GeekSpeak for 2012-04-07

Free Speech of Yoctograms and Planets

High School Student expelled for Tweeting, One-Yoctogram isn’t much, White House "free speech is more important then anti-piracy laws, and more GeekNews of the week.

High School Student, Expelled For Tweeting Profanity

An Indiana high school senior has been expelled for a Tweet he says was posted from home on his personal account.

“One of my tweets was, f—- is one of this f—-ing words you can f—-ing put anywhere in a f—-ing sentence and it still f—-ing makes sense,” Garrett High School senior Austin Carroll told Indiana’s NewsCenter.

World's most sensitive scales detect a yoctogram

How do you weigh an atom down to the last proton? With scales accurate enough to measure the smallest unit of mass, aka the yoctogram, which is just one septillionth of a gram.

White House IP czar: free speech good

“Online piracy is a serious problem,” says US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria A. Espinel, but the administration “will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk (including authority to tamper with the DNS system), or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”

A nearby star may have more planets than we do!

HD 10180 for years; the star is a mere 130 light years away, making it bright and easy to study. The observations look to see if the star exhibits a periodic shift in its light: a Doppler shift as planets circle it, tugging it one way and another.

Six clear Doppler shift signals were found in the original analysis: six planets, five of which have masses ranging from 12 – 25 times that of the Earth (making them more like Neptune than our own comfortable planet), and a sixth that was bigger yet, 65 times Earth’s mass (more like Saturn than Neptune). These planets orbit HD 10180 with periods of 5 – 2000 days. A seventh possible planet was detected, but the data weren’t strong enough to make a solid claim.

Hubble snaps optical photo of exoplanet

Only 25 light years from Earth, the planet – probably close to the mass of Jupiter – orbits the star Fomalhaut at a distance about four times that between Neptune and the sun. Formally known as Fomalhaut b, the planet could have a ring system about the dimension of Jupiter’s early rings, before the dust and debris coalesced into the four Galilean moons.

Raspberry Pi - $25 computer

Miles assures us you can buy these now… The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.

Flying Car Makes Successful Maiden Flight

The Dutch company PAL-V has successfully concluded test flights of its flying car, PAL-V (Personal Air and Land Vehicle). During the past two weeks, several test flights were conducted. The patented vehicle flies in the air like a gyrocopter with lift generated by an auto-rotating rotor and forward speed produced by a foldable push propeller on the back. On the road it drives like a sports car. No new infrastructure is required because it uses existing roads and airstrips.

French anti-P2P law cuts back pirating music sales decline

France’s three-strikes anti-piracy law is one of the strictest in the world. It employs private companies to scan file-sharing networks for copyright infringement and sends warnings to pirates if they’re caught red-handed. The law, enforced by a French authority called Hadopi, was instated 17 months ago to the applause of music copyright holders and their representatives. Although an early study originally showed piracy had actually increased after the anti-P2P law passed, Hadopi released a report this March saying French ISP users had significantly decreased their illegal file sharing. Despite that announcement, the French music industry still saw a decline in revenue.

Chrome beats IE on any given Sunday

Over the past three weeks, Google Chrome has beaten out Internet Explorer as the No. 1 browser in the world — but only on Sundays. Monday through Saturday, IE has remained the browser with the highest worldwide market share, although its lead is slipping.

US gov: Child porn on those Megaupload servers, judge!

Carpathia Hosting, which owns over 600 servers leased by Megaupload before the government shut down the file-sharing site, has a problem: those servers are worth serious money, but no one is paying the bills.