scdeimos writes: Mozilla has announced the release of Thunderbird 5.0b1, the first in their new rapid release cycles. According to the Thunderbird Beta FAQ, Thunderbird 4 was skipped as its version is now tied to the underlying Gecko engine.
RACQ's study was prompted by local and international media reports suggesting near silent hybrid vehicles presented a greater hazard to pedestrians than other cars.
Steve Spalding said the study tested the ability of pedestrians to detect hybrid and petrol vehicles in real-world conditions, using hearing alone. "The results showed that while hybrid vehicles could be nearly silent, modern conventional engines are quiet enough that pedestrians have just as much difficulty detecting them in situations where there is traffic noise. All pedestrians need to be aware of the potential risks modern vehicles of all types pose and take appropriate action to ensure their safety."
scdeimos writes: Europe's biggest, most sophisticated spaceship is about to bring its six-month mission to an end by plunging into the Pacific in a ball of flames. The "Jules Verne", also known by the generic name Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), cost about 1.3bn euros to develop.
Its final moments will be witnessed in the Pacific by two chase planes, a Gulfstream-V and a DC8, which will carry observation teams equipped with a range of spectroscopic imagers and conventional video and stills cameras to study how the spacecraft comes apart during re-entry. The information gathered will be used to enhance computer models of space agencies to plan the safe re-entries of future spacecraft.
Ubuntu has issued an update for firefox. This fixes some vulnerabilities, which can be exploited by malicious people to gain knowledge of certain information, conduct cross-site scripting attacks, and potentially compromise a user's system.
scdeimos writes: The prototype of a new solar patrol telescope in New Mexico recorded a tsunami-like shock wave rolling across the visible face of the Sun following a major flare event on Wednesday, Dec. 6. The shock wave, known as a Moreton wave, also destroyed or compressed two filaments of cool gas at opposite sides of the solar hemisphere.
"These large scale 'blast' waves occur infrequently, however, are very powerful. They quickly propagate in a matter of minutes covering the whole Sun, sweeping away filamentary material," said Dr. K. S. Balasubramaniam. "It is unusual to see such powerful waves encompassing the whole sun from ground based observatories. Its significance comes from the fact that these waves are occurring near solar minimum, when intense activity is yet to pick up."
SpaceWeather.com has a nice 480x360 GIF animation showing the wave spreading across the surface of the sun.