Watch the transit of Venus from your desktop


If you want to catch this year’s transit of Venus without damaging your retinas, several sites will bring the astronomical event to your screen of choice.

For sky watchers, the transit is a big deal — it happens when the planet Venus passes directly between the earth and sun. And, that doesn’t happen that often. The spectacle comes in pairs that occur eight years apart about once a century. The last one was in 2004, there will be one today, and the next set will kick off in 2117.  So catch it now or else.

Given clear skies, the show should start Tuesday June 5 at 6:04 EDT tonight and last six hours.The event will be carried live here and here.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user NASA Goddard Photo and Video

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Official: al Qaeda leader target of drone strike in Pakistan

This Just In

[Updated at 1:27 p.m. ET] Abu Yahya al-Libi, the second most senior leader of al Qaeda, has been killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan, a U.S. official said Tuesday.

His death marks one of the most significant blows to al Qaeda since the U.S. military killed Osama bin Laden in a daring nighttime raid in Pakistan a year ago. Al-Libi was second-in-command behind al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who took the helm after bin Laden’s death.

The drone fired at least six missiles at a militant compound near the town of Mir Ali in the North Waziristan region near the Afghanistan border. The attack left 15 militants dead and three others wounded, a U.S. official said earlier Tuesday.

Al Qaeda will have a hard time replacing al Libi, according to the U.S. official who said al Libi was dead. “There is no one who even comes close in…

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Nuance’s Dragon ID lets you unlock your phone by voice


Updated. In the last few months, Nuance Communications(s nuan) has launched Dragon TV, Dragon Drive and even an Android version of Dragon Go, its Siri-like Semantic search app. Now we have a new Dragon to contend with: Dragon ID, a voice identification application that allows you to unlock your phone with your larynx.

While typical phone unlocking programs require tapping in a short code or tracing a pattern on screen, Nuance’s technology uses two layers of security: biometrics, which recognizes your unique “voice imprint,” and a password or pass phrase – which in this case is spoken not typed, said Kenneth Harper, Senior Product Manager, Nuance. Nuance has been selling the technology for years to businesses and governments for use in their own biometric security systems – with 20 million voice prints on file – but this is the first time it’s offering up its technology to consumer phones…

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