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Data Storage

Submission + - Mirroring is Not a Backup Solution

Craig writes: "Journalspace.com have fallen, never to return. The post on their site describes how their entire database was overwritten either through some inconceivable OS or application bug, or more likely a malicious act. Regardless of how the data was lost, their undoing appears to have been that they treated the drive mirroring as a backup and have now paid the ultimate price for not having point in time backups of the data that was their business."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - Banned Words List Carries Its First Emoticon (yahoo.com)

DynaSoar writes: "Lake Superior State College in Michigan's Upper Peninsula ("The land of four seasons: June, July, August and Winter") has just published its 34th annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness. Besides such unsurprising inclusions such as "green" corporations being "game changing" due to concern with their "carbon foot print", this year's list contains an emoticon for the first time — not a smiley face or variant, but the 'heart' symbol made from the characters 'less than' and 'three'. It's perhaps a sign of the evolution of language, or at least of this volunteer linguistic watchdog group, that a symbol compounded of two characters, neither of them a letter, is considered not only a word, but a particularly egregious one."
Input Devices

Submission + - The Best Computer Mice in Every Category (extremetech.com) 1

ThinSkin writes: "Now that the folks at ExtremeTech have finished writing about the best keyboards for every occasion, they conclude their roundup of input devices with the best computer mice in every category, which includes ergonomic mice, gaming mice, notebook mice, and so on. While this year's crop of gaming mice didn't impress much, there were advancements in non-gaming mice and tracking, as demonstrated by Microsoft's Explorer Mouse with BlueTrack technology--which is considered more precise than optical and laser. Even ergonomic mice saw little growth in the year--prompting the reviewer to rely on the older Zero Tension Mouse as a favorite."
Earth

Submission + - SPAM: Human hair to feed plants? 2

Roland Piquepaille writes: "You all know that agricultural crop production relies on fertilizers, such as composted waste materials. But I bet you wouldn't have thought to add human hair to animal manure to produce better and greener fertilizers. Yet, a study done by Mississippi State University researchers has shown that human hair, 'combined with additional compost, is an additional nutrient source for crops.' Apparently, barbershops and hair salons are selling human hair for a couple of years now — a fact I didn't know. Anyway, even if human hair can be used to grow some plants, 'further research is necessary to determine whether human hair waste is a viable option as fertilizer for edible crops.' Read more for additional details and references."
PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - Hope Fades for PS3 as a Comeback Player (wsj.com)

ThousandStars writes: "The Wall Street Journal reports that the PlayStation 3 is flailing thanks to high prices: "Sony's strategy of selling a pricey game machine with advanced features and cutting-edge components appears to be backfiring as a deepening recession has U.S. consumers more price sensitive than ever.""
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Last chance for a 2008 high-tech tax-deduction

api writes: Tis the season to say thanks for the software you use with a donation to your favorite open source project or organization. Whether you are true GNU or prefer a BSD, you will be surprised how many projects big and small can offer tax-deductions. Some non-profit organizations indirectly help virtually every project while others make giving convenient.
Christmas Cheer

Submission + - Google Hands Out 'Dogfood' as Christmas Bonus 2

theodp writes: "You know times are tough when the best place to work in America replaces holiday bonuses with a request for unpaid labor. Blaming the economic crisis, Google management has canceled the traditional cash holiday bonus — reportedly as much as $20K-$30K per Googler — and substituted a $400-retail-price unlocked Google Android cell phone. An accompanying e-mail calls for employees to celebrate the 'chance for us to once again dogfood a product and make it even better!'"
Space

Submission + - Possible Explanation for Mars Beagle 2 Loss

chrb writes: Researchers at Queensland University have used computer simulations to calculate that the loss of the US$80 million British Beagle 2 Mars probe was due to a bad choice of spin rate during atmospheric entry, resulting in the craft burning up within seconds. The chosen spin rate was calculated by using a bridging function to estimate the transitional forces between the upper and lower atmosphere, whilst the new research relies on simulation models. Beagle 2 team leader Professor Colin Pillinger has responded saying that the figures are far from conclusive, whilst another chief Beagle engineer has said "We still think we got it right".
Yahoo!

Submission + - Yahoo promises to anonymize and limit user data (wsj.com)

quarterbuck writes: "While Google is saying that personalization is the key to search, Yahoo is taking a different view of the topic. Yahoo announced plans to retain user data for no longer than 90 days and to anonymize data. Even if Yahoo is not your favorite search engine, it is a good move in the direction of online privacy if it will force others to follow suit."
Earth

Submission + - Hawaii driles hit magma chamber 1

Smivs writes: "The BBC are reporting that drillers looking for geothermal energy in Hawaii have inadvertently put a well right into a magma chamber. Molten rock pushed back up the borehole several metres before solidifying, making it perfectly safe to study. Magma specialist Bruce Marsh says it will allow scientists to observe directly how granites are made. "This is unprecedented; this is the first time a magma has been found in its natural habitat," the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, professor told BBC News. "Before, all we had to deal with were lava flows; but they are the end of a magma's life. They're lying there on the surface, they've de-gassed. It's not the natural habitat. It is hoped the site can now become a laboratory, with a series of cores drilled around the chamber to better characterise the crystallisation changes occurring in the rock as it loses temperature."
Privacy

Submission + - Google Drops from Top 20 Most Trusted Companies (truste.org) 1

HockeyPuck writes: Google Inc. fell out of the top 20 of an annual survey ranking of companies most trusted on privacy by consumers. American Express was ranked No. 1 and eBay Inc. at No. 2 in the fifth annual survey ranking by information security research company Ponemon Institute and TRUSTe.

While the financial services sector slipped amid industry-wide woes, the technology sector showed marked improvement as eBay Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, and HP all bettered previous rankings. Also of note, Facebook moved into the top 20 for the first time, signifying an increased trust in social networking as a mainstream communications tool. Full list is here:
http://truste.org/about/press_release/12_15_08.php

Google

Submission + - Chrome grants first outside dev commit privileges! (cnet.com)

ruphus13 writes: Google Chrome welcomes its first external core committer, moving closer to the 'true open source' philosophy it has been championing since the launch of the initiative. From the article, "Thus far, the Web browser has been written largely by Google programmers, though shortly after the software's public release, Google started accepting patches from outsiders. Now, though, an outsider has become an official insider. The search giant has bestowed upon the first non-Google programmer the privilege of adding code to the project." From Google's guidelines, "someone vying for committer status must "contribute 10 to 20 nontrivial patches, and get at least three different people to review them," according to the guidelines. Then that person must be nominated.".
Medicine

Submission + - Sarcasm useful for detecting dementia (cosmosmagazine.com) 2

An anonymous reader writes: Sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit, but Australian scientists are using it to diagnose dementia, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of New South Wales, found that patients under the age of 65 suffering from frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the second most common form of dementia, cannot detect when someone is being sarcastic.
Software

Losing My Software Rights? 440

vintagepc writes "Having written a piece of software as part of my research employment, I now face (and will later face again, with other software I've developed), the issue of intellectual property rights. The legal department stated that if I was paid by the University to produce the software, the University would own all rights to it. This is supposedly black and white, not a gray area. However, I was hired as a research student, not directly by the University, and also via a research award (NSERC). Furthermore, it turns out that faculty members here, in fact, retain their intellectual rights to any software they write. At this point, I can still back out, since I have not explicitly agreed to the conditions, but this decision must be made soon. So, I turn to the Slashdot community to ask: Are they allowed to completely strip my rights to the software? If anyone has had any similar experiences, then what was the outcome? Additionally, is this a normal action, or do I have some maneuvering room?"

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