Last night, Microsoft Research released WorldWide Telescope--new, free software that enables users to explore the universe with impressive content from the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center, and other famed ground- and space-based telescopes. Colorful nebulae, distant galaxies, black holes, and radiation clouds are all accessible from your desktop with a few clicks. The software has been released for free in honor of Jim Gray, a Microsoft researcher who was lost at sea last year.
What's one of the most hated electronics on the planet? The universal remote.
While companies like Logitech have made great advances in making these electronics devices easier to set up and use, for the average individual, anything with an LCD screen and more than 10 buttons can be daunting.
Apple, which has a history of making complicated devices a simpler affair, could be the next company to take a stab at dominating the third-party remote control market. The company has a good track record of venturing into fields where others have gone for more, and succeeded in offering less. … Read more
No one can argue with the fact that last year's BioShock was a milestone in interactive storytelling as far as a video game is concerned. 2K Games was able to create such a unique setting and mood all while engaging us in a thrilling narrative like nothing we've seen before. Naturally, an experience such as this seemed ultimately destined for the big screen, and now Variety is reporting that Universal Studios will be the company bringing the underwater city of Rapture to a theater near you.
But perhaps the biggest news to come out of all this is whom Universal has lined up to direct the dystopian drama. Gore Verbinski, famed director of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, has signed on while accomplished screenwriter John Logan (Sweeny Todd, The Aviator) is in talks to write the script.
It would appear that all the pieces are in place for BioShock to break the curse of disappointing movies adapted from video games. Even more encouraging, Verbinski says that BioShock has the strongest narrative of any game he's played, which is why he wants to bring it to the silver screen. Just promise us there won't be any CG Big Daddies and you're already headed in the right direction.… Read more
The entertainment industry's controversial efforts to get universities to be more proactive about policing peer-to-peer piracy have begun to spread from Capitol Hill to the states.
Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a Hollywood-backed proposal buried in a higher education reauthorization bill that would require universities receiving federal financial aid funding to devise plans for "alternative" offerings to unlawful downloading--such as subscription-based services--or "technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity."
That otherwise wide-ranging bill won't become law until House and Senate politicians agree upon a compromise version. Meanwhile, the debate … Read more
Update 3:30 p.m. PDT: A correction: Although only travel modules could be sponsored at launch, now all can be. Also, there's no display ad opportunity at present, though the sponsorship can mean more prominence than text ads. Update 11:45 p.m.: I updated with new detail from Yahoo, further information from the site, and some analysis.
Yahoo has begun testing Glue Pages, a major new way to present search results that caters to its strength as an Internet portal.
Glue Pages, which the company began offering in beta form to Yahoo search users in India, combine … Read more
Long after the shooting has stopped, radioactive dust particles dispersed by exploding, depleted uranium (DU) artillery and tank shells leave the contemporary battlefield a dangerous place--and there's been little hope of decontamination, until now.
Researchers from Scotland's University of Dundee have discovered that common backyard fungi may be the key to cleaning and reclaiming DU-contaminated soil in places like Iraq and Bosnia.
The team found that free-living and plant symbiotic (mycorrhizal) fungi can colonize DU metallic surfaces and geochemically transform them into uranyl phosphate minerals, stabilizing the uranium, reports a study published in the journal Current Biology.
"… Read more
Following its massive overhaul earlier this year, HP Labs will begin a more formal and focused program doing collaborative research with universities.
Beginning Wednesday, the research and development arm of Hewlett-Packard will begin accepting proposals from university researchers anywhere in the world.
Proposals will be accepted until mid-June, then judged and awarded in the fall. The winners will receive a grant ranging from $50,000 to $75,000, which is enough for each professor who wins to hire at least one graduate student, according to HP's Office of Open Innovation.
"In the past, we did a lot of … Read more
Qtrax, the legal P2P music start-up, really has signed a licensing agreement with a major label this time.
On Tuesday, the company announced it has inked a deal with Universal Music Group, the largest of the four major record companies. The partnership comes four months after the labels denied the company's claim that they had agreed to supply music for the site.
"Qtrax will now have access to the most extensive digital music catalog of chart-topping artists in the world," Universal Music Group said in a statement.
The Federal Communications Commission capped a subsidy program that helps fund cell phone coverage in rural areas.
In a 3-2 vote on Thursday, the FCC said it would limit payments to wireless carriers seeking funds from the Universal Service Fund to help subsidize the cost of providing cell phone service in rural areas. The USF, which is supported by a tax on long-distance and regular subscriber line charges paid by wireless, Internet, and traditional phone customers, has been temporarily capped after the program paid nearly $1.12 billion last year to phone companies operating in rural areas. In 2001, the … Read more
The Pennsylvania mother who sued Universal Music over a YouTube video of her toddler dancing to a Prince song isn't having much luck in court.
Last October, we wrote about the suit that Stephanie Lenz filed in federal court in San Jose claiming the record label had abused the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by sending YouTube a notice of copyright infringement. Three lawyers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation are representing Lenz.
Lenz's 30-second video shows her son Holden, then 13 months old, dancing in the family's kitchen with the Prince song "Let's Go Crazy" … Read more