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Submission + - Yahoo rolls back Groups redesign (ygroupsblog.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: After weeks of earnest feedback from concerned Yahoo Groups users and admins, Yahoo has announced the rollback of the Yahoo Groups redesign. Henceforth the redesign will be opt-in (it will not be forced on existing Groups). Props to Yahoo for hearing, acknowledging, and acting upon the concerns of its users. Jim Stoneham, Yahoo VP of communications products writes: "... I believe we can do a better job of involving our customers in the conversation, and that is what we aim to do going forward. ...."
The Courts

Submission + - SPAM: California Ruling Deepens US Death Penalty Debate

maars_news writes: A federal judge upheld the execution order for a murderer-rapist Albert Greenwood Brown in California by lethal injection. This is the first execution in nearly five years in the state.
The ruling was given by US District Judge Jeremy Fogel who also gave Brown the choice of being put to death by a single injection, as practiced in Washington and Ohio, instead of California state’s recently revised three-drug method.
The case adds fuel to the growing debate around the world over the use of the death penalty in the US following the execution of Teresa Lewis in Virginia last Thursday.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Google tries to kill nacent Cloud Computing Standa (aqueousvapor.com)

Aqueous Vapor writes: A battle has been brewing in the Open Cloud Computing Interface (OCCI) group within the Open Grid Forum (OGF) over the past months and came to a head today with the announcement that Google is not only withdrawing from the group, but is also taking it's contributions with it.

Google employee Sam Johnston wrote in a blog post, his side of the story that he has single handedly been pushing the OGF organization to open up its copyright policy to allow him to fork the standard in new directions.

The OGF has a clear policy on contributions, however, and was not about to be held hostage, thus they removed him from a leadership role in the organization. In retaliation, Sam has now sent a message revoking his copyright grant to his specifications and has instituted a fork under Creative Commons.

What this means for the standard that already has several implementations under way is anyone's guess, but it could come down to who has more lawyers: Google or an underfunded non-profit. If you are thinking that this is all a bit childish, you would not be alone. This kind of public spat is quite rare (thankfully) in a standards organization that usually only has participants working toward a common goal of a solid, widely implemented specification.

Submission + - Increasing Solar Efficiency to 66% 3

dptalia writes: Scientists at the University of Texas have discovered a way to up solar cell's efficiency to about 66%. Using quantum dot technology the scientists can capture the sun's energy that is transmitted as heat, which could dramatically change solar technology.
The Internet

Submission + - Net Neutrality Study: Devastating Job Losses (arstechnica.com)

WrongSizeGlass writes: Ars is reporting on the Armageddon version of net neutrality analysis released by New York Law School's Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute. The assessment, titled Net Neutrality, Investment & Jobs [PDF], damns the FCC's proposed net neutrality rules. It claims the consequence of the FCC's rules could rob the US of 502,000 jobs with a $62 billion impact on its GDP. The question, of course, is how the study's authors came up with those half-a-million job-loss estimates.

Submission + - School Me On... Schools 4

The Wild Norseman writes: "Hi everyone,

My daughter is fourteen years old and has recently made a statement that she wants to go into astronomy. I can't tell you how thrilled I was when I heard that she has leanings towards becoming a geek/nerd like her old man though I'm in computers and networking and not physics, but still.

Today, she mentioned that she wants to attend a school like Harvard because "once you go to Harvard, you can get a job anywhere in the world."

I suggested that she shop around for other schools more known for their physics and sciences programs, mainly because the first school that I always think of when someone says "science" is "MIT" and not "Harvard".

However, I could be wrong and so that's my question to all y'all. What colleges and universities would be some of the best places to learn astronomy and related sciences? Colleges/Uni's outside of the US are also in the running; her mom speaks Russian fluently and so she has some exposure to Russian, though I don't know if she'd be interested in studying in Russia for example.

Also, what kinds of things could she do to better prepare for that kind of degree? Do those high school science fairs or "build a robot" type competitions help these days?

Any and all feedback is appreciated and I'll answer questions if asked of me and her."

Submission + - Do cyber vigilantes make computing world safer? (infoworld.com) 1

tsamsoniw writes: Fed up with companies failing to address security holes fast enough, white hats are turning up the pressure by quickly making the vulnerabilities public. First Goatse Security made public thousands of email addresses of iPad users that it swiped from AT&T's Web site — after AT&T failed to disclose the data theft fast enough. Next a Google security engineer publicized an exploit for Windows XP — which is now being used widely — after deciding Microsoft was moving to slowly to fix the problem. In both cases, the Goatse and the security engineer are claiming they did what they did for the greater good: Though their actions put users at risk, it forces the offending companies to worker faster to fix the problem. Do the ends justify the means?

Submission + - No Flying Car? Try A Night-Flying Solar Ultralight (bbc.co.uk)

blair1q writes: When the solar aircraft Solar Impulse lifts off from an airfield in Switzerland on a sunny day at the end of June, it will begin the first ever manned night flight on a plane propelled exclusively by power it collects from the sun. Former Swiss air-force pilot Andre Borschberg and round-the-world balloonist Bertrand Piccard developed the aircraft, and Borschberg will be the pilot for this mission. "The flight will require a lot of attention and concentration — the plane doesn't have an auto-pilot, it has to be flown for 24 hours straight." For him, the most exciting part of the venture is, "being on the plane during the day and seeing the amount of energy increasing instead of decreasing as on a normal aircraft.

Submission + - Kit upgrades mechanical typewriter with USB I/F (techbites.com)

TidbitsOfTrivia writes: Well, I thought I'd seen everything, until my old chum Alan Winstanley in England just pointed me at a site where a guy called Jack Zylkin has taken an old manual typewriter and given it a USB interface so you can use it as a keyboard for any USB-capable computer, such as a PC or Mac.

Submission + - Hackers Exploit Google-Outed Windows XP Zero-Day (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: A compromised Web site is serving an exploit of the bug in Windows' Help and Support Center, identified by a Google engineer last week, to hijack PCs running Windows XP, said Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at antivirus vendor Sophos. Cluley declined to identify the site, saying only that it was dedicated to open-source software. 'It's a classic drive-by attack,' said Cluley. The tactic was one of two that Microsoft said last week were the likely attack avenues. The other: Convincing users to open malicious e-mail messages. The vulnerability was disclosed last Thursday by Google security engineer Tavis Ormandy. Ormandy, who also posted proof-of-concept attack code, defended his decision to reveal the flaw only five days after reporting it to Microsoft — a move that Microsoft and other researchers questioned. Cluley called Ormandy's action 'utterly irresponsible,' and in a blog post asked, 'Tavis Ormandy — are you pleased with yourself?'

Submission + - Firefox flagsThe Pirate Bay as an attacker site (thepiratebay.org) 3

Pharago writes: Firefox has started to report its users that a particular set of webpages from The Pirate Bay web have been reported as attackers and it is actively blocking access to them, forcing the user to choose to ignore the advertency or get out of the site.

Submission + - Server Farm Doubles As A Goat Farm (datacenterknowledge.com)

miller60 writes: Yahoo has extended its data center sustainability strategy to weed control. The company is using a herd of 250 goats to control invasive weeds on land surrounding its data center in Quincy, Washington. The grazing goats are seen a better solution than spraying the weeds with pesticides or using noisy mowers that run on gasoline and pollute the air, factors that have prompted both Google and Yahoo to deploy goats at their Silicon Valley headquarters campuses.

Submission + - The Red Rectangle (stsci.edu)

Thorfinn.au writes: The star HD 44179 (jpeg) is surrounded by an extraordinary structure known as the Red Rectangle. It acquired its moniker because of its shape and its apparent colour when seen in early images from Earth. This strikingly-detailed Hubble image reveals how the nebula, rather than being rectangular, is shaped like an "X" with additional complex structures of spaced lines of glowing gas, a little like the rungs of a ladder.

The star at the centre is similar to our Sun, but at the end of its lifetime, thus, pumping out gas and other material to make the nebula, and giving it the distinctive shape. It also appears that the star is a close binary that is surrounded by a dense torus of dust — both of which may help to explain the very curious shape. Precisely how the central engine of this remarkable and unique object spun the gossamer threads of nebulosity remains mysterious. It is likely that precessing jets of material played a role.

The Red Rectangle is an unusual example of what is known as a proto-planetary nebula. These are old stars, on their way to becoming planetary nebulae. Once the expulsion of mass is complete, a very hot white dwarf star will remain and its brilliant ultraviolet radiation will cause the surrounding gas to glow. The Red Rectangle is found about 2,300 light-years away in the constellation Monoceros (the Unicorn).

The High Resolution Channel of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys captured this view of HD 44179 and the surrounding Red Rectangle nebula — the sharpest view so far. Red light from glowing hydrogen was captured through the F658N filter and coloured red. Broadband orange-red light over a wider range of wavelengths was imaged with the F625W filter and was coloured blue.

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