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Submission + - NASA Seeks Help of Amateur Radio Community (

clm1970 writes: In another conventional use for an arguably unconventional hobby given the technology of 2011 NASA is requesting the help of Amateur Radio or "ham operators" to help listen to a beacon signal of a nano-satellite. Many say the hobby is dying but for every "death knell" it seems another application brings it back to life to prove its usefulness.

Submission + - Coders: come to the aid of your country (

GMGruman writes: Based on the Teach for America model, Code for America helps civic-minded developers and designers channel their efforts into improving the way city governments work using Web technology. Just as Teach for America trains and sends capable teachers to underserved schools, Code for America recruits talented developers, designers, and product managers; gives them a crash course in municipal government; and sets them to work developing Web applications for selected cities. InfoWorld's Eric Knorr urges you to get involved.

Submission + - End the Ethanol Insanity

theodp writes: It's now conceivable, says BusinessWeek's Ed Wallace, that the myth of ethanol as the salvation for America's energy problem is coming to an end. Curiously, the alternative fuel may be done in by an unlikely collection of foes. Fervidly pro-ethanol in the last decade of his political career, former VP Al Gore reversed course in late November and apologized for supporting ethanol, which apparently was more about ingratiating himself to farmers. A week later, Energy Secretary Steven Chu piled on, saying: 'The future of transportation fuels shouldn't involve ethanol.' And in December, a group of small-engine manufacturers, automakers, and boat manufacturers filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals to vacate the EPA's October ruling that using a 15% blend of ethanol in fuel supplies would not harm 2007 and newer vehicles. Despite all of this, the newly-elected Congress has extended the 45 cent-per-gallon ethanol blending tax credit that was due to expire, a move that is expected to reduce revenue by $6.25 billion in 2011. 'The ethanol insanity,' longtime-critic Wallace laments, 'will continue until so many cars and motors are damaged by this fuel additive that the public outcry can no longer be ignored. Adding an expensive, harmful, useless filler to gasoline just to win farmers' gratitude is not remotely the same as having a legitimate national energy policy.'

Submission + - The Wrong Way to Weaponize Social Media (

BorgiaPope writes: NYU's Clay Shirky, in the new issue of Foreign Affairs, calls the U.S. government's approach to social media "dangerous" and "almost certainly wrong," as in its favoring Haystack over Freegate. The Political Power of Social Media claims that the freedom of online assembly — via texting, photo sharing, Facebook, Twitter, humble email — is more important even than access to information via an uncensored Internet. Countering Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker, Shirky looks at recent uprisings in the Philippines, Moldova, and Spain to make his point that, instead of emphasizing anti-censorship tools, the U.S. should be fighting Egypt's recent mandatory licensing of group-oriented text-messaging services.

Submission + - Do Pterosaurs Still Exist on Papua New Guinea? ( 2

Phoghat writes: "Eyewitness accounts of animals that resemble fabled pterosaurs have made even serious researchers believe that the animals do exist.
Pterosaurs are ferocious flying dinosaurs thought to have been extinct for 65 million years. However, there is physical evidence of gigantic nesting sites in some of the mountainous cliff areas of Papua New Guinea. What's more the natives there have been reported as being fearful of animals that fit their description and given eyewitness accounts. The animals were described as being large in diameter, with bat-like wings connecting to an elongated beak. There were reports of razor sharp teeth and claws and a lengthy whip-like tail with a split or flange at the end."


Submission + - British Pizza Chain To Install Cones of Silence ( 2

itwbennett writes: British pizza chain Pizza Express is installing iPod docks and soundproof domes in booths of their new iPizzeria stores. 'The idea is that you can plug in your iPod and play whatever music you like without disturbing other diners,' says blogger Peter Smith. 'But I'm sure it'd work for talking about government secrets and other spy stuff, too.'
The Courts

Prosecutors Request Closed Courtroom For Goldman HFT Programmer's Trial 250

dave562 writes "Goldman Sachs' lawyers have asked the Federal judge to seal the court room during the trial of Sergey Aleynikov. Aleynikov was one of the programmers who developed Goldman's High Frequency Trading (HFT) programs. What does this say about the state of the financial industry? Given the problems HFT seems to have caused over the last few years, shouldn't more light be shined into the dark corners of how it works?"

Submission + - Second Life: third party viewer DDoS scandal

Godwin O'Hitler writes: Modular Systems, who develop the popular Emerald client for Second Life, have confessed to hijacking the internet connections of its 80,000 users to mount a DDoS attack on the Web site of someone they didn't get along with, while writing the incident off as a silly prank:
Many residents are in uproar over being involuntary accomplices in the attack, which was revealed by the targeted site's owner, posting on the SL forums as resident Imma Twig.

It remains to be seen how Linden Lab will respond to this matter. It looks like its going to be a stern test of their credibility in enforcing the terms of their recently rewritten third party viewer policy. The attack seems to be a clear contravention of paragraph 2.d.3 of said policy: — not to mention any potential legal recriminations.

Comment Logarithmic Chart Axis: Confusing! (Score 1) 224

Logarithmic chart axis scales are used to make logarithmic functions easier to draw by hand-- when you show a logarithmic function against a logarithmic axis scale, they present as a straight line instead of a curved line. Zip, the straight edge does all the work to make the result very nice, thank you Mr. Straight Edge and Mr. Light Table. Logarithmic axis scales are also used in the case of a computer-drawn chart of a function formerly/typically shown with logarithmic axis scales when drawn by hand. This disc performance chart is neither! It's simply confusing, because the slower drives' functions appear to be bigger than they normally would in comparison to a linear scale. Does any other site or graph show disc performance data on a logarithmic chart?

Comment Re:Only Apple (Score 1) 624

I really don't get all of this "LCD screens are going to make your eyes cry out in pain while E-ink is just about the same as paper" stuff floating around. Reading pulp fiction paperbacks in low light is surely the cause for my need of glasses today - way before LCDs ever hit the market. Since then I have done all my reading on a CRT or an LCD and I think my vision has actually improved. Living in Nepal, I hardly ever see anything printed on paper anymore and certainly don't read it. I don't miss paper and have never seen E-ink...who needs it. Books and magazines on my iphone, laptop, and iMac look grand, and read just fine. Blaming LCDs for eyestrain sounds like thousands of people whining about nothing...or how WiFi gives them headaches.

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