New submitter dougled writes "A study at six universities found that students taught statistics mainly through software learned as much as peers taught primarily by humans. And the robots got the job done more quickly. '... our results indicate that hybrid-format students took about one-quarter less time to achieve essentially the same learning outcomes as traditional-format students.' They add, 'There is every reason to expect these systems to improve over time, perhaps dramatically, and thus it is not foolish to believe that learning outcomes will also improve.'"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
Bob the Super Hamste writes "The BBC has an opinion piece from science fiction writer Elizabeth Moon who believes that everyone should be chipped or barcoded at birth. Her reasoning is that it would prevent identification mistakes and even allow soldiers to identify combatants from non-combatants. Her comments came as part of a discussion on future wars hosted by the BBC World Service."
derekmead writes "Last week at Camp David, President Obama met up with fellow NATO leaders to discuss the road ahead in Afghanistan. Although no one there used the language of defeat, the implicit message was clear: the war has gone nowhere in the past few years and it's time to start packing up. Meanwhile, what raked in $25.5 million at the box office? Battleship. And who provided director Peter Berg with the war technology that beats the aliens? The U.S. military. He's not the only one: the past few years have seen an explosion of high-profile cooperation between the armed forces and the movie industry. If the most powerful armed force in history isn't winning in reality, it certainly is on the big screen. And like so many problematic aspects of late capitalism, the military-Hollywood complex has a grimly understandable logic."
An anonymous reader writes "Yes, kids, you used to have to walk across the room to change the TV channel. That changed with the introduction of the 'Flash-Matic,' a revolutionary device that was 'Absolutely harmless to humans!' and could 'even shut off annoying commercials while the picture remains on the screen.' Eugene Polley, inventor of the now ubiquitous TV remote-control died Sunday of natural causes at age 96. In 1996 Polley received an Emmy for his invention, but during his 47-year career, he was awarded numerous patents and worked on projects ranging from advances in radar to push-button car radios."
yahoi writes "Researchers at NC State are sharing their analysis and classification of Android malware samples under a new project that they hope will help shape a new way of fighting malware, learning from the lessons of the PC generation and its traditional anti-malware products. Xuxian Jiang, the mastermind behind the Android Malware Genome Project, says defenses against this malware today are hampered by the lack of efficient access to samples (PDF), as well as a limited understanding of the various malware families targeting the Android. The goal is to establish a better way of sharing malware samples and analysis, and developing better tools to fight it, he says."
Tuesday morning at 0344, right on schedule (and it had to be right on schedule), Elon Musk's baby finally left the launch pad on its way to the International Space Station (ISS). Two babies, actually: the Falcon 9 launch vehicle is what we watched as it took off from Cape Canaveral -- the first private spaceship headed for the ISS -- with the Dragon spacecraft perched on its nose. The Dragon carried over 1000 pounds of supplies and experiments for the ISS. The launch went off without a hitch. But don't stop holding your breath quite yet; Dragon isn't scheduled to dock at the ISS until Friday.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the University of Hawaii have turned bubbles of gas into non-mechanical 'microbots' that they propel and steer with a laser. The laser heats up specific areas of the fluid that the bubble are in, and temperature gradients push the fluid towards the hot area, moving the bubble along. By using an array of lasers, the researchers can control the speed and direction of multiple bubble bots independently; this capability is not possible with other types of microbots, such as those controlled by a magnetic field, which affects all robots simultaneously. The University of Hawaii researchers hope their non-mechanical microbots can be used to assemble and manipulate microscopic structures, including live cells. In one experiment, they used the bubble bots to position 100-m-diameter glass beads to form the letters 'UH.'"
CWmike writes "The maximum areal densities of hard disk drives are expected to more than double by 2016, according to IHS iSuppli. Hard drive company Seagate has also predicted a doubling of drive density, and now IHS iSuppli is confirming what the vendor community already knew. Leading the way for greater disk density will be technologies such as heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), which Seagate patented in 2006. Seagate has already said it will be able to produce a 60TB 3.5-in. hard drive by 2016. Laptop drives could reach 10TB to 20TB in the same time frame, IHS iSuppli stated. It said areal densities are projected to climb to a maximum 1,800 Gbits per square inch per platter by 2016, up from 744 Gbits per square inch in 2011. Areal density equals bit density, or bits of information per inch of a track, multiplied by tracks per inch on a drive platter. This year, hard drive areal densities are estimated to reach 780Gbits per square inch per platter, and then rise to 900Gbits per square inch next year."
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from Medical Daily: "Researchers led by Sriram Chellappan from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, collected internet usage data from 216 college students enrolled at the university. The usage data was collected anonymously without interfering with the student’s normal internet usage for a month. The students were tested to see if they had symptoms of depression and analyzed internet usage based on the results. Depressed students tended to use the internet in much different ways than their non-depressed classmates. Depressed students used file-sharing programs, like torrents or online sharing sites, more than non-depressed students (PDF). Depressed students also chatted more and sent more emails out. Online video viewing and game playing were also more popular for depressed students."
An anonymous reader writes "Canada's proposed Internet surveillance was back in the news last week after speculation grew that government intends to keep the bill in legislative limbo until it dies on the order paper. This morning, Michael Geist reports that nearly all of the major Canadian telecom and cable companies have been secretly working with the government for months on the Internet surveillance bill. The secret group has been given access to a 17-page outline (PDF) of planned regulations and raised questions of surveillance of social networks and cloud computing facilities."
n7ytd writes "Announced today and running on an 800 MHz VIA core, the 170 x 85mm 'APC' is expected to ship this July. It has 2GB of flash storage and 512MB of DDR3 memory. 'A modified version of Google Android 2.3 uses up most of that 2GB of flash storage, but there are external storage options. On the back I/O is a microSD slot, and of course you could hook in an external USB 2.0 drive. VIA spent a lot of time customizing Android to enable keyboard and mouse support which natively it does not support. ... On the I/O panel you get VGA output, HDMI output (up to 720p playback with hardware acceleration), four USB 2.0 ports, gigabit LAN and audio out and microphone in.' With a 'Neo ITX' form factor, VIA touts the single-board computer as a 'bicycle for your mind.'"
benfrog writes "Microsoft just quietly launched so.cl in an experiment to more closely unite web searches and social networking. It's not intended as a stand-alone social network — users can log in with Facebook or Windows Live IDs, and it will share your searches publicly by default. "As students work together, they often search for the same items, and discover new shared interests by sharing links. We see this trend today on many social networks, such as Twitter, where shared links spread virally and amplify popular content. So.cl experiments with this concept by automatically sharing links as you search." They've also (wisely?) put Bing Search at the center of the site."
MistrX writes with a tidbit about what the Cassini probe is up to nowadays. From the article: "NASA's Cassini spacecraft made its closest approach to Saturn's tiny moon Methone as part of a trajectory that will take it on a close flyby of another of Saturn's moons, Titan. The Titan flyby will put the spacecraft in an orbit around Saturn that is inclined, or tilted, relative to the plane of the planet's equator. The flyby of Methone took place on May 20 at a distance of about 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers). It was Cassini's closest flyby of the 2-mile-wide (3-kilometer-wide) moon. The best previous Cassini images were taken on June 8, 2005, at a distance of about 140,000 miles (225,000 kilometers), and they barely resolved this object."
Fluffeh writes "A researcher has found and published a way to tune into an RSA SecurID Token. Once a few easy steps are followed, anyone can generate the exact numbers shown on the token. The method relies on finding the seed that is used to generate the numbers in a way that seems random. Once it is known, it can be used to generate the exact numbers displayed on the targeted Token. The technique, described on Thursday by a senior security analyst at a firm called SensePost, has important implications for the safekeeping of the tokens. An estimated 40 million people use these to access confidential data belonging to government agencies, military contractors, and corporations. Scrutiny of the widely used two-factor authentication system has grown since last year, when RSA revealed that intruders on its networks stole sensitive SecurID information that could be used to reduce its security. Defense contractor Lockheed Martin later confirmed that a separate attack on its systems was aided by the theft of the RSA data."
cylonlover writes, quoting Gizmag: "Generally speaking, companies developing suborbital manned vehicles brag about how much elbow room their spacecraft will provide passengers. They say there will be plenty of room to float around during the weightless portion of the flight, that there will be no fighting for windows, that passengers will comfortably endure the high-g portions of the flight ... and then there's Copenhagen Suborbitals' Tycho Brahe. CS's Tycho Brahe is a one-passenger capsule intended for a purely ballistic flight to a peak altitude approaching 100 miles. The passenger is just along for the ride, with no mechanism to steer or otherwise pilot the capsule."