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STS-129 Ascent Video Highlights
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 08:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's only-five-launches-left deptartment:
An anonymous reader sends in this link to a video of 12-/12 minutes of Space Shuttle pr0n. The people at the Johnson Space Center put together this video of the assent of STS-129 using multiple imagery assets — ground, air, booster, and the shuttle itself. The booster's-eye view of splashdown and immersion is something you don't see every day. As a bonus, another anonymous reader shared a beautiful photo of the shuttle flying over rugged terrain after it separated from the ISS last week.

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Microsoft's Top Devs Don't Seem To Like Own Tools
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 06:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's frankly-speaking deptartment:
ericatcw writes "Through tools such as Visual Basic and Visual Studio, Microsoft may have done more than any other vendor to make drag and drop-style programming mainstream. But its superstar developers seem to prefer old-school modes of crafting code. During the panel at the Professional Developers Conference earlier this month, the devs also revealed why they think writing tight, bare-metal code will come back into fashion, and why parallel programming hasn't caught up with the processors yet." These guys are senior enough that they don't seem to need to watch what they say and how it aligns with Microsoft's product roadmap. They are also dead funny. Here's Jeffrey Snover on managed code (being pushed by Microsoft through its Common Language Runtime tech): "Managed code is like antilock brakes. You used to have to be a good driver on ice or you would die. Now you don't have to pump your brakes anymore." Snover also joked that programming is getting so abstract, developers will soon have to use Natal to "write programs through interpretative dance."

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Modeling the Economy As a Physics Problem
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 02:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's gazintas-and-comezoutas deptartment:
University of Utah physicist Tim Garrett has published a study that approaches the economy and its relation to global warming as a physics problem — and comes to some controversial conclusions: that rising carbon dioxide emissions cannot be stabilized unless the world's economy collapses or society builds the equivalent of one new nuclear power plant each day. The study was panned by economists and was rejected by several journals before its acceptance in the journal Climatic Change. "[Garrett discovered that] Throughout history, a simple physical constant... links global energy use to the world's accumulated economic productivity, adjusted for inflation. So it isn't necessary to consider population growth and standard of living in predicting society's future energy consumption and resulting carbon dioxide emissions. ... 'I'm not an economist, and I am approaching the economy as a physics problem,' Garrett says. 'I end up with a global economic growth model different than they have.' Garrett treats civilization like a 'heat engine' that 'consumes energy and does "work" in the form of economic production, which then spurs it to consume more energy,' he says. That constant is 9.7 (plus or minus 0.3) milliwatts per inflation-adjusted 1990 dollar. So if you look at economic and energy production at any specific time in history, 'each inflation-adjusted 1990 dollar would be supported by 9.7 milliwatts of primary energy consumption,' Garrett says. ... Perhaps the most provocative implication of Garrett's theory is that conserving energy doesn't reduce energy use, but spurs economic growth and more energy use."

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A Dual-Screen 10.1" Laptop In Time For the Holidays
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 01:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's netbook-with-a-two-page-spread deptartment:
JoshuaInNippon writes "Japanese computer manufacture Kohjinsha has announced that it will begin selling a 10.1" dual-screen laptop on Dec. 11 — in Japan only. While it is not the first dual-screen laptop, a title claimed by the monstrous 17" Lenovo Thinkpad W700ds series, the Kohjinsha sure looks much more portable and stylish. The Thinkpad's extra screen pulls out slightly from one side for about a 40% increase on its display, whereas on the Kohjinsha's two full separate screens spread out symmetrically from the center. While specs are admittedly lower than the Thinkpad, the DZ series certainly wins on cost. The starting price will be ¥79,800, about $900, in Japan (exporters will likely mark that price up slightly), compared with the Thinkpad at well over $2,000. Kohjinsha says the laptop is great for working on 'large business documents' (e.g. excessively wide spreadsheets), or watching videos while surfing the Web, which is likely what most users will be doing with it. The timing and the price certainly make the Kohjinsha DZ series a tempting toy idea for holiday giving — perhaps to oneself."

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Tapering Waveguide Captures a Rainbow
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 12:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's you-fight-with-light-surely-that-is-forbidden deptartment:
SubComdTaco passes along news of researchers in the US who have trapped a rainbow in a tapering waveguide. The research is described (PDF) on the arXiv. "In 2007, Ortwin Hess of the University of Surrey in Guildford, UK, and colleagues proposed a technique to trap light inside a tapering waveguide [made of metamaterials]... The idea is that as the waveguide tapers, the components of the light are made to stop in turn at ever narrower points. That's because any given component of the light cannot pass through an opening that's smaller than its wavelength. This leads to a 'trapped rainbow.' ... Now Vera Smolyaninova of Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues have used a convex lens to create the tapered waveguide and trap a rainbow of light. They coated one side of a 4.5-mm-diameter lens with a gold film..., and laid the lens — gold-side down — on a flat glass slide which was also coated with film of gold. Viewed side-on, the space between the curved lens and the flat slide was a layer of air that narrowed to zero thickness where the lens touched the slide — essentially a tapered waveguide. When they shone a multi-wavelength laser beam at the... gilded waveguide, a trapped rainbow formed inside. This could be seen as a series of colored rings when the lens was viewed from above with a microscope: the visible light leaked through the thin gold film."

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Microsoft Advice Against Nehalem Xeons Snuffed Out
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's keep-that-under-your-hat deptartment:
Eukariote writes "In an article outlining hidden strife in the processor world, Andreas Stiller has reported the scoop that Microsoft advised against the use of Intel Nehalem Xeon (Core i7/i5) processors under Windows Server 2008 R2, but was pressured by Intel to refrain from publishing this advisory. The issue concerns a bug causing spurious interrupts that locks up the Hypervisor of Server 2008. Though there is a hotfix, it is unattractive as it disables power savings and turbo boost states. (The original German-language version of the article is also available.)"

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Herschel Spectroscopy of Future Supernova
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's that's-a-big-star deptartment:
davecl writes "ESA's Herschel Space Telescope has released its first spectroscopic results. These include observations of VYCMa, a star 50 times as massive as the sun and soon to become a supernova, as well a nearby galaxy, more distant colliding starburst galaxies and a comet in our own solar system. The spectra show more lines than have ever been seen in these objects in the far-infrared and will allow astronomers to work out the detailed chemistry and physics behind star and planet formation as well as the last stages of stellar evolution before VYCMa's eventual collapse into a supernova. More coverage is available at the Herschel Mission Blog, which I run."

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What the iPod Tells Us About the World Economy
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's we-look-for-things-that-make-us-go deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "Edmund Conway has an interesting article in the Telegraph where he analyzes where the money goes when you buy a complex electronic device marked 'Made in China,' and why a developed economy doesn't need a trade surplus in order to survive. For his example, Conway chooses a 30GB video iPod 'manufactured' in China in 2006. Each iPod, sold in the US for $299, provides China with an export value of about $150, but as it turns out, Chinese producers really only 'earned' around $4 on each unit. 'China, you see, is really just the place where most of the other components that go inside the iPod are shipped and assembled.' Conway says that when you work out the overall US balance of payments, it shows that most of the cash for high tech inventions has flowed back to the United States as a direct result of the intellectual property companies own in their products. 'While the iPod is manufactured offshore and has a global roster of suppliers, the greatest benefits from this innovation go to Apple, an American company, with predominantly American employees and stockholders who reap the benefits,' writes Conway. 'As long as the US market remains dynamic, with innovative firms and risk-taking entrepreneurs, global innovation should continue to create value for American investors and well-paid jobs for knowledge workers. But if those companies get complacent or lose focus, there are plenty of foreign competitors ready to take their places.'"

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Government Delays New Ban On Internet Gambling
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's twenty-bucks-says-they-extend-it-again deptartment:
The Installer writes with this quote from the Associated Press: "The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve are giving US financial institutions an additional six months to comply with regulations designed to ban Internet gambling. ... The delayed rules would curb online gambling by prohibiting financial institutions from accepting payments from credit cards, checks or electronic fund transfers to settle online wagers. The financial industry complained that the new rules would be difficult to enforce because they did not offer a clear definition of what constitutes Internet gambling. They had sought a 12-month delay in implementing provisions of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that Congress had passed in 2006. ... US bettors have been estimated to supply at least half the revenue of the $16 billion Internet gambling industry, which is largely hosted overseas."

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Colleges Struggling With the Digital Bathroom Wall
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's for-a-good-time-use-google-stall-search deptartment:
theodp writes "Back in the day, anonymous character assassination was confined to permanent marker scrawl in bathroom stalls. But now, thanks to sites like the student-run CollegeACB.com (ACB=Anonymous Confession Board), which can get hundreds of thousands of hits on a good day, TIME reports that anonymous slander is going viral on campus. Even the most elite universities — normally the land of the politically correct — have been struggling with the problem of anonymous gossip sites and their very un-PC posts, which an Amherst dean likens to 'the worst of junior high.' If he thinks things are bad now, wait until the kids start getting creative with Google Sidewiki."

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Wikipedia Disputes Editor Exodus Claims
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's waiting-on-netcraft deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "The Wikimedia blog has a new post from Erik Moeller, deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation, and Erik Zachte, a data analyst, to dispute recent reports about editors leaving Wikipedia (which we discussed on Wednesday). They offer these points to discredit the claims: 'The number of people reading Wikipedia continues to grow. In October, we had 344 million unique visitors from around the world, according to comScore Media Metrix, up 6% from September. Wikipedia is the fifth most popular web property in the world. The number of articles in Wikipedia keeps growing. There are about 14.4 million articles in Wikipedia, with thousands of new ones added every day. The number of people writing Wikipedia peaked about two and a half years ago, declined slightly for a brief period, and has remained stable since then. Every month, some people stop writing, and every month, they are replaced by new people." They also note that it's impossible to tell whether someone has left and will never return, as their account still remains there."

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OpenSolaris Or FreeBSD?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 02:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's ten-paces-and-turn deptartment:
Norsefire writes "I am in quite a predicament. I decided a while back to branch out and use a new operating system (currently running Debian). After a bit of searching (trying Gentoo, Gobo and Arch along the way), I decided to use something that isn't Linux. Long story short: I narrowed the choices down to OpenSolaris and FreeBSD, but now I'm stuck. OpenSolaris is commercially backed by Sun, has nice enterprise-y tools in the default install, and best of all, a mature implementation of ZFS. FreeBSD is backed by a foundation, has a minimal default install and a rather new (but recently improved in the 8.0 release) implementation of ZFS, however it offers the Ports Collection (I quite like the performance boost due to compiling from source, no matter how small it might be) and a bigger community than OpenSolaris. That is just a minimal mention of the differences. I would be interested to see what the Slashdot community thinks of these two operating systems."

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Flexible, Color OLED Screens for E-Readers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '09 at 11:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's still-waiting-on-a-kindle-killer deptartment:
nadiskafadi writes "Taiwanese researchers have shown off several flexible display technologies in an endeavor to promote e-readers and e-paper. One of the newest technologies from the Industrial Technology Research Institute was a flexible 4.1-inch color OLED (organic light emitting diode) display, which it claims is for the next era of portable devices."

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Apple Forced To Clean Up Its Fine Print
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '09 at 09:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's by-reading-this-you-bequeath-me-all-your-possessions deptartment:
Barence writes "Apple has been forced to tidy up its online terms and conditions, at the behest of the UK's Office of Fair Trading. The company has redrafted its Ts & Cs so that it now accepts liability for faulty or misdescribed goods sold from its website or the iTunes store. Apple must also ensure that its conditions are 'drafted in plain or intelligible language' and that they 'do not potentially allow changes to be made to products and prices after an agreement is made.'"

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Algae Could Be the Key To Ultra-Thin Batteries
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '09 at 07:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's green-power-that's-actually-green deptartment:
MikeChino writes "Algae is often touted as the next big thing in biofuels, but the slimy stuff could also be the key to paper-thin biodegradable batteries, according to researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden. Uppsala researcher Maria Stromme and her team has found that the smelly algae species that clumps on beaches, known as cladophora, can also be used to make a type of cellulose that has 100 times the surface area of cellulose found in paper. That means it can hold enough conducting polymers to effectively recharge and hold electricity for long amounts of time. Eventually, the bio batteries could compete with commercial lithium-ion batteries."

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3D Video Game Collaboration Used To Solve Crimes
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '09 at 05:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's world-of-csi-craft deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Reuters explains how the National Science Foundation's Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation (CDI) program is funding research used to implement real life crimes in a CSI-like game. They will use IC-CRIME's laser scanner technology and the Unity platform (which recently enjoyed the release of a freeware version) to recreate the crime scene as closely as possible. The crime scene will then be hosted for multiple remote crime scene investigators to explore concurrently while discussing what they see, sharing their data and experience as well as learning and asking questions."

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Cassini Captures Saturn's Northern Lights
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '09 at 04:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's cassini-rules deptartment:
al0ha writes "In the first video showing the auroras above the northern latitudes of Saturn, Cassini has spotted the tallest known 'northern lights' in the solar system, flickering in shape and brightness high above the ringed planet. The new video reveals changes in Saturn's aurora every few minutes, in high resolution, with three dimensions. The images show a previously unseen vertical profile to the auroras, which ripple in the video like tall curtains. These curtains reach more than 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) above the edge of the planet's northern hemisphere."

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Google Attack On the Mobile Market Rumored
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '09 at 04:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's first-the-itablet-and-now-this deptartment:
xchg writes in with a somewhat speculative, though plausible, piece from WiseAndroid claiming that Google is gearing up for an all-out assault on the mobile-phone market that will include a new, Google-branded handset and the first comprehensive Google phone service with unlimited free calls. "The real breakthrough, however, will come with the marriage of the Googlephone to Google Voice, the Californian company’s high-tech phone service. Google Voice gives US users a free phone number and allows unlimited free calls to any phone in the country — landline or mobile. International calls start from... just over a penny a minute. Google Voice also uses sophisticated voice recognition to turn voicemails into emails, can block telemarketing calls automatically and offers free text messaging. Google sounded its intentions two weeks ago when it purchased a small company called Gizmo5... [E]xperts are predicting that the Googlephone will be launched in the US early next year."

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New Evidence For Ancient Life On Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '09 at 03:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's martian-overlords deptartment:
siddesu writes in with "compelling" new data that chemical and fossil evidence of ancient microbial life on Mars was carried to Earth in a Martian meteorite. The finding is being highlighted by the same NASA team who made the initial discovery 13 years ago. Spaceflight Now has more details of the analysis.

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In AU, Film Studios Issue Ultimatum To ISPs
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '09 at 02:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's bluff-or-bluster-you-decide deptartment:
bennyboy64 writes "The Australian court case between the film industry and ISP iiNet drew to a close yesterday after the film studios issued an ultimatum: Take copyright responsibilities seriously or leave the industry. 'Businesses such as ISPs want to enjoy the benefit of being able to make money out of the provision of Internet service facilities and they enjoy that benefit. But it carries with it a responsibility,' said Tony Bannon SC, the film industry's lawyer. 'They provide a facility that is able to be used for copyright infringement purposes. If they don't like having to deal with copyright notices then they should get out of the business.' iTnews has done a short one minute interview with iiNet's CEO Michael Malone as he left the court on the final day. Also on the final day, the judge dismissed the Internet Industry Association's involvement in the case."

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