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Space

Submission + - The most distant object in the Universe. Maybe. (discovermagazine.com)

The Bad Astronomer writes: "A gamma-ray burst seen in 2009 may be the single most distant object ever seen. If the estimates pan out, it's at a whopping 13.4 billion light years away. The estimates look good, though the exact distance isn't known. If it holds up, this explosion occurred when the Universe was only 2% of its current age."

Submission + - Is the Chinese political/economic model superior?

An anonymous reader writes: No one ever confirmed that democracy/capitalism was the best model for a society. In the west we are so in love with this combination that we sometimes don't do the scientific thing and question long-held beliefs about this. Increasingly some western governments are concerned that perhaps China has implemented a model that is superior to the West's (use whatever large-scale metrics you wish for "superior"). Certainly China is moving ahead in leaps and bounds using their model and are very successfully competing against other economies. Perhaps the state-directed capitalism approach works better than others when countries compete? Or will it all end in tears? Here's an article from the Sydney Morning Herald that looks at this issue.
Operating Systems

Submission + - Red Hat CEO: economic crisis is open sources gain (computerworld.com.au) 1

arashtamere writes: Red Hat president and CEO Jim Whitehurst predicts the enterprise open source software business will emerge from the economic crisis stronger than the proprietary market. "I've had a couple of conversations with CIOs who said 'we're a Microsoft shop and we don't use any open source whatsoever, but we're already getting pressure to reduce our operating costs and we need you to help put together a plan for us to help us use open source to reduce our costs'. And we've had other customers literally looking at ripping and replacing WebLogic or WebSphere for JBoss...I think we'll know in about six to nine months but there is no question that open source will come out of this in relatively better shape than our proprietary competitors," he told Computerworld.
Robotics

Submission + - Robotic Telescope Installed on Antarctica Plateau

Reservoir Hill writes: "Antarctica claims some of the best astronomical sky conditions in the world — devoid of clouds with steady air that makes for clear viewing — that unfortunately lie deep in the interior on a high-altitude plateau called Dome A with an elevation up to 4,093m known as the most unapproachable point in the earth's southernmost region. Now astronomers in a Chinese scientific expedition have set up an experimental observatory at Dome A after lugging their equipment across Antarctica with the help of Australia and the US. The observatory will hunt for alien planets, while also measuring the observing conditions at the site to see if it is worth trying to build bigger observatories there. The observatory is automated, pointing its telescopes on its own while astronomers monitor its progress from other locations around the world via satellite link. PLATO is powered by a gas generator, and has a 4000-litre tank of jet fuel to keep it running through the winter. The observatory will search for planets around other stars using an array of four 14.5-centimetre telescopes called the Chinese Small Telescope Array (CSTAR). Astronomers hope to return in 2009 with new instruments, including the Antarctica Schmidt Telescopes (AST-3), a trio of telescopes with 0.5-metre mirrors, which will be more sensitive to planets than CSTAR."
Biotech

Submission + - Black Licorice with Ammonium Chloride (wired.com) 1

Lott's Wife writes: When foodies talk about salt, they are usually referring to a blend of chemicals that is dominated by sodium chloride, but a Northern European treat, called salmiakki by the Finnish, is made from a different edible ionic compound — ammonium chloride. Regardless of how you feel about tasting mysterious molecules, offering the bizarre candy to your friends is a fantastic way to make them squirm while reminding them about the broader meaning of the term salt — any neutral compound that can be made by mixing an acid with a base.
Books

Submission + - GUI Design Book Recommendations? 8

jetpack writes: I've always hated writing user interfaces, and graphical user interfaces in particular. However, I suspect that is largely because I have no clue how to write a *good* one. By this, I don't mean the technical aspects, like using the APIs and so on. I mean what are the issues in designing an interface that is clean, easy to understand and easy to use? What are things to be considered? What are things to be avoided? What are good over-all philosophies of UI design?

To this end, I'd like to pick up a book or two (or three) and get my learn on. I'd appreciate some book suggestions from the UI experts in the Slashdot crowd.
Linux Business

Submission + - Microsoft Paid Novell $356 Million in '07

Anonymous writes: At the end of this piece at Channelweb.com, it's reported that Microsoft paid Novell $355.6 million last year as part of their "interoperability" deal. It's no small wonder, then, that Novell executives are saying the deal has been a huge success so far.
Biotech

Journal Journal: Stem Cell-derived bone tissue closes skull injury

The American Society for Cell Biology reports "There are mice in Baltimore whose skulls were made whole again by bone tissue grown from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Healing critical-size defects (defects that would not otherwise heal on their own) in intramembraneous bone, the flat bone type that forms the skull, is a vivid demonstration of new techniques devised by researchers at John Hopkins University to
NASA

Submission + - NASA being called-out on AMS grounding (msn.com)

mpsmps writes: Attention is being renewed on NASA's grounding of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. As pointed out in the article, Nobel-laureate Steven Weinberg says the AMS "would be the only significant science ever done on the space station." Plenty of similar quotes from other scientists. Lets keep the heat on for a special AMS mission like they're doing for Hubble.

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