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Space

Scientists Record Signal of Distant Black Hole Consuming Star 42

ananyo writes "Astronomers think they have seen the flare of a dying star being eviscerated by a black hole. The signal, spotted by three different satellites, could shed light on the relationship between the smaller black holes seen in our own galaxy and the supermassive ones in distant reaches of the Universe. The stellar victim was first seen in 2011 by Swift, a NASA satellite designed to spot bursts of high-energy photons known as gamma-rays. For more than a month, Swift watched a signal from a distant galaxy, which eventually faded from view. Subsequent analysis showed that the gamma-rays probably came from a star being ripped to pieces by a previously unknown black hole (abstract)."
Software

Why Software Is Eating the World 192

An anonymous reader writes "Web browser pioneer Marc Andreessen writes in the Wall Street Journal that software is 'eating the world.' He argues that software's importance to the economy is being underestimated, and will become much more evident in the near future. Quoting: 'But too much of the debate is still around financial valuation, as opposed to the underlying intrinsic value of the best of Silicon Valley's new companies. My own theory is that we are in the middle of a dramatic and broad technological and economic shift in which software companies are poised to take over large swathes of the economy. More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services—from movies to agriculture to national defense. Many of the winners are Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurial technology companies that are invading and overturning established industry structures. Over the next 10 years, I expect many more industries to be disrupted by software, with new world-beating Silicon Valley companies doing the disruption in more cases than not.'"
Image

Designers Create Meat Eating Furniture Screenshot-sm 120

Sonny Yatsen writes "NPR's Robert Krulwich explores the work of several designers who are working on carnivorous furniture. These creations, include a clock that feeds on dead flies, and a table that lures mice into a guillotined death. 'We want robots to be able to get their own energy from the environment,' says co-designer Prof. Melhuish. Let's hope they come up with a lounge chair that eats cockroaches sometime soon."
Space

Is Mimas Hiding Pac-Man? 99

cremeglace writes "Shaped into the likes of the Death Star of Star Wars fame by the giant crater Herschel, 396-kilometer-diameter Mimas was expected to have its warmest surface temperatures on the equator, where it was early afternoon. Instead, it was warmest in the morning (all of 92 K), giving rise in the science team's temperature-calibrated color scheme to a very large Pac-Man."
Databases

Is MySQL's Community Eating the Company? 223

mjasay writes "Craigslist's Jeremy Zawodny reviews the progress of MySQL as a project, and discovers that through third-party forks and enhancements like Drizzle and OurDelta 'you can get a "better" MySQL than the one Sun/MySQL gives you today. For free.' Is this a good thing? On one hand it demonstrates the strong community around MySQL, but on the other, it could make it harder for Sun to fund core development on MySQL by diverting potential revenue from the core database project. Is this the fate of successful open-source companies? To become so successful as a community that they can't eke out a return as a company? If so, could anyone blame MySQL/Sun for creating its own proprietary fork in order to afford further core development?"

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