MrSeb writes "Tighten the strap on your tinfoil hat: Recently declassified documents show that the US Air Force was working on, and perhaps had already built, a supersonic flying saucer in 1956. The aircraft, which had the code name Project 1794, was developed by the USAF and Avro Canada in the 1950s. One declassified memo, which seems to be the conclusion of initial research and prototyping, says that Project 1794 is a flying saucer capable of 'between Mach 3 and Mach 4,' (2,300-3,000 mph) a service ceiling of over 100,000 feet (30,500m), and a range of around 1,000 nautical miles (1,150mi, 1850km). According to declassified cutaway diagrams, the supersonic flying saucer would propel itself by rotating an outer disk at very high speed, taking advantage of the Coand effect. Maneuvering would be accomplished by using small shutters on the edge of the disc (similar to ailerons on a winged aircraft). Power would be provided by jet turbines. According to the cutaway diagrams, the entire thing would even be capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL). The fact that there are no disc-shaped aircraft in the skies today, though, suggests that the USAF's flying saucer efforts probably never got past the prototype stage."
Linus Torvalds was (and still is) the primary force behind the development of the Linux kernel, and since you are reading Slashdot, you already knew that. Mr. Torvalds has agreed to answer any questions you may have about the direction of software, his thoughts on politics, winning the Millenial Technology Prize, or anything else. Ask as many questions as you'd like, but please keep them to one per post. We'll send the best to Linus, and post his answers when we get them back. Remember to keep an eye out for the rest of our upcoming special interviews this month.
another random user writes "Previously redacted documents presented in the Apple-Samsung case seem not to offer actual evidence that Samsung told its designers to copy the iPhone. Documents that have now been unredacted seem to show that there was never any 'copy apple' instruction. There was a push towards things that would be different, such as what is now seen in the Galaxy S3: 'Our biggest asset is our screen. It is very important that we make screen size bigger, and in the future mobile phones will absorb even the function of e-books.' Groklaw suggests, rather shockingly, that Apple's lawyers might have been a little selective in how they presented some of this evidence to the court, by picking little parts of it that offered a different shade of nuance."
hcs_$reboot writes "Apple has started shipping the iPhone 5 Lightning connector to 30-pin adapters. Some iPhone 5 owners complained about its new connector being incompatible with the previously well known 30 pin connectors (iPhone 4S and before, iPod, iPad, and chargers). From the article: 'Apple's accessories page shows the adapter as available to ship in October, while one MacRumors reader said the e-mail notice pointed to a delivery day of October 9.'"
concealment writes "At the end of August this year, the US Department of Transport's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new standards to significantly improve the fuel economy of cars and light trucks by 2025. Last week, we took a look at a range of recent engine technologies that car companies have been deploying in aid of better fuel efficiency today. But what about the cars of tomorrow, or next week? What do Detroit, or Stuttgart, or Tokyo have waiting in the wings that will get to the Obama administration's target of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025?"
First time accepted submitter dsjodin writes "There are only 19% females in Tolkien's works and the life expectancy of a Hobbit is 96.24 years. In January 2012 chemical engineering student Emil Johansson published a website with the hope for it to become a complete Middle-Earth genealogy. Now, ten months later, he has published some interesting numbers derived from the database of 923 characters. The site features a set of unique graphs helping us understand the world Tolkien described. Perhaps the most interesting ones are showing the decrease of the longevity of Men and the change in population of Middle-Earth throughout history. The latter was also recently published in the September edition of Wired Magazine."
jfruh writes "The Start Button, which has offered Windows users quick access to important programs, folders, and configuration options since 1995 and has looked more or less the same for all that time, has been re-engineered beyond recognition for Windows 8, replaced by a Start Screen of colorful Metro tiles that greets the user upon startup. One big problem: once you enter Desktop mode to access non-Metro apps, you lose easy access to all the stuff you expect from the Start Button. This has given rise to something of a cottage industry for Start Button replacements, with multiple replacement utilities available even before Windows 8 officially arrives."
An anonymous reader writes "cHTeMeLe is a board game about writing HTML5 code. In cHTeMeLe, players endorse their favorite web browser (Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, or IE) and then score points by correctly laying out HTML tags, while also trying to bug or crash their opponents' code. From the article: 'Despite cHTeMeLe's technical theme, its developers claim you don't need any web programming experience to play. The game takes web design standards and boils them down into game rules that even children can learn. To help less technical players keep everything straight, the tag cards use syntax highlighting that different parts of code have unique colors — just like an Integrated Developer Environment. No one is going to completely pick up HTML5 purely by playing cHTeMeLe, but it does have some educational value for understanding basic tags and how they fit together.'"
Hugh Pickens writes "For more than 50 years, physicists have been eager to achieve controlled fusion, an elusive goal that could potentially offer a boundless and inexpensive source of energy. Now Bill Sweet writes in IEEE Spectrum that the National Ignition Facility (NIF), now five billion dollars over its original budget and years behind schedule, deserves to be recognized as perhaps the biggest and fattest white elephant of all time. With the total tab for NIF now running to an estimated $7 billion, the laboratory has been pulling out all the stops to claim success is just around the corner. 'We didn't achieve the goal,' said Donald L. Cook, an official at the National Nuclear Security Administration who oversees the laser project but rather than predicting when it might succeed, he added in an interview, 'we're going to settle into a serious investigation' of what caused the unforeseen snags. On one hand, the laser's defenders point out, hard science is by definition risky, and no serious progress is possible without occasional failures. On the other, federal science initiatives seldom disappoint on such a gargantuan scale, and the setback comes in an era of tough fiscal choices and skepticism about science among some lawmakers. 'If the main goal is to achieve a power source that could replace fossil fuels, we suspect the money would be better spent on renewable sources of energy that are likely to be cheaper and quicker to put into wide use,' editorializes the NY Times. 'Congress will need to look hard at whether these "stockpile stewardship" and long-term energy goals can be pursued on a smaller budget.'"
theodp writes "U.S. tech talent shortage discussions tend to focus on getting more young people to go to college to become CS grads. Nothing wrong with that, writes Anil Dash, but let's not forget about education which teaches mid-level programming as a skilled trade, suitable for apprenticeship and advancement in a way that parallels traditional trade skills like HVAC or welding. Dash encourages less of a focus on 'the next Zuckerberg' in favor of encouraging solid middle-class tech jobs that are primarily focused on creating and maintaining tech infrastructure in non-tech companies. Dash also suggests 'changing the conversation about recruiting technologists from the existing narrow priesthood of highly-skilled experts constantly chasing new technologies to productive workers getting the most out of widely-deployed platforms and frameworks.'"
dgharmon writes with the lead from a story in the Brisbane Time: "Chinese telecom company Huawei poses a security threat to the United States and should be barred from US contracts and acquisitions, a yearlong congressional investigation has concluded. A draft of a report by the House Intelligence Committee said Huawei and another Chinese telecom, ZTE, 'cannot be trusted' to be free of influence from Beijing and could be used to undermine U.S. security."
An anonymous reader writes "A tasteless joke posted on Facebook saw a man arrested in the UK under section 127 of the Communications Act, for sending a public electronic communication which is 'grossly offensive'. Matthew Wood, 20, of Eaves Lane, Chorley, UK will appear before Chorley Magistrates' Court on Monday."
tomhath writes with this exerpt from a Reuters story: "The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear an Indiana farmer's appeal that challenges the scope of Monsanto Co.'s patent rights on its Roundup Ready seeds. Mr. Bowman bought and planted 'commodity seeds' from a grain elevator. Those soybean seeds were a mix and included some that contained Monsanto's technology. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case over the objections of the Obama administration, which had urged the justices to leave the lower court rulings in place."
Techmeology writes "Microsoft has sent automated DMCA notices to Google demanding the removal of several legitimate URLs from its search results that Microsoft claims were facilitating the distribution of illegal copies of Windows 8, including links to BBC news articles, Wikipedia pages, U.S. government websites, and even Bing! The erroneous DMCA notices are being sent automatically by rights holders, who are increasingly using such techniques."
SpaceX's first regular launch to the International Space Station is set to go off at 8:35 (Eastern time) Sunday evening; the first SpaceX launch to successfully reach the ISS was more of a test, though it did bring some goodies to the crew. Wired has a live video feed in place. Slashdot reader Lee Sheridan is in Florida for the launch; if you're one of the billion Facebook users, his photos of the mission briefing and Falcon 9 lift vehicle being lifted to vertical are public. The SpaceX twitter feed might be fun to watch, too. Update: 10/08 00:09 GMT by T : Bonus points for intelligent parsing of the acronym-laden communications on the live feed.