Archive for March 28th, 2006
"NASA — A new study of a meteorite that originated from Mars has revealed a series of microscopic tunnels that are similar in size, shape and distribution to tracks left on Earth rocks by feeding bacteria. And though researchers were unable to extract DNA from the Martian rocks, the finding nonetheless adds intrigue to the search for life beyond Earth. Results of the study were published in the latest edition of the journal Astrobiology."
Fark Headline – Remember the boys who jumped on the skylight of that abondoned factory and fell through? The parents are using this to teach the boys about personal responsi — no, nevermind. They’re suing
"CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. — The parents of two boys who fell almost 30 feet through a skylight in an abandoned warehouse intend to sue the owners of that abandoned building. The parents believe Pan American Sites did not do a good enough job in preventing the boys from entering the property. The boys were playing around and jumping on a skylight in the roof of an abandoned warehouse near Sample Road earlier this month when it gave way, sending them plummeting onto a concrete floor."
Fark Headline – Britney Spears is not a happy girl. Nude photos of her were bought up by an online casino for $40,000. They may have been taken by Justin Timberlake back in the day when she was still hot
"Here we go again, another Britney Spears nude photo scandal may be on the horizon. According to one published report an online casino has dished out $40,000 for nude pictures of Britney Spears. And purportedly they are Britney nude as a teen, and may have even been taken by then boyfriend Justin Timberlake."
Fark Headline – So many white-collar workers being fired at General Motors today that the company has put taxi firms and rental firms on alert because all the workers had company cars and they have no way of getting home
United Press International – NewsTrack – GM fires hundreds of white-collar workers"DETROIT, March 28 (UPI) — General Motors Corp. has begun firing hundreds of white-collar workers in what employees have dubbed "Black Tuesday.""
"Sharon Stone never fails to grab a headline when she wants to. In the latest attempt to get her name in the news to promote her upcoming film Basic Instinct 2. The actress proclaims that teenagers should practice more oral sex."
Straight from Ars Technica: "The US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce released the final draft (PDF) of the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act, sorely needed legislation that would modify earlier telecommunications legislation to account for changes in technology."
Fark Headline – Government investigators sneak enough radioactive materials for two dirty bombs into U.S. CNN alerts Al Qaeda
"Two teams of government investigators using fake documents were able to enter the United States with enough radioactive sources to make two dirty bombs, according to a federal report made available Monday."
Fark Headline – Seattle gunman brought three guns, more than 300 rounds of ammunition, a baseball bat, black machete — and a catchphrase
"The young man who killed six people at a house party over the weekend had brought three guns, more than 300 rounds of ammunition, a baseball bat and a black machete, and told guests as he blazed away, "There's plenty for everyone," authorities said Monday."
Straight from Gizmodo: "Brighter, faster and smarter, the A2 Fuel Cell Flashlight from Angstom is a portent of things to come as hydrogen fuel cell technology begins to take hold. Compared to similar LEDs, the A2 also puts out 10x the amount of light with it’s 1-watt LED for the same amount of power. The flashlight uses hydrogen fuel stored in the handle to run for up to 24 hours on a single charge. When that runs out, the light can be recharged in minutes instead of the hours often required with battery technology. Unlike battery-driven flashlights, the A2 also does not dim as the charge runs low."
Straight from Slashdot: "Business Week looks at the upcoming Blu-ray and HD-DVD product launches and predicts problems and confusion for consumers. In addition to anticipated difficulties in distinguishing between the two formats, some studios will be using copy protection that will intentionally down grade the picture. When combined with Sony's plans to upconvert based on hardware configuration and the fact that most HD TVs aren't capable of displaying either format at full resolution, early adopters may be getting a lot less than they bargained for. As the article suggests, it may be that 'the best bet for either format to gain acceptance now lies with next-generation game consoles."
Straight from Slashdot: "Looks like organic computers aren't too far off. Live Science has an interesting article about having fusing brain neurons with silicon chips. From the article: 'The achievement could one day enable the creation of sophisticated neural prostheses to treat neurological disorders or the development of organic computers that crunch numbers using living neurons."
Straight from Slashdot: "Last month, NASA decided to cancel the DAWN mission to Ceres and Vesta citing 'technical difficulties' and 'budget overrun'. Monday, NASA released a statement reinstating the mission." From the article: "The decision to cancel Dawn was made March 2, 2006, after about $257 million already had been spent. An additional expenditure of about $14 million would have been required to terminate the project. The reinstatement resulted from a review process that is part of new management procedures established by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. The process is intended to help ensure open debate and thorough evaluation of major decisions regarding space exploration and agency operations."
Straight from Slashdot: "MSNBC has an article looking at an internet-based 'many hands make light work' approach to data sifting. From the article: 'The federal government is making public a huge trove of documents seized during the invasion of Iraq, posting them on the Internet in a step that is at once a nod to the Web's power and an admission that U.S. intelligence resources are overloaded. Web surfers have begun posting translations and comments, digging through the documents with gusto."
We can only hope that ICT is DOA, but it is still highly suspect and disturbing that ICT apparently will still be built into the AACS specifications. So Sony and Universal won't enforce degrading the video signal on the first batch of HD discs sold, but can we really assume that they will never enforce it? Don't hold your breath. When will this anti-consumerism cease?
Straight from Ars Technica: "One of the nastier capabilities of both Blu-ray and HD DVD allows for content holders to force image quality degradation onto users whose TVs aren't quite up to snuff. The original plan was simple: if a TV lacked a secure HD input (i.e., HDMI or something else supporting HDCP), studios could instruct next-generation disc players to reduce the quality of the video output to something less than 720p. This has been billed as an anti-piracy measure, inasmuch as it is designed to keep the pristine, full digital HD signal away from anything that's not locked down. Consumer advocates have attacked the plan, however, saying that the only thing it is likely to stop is honest people from enjoying their discs' full HD potential.
Following on the heels of Sony, Universal has confirmed that they will not be using such capabilities to downgrade video on their offerings, at least for now."
Explanation: How often does an asteroid whiz by the Earth? The above time-lapse animation follows the orbit of the Earth around the Sun for two months in 2002 as numerous asteroids, also known as minor planets, approach and pass by. Some asteroids appear out of nowhere as they are plotted only when they were discovered. Most asteroids plotted were discovered only during the previous year. Although none of the plotted objects came inside the orbit of our Moon, our Solar System is filled with objects as small as bits of sand, usually left by a comet, that appear as meteors as they streak into the Earth's atmosphere every day. The only objects displayed are those visible from Earth closer than 20 million kilometers, color coded by three-dimensional distance. In comparison, the Earth is a relatively small target having a radius of about 6,400 kilometers. One significant research area in modern astronomy involves trying to find the majority of asteroids that could pose a future collision threat with Earth.