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Fastest (and Most Compact) Stellar Spinner Confirmed 47

gregg writes "HM Cancri has been confirmed as a binary system of two white dwarfs orbiting each other so closely that they complete one orbit every 5.4 minutes; they are separated by a mere 8 Earth diameters. 'These are the burnt-out cinders of stars such as our Sun, and contain a highly condensed form of helium, carbon and oxygen. The two white dwarfs in HM Cancri are so close together that mass is flowing from one star to the other. HM Cancri was first noticed as an X-ray source in 1999, showing a 5.4 minutes periodicity, but for a long time it has remained unclear whether this period also indicated the actual orbital period of the system. It was so short that astronomers were reluctant to accept the possibility without solid proof. '"

Submission + - Smart rooks - Aesop's fables based on facts? (

Sven writes: "'One of Aesop's fables may have been based on fact, scientists report. In the tale, written more than 2,000 years ago, a crow uses stones to raise the water level in a pitcher so it can reach the liquid to quench its thirst. Now a study published in Current Biology reveals that rooks, a relative of crows, do just the same when presented with a similar situation. The team says the study shows rooks are innovative tool-users, even though they do not use tools in the wild. Another paper, published in the journal Plos One, shows that New Caledonian crows — which like rooks, are a member of the corvid group, along with ravens, jackdaws, magpies and jays — can use three tools in succession to reach a treat. ' For further information please visit the official BBC release:"

Submission + - Finnish man prosecuted for discussing CSS (

Repossessed writes: From

A Finnish man has asked the European Court of Human Rights to defend his right to discuss encryption systems used by the entertainment industry. He says that Finland's implementation of the EU's Copyright Directive restricts his right to free speech.

The original court dismissed the case, since European law requires the DRM to be effective, but a Finnish high court reversed the ruling. An application to appeal before Finland's supreme court was also denied.


Submission + - U of MI and Amazon to Offer 400,000 OOP Books (

eldavojohn writes: Four hundred thousand rare, out of print books may soon be available for purchase ranging anywhere from $10 to $45 a piece. The article lists a rare Florence Nightengale book on Nursing which normally sells for thousands due to its rarity. The university's librarian, Mr. Courant said, 'The agreement enables us to increase access to public domain books and other publications that have been digitised. We are very excited to be offering this service as a new way to increase access to the rich collections of the university library.' U of MI has been a library that Google is scanning rare books at and was the aim of heavy criticism (Some of the Google scanned books are to be sold on Amazon). How the authors guild and publishers react to Amazon's Surge offering softcover reprints of out of print books remains to be seen.

40 Million Identities Up For Sale On the Web 245

An anonymous reader writes "Highly sensitive financial information, including credit card details, bank account numbers, telephone numbers, and even PINs are available to the highest bidder. The information being traded on the Web has been intercepted by a British company and collated into a single database for the first time. The Lucid Intelligence database contains the records of 40 million people worldwide, mostly Americans; four million are Britons. Security experts described the database as the largest of its kind in the world. The database is in the hands of Colin Holder, a retired senior Metropolitan police officer who served on the fraud squad. He has collected the information over the past four years. His sources include law enforcement from around the world, such as British police and the FBI, anti-phishing and hacking campaigners, and members of the public. Mr. Holder said he has invested £160,000 in the venture so far. He plans to offset the cost by charging members of the public for access to his database to check whether their data security has been breached."

Submission + - Thirty Meter Telescope to be Built in Hawaii ( 1

Shag writes: "The planners of the Thirty Meter Telescope have chosen a plateau near the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii as the site where the telescope will be constructed. (Cerro Armazones, in Chile, was the other possibility.) The telescope will use a mirror of hexagonal segments, like those first used at the Keck Observatory, but where each Keck telescope mirror is made up of 36 segments, the TMT mirror will have 494. Construction is expected to take close to a decade, once the permitting process is completed."

Submission + - Lost iPhone prototype causes employee suicide (

tlhIngan writes: "Physical intimidation of a Foxconn employee and a possibly-illegal search of his house may have led to suicide after an iPhone prototype in his possession was lost. Entrusted with 16 iPhone prototypes, he discovered one was missing, and searched the factory for it. Failing that, he reported the incident to his boss, who ordered his apartment searched (potentially illegally), and there are reports of physical intimidation by Foxconn security personnel. This ended tragically on Thursday at 3AM, when he jumped from his apartment building to his dead."

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