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Astronomers Discover 33 Pairs of Waltzing Black Holes 101

Astronomers from UC Berkeley have identified 33 pairs of waltzing black holes, closing the gap somewhat between the observed population of super-massive black hole pairs and what had been predicted by theory. "Astronomical observations have shown that 1) nearly every galaxy has a central super-massive black hole (with a mass of a million to a billion times the mass of the Sun), and 2) galaxies commonly collide and merge to form new, more massive galaxies. As a consequence of these two observations, a merger between two galaxies should bring two super-massive black holes to the new, more massive galaxy formed from the merger. The two black holes gradually in-spiral toward the center of this galaxy, engaging in a gravitational tug-of-war with the surrounding stars. The result is a black hole dance, choreographed by Newton himself. Such a dance is expected to occur in our own Milky Way Galaxy in about 3 billion years, when it collides with the Andromeda Galaxy."

Canadian Blood Services Promotes Pseudoscience 219

trianglecat writes "The not-for-profit agency Canadian Blood Services has a section of their website based on the Japanese cultural belief of ketsueki-gata, which claims that a person's blood group determines or predicts their personality type. Disappointing for a self-proclaimed 'science-based' organization. The Ottawa Skeptics, based in the nation's capital, appear to be taking some action."

Comment Pure window dressing. (Score 1) 185

I doubt that more than one in a thousand (or ten thousand) complaints will result in any FCC action unless the FCC is specially funded to support these actions (which in this economic climate is highly unlikely). The telemarketers are just playing the odds.

I had an old FAX machine which used coated paper on fairly small rolls. For a while I regularly submitted complaints about SPAM faxes, probably about 20 in all, supplying all requested information and enclosing a copy of the fax. I heard nothing until 3 or 4 months later when I received an envelope from the FCC with a single sheet titled "How to submit a complaint to the FCC" which had nothing at all to do with SPAM faxes.


Submission + - Evil Software - Whoa! (

cwsulliv writes: "Can software be evil? Noted author Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game, Speaker For The Dead) apparently thinks so, and has choice words for Microsoft Vista. Here are a couple of quotes from the last few paragraphs of his (long) weekly column at -07-29.shtml
        Vista itself is so evil that I find myself infuriated continuously.
        So I'm fed up. I'm getting Linux. Microsoft's arrogant incompetence has finally brought me to the point of no return. "


Submission + - Microsoft can evade GPL 3 ..

rs232 writes: ""Microsoft should be able to extricate itself from the implications of the new GPL 3, according to a leading Australian intellectual property lawyer"

"Unless there is something more specific in the certificate or the collaboration agreement between Novell and Microsoft, I would be very surprised to see this upheld. It was a nice try on the part of (the FSF), but at this stage, I'd say it's not going to be an effective strategy. It will be tough to hold up in court."

'In this case, she said, Microsoft never acted — never 'entered' into the agreement, and the terms and conditions can only apply to new actions by Microsoft, not older ones. She said: "Their actions so far are not enough to say that they are bound."',39024651,39167957 ,00.htm"

Submission + - California Limits DREs, Adds Security Restrictions (

zestyping writes: "At 11:45 pm last night, Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced her decisions on the use of electronic voting systems in California, following the review that found vulnerabilities in all three systems tested.

For Diebold and Sequoia (but not Hart), only one DRE is allowed per polling place, and there must be a 100% manual count of all votes cast on it. The ES&S InkaVote, which wasn't submitted in time for the review, is decertified.

Several new restrictions apply to both DREs and optical scan systems by Diebold, Sequoia, and Hart. All software and firmware must be reinstalled on all devices prior to the February primary election. Security seals must be serialized. If a machine error requires the machine to be rebooted, it must be removed from service and the vendor must explain the cause of failure. Vote tallies must be posted outside each polling place. There will also be increased post-election manual auditing of the results.

See the official documents for all the details: Diebold, Hart, Sequoia, ES&S."


Submission + - Record Industry Woes Aggravated by Years of Bad PR

An anonymous reader writes: Richard Menta makes a strong case on MP3 Newswire that bad public relations stirred by the open conflict between the record industry and the consumer is a heavy contributor to the crumbling fortunes of the major labels. In his analysis he contrasts how the NFL and Major League baseball tread gingerly with the Michael Vick and steroids scandals respectively to avoid further raising the ire of sports fans, while the major labels and the RIAA openly antagonize music fans who dare embrace new technologies they don't have full control of. From the article" Today the major record labels don't have a positive brand image and the very public actions they have taken to control the rise of digital media and the Internet over the last several years is at the very heart of their fall from grace. To some the big labels are an anachronism. To others they are anti-consumer. The erosion of their image is dramatic..." Menta then lays out 17 public events that have chipped away at the image of the recording industry including those that show them as bullies (RIAA sues little girls), as incompetent (RIAA sues the dead), as oppressors of the artist (Courtney Love, Janis Ian, and Grey Tuesday), as greedy (that's what Steve Jobs called them), and as practitioners of unauthorized access (Sony rootkit scandal). Consumer perception can be a bitch and the end result here is that many consumers probably don't feel as good about buying a CD anymore.

Submission + - WPA bug in Vista, is that a security problem? ( 1

Anonymous Coward writes: "Many people, such as me-said-the-idiot, or maybe all, cannot connect to a WPA protected WiFi network with Vista. So many will have to use an unsecured network configuration in order to go online. Practically all new PC laptops sold now are bundled with Vista, so this could well become the biggest and easiest to exploit security leak.. Many posts on MS forum PostID=481371&SiteID=17 but apparently it still isn't considered a problem by MS.."
Data Storage

Submission + - False alarm: Target's not giving up on HD DVD (

imelgrat writes: "As noted on Engadget HD the other day, and further clarified by Major Nelson this morning, that story about Target going exclusively Blu-ray was false. Turns out they're just installing Blu-ray aisle end caps, thanks to a new promotional deal with Sony, but HD DVD isn't going anywhere. Hopefully you haven't chucked out your HD DVD collection just yet in a concession to defeat at Thursday's "news," but if you have it's always good to know you can score replacements at your local Target, just like always."
United States

Submission + - Hackers given shot at California voting machines

pilsner.urquell writes: "Sequoia, Hart InterCivic and Diebold have failed to submit voting machines for security review.


Under the state's constitution, [California Secretary of State Debra] Bowen has until Friday, Aug. 3, to certify voting machines for California's February 2008 presidential primary election. California counties have invested millions in acquisition of electronic voting devices and would be hard pressed, both financially and time-wise, to replace equipment within six months.

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