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"Music" Of the Sun Recorded By Astronomers
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '10 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's good-day-sunshine deptartment:
Scientists at the University of Sheffield have recorded the "music" produced by the magnetic field in the outer atmosphere of the sun. They discovered that the huge magnetic loops that coil away from the outer layer of the sun's atmosphere, known as coronal loops, vibrate like strings on a musical instrument or behave like soundwaves traveling through a wind instrument. From the article: "Professor Robertus von Fáy-Siebenbürgen, head of the solar physics research group at Sheffield University, said, 'It was strangely beautiful and exciting to hear these noises for the first time from such a large and powerful source. It is a sort of music as it has harmonics. It is providing us with a new way of learning about the sun and giving us a new insight into the physics that goes on at in the sun's outer layers where temperatures reach millions of degrees.'"

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Carbon Nanotubes Batteries Pack More Punch
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '10 at 07:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's coast-to-coast-at-most deptartment:
cremeglace writes "Researchers at MIT have come up with a new way of making batteries from carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are attractive materials for battery-making because of their high surface area, which can accept more positive ions and potentially last longer than conventional batteries. Instead of this design, the MIT researchers introduced something new--using chemically modified carbon nanotubes as the positive ion source themselves. For now, the new batteries can power only small devices, but if the method can be scaled up, the batteries may provide the power needed for applications like electric cars."

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iOS 4 Releases Today
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '10 at 06:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's dont-hold-your-breath deptartment:
tekgoblin writes "Today Apple releases the much anticipated iOS 4 for iPhones and iPod Touches. No word on when we will see this update on the iPad." Can't wait to see all the neat new stuff that won't run on my stale phone.

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Toshiba Demos Dual-Touchscreen Netbook
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '10 at 06:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's two-for-the-price-of-two deptartment:
Lanxon writes "Toshiba has announced a trio of new devices that it's hoping will shake up the somewhat stagnant notebook PC market. The most interesting is the Libretto W100 — a clamshell device that comes with two screens in place of a screen and a keyboard. Both screens are identical, measuring 7-inches diagonally, and are touch-sensitive. An onboard accelerometer allows you to use it in landscape or portrait configuration, and Toshiba's pre-loaded a boatload of specialist software that'll let you get the most from the device — including a range of virtual keyboards. It runs Windows 7, is powered by an Intel U5400 processor, and comes with 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a 62GB SSD, and the usual array of connectivity options, including 3G."

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Google Wave Out of Beta
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '10 at 05:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's still-a-bit-slow deptartment:
googlePLEXS writes "Wave open sign-ups, Google Wave is open to all users at wave.google.com, as a Google Labs product — no invitation needed. Google Apps administrators will also have the option to add Wave as a Labs feature for their domains, helping groups of people communicate and work together more productively." If you haven't played with it, it's worth your time just to try to think beyond the bounds of IRC/Email. It's not going to change your work flow, but I still think it's worth a bit of your time to see it.

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Why Being Wrong Makes Humans So Smart
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '10 at 04:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's something-so-right deptartment:
Hugh Pickens sends in an excerpt in last week's Boston Globe from Kathryn Schulz's book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. "The more scientists understand about cognitive functioning, the more it becomes clear that our capacity to make mistakes is utterly inextricable from what makes the human brain so swift, adaptable, and intelligent. Rather than treating errors like the bedbugs of the intellect — an appalling and embarrassing nuisance we try to pretend out of existence — we need to recognize that human fallibility is part and parcel of human brilliance. Neuroscientists increasingly think that inductive reasoning undergirds virtually all of human cognition. Humans use inductive reasoning to learn language, organize the world into meaningful categories, and grasp the relationship between cause and effect. Thanks to inductive reasoning, we are able to form nearly instantaneous beliefs and take action accordingly. However, Schulz writes, 'The distinctive thing about inductive reasoning is that it generates conclusions that aren't necessarily true. They are, instead, probabilistically true — which means they are possibly false.' Schulz recommends that we respond to the mistakes (or putative mistakes) of those around us with empathy and generosity and demand that our business and political leaders acknowledge and redress their errors rather than ignoring or denying them. 'Once we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity, or evil intent, we can liberate ourselves from the impossible burden of trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition that we could be in error, without deeming ourselves idiotic or unworthy.'"

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New Air Conditioner Process Cuts Energy Use 50-90%
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '10 at 12:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's tortured-backronym deptartment:
necro81 writes "The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory has announced that it has developed a new method for air conditioning that reduces energy use by 50-90%. The DEVap system (Desiccant-Enhanced eVaporative air conditioner) cools air using evaporative cooling, which is not new, but combines the process with a liquid dessicant for pulling the water vapor out of the cooled air stream. The liquid dessicant, a very strong aqueous solution of lithium chloride or sodium chloride, is separated from the air stream by a permeable hydrophobic membrane. Heat is later used to evaporate water vapor back out — heat that can come from a variety of sources such as solar or natural gas. The dessicants are, compared to typical refrigerants like HCFCs, relatively benign on the environment."

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What US Health Care Needs
Posted by News Fetcher on June 20 '10 at 10:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's velluvial-matrix deptartment:
Medical doctor and writer Atul Gawande gave the commencement address recently at Stanford's School of Medicine. In it he lays out very precisely and in a nonpartisan way what is wrong with the institution of medical care in the US — why it is both so expensive and so ineffective at delivering quality care uniformly across the board. "Half a century ago, medicine was neither costly nor effective. Since then, however, science has... enumerated and identified... more than 13,600 diagnoses — 13,600 different ways our bodies can fail. And for each one we've discovered beneficial remedies... But those remedies now include more than six thousand drugs and four thousand medical and surgical procedures. Our job in medicine is to make sure that all of this capability is deployed, town by town, in the right way at the right time, without harm or waste of resources, for every person alive. And we're struggling. There is no industry in the world with 13,600 different service lines to deliver. ... And then there is the frightening federal debt we will face. By 2025, we will owe more money than our economy produces. One side says war spending is the problem, the other says it's the economic bailout plan. But take both away and you've made almost no difference. Our deficit problem — far and away — is the soaring and seemingly unstoppable cost of health care. ... Like politics, all medicine is local. Medicine requires the successful function of systems — of people and of technologies. Among our most profound difficulties is making them work together. If I want to give my patients the best care possible, not only must I do a good job, but a whole collection of diverse components must somehow mesh effectively. ... This will take science. It will take art. It will take innovation. It will take ambition. And it will take humility. But the fantastic thing is: This is what you get to do."

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California Wants To Put E-Ads On License Plates
Posted by News Fetcher on June 20 '10 at 08:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's distracted-stopping deptartment:
techmuse writes "The San Jose Mercury News reports that the California state legislature wants to put electronic advertising on license plates. The plate would display standard plate information when the car is moving, but would also display ads when the car is stopped for more than 4 seconds (say, at a red light). Not distracting or annoying at all! 'The bill has received no formal opposition. It passed unanimously through the Senate last month and is scheduled to be heard Monday by the Assembly Transportation Committee.'"

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Former Soviet Republic of Georgia To Become IT Tax Haven
Posted by News Fetcher on June 20 '10 at 06:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's here's-a-hint-one-of-them-is-black-and-sticky deptartment:
A few days ago we noted how Ukraine is driving out its software freelancers with the threat of onerous taxation. Now comes news that another former Soviet republic, Georgia, will become a tax-free zone for IT companies. It might be the Google translation, but it seems that officials there are somewhat worried about how to categorize the IT segment: "[T]he main difficulty... is to determine which organization is the IT company, and what is not: 'While from a formal point of view it is impossible to distinguish between software developers from the oil.'"

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In NJ, Higher Tech Lowers Crime
Posted by News Fetcher on June 20 '10 at 03:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's can-you-say-false-positive deptartment:
crimeandpunishment sends along this snip from an AP story carried on Skunkpost.com: "High tech means low crime in a New Jersey city that has used an arsenal of advanced technology to sharply lower one of the highest crime rates in the nation. And now East Orange is poised to become the first city in the country to take high tech crime fighting to a whole new level... surveillance cameras with sensors that can be programmed to identify crimes as they unfold."

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Swype Beta For Android Is Open, Temporarily
Posted by News Fetcher on June 20 '10 at 01:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's grab-it-quick deptartment:
FyreWyr writes "In 2008 we discussed Swype, which allows a mobile (phone, e.g.) user to draw a path over a virtual keyboard to enter words, rather than requiring precise tapping to accomplish the input. Using this software, a Swype intern (Franklin Page) beat the Guinness record by about 6 WPM for the Guinness-standard phrase: The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human. (Unfortunately the video at that link is marked private.) TechCrunch reports that Swype is presently in open beta, and will be available for 'a couple of days,' supporting English, Spanish, and Italian entry. Finally, while the deadline has apparently passed, I was able to retrieve the Android beta for testing a few minutes ago. I'm posting it here for the benefit of Android-enabled Slashdot readers."

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Windows Phone 7 Lacks Copy-and-Paste
Posted by News Fetcher on June 20 '10 at 12:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's took-the-iphone-a-few-releases deptartment:
theodp writes "In a behind-the-scenes look at Windows Phone 7 (photos), CNET's Ina Fried notes that Microsoft's new software has won early praise for breaking ground in some areas, but takes a step backward in others. In particular, it doesn't support features like copy and paste and multitasking that were already part of the old Windows Mobile. 'I think users use cut-copy-paste periodically,' said Microsoft exec Terry Myerson, '(but) there's other things they use more frequently.' Hey, tradeoffs had to be made — it was either copy-and-paste or Goo Splat."

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Made-For-Torrents Sci-Fi Drama "Pioneer One" Debuts
Posted by News Fetcher on June 20 '10 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-tv-jim-but-not-as-we-know-it deptartment:
QuantumG writes "The first episode of the new science fiction drama Pioneer One has debuted and it looks like a hit. The pilot was shot for just $6,000, raised through the micro-funding platform Kickstarter, and the production is being supported through donations on the show's website. Donations can be made on a sliding scale with 'bonus' rewards for each level, such as an MP3 of the opening theme and deleted scenes. The show is being distributed through file-sharing systems such as BitTorrent and LimeWire thanks to VODO, the group that also helped produce it. Is this the future of television?"

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German Radar Satellite Lifts Off Tonight
Posted by News Fetcher on June 20 '10 at 12:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's ready-for-my-closeup deptartment:
2Y9D57 writes "Germany's new TanDEM-X radar satellite is scheduled to lift off from Baikonur Cosmodrome at 04:15 Berlin time on 21 June — that's 10:14 pm Eastern today (20 June). Flying in close formation with its twin satellite, TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X will generate the most consistent and highest-resolution digital elevation map ever of the Earth — 12m = 40ft. pixel pitch. It will take three years to image all 150 million square kilometers (58 million square miles), in the process generating more than 350 TB of raw data. Here's where to go as the time approaches for live streaming."

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Utah Attorney General Tweets Execution Order
Posted by News Fetcher on June 20 '10 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's internet-over-we-lost deptartment:
Kilrah_il writes "In an all-time low for Internet use, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff used Twitter to announce to the public his approval of the execution of convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner. 'I just gave the go ahead to Corrections Director to proceed with Gardner's execution. May God grant him the mercy he denied his victims,' the attorney general wrote. The AG's 7,000 followers retweeted the message further on and soon many replied concerning the awfulness of tweeting the execution of a human being. 'Mr. Shurtleff was doing nothing unusual; politicians and news organizations now routinely send out tweets to alert people to the latest developments. But as Twitter users digested endless breaking news flashes alerting them to the death of a man by firing squad in the United States, for some Mr. Shurtleff's remarks stood out from the rest.'"

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AU National Broadband Network Signs $11 Billion Deal With Telstra
Posted by News Fetcher on June 20 '10 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's going-for-the-gusto deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "The Australian government has signed an $11 billion deal with the country's largest telco, Telstra, to acquire the telco's physical infrastructure and migrate customers to the National Broadband Network. The NBN is a 100Mpbs open access fiber network that will be rolled out to 94% of the Australian population, with wireless and satellite to cover the remainder. The deal marks a large step forward for the new network, as without a deal to bring Telstra's customers onboard, the NBN's viability was in question."

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Made-For-Torrents Sci-Fi Drama "Pioneer One" Debuts
Posted by News Fetcher on June 20 '10 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-tv-jim-but-not-as-we-know-it deptartment:
QuantumG writes "The first episode of the new science fiction drama Pioneer One has debuted and it looks like a hit. The pilot was shot for just $6,000, raised through the micro-funding platform Kickstarter, and the production is being supported through donations on the show's website. Donations can be made on a sliding scale with 'bonus' rewards for each level, such as an mp3 of the opening theme and deleted scenes. The distribution is through file-sharing systems such as BitTorrent and LimeWire. Is this the future of television?"

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Verizon Makes Offering Service Blocks a Fireable Offense
Posted by News Fetcher on June 20 '10 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's customer-is-always-ripe deptartment:
Presto Vivace sends in a report from David Pogue at the NYTimes, who learned from a Verizon customer service representative that the company has implemented a policy of punishing employees who suggest certain service blocks to customers looking to avoid unwanted or accidental fees. According to the representative, offering (for example) a web access block or premium SMS block without the customer asking for it can now lead to a reprimand or outright termination. The CSRs have also been directed to avoid issuing credits for such charges. "Essentially, we are to upsell customers on the $9.99 25mb/month or $29.99 unlimited packages for customers. Customers are not to be credited for charges unless they ask for the credit. And in cases such as data or premium SMS, where the occurrences may have gone months without the consumer noticing, only an initial credit can be issued."

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Better Development Through Competition?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 20 '10 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's there-can-be-only-one deptartment:
theodp writes "Among the tips Derek Sivers offers for how to hire a programmer to make your ideas happen is an intriguing one: hire more than one person to complete your first programming milestone, with the expectation that one will go bad, one will be so-so, and one will be great. 'Yes it means you're paying multiple times for this first milestone,' says Sivers, 'but it's worth it to find a good one.' It's not a new idea — the practice of pitting two different programmers against each other on the same task was noted three decades ago in Tracy Kidder's Soul of a New Machine — but one that never gained widespread acceptance. Should the programming code-off be adopted as a software development best practice?"

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