An anonymous reader writes "The oceanographers aboard RRS Discovery were expecting the winter weather on their North Atlantic research cruise to be bad, but they didn't expect to have to negotiate the highest waves ever recorded in the open ocean. Wave heights were measured by the vessel's Shipborne Wave Recorder, which allowed scientists from the National Oceanography Centre to produce a paper titled 'Were extreme waves in the Rockall Trough the largest ever recorded?' It's that paper, in combination with the first confirmed measurement of a rogue wave (at the Draupner platform in the North Sea), that led to 'a surge of interest in extreme and rogue waves, and a renewed emphasis on protecting ships and offshore structures from their destructive power.'"
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An anonymous reader writes "When some of Hollywood's biggest movie and TV studios took Australian ISP iiNet to court in 2008 — accusing it of facilitating piracy — it focused the eyes of the world downunder. Internet users and media companies alike were keen to see if the courts could figure out how to resolve the ongoing battle caused by easy, and essentially illegal, access to copyrighted material. After three and a half years and a number of appeals the high court judgement comes down on Friday, but it already looks like a failed attempt to solve an impossible riddle."
New submitter MTorrice writes "Scientists decorated red blood cells with gold nanoparticles so they could trigger the cells to dump their contents with a zap from a laser. The laser pulses heated the particles to produce nanopores in the cells' membranes. The cells contained two fluorescent dyes and both flooded through the pores and out of the cells after the laser pulses. Although the researchers studied the release of dyes, their end goal is to use red blood cells as a vehicle for drug delivery, because the cells are naturally compatible with the immune system and circulate for days in the body. Until now, researchers have found easy ways to load the cells with drugs, but the challenge has been to control the molecules' release."
silentbrad writes, with bits and pieces from the Globe and Mail: "A number of Canadian media companies have joined forces to try to shut down a free music website recently launched by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., claiming it threatens to ruin the music business for all of them. The group, which includes Quebecor Inc., Stingray Digital, Cogeco Cable Inc., the Jim Pattison Group and Golden West Radio, believes that CBCmusic.ca will siphon away listeners from their own services, including private radio stations and competing websites that sell streaming music for a fee. The coalition is expected to expand soon to include Rogers Communications Inc. and Corus Entertainment Inc., two of the largest owners of radio stations in Canada. It intends to file a formal complaint with the CRTC, arguing that the broadcaster has no right under its mandate to compete with the private broadcasters in the online music space. ... 'The only music that you can hear for free is when the birds sing,' said Stingray CEO Eric Boyko, whose company runs the Galaxie music app that charges users $4.99 a month for unlimited listening. 'There is a cost to everything, yet CBC does not seem to think that is true.' ... The companies argue they must charge customers to offset royalty costs which are triggered every time a song is played, while the CBC gets around the pay-per-click problem because it is considered a non-profit corporation. ... Media executives aren't the only ones who have expressed concern. When the CBC service was launched in February, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers said that when it set a flat fees for the more than 100,000 music publishers it represents, it never envisioned a constant stream of free music flooding the Internet."
gurps_npc writes "Robert Krampf, who runs the web site 'The Happy Scientist,' recently wrote in his blog about problems with Florida's Science FCAT. The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is an attempt to measure how smart the students are. Where other states have teachers cheating to help students, Florida decided to grade correct answers as wrong. Mr. Krampf examined the state's science answers and found several that clearly listed right answers as wrong. One question had 3 out of 4 answers that were scientifically true. He wrote to the Florida Department of Education's Test Development center. They admitted he was right about the answers, but said they don't expect 5th graders to realize they were right. For this reason they marked them wrong. As such, they were not changing the tests. Note: they wouldn't let him examine real tests, just the practice tests given out. So we have no idea if FCAT is simply too lazy to provide good practice questions, or too stupid to be allowed to test our children."
An anonymous reader writes "The Next Web is reporting that Google Drive, the search giant's long anticipated cloud storage service, is set to launch next week. From the article: 'What's interesting though is that Google is planning to start everyone with 5 GB of storage. Of course you can buy more, but that trumps Dropbox's 2 GB that is included with every account. Dropbox does make it easy to get more space, including 23 GB of potential upgrades for HTC users. What's also interesting is the wording related to how the system will work. It's been long-thought that Windows integration will come easy, but that getting the Google Drive icon into the Mac a la Dropbox would be a bit harder. From what we're reading, Google Drive will work "in desktop folders" on both Mac and Windows machines, which still leaves the operation question unanswered.'"
harrymcc writes "35 years ago this week, at San Francisco's first West Coast Computer Faire, a tiny startup named Apple demonstrated its new personal computer, the Apple II. It was the company's first blockbuster product — the most important PC of its time, and, just maybe, the most important PC ever released, period."
Esther Schindler writes "An MIT professor explains why "simple" ideas require hard science and how a gemstone might be the key to an optical network. As the story begins: 'For years, the dream of an all-optical network has lain somewhere between Star Wars and a paper cup and a string. Recent successful work on the creation of an optical diode is a virtual case study in both the physics and materials sciences challenges of trying to develop all-optical networks. It is also a significant step towards their final realization.' One answer may be... garnet. Yes, the January birthstone. 'The material that Ross and others in her field use is a synthetic, lab-grown garnet film. Similar to the natural mineral, often used as a gemstone, it is transparent in the infrared part of the spectrum. This makes synthetic garnet ideal for optical communications systems, which use the near infrared. Unlike natural garnet, it's also magnetic. ... While it works, it's too big and too labor intensive for use as a commercial integrated chip. For that, you need to grow garnet on silicon. The challenge that Ross's group overcame is that garnet doesn't grow on silicon.'"
An anonymous reader writes "With North Korea's failed missile launch Friday, it is clear many nations around the globe are attempting to acquire missiles that can carry larger payloads and go further. Such moves have made the United States and its allies very nervous. Missile defense has been debated since the 1980's with such debate back once again the headlines. Most missile defense platforms have technical issues and are very expensive. One idea: use drones instead. '... a high-speed (~3.5 to 5.0 km/s), two-stage, hit-to-kill interceptor missile, launched from a Predator-type UAV can defeat many of these ballistic missile threats in their boost phase.' Could a Drone really take down a North Korea missile? 'A physics-based simulator can estimate the capabilities of a high-altitude, long endurance UAV-launched boost-phase interceptor (HALE BPI) launched from an altitude of approximately 60,000 feet. Enabled by the revolution in UAVs, this proposed boost-phase interceptor, based on off-the-shelf technology, can be deployed in operationally feasible stations on the periphery of North Korea.'"
zacharye writes "The next-generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles currently being developed by Microsoft and Sony will make the disparity between console and mobile gaming even more vast, adding more fluid animation support and a number of additional enhancements that will make video games more realistic than ever. But even when confined to the capabilities present in today's home consoles, new video game engines show us just how amazing gaming will be moving forward. Ctytek, the lab behind the popular Crysis franchise, recently released the CryENGINE 3 SDK 3.4.0 DX11 update for developers, along with a quick reel to highlight some of the engine's capabilities." Crysis 3 has also been officially confirmed. They're aiming for a Spring 2013 release date, and the game will be set within a dome in New York City that contains an 'urban rainforest.'
MrSeb writes "Hot on the heels of the most successful storage mediums of all time — MiniDisc and Zip disks — Sony has announced the Optical Disc Archive, a system that seems to cram up to 30 Blu-ray discs into a single, one-inch-thick plastic cassette, which will have a capacity of between 300GB and 1.5TB. As far as I can tell, the main selling point of the Optical Disc Archive is, just like MiniDisc, the ruggedness of the cassettes. Optical discs themselves are fairly resistant to changes in temperature and humidity, and the cassettes are dust and water resistant. What is the use case for these 1.5TB MiniDiscs, though? In terms of pure storage capacity, tape drives are still far superior (you can store up to 5TB on a tape!) In terms of speed and flexibility, hard drives are better. If you're looking for ruggedness, flash-based storage is smaller, lighter, and can easily survive a dip in the ocean. The Optical Disc Archive might be good as extensible storage for TV PVRs, like TiVo and Sky+ — but as yet, we don't even know the cost of the system or the cassettes, and I doubt either will be cheap."
An anonymous reader writes "I designed this CPU clock to help people learn about how a CPU works. The Mechanical CPU Clock shows the basic building blocks of a CPU (ALU, buses, RAM, registers, and a Control Unit). It executes a set of instructions which will emulate a simple wall clock. A detailed build/explanation is available on instructables.com."
AstroPhilosopher writes "The U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal from a Thai student who was fined $600,000 for re-selling textbooks. Trying to make ends meet, the student had family members in Thailand mail him textbooks that were made and purchased abroad, which he then resold in the U.S. It's a method many retailers practice every day. 'Discount sellers like Costco and Target and Internet giants eBay and Amazon help form an estimated $63 billion annual market for goods that are purchased abroad, then imported and resold without the permission of the manufacturer. The U.S.-based sellers, and consumers, benefit from the common practice of manufacturers to price items more cheaply abroad than in the United States. This phenomenon is sometimes called a parallel market or grey market.'"
New submitter jamaicaplain sends this quote from an article in the NY Times: "Iraq, cut off from decades of technological progress because of dictatorship, sanctions and wars, recently took a big step out of isolation and into the digital world when its telecommunications system was linked to a vast new undersea cable system serving the Gulf countries. The engineers who designed and installed the cable that made shore in Al-Faw, near Basra, had to deal with an unusual number of challenges. There were more than 100 oil and natural gas pipelines to cross; stretches of shallow water where the cable had to be buried; and unexploded ordnance from the Iraq war that had to be avoided. ... Because of the crisis in Syria and the tensions over Iran, the possibility of routing traffic via Iraq has suddenly become more attractive to telecommunications operators. ... 'Iraq has a very strong strategic position to become a transit point for traffic between Europe and Asia.'"
braindrainbahrain writes "Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, has a Facebook page in which he posts a short gripe about Comcast. It seems watching video through the Xfinity app on an Xbox does not counting towards your cap on your Comcast data plan. All other services, Netflix included, do. To quote Hastings: 'For example, if I watch last night's SNL episode on my Xbox through the Hulu app, it eats up about one gigabyte of my cap, but if I watch that same episode through the Xfinity Xbox app, it doesn't use up my cap at all. The same device, the same IP address, the same wifi, the same internet connection, but totally different cap treatment. In what way is this neutral?'" The difference, of course, is that you need a Comcast cable TV subscription in order to have the Xfinity app not count toward your monthly data usage allowance. Then again, you can't exactly sign up for a similar plan through Netflix or Hulu.