By kdawson from Slashdot's nobody-to-prosecute deptartment
Teppy writes "How's this for a disruptive technology? Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer, network-based digital currency with no central bank, and no transaction fees. Using a proof-of-work concept, nodes burn CPU cycles searching for bundles of coins, broadcasting their findings to the network. Analysis of energy usage indicates that the market value of Bitcoins is already above the value of the energy needed to generate them, indicating healthy demand. The community is hopeful the currency will remain outside the reach of any government."
Here are the FAQ
a paper describing Bitcoin in more technical detail
(PDF), and the Wikipedia article
. Note: a commercial service called BitCoin Ltd., in pre-alpha at bitcoin.com, bears no relation to the open source digital currency.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's protecting-the-wrong-data deptartment
The Guardian follows up on the recent news that CRU climate scientists were cleared of scientific misconduct with an article that focuses on how the controversy could have been avoided, and public trust retained, had the scientists made more of an effort to be open about their research
. You may recall our discussion
of a report from Pennsylvania State University; that was followed by another review with similar conclusions
"The review, led by Sir Muir Russell, does not mention the media. Instead, it examines the reaction of the scientists at the UEA's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) to the pressure exerted by bloggers: 'An important feature of the blogosphere is the extent to which it demands openness and access to data. A failure to recognize this and to act appropriately can lead to immense reputational damage by feeding allegations of cover-up.' The review adds: 'We found a lack of recognition of the extent to which earlier action to release information might have minimized the problems.' Pressure on the scientists, whose once esoteric work creating records of past temperatures had gained global significance, was intense. In 2005, CRU head Phil Jones replied to a request: 'We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?' But, the review implies, the more they blocked, the more the Freedom of Information requests flooded in."Read Replies (0)
Teaching With Robots
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '10 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-you-get-this-problem-wrong-bender-will-attack deptartment
theodp writes "If you're a math, CS, or engineering grad, odds are you've seen your share of robot-like teaching — but never an actual robot teacher. Now, that's starting to change. Computer scientists are developing robots with social components that can engage people and teach them simple skills, including household tasks, vocabulary, elementary imitation and taking turns. Several countries have been testing teaching machines in classrooms. At USC, researchers have had their robot, Bandit, interact with autistic children. South Korea is 'hiring' hundreds of robots as teacher aides and classroom playmates and is experimenting with robots that would teach English."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pretty-pictures deptartment
The European Space Agency has released images from yesterday's close approach
of asteroid 21 Lutetia by the Rosetta probe
. At its closest, the probe was a mere 3,162 km from the asteroid, passing at 15 km/s and snapping photos sharp enough to make out features as small as 60 meters.
"Rosetta operated a full suite of sensors at the encounter, including remote sensing and in-situ measurements. Some of the payload of its Philae lander were also switched on. Together they looked for evidence of a highly tenuous atmosphere, magnetic effects, and studied the surface composition as well as the asteroid’s density. ... The flyby marks the attainment of one of Rosetta's main scientific objectives. The spacecraft will now continue to a 2014 rendezvous with its primary target, comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It will then accompany the comet for months, from near the orbit of Jupiter down to its closest approach to the Sun. In November 2014, Rosetta will release Philae to land on the comet nucleus."
There is also a replay of the media event webcast
on the ESA's website.Read Replies (0)
The Creativity Crisis
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '10 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's insert-witty-dept-line-here deptartment
An anonymous reader writes with this quote from an article at Newsweek:
"For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. ... Like intelligence tests, Torrance's test — a 90-minute series of discrete tasks, administered by a psychologist — has been taken by millions worldwide in 50 languages. Yet there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect — each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling. Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William & Mary discovered this in May, after analyzing almost 300,000 Torrance scores of children and adults. Kim found creativity scores had been steadily rising, just like IQ scores, until 1990. Since then, creativity scores have consistently inched downward. 'It's very clear, and the decrease is very significant,' Kim says. It is the scores of younger children in America — from kindergarten through sixth grade — for whom the decline is 'most serious.'"Read Replies (0)
By kdawson from Slashdot's but-thank-you-for-asking deptartment
Ars covers a series of questions that US senators put to the FCC chaiman
following up on his appearance before the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in April. The headline question was a blunt one asked by octogenarian Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI): "The National Broadband Plan (NBP) proposes a goal of having 100 million homes subscribed at 100Mbps by 2020," he wrote, "while the leading nations already have 100Mbps fiber-based services at costs of $30 to $40 per month and beginning rollout of 1Gbps residential services, which the FCC suggests is required only for a single anchor institution in each community by 2020. This appears to suggest that the US should accept a 10- to 12-year lag behind the leading nations. What is the FCC's rationale for a vision that appears to be firmly rooted in the second tier of countries?"
In the FCC's formal response
(PDF), Chairman Genachowski doesn't rise to the "second tier" bait, and in fact talks about "ensuring that America remains a broadband world leader," as if he believes we currently are. A blogger over at Balloon Juice is a little more forthright
on the "What is the FCC's rationale" question: "The rationale is that this is the best they can do with a legislative branch in the pocket of telecom providers."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's need-to-buy-more-monitors deptartment
teh31337one writes with news that YouTube has announced support for 4K video, which runs at a resolution of 4096 x 3072
. From their blog: "To give some perspective on the size of 4K, the ideal screen size for a 4K video is 25 feet; IMAX movies are projected through two 2k resolution projectors. ... Because 4K represents the highest quality of video available, there are a few limitations that you should be aware of. First off, video cameras that shoot in 4K aren't cheap, and projectors that show videos in 4K are typically the size of a small refrigerator. And, as we mentioned, watching these videos on YouTube will require super-fast broadband." They provided a small playlist of videos
shot in 4K. This announcement comes a few days after YouTube debuted "Leanback,"
a service that attempts to find and serve videos you'll like
based on past viewing habits, as well as offering a simplified method of browsing.Read Replies (0)