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Space

Russia Doubles Price For Launching US Astronauts 370

Third Position writes "NASA on Tuesday signed a contract to pay $55.8 million per astronaut for six Americans to fly into space on Russian Soyuz capsules in 2013 and 2014. NASA needs to get rides on Russian rockets to the International Space Station because it plans to retire the space shuttle fleet later this year. NASA now pays half as much, about $26.3 million per astronaut, when it uses Russian ships."
Books

Google Offering Print Versions of Online Books 147

carluva writes "Google is teaming up with On Demand Books to offer paperback versions of its collection of over 2 million public domain books. The books will be able to be printed using ODB's Espresso Book Machine, which is already in use at several book stores and libraries and can print and bind a complete, paperback copy of a 300-page book in less than 5 minutes. Google and ODB each get $1 in royalties per book sold (Google has pledged to donate its proceeds to charities and nonprofit organizations). See also ODB's PDF press release."
Cellphones

iPhone Straining AT&T Network 551

dangle writes "More than 20 million other smartphone users are on the AT&T network, but other phones do not drain the network the way the nine million iPhone users do. Because the average iPhone owner can use 10 times the network capacity used by the average smartphone user, dropped calls, spotty service, delayed text and voice messages and glacial download speeds are the result as AT&T's cellular network strains to meet the demand. AT&T says that the majority of the nearly $18 billion it will spend this year on its networks will be diverted into upgrades and expansions to meet the surging demands on the 3G network."
Media

Sirius, XM Merger Gets FCC Approval 187

Multiple readers, including koavf, have written to tell us the FCC has finally approved the Sirius-XM merger that has been in the works for quite a while now. CNN has picked up AP coverage as well. We discussed approval of the merger by the Justice Department a few months ago. From CNN: "The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to approve the buyout, with the tiebreaker coming Friday night from Republican commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate. Tate had insisted that the companies settle charges that they violated FCC rules before she would approve the deal. The companies agreed this week to pay $19.7 million to the U.S. Treasury for violations related to radio receivers and ground-based signal repeaters. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin confirmed the final vote Friday night. 'I think it's going to be, in the end, a good thing for consumers and be in the public interest,' he told The Associated Press."

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