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Sci-Fi

New Doctor Who Companion Announced 255

Posted by samzenpus
from the hanging-out-with-the-doctor dept.
eternaldoctorwho writes "Jenna-Louise Coleman will be the newest companion to the Doctor (Matt Smith) on the hit series Doctor Who. The announcement came earlier today on the BBC's Twitter page devoted to the program, along with some other details about the upcoming season of the show. Miss Coleman is also known for her previous roles on Emmerdale and Captain America: The First Avenger."
Businesses

Sprint CEO Defends Company's Decision To Bet It All On the iPhone 187

Posted by samzenpus
from the put-it-all-on-different dept.
zacharye writes "Sprint chief executive Dan Hesse is being watched closely by the company's board of directors, but the CEO has to answer to investors and subscribers as well. Last year in October, Hesse revealed that the company is placing a massive $15.5 billion bet on Apple's iPhone, and in a recent interview, Hesse defended the move, which has been criticized by a number of industry watchers. From the article: '“Subsidies are heavy for the iPhone. This is the reason why a high percentage of new customers is important,” Hesse said during the interview. “But iPhone customers have a lower level of churn and they actually use less data on average than a high-end 4G Android device. So from a cost point of view and a customer lifetime value perspective, they’re more profitable than the average smartphone customer.”'"
Earth

Historic Heat In North America Turns Winter To Summer 618

Posted by samzenpus
from the hotter-than-hot dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A huge, lingering ridge of high pressure over the eastern half of the United States brought summer-like temperatures to North America in March 2012. The warm weather shattered records across the central and eastern United States and much of Canada. From the article: 'Records are not only being broken across the country, they're being broken in unusual ways. Chicago, for example, saw temperatures above 26.6Celsius (80Fahrenheit) every day between March 14-18, breaking records on all five days. For context, the National Weather Service noted that Chicago typically averages only one day in the eighties each in April. And only once in 140 years of weather observations has April produced as many 80Fahrenheit days as this March.'"
Hardware

ModMyPi Raspberry Pi Case Offers 5% Back To the Foundation 82

Posted by samzenpus
from the case-by-case dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Raspberry Pi Model B is now available to purchase, but most people are still waiting for new stock to be manufactured and delivered. In the meantime you can prepare for the tiny PC's arrival by figuring out what to do about a case. The fact the Raspberry Pi ships without a case doesn't cause a problem when using it, but encasing it in plastic will help protect and keep the dust off the components. Geek.com has already reported on one case design from hobbyist designer Marco Alici, but now another one has appeared that actually has a release date, color options, and an extra incentive to purchase it."
The Almighty Buck

Surviving the Cashless Cataclysm 463

Posted by samzenpus
from the life-on-a-card dept.
MrSeb writes "There's been a lot of noise about Sweden becoming a cashless economy, and the potential repercussions that it might cause, most notably the (apparent) annihilation of privacy. Really, though, I think this is a load of hot air. Physical money might be on the way out, but that doesn't mean the end of anonymous, untraceable cash — it'll just become digital. If Bitcoin has taught us anything, it's possible to create an irreversible, cryptographic currency — but so far it has failed because it doesn't have sovereign backing. What if the US or UK (or any other country for that matter) issued digital cash? We would suddenly have an anonymous currency that can be kept on credit chips (or smartphones) and traded, just like paper money. No longer would handling money require expensive cash registers, safes, and secure collections; your smartphone could be your point of sale. It won't be easy to get governments to pass digital cash into law, though, not with big banks and megacorps lobbying for centralized, electronic, traceable currency. Here's hoping Sweden makes the right choice when the referendum to retire physical money finally rolls around."
GNOME

Garden Gnome Tests Earth's Gravity 144

Posted by samzenpus
from the he's-not-heavy dept.
sciencehabit writes "Researchers have long hypothesized that objects weigh less at Earth's equator because the planet's spin and shape lessen gravity's pull there versus at the poles. Satellite accelerometers have confirmed this, but a digital scale manufacturer decided to test things the old-fashioned way. Enter the Kern garden gnome. When placed on a scale at the South Pole, the intrepid ornament weighed 309.82 grams versus 307.86 grams at the equator, a difference of 0.6%."
Privacy

New Samsung TV Watches You Watching It 320

Posted by samzenpus
from the who's-watching-who? dept.
CanHasDIY writes "Straight out of 1984, Samsung has unveiled a new series of televisions with integrated cameras and microphones, complete with facial and voice recognition software. Best of all, there appears to be no physical indication of the mic and camera's status, so consumers have no way of knowing when they're being monitored, or by whom... and if you don't find the idea of a TV that watches you creepy enough, apparently Samsung's Terms of Service include a clause allowing third-party apps to make use of the monitoring system, and use the data gathered for their own purposes. Nothing Orwellian about that..."
Science

University Makes 80,000 Einstein Documents Publicly Available 63

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-do-you-think-Einstein? dept.
orgelspieler writes "The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has scanned in some 80,000 of Albert Einstein's documents. According to the university's press release, the documents cover more than just scientific matters. The broad range of subjects include his solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict, a postcard to his mother, and a letter from one of his mistresses asking for assistance getting to America. Some documents have been translated and annotated and are completely searchable."
The Internet

ICANN Ethical Conflicts Are Worse Than They Seem 26

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-few-bad-apples dept.
hapworth writes "In light of outgoing ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom's admission that the board is mired in conflicts of interest, another ICANN insider has spoken up to say the ethical issues go way deeper than what Beckstrom pointed to. Beau Brendler, chairman of the North American Internet user advisory committee to ICANN (NARALO), lists ICANN's executive committee members and their individual conflicts, stating that the 'public interest is not well served by a structure and executive leadership that's conflicted by the same industry it's supposed to oversee.' Brendler says the truth about ICANN's 'hundreds' of ethical conflicts has been buried for years and is only starting to come to light because of a 'few rebellious voices.'"
Businesses

Meet the Hackers Who Get Rich Selling Spies Zero-Day Exploits 158

Posted by samzenpus
from the selling-to-the-man dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Forbes profiles Vupen, a French security firm that openly sells secret software exploits to spies and government agencies. Its customers pay a $100,000 annual fee simply for the privilege of paying extra fees for the exploits that Vupen's hackers develop, which the company says can penetrate every major browser, as well as other targets like iOS, Android, Adobe Reader and Microsoft Word. Those individual fees often cost much more than that six-figure subscription, and Vupen sells them non-exclusively to play its customers off each other in an espionage arms race. The company's CEO, Chaouki Bekrar, says Vupen only sells to NATO governments and 'NATO partners' but he admits 'if you sell weapons to someone, there's no way to ensure that they won't sell to another agency.'"
Medicine

Killing Cancer With Engineered Viruses 144

Posted by samzenpus
from the enemy-of-my-enemy dept.
techfun89 writes "Viruses can make us all sick, but one day could be engineered to defeat cancer. Cancer cells have one trait that may leave them open to attack. They aren't good at killing off viral infections, hence, at least in theory, you could use a virus to kill cancer cells without affecting the patient. Dr. Ian Mohr, a virologist at New York University, altered the herpes virus so that it isn't attacked by the immune system and kills cancer cells more efficiently. Another virus that is proving effective for liver cancer is Vaccinia. Vaccinia is used to protect against smallpox and so far the results have been promising. Several groups of patients have had an increase in survival times. Meanwhile other viruses are being used for things like melanoma, bladder cancer, and head and neck cancer."
Science

Camera Can See Around Corners 64

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-place-to-hide dept.
ananyo writes "Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge have created a camera that is able to record images of objects hidden behind walls. They fire a pulse of laser light at a wall on the far side of the hidden scene, and record the time at which the scattered light reaches a camera. Photons bounce off the wall onto the hidden object and back to the wall, scattering each time, before a small fraction eventually reaches the camera, each at a slightly different time. The camera captures this time-of-flight information and uses it to reconstruct an image of the hidden object (abstract)."
Microsoft

Microsoft Barring Certain Staff From Buying Macs, iPads? 416

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-apple-for-you dept.
mr100percent writes "Microsoft has reportedly moved to prohibit employees in its Sales, Marketing, Services, IT, and Operations Group (SMSG) from using company funds to purchase any products produced by Apple. The company had already barred staffers from using expense allocations for competing smartphone platforms, however the new guidelines explicitly note that Macs and iPads have been added to the list. 'Within SMSG we are putting in place a new policy that says that Apple products (Mac & iPad) should not be purchased with company funds,' an alleged letter distributed to staff reads."
Education

Tennessee Passes Bill That Allows "Teaching the Controversy" of Evolution 1108

Posted by samzenpus
from the inherit-the-wind-II dept.
Layzej writes "The Tennessee Senate has passed a bill that allows teachers to 'teach the controversy' on evolution, global warming and other scientific subjects. Critics have called it a 'monkey bill' that promotes creationism in classrooms. In a statement sent to legislators, eight members of the National Academy of Science said that, in practice, the bill will likely lead to 'scientifically unwarranted criticisms of evolution.' and that 'By undermining the teaching of evolution in Tennessee's public schools, HB368 and SB893 would miseducate students, harm the state's national reputation, and weaken its efforts to compete in a science-driven global economy.'"
Patents

Supreme Court Limits Patents Based On Laws of Nature 173

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the there-goes-my-falling-off-a-bridge-patent dept.
New submitter sed quid in infernos writes "The Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion yesterday holding that 'to transform an unpatentable law of nature into a patent-eligible application of such a law, a patent must do more than simply state the law of nature while adding the words "apply it."' The Court invalidated a patent on the process of adjusting medication dosage based on the levels of specific metabolites in the patient's blood. The opinion sets forth a process for determining patent eligibility for patent claims that include a law of nature. The court wrote that the "additional features" that show an application of the law must "provide practical assurance that the [claimed] process is more than a drafting effort." This language suggests that the burden will be on the patentee to prove that its limitations are more than patent attorney tricks.'"

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