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BP Prepares Complex 'Top Kill' Bid To Plug Well
Posted by News Fetcher on May 23 '10 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's switch-to-healthier-olive-oil deptartment:
shmG excerpts from the International Business Times: "Government and BP officials are hopeful after extensive preparations, but are not guaranteeing that a complex attempt early this week to cap an uncontrolled underwater oil spill from a well in the Gulf of Mexico will be successful. The so-called 'top kill' procedure that oil major BP is tentatively scheduled to attempt on Tuesday involves plugging up the well by pumping thick "drilling mud" and cement into it. While it had been attempted on above ground wells, it has never been tried at the depths involved with this spill, nearly 5,000 feet below the surface."

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Copernicus Reburied As Hero
Posted by News Fetcher on May 23 '10 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's late-to-the-party deptartment:
CasualFriday writes "Mikolaj Kopernik, AKA Nicolaus Copernicus, the 16th-century astronomer whose findings were condemned by the Roman Catholic Church as heretical, was reburied by Polish priests as a hero on Saturday, nearly 500 years after he was laid to rest in an unmarked grave. On Saturday, his remains were blessed with holy water by some of Poland's highest-ranking clerics before an honor guard ceremoniously carried his coffin through the imposing red brick cathedral and lowered it back into the same spot where part of his skull and other bones were found in 2005."

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HP Confirms Slate To Run WebOS
Posted by News Fetcher on May 23 '10 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's avoiding-cognitive-dissonance deptartment:
Kilrah_il writes "After buying Palm a few weeks ago, many rumors emerged regarding HP's plans to further expand the scope of devices running WebOS. Now it appears that at least one of the rumors is true: The Slate will be running WebOS. 'Today an HP exec has confirmed that the company is developing a WebOS tablet which should be available by October.'"

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Scientific R&D At Home?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 23 '10 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's check-with-costner deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "I'm currently on the cusp of getting myself a new hobby and making some investments. There are a few areas that interest me greatly, from playing with EEG/ECG and trying to put together a DIY sleep lab, to astronomy, etc. I'm somewhat hesitant to get into these fields because (despite the potentially short-lived enjoyment factor) I'm not convinced they are areas that would lend themselves to making new discoveries in the home and with home equipment, which is what I'd really like to do. I've also read quite a number of articles on 'bio hacking,' and the subject seems interesting, but it also seems futile without an expensive lab (not to mention years of experience). What R&D hobbies do Slashdotters have that provide them with opportunities to make interesting discoveries and potentially chart new territory in the home? Do such hobbies exist?"

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First Pandora Console Reaches Customer
Posted by News Fetcher on May 23 '10 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's insert-pandora's-unboxing-pun-here deptartment:
neogramps writes "It's been a long time coming, but the first Pandora consoles are finally rolling off of the production line. (Well, this one actually walked out the door to a customer who lived near the 'factory'). Initial estimates had put production and development at taking two months, but Murphy had other ideas. Banking issues, design problems, problems communicating with the Chinese moulding company, escalating assembly costs and even a volcano all managed to get in the way, but the small and dedicated team soldiered on, and just over a year and a half later, the wait is coming to an end for the four thousand pre-orderers."

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IBM's Patent-PendingTraffic Lights Stop Car Engines
Posted by News Fetcher on May 23 '10 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's even-red-lights-are-going-green deptartment:
theodp writes "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't let your engine idle. The USPTO has just published IBM's patent application for a 'System and Method for Controlling Vehicle Engine Running State at Busy Intersections for Increased Fuel Consumption Efficiency.' Here's how Big Blue explains the invention: 'The present disclosure is directed to a method for managing engines in response to a traffic signal. The method may comprise establishing communications with participating vehicles; responding to a stop status indicated by the traffic signal, further comprising: receiving a position data from each participating vehicles; determining a queue of participating vehicles stopped at the traffic signal; determining a remaining duration of the stop status; sending a stop-engine notification to the list of participating vehicles stopped at the traffic signal when the remaining duration is greater than a threshold of time; responding to a proceed status indicated by the traffic signal, further comprising: sending a start-engine notification to a first vehicle in the queue; calculating an optimal time for an engine of a second vehicle in the queue to start; and sending the start-engine notification to the second vehicle at the optimal time.' IBM notes that 'traffic signals may include, but not limited to, traffic lights at intersections, railway crossing signals, or other devices for indicating correct moments to stop and to proceed.'"

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Novell Reportedly Taking Bids From Up To 20 Companies
Posted by News Fetcher on May 23 '10 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's showcase-showdown deptartment:
Degrees writes "Although Novell rejected the bid from Elliott Associates earlier this year, reports now indicate Novell has decided to embrace the inevitable. According to the Wall Street Journal (sub. required): 'As many as 20 companies have expressed interest in Novell, according to people familiar with the matter. Most, if not all, of the companies expected to lodge serious bids are private equity firms. ... Novell has four separate businesses, each of which could be attractive to a rival technology company. However, it's unlikely that a tech company would bid for all of Novell, these people said. Private equity firms, however, could break up Novell and either sell off the pieces or run them as standalone businesses.' Are there any companies that don't have an enterprise grade Linux distribution, and ought to? Ditto workstation management, directory services, legacy email, and virtualization suite?"

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X-37B Found By Amateur Sky Watchers
Posted by News Fetcher on May 23 '10 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's eye-in-the-sky deptartment:
otter42 writes "It seems that X-37B couldn't stay hidden forever. Launched a few weeks ago, The Flying Twinkie disappeared shortly after separation. Now it has been found in an orbit that takes it as far north as 40 degrees latitude. No additional information has been found about the spacecraft's capabilities or purpose, except for a US Air Force statement that the satellite has no space-weapons purpose. The X-37B is intended to fly for 9 months at a time, opening the door to possible space longevity experiments in addition to its spying tasks."

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China Rejects US Piracy Claims As "Groundless"
Posted by News Fetcher on May 23 '10 at 04:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's move-along-nothing-to-see deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Earlier this month, a United States piracy list fingered China, Russia and Canada as the first, second and third worst governments (respectively) for enforcing copyright policy in the world. China's Foreign Ministry has rejected these claims as 'groundless' just before meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Monday and Tuesday in Beijing to address copyright policy. The official Chinese statement read, 'The involved US Congress members should respect the fact and stop making groundless accusations against China.' The plan nevertheless remains to use the visit to pressure China into overhauling their failed attempts to curb piracy since software piracy in China appears to be a social norm with the Chinese government possibly even leading by example."

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New iConji Language For the Symbol-Minded Texter
Posted by News Fetcher on May 23 '10 at 02:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's dissimilar-to-not-from deptartment:
billdar writes "As texting evolves into it's own language, a Northern Colorado Business Review article covers an ambitious project to develop a new symbol-based language called iConji for mobile texting and online chatting. 'iConji is a set of user-created 32x32-pixel symbols that represent words or ideas, not dissimilar from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics or American Sign Language.' There is an instructional video for the iPhone app and it is also integrated into Facebook." Behind this project is Kai Staats, formerly CEO of Terra Soft Solutions, the original developer of Yellow Dog Linux.

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H.264 and VP8 Compared
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '10 at 11:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's one-has-4-chars-and-a-dot deptartment:
TheReal_sabret00the writes with a snippet from StreamingMedia.com: "VP8 is now free, but if the quality is substandard, who cares? Well, it turns out that the quality isn't substandard, so that's not an issue, but neither is it twice the quality of H.264 at half the bandwidth. See for yourself."

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Air Force Sets Date To Fly Mach-6 Scramjet
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '10 at 08:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's let's-go-dutch-this-time deptartment:
coondoggie writes "The US Air Force said it was looking to launch its 14-foot long X-51A Waverider on its first hypersonic flight test attempt May 25. The unmanned X-51A is expected to fly autonomously for five minutes, after being released from a B-52 Stratofortress off the southern coast of California. The Waverider is powered by a supersonic combustion scramjet engine, and will accelerate to about Mach 6 as it climbs to nearly 70,000 feet. Once flying the X-51 will transmit vast amounts of data to ground stations about the flight, then splash down into the Pacific. There are no plans to recover the flight test vehicle, one of four built, the Air Force stated."

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Science Luminary Martin Gardner Dead at 95
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '10 at 05:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's sad-to-note deptartment:
From James Randi's blog comes word that science writer Martin Gardner has died at the age of 95. I never met Gardner, but one of his books ("Entertaining Science Experiments With Everyday Objects") has been a favorite of mine since I was 6 or 7 years old; I didn't realize until just now quite how many books he authored.

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Installing Android 2.2 "Froyo" On the Nexus One
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '10 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-had-to-be-first-didn't-you deptartment:
gjt writes "I awoke this morning to see TechCrunch's MG Siegler post what appeared to be the first news of Froyo's availability. I frantically went to my phone's settings and tried to check for an update -oe but no luck. Then I went to xda-developers.com and sure enough there was a very long thread (now over 132 pages) of fellow eager beavers waiting for release (and trying to figure out how to get it). Several hours went by waiting for a semi-technical user to get the update and check the Android logs for the download location. It turns out you can get it straight from Google. With the information scattered around in different places I decided to consolidate the How-To into a single post." Note: according to attached comments, and to the TechCrunch story, it seems this is a staggered roll-out, so not every Android owner may be able to try it out yet.

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Food Bloggers Giving Restaurant Owners Heartburn
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '10 at 02:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's pics-or-it-didn't-happen deptartment:
crimeandpunishment writes "Call it the invasion of the pasta paparazzi. Food bloggers are so excited about sharing their experiences, especially at trendy, popular restaurants, that they're too busy taking pictures and video to enjoy the food when it's at its best. Many signature dishes come out at the perfect temperature ... take a few minutes to capture what it looks like, and your palate won't be nearly as pleased. Some restaurants have taken the step of banning cameras, or at least have established a 'no flash' rule. Others just want to make sure enthusiastic reviewers are still enthused after eating their food."

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Quantum Teleportation Achieved Over 16 km In China
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '10 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's can-feel-it-from-here deptartment:
Laxori666 writes "Scientists in China have succeeded in teleporting information between photons further than ever before. They transported quantum information over a free space distance of 16 km (10 miles), much further than the few hundred meters previously achieved, which brings us closer to transmitting information over long distances without the need for a traditional signal."

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Oil Arrives In Louisiana; Defense Booms Inadequate
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '10 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's looking-sticky deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "People in mainland Louisiana are seeing the beginnings of the oil's full effects on wildlife in the area. Sticky rust colored oil covers the reeds like a latex paint indicating that the efforts to lay miles of floating booms to keep it away from the fragile marshes are useless. They are experiencing what the Plaquemines (mouth of Mississippi River) saw last week and it now appears that their defenses were inadequate. Only time will tell how much more worse it can get as BP still scrambles for a solution. NPR also ran a story critical of Obama's 'scientific approach' that he promised to use in office and how well it's being applied and holding up during this crisis."

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Federal Court Issues Permanent Injunction For Isohunt
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '10 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's federal-prisons-are-actually-nicer-than-most deptartment:
suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from NewTeeVee: "Judge Stephen Wilson of the US District Court of California, Southern District issued a permanent injunction [PDF] against the popular torrent site Isohunt yesterday, forcing the site and its owner Garry Fung to immediately prevent access to virtually all Hollywood movies. The injunction theoretically leaves the door open for the site to deploy a strict filtering system, but its terms are so broad that Isohunt has little choice but to shut down or at the very least block all US visitors. ... The verdict states that they have to cease 'hosting, indexing, linking to, or otherwise providing access to any (torrent) or similar files' that can be used to download the studios' movies and TV shows. Studios have to supply Isohunt with a list of titles of works they own, and Isohunt has to start blocking those torrents within 24 hours."

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Microsoft Windows 3.0 Is 20 Years Today
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '10 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's great-platform-for-playing-jeopardy deptartment:
siliconbits writes "Some say that the Windows 3.0 GUI (remember, it needed MS-DOS/DR-DOS to work) was the single most important version as it allowed Microsoft to get its day. The first truly successful Windows operating system is twenty years old today; Windows 3.0 was launched on the 22nd of May 1990 and was the successor to Windows 2.1x."

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Conservative Textbook Curriculum Passes Final Vote In Texas
Posted by News Fetcher on May 22 '10 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's maximum-truthiness deptartment:
suraj.sun sends in a followup to a story we've been following about the Texas Board of Education's efforts to put a more political spin on some of their state's textbooks. From the Dallas Morning News: "In a landmark move that will shape the future education of millions of Texas schoolchildren, the State Board of Education on Friday approved new curriculum standards for US history and other social studies courses that reflect a more conservative tone than in the past. Split along party lines, the board delivered a pair of 9-5 votes to adopt the new standards, which will dictate what is taught in all Texas schools and provide the basis for future textbooks and student achievement tests over the next decade. Texas standards often wind up being taught in other states because national publishers typically tailor their materials to Texas, one of the biggest textbook purchasers in the country. Approval came after the GOP-dominated board approved a new curriculum standard that would encourage high school students to question the legal doctrine of church-state separation — a sore point for social conservative groups who disagree with court decisions that have affirmed the doctrine, including the ban on school-sponsored prayer."

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