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Submission + - Twitter solves its data formatting challenge (

angry tapir writes: "Eschewing popular choices such as XML, CSV and JSON, Twitter has opted to format the back-end storage of its user and systems data with a relatively unknown format pioneered by Google, called Protocol Buffers. With the company storing 12TB of this data each day for later use, the decision of which format to use was a crucial one. The company is planning for the time when it will have to house "a trillion Tweets"."

Submission + - Sperm-Creation Paper Retracted for Plagiarism

Hugh Pickens writes: "Nature reports that a paper reporting the creation of sperm-like cells from human embryonic stem cells has been retracted by the editor of the journal Stem Cells and Development. The journal's editor-in-chief Graham Parker says he took the radical step because two paragraphs in the introduction of the paper had been plagiarized from a 2007 review published in another journal. The retraction has surprised even critics of the paper, who had complained that the work had been over-hyped. "If there is nothing else behind this, it seems a little harsh," says Harry Moore, co-director of the Centre for Stem Cell Biology at the University of Sheffield, UK. The article reported that sperm precursor cells could be derived from human embryonic stem cells in vitro. These derived cells were able to divide and generate cells with just one set of chromosomes, characteristic of sperm. Although the text of the article modestly refers to these as "sperm-like cells" with "tail-like structures", its title, and the press release which accompanied its publication, refer baldly to human sperm. "That raised hackles," says Moore. "With that claim the authors opened themselves to criticism, some of it unfair, because the paper did not in fact show that sperm had been derived." Experts said Parker was right to retract the paper. "This is clearly scientific misconduct," said Allan Pacey, secretary for the British Fertility Society. "I can understand why people might think, if they were sloppy here, maybe they were sloppy elsewhere.""

Submission + - Ultra-Efficient Organic LEDs (

pdragon04 writes: "An organic light-emitting diode (OLED) developed in Germany has the potential to produce the same quality of white light as incandescent bulbs but with power efficiencies considerably better than even fluorescent lighting ... with both fluorescent and LED lighting, the quality of white light produced has always left something to be desired ... In contrast, OLEDs can be made from a wide range of materials, so achieving good-quality white light is less challenging, says Reineke. It has not been the quality of light that has let OLEDs down but rather their efficiencies. "

Submission + - Successful Launch of ESA's Herschel and Planck

rgarbacz writes: "Today at 13:12 GMT ESA launched successfully new and long awaiting spacecrafts: Herschel — the 3.5m mirror infrared telescope, and Planck — the CMB mapper. The spacecrafts were carried by Arian 5, which lifted off from Kourou in French Guiana. They will stay in L2 to perform the research. Herschel and Planck are one of the most expensive and important missions of the European Space Agency. They were built to perform measurements with an outstanding quality. Planck will measure CMB with accuracy below 1%, over 10 times better than the previous such mission (WMAP). Because of this high sensitivity both spacecrafts are cooled to temperatures close to the absolute zero by on board liquid helium, and staying in L2 is very helpful to maintain this state. Both spacecrafts are designed to observe the Universe at its infancy, Herschel — the first stars (those real ones), and galaxies (whichever came first), Planck — the first photons which were set free, the so called cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB).

This is a correction to my previous submission — please remove this line."

Submission + - AMD Breaks 1GHz GPU Barrier With Radeon HD 4890 (

MojoKid writes: "AMD announced today that they can lay claim to the world's first 1GHz graphics processor with their ATI Radeon HD 4890 GPU. There's been no formal announcement made about what partners will be selling the 1GHz variant, but AMD does note that Asus, Club 3D, Diamond Multimedia, Force3D, GECUBE, Gigabyte, HIS, MSI, Palit Multimedia, PowerColor, SAPPHIRE, XFX and others are all aligning to release higher performance cards. The new ATI Radeo HD 4890 utilizes advanced GDDR5 memory and a 1GHz core clock speed to deliver 1.6 TeraFLOPs of compute power."

Submission + - Gates Foundation Funds "Altruistic Vaccine" (

QuantumG writes: "The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to the University of Queensland, Australia to develop a vaccine against dengue fever, a disease spread by mosquitoes. Unlike other vaccines, the "altruistic vaccine" doesn't specifically protect the individual being bitten but instead protects the community by stopping the transmission of the pathogen from one susceptible individual to another. The hope is to do this by effectively making their blood poisonous to mosquitoes, either killing them or at least preventing them from feeding on other individuals. Professor Paul Young explained how his work fell outside current scientific traditions and might lead to significant advances in global health — he said he could envision the vaccine being used around the world within 10 years, and would be designed to be cheap and easy to implement."
The Internet

Submission + - JavaScript can kill Web site performance (

ericatcw writes: JavaScript, so ubiquitous on today's AJAX-heavy Web sites, can slows down most popular sites today, says a Google performance guru. Steve Souders, the creator of the popular, free Yslow diagnostic tool, says that too many sites load too many JavaScript files at the beginning, creating a bottleneck, since browsers can't render or download anything else at the same time. New browsers such as Internet Explorer 8 can do "parallel downloads" of JavaScript, but it only partly solves the problem, says Souders, who calls for JavaScript and CSS files to be rewritten.
Operating Systems

Submission + - Phoenix BIOSOS? ( 3

jhfry writes: An interesting development by an unexpected source, Phoenix Technologies is releasing a Linux based, virtualization enabled, BIOS based OS for computers (Technology Review). They implemented a full Linux distro right on the BIOS chips, and using integrated virtualization technology it "allows PCs and laptops to hot-switch between the main operating system, such as Windows, and the HyperSpace environment." So essentially they are "trying to create a new market using the ideas of a fast-booting, safe platform that people can work in, but remain outside of Windows."

Submission + - The Hidden Secrets of Online Quizzes

LegionKK writes: "Ultimately, deciding whether you should take an online quiz comes down to a question of trust: Are you comfortable putting your information — personal or financial — into the owner's hands? Remember, even if you don't directly input data, it can be passed along. Such is the case with Facebook, where just opening an application automatically grants its developer access to your entire profile. And don't assume that the developer isn't going to use the information within. [...] The ads can follow you long after you click away, too. Just look at RealAge, a detailed quiz that assigns you a "biological age" based on your family history and health habits. The site, a recent investigation revealed, takes your most sensitive answers — those about sexual difficulties, say, or signs of depression — and sells them to drug companies looking to market medications."

Submission + - Atlantis Links Up To Hubble For Repairs

An anonymous reader writes: Space Shuttle Atlantis has finally caught up with the Hubble Space Telescope after following it for several hours. The "link up" between the Space Shuttle and Hubble was a very delicate one as the two were flying through space at 17,200 MPH, 300 miles above the Earth's surface. The robotic arm of the shuttle grappled the telescope at 1:14 PM EDT today. The telescope will be latched to a high-tech, lazy Susan device known as the Flight Support System for the duration of the servicing work.

Submission + - Windows 7RC Has A Virus Botnet (

Drivintin writes: "There are reports that the Windows 7 RC that was found on torrent, that appeared with the MSDN release, has a major botnet. "The rate of infected machines at one point was growing at over 500 machines an hour, and looks to have over 27,000 installs." The control machine looks to have been taken out, but now all those machines lay as zombies, ready to go."
Portables (Apple)

Submission + - Apple to issue $100 credit to iPhone buyers (

InfoWorldMike writes: "Apple CEO Steve Jobs Thursday afternoon responded to a flood of complaints from existing iPhone owners over Wednesday's $200 price cut by promising the company would issue a $100 credit to anyone who bought an iPhone before the change. "I have received hundreds of emails from iPhone customers who are upset about Apple dropping the price of iPhone by $200 two months after it went on sale," Jobs said in a statement posted to the Apple Web site. In the open letter addressed to "all iPhone customers," Jobs defended the price cut, saying "now is the right time to do it. iPhone is a breakthrough product, and we have the chance to 'go for it' this holiday season." He also echoed — albeit in more circumspect language — comments made Wednesday in an interview with reporters from USA Today in which he told disgruntled owners: "There is always someone who bought a product before a particular cutoff date and misses the new price or the new operating system or the new whatever," Jobs said Thursday. "This is life in the technology lane.""
Operating Systems

Submission + - Sun CEO says NetApp lied in fear of open source (

Lucas123 writes: "In reaction to NetApp's patent infringement lawsuit against Sun, CEO Jonathan Schwartz today said in his blog that NetApp basically lied in its legal filing when it said Sun asked them for licensing fees for use of their ZFS file system technology. In a separate statement, Sun said NetApp's lawsuit is about fear over open-source ZFS technology as a competitive threat. "The rise of the open-source community cannot be stifled by proprietary vendors. I guess not everyone's learned that lesson," Schwartz wrote in his blog."

Submission + - Hackers using YouTube to spread latest Trojan

thefickler writes: Social engineering attacks are showing a strong rise this Summer. The latest trick is manipulating YouTube users to infect their PCs with a Trojan known as the Fake Codec. For most media, a certain codec is required to encode and decode a digital stream such as audio or video. When a user tries to view a video that requires a specific codec, they'll usually get the message, "Codec not found" or "The proper codec to play this media is not installed." Some sites will usually direct you to another website to download the codec; however, an increasing trend in late August is for hackers to direct users to download a fake codec, which will in turn install malicious software on the user's machine.
The Courts

Submission + - Justice Department Opposes Net Neutrality (

thornomad writes: "I was saddened (though not surprised) to read that the Justice Department opposes net neutrality saying that it could "hamper development of the internet". While it may seem counter-intuitive to me, they argue that allowing ISPs to provide different levels of service/speed for different content will benefit consumers. They did promise to "continue to monitor and enforce any anticompetitive conduct to ensure a competitive broadband marketplace" — not that anyone was worried about that."

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