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Submission + - The String Theory Landscape may not be Science after all

StartsWithABang writes: For more than the last decade, physicists have realized that String Theory provides a Landscape of possible values for the cosmological constant, some 10^500 of them. Only the ones that are finely tuned to support possible observers could ever be observed by someone like us, so says the anthropic principle. But despite all the work, publicity and hype that's gone into it, not only have there been no scientific advancements on this front, but this line of thinking is unlikely to ever lead us there, not without some actual science.

Monitor Your Health 24x7 With the WIN Human Recorder 66

kkleiner writes "Japanese venture firm WIN Human Recorder Ltd is set to bring a health monitor patch to market that is capable of keeping tabs on all your vitals. The HRS-I is a small (30mm x 30mm x 5mm) lightweight (7g) device that adheres to your chest and relays the data it collects to a computer or mobile phone via wireless connection. While the HRS-I only directly monitors electrocardiograph information, body surface temperature, and movement (via accelerometers), it can connect to sensors for heart rate, brain waves, respiration and many other important health indicators. WIN is selling the HRS-I for around ¥30,000 (~$330) and providing monitoring software for around ¥10,000 (~$110)."

Saboteur Launch Plagued By Problems With ATI Cards 230

An anonymous reader writes "So far, there are over 35 pages of people posting about why EA released Pandemic Studios' final game, Saboteur, to first the EU on December 4th and then, after knowing full well it did not work properly, to the Americas on December 8th. They have been promising to work on a patch that is apparently now in the QA stage of testing. It is not a small bug; rather, if you have an ATI video card and either Windows 7 or Windows Vista, the majority (90%) of users have the game crash after the title screen. Since the marketshare for ATI is nearly equal to that of Nvidia, and the ATI logo is adorning the front page of the Saboteur website, it seems like quite a large mistake to release the game in its current state."

What Drugs Do Astronauts Take? 132

astroengine writes "Science fiction is stuffed full of examples of pill-popping space explorers and aliens enjoying psychedelic highs. After all, space is big; it can get boring/scary/crazy up there. It's little wonder, then, that our current space explorers consume a cocktail of uppers, downers, tranquilizers and alcohol to get the job done. Robert Lamb on tranquilizers in the space station: 'Sure, it hardly makes for a civilized evening aboard ISS, but it beats someone blowing the hatch because they think they saw something crawling on one of the solar panels.'"

Man Controls Cybernetic Hand With Thoughts 81

MaryBethP writes "Scientists in Italy announced Wednesday that Pierpaolo Petruzziello, a 26-year-old Italian who had lost his left forearm in a car accident, was successfully linked to an artificial limb that was controlled by electrodes implanted in his arm and connected to the median and ulnar nerves. He has learned to control the artificial limb with his mind. According to CNet, Petruzziello says he could feel sensations in it, as if the lost arm had grown back again. The BBC has a brief video showing the arm in operation."

What Would It Look Like To Fall Into a Black Hole? 154

CNETNate writes "A new video simulation developed by Andrew Hamilton and Gavin Polhemus of the University of Colorado, Boulder, on New Scientist today, shows what you might see on your way towards a black hole's crushing central singularity. Hamilton and Polhemus built a computer code based on the equations of Einstein's general theory of relativity, and the video produced allows the viewer to follow the fate of an imaginary observer on an orbit that swoops down into a giant black hole weighing 5 million times the mass of the sun, about the same size as the hole in the centre of our galaxy. The research could help physicists understand the apparently paradoxical fate of matter and energy in a black hole."

EFF Sues To Overturn Telecom Immunity 369

Mike writes "The title says it all — The EFF is suing to have the unconstitutional telecom immunity overturned. 'In a brief filed in the US District Court [PDF] in San Francisco, the EFF argues that the flawed FISA Amendments Act (FAA) violates the federal government's separation of powers as established in the Constitution and robs innocent telecom customers of their rights without due process of law. [...] "We have overwhelming record evidence that the domestic spying program is operating far outside the bounds of the law," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Intelligence agencies, telecoms, and the Administration want to sweep this case under the rug, but the Constitution won't permit it."'"

Mobile Firefox Alpha 1 Released 148

An anonymous reader writes "Today Mozilla released development builds of its next mobile browser, Fennec 1.0 Alpha 1. 'The last eight milestones were building up to getting a stable browser with an easy to use interface. We really want to get Fennec in front of as many people as possible and get feedback.' To that end, Fennec has been made available for the desktop on Windows, Mac and Linux."

New State Laws Could Make Encryption Widespread 155

New laws that took effect in Nevada on Oct. 1 and will kick in on Jan. 1 in Massachusetts may effectively mandate encryption for companies' hard drives, portable devices, and data transmissions. The laws will be binding on any organization that maintains personal information about residents of the two states. (Washington and Michigan are considering similar legislation.) Nevada's law deals mostly with transmitted information and Massachusetts's emphasizes stored information. Between them the two laws should put more of a dent into lax security practices than widespread laws requiring customer notification of data breaches have done. (Such laws are on the books in 40 states and by one estimate have reduced identity theft by 2%.) Here are a couple of legal takes on the impact of the new laws.
Portables (Apple)

Users Rage Over Missing FireWire On New MacBooks 820

CWmike writes "Apple customers, unhappy that the company dropped FireWire from its new MacBook (not the Pro), are venting their frustrations on the company's support forum in hundreds of messages. Within minutes of Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrapping up a launch event in Cupertino, Calif., users started several threads to vent over the omission. 'Apple really screwed up with no FireWire port,' said Russ Tolman, who inaugurated a thread that by Thursday has collected more than 300 messages and been viewed over 8,000 times. 'No MacBook with [FireWire] — no new MacBook for me,' added Simon Meyer in a message posted yesterday. Several mentioned that FireWire's disappearance means that the new MacBooks could not be connected to other Macs using Target Disk Mode, and one noted that iMovie will have no way to connect to new MacBooks. Others pointed out that the previous-generation MacBook, which Apple is still selling at a reduced price of $999, includes a FireWire port. Apple introduced FireWire into its product lines in 1999 and championed the standard."

Old Materials Resurface For "Prebiotic Soup" 263

AliasMarlowe writes "Stanley Miller performed the famous experiments in the 1950s showing that amino acids and other building blocks for biomolecules could be produced by passing lightning through a mix of simple hydrocarbons, water vapor, and ammonia (thought at the time to approximate the Earth's early atmosphere). Other experiments approximated the environment around volcanic eruptions, but those results were not published. Following his death last year, a former student discovered the materials from those experiments, in labelled vials. Analysis of this material indicates that the conditions around volcanic eruptions (still thought to be representative of such events in the early Earth) resulted in a higher yield of amino acids than the simple lightning experiments, and resulted in a greater variety of amino acids." Pharyngula has a discussion of the Science paper, including a graph of the amino acids produced.

China To Photograph All Internet Cafe Customers 223

Gwaihir the Windlord writes "Not only is the Great Firewall of China back up and running, but now if you visit an Internet cafe, your photo will be taken and your identity card scanned. And the friendly officers of the Cultural Law Enforcement Taskforce make those details, entered into a city-wide database, available at any other cafe. So much for the new levels of openness and transparency that the Olympics were supposed to usher in."

FBI Says Dark Market Sting Netted 56 Arrests 130

narramissic writes "A two-year undercover FBI sting operation targeting online 'carder' forums hosted on the Web site has netted 56 arrests and prevented about $70 million in fraud losses, the FBI said Thursday. was widely used by online scammers to buy and sell stolen credit card numbers, other financial information, and even the devices used to make fake banking cards. Before it was shut down earlier this month, the Web site had registered more than 2,500 members. Although Dark Market was thought to have been administered by a criminal going by the name Master Splyntr, German Public Radio reported on Monday that the FBI had been running a sting operation on the site since late 2006, and that Master Splyntr was actually an FBI agent named J. Keith Mularski." Of course, they say it in German; non-German speakers may want to consult the Babelfish.

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