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Submission + - Stop Spocking Laurier!

bellwould writes: The Toronto Sun is reporting that Bank of Canada executives are urging Star Trek fans to stop altering Wilfred Laurier's face on the Canadian $5 bill to look like Spock. Although not illegal to draw on the bills, a Bank of Canada spokesperson points out that the markings may reduce effectiveness of the security features or worse, the money may not be accepted. C'mon now, would ever reject a $pock?

Submission + - NASA: Curiosity has found plastic on Mars ( 2

dsinc writes: Last week Curiosity was able to use its SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) device to confirm the discovery. A robotic arm with a complex system of Spectral Analysis devices was able to vaporize and identify gasses from the sample, concluding that it is in fact plastic. How plastic formed or ended up on the Martian surface is quite an exciting mystery that sparks many questions. The type of plastic sampled as we know so far can only be formed using petrochemicals, meaning not only that there could possibly be a source of oil on the Red Planet, but that somehow it got turned into plastic. Even more interesting is that oil or petrochemicals used to create this type of plastic are only known to come from ancient fossilized organic materials, such as zooplankton and algae, which geochemical processes convert into oil pointing to the earthshaking evidence that there was once life on mars.

"Right now we have multiple working hypotheses, and each hypothesis makes certain predictions about things like what the spherules are made of and how they are distributed," said Curiosity's principal investigator, Steve Squyres, of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. "Our job as we explore Matijevic Hill in the months ahead will be to make the observations that will let us test all the hypotheses carefully, and find the one that best fits the observations."


Did Microsoft Alter Windows Sales Figures? 165

Saxophonist writes "InformationWeek claims to have analyzed Microsoft's most recent Form 10-Q and observed that a reported increase in earnings for the Windows unit may be due to accounting trickery rather than actual sales growth. Microsoft apparently increased its reported revenues for its Windows, Server & Tools, and Office units at least partly through shifting revenues from other units. While there may be nothing 'to suggest the company's revisions violate any accounting rules,' the actual growth in Windows sales was likely nowhere near the high double-digit percentage growth claimed. InformationWeek speculates that revenues from Xbox and Surface may have been among the revenues shifted to the other divisions."

Amazon Patents Bad Gift Protection 210

theodp writes "Thanks to the inventors at, you needn't fear Aunt Martha any longer. On Tuesday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos received a patent for a bad gift defense system that intercepts gifts you don't want and instead sends you something that you actually do want. For example, Amazon explains that its 'System and Method for Converting Gifts' would allow you to set up a rule like 'Convert all gifts from Aunt Mildred,' which would automatically convert any online gift orders from your well-meaning-but-tasteless Auntie into a gift certificate. Other examples of how the system might be used: You could convert bad gifts to something off your wish list; block specific products ('Not another XYZ comic strip calendar'); or ensure that any clothing gifts match your exact size ('Check clothes sizes first')."

Scientists Create Equation For a Perfect Handshake Screenshot-sm 144

Hugh Pickens writes "Discover Magazine reports that despite the average person shaking hands nearly 15,000 times in a lifetime, one in five (19 per cent) admit they hate the act of the handshake and are unsure how to do it properly, regularly making a handshake faux pas such as having sweaty palms, squeezing too hard or holding on too long while over half the population (56 per cent) say they have been on the receiving end of an unpleasant handshake experience in the past month alone. But help is at hand as scientists have developed a mathematical equation for the perfect handshake taking into account the twelve primary measures needed to convey respect and trust to the recipient. The research was performed at the behest of Chevrolet as part of a handshake training guide for its staff and is meant to offer peace of mind and reassurance to its customers. A full guide to the perfect handshake is available on Flickr."

Brain Training Games Don't Train Your Brain 151

Stoobalou writes with this excerpt from "A new study has shown that brain training games do little to exercise the grey matter. Millions of people who have been prodding away at their Nintendo DS portable consoles, smug in the knowledge that they are giving their brains a proper work-out, might have to rethink how they are going to stop the contents of their skulls turning into mush."

iPhone App Store Rejects Find a New Home 152

eldavojohn writes "A new site called App Rejections (somewhat slashdotted already) aims to provide a home for misfit apps. With Apple offering no documents or discussions on the matter of application rejections, this site might become a popular place to pick forbidden fruit. Could a third party horn in on Apple's monopoly in the iPhone application market?"

Microsoft's Top Devs Don't Seem To Like Own Tools 496

ericatcw writes "Through tools such as Visual Basic and Visual Studio, Microsoft may have done more than any other vendor to make drag and drop-style programming mainstream. But its superstar developers seem to prefer old-school modes of crafting code. During the panel at the Professional Developers Conference earlier this month, the devs also revealed why they think writing tight, bare-metal code will come back into fashion, and why parallel programming hasn't caught up with the processors yet." These guys are senior enough that they don't seem to need to watch what they say and how it aligns with Microsoft's product roadmap. They are also dead funny. Here's Jeffrey Snover on managed code (being pushed by Microsoft through its Common Language Runtime tech): "Managed code is like antilock brakes. You used to have to be a good driver on ice or you would die. Now you don't have to pump your brakes anymore." Snover also joked that programming is getting so abstract, developers will soon have to use Natal to "write programs through interpretative dance."

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