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stephencrane (771345) writes "In a paper published in Astrobiology, researchers at Washington State University, have come up with a new index and criteria set to rate, in order of likelihood, extraterrestrial bodies and their propensity for harboring or supporting life as we know it. Interestingly, Titan has a higher rating than Mars." Link to Original Source top
stephencrane (771345) writes "NYC to open The Academy for Software Engineering, with a focus on software design and college preparation. It'll be a 'limited, unscreened' high school, which means admission won't be tied to grades or test scores; solely on interest (and presumably a lottery, once words gets out)." Link to Original Source top
stephencrane (771345) writes "A school district in Connecticut paid to create a new math curriculum and place it online, for the purposes of phasing out the cost of math textbooks, as well as the problem of covering too much content in the first term only to repeat the first term's concepts in the 2nd term.
To me, it always seemed a no-brainer that school curricula were meant to be open-source. The softer stuff might be more political but thinks like math are a clear first-starter. Math is math wherever you go, the only thing that differs is the pace and the focus. Sharing the cost of developing the curriculum, putting it online and breaking up the content into arrangeable blocks, should be an obvious win for everybody. (Well, if they have access to a computer and the internet, I suppose.)" Link to Original Source top
stephencrane writes "A new company called Zillow TV is staking out a Hulu/Netflix alternative set-top box to ISPs, to provide both premium and free (ad-supported) movies. They expect to be out in the field by the end of the year. The interface looks to be pretty nifty, with a cool motion-sensing pointer remote. Boxes would run for $50. Rentals would be $2-4/movie. The ad-supported content would probably be older material, and be more valuable to advertisers because the ads will be targeted based on past viewing history as well as other data on you they buy. The interface seems to be a selling point, but I can't see how this beats Netflix just yet." Link to Original Source top
stephencrane (771345) writes "Northrop Grumman is making available for sale the FIRESTRIKE weaponized laser system. FIRESTRIKE, a solid-state laser unit, weighs over 400lbs, sends/receives instructions and data via an RJ-45 jack and can be synchronized with additional units to emit an 100kw beam. It looks like some piece of stereophonic amplification equipment out of the 50's. Or Fallout 3. It is also reputed to be able to read Blu-ray disks from orbit." Link to Original Source