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Networking

Submission + - What's the Best Broadband ISP? (computerworld.com)

jcatcw writes: According to Computerworld's reader survey of broadband providers, 58% of respondents use cable and 38% use DSL. Included in the DSL numbers are those who use fiber-optic FiOS connections. Despite the hype, VoIP isn't exactly skyrocketing with broadband customers; only 27% of you are using it. The biggest shock: For all the grumbling, and for all of the complaints lodged against broadband ISPs on message boards and blogs across the Internet, broadband providers generally do a good job. Furthermore, reliability of our broadband connections is also good. But one thing is very clear: Speed rules. Verizon FiOS ranked first: "Upload and download tested speeds are faster than ISP claims, " said one Computerworld reader. Another added, "Little or no downtime." Second place goes to Cox Communications. Comcast came in last.
Sci-Fi

Submission + - Mass of the Milky Way: has 42 in it (news.com.au) 1

An anonymous reader writes: It seems Douglas Adams knew a thing or two. Scientists calculated the mass of the Milky Way. As any galactical hitchiker would predict, there is 42 in it: 3*10^42 kg. Why am I not suprised?
United States

Submission + - IRS Tracking Party Affiliation (thenewstribune.com) 1

cybermage writes: "According to the News Tribune, the IRS is tracking the party affiliation of taxpayers in the over twenty states that require identification of party affiliation on voter registration forms. The IRS is using the voter registration data to try to locate tax cheats. Some in Congress are looking to take steps to have the IRS purge such information and put a halt to IRS plans to outsource collections until the issue is resolved."
Republicans

Submission + - PA budget fight brings partial shutdown (yahoo.com)

JagsLive writes: "AP reports, " Gov. Ed Rendell late Sunday ordered a range of state government services shut down and placed about a third of the state work force on indefinite unpaid furlough after frantic last-minute negotiations failed to break a budget stalemate. Rendell, appearing outside his Capitol office, said the shutdown would go forward but added that he was optimistic that he and legislators could come to an agreement within a day. ""
Data Storage

Submission + - Recovering A Hosed HD... For Dummies 1

AC writes: If you have ever lost tens of gigabytes of data due to sudden hard drive failure (which, of course, typically happens the day before your backup solution was scheduled to be deployed), you are not alone in this. This article documents for the common good how to recover nearly everything off a badly broken drive thanks to a variety of tools ranging from a freezer to a small Python script.
Sci-Fi

Submission + - Scientists to Look for 'Wierd Life' (iht.com)

GapingHeadwound writes: Bypassing Slashdot (and going straight to the source?), "Scientists call for wider search for alien life".

Oh, and NASA's involved too...

A panel of scientists convened by America's leading scientific advisory group says the hunt for extraterrestrial life should be greatly expanded to include what they call "weird life": organisms that lack DNA or other molecules found in life as we know it.
[...]
NASA has long looked to life on Earth to guide its search for life on other worlds. Planets and moons that have hints of liquid water have been ranked high on the list of potential sites for life-detection missions. But there is good reason to suspect that other kinds of chemistry could support life as well, the authors of the new report argue. Weird life could differ from life as we know it in small or big ways.

The Courts

Submission + - "Internet danger"- or a fear-mongering gov (10zenmonkeys.com)

destinyland writes: Journalist Debbie Nathan argues that fears about children's safety on the internet are a specific cultural phenomenon that she first witnessed covering the infamous McMartin trial — a sex panic. In this interview she also notes that while the government claims online pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry...journalists can't investigate it. ("And the government is now using that claim to justify the Patriot Act.") She points out there's zero evidence that child pornography leads to any crimes against children, and speaks the ultimate taboo: can we de-mystify the issue of online child pornography, and bring it back in line with the First Amendment?"
Security

Submission + - NYC planning Street Security Cameras (nytimes.com)

* * Beatles-Beatles writes: "http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/09/nyregion/09ring. html

Similar to the system in London — If the program is fully financed, it will include not only license plate readers but also 3,000 public and private security cameras below Canal Street, as well as a center staffed by the police and private security officers, and movable roadblocks"

Space

Submission + - Broading the Definition of Life

Dr. Eggman writes: Ars Technica reports on a book issued by the National Academies of Science, which criticizes NASA's narrow approach to searching for life beyond earth and suggests a broader definition of life:

* A thermodynamic disequilibrium of some sort, from which energy can be harvested.
* A chemical environment that allows the persistence of covalent bonds.
* A liquid environment.
* A molecular inheritance system that can support Darwinian evolution.
The intent of the definition is to allow our search to take into account exotic lifeforms with biology so vastly different that we overlook them in our quest for earth-like conditions and therefore earth-like biology. The book itself appears to be a very interesting read, and appears to have a free full text PDF offering as well.

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