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Are Academic Journals Obsolete? 317

Writing "Surely there is a better way," eggy78 asks "With the ability to get information anywhere in the world in seconds, and the virtually immediate obsolescence of any printed work, why are journals such an important part of academic research? Many of these journals take two or more years to print an article after it has been submitted, and the information is very difficult (or expensive) to obtain. Does this hinder technological advancement? There are certainly other venues for peer review, so why journals? What do they offer our society? Are they just a way to evaluate the productivity of professors?"
Internet Explorer

After 100M IE7 Downloads, Firefox Still Gaining 425

Kelson writes "Internet Explorer 7 hit the 100 million download mark last week. Yet in the three months it's been available, Firefox's market share has continued to grow. InformationWeek reports that nearly all of IE7's growth has been upgrades from IE6. People don't seem to be switching back to IE in significant numbers, prompting analysts to wonder: has Microsoft finally met its match?"
Hardware Hacking

Open Source Car on the Horizon 214

PreacherTom writes "So here's a question: can open-source practices and approaches be applied to make hardware, to create tangible and physical objects, including complex ones? Markus Merz believes they can. The young German is the founder of the OScar project, whose goal is to develop and build a car according to open-source principles. Merz and his team aren't going for a super-accessorized SUV — they're aiming at designing a simple and functionally smart car. The OScar is not the only open-source hardware project out there: others include Zero Prestige, which designs kites and kite-powered vehicles, and Open Prosthetics, which offers free exchange of designs for prosthetic devices."

Has Productivity Peaked? 291

Putney Barnes writes "A columnist on is arguing that computing can no longer offer the kind of tenfold per decade productivity increases that have been the norm up to now as the limits of human capacity have been reached. From the article: 'Any amount of basic machine upgrading, and it continues apace, won't make a jot of difference, as I am now the fundamental slowdown agent. I just can't work any faster'. Peter Cochrane, the ex-CTO of BT, argues that "machine intelligence" is the answer to this unwelcome stasis. "What we need is a cognitive approach with search material retreated and presented in some context relative to our current end-objectives at the time." Perhaps he should consider a nice cup of tea and a biccie instead?"

Do You Own Your Native Language? 472

l2718 writes "In a new take on the reach of 'Intellectual Property,' the Mapuche Indians of Chile are accusing Microsoft of linguistic piracy. Their lawsuit alleges that Microsoft needed permission from the tribal elders before translating its software into Mapuzugun, a project which was co-ordinated with the Chilean Ministry of Education." From the CNN Money article: "The Mapuche took their case to a court in the southern city of Temuco earlier this month but a judge ruled it should be considered in Santiago. A judge in the capital is due to decide in the next two weeks whether Microsoft has a case to answer. 'If they rule against us we will go to the Supreme Court and if they rule against us there we will take our case to a court of human rights,' said Lautaro Loncon, a Mapuche activist and coordinator of the Indigenous Network, an umbrella group for several ethnic groups in Chile."

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