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Submission + - Billion Tonne Comet May Have Missed Earth By A Few (technologyreview.com) 1

afree87 writes: "A re-analysis of historical observations at a Mexican observatory suggests Earth narrowly avoided an extinction event just over a hundred years ago. On 12th and 13th August 1883, an astronomer at a small observatory in Zacatecas in Mexico made an extraordinary observation. This month, Hector Manterola at the National Autonomous University of Mexico suggests these were fragments of a comet. "If they had collided with Earth we would have had 3275 Tunguska events in two days, probably an extinction event.""

Submission + - Atmosphere Heated Up Before Japan Quake (technologyreview.com)

afree87 writes: A new paper submitted to arXiv uses satellite data to contend that the ionosphere heats up before earthquakes. Observations from the DEMETER spacecraft show heat rising from the Pacific Ocean off Japan, spiking three days before the earthquake. "The thinking is that in the days before an earthquake, the great stresses in a fault as it is about to give cause the releases large amounts of radon."

Submission + - Universe May Be Infinite (technologyreview.com)

afree87 writes: Analyzing the latest observations of the visible Universe, astronomers have found it is at least 250 times bigger than anything we can detect, and may indeed be infinite: "They say that the curvature of the Universe is tightly constrained around 0. In other words, the most likely model is that the Universe is flat. A flat Universe would also be infinite and their calculations are consistent with this too." In an infinite universe, every anime is real.

Comment Re:So will he accept? (Score 1) 117

Actually, I'd say it isn't even a linguistic but a cultural problem. The New Yorker employed a Russian guy to explain his reasoning; he is a sort of Russian hermit. Imagine if Tolstoy went up against a person like Yau. I think there would be mutual disgust and bad feeling towards the literary community at large. Such a thing probably happened here.


David Pogue Wants to Take Back the Beep 383

David Pogue has distilled into useful form a long-standing complaint I have (and one reason I have long had a voice mail greeting that asked people not to leave me voicemail): cell phone companies set up the greeting, caller instructions, and playback system prompts in large part to maximize their revenue per user; by his calculations, the "mandatory 15-second voicmail instructions" from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and others is earning those companies something near a billion dollars a year in charges. Pogue suggests that users should "take back the beep," and to that end provides contact information for the largest cell carriers in order to register a complaint — and, more helpful in the short run, suggests ways in which to make better use of paid-for phone minutes by alerting callers how to bypass the annoying instructions.

Submission + - China Pulls the Plug on Facebook (shacknet.nu)

RadioOfficer writes: "Recent events in China have clearly raised concerns among the Chinese authorities. Yesterday evening shortly before 8pm, access to Facebook was blocked in Shanghai and Google search was severely curtailed. While Twitter and youTube have been inaccessible in mainland China for some time now, Facebook had escaped a general blockade albeit suffering occasional brief interruptions. The events of yesterday evening have Shanghai residents and ex-pats concerned however, with many wondering if Facebook has now suffered the same fate as Twitter and youTube. Many fear Facebook will not return anytime soon... The Washington Post appears to be the first official news outlet to confirm the actions of the Chinese authorities."
The Courts

Submission + - Prof. Nesson Ordered To Show Cause (blogspot.com)

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Professor Charles Nesson, the Harvard law professor serving pro bono as counsel to the defendant in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum has been ordered to show cause why sanctions should not be issued against him for violating the Court's orders prohibiting reproduction of the court proceedings. The order to show cause was in furtherance of the RIAA's motion for sanctions and protective order discussed on Slashdot yesterday. The Judge indicated that she was 'deeply concerned' about Prof. Nesson's apparent "blatant disregard" of her order"

Submission + - Spider builds life-size decoy of itself

Smivs writes: "The BBC are reporting on a species of spider that makes life size relicas of itself, possibly to distract predators.The arachnid's behaviour also offers one explanation for why many spiders like to decorate their webs with strange-looking ornaments. Many animals try to divert the attentions of predators by becoming masters of disguise. Some try to avoid being seen altogether by using camouflage to blend in against a background, such as the peppered moth evolving motley wings that blend into tree bark, or stick insects that look like sticks.The spider may be the first example of an animal building a life-size replica of its own body."

Submission + - HP Laptops Ship with Gaping Security Hole (zdnet.com) 1

Small revenge writes: A zero-day flaw is several major HP laptop models could provide an easy way for hackers to take complete control of Windows machines, according to a warning from an independent security researcher. A successful attack simply requires that the laptop owner is lured to a malicious Web site while using Microsoft's Internet Explorer. The risks include remote code execution, remote system registry read/write access and remote shell command execution.
United States

Submission + - On Point On the New Anti-Americanism (onpointradio.org) 2

Wellington Grey writes: "On Point recently did a show on the new Anti-Americanism. While Anti-Americanism has existed since the country emerged as the world's only superpower, the program stresses the differences and dangers of the current situation.

Anti-Americanism could be brushed off in the past because it was a small, if vocal, group espousing the idea. The problem is now that Anti-American sentiment abroad is no longer countered by a general population with positive feelings toward the US. Positive thoughts, even in America's allies, are now difficult to find.

Take, for example, Turkey. Ten years ago it was one of the most pro-American countries in the world, with Turkish support of the US at over 90%. Currently, support for the US is less than 9%.

From the show's summary: You want to know about anti-Americanism in the world? Here's the unhappy conclusion of a big-time panel of Republican and Democratic heavyweights, out yesterday: "America's reputation, standing, and influence are at all-time lows, and possibly sinking further."

Never in our history, says the report, have we, as a nation, been so poorly regarded in the world. And that has consequences. When America tries to lead, who follows? And if America stands too much alone, can it possibly prosper? Can it ever be safe?

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