By samzenpus from Slashdot's rewriting-the-book department
SternisheFan writes in with a story about early humans passing down their tool making skills
. "Sophisticated bladelets suggest that humans passed on their technological skill down the generations.
A haul of stone blades from a cave in South Africa suggests that early humans were already masters of complex technology more than 70,000 years ago .
The tiny blades — no more than about 3 centimeters long on average — were probably used as tips for throwable spears, or as spiky additions to club-like weapons, says Curtis Marean, an archaeologist at Arizona State University in Tempe who led the team that found the bladelets.
Twenty-seven such blades, called microliths by archaeologists, were found in layers of sand and soil dating as far back as 71,000 years ago and representing a time-span of about 11,000 years, showing how long humans were manufacturing the blades.
Clever crafters The find lends credence to the idea that early humans were capable of passing on their clever ideas to the next generation of artisans, creating complex technologies that endured over time. John Shea, a palaeoanthropologist at Stony Brook University in New York, says that it also suggests that 'previous hypotheses that 'early' Homo sapiens differed from 'modern' ones in these respects are probably wrong'."Read Replies (0)
By samzenpus from Slashdot's times-they-are-a-changing department
First time accepted submitter Vanderhoth writes "I'm currently serving as a new member of a board for a not for profit organization. The board currently has a few other members, and a couple of vacant positions. One of the issues I've noticed since joining the board is the method in which they conduct business is very out of date. The member that maintains our web presences (Bob) has developed a system over the last ten years to allow us to store documents, such as agendas and minutes on a website server.
Some of the big issues are:
1.) The system is very disorganized, there are documents from the late 90's that aren't relevant, but have to be sifted through to find more current stuff.
2.) Often documents are not where they should be and are difficult to find.
3.) No one except Bob really knows how the system works.
4.) No one really wants to use the system because of the monster it's become.
My concern is if Bob decided to leave the organization no one would be able to maintain the existing system and we would be scrambling to put something new in place. I feel, for what we want to do, Google Docs would be an excellent platform for collaborating and sharing documents. The other board members, except Bob, have agreed with me, but are worried that bringing the issues with the existing system may cause offense and ultimately cause Bob to leave. Other than being overly vested in a system he developed, Bob is an important part of our board and a very valuable member.
We're already having a difficult time finding members to serve on the board so it's very important that we don't lose any existing board members. I'm hoping that I can convince the Bob to start supporting some Google docs objects on the site and try to wean him off his existing system to something a bit more manageable and collaborative that can be passed on to new members and maintained easily.
< article continued at Slashdot
>Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's at-least-we-didn't-ask-the-bynars department
sends in a story at Time that goes behind the scenes with the team of data crunchers
that powered many of the Obama campaign's decisions in the lead-up to the election. From the article:
< article continued at Slashdot
>Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's we-invented-the-transmission-of-data department
writes "Apple was ordered to pay $368 million today to a software company named VirnetX over patents related to Apple's FaceTime technology. Apple engineers testified they didn't pay attention to any patents when building FaceTime. 'The jury, which had sat through the five-day trial, ruled that Apple infringed two patents: one for a method of creating a virtual private network (VPN) between computers, and another for solving DNS security issues. ... It's not the first time VirnetX has won a payout from a major tech firm: the company bagged $105.7m from Microsoft two years ago, and it may not be the last either. VirnetX has a separate case against Apple pending with the International Trade Commission and it has court cases against Cisco, Avaya and Siemens scheduled for trial next year.'"
It's not all bad news for Apple today, though — according to Ars, they've won a new patent for a rounded rectangle
).Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's reversal-of-fortunes department
From the H reporting on LinuxCon Europe comes news that several Linux kernel developers have been laid off by AMD as part of its workforce reduction
. From the article: "OSRC staff primarily worked to develop the Linux support for AMD's server processors, but they also wrote code and extensions for related desktop and notebook CPUs – for example, they looked after the code to support CPU frequency scaling for the PowerNow and Turbo Core technologies. While working on the kernel's IOMMU and KVM support, one of AMD's former employees contributed to the development of the "IOMMU groups" feature that was integrated into Linux 3.6; this feature provides the basis for a new Linux 3.6 technology that allows a host's PCIe devices to be passed through to virtual machines and can also be used with Intel CPUs."
Looks like the group was doing interesting research
on hypervisors, lockless data structures, and multi-core synchronization primitives among other things. The Open Source Radeon driver developers are not affected by this at least.Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's canuckistan-piracy-terror-watch-list department
An anonymous reader writes "This morning, the majority of Bill
C-11, Canada's copyright reform bill, took
effect, marking the most significant changes to Canadian
copyright law in decades. Michael Geist summarizes
the changes, which include expanded fair dealing, new protection for
creators of user generated content, consumer exceptions such as time
shifting, format shifting, and backup copies, and a cap on liability
for non-commercial infringement."Read Replies (0)