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Submission + - Too late? China's rare earth threat tweaks US (

coondoggie writes: In the face of China wielding menacing control over 97% of the world's rare earth materials, the US House of Representatives this week passed a bill that would bolster research and development of the key elements and help find substitutions for the materials. Rare earth metals are used to build everything from wind turbines, hybrid-vehicle batteries, weapons guidance systems, oil refining catalysts, computer disk drives, televisions and monitors, compact fluorescent light bulbs and fiber optic cable.

Submission + - Spider Silk is now a reality (

An anonymous reader writes: Notre Dame U and Kraig Biocraft held a joint pressconference yesterday. They announced that they've been able to insert spider genes into silk worms, and produce silk with spider proteins in a commercialy viable manner.

Submission + - Microsoft Sets Launch Date For Office For Mac 2011 (

cgriffin21 writes: Microsoft plans to launch Office For Mac 2011 on Oct. 26, and that date is probably circled on the calendars of every Mac user who's been tearing their hair out in frustration while using Entourage. That's because Office For Mac 2011 will be the first version to include full Outlook integration, as well as new features such as conversation view and a revamped database that makes the process of finding e-mails and files less headache-inducing.

Submission + - Android software piracy rampant (

bednarz writes: "Pirating Android apps is a longstanding problem. But it seems to be getting worse, even as Google begins to respond much more aggressively. The dilemma: protecting developers’ investments, and revenue stream, while keeping an open platform. Some have argued that piracy is rampant in those countries where the online Android Market is not yet available. But a recent KeyesLabs research project suggests that may not be true: 'Over the course of 90 days, the [KeyesLabs] app was installed a total of 8,659 times. Of those installations only 2,831 were legitimate purchases, representing an overall piracy rate of over 67%.... The largest contributor to piracy, by far, is the United States providing 4,054 or about 70% of all pirated installations...'"

Submission + - China readies to launch 2nd lunar probe (

oracle_of_power writes: Beijing, China (CNN) — China will evacuate more than 2,000 residents, as it prepares to launch the nation's second lunar probe, state-run media said Wednesday.
The Chang'e-2 lunar probe is to be launched on or around China's National Day, which falls on October 1, China Daily said.
Residents within 2.5 kilometers of the launch pad at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the southwest province of Sichuan will be evacuated as a precaution.
The lunar probe will test key landing technology for Chang'e-3, and provide high-resolution photographs of the landing area, China Daily said, citing space officials. Chang'e-2 is expected to reach lunar orbit within five days.

Submission + - Georgia Verdana creator receives Genius Grant (

An anonymous reader writes: "The MacArthur Foundation honors a graphic design legend, who created Verdana, Georgia, and dozens of fonts you've spent hours reading without noticing.
Legendary typographer Matthew Carter — the man behind a spate of typefaces that has quietly made our worlds more legible, including, most notably, Microsoft's Verdana — is a 2010 MacArthur Fellow, it was announced today."

This seems like a great opportunity for snark, though I find Carter's work elegant.


Submission + - Google given permission to recreate mind on death (

An anonymous reader writes: A Gmail user going by the name of Ben Goertzel has decided to give Google permission to recreate his mind after he dies.

Ben believes this is possible based on advancements in technology and software over the next 50 years, combined with the terabytes of data Google will have collected about him by then. Ben also assumes he will be dead by 2060.

Ben goes on to give Google the following permissions in his blog post with readers as his witnesses:

        I hereby give permission to Google and/or other parties to read all data in my Gmail account and use them together with other available information to reconstruct my mindfile with sufficient accuracy for mind uploading via detailed personality reconstruction, and express my wish that they do so.

        Signed by Ben Goertzel on September 28, 2010, and witnessed by readers.

The Courts

Court Unfriendly To FCC's Internet Slap At Comcast 215

Several sources are reporting that federal judges have been harsh in their examination of the FCC's action against Comcast in 2008 for the throttling of Internet traffic from high-bandwidth file-sharing services. "'You can't get an unbridled, roving commission to go about doing good,' said US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Chief Judge David Sentelle during an oral argument. The three-judge panel grilled FCC General Counsel Austin Schlick on the parts of communications law it could cite to justify the Comcast punishment. The FCC argues that it was enforcing an open Internet policy implicit in the law. Judge A. Raymond Randolph repeatedly said the legal provisions cited by the FCC were mere policy statements that by themselves can't justify the commission's action. 'You have yet to identify a specific statute,' he said. The judges' decision in the case could throw into question the FCC's authority to impose open Internet rules."

New WoW Patch Brings Cross-Server Instances 342

ajs writes "World of Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King expansion was staggered into 4 phases. The fourth and final phase, patch 3.3, was released on Tuesday. This patch is significant in that it will be the first introduction of one of the most anticipated new features in the game since PvP arenas: the cross-realm random dungeon, as well as the release of new end-game dungeons for 5, 10 and 25-player groups. The patch notes have been posted, and so has a trailer. The ultimate fight against the expansion's antagonist, the Lich King a.k.a. Arthas, will be gated as each of the four wings of the final dungeon are opened in turn — a process that may take several months. The next major patch after 3.3 (presumably 4.0) will be the release of Cataclysm, the next expansion."

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