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Submission + - Rosetta snaps a picture of its own shadow on the comet below (

mpicpp writes: The ESA released an image Tuesday of the comet-orbiting Rosetta leaving a fleeting mark on the comet: its shadow. The space agency describes it as being "encircled in a wreath of light." It was a rare confluence of circumstances that enabled the image to exist as the sun, spacecraft and comet all came into alignment.

The shadow is diffuse, rather than sharp. The ESA explains this by noting, "If you were standing on the surface with Rosetta high above you, there would be no place in the shadow where the entire Sun would be blocked from view, which explains why there is no fully dark core to the shadow."

The image was taken during a close flyby of the comet on February 14, but the ESA just now brought it to the public's attention. Rosetta — which was launched back in 2004 and sent on a mission to approach and study Comet 67P — was at a distance of about 3.7 miles from the comet's surface at the time.

What's so intriguing about the shadow image is that it's something familiar happening in an alien place, 317 million miles away. We're all used to seeing our shadows here on Earth. Rosetta casting a shadow on a comet puts its epic space adventure into a more human perspective.

Comment Spent 23 years on a submarine (Score 1) 207

I worked taking care of the electronics and computers necessary to determine target location and preset, arm and launch the appropriate weapon at same. Not exactly the skill set the private sector looks at. I spent the last 6 months of my career as a windows admin (long enough not to look for an admin job). It took me a month, but I found work maximizing what others have said. Yes sir, I know you don't have torpedoes, but you have software that performs in a manner that is other than expected. I spent the last 23 years finding and fixing issues, I can do the same for you.

Comment Re:50/50 (Score 1) 566

I drive a hybrid. While I like earth, I am far from a tree hugger. I drive the hybrid for the 40 miles/gallon, which is nice for the 100 mile/day commute to work. Hybrids, though, while better on the environment (except for what do you do with a large, highly toxic battery, once it won't charge anymore?), and so far better on my pocket book. I get a mid-sized car that uses gas like a compact.


The Perfect Way To Slice a Pizza 282

iamapizza writes "New Scientist reports on the quest of two math boffins for the perfect way to slice a pizza. It's an interesting and in-depth article; 'The problem that bothered them was this. Suppose the harried waiter cuts the pizza off-center, but with all the edge-to-edge cuts crossing at a single point, and with the same angle between adjacent cuts. The off-center cuts mean the slices will not all be the same size, so if two people take turns to take neighboring slices, will they get equal shares by the time they have gone right round the pizza — and if not, who will get more?' This is useful, of course, if you're familiar with the concept of 'sharing' a pizza."

Hand Written Clock 86

a3buster writes "This clock does not actually have a man inside, but a flatscreen that plays a 24-hour loop of this video by the artist watching his own clock somewhere and painstakingly erasing and re-writing each minute. This video was taken at Design Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach 2009."

Sharp Rise In Jailing of Online Journalists; Iran May Just Kill Them 233

bckspc writes "The Committee to Protect Journalists has published their annual census of journalists in prison. Of the 136 reporters in prison around the world on December 1, 'At least 68 bloggers, Web-based reporters, and online editors are imprisoned, constituting half of all journalists now in jail.' Print was next with 51 cases. Also, 'Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business.' China, Iran, Cuba, Eritrea, and Burma were the top 5 jailers of journalists." rmdstudio writes, too, with word that after the last few days' protest there, largely organized online, the government of Iran is considering the death penalty for bloggers and webmasters whose reports offend it.

Submission + - What we can learn from law's treatment of software (

An anonymous reader writes: "Twenty-five years ago a vigorous debate raged in U.S. legal academia over whether software should be covered by patent or copyright or some third option." What can we learn from what happened? Interesting article in the Communications of the ACM by James Boyle, gleaning lessons from how law messed up and — sometimes despite doom-saying — didn't mess up, technological change. The ungated version is here
I liked this paragraph..
"The words "by means of a computer" seem to be an incantation of magical power, able to transubstantiate the ideas and formulae of the public domain into private property. And, like the breaking of a minor taboo that presages a Victorian literary character's slide into debauchery, once that first wall protecting the public domain was breached, the courts found it easier and easier to breach still others. If one could turn an algorithm into a patentable machine (by simply adding "by means of a computer"), then could one not turn a business method into something patentable by specifying the organizational or information technology structure through which the business method is to be implemented?"
"Who would have predicted that software copyrights could be used to create a self-perpetuating commons, [of free software] as well as a monopoly over operating systems, or that judges would talk knowingly of network effects in curtailing the scope of coverage? Who would have predicted that patents would be extended not only to basic algorithms implemented by a computer but to methods of business themselves?"
The article says it is adapted from Boyle's book which can be downloaded from


Submission + - IBM Report Reveals Unprecedented Web Insecurity (

An anonymous reader writes: According to a new report from IBM, there has been a 508 percent increase in the number of new malicious Web links discovered in the first half of 2009. This problem is no longer limited to malicious domains or untrusted Web sites. The X-Force report notes an increase in the presence of malicious content on trusted sites, including popular search engines, blogs, bulletin boards, personal Web sites, online magazines and mainstream news sites. The ability to gain access and manipulate data remains the primary consequence of vulnerability exploitations.

Submission + - Windows 7: Should desktop users buy into the hype? ( 4

J. Dzhugashvili writes: We've all seen blog posts hyping up Windows 7, often with cut-and-pasted MS screenshots and feature descriptions. But what's it like to sit down and use the operating system on a desktop PC? Do new features deserve the hype? Do they work as advertised? The folks at The Tech Report have been using the final version of Windows 7 since shortly after its release to manufacturing, and they've posted an article that tries to answer those questions. A number of improvements, like the updated Backup and Restore functionality and Remote Desktop Direct3D support, have slipped through the blogosphere's radar. On the flip side, those who migrate from Vista shouldn't expect flawless compatibility or performance from the new additions. HomeGroup, for instance, interfaces in bizarre ways with the regular File Sharing interface, and Device Stage doesn't do much yet. The article also breaks down the different Windows 7 editions and explains why Home Premium now looks like a better choice for most users.

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