Horizon highlights – The stories behind OLPC, NASA shields, and where cellphones RIP

Our regular roundup of sci-tech stories from across the web includes: Can One Laptop per Child (OLPC) survive? What does cellphone heaven look like? And who's watching over American innovation? Let’s kick it off:

Space invadersComputer viruses make it to orbit
"A computer virus is alive and well on the International Space Station (ISS). NASA has confirmed that laptops carried to the ISS in July were infected with a virus known as Gammima.AG." [via BBC]

Space defenders – Video: The Next Step in Heat Shields for Space
"NASA's come up with two materials to protect returning astronauts. And one of them's been around for 40 years." [via LiveScience]
From the Monitor’s archiveWill US-Russia tensions extend to space?: “International cooperation in human spaceflight may be facing its toughest test since the cold war. The immediate concern: Will US astronauts be able to ride Russian rockets between 2010, when the last shuttle is retired, and 2015, when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration expects to launch a replacement?”

GadgetryWhere Cellphones Go to Die
"More than half a billion cell phones were swapped for newer models in 2007, according to a study by the research firm Gartner. In the past, these phones might have been tossed in the garbage or just stashed in a drawer, but an increasing number of cellphone vendors are promoting take-back programs, which make recycling an easier option for consumers." [via Technology Review]

BackstoryOLPC Origin: Bittersweet Success and Future of the XO Laptop
"Nearly every one of the original staff had abandoned the [One Laptop per Child] project by 2008, often in disgust. But Negroponte remains stalwart: ‘My elephant skin is the thickness of steel,' he told me. Perhaps his resistance to criticism has been one of the project's fatal flaws." [via Gizmodo]
From the Monitor’s archiveMore computer brands chase the ‘$100 laptop’ : So while some PCs continue to bulk up and tout their speed and raw power, others represent a new trend: slimming down. Way down. These smaller, simpler machines are aimed at a potentially lucrative market: the next 1 billion PC users around the planet.

InterviewDoes the U.S. Need a CTO?
"Mitch Kapor, a pioneer of personal computing, says the position is vital given the growing importance of technology." [via Technology Review]

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