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Measuring the Speed of Light With Valentine's Day Chocolate Screenshot-sm 126

Cytotoxic writes "What to do with all of those leftover Valentine's Day chocolates? — a common problem for the Slashdot crowd. The folks over at Wired magazine have an answer for you in a nice article showing how to measure the speed of light with a microwave and some chocolate. A simple yet surprisingly accurate method that can be used to introduce the scientific method to children and others in need of a scientific education."

PhD Candidate Talks About the Physics of Space Battles Screenshot-sm 361

darthvader100 writes "Gizmodo has run an article with some predictions on what future space battles will be like. The author brings up several theories on propulsion (and orbits), weapons (explosives, kinetic and laser), and design. Sounds like the ideal shape for spaceships will be spherical, like the one in the Hitchhiker's Guide movie."

0 A.D. Goes Open Source 88

DoubleRing writes "Wildfire Games has announced that it will be moving its previously closed development process for 0 A.D. to open source. All code will be released under the GPL and all art under CC-BY-SA. 0 A.D. is a historically-based RTS, and while it's not yet complete, this trailer is purportedly actual gameplay footage. With a codebase of over 150k lines of C++ code plus 25k lines in development tools, this is looking like a fairly promising entrant into the open source RTS field. The screenshots are definitely pretty, to say the least."
The Internet

Disney Strikes Against Net Neutrality 442

1 a bee writes "Ars Technica is running a story by Matthew Lasar about how Disney's ESPN360.com is charging ISPs for 'bulk' access to their content. According to the article, if you visit ESPN using a 'non-subscribing' ISP, you're greeted with a message explaining why access is restricted for you. This raises a number of issues: '... it's one thing to charge users an access fee, another to charge the ISP, potentially passing the cost on to all the ISPs subscribers whether they're interested in the content or not.' Ironically, the issue came to the fore in a complaint from the American Cable Association (ACA) to the FCC. A quoted ACA press release warns, 'Media giants are in the early stages of becoming Internet gatekeepers by requiring broadband providers to pay for their Web-based content and services and include them as part of basic Internet access for all subscribers. These content providers are also preventing subscribers who are interested in the content from independently accessing it on broadband networks of providers that have refused to pay.' So, is this a real threat to net neutrality (and the end-to-end principle) or just another bad business model that doesn't stand a chance?"

Submission + - Google trying to make <video> H.264 only? (whatwg.org)

David Gerard writes: "Google Chrome includes Ogg support for the <video> element. It also includes support for the hideously encumbered H.264 format. Nice as an extra, but ... they're also testing HTML5 YouTube only for H.264 — meaning the largest video provider on the Net will make H.264 the primary codec and relegate the equally good open format Ogg Theora firmly to the sidelines. Mike Shaver from Mozilla has fairly unambiguously asked Chris diBona from Google what the heck Google thinks it's doing. We all eagerly await the answer to the question: "WTF?""
The Internet

Submission + - EFF begins tracking terms of service changes 1

netbuzz writes: "Next time a major Web site like Facebook, Google or eBay changes their seldom-read terms of service, a new project from the Electronic Frontier Foundation will be there to chronicle the alterations and highlight them for all to see. Called TOSBack, the EFF site launched today and is already tracking 44 sites. "Terms of service form the foundation of your relationship with social networking sites, online businesses, and other Internet communities, but most people become aware of these terms only when there's a problem," said EFF Activism and Technology Manager Tim Jones. "We created TOSBack to help consumers monitor terms of service for the websites they use everyday, and show how the terms change over time."

The Courts

Submission + - SPAM: Sears gets wrist slap over spyware activities

coondoggie writes: "Sears today agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it failed to disclose the depth of consumers' personal information it collected via a downloadable software application. The settlement calls for Sears to stop collecting data from the consumers who downloaded the software and to destroy all data it had previously collected. If Sears advertises or disseminates any tracking software in the future, it must clearly and prominently disclose the types of data the software will monitor, record, or transmit, the FTC stated. Sears must also disclose whether any of the data will be used by a third party, the FTC said. [spam URL stripped]"
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Printable, Roll-Up Solar Panels Developed (technologyreview.com)

Al writes: "A startup based in Toledo, Ohio, has developed a way to make large, flexible solar panels using a roll-to-roll manufacturing technique. Thin-film amorphous silicon solar cells are formed on thin sheets of stainless steel and each solar module is about one meter wide and five-and-a-half meters long. Conventional silicon solar panels are bulky and rigid, but these lightweight, flexible sheets could easily be integrated into roofs and building facades. They could even be rolled up and carried in a backpack, says the company's cofounder and president, Xunming Deng. "You could take it with you and charge your laptop battery," he says."
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Indie game developer demos 'insert coin' system

An anonymous reader writes: Sinsoft introduces a business model where users get to download the game for free and playing the game costs 50c per play. While this idea is not new, Sinsoft claims that its mixture of web interface to purchase credit combined with client-server arcade cabinet for the game does provide a smoother experience. The company doesn't have a complete game yet, but it is showing off its game engine (Radial Engine) and the insert coin system at its site sinsoft.com. What do you guys think? Is the insert coin system a viable business model for indie game developers?

Submission + - Windows 7 up to 70% slower than Vista (pcpro.co.uk)

Barence writes: "PC Pro has benchmarked Windows 7 — and with surprisingly disappointing results. The magazine found that Windows 7 RC took 70% longer than Vista to complete a real-world Office 2007 benchmark. In most tests a clean installation of Windows 7 remains on a par with Vista, or at worst a few seconds behind. The news dents Windows 7's reputation as a slicker sequel to the often panned Vista."

Submission + - 16 year old siezed under Patriot Act (wral.com)

Arlack42 writes: "A 16 year old home schooled student from North Carolina was taken into custody under provisions of the US Patriot Act on March 5 and is being held sans due process. The youth was accused of making a bomb threat from his home on February 15. A computer, a cell phone, gaming console, routers, bank statements and school records were seized at the time of the arrest. He is currently being held in a youth facility near South Bend, Ind. The boys mother has appealed to state representatives and attorneys but has so far been told there is nothing that can be done."

Cracking the Code of Bacterial Communication 58

TEDChris writes "Microbiologist Bonnie Bassler explains her discovery of 'quorum sensing' — the amazing ability of bacteria to communicate with each other and coordinate attack strategies (video). By cracking the communication code, she has opened up potential for a new class of drugs tackling microbial diseases. The talk got a massive standing ovation at this year's TED and has just been posted. To quote one commenter: 'This is by far the most inspiring, amazing, and far-reaching talk I've seen in a very long time.'"

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