Fluffeh writes "Recently the Hobbit Pub in England was sued for rights infringement, but it seems Stephen Fry and Sir Ian McKellen are going to re-pony-up the cash to keep the pub alive. Landlady Stella Roberts said she had been shocked by the actors' offer. She said: 'I had a telephone call on Saturday evening, while we were trading, from Stephen Fry's business partner and manager. That's when he told me. I was very shocked. They've said as soon as they finish filming they would like to come down and visit the pub.' However Ms Roberts said she was not celebrating just yet. She added: 'Until everything is in black and white, on paper, we're going to be a bit reserved because it could be $100 this year and $20,000 next year.'"
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sighted writes "The twin robotic spacecraft that make up the new GRAIL mission to map the moon's gravity include small cameras in addition to their primary scientific instruments. The first images from those cameras, as selected by school kids, were downlinked to Earth on March 20. 'MoonKAM is based on the premise that if your average picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture from lunar orbit may be worth a classroom full of engineering and science degrees,' said Maria Zuber, GRAIL mission principal investigator."
Velcroman1 writes "Dutch filmmaker and animator Floris Kaayk in collaboration with media production company Revolver fessed up to creating a 'media art project' that took the world by storm in recent days — a video of inventor Jarno Smeets taking flight by flapping his arms. But like the wax melting from Icarus' wings, the truth is finally emerging. Kaayak admitted that he didn't expect the media attention his project would generate, with over 8.9 million views across the world. He made the project in collaboration with Revolver and Omroep NTL, sources in the Netherlands who have spoken to the filmmaker said prior to the show. They admitted their hoax Thursday evening on the Dutch television show Wereld Draait Door."
Diomidis Spinellis writes "We hear a lot about the adoption of open source software, but when I was asked to provide hard evidence there was little I could find. In a recent article we tried to fill this gap by examining the type of software the U.S. Fortune 1000 companies use in their web-facing operations. Our study shows that the adoption of OSS in large U.S. companies is significant and is increasing over time through a low-churn transition, advancing from applications to platforms, and influenced by network effects. The adoption is likelier in larger organizations and is associated with IT and knowledge-intensive work, operating efficiencies, and less productive employees. Yet, the results were not what I was expecting."
AZA43 writes "A group of U.S. federal cybersecurity experts recently said the Defense Department's network is totally compromised by foreign spies. The experts suggest the agency simply accept that its networks are compromised and will probably remain that way, then come up with a way to protect data on infected machines and networks."
Hugh Pickens writes with a link to Atlantic writer Mark Bowden's account of how one gambler has cleaned up against casinos: "[B]lackjack player Don Johnson won nearly $6 million playing blackjack in one night, single-handedly decimating the monthly revenue of Atlantic City's Tropicana casino after previously taking the Borgata for $5 million and Caesars for $4 million. How did Johnson do it? For one thing, Johnson is an extraordinarily skilled blackjack player. 'He plays perfect cards,' says Tony Rodio. But that's not enough to beat the house edge. As good as Johnson is at playing cards, his advantage is that he's even better at playing the casinos. When revenues slump as they have for the last five years at Atlantic City, casinos must rely more heavily on their most prized customers, the high rollers who wager huge amounts and are willing to lessen its edge for them primarily by offering discounts, or 'loss rebates.' When a casino offers a discount of, say, 10 percent, that means if the player loses $100,000 at the blackjack table, he has to pay only $90,000."
cayenne8 writes "The JOBS Act bill, passed in the house, has stalled in the senate. One section of this bill, which would legalize 'Crowdsourcing' in the U.S., as it is in other countries, allowing companies and startups (like indie film makers) to solicit investments for profit over the internet. This differs from sites like Kickstarter, which allow you to only donate money, in that this bill will allow the common citizen to invest for potential profit ($10K or 10% of income for investor limits) in new ideas and companies."
crookedvulture writes Nvidia has lifted the curtain on reviews of its latest GPU architecture, which will be available first in the high-end GeForce GTX 680 graphics card. The underlying GK104 processor is much smaller than the equivalent AMD GPU, with fewer transistors, a narrower path to memory, and greatly simplified control logic that relies more heavily on Nvidia's compiler software. Despite the modest chip, Nvidia's new architecture is efficient enough that The Tech Report, PC Perspective, and AnandTech all found the GeForce GTX 680's gaming performance to be largely comparable to AMD's fastest Radeon, which costs $50 more. The GTX 680 also offers other notable perks, like a PCI Express 3.0 interface, dynamic clock scaling, new video encoding tech, and a smarter vsync mechanism. It's rather power-efficient, too, but the decision to focus on graphics workloads means the chip won't be as good a fit for Nvidia's compute-centric Tesla products. A bigger GPU based on the Kepler architecture is expected to serve that market." Read on below for good news (at least if you prefer Free software) from an anonymous reader. Update: 03/22 19:35 GMT by T : Mea culpa -- that headline should say "Kepler," rather than Fermi; HT to Dave from Hot Hardware (here's HH's take on the new GPU).
angry tapir writes "Next week, two proposals for a new, smaller SIM card, dubbed nano-SIM — one backed by Apple and the other by Nokia, Research In Motion and Motorola Mobility — will go head-to-head as ETSI (the European Telecommunications Standards Institute) decides which card future smartphones and tablets will use. Measuring approximately 12 millimeters by 9 millimeters, the new SIM will be about 30 percent smaller than the micro-SIM. The thickness of the cards has been reduced by about 15 percent, according to Giesecke & Devrient. The nano-SIM is also approximately 60 percent smaller than traditional-size SIM cards."
blackbearnh writes "Forums and chat groups are letting fans organize and discuss their favorite shows with increasing ease, but what happens when the writers and producers of TV shows start paying attention? An article in today's Christian Science Monitor takes a look at how the production staff of recent shows has interacted with their fan base, and how the fans are having an increasing influence on not only the popularity, but also the plot and characters."
Hugh Pickens writes "Barbara Demick reports in the LA Times that more than 30 million Chinese people live in caves, many of them in Shaanxi province, where the Loess plateau, with its distinctive cliffs of yellow, porous soil, makes digging easy and cave dwelling a reasonable option. The better caves protrude from mountains and are reinforced with brick masonry. Some are connected laterally so a family can have several chambers. Electricity and even running water can be brought in. 'Most aren't so fancy, but I've seen some really beautiful caves: high ceilings and spacious with a nice yard out front where you can exercise and sit in the sun,' says Ren, who works as a driver in the Shaanxi provincial capital, Xian. 'It's cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It's quiet and safe.' In recent years, architects have been reappraising the cave in environmental terms, and they like what they see. 'It is energy efficient. The farmers can save their arable land for planting if they build their houses in the slope. It doesn't take much money or skill to build,' says Liu Jiaping, director of the Green Architecture Research Center in Xian and perhaps the leading expert on cave living. Liu helped design and develop a modernized version of traditional cave dwellings that in 2006 was a finalist for a World Habitat Award, sponsored by a British foundation dedicated to sustainable housing. Meanwhile, a thriving market around Yanan means a cave with three rooms and a bathroom (a total of 750 square feet) can be advertised for sale at $46,000. 'Life is easy and comfortable here. I don't need to climb stairs. I have everything I need,' says 76-year-old Ma Liangshui. 'I've lived all my life in caves, and I can't imagine anything different.'"
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.'"
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."
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.'"