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The Future of the Most Important Human Brain
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-neurosci-texts-read-as-cookbooks-to-zombies deptartment:
mattnyc99 writes "About a year ago, we watched live as neuroanatomist Jacopo Annese sliced the brain of Memento-style patient Henry Molaison (aka H.M.) into 2,401 pieces. Since even before then, writer Luke Dittrich — whose grandfather happened to be the surgeon to accidentally slice open the H.M. skull in the first place — has been tracking Annese and a new revolution in brain science. From the article in Esquire: 'If Korbinian Brodmann created the mind's Rand McNally, Jacopo Annese is creating its Google Maps. ... With his Brain Observatory, Annese is setting out to create not the world's largest but the world's most useful collection of brains. ... For the first time, we'll be able to meaningfully and easily compare large numbers of brains, perhaps finally understanding why one brain might be less empathetic or better at calculus or likelier to develop Alzheimer's than another. The Brain Observatory promises to revolutionize our understanding of how these three-pound hunks of tissue inside our skulls do what they do, which means, of course, that it promises to revolutionize our understanding of ourselves.'"

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Ergonomic Mechanical-Switch Keyboard?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rolling-face-across-keyboard-reduces-risk-of-carpal-tunnel deptartment:
dotancohen writes "As wear and tear on my hands builds up, I find that I need an ergonomic (split) keyboard. It seems the vast majority of available ergonomic models are either crippled with dome-switches or have unusual designs, which place many critical keys under the thumbs (I cannot use my right thumb). The one normal-appearing contender, the Northgate Ergonomic Evolution, seems to be noisier than even the Model M — in fact, it echoes! Programmers and hobbyists geeky enough to be here today: what do you type on?"

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Robotic Hands Grip Without Fingers
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's please-don't-send-this-to-japan deptartment:
sciencehabit writes "Physicists have designed a robotic hand that doesn't have fingers, yet can still serve drinks and draw pictures. The hand is a thin, rubber sack filled with coffee grains or small glass spheres. When it comes into contact with an object, a small pipe sucks air from the sack, causing it to contract and mold to the object's shape. As long as the gripper can fold about one-fourth of the object's surface, it can pick up just about any shape thrown in its path. The article includes a video of the hand in action."

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New Programming Language Weaves Security Into Code
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-can't-goto-there-from-here deptartment:
Ponca City writes "Until now, computer security has been reactive. 'Our defenses improve only after they have been successfully penetrated,' says security expert Fred Schneider. But now Dr. Dobb's reports that researchers at Cornell are developing a programming platform called 'Fabric,' an extension to the Java language that builds security into a program as it is written. Fabric is designed to create secure systems for distributed computing, where many interconnected nodes — not all of them necessarily trustworthy — are involved, as in systems that move money around or maintain medical records. Everything in Fabric is an 'object' labeled with a set of policies on how and by whom data can be accessed and what operations can be performed on it. Even blocks of program code have built-in policies about when and where they can be run. The compiler enforces the security policies and will not allow the programmer to write insecure code (PDF). The initial release of Fabric is now available at the Cornell website."

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Wi-Fi Direct Gets Real With Product Certification
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's unleash-the-marketing-hounds deptartment:
CWmike writes "Wi-Fi Direct officially became a concrete technology today, with several new laptop components certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance. That threshold was reached before most people even understand what Wi-Fi Direct is, reports Matt Hamblen. Wi-Fi Direct is a new technology designed to allow peer-to-peer Wi-Fi connections between devices like smartphones and cameras without a traditional Wi-Fi network or the need for Wi-Fi access points. This means that a camera with Wi-Fi Direct installed could communicate via Wi-Fi to a digital picture frame or printer, uploading picture data over the same range of existing Wi-Fi, about 200 yards at speeds of up to 250Mbit/sec, said Wi-Fi Alliance CEO Edgar Figueroa. 'Imagine if two people were on a train and wanted to play a game in real time on their separate handhelds but had no cellular or Wi-Fi hot spot. They still could play with Wi-Fi Direct,' he said."

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Ray Ozzie's Departing Memo a Warning To Microsoft
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-bsods deptartment:
itwbennett writes "In a parting memo to Microsoft, Ray Ozzie urges Microsoft to 'really, truly, seriously start thinking beyond the PC,' writes blogger Chris Nurney. Nurney suspects that 'Ozzie has been making these points internally for some time,' and that the memo 'could be his way of putting it in the public record.' Some of the memo's juicy bits: 'It's important that all of us do precisely what our competitors and customers will ultimately do: close our eyes and form a realistic picture of what a post-PC world might actually look like, if it were to ever truly occur. ... Today's PCs, phones & pads are just the very beginning; we'll see decades to come of incredible innovation from which will emerge all sorts of "connected companions" that we'll wear, we'll carry, we'll use on our desks & walls and the environment all around us.'"

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Colleges May Start Forcing Switch To eTextbooks
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's thousands-of-chiropractors-cry-out-in-dismay deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Here's the new approach under consideration by college leaders and textbook manufacturers: 'Colleges require students to pay a course-materials fee, which would be used to buy e-books for all of them (whatever text the professor recommends, just as in the old model).' That may be 'the best way to control skyrocketing costs and may actually save the textbook industry from digital piracy,' proponents claim."

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OpenGL SuperBible 5th ed.
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it deptartment:
asgard4 writes "OpenGL SuperBible in its fifth edition is almost a complete rewrite. The authors threw out the discussion of old-style, fixed-function programming and replaced it with an introduction to OpenGL that is exclusively focused on using shaders from the very beginning. All the things that got deprecated with the advent of OpenGL 3 got removed, making it a more relevant and up-to-date book than the previous editions. The OpenGL SuperBible still strives to be the 'world's best introduction to OpenGL' according to the authors. Let's see if it can keep that promise." Read on for the rest of Martin's review.

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Inside a Full-Body-Scanning X-Ray Van
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's seeing-right-through-you deptartment:
Velcroman1 writes "In August, Slashdotters learned that full-body scanners were roaming the streets in vans: 'The same technology used at airport check points, capable of seeing through clothes and walls, has also been rolling out on US streets where law enforcement agencies have deployed the vans to search for vehicle-based bombs. Fox took a ride in one of the $800,000 vans, videotaping the entire event — and continues the debate about security, privacy, and health risks."

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Julian Love, Lead Technical Artist for Diablo 3
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's zombie-bears-are-sweet deptartment:
At Blizzcon this past weekend, we got a chance to speak with Julian Love, lead technical artist for Diablo 3. We discussed skill runes — items that modify the form and function of your character's spells and abilities — as well as the newly announced PvP Battle Arenas, the Demon Hunter class (and why it took so long to create), the future beta test and the importance of getting the game in front of players to collect feedback. Read on for our discussion about Diablo 3.

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Flexible, Stretchable, Implantable LED Arrays Created
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 09:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's look-at-my-belly-screen deptartment:
Zothecula writes "Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created bio-compatible LED arrays that can bend, stretch, and even be implanted under the skin. While this might cause some people to immediately think, 'glowing tattoos,' the arrays are actually intended for activating drugs, monitoring medical conditions, or performing other biomedical tasks within the body. Down the road, however, they could also be incorporated into consumer goods, robotics, or military/industrial applications."

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Why Mozilla Needs To Pick a New Fight
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 08:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's zombies-need-killing deptartment:
nk497 writes "Mozilla has succeeded in improving the browser world, and its rivals have outstripped it in terms of features. So what's the point of Firefox, then, wonders Stuart Turton. He suggests it could turn its community of developers to better use than battling it out for browser market share. 'I think Mozilla has a lot more to offer as a kind of roaming software troublemaker. The company has already proven itself brilliant at pulling a community together, offering it direction and spurring innovation in a lifeless market. Now that browsers are healthy, wouldn't it be brilliant if Mozilla started a ruck elsewhere?' And where better to start than the stagnant office suite arena: 'Imagine if Mozilla decided tomorrow to build an office suite. Imagine all those ideas. Imagine how brilliant that could be. Just imagine. Now imagine Firefox 4. Honestly, which one of those are you most excited by?'"

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Bees Beat Machines At 'Traveling Salesman' Problem
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 08:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's they're-in-my-mouth deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Recent research on bumble bees has proven that the tiny bee is better than computers at the traveling salesman problem. As bees visit flowers to collect nectar and pollen they discover other flowers en route in the wrong order. But they still manage to quickly learn and fly the optimally shortest path between flowers. Such a problem is NP-Hard and keeps our best machines thinking for days searching for a solution but researchers are quite interested how such a tiny insect can figure it out on the fly — especially given how important this problem is to networks and transportation. A testament to the power of even the smallest batch of neurons or simply evidence our algorithms need work?"

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Ubuntu Moves Away From GNOME
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 07:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's end-of-an-era deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "It's official: Ubuntu has, with its ironically named "Unity" interface, chosen to move away from GNOME for Ubuntu Natty Narwhal. At least move away from GNOME Shell. Mark Shuttleworth says that Ubuntu will still be "GNOME," even if it's not using GNOME Shell. Do you agree?"

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Windows 8 To Be Released In October 2012
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 06:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's save-the-date deptartment:
dkd903 writes "Microsoft has been very secretive about the next version of its Windows operating system. After the success of Windows 7, everyone is very interested in the next iteration – Windows 8. A few leaks have been the only source of news about Windows 8 till now. However, a slip up from Microsoft Netherlands have put the release date in October 2012."

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The Time Travel Paradoxes of Back To the Future
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 05:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's one-for-emmett deptartment:
brumgrunt sent in a fun little piece to get your brain going on a cloudy monday morning. Despite countless viewings of BTTF I still never through of a few of these. "Throughout Back To The Future Part III, there has to be two Deloreans in 1885. Also, why don't George and Lorraine recognize their son? Why doesn't the time machine disappear in the alternative 1985? These and more Back To The Future paradoxes explored..."

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The Worlds Smallest Full HD Display
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 05:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's i-can-see-clearly-now deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Ever heard of Ortustech? Probably not. But you have heard of Casio, right? Ortustech is a joint venture between Casio Computer and Toppan Printing to develop small and medium sized displays. Today, the company is announcing a doozy with its 4.8-inch 1920 x 1080 pixel HAST (Hyper Amorphous Silicon TFT) LCD with 160-degree viewing angle, 16.8 million colors, and a pixel density of 458ppi. Amazing when you compare that to the lauded 326ppi of iPhone 4's Retina display."

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Firefox Extension Makes Social-Network ID Spoofing Trivial
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's plausible-deniability-for-farmville deptartment:
Orome1 writes "A simple-to-use Firefox plugin presented yesterday at Toorcon in San Diego has hit the security world with the realization that squabbles about Facebook's changing privacy settings and various privacy breaches simply miss the point. 'When it comes to user privacy, SSL is the elephant in the room,' said Eric Butler, the developer of the extension in question, dubbed Firesheep. By installing and running it, anyone can 'sniff out' the unencrypted HTTP sessions currently allowing users on that network segment to access social networks, online services and other website requiring a login, and simply hijack them and impersonate the user."

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Potential 'Avatar' Gas Giant Exoplanet Discovered
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '10 at 01:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ewoks-await-their-moment deptartment:
Luminary Crush writes "A gas giant of approximately 1.5 Mj (Jupiter Mass) was discovered on October 22nd around the binary star system HD 176051B. It's not known with certainty which component of the binary system the planet is in orbit around at this point as both stars in HD 176051B are relatively Sol-sized (1.07 and .71 solar masses). Named 176051B b, this new exoplanet orbits within the star system's habitable zone, and if mapped onto our solar system with relative distance from our Sun it would place the large planet between Earth and Mars. While it's unlikely that such a gas giant could host life as we know it (though it's hypothesized), the location of the big planet opens up the intriguing idea of the realization of some of science fiction's famously habitable moons, Pandora and Endor. Look no further than our own solar system to see moons with the potential ingredients for life — just add heat."

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LSE Breaks World Record In Trade Speed With Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on October 24 '10 at 10:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's linus-mentioned-their-startling-speed deptartment:
LingNoi writes with this excerpt from ComputerWorld UK: "The London Stock Exchange has said its new Linux-based system is delivering world record networking speed, with 126 microsecond trading times. The news comes ahead a major Linux-based switchover in twelve days, during which the open source system will replace Microsoft .Net technology on the group's main stock exchange. The LSE had long been criticised on speed and reliability, grappling with trading speeds of several hundred microseconds. The 126 microsecond speed is 'twice as fast' as its main international competitors, the London Stock Exchange said. BATS Europe and Chi-X, two dedicated electronic rivals to the LSE, are reported to have an average latency of 250 and 175 microseconds respectively. Neither company immediately provided details. But many of the LSE's older and more traditional rivals offer speeds of around 300 to 400 microseconds. Nevertheless, Linux is now standard in many exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange."

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