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Christmas Cheer

North Korea Threatens South Korea Over Christmas Lights 441

K7DAN writes "North Korea warned South Korea on Sunday of 'unexpected consequences' if Seoul displays Christmas lights near the tense border, and vowed to retaliate for what it called 'psychological warfare.' From the article: 'The tree-shaped, 30 metre-high steel structure on Aegibong hill - some 3km (2 miles) from the border - was illuminated by thousands of small light bulbs last year. It could be seen from the North's major city of Kaesong across the border, according to media reports. Pyongyang has previously accused Seoul of using the tree to spread the Christian message to people inside the secular state.'"

LEGO Universe To Shut Down 121

CmdrStone writes "The Universe is ending in the eyes of LEGO. (Cheap pun, I know.) From the announcement: 'We are very sad to announce that LEGO Universe will be closing on January 31, 2012. This was a very difficult decision to make, but unfortunately LEGO Universe has not been able to attract the number of members needed to keep the game open.' It's too bad; I enjoyed playing this game with my kids. Open sourcing the game would be nice."
First Person Shooters (Games)

Tremulous Switching To Xbox Live, Exclusively 43

An anonymous reader writes "Darklegion Development and Microsoft have apparently been working on a new version of Tremulous for the Xbox 360. Timbor, project founder and a main developer of Tremulous, said this in a recent announcement: 'What does this mean for you? You will now be able to play Tremulous on Xbox Live with thousands of other gamers, earning achievements and showing off your gaming skill. In the best interest of maintaining a steady and secure Tremulous playerbase, Tremulous is going to be exclusively available for Xbox Live. Existing infrastructure will no longer receive official support. Players who have already been playing for at least three months can apply for a €5/$7 coupon as a show of our appreciation of your enthusiasm so far! What does this mean for the community? Hopefully nothing! While the production of Tremulous switches from its current open source development to a closed source environment handled by the very capable and experienced Microsoft engineers, the efforts of the community will still be valued. In this collaboration we have made it very clear that the Tremulous community is very important to the game, and Microsoft agrees with us on this point. We are confident that this move will not stifle the creative output of the community.'"

Submission + - Are Java Grads the Pizza Delivery Men of Tomorrow?

Hugh Pickens writes: "James Maguire has an interesting story on Datamation about an interview he did with Robert Dewar, professor emeritus of computer science at New York University, about Java's role in the college classroom. Dewar says that today's Java-savvy college grad is tomorrow's pizza delivery man because their skills are so easily outsourced that they're heading for near-term obsolescence. The reason: students' reliance on Java's libraries of pre-written code means they aren't developing the deep programming skills necessary to make them invaluable. "Java is mainly used in Web applications that are mostly fairly trivial," says Dewar. "What we need are software engineers who understand how to build complex systems." Dewar says that colleges, alarmed by falling CS enrollment, have dumbed down the course requirements. Consequently, CS majors sail through a curriculum of Math Lite, earning a smiley-face on their papers for "developing" projects using pre-built libraries. "If people come out of school and they know Java and web programming, and they know how to put things together from libraries, that's just the kind of skills that are not going to be demand." Dewar's remarks echo his report called Computer Science Education: Where are the Software Engineers of Tomorrow?, that has prompted heated discussion throughout the tech industry."
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - What to do with a hundred hard drives? 3

Makoto916 writes: "In five years with my current employer as the IT administrator I've amassed a sizable cabinet of discarded hard drives; just shy of 100 in fact. All of the drives range in size from 20GB up to 300GB. They've all been stored in anti-stat bags and spot checks of even the oldest ones show that that most all of them still work. Individually they're mostly useless for our line of work which is digital video production. However, the collective storage potential is quite significant. They are of varying size and speeds, but the one commonality is they're all IDE.

In the Slashdot community's opinion, what is the best way to approach connecting all of these devices and realizing their storage potential? On a budget of course.

Now I'd never use such an array for critical data storage, but it certainly would be useful as a massive backup array to our existing SAN that does store critical data.

I have several spare and functioning PCs, but not nearly enough to utilize their internal IDE controllers; even with multiple add-in controllers it still wouldn't be enough. Not to mention the nightmare of managing a bunch of independent PCs.

I've looked into ATA Over Ethernet and there's a lot of potential there, but current 15 to 20 bay AoE cabinets are expensive and single device enclosures are so rare that they're also expensive. Are there any hardware hackers out there that have crafted their own home-brew AoE systems? Could they scale to 100 drives? Is there a better way?"

Submission + - SPAM: Professor designs plasma-propelled flying saucer

FiReaNGeL writes: "Flying saucers may soon be more fact than mere science fiction. University of Florida professor Subrata Roy has submitted a patent application for a circular, spinning aircraft design reminiscent of the spaceships seen in countless Hollywood films. Roy, however, calls his design a "wingless electromagnetic air vehicle," or WEAV. Though the design is promising on paper, towering obstacles stand between the blueprint and liftoff. The propulsion system for Roy's saucer sprouts from his extensive U.S. Air Force-funded plasma actuator research, the results of which have appeared in more than 15 scholarly journals. The production of the aircraft will be a joint project of UF's mechanical and aerospace engineering department and its electrical and computer engineering department."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - SPAM: ADHD is an advantage for nomadic tribesmen

FiReaNGeL writes: "A propensity for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might be beneficial to a group of Kenyan nomads, according to new research that will be published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology. By studying adult men of the Ariaal of Kenya, they investigated whether ADHD would have the same implications in a nomad environment. They found that ADHD has been linked to greater food and drug cravings and novelty-seeking. It is possible that in the nomadic setting, a boy with ADHD might be able to more effectively defend livestock against raiders or locate food and water sources, but that the same tendencies might not be as beneficial in settled pursuits such as focusing in school, farming or selling goods."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Transparent transistors fuel solar breakthrough (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: "Hewlett-Packard is announcing today a licensing deal with Xtreme Energetics for the purposes of using HP's transparent transistor technology in its solar panels. Xtreme will layer HP's transparent transistors over its solar panels. The devices, which light passes through, are said to focus the energy from the sun "like a magnifying glass" onto the black solar panels. Colin Williams, CEO of Xtreme, says that the company's solar panels' transparency lets you add artistic patterns behind them to blend in with a building's look. Williams says the panels, which should begin shipping in 2010, will cost "about the same as traditional silicon solar panels but will produce twice the energy or more.""

Submission + - SPAM: Astronomers find tiny planet orbiting tiny star

FiReaNGeL writes: "An international team of astronomers has discovered an extra-solar planet of about three Earth masses orbiting a star with a mass so low that its core may not be large enough to maintain nuclear reactions. "Our discovery indicates that even the lowest mass stars can host planets," Bennett said. "No planets have previously been found to orbit stars with masses less than about 20 percent of that of the sun, but this finding suggests that we should expect very low-mass stars near the sun to have planets with a mass similar to that of the Earth. This is of particular interest because it may be possible use NASA's planned James Webb Space Telescope to search for signs of life on Earth-mass planets orbiting low-mass stars in the vicinity of the sun.""
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Short-timer: Gates' last month at Microsoft? (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: "It's Bill Gates' last month at Microsoft, but not really. Despite all the talk of retirement, Gates won't truly be gone from Redmond. He plans to continue as Microsoft's chairman, and he said last week that he still plans to spend 20% of his time working at the company on projects involving technologies such as Office and search tools. So he won't be history, really. But it is a good time to start thinking about how to judge Gates and his impact on the IT industry from a historical perspective. Care to share?"

Submission + - Adobe takes aim at Google with Acrobat .com (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: "Adobe Acrobat software is getting a Web 2.0 makeover, as the graphics software maker prepares to challenge Microsoft and Google in the online office arena. On Monday, Adobe is launching a public beta of an upcoming hosted collaboration service called Acrobat.com. Components include a Web-based word processor named Buzzword, which Adobe acquired last fall; the company claims that it produces more-polished-looking documents than other online word processors, such as Google Docs. One take on if it has a fighting chance: Enabling PDFs to become .zip-like file containers is "nice in certain work situations," said Guy Creese, an analyst at Burton Group in Midvale, Utah. "But it sort of begs the question: Is helping people continue to send stuff around by e-mail the best way to do things when you can use wikis or SharePoint and do it better? I'm not convinced this will have a great uptake in the market.""

Submission + - Leaning Tower of Pisa Secure for 300 More Years

Ponca City, We Love You writes: "Medieval architects only got as far as the third floor of the tower of Pisa before it began to lean in 1178 and by 1990 it had tilted more than four meters off its true vertical, with conservationists estimating that the entire 14,500-ton structure would collapse "some time between 2030 and 2040." Now the Leaning Tower of Pisa has been stabilized and declared safe for at least another three centuries after it was anchored to cables and lead counterweights while 70 tons of soil was removed from the north side — away from the lean — and cement was injected into the ground to relieve the pressure. The tilt has now returned to where it was in the early 19th century and architects say there was never any intention to straighten the 56m tower, only to stop it sinking further. Nicholas Shrady, author "Tilt: A Skewed History of the Tower of Pisa" says that the tower was destined to tilt from the outset because of the decision to build the tower "on what is essentially a former bog" and that the tower has previously come close to collapsing in 1838, 1934, and 1995. Although Galileo Galilei is said to have dropped cannon balls from the tower in a gravity experiment, Shrady says the myth is the "result of the overripe imagination of Galileo's secretary and first biographer, Vincenzo Viviani.""

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