inKubus writes: May 21, 2010 is the 30th anniversary of the iconic Episode Six of the Star Wars franchise, The Empire Strikes Back. Spike TV will feature a Star Wars movie marathon featuring the original trilogy on Saturday, May 22 (1:00 PM – 3:30 AM, ET/PT), as well as play the movie in Times Square on MTV's 44 foot movie board. The Star Wars website is also selling XBox Live avatars. Maxim put out some previously unreleased photos showing some set pieces and the equipment to shoot the opening crawl. And last but not least, the original theatrical trailer with a voiceover by Harrison Ford.
inKubus writes: According to a story on the wires, as part of President Barack Obama's "Open Government Directive," the 24 major departments and agencies that make up the federal government had until Friday to release at least three "high-value" data sets. Over 300 new data sets have been released on data.gov. There's a lot of interesting stuff on there and more to come.
inKubus writes: "40-year-old David Race of Beaver Creek, OH has become the 6th gamer in history to gain a perfect score on the original Pac-Man video arcade game. Even more noteworthy is the fact that he's done it in faster time than any gamer in history, putting him at the top of a short list of gamers who have acheived perfection on the original arcade machine."
inKubus writes: "There's a story at the BBC reporting that game design firm 3D Realms has gone bust and publisher Take Two is halting any further funding for the Duke Nukem Forever project.
Guardian newspaper games writer Steve Boxer said it was astonishing 3D Realms had not finished the game after more than a decade of development.
"It would have been nice to see another Duke Nukem game, but given they had more than 12 years it's just incompetence of the highest order. 3D Realms made some great games in the past, but they got overtaken by the 21st Century. Sadly, Duke Nukem Forever was the most aptly named title in the history of games. Now, it's just Duke Nukem Never."
inKubus writes: As has been reported (here), a team from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Menlo Park, California, reports that the Yellowstone Valley is now rising more than 3 times faster than usual. Using satellite radar surveys and a growing array of Global Positioning System stations around the caldera, they have tracked the valley's rate of uplift going from about 2 centimeters per year — the average pace from 1923 until 2004 — to 7 centimeters annually over the past 3 years. "We've had a marked change," says geophysicist and co-author Robert Smith of the University of Utah. Keep up to date at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.
inKubus writes: "According to this story from the AP, Average citizens who quietly band together and adopt radical ways pose a mounting threat to American security that could exceed that of established terrorist groups like al-Qaida, a new police analysis has concluded.
The New York Police Department report released Wednesday describes a process in which young men adopt a philosophy that puts them on a path to violence. It also says that more prempetive intelligence gathering is needed since most potential homegrown terrorists "have never been arrested or involved in any kind of legal trouble".
They "look, act, talk and walk like everyone around them," the study adds. In the early stages of their radicalization, these individuals rarely travel, are not participating in any kind of militant activity, yet they are slowly building the mind-set, intention and commitment to conduct (terrorism). Although they continually mention Islam, it's pretty obvious they are referring to all young men, and want to increase their surveilance powers to "make sure (young men) aren't going the 'wrong way'.""
inKubus writes: "A Chinese research team has used carbon nanotubes loaded with rhodium nanoparticles as reactors to convert a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen into ethanol, it has been reported.
The team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics found that nanotube encapsulated rhodium nanoparticles exhibited greater catalytic activity than dispersed rhodium nanoparticles. The development is regarded as significant since it represents the first time that the selectivity and activity of a metal-catalyzed gas phase reaction has been shown to improve from having taken place inside a nanosized carbon nanotechnology vessel. See also the article in Nature Materials."
inKubus writes: "The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations. The surveillance technique came to light in an opinion published this week by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. He ruled that the "roving bug" was legal because federal wiretapping law is broad enough to permit eavesdropping even of conversations that take place near a suspect's cell phone. Mobile providers can "remotely install a piece of software on to any handset, without the owner's knowledge, which will activate the microphone even when its owner is not making a call." The software works with the phone on or off and the only way to disable may be to remove the battery."
inKubus writes: Core 77 among other places reported on a list of strange units of measurement, online at Wikipedia. The Big Mac index (purchasing power relative to the cost of a Big Mac), Nibbles (4 bits) and Scoville heat units (hotness of a chili pepper) as just a few of the units discussed. Unfortunately missing is the "fonzarelli", a unit of coolness that is only quoted as a fraction of one "fonz".