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Man Digs Out Basement Using Radio Controlled Toy Tractors Screenshot-sm 169

Phurge pointed out a story about a man with a fleet of remote control toys and a lot of patience. "Excavating a basement using professional machinery is nothing new but doing it with radio controlled (RC) scaled models is something unheard of. Welcome to the little big world of Joe, from Saskatchewan, Canada. For the past 7 years, Joe has been digging out his basement at an average annual rate of 8 to 9 cubic feet using nothing more than RC tractors and trucks. And we're talking about the whole nine yards here — he starts by transporting the excavator on an RC truck to the basement, unloads it, digs and uses other trucks to transfer the dirt up to the ground through a spiral ramp! He even has a miniature rock crusher! 'I feel quite fortunate to have stumbled onto this basement excavation idea, it's been a great past time to date dreaming up new ideas to tackle different projects along the way,' Joe wrote on the Scale4x4rc forums where he also posted pictures and videos of his feat."

Optimizing Your Caffeine Intake With an App 134

MrSeb writes "Two doctors at Penn State University have developed Caffeine Zone, a free iOS app that tells you the perfect time to take a coffee break to maintain an optimal amount of caffeine in your blood — and, perhaps more importantly, it also tells you when to stop drinking tea and coffee, so that caffeine doesn't interrupt your sleep. By reading through lots of peer-reviewed studies, doctors Frank E. Ritter and Kuo-Chuan Yeh found that a caffeine level of between 200 and 400mg in your bloodstream provides optimal mental alertness, and that you should be below 100mg when you try to sleep. Caffeine Zone plots your caffeination level after you consume caffeine, and warns you if that big afternoon coffee will keep you up at night. It also lets you change the 'optimal' and 'sleep' values if you're particularly resistant or weak to caffeine."

Study Says Fracking is Safe In Theory But Often Not In Practice 297

First time accepted submitter chadenright writes "A university study asserts that the problems caused by the gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,' arise because drilling operations aren't doing it right. The process itself isn't to blame, according to the study, released today by the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin."

School Sends Child's Lunch Home After Determining it Unhealthy 554

halfEvilTech writes "A North Carolina mom is irate after her four-year-old daughter returned home late last month with an uneaten lunch the mother had packed for the girl earlier that day. But she wasn't mad because the daughter decided to go on a hunger strike. Instead, the reason the daughter didn't eat her lunch is because someone at the school determined the lunch wasn't healthy enough and sent it back home. What was wrong with the lunch? That's still a head-scratcher because it didn't contain anything egregious: a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice. But for the inspector on hand that day, it didn't meet the healthy requirements."

FCC Cracks Down on Robocalls 210

Cara_Latham writes "If you want to receive annoying robocalls from telemarketers you will have to opt in. Federal Communications Commission rules now require that telemarketers get your consent before dialing your number. Telemarketers will also have to obtain consent even if they had previously 'done business with' the consumer on the receiving end of a call."
Security Gets Shut Down SOPA-Style 188

itwbennett writes "In a post on the company blog, cofounder Aytekin Tank alerts users that 'a US government agency has temporarily suspended' the domain. He explains that it is part of an 'ongoing investigation' of content posted to its site by a user. Although which user and what content haven't yet been disclosed, there is speculation about forms used for a phishing attack on a South African bank. JotForm hosts over two million user-generated forms, and uses software to block fraudulent accounts (65,000 so far), so you can see there's plenty of opportunity for mischief."

A Memory of Light To Be Released January 8, 2013 228

First time accepted submitter Hotawa Hawk-eye writes "Tor Books has announced that the release date for the final volume in the Wheel of Time series of books, A Memory Of Light, will be January 8, 2013. [Barring a Mayan apocalypse, of course.] The fantasy series, started by Robert Jordan and continued by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan's death, will span 15 books and over 10,000 pages."

US Seismologist Testifies Against Scientists In Quake-Prediction Case 189

ananyo writes with this snippet from Nature (for which this earlier Nature article is also background): "'The courthouse in L'Aquila, Italy, yesterday hosted a highly anticipated hearing in the trial of six seismologists and one government official indicted for manslaughter over their reassurances to the public ahead of a deadly earthquake in 2009. .... During the hearing, the former head of the Italian Department of Civil Protection turned from key witness into defendant, and a seismologist from California criticized Italy's top earthquake experts.' Lalliana Mualchin, former chief seismologist for the Department of Transportation in California, criticized the Italian analysis, which he says was based on a poor model. If the court agrees with Mualchin, the defendants could face up to 12 years in jail."

SSD Latency, Error Rates May Spell Bleak Future 292

Lucas123 writes "A new study by the University of California and Microsoft shows that NAND flash memory experiences significant performance degradation as die sizes shrink in size. Over the next dozen years latency will double as the circuitry size shrinks from 25 nanometers today, to 6.5nm, the research showed. Speaking at the Usenix Conference on File and Storage Technologies in San Jose this week, Laura Grupp, a graduate student at the University of California, said tests of 45 different types of NAND flash chips from six vendors using 72nm to 25nm lithography techniques showed performance degraded across the board and error rates increased as die sizes shrunk. Triple-Level NAND performed the worst, followed by Multi-Level Cell NAND and Single-Level Cell. The researchers said MLC NAND-based SSDs won't be able to go beyond 4TB and TLC-based SSDs won't be able to scale past 16TB because of the performance degradation, so it appears the end of the road for SSDs will be 2024."
Data Storage

Ask Slashdot: Dividing Digital Assets In Divorce? 458

An anonymous reader writes "I am a long time Slashdotter and currently find myself in the beginning of a divorce process. How have you dealt with dispersing of shared data, accounts and things online in such a situation? Domains, hosting, email, sensitive data backups and social media are just a few examples."

Double Fine Adventure Will Be Available DRM Free For IOS, Android 117

New submitter Garth Smith writes "Tim Schafer has a video update for his crowdsourced project, Double Fine Adventure. Because of the nearly $2 million in funding, the budget is now large enough for language translations, voice acting, music, and more platforms. The XBox and PS3 are absent. I wonder what would the chances of a DRM-free release have been if funding had come from a traditional publisher?"

Oracle Claims Dramatic MySQL Performance Improvements 168

New submitter simula67 writes "Oracle wins back some karma from the open source community by releasing MySQL cluster 7.2 with ambitious claims of 70x performance gains. The new release is GPL and claims to have processed over 1 billion queries per minute. Readers may remember the story about Oracle adding commercial extensions to MySQL."

Aderall Or Nothing: Anatomy of the Great Amphetamine Drought 611

pigrabbitbear writes "To prevent hoarding of materials and their potential for theft and illicit use, the Drug Enforcement Agency sets quotas for the chemical precursors to drugs like Adderall. The DEA projects the need for amphetamine salts, then produces and distributes the materials to pharmaceutical companies so that they can produce their drugs. But with the number of prescriptions for Adderall jumping 13 percent in the past year, pharmaceutical companies claim that the quotas are no longer sufficient for supplying Americans with their Adderall. The DEA contends that their quotas do, in fact, meet demands, and that any shortages arise from pharmaceutical companies selectively producing only certain, typically name-brand and more expensive versions of ADHD medications."

Yet Another European Government Drops ACTA 117

An anonymous reader writes "The government of Bulgaria, which had already signed ACTA, yesterday reversed itself, and announced that it would not seek ratification of the treaty. This comes after similar moves by Poland, Germany and the Netherlands, and a weekend of massive protests against ACTA across the European continent."

WindowMaker Development Resumes, Has First Release Since 2006 192

First time accepted submitter brad-x writes "A new team of developers has recently picked up development of WindowMaker, and they've added many new features, including improved support for the freedesktop standard menu layout and Mac OS X style application and window switching from the keyboard, culminating in a new release, 0.95.2. A basic changelog is available on the newly redesigned website."