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Submission + - New York City to cut emissions 90% by 2050? (

jscheib writes: According to Will Oremus in Slate, a study released today finds that "New York City could slash its emissions by a whopping 90 percent by 2050 without any radical new technologies, without cutting back on creature comforts, and maybe even without breaking its budget." The key elements are insulating buildings to cut energy needs, converting to (mostly) electric equipment, and then using carbon-free electricity to supply the small amount of energy still needed. Oremus notes that including energy savings "would reduce the net price tag to something more like $20 billion. The cleanup from Hurricane Sandy, meanwhile, is estimated to cost $50 billion.

The full report is here.


Submission + - Iceland Considers Internet Porn Ban (

Onymous Hero writes: With the printing and distribution of pornography already banned in Iceland, further measures to stop internet porn are being considered by Iceland's Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson. From the article: "Iceland is taking a very progressive approach that no other democratic country has tried," said Professor Gail Dines, an expert on pornography and speaker at a recent conference at Reykjavik University. "It is looking a pornography from a new position — from the perspective of the harm it does to the women who appear in it and as a violation of their civil rights."

Submission + - Elon Musk Lays Out His Evidence That New York Times Tesla Model S Test Drive Was ( 1

mykepredko writes: "Tesla Motors CEO and founder Elon Musk definitely isn’t the best guy to try to pull a fast one on. The visionary entrepreneur set Twitter a titter when he claimed earlier this week that New York Times writer John Broder had fudged details about the Tesla Models S car’s range in cold weather, resulting in what he termed a “fake” article. Musk promised evidence, and now he has delivered, via the official Tesla blog."
Open Source

Submission + - Lua Scripting Language Support Coming To NetBSD Kernel (

An anonymous reader writes: With the release of NetBSD 7, it will be possible to extend kernel sub-systems and write device drivers in the Lua scripting language. A Lua interpreter is being added to the NetBSD kernel, a proper programming kernel interface, and a user-space interface for loading Lua scripts into the NetBSD kernel in real-time. Reasons expressed for adding Lua support to the NetBSD kernel is "modifying software written in C is hard for users", providing a rapid application development approach to drivers and the kernel, and better configuring of kernel sub-systems. Python and Java script support was looked at too, but they ended up settling for Lua. Lua scripting support for the kernel has been worked on since 2010.

Submission + - Can You Potty Train a Cow? (

sciencehabit writes: Think potty training a child is hard? Try teaching a cow when and where to do its business. The bovines can defecate nine to 16 times daily, and pee seven to nine times, creating big hygiene problems on dairy and beef farms. So cueing the animals to go in the right place would be a big help for managing manure. But past techniques—including training cows to respond to mild electric shocks—have proven ineffective or impractical for wide use. To see if they could come up with a better potty prompt, the scientists tested a series of stimuli on a dozen Holstein cows. The milkers stood in or walked through a footbath filled with water, for example, or had air or water sprayed on their feet. Alas, "[n]one of our tests reliably stimulated defecation," the team reports. Maybe bovine diapers instead?

Submission + - When Google got flu wrong (

ananyo writes: "When influenza hit early and hard in the United States this year, it quietly claimed an unacknowledged victim: one of the cutting-edge techniques being used to monitor the outbreak. A comparison with traditional surveillance data showed that Google Flu Trends, which estimates prevalence from flu-related Internet searches, had drastically overestimated peak flu levels. The glitch is no more than a temporary setback for a promising strategy, experts say, and Google is sure to refine its algorithms. But with flu-tracking techniques based on mining of web data and on social media taking off, Nature looks at how these potentially cheaper, faster methods measure up against traditional epidemiological surveillance networks."

Submission + - Evil, almost full Vim implementation in Emacs, reaches 1.0 version (

karijes writes: Evil is a new Emacs major mode intended to implement full Vim emulation for Emacs editor and it reached first stable release. Evil implements many Vim features and has support for plugins, so there is port for rails.vim, NERDCommenter and mapleader among others. Details about this release you can find on mailing list.

Submission + - Killing Your Sexual Desires for Academic and Intellectual Pursuits? 6

An anonymous reader writes: In the past few months, I have been applying to a multitude of graduate schools. Recently, I was accepted into a Ph.D. in computer science program at a fairly prestigious and demanding institution. Like most Slashdot readers, I have always been an exceptional student throughout high school and my undergraduate studies. However, as a heterosexual male individual, there has always been a persistent desire to associate myself with females in an effort to find love, have sex, and to be in a relationship. I have learned the hard way that this is often a colossal distraction from one's schooling and I would like to train myself to become more apathetic to such desires in preparation for the difficult but intellectually awarding years of graduate school that lay ahead. So, fellow Slashdot users, I ask you a rather odd but serious question on none other than Valentine's Day: How do you kill your sexual desires to enable you to focus more on academic and intellectual goals?

Submission + - Collaborative LaTeX editor with Preview in your web browser ( 1

Celarent Darii writes: Slashdot readers have undoubtably heard of Google Docs and the many other online word processing solutions that run in the browser. However, as a long-time user of TeX and LaTeX, these solutions are not my favorite way of doing things. Wouldn't it be nice to TeX something in your browser? Well, look no further, there is now a Online collaborative LaTeX editor with integrated rapid preview. Some fantastic features: quasi-instant preview, automatic versioning of source, easy collaboration and you can even upload files and pictures. Download your project later when you get home. Are you a TeX guru with some masterpieces? Might I suggest uploading them? For the beginner: you can start here.

Full disclosure: I am not affiliated with the site in anyway, just a fan. Hope exposure on Slashdot gets the word out on this great resource, which is very useful while travelling!


Submission + - Inventing the Chromebook - First Version was Based on Firefox (

Andy Prough writes: Former Google engineer Jeff Nelson has written a fascinating blog post about how he created "Google OS", the forerunner to Chrome OS. Last August, he finally received a patent for it, but his work began in 2006, and the first versions of the OS were built on Firefox and a "bare-bones Linux distribution" that could execute any Linux program. In fact, when he first started writing the OS, Chrome itself did not exist, and the whole purpose for his work was to create a system that loaded fully — and only — into system RAM. This purpose grew out of his frustration with wait times as he wrote webapps for Google, and found himself waiting 30-45 seconds just to restart a web browser. By moving the entire OS to RAM, he was able to cut the Firefox restart time from 45 seconds to 1 second, and found similar speed increases for other mundane tasks. He built himself a "Chromebook" and used it as his primary development box for over a year. The fact that his boss and Google management originally had no interest in his project makes this story all the better. This blog post is a very interesting read, as it discusses the beginnings of the range of Google webapps that were ultimately created to "replace any and all functionality normally found on a desktop".

Submission + - What is the best programming language for a 12-year-old to learn? 3

wintersynth writes: My friend is sending his 12-year-old to a tech summer camp and wants to know the best language for him to learn. It looks like Java and Python are the main options, both applied to game programming. There are also classes using the Lego Mindstorm scripting language, and Scratch. Slashdotters, I assume you've run into this question before, and I could use the help. Programming tools have changed a lot since I was learning SmartBASIC on a Coleco Adam as a kid. I want to recommend something that will be powerful enough to show him the unlimited possibilities in programming, but easy enough to maintain his interest and not discourage him. What do you teach your kids? What has been effective?

Submission + - Lawmakers Say CFAA Is Too Hard On Hackers (

GovTechGuy writes: "A number of lawmakers are using the death of Internet activist Aaron Swartz to speak out against the Justice Department's handling of the case, and application of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The controversy surrounding the Swartz case could finally give activists the momentum they need to halt the steady increase in penalties for even minor computer crimes."
United States

Submission + - Pentagon' Distinguished Warefare Medal: for cyber attacks and drone wars (

bios10h writes: "The Boston Globe writes that the Pentagon is create a new medal. "[The] troops who launch the drone strikes and direct the cyberattacks that can kill or disable an enemy may never set foot in the combat zone. Now their battlefield contributions may be recognized with the first new combat-related medal to be created in decades." A medal for hackers?"

Submission + - Do Not Track ineffective and dangerous, says researcher (

Seeteufel writes: Nadim Kobeissi, security researcher, describes the Do Not Track standard of the W3C as dangerous.

In fact, Google’s search engine, as well as Microsoft’s (Bing), both ignore the Do Not Track header even though both companies helped implement this feature into their web browsers. Yahoo Search also ignored Do Not Track requests. Some websites will politely inform you, however, of the fact that your Do Not Track request has been ignored, and explain that this has been done in order to preserve their advertising revenue. But not all websites, by a long shot, do this.

The revalations come as Congress and European legislators consider to tighten privacy standards amidth massive advertiser lobbying. "Do not track" received strong support from the European Commission.


Submission + - Gut Bacteria Conspired in Melamine Poisonings (

sciencehabit writes: In 2008, nearly 300,000 infants in China got sick from milk formula tainted with melamine, a plastics additive that was used illegally to bulk up the formula's apparent protein content. Now, a study in rats implicates bacteria living in the gut as unwitting accomplices in this mass poisoning. The bacteria convert some melamine to cyanuric acid, whichwas present in high concentrations in fatal kidney stones. The work helps clarify how melamine toxicity arises and also drives home the key role that gut bacteria play in human health.