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SpaceX's Grasshopper to Fly in the Skies of Texas
Posted by News Fetcher on September 26 '11 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's jump-high-grasshopper department:
MarkWhittington writes "SpaceX, the commercial space company that is a participant in President Barack Obama's commercial crew program, has acquired an experimental permit to test fly a vertical take off and landing rocket called the Grasshopper at its McGregor, Texas, test site. From the article: 'The Grasshopper will consist of a Falcon 9 stage 1 fuel tank, a single Merlin-1D engine, four steel landing legs, and a steel support structure. The spacecraft will burn a refined kerosene fuel with liquid oxygen for 122,000 pounds of thrust. The spacecraft's height will be 106 feet, with the fuel tank being 85 feet in height.'"

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Ask Slashdot: CS Grads Taking IT Jobs?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 26 '11 at 12:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's welcome-to-the-help-desk department:
An anonymous reader writes "I'm a soon-to-be Master's graduate from a public university majoring in computer science — with all that CS entails. Of course, it's come time to start job hunting, and while there are a few actual CS-type jobs around, I've noticed that a few IT jobs would be substantially more convenient for me personally. But this leads me to the question (assuming they would hire me, of course) — would having IT experience hurt my job prospects down the road? Would future employers see that and be less likely to hire me — or pigeon-hole me into IT?"

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Irish Man's Death Ruled Spontaneous Combustion
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '11 at 10:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's some-like-it-hot department:
chrb writes "BBC News is reporting that an Irish coroner has ruled that a dead man was killed by spontaneous human combustion The controversial finding is a first in Irish history. From the article: 'West Galway coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin said it was the first time in 25 years of investigating deaths that he had recorded such a verdict. Michael Faherty, 76, died at his home in Galway on 22 December 2010. Deaths attributed by some to "spontaneous combustion" occur when a living human body is burned without an apparent external source of ignition.'"

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Microsoft Patents Module-Based Smartphone
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '11 at 09:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's swiss-army-phone department:
edumacator writes "It seems Microsoft is working on an interesting concept for smartphones, or maybe they are just adding to their patent war chest. From the article: 'A recent Microsoft patent describes a smartphone with a slide-out section that can house one of several modules, including a QWERTY keyboard, a gaming pad, a second display or a battery pack. Even better: The modules work wirelessly when they aren't docked in the smartphone's slider. Another useful way the modular smartphone concept could be used: The keyboard can be used as a controller while the smartphone acts as a TV-connected media hub.'"

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A Few Million Virtual Monkeys Randomly Recreate Shakespeare
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '11 at 07:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's simpsons-did-it department:
First time accepted submitter allege6a writes "On September 23 at 2:30 PST the A Million Amazonian Monkeys project successfully recreated A Lover's Complaint. This is the first time a work of Shakespeare has actually been randomly reproduced. It is one small step for a monkey, one giant leap for virtual primates everywhere. From the article: 'For this project, I used Hadoop, Amazon EC2, and Ubuntu Linux. Since I don’t have real monkeys, I have to create fake Amazonian Map Monkeys. The Map Monkeys create random data in ASCII between a and z. It uses Sean Luke’s Mersenne Twister to make sure I have fast, random, well behaved monkeys. Once the monkey’s output is mapped, it is passed to the reducer which runs the characters through a Bloom Field membership test. If the monkey output passes the membership test, the Shakespearean works are checked using a string comparison. If that passes, a genius monkey has written 9 characters of Shakespeare. The source material is all of Shakespeare’s works as taken from Project Gutenberg.'"

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The Mythical Tunnel Between CERN and Central Italy
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '11 at 06:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's just-the-facts-mam department:
fph il quozientatore writes "Mariastella Gelmini the Italian minister of Public Education and Scientific Research complimented the researchers for the recent (supposed) discovery of faster-than-light neutrinos. Her press release mentions that Italy funded the construction of a 'tunnel between the CERN [in Geneva] and Gran Sasso [the labs in Central Italy].' Google maps reports the distance between the two labs as over 900km — but of course once the tunnel is open to traffic the trip will be much faster."

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Accent Monitoring: Innovation Or Rights Violation?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '11 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's do-you-understand-the-words-that-are-coming-out-of-my-mouth? department:
theodp writes "After almost a decade of sending monitors to classrooms across the state to check on teachers' articulation, the NY Times' Marc Lacey reports that a federal investigation of possible civil rights violations has prompted Arizona to call off its accent police. The teachers who were found to have strong accents were not fired, but their school districts were required to work with them to improve their speech. Interestingly, one person's civil rights violation is another's 'wonderful little phenomenon', which is how PBS described the accent neutralization classes attended by Bangalore call center workers who worked for the likes of IBM and Microsoft. On its website, IBM Daksh notes that 'To make sure that customers all over the world can understand the way our people speak, every new hire is trained in what we call voice and accent neutralization.'. So, is accent monitoring and neutralization a civil right violation, as the U.S. Depts. of Justice and Education suggest, or is it an 'innovation', as IBM argues?"

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Facebook Cookies Track Users Even After Logging Out
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '11 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's sticking-with-you department:
First time accepted submitter Core Condor writes "According to Australian technologist Nik Cubrilovic: 'Logging out of Facebook is not enough.' He added, Even after you are logged out, Facebook is able to track your browser's page every time you visit a website. He wrote in his blog: 'With my browser logged out of Facebook, whenever I visit any page with a Facebook like button, or share button, or any other widget, the information, including my account ID, is still being sent to Facebook.' After explaining the cookies behavior he also suggested a way to fix the tracking problem: 'The only solution to Facebook not knowing who you are is to delete all Facebook cookies.'"

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Using a Supercomputer To Predict Revolutions
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '11 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-is-to-be department:
bLanark writes "A fascinating article from Singularity Hub describes software which, when fed news, makes predictions about forthcoming events. When given information on recent events, it spiked before the Egyptian and Libyan uprisings. It uses various sources including the News Bank which is a database of global news."

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Amazon To Launch Kindle Tablet?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '11 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's getting-in-on-the-game department:
Rumors abound that Amazon wants a taste of the tablet market and will unveil a Kindle Tablet later this week. The prevailing thought is Amazon will offer a device that will cost under $300 and will tether closely to its music, movie and digital book content. From the article: "Amazon has brand recognition, a bevy of existing loyal Kindle e-reader owners, and a Web-based e-commerce platform that includes one-click access to buying e-books, movies, digital music downloads, its own Android app store, and streaming media catalog. That adds up to Amazon being uniquely suited to go head-to-head with Apple in the tablet market and become a formidable competitor across the industry."

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Researchers Create Renewable Carbon Dioxide Sponge
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '11 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's soak-it-up department:
First time accepted submitter Babu V Bassa writes "Concerned about adding too much carbon dioxide to the atmosphere? Consider a roof top coating on your car with this new material. A multinational team of researchers have developed a renewable sponge like material to capture and store gaseous carbon dioxide. The organic material is made up of gamma-cyclodextrin. Conventional metal-organic frameworks, which also are effective at adsorbing carbon dioxide, are usually prepared from materials derived from crude oil and often incorporate toxic heavy metals and are also non-renewable. The research paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society claims that its synthesis is essentially carbon-neutral and have the demonstrated ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere makes them promising materials for carbon fixation."

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Samsung Launches SSD 830 Drive
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '11 at 09:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's new-toys department:
MojoKid writes "Although they haven't been big hits with enthusiasts, Samsung's solid state drives have been successful due to strong relationships with a number of OEMs, including Apple. With the release of their new SSD 830 Series Solid State Drives, however, Samsung appears ready to make inroads with enthusiasts as well. The SSD 830 tested here is 256GB model, with eight 32GB Samsung NAND flash memory chips, 256MB of Samsung DDR2 SDRAM cache memory, and a new Samsung SSD Controller. The Samsung controller features a 3-ARM core design with support for SATA III 6Gb/s interface speeds. Performance-wise, the Samsung SSD 830 Series drive offered the best Read performance of the group that was tested, even versus the latest SandForce-based SSDs, though the SSD 830 couldn't quite catch SandForce in writes."

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Superior Anode For Lithium-Ion Batteries Developed
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '11 at 08:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's power-up department:
RogerRoast writes "The anode is a critical component for storing energy in lithium-ion batteries. The Berkeley Lab (D.O.E) has designed a new kind of anode that can absorb eight times the lithium of current designs, and has maintained its greatly increased energy capacity after over a year of testing and many hundreds of charge-discharge cycles. According to the research published in Advanced Materials they used a tailored polymer that conducts electricity and binds closely to lithium-storing silicon particles, even as they expand to more than three times their volume during charging and then shrink again during discharge."

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Newb-Friendly Linux Flavor For LAMP Server?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '11 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's setting-the-bar-low department:
First time accepted submitter bhcompy writes "I need to setup a system to serve 2500 users and I've been looking at a LAMP setup. This is not commercial, more of a personal side project for some friends. I've no experience configuring or administering a Linux server having worked with MS and PICK based solutions my whole life, so I'm looking for something that will be relatively straightforward to implement and not a chore to manage and preferably not completely CLI. I will be serving a forum(phpBB 3 suits my needs and seems adequate) and a variety of PHP driven content with a MySQL backend. Requirements are PHP 5.3.0+ and MySQL 5+. Suggestions?"

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AIDS Vaccine Breakthrough
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '11 at 05:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's one-step-closer department:
Doc Ruby writes "Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in MD, USA announced they've disrupted the means by which HIV stops the immune system from attacking it. From the article: 'Scientists say they have found a way to disarm the AIDS virus in research that could lead to a vaccine. Researchers have discovered that if they eliminate a cholesterol membrane surrounding the virus, HIV cannot disrupt communication among disease-fighting cells and the immune system returns to normal. [...] "By stealing cholesterol from the envelope of the virus, we can neutralize the subversion," said Graham. "We've broken the code; we can shut down the type of interference that HIV is having on the immune system."'"

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Why the BEAST Doesn't Threaten Tor Users
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '11 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's shaken-and-stirred-and-scrambled department:
Earlier in the week, we posted news of a vulnerability discovered in virtually all websites secured with theoretically outdated (but widespread) versions of SSL and TLS encryption. Luckily for all non-nefarious users, this vulnerability (called BEAST, short for Browser Exploit Against SSL/TLS) was discovered and disclosed by researchers Thai Duong and Juliano Rizzo, and browser makers are pushing out changes to nullify it. Many systems, though, will remain unpatched for a long time. Nick Mathewson (nickm) of the Tor project has posted an explanation of why Tor traffic, as he understands the attack, remains safe. As a side benefit for those of us who aren't security experts, his description explains in plain language just what the danger is.

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HideMyAss.com Doesn't Hide Logs From the FBI
Posted by News Fetcher on September 25 '11 at 02:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's technically-sir-you-were-being-a-donkey department:
An anonymous reader writes "People use VPN services to hide their identities online, right? And a UK-based service called HideMyAss would seem to fit that bill perfectly. Not so, unfortunately: they have to hand over the logs to the FBI when a UK judge tells them to." Reader wiredmikey points to a story at SecurityWeek, too.

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NASA: Satellite Debris Probably Hit Pacific, But Room For Doubt
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 11:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's bring-your-finest-metal-detector department:
An earlier report that debris from the recently deorbited UARS satellite had landed in Canada may have been premature. Apparently, the picture of when (and therefore where) the satellite deorbited is back to being clear as mud. Most likely, says NASA, the debris will never be found, but is thought to have landed in the Pacific Ocean. If you're an optimist interested in finding your very own piece of space debris, though, you might be interested in this map based on various re-entry scenarios (hat tip to Robert Woodcock); in the U.S., the Northwest is your best bet.

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Are Folding Containers the Future of Shipping?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 08:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's harder-to-turn-into-a-home-though department:
swellconvivialguy writes "Earlier this year Maersk ordered 20 super-size container ships—each to have '16 percent larger capacity than today's largest container vessel, Emma Maersk.' But instead of embracing the bigger/more-is-better mentality, Staxxon, a NJ-based startup, has engineered a folding steel container (it folds like a toddler's playpen), which is designed to make shipping more efficient by 'reducing the number of container ship movements.' No one has yet succeeded in the marketplace with a collapsible container, but Staxxon has made a point of learning from the mistakes of others."

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Low-Latency Network Shaves Milliseconds from UK-Asia Traffic
Posted by News Fetcher on September 24 '11 at 05:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's first-blade-just-surprises-the-milliseconds department:
New York's had its turn; now, an anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from eWeek Europe: "Financial traders and law firms are set to benefit from a new low-latency network between London and Hong Kong, which can conduct data on a round trip from Europe to Asia in around 176 milliseconds. The cable network, run by UK-based trading technology company BSO Network Solutions, has been in place for some time, but previously had to route around large parts of Russia, due to difficulties laying fibre in that country. However, a new lower latency and higher availability 'Transit Mongolia' connection has helped to reduce the time of a round trip by more than 20 milliseconds during the last 12 months."

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