe v. Facebook began its campaign, Facebook is no longer sending CDs to people. Facebook said in a statement that the CD mailout 'contains a level of detail that is less useful for the average user — it is a much rawer collection of data.' Instead, users are now directed to a page where they can download their personal 'archive,' which according to Facebook is a copy of 'all of the personal information you've shared on Facebook.' But rather than the 57 categories of data early data requesters received, the new tool downloads just 22 categories."

Google Buzz Buzzing Away 139

MrCrassic writes "It looks like the glory days of Google Buzz have finally come to an end. Google has formally announced the termination of this service to concentrate their efforts on Google+. From the article: 'In a few weeks we'll shut down Google Buzz and the Buzz API, and focus instead on Google+. While people obviously won't be able to create new posts after that, they will be able to view their existing content on their Google Profile, and download it using Google Takeout.' Other products, such as Code Search, the Google Labs website and Jaiku, will also be on the chopping block.

Was the iPod Accessory Port Inspired By a 40-Year-Old Camera? 263

An anonymous reader writes "While Samsung has been accused of repeatedly borrowing everything from Apple's hardware, to packaging and accessories, it appears that all current iDevices share a port which is very similar to one found on a forty-year-old Polaroid camera. It gets more interesting when you realize that camera was the 'supreme achievement' of a man Steve Jobs idolized. Edwin Land was the creator of the Polaroid camera and, if Steve Jobs obsessed over Land's devices the way many do with iPhones, etc. today, there's a chance this similarity is not a coincidence."

New USB 3.0 Flash Drive Has 2 TB of Storage 212

First time accepted submitter Dr Max writes "During Display Taiwan, Transcend and Taiwan's ITRI displayed a finger-long USB stick that reportedly offers 2 TB of storage. That's no typo. It somehow holds up to 2 terabytes worth of information. So far neither company has released anything official in regards to specs or a simple introduction, nor does the high-capacity USB 3.0 stick appear on Display Taiwan's website. But as seen in the video below, the 'Thin Card' thumb drive is even smaller than a thumb, measuring slightly thicker than a penny. It offers a minimum of 16 GB and a maximum of 2 TB."

'Superpoke' To Be No More, Thanks To Google 97

angry tapir writes "Apparently the age of 'superpoking' social network friends and throwing sheep at them is coming to a close. Google plans to shut down the social applications developed by Slide, a company it acquired a year ago for US$182 million. Slide products include SuperPoke, and photo management and decorating tools like Slideshow and FunPix. Slide's applications like Slideshow were very popular on MySpace during its heyday, and found success on other social networking sites, including Facebook, where the sheep-throwing feature of SuperPoke caught on, entertaining and annoying many."

Is the Quick Death of Failed Tech Products a Good Thing? 181

Joining the ranks of accepted submitters, HumanEmulator writes "The NY Times reports on how the Hollywood summer-movie business model is being applied to tech products: 'Every release needs to be a blockbuster, and the only measure of success is the opening-weekend gross. There is little to no room for the sleeper indie hit that builds good word of mouth to become a solid performer over time.' New products are being pulled from shelves only weeks after a lackluster release. What if the TouchPad, the Microsoft Kin, or even Google Wave had had more time on the market? Is this blockbuster-or-bust model a good thing for consumers, or for the industry in general?"

Interview With 'Idiot' Behind Key Software Patent 223

An anonymous reader writes "Last week, an appeals court ruling opened the door to making it easier to kill software patents. It turns out that the guy whose name was on the actual patent didn't even realize it was at the center of the debate, and doesn't like software patents very much. 'So I was thinking — great they invalidated software patents, lets see what crappy patent written by an idiot they picked to do it — then I realized the idiot in question was me.'"

MK-1 Robotic Arm Capable of Near-Human Dexterity, Dancing 56

An anonymous reader writes "The MK-1 Robotic Arm from HDT Global comes from a DARPA sponsored project to create a highly advanced prosthetic limb. The disco dance moves shown at the beginning of this video show off the impressive dexterity of the modular servo units that comprise the MK-1 Robotic Arm." Internet rudeness alert: the (impressive) video starts autoplaying, with sound; you have been warned.

Zuckerberg Quits Google+ Over Privacy Concerns 284

ianpm writes "Mark Zuckerberg has decided to leave Google's new social network because he 'doesn't want to be tracked.' In other news, the Internet's irony meter has just exploded. Robert Scoble is now the most followed person on Google+ according to The Inquirer." Most of the article is about the rankings of various G+ users with big followings. I currently have a measly 400 or so. Guess I'll never be as cool as MySpace's Tom.

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