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Updated: 8 hours 39 min ago

A New FOSS Conference Comes to Florida (Video)

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 21:46
Bryan Smith has worked with the organizers of several Linux and Open Source events and has spoken at more than a few, but he has always wanted to see more FOSS events in Florida, the state where he lives. There was a Florida Linux Show back in 2008 and 2009, but all that remains of it today is a "ghost" Web page. But that's the past. This year Bryan has put together FOSSETCON, which debuts this September 11 - 13 in Orlando. It's an ambitious undertaking -- but Bryan has rounded up a lot of solid sponsors, and that's often the key to holding a successful IT event. (Alternate Video Link)

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California Blue Whales Rebound From Whaling

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 20:56
vinces99 writes: The number of California blue whales has rebounded to near historical levels, according to new research (abstract) by the University of Washington, and while the number of blue whales struck by ships is likely above allowable U.S. limits, such strikes do not immediately threaten that recovery. This is the only population of blue whales known to have recovered from whaling – blue whales as a species having been hunted nearly to extinction. Blue whales – nearly 100 feet in length and weighing 190 tons as adults – are the largest animals on Earth and the heaviest ever, weighing more than twice as much as the largest known dinosaur, the Argentinosaurus. They are an icon of the conservation movement and many people want to minimize harm to them, according to Trevor Branch, UW assistant professor of aquatic and fishery sciences. California blue whales, most visible while feeding 20 to 30 miles off the California coast, range from the equator to the Gulf of Alaska. Today they number about 2,200, according to monitoring by other research groups, which is likely about 97 percent of the historical levels.

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Space Station's 'Cubesat Cannon' Has Gone Rogue

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 20:12
astroengine writes: Last night (Thursday), two more of Planet Lab's shoebox-sized Earth imaging satellites launched themselves from aboard the International Space Station, the latest in a series of technical mysteries involving a commercially owned CubeSat deployer located outside Japan's Kibo laboratory module. Station commander Steve Swanson was storing some blood samples in one of the station's freezers Friday morning when he noticed that the doors on NanoRack's cubesat deployer were open, said NASA mission commentator Pat Ryan. Flight controllers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston determined that two CubeSats had been inadvertently released. "No crew members or ground controllers saw the deployment. They reviewed all the camera footage and there was no views of it there either," Ryan said.

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Why Munich Will Stick With Linux

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 18:47
Jason Hibbets writes: "There are many solved problems in open source. Groupware is not one of them," Georg Greve, co-founder and CEO of Kolab System starts off his post highlighting recent features of the latest release of the Kolab groupware project. He calls out a few newly elected politicians that don't like the current set-up, but says that thousands of users don't have the same experience. "Until today, the city of Munich is using the same stand-alone calendaring and email systems it had used when it was still fully operating on Windows. Updating these systems had a lower priority than the migration to LiMux then. But an upgrade is underway now. And, the solution they chose is agnostic to the desktop platform and will service LiMux and Windows alike. The primary difference made by another migration would likely be due to the perils that come with any migration, such as additional costs and delays. In other words: The very problem used to criticize the LiMux desktop is already being solved."

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Dell Demos 5K Display

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 18:05
An anonymous reader writes: Even though 4k displays are just making their way into consumer affordability, manufacturers are already pushing beyond. Dell has previewed a computer monitor it calls a "5k" display. The resolution is 5120x2880, stuffing 14,745,600 pixels on a 27" screen. For comparison, that's more than seven times the amount of pixels in a 1920x1080 display. Pixel density is 218 PPI, roughly the same as a 15" Retina MacBook Pro. ExtremeTech suggests, "As far as we're aware, no one is actually making 5120×2880 panels, especially not at 27 inches diagonal – so what we're probably looking at is two 2560x2880 panels squished together as a 'tiled display.'" Unfortunately, it's pricy, expected to cost around $2,500. But hopefully it will help drive 4k display prices even further toward mainstream availability.

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Dirty Diapers Used To Grow Mushrooms

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 09:03
Zothecula writes While their contents might be considered an environmental hazard by many, disposable diapers themselves pose a more significant problem for the environment. According to the EPA, the average baby will work their way through 8,000 of them before they end up in landfill where they'll take centuries to break down. In an effort to reduce the problem, scientists at Mexico's Autonomous Metropolitan University, Azcapotzalco (UAM-A), have turned used diapers to the task of growing mushrooms.

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Is There a Creativity Deficit In Science?

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 05:34
nerdyalien writes with this story that explores the impact of reduced science funding on innovation in science. "There’s a current problem in biomedical research,” says American biochemist Robert Lefkowitz, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. “The emphasis is on doing things which are not risky. To have a grant proposal funded, you have to propose something and then present what is called preliminary data, which is basically evidence that you’ve already done what you’re proposing to do. If there’s any risk involved, then your proposal won’t be funded. So the entire system tends to encourage not particularly creative research, relatively descriptive and incremental changes which are incremental advances which you are certain to make but not change things very much."...There is no more important time for science to leverage its most creative minds in attempting to solve our global challenges. Although there have been massive increases in funding over the last few decades, the ideas and researchers that have been rewarded by the current peer-review system have tended to be safer, incremental, and established. If we want science to be its most innovative, it's not about finding brilliant, passionate creative scientists; it's about supporting the ones we already have.

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Twitpic Shutting Down Over Trademark Dispute

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 03:09
First time accepted submitter exiguus writes As of September 25th Twitpic will be no more. Twitter, allegedly, has threatened to deny them access to their API. Noah Everett said "Unfortunately we do not have the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter to maintain our mark which we believe whole heartedly is rightfully ours. Therefore, we have decided to shut down Twitpic." Resources will be made available to users to download their videos and photos, but a date when that function will be available has not been made available. "We'll let everyone know when this feature is live in the next few days."

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Giant Dinosaur Unearthed In Argentina

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 01:30
sciencehabit writes Researchers working in Argentina have discovered the most complete skeleton of a titanosaur, a group of gigantic plant-eating dinosaurs that dominated the Southern Hemisphere beginning about 90 million years ago. The new dino, named Dreadnoughtus schrani, was 26 meters long and weighed about 59 metric tons—that is, twice as long as Tyrannosaurus rex and as heavy as a herd of elephants. That puts it on a par with other well-known giants such as Argentinosaurus (but it's four times as large as the perhaps better known Diplodocus). The researchers say that the beast was so big it would have had no fear of predators. And it was about to get bigger: A close examination of the fossils, especially its back and shoulder bones, indicates that the animal was still growing when it died.

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Google To Refund $19M In In-App Purchases Made By Kids

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 00:48
An anonymous reader writes "Google has agreed pay $19 million to refund customers unfairly charged for in-app purchases made by children without authorization from their parents. The company has agreed to change its billing practices to ensure that it obtains informed consent from customers before charging them for items sold within mobile apps, according to the FTC. "For millions of American families, smartphones and tablets have become a part of their daily lives," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. "As more Americans embrace mobile technology, it's vital to remind companies that time-tested consumer protections still apply, including that consumers should not be charged for purchases they did not authorize.""

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UCLA, CIsco & More Launch Consortium To Replace TCP/IP

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 00:05
alphadogg writes Big name academic and vendor organizations have unveiled a consortium this week that's pushing Named Data Networking (NDN), an emerging Internet architecture designed to better accommodate data and application access in an increasingly mobile world. The Named Data Networking Consortium members, which include universities such as UCLA and China's Tsinghua University as well as vendors such as Cisco and VeriSign, are meeting this week at a two-day workshop at UCLA to discuss NDN's promise for scientific research. Big data, eHealth and climate research are among the application areas on the table. The NDN effort has been backed in large part by the National Science Foundation, which has put more than $13.5 million into it since 2010.

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After Celebrity Photo Leaks, 4chan Introduces DMCA Policy

Thu, 04/09/2014 - 13:25
davidshenba writes In the wake of leaked private photos of celebrities, 4chan has added Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown policy to its rules and policies. Under this new policy, the site will remove any notified and verified "infringement." It is not clear how effective this could be, or how 4chan is going to handle the inflow of notifications to restrict the content provided by users.

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Ireland To Host Robotic Sailing Championships

Thu, 04/09/2014 - 06:04
First time accepted submitter dertynan writes The WRSC people are out to make sailors redundant. The World Robotic Sailing Championships (and International Conference) is in Galway, Ireland next week. Around eleven teams are participating in this autonomous sailing event, across a number of courses, over four days.

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Taking the Ice Bucket Challenge With Liquid Nitrogen

Thu, 04/09/2014 - 05:32
Nerval's Lobster writes As a trend, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge seems a bit played out—who hasn't yet dumped a bucket of icy water over his or her head for charity? But that didn't stop Canadian chemist Muhammad Qureshi from executing his own sublimely scientific, potentially dangerous variation on the theme: After donating to the ALS Association, he proceeded to douse himself with a bucket of liquid nitrogen. Anyone who's taken a chemistry class, or at least watched the end of Terminator 2, knows that liquid nitrogen can rapidly freeze objects, leaving them brittle and prone to shattering. Pouring it on your skin can cause serious frostbite. So what prevented that bucketful of liquid nitrogen from transforming Qureshi into a popsicle? In two words: Leidenfrost effect. Named after 18th century scientist Johann Gottlob Leidenfrost, the effect is when a liquid comes near a mass that's much warmer than the liquid's boiling point, which (in the words of Princeton's helpful physics explainer) results in an insulating vapor layer that "keeps that liquid from boiling rapidly." In other words, the vapor makes the liquid "float" just above the surface of the object, rather than coming into direct contact with it.

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The Frustrations of Supporting Users In Remote Offices

Thu, 04/09/2014 - 01:05
Esther Schindler writes "You're not alone in your struggle against people who think a shell is something you hold to your ear," writes Carol Pinchefsky. "Other techies are out there supporting users in remote offices, fighting the good fight against computer- and user-related mishaps – or at least tolerating user frustration with a modicum of grace." One example she gives is a tech support person whose systems in Brazil went down — during Carnival: "...We had to wait more than a week for the locals to sober up enough to reconnect the line. In the end, I had to walk a tech (who did not know the system) through the process step by step via an interpreter. Of course, the interpreter was not technical. So it was kind of like explaining to your mom to tell your grandfather (who is hard of hearing) how to do something while she is on the phone and he is across the room from her."

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Japanese Firm Showcases "Touchable" 3-D Technology

Thu, 04/09/2014 - 00:24
skade88 notes an interesting new piece of tactile feedback technology unveiled in Japan. Officials of Miraisens, a high-tech firm based outside Tokyo, said the technology, which can be used to improve the gaming experience or allow someone to physically shape objects that exist only on a computer, will soon be available for purchase. "Touching is an important part of human communication, but until now virtual reality has lacked it," Chief Executive Natsuo Koda said. "This technology will give you a sense that you can touch objects in the 3-D world," said Koda, a former virtual reality researcher for Sony Corp. It works by fooling the brain, blending what the eye sees with different patterns of vibration created by a small fingertip device, said Norio Nakamura, the inventor of so-called 3D-Haptics Technology and chief technical officer at the firm. In one demonstration of a prototype head-mounted display, the company showed how the wearer can feel resistance by pushing virtual buttons.

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Hitachi Developing Reactor That Burns Nuclear Waste

Wed, 03/09/2014 - 23:43
Zothecula writes The problem with nuclear waste is that it needs to be stored for many thousands of years before it's safe, which is a tricky commitment for even the most stable civilization. To make this situation a bit more manageable, Hitachi, in partnership with MIT, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Berkeley, is working on new reactor designs that use transuranic nuclear waste for fuel; leaving behind only short-lived radioactive elements.

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Verizon Pays $7.4 Million To Settle FCC Privacy Investigation

Wed, 03/09/2014 - 22:58
An anonymous reader writes Verizon has agreed to pay $7.4 million because it did not notify customers before using their personal information in marketing campaigns. The FCC discovered that Verizon failed to alert around two million customers of rights that include telling customers how to opt out from having their personal information used. "In today's increasingly connected world, it is critical that every phone company honor its duty to inform customers of their privacy choices and then to respect those choices," Travis LeBlanc, Acting Chief of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau said.

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Verizon Pays $7.4 Million To Settle FCC Privacy Investigation

Wed, 03/09/2014 - 22:58
An anonymous reader writes Verizon has agreed to pay $7.4 million because it did not notify customers before using their personal information in marketing campaigns. The FCC discovered that Verizon failed to alert around two million customers of rights that include telling customers how to opt out from having their personal information used. "In today's increasingly connected world, it is critical that every phone company honor its duty to inform customers of their privacy choices and then to respect those choices," Travis LeBlanc, Acting Chief of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau said.

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The Argument For a Hypersonic Missile Testing Ban

Wed, 03/09/2014 - 22:15
Lasrick writes Mark Gubrud has a fascinating piece arguing for the U.S. to lead the way in calling for a ban on the testing of hypersonic missiles, a technology that the U.S. has been developing for decades. China has also started testing these weapons, which proponents optimistically claim would not be used to deliver nuclear weapons. Russia, India, and a few other countries are also joining in the fray, so a ban on testing would stop an arms race in its tracks. The article discusses the two types of hypersonic technology, and whether that technology has civilian applications.

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