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Google

Submission + - Google Street View - Now with Lasers

An anonymous reader writes: Google Street View cars were spotted in Italy yesterday. The new cars are carrying 3D laser scanners, like those used in the DARPA Grand Challenge. 3D city data coming to Google Earth sometime soon?
Government

Submission + - Ecuador Decrees Government Must Use Free Software (blogspot.com)

Glyn Moody writes: "Ecuador has made free software the default option for government systems: "The President of the Republic, Rafael Correa, by decree [Spanish PDF] no. 1014 of April 10, 2008, establishes as public policy for institutions of the central administration the use of free software in their computer systems and equipment." There are only three circumstances in which proprietary programs can be used: when there is no suitable open source solution, when national security is "at risk", or when a computer project is at a "point of no return"."

Feed Engadget: XCOR's Lynx aims to enter space tourism business in 2010 (engadget.com)

Filed under: Transportation

Crazy though it may be, XCOR's looming Lynx isn't the first rocket ship built to take Earthlings to outer space, but it's definitely taking a different approach than that of the SpaceShipTwo. Unveiled as the "sports car of commercial spaceflight," the smallish craft is only designed to carry two individuals (or a driver and cargo), meaning that you and your SO will have to take turns shooting up to some 61-kilometers above the ground. Reportedly, Lynx would be fueled by a kerosene / liquid oxygen mixture and could take off and land from traditional airstrips, and while it could manage several flights per day, each one is only slated to last 25 minutes. Sadly, the $64,000 (likely more, actually) question of how much this joyride will cost has yet to be answered, but optimistic minds are hoping to see test flights commence in 2010.

[Via NewScientist]

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Power

Submission + - SPAM: Light-up rug saves toes everywhere

coondoggie writes: "How many times have you smashed your foot into something as you traipse to the bathroom in the middle of the night? Well no more thanks to a new rug system that uses sensors and electroluminescence to light up as you step on it. Footlume was created by two college students who were inspired by the number of times they used their mobile phones to light their way in the dark. By using the same light source, electroluminescent panel and transferring it into a pressure activated rug we have created an energy efficient alternative to turning on a light switch. The electroluminescent rug uses rechargeable batteries uses on an electric field to generate light. [spam URL stripped]"
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