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Space

Submission + - Germany To Test Actively-Cooled Spacecraft (thelocal.de)

FleaPlus writes: The German Aerospace Center is planning to launch a novel reusable spacecraft in 2011, incorporating flat damage-resistant tiles. Nitrogen will be pumped through the porous tiles, creating a protective gas layer that actively cools and shields the hottest parts of the spacecraft from the searing heat of reentry. The 12.5M-euro unmanned 'SHEFEX II' project is a major technological step towards the team's eventual goal of a reusable space glider which will be cheaper and easier-to-build than NASA's space shuttle.

Submission + - Flying Borg Honeycomb (cnet.com)

smitty777 writes: The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has created some simple flying robots that can dock with each other in mid-air. The plastic, single prop robots can fly into the air separately and join to create a multi-unit conglomeration. As interesting as this sounds, I've been scratching my head trying to figure out a good application for this technology. Perhaps they could take off as a unit and break apart later to perform tasks? Apparently, the grouped configuration is a bit more difficult to control than the individual units.
Technology

Submission + - Flying Borg Honeycomb Swarm (cnet.com)

smitty777 writes: The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has created some simple flying robots that can dock with each other in mid-air. The plastic, single prop robots can fly into the air separately and join to create a multi-unit conglomeration. As interesting as this sounds, I've been scratching my head trying to figure out a good application for this technology. Perhaps they could take off as a unit and break apart later to perform tasks? Apparently, the grouped configuration is a bit more difficult to control than the individual units.
Software

Submission + - Shotwell - The F-Spot Replacement For Ubuntu (techdrivein.com) 2

climenole writes: "Finally! The much discussed about F-Spot vs Shotwell battle is over. The new default image organizer app for Ubuntu Maverick 10.10 is going to be Shotwell. This is a much needed change and F-Spot was simply not enough. Most of the times when I tried F-Spot, it just keeps crashing on me. Shotwell on a other hand feels a lot more solid and is better integrated with GNOME desktop. Shotwell is also completely devoid of Mono."
Security

Submission + - How to catch hackers on your wireless network (techradar.com)

climenole writes: "Wireless networks are a wonderful invention. They give us the ability to easily deploy a complex network of computers without the need to physically wire them up.However, this ease of use can also mean that, without proper precautions, neighbourhood parasites can leech bandwidth and generally use your network against your wishes."

Submission + - Geek wedding ring? 13

RoadNotTaken writes: Dear Slashdot,
I finally bit the bullet and decided to get married. My fiance and I are looking for wedding rings and I find myself disappointed that they have so-few features. Are there any geeky rings out there that can do something useful? I'm thinking USB or RFID but am open to suggestions. There has to be SOMETHING good you can do with a chunk of metal on your finger...

Submission + - Pac-Man Ship Eats Oil Spills (Wakka Wakka Wakka) (treehugger.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The German Navy's Bottsand class oil recovery ship is built for handling seawater pollution control. The ship, with its twin hull, opens up by 65-degrees and captures seawater into its 790 cubic meter tank. It is there that the vessel separates the oil from the water, processing 140 cubic meters of water every hour.
Education

Submission + - Better TV Through Chemistry

theodp writes: What do you call a brilliant chemist turned high school teacher who, when diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer, applies his skills to cooking crystal meth to pay his devastating medical bills and provide for his family's future? The best drama currently on TV, according to TIME, which sings the praises of Breaking Bad. 'If the Coen brothers were to make a TV show, it might look something like this,' writes James Poniewozik. Be sure to set your Tivo — the season finale airs Sunday, and Walter White and his partner Jesse Pinkman (who Walt flunked in H.S.) got some 'splainin' to do after last week's action.

Submission + - UAE Banker creates unbreakable code (gulfnews.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Gentleman Banker says he has created an unbreakable cipher that no one can break. Dubai has grand buildings but he has built the next big thing that will be a tall mountain to climb for the NSA

Qoute from Gulf News
Mohammad Gaith Bin Mahah Al Mazroui is challenging skilled coders, hackers and cryptographers to break the encryption of his cipher.

Hoping /. will tear him a new code
http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/emirati-ex-banker-builds-unbreakable-code-1.639940

Submission + - New Futurama Clip & Conversation with Billy We (discovermagazine.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Robot-human intermarriage. The Harlem Globetrotters performing mathematical wizardry. Hearing, “Good news, everyone!” when bad news is on the way. It means one thing: Futurama is back. The interstellar travels of the Planet Express crew—canceled by Fox in 2003 but kept alive by syndication, straight-to-DVD movies, and the unstoppable force of geek fandom—return with 26 fresh episodes on Comedy Central, starting with a full hour on June 24 at 10PM eastern. Here’s our conversation with voice actor Billy West. The voice behind Philip J. Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, and Zapp Brannigan on Futurama (not to mention Stimpy on Ren & Stimpy and Looney Tunes characters like Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in Space Jam) talks of the origin of the professor’s vocabulary, why Richard Nixon is the President of 31st century Earth, and whether it’s weird to talk to yourself so much.

Submission + - How are you doing your LaTeX? 3

An anonymous reader writes: I tried convincing my professor to add LyX to the default installation on the lab machines to no avail. My arguments of quicker work, easier bidirectional languages switching and formula preview and easier orientation for new users didn't help convince him that it's better than a simple text editor. What would be good way to do it? And what are you guys using?

Submission + - Are corporations slowing support as policy? 2

hydrodog writes: As a consumer, for the last 20 years I’ve had occasions when I’ve been ripped off by companies, either intentionally or accidentally. Telecom has been one of the worst areas. I'm sure Slashdot subscribers remember being ripped off by MCI removing billing plans spontaneously (and therefore charging a fortune); they did this to tens of thousands of subscribers and were eventually sued by the FCC and forced to stop (though not to properly repay all the money). I had similar issues with Sprint, and ATT, who seemed to try to get away with billing mistakes that could hardly be accidental, but who would fix their billing problems if you called and complained.
  These days, I’ve noticed that when I have a dispute, rather than deny it (the MCI type of totally disreputable company) or settle it, the call center forces me and my wife to talk for hours. I know Slashdot has documented cases where agents are simply unable to add, or comprehend the amounts of money being discussed. My question is, whether it a deliberate policy to discourage billing inquiries, or are they simply hiring really stupid people for the call centers, and this is a byproduct?

In the last two years, I have had two billing interactions with T-Mobile. The first was bizarre. I noticed three SMS messages billed to my account, obviously not to me. When I looked closer at my bill, I noticed that I had also been billed for downloaded ringtones and music. The rep and at least one supervisor flat-out denied that it was possible that they billed the wrong person and insisted that I must have downloaded the music and ringtones and just not want to pay. I demanded that they investigate the number from which the messages had come. It was only when I found a discrepancy in their information that they backed down. (They claimed the ring tones were downloaded to a Nokia, and were taken aback when I pointed out that I had a Motorola.). I still don’t know how they managed to cross the two lines for two days, but if someone deliberately cloned the SIM card it wasn’t a very big take.
The recent incident was a billing dispute, which took approximately 5 hours of our time on the phone to resolve. I filed a complaint with the FTC, because it took that long to explain to customer service that I should be credited with $14.62, and in the end we got only $10. A
woman from T-Mobile called me up to respond to the FTC complaint, and told me that in fact, we had later been credited with the correct amount. In essence, her defense was that a) the money had been returned and b) I have been a subscriber for a while, and therefore, I must not think their service is so bad. My position is that there is a corporate policy of obfuscation deliberately designed to cheat people out of money. I am posting on slashdot because I think that companies are doing this on a grand scale because most people don't take the trouble to follow through, but I can't prove it. I'd like to see a survey on how many people have been cheated on their bill for various companies over the past year, two years, three years, to determine whether I'm simply unlucky, or whether there is a real pattern. How do the various mobile phone companies compare on billing resolution?
Social Networks

Submission + - Researchers create Social Engineering IRC Bot (irc-junkie.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers of the Vienna University of Technology developed an IRC bot that acts as a "Man in the middle" between two unsuspecting users, modifies URLs passed between them and also is capable of steering the direction the conversation goes. Not only this works surprisingly well on IRC — 76,1% click rate at maximum — also 4 out of 10 persons clicked on links on Facebook Chat after complete strangers befriended them. This would have worked even better if the bot were to clone existing friends profiles and submitting friend requests from those, say researchers.
Advertising

Apple iAd Drawing Antitrust Scrutiny 260

snydeq writes "US regulators are planning to investigate whether Apple is shutting out third parties such as Google and Microsoft in advertising on the iPhone and iPad under revised terms to its iAd mobile ad platform. Apple's revised developer terms prohibit ad analytics collection unless it is provided to an independent ad service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads. If enforced, the proposed terms would prohibit developers from using Google's AdMob service on the iPhone, according to AdMob founder Omar Hamoui. Developers using AdMob to deliver ads on cross-platform mobile apps would have to go through an alternative service for the version of the app running on an Apple platform, according to the terms. It's an impractical solution that some are calling restrictive."

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