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Google

Submission + - YouTube Launches Face Blur Tool To Protect Protesters (techweekeurope.co.uk)

judgecorp writes: "YouTube has added a tool which automatically detects and anonymises faces in uploaded videos. YouTube parent Google says it is intended to allow dissidents in places like Syria to share videos without risking reprisals form the government — but it warned that this is not an exact science, so users should check videos through before making them public."
Power

Italian Scientists Demonstrate Cold Fusion? 815

Haffner quotes physorg which says "Italian scientists Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi of the University of Bologna announced that they developed a cold fusion device capable of producing 12,400 W of heat power with an input of just 400 W....when the atomic nuclei of nickel and hydrogen are fused in their reactor, the reaction produces copper and a large amount of energy. The reactor uses less than 1 gram of hydrogen and starts with about 1,000 W of electricity, which is reduced to 400 W after a few minutes. Every minute, the reaction can convert 292 grams of 20C water into dry steam at about 101C. Since raising the temperature of water by 80C and converting it to steam requires about 12,400 W of power, the experiment provides a power gain of 12,400/400 = 31."
GNU is Not Unix

FSF Announces Support For WebM 333

An anonymous reader writes "The Free Software Foundation has signed up as a supporter of the WebM Project. They write, 'Last week, Google announced that it plans to remove support for the H.264 video codec from its browsers, in favor of the WebM codec that they recently made free. Since then, there's been a lot of discussion about how this change will affect the Web going forward, as HTML5 standards like the video tag mature. We applaud Google for this change; it's a positive step for free software, its users, and everyone who uses the Web.' The FSF's PlayOgg campaign will be revamped to become PlayFreedom."
Government

UK To Offer PCs For £98, Subsidized Internet Connections 224

Sam writes "The UK government wants to offer low-cost computers as part of a 12-month trial during Race Online 2012. The scheme, which aims to reach out to the 9.2 million adults that are not yet online, 4 million of whom are considered socially and economically disadvantaged, aims to 'make the UK the first nation in the world where everyone can use the web.' Prices will start at £98 ($156.01) for a refurbished PC, with subsidized Internet connections available for as little as £9 ($14.33) a month or £18 ($28.65) for three months. The cheap computers will run open-source software (think Linux) and will include a flat-screen monitor, keyboard, mouse, dedicated telephone helpline, delivery, and even a warranty. The cheap Internet packages will use a mobile dongle to help people access the web."
Science

Gulf Bacteria Quickly Digested Spilled Methane 136

masterwit writes "From an AAAS news release: 'Bacteria made quick work of the methane released by the Deepwater Horizon blowout, digesting most of the gas within the four months after its release, according to a new study published online at ScienceExpress.' This study, however, did not deal with other chemicals (oil) from the disaster's fallout. A glimpse of good news from the disaster's aftermath." Reader iamrmani points out a related article suggesting that things may be looking up for BP after the Presidential Commission said blame for the disaster should be shared with service contractors and government regulators.
NASA

NASA's Kepler Spots Its First Rocky Exoplanet 97

coondoggie writes "NASA today said its star-gazing satellite Kepler has identified its first rocky planet orbiting a sun similar to our own — 560 light years from our solar system. While not in an area of space considered habitable, the rocky planet known as Kepler-10b is never-the-less significant because it showcases the ability of Kepler to find and track such small exoplanetary movements. 'Kepler's ultra-precise photometer measures the tiny decrease in a star's brightness that occurs when a planet crosses in front of it. The size of the planet can be derived from these periodic dips in brightness. The distance between the planet and the star is calculated by measuring the time between successive dips as the planet orbits the star. Kepler is the first NASA mission capable of finding Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone, the region in a planetary system where liquid water can exist on the planet's surface. However, since it orbits once every 0.84 days, Kepler-10b is more than 20 times closer to its star than Mercury is to our sun and not in the habitable zone.'"
Mars

Mars Journal Issue Inspires Hundreds of One-Way Trip Volunteers 475

Velcroman1 writes "An interplanetary trip to Mars could take as little as 10 months, but returning would be virtually impossible — making the voyage a form of self-imposed exile from Earth unlike anything else in human history. What would inspire someone to volunteer? A special edition of the Journal of Cosmology detailed exactly how a privately-funded, one-way mission to Mars could depart as soon as 20 years from now — and it prompted more than 400 readers to volunteer as colonists. 'I've had a deep desire to explore the universe ever since I was a child and understood what a rocket was,' said Peter Greaves, the father of three, and a jack-of-all-trades who started his own motorcycle dispatch company and fixes computers and engines on the side. 'I envision life on Mars to be stunning, frightening, lonely, quite cramped and busy,' he said. Given the difficulties of the mission, Lana Tao, the editor of the Journal, said she was surprised by the response. 'At first we thought the e-mails were a joke... then we realized they were completely serious.'" Of course, they'd have to compete with the thousands of you who said you'd go.
Government

Some WikiLeaks Contributions To Public Discourse 299

Hugh Pickens writes "The EFF argues that regardless of the heated debate over the propriety of the actions of WikiLeaks, some of the cables have contributed significantly to public and political conversations around the world. The Guardian reported on a cable describing an incident in Afghanistan in which employees of DynCorp, a US military contractor, hired a 'dancing boy,' an under-aged boy dressed as a woman, who dances for a gathering of men and is then prostituted — an incident that contributed important information to the debate over the use of private military contractors. A cable released by WikiLeaks showed that Pfizer allegedly sought to blackmail a Nigerian regulator to stop a lawsuit against drug trials on children. A WikiLeaks revelation that the United States used bullying tactics to attempt to push Spain into adopting copyright laws even more stringent than those in the US came just in time to save Spain from the kind of misguided copyright laws that cripple innovation and facilitate online censorship. An article by the NY Times analyzed cables released which indicated the US is having difficulties in fulfilling Obama's promise to close the Guantánamo Bay detention camp and is now considering incentives in return for other countries accepting detainees, including a one-on-one meeting with Obama or assistance with the IMF. 'These examples make clear that WikiLeaks has brought much-needed light to government operations and private actions,' writes Rainey Reitman, 'which, while veiled in secrecy, profoundly affect the lives of people around the world and can play an important role in a democracy that chooses its leaders.'"
Hardware Hacking

FreeBSD Running On PS3 127

An anonymous reader writes "One week after Sony's PlayStation 3 private cryptography key was obtained, FreeBSD is up and running on the PS3. Nathan Whitehorn writes: 'Yesterday, I imported support for the Sony Playstation 3 into our 64-bit PowerPC port, expanding our game console support into the current generation. There are still a few rough edges due to missing hardware support, but the machine boots and runs FreeBSD stably. These rough edges should be smoothed out in time for the 9.0 release.'" Update: 01/10 15:04 GMT by KD : As several commenters have pointed out, the submission was misleading in that BSD runs in OtherOS, making no use of the cracked keys.
IBM

IBM Projects Holographic Phones, Air-Driven Batteries 109

geek4 writes "In 2015, we will be using mobile phones that will project a 3D holographic image of callers, claims IBM in a list of predictions of future technologies culled from a survey of 3,000 IBM scientists. 3D displays are also the focus of work between Intel and Nokia in the development of a holographic interface. Cities heated by servers and advanced city traffic monitoring are also listed as being among the prevalent technologies of the next five years, according to a Bloomberg article."
Science

The Animal World Has Its Junkies, Too 250

Phoghat writes "Research scientists have used many animal species in investigating mind-altering drugs, but it may come as a surprise to learn that animals in the wild — from starlings to reindeer — also make use of psychoactive substances of their own accord. It seems that many of these species have a natural desire to experience altered states of consciousness, and man may well have found his way to some of his favourite recreational drugs by observing the behaviour of animals."
Biotech

New Tech Promises Cheap Gene Sequencing In Minutes 121

Zothecula writes "Sequencing an entire genome is currently a highly complex, time-consuming process – the DNA must be broken down into segments and replicated, utilizing chemicals that destroy the original sample. Scientists from Imperial College London, however, have just announced the development of a prototype device that could lead to technology capable of sequencing a human genome within minutes, at a cost of just a few dollars. By contrast, when sequencing of the genome of Dr. James Watson (co-discoverer of the structure of DNA) was completed in 2007, it had taken two years and cost US$1 million."
Science

Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory At South Pole 78

Scryer writes "Construction of the Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory was completed on 18 Dec at the South Pole. It's now the world's largest neutrino detector, with 5,160 optical sensors on 86 strings embedded two kilometers below the National Science Foundation's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. It has been gathering data since construction started, and will be fully operational after the last strings freeze in March 2011."
Firefox

Firefox 4 Beta 8 Up 385

An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla has released a new beta of Firefox 4 this morning. Originally intended as a quick update for the feature-complete Beta 7 release, the new Beta includes 1415 bugfixes, a fine-tuned add-ons manager, improved WebGL support as well as URL bar enhancements."

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