Rocket Racers Fall to Earth

In a significant setback for the world's first rocket racing league, a founding team has abandoned the competition. The withdrawal of Leading Edge Rocket Racing leaves the league with only two teams.

The Rocket Racing League plans to run high speed, low level flying races between manned rockets. Backers hope that the League can eventually rival Nascar or Formula 1 racing as a sport, while simultaneously boosting spaceflight and aerospace research.

Demonstration events are planned for the end of 2007, the League announced earlier this year.

Digg readership doubled by HD DVD fiasco?

Updated May 7: Internet traffic to Digg.com was doubled by the firestorm of controversy surrounding the release of an HD DVD decryption code, according to a monitoring service.

Take-Two case: SEC punishes distributor

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has imposed penalties on a distributor that it alleges helped Grand Theft Auto publisher, Take-Two Interactive, inflate revenue reports. Despite this, investigations continue into the events, which took place between 2000 and 2003, the SEC announced yesterday.

The games distributor, Capitol Distributing, did not admit or deny the allegations, but accepted various, apparently minor, restrictions on its behavior. The company's founder was fined $50,000.

SEC documents released in the case describe how games and cash were exchanged in the complex accounting scheme that added more than $5 million to Take-Two's apparent revenue.

OLPC 'did not sell out to Microsoft', leaders say

A leader of the One Laptop Per Child project has rejected allegations that the organization 'sold out' by raising prices and allowing Microsoft to run Windows on the machine.

Digg fights user revolt over HD-DVD ban – Digg founders took HD-DVD sponsorship.

The founders of Digg.com – which has been rocked by an unprecedented user revolt over the release of an HD-DVD decryption code – accepted sponsorship from the organization behind HD-DVD last year. (See also our exclusive new report for the latest news on this issue, and our latest story, which describes how Digg has seen a huge rise in readership during the HD DVD furore ).

Episodes of the DiggNation video show were sponsored by the HD DVD Promotion Group. DiggNation is produced by Revision3, a company run by Digg founders, Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose. Rose is also a co-host of the DiggNation show. The image below shows the HD DVD logo displayed at the beginning of one such episode.

New Xbox 360 Elite – big new disk drive, no new CPU, still noisy

Microsoft's new Xbox 360 Elite has notable improvements, but several enhancements that enthusiasts had been hoping for are not present, analysts have confirmed.

The revamped video games console boasts a large 120GB hard drive as well as clear and sharp HDMI output. However, as expected, the console's CPU is not the new low-temperature 65 nanometer part, which is now predicted to arrive this fall.

EMI to distribute fan-created music videos

EMI will publish music videos created by fans for the first time under a new scheme being tested in Japan. Under the plan, fan-created videos, such as 'The Back Dorm boys' will be distributed through EMI's website alongside official video releases, according to Japanese press reports.

Panasonic 'covered up' poisoning at battery factory, report claims

Panasonic hid evidence that workers were poisoned at a battery factory, a report in a Chinese newspaper claims. Even pregnant women were not warned they might have been exposed to high levels of Cadmium, a potentially lethal heavy metal, the report alleges, quoting a manager who says he was laid off when he threatened to turn whistleblower.

Microsoft bets Vista will have fewer bugs than Windows XP

Microsoft reported strong profits and revenue for the most recent financial quarter, amid better than expected sales of its much-maligned Windows Vista operating system.

Sales rose 32 percent to $14.4 billion, and the company's net income for the third quarter increased to $4.93 billion.

'Flu researchers' turn out to be movie pirates

Movie pirates ran a DVD factory in secret for two years by pretending they were scientists conducting research into highly contagious avian flu, according to Chinese police. The factory, in a quiet farming area in eastern China, sold more than 30 million DVDs before authorities finally noticed the mysterious flow of discs coming from the claimed 'research facility'.

Initially, the warnings about the hazard of deadly bird flu infections had been enough to keep local residents and suspicious officials well away from the factory at the end of a forest road.