andydread writes: We discussed the accusation against Microsoft by Barnes and Noble about their patent attacks on Android. The details are out on the extent that Microsoft has gone to make open source undesirable in the marketplace. Barnes and Noble says that this is not just about Android. According to B&N Its about all open source in general and they have filed a detailed complaint (PDF) with the ITC spelling out what they call "extortive practices" on the part of Microsoft against open source. Now we have a list of the actual patents in question and B&N explaining how each one of these patents are invalid.
phaedrus5001 writes: Apparently, Google has a secret lab known as 'Google X' where they are working on over a hundred different projects. From the article:"These include a space elevator project, experiments working to connect home appliances and dinner dishes to the Internet, robots that can go to work instead of their owners, and the development of driverless cars for the mass market." And, just maybe, Skynet as well...
Honken writes: A recent study by scientists at Duke University has found that transparent deep-sea octopuses turn red when exposed to blue light similar to what predators emit, allowing them to hide using both transparency and by absorbing the wavelengths of the blueish light emitted by deep-sea predators. The Register quickly made the not-so-obvious connection to Kindles and squid video playback, whereas Discovery News reports of slightly more useful yet exotic applications such as fishing nets that are invisible only to the species that it intends to catch.
eldavojohn writes: In Super Mario Bros 3, gamers saw Mario and Luigi don a suit of a raccoon dog called a 'tanuki' that is native to Japan. Wag the tail and you could fly. Pretty innocent and magical, right? Well, PETA has hopped on this fresh new video game title and recently released a game where a 'player directs a bloody, skinned raccoon dog as he chases a tanuki fur-suited Mario through a surreal fur farm where raccoon dogs are routinely skinned alive for their fur. Quick reflexes and jumping skills will allow Tanooki to capture Mario and reclaim his skin.' That's from their press release, you can play the game here. Much ado about nothing, you say? Not according to PETA who aver that 'Mario is sending the message that it's OK to wear fur. We created our game to help inform people that in real life, Mario would be wearing the skin of an animal who was beaten, strangled or electrocuted, and it wouldn't give him any special powers other than the power of self-deception.' Evidently in anything-goes-China, farms of Tanukis have resulted in footage of handlers slamming raccoon dogs against the ground to kill them so they can skin them after a life of less than desirable conditions drive the poor creatures to insanity. Still, it's difficult to connect such an act to a couple of plumbers. After countless hours, I've managed to resist the urge to pounce atop a shelled animal in order to then use it as a weapon let alone brain a tanuki in order to gain its fur and non-existent flying powers.
MrSeb writes: "We have all been victim of the diabolical, automatic 3am Windows Update restart. You might be watching a movie or you might be slaying a boss in World of Warcraft, or perhaps you simply left your computer on over night — perhaps with some unsaved work — and blam! Windows Update strikes. If you're a geek, it only happens once — usually after setting up a new computer and forgetting, yet again, to disable automatic updates — but for most consumers, it's just a fact of Windows life. But not for long! With Windows 8, Microsoft is finally fixing Windows Update to behave a little more sensibly. Starting with Windows 8, Windows Update will consolidate every restart-requiring patch into just one restart, on Patch Tuesday. Secondly, instead of popping up a system tray notification, Windows Update will now use the login screen to tell you, three days in advance, about an impending restart. Finally, Windows 8 will not automatically restart if your computer is locked, running background apps, or if you have any unsaved work. Instead, Windows 8 will wait for your next login and then begin the restart process."
New photos have appeared in Google Maps showing unidentified titanic structures in the middle of the Chinese desert. The first one is an intricate network of what appears to be huge metallic stripes, the second structure seems to be some kind of giant targeting grid, and the third one consists of thousand of lines intersecting in a titanic grid that is about 18 miles long.
URADingus2 writes: Science fiction deals with speculative science, and given how closely related math and science are, it's no surprise that some science fiction involves creative uses of math. Fantasy Matters is running an article about this relationship and highlights some of the interesting and often goofy ways math is represented in sci-fi books.
tetrahedrassface writes: "NASA successfully test fired the J-2X engine today for 500 seconds at Stennis Space Center. The J2-X is derived from the J2 engine from the Apollo Era, and will power the upper stage of the SLS. From the article: 'We have 500 seconds of good data, and the first look is that everything went great. The J-2X engine team and the SLS program as a whole are extremely happy that we accomplished a good, safe and successful test today,” said Mike Kynard, Space Launch System Engines Element Manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. “This engine test firing gives us critical data to move forward in the engine’s development.'"