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The Military

A Look Back At Bombing the Van Allen Belts 237

Posted by Soulskill
from the shiny-and-fallout-y dept.
An anonymous reader points out a recent story at NPR describing one of the greatest lightshows in history — a US hydrogen bomb test 250 miles above the Pacific Ocean in 1962. The mission came about after James Van Allen confirmed the existence of radiation belts around the earth that now bear his name. As it turns out, the same day Van Allen announced his findings at a press conference, he "agreed with the military to get involved with a project to set off atomic bombs in the magnetosphere to see if they could disrupt it." According to NPR, "The plan was to send rockets hundreds of miles up, higher than the Earth's atmosphere, and then detonate nuclear weapons to see: a) If a bomb's radiation would make it harder to see what was up there (like incoming Russian missiles!); b) If an explosion would do any damage to objects nearby; c) If the Van Allen belts would move a blast down the bands to an earthly target (Moscow! for example); and — most peculiar — d) if a man-made explosion might 'alter' the natural shape of the belts." The article is accompanied by a podcast and a video with recently declassified views of the test. They also explain how the different colors of light in the sky were produced.
Music

Amazon & TuneCore To Cut Out the RIAA Middleman 291

Posted by kdawson
from the but-who-needs-CDs dept.
eldavojohn writes "So you're an aspiring band and you haven't signed with a record label. Maybe you've got a fan base interested in purchasing your stuff but you're not really into accounting? Enter Amazon's partnership with TuneCore, a CD printing and music distribution service. You want to sell a full album on Amazon of you brushing your teeth? $31. And you get about 40% back on sales, so selling nine digital copies of your CD will put you back in the black. There you have it, public availability on one of the largest online commerce sites for $31 — no RIAA involved!" TuneCore's CEO put it this way: "As an artist, you have unlimited physical inventory, made on demand, with no [sic] upfront costs and worldwide distribution to anyone who orders it at Amazon.com."
Robotics

Robot Rebellion Quelled in Iraq 317

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the get-to-tha-choppa dept.
opencity writes "The Register reports that the (perhaps inevitable) robot rebellion has been avoided ... for now. 'Ground-crawling US war robots armed with machine guns, deployed to fight in Iraq last year, reportedly turned on their fleshy masters almost at once. The rebellious machine warriors have been retired from combat pending upgrades.' Gizmodo also has a good photo."

Microsoft Zune MP3 Player Interface Revealed 356

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the monkey-see-monkey-try dept.
bain writes to tell us that iLounge has put up details on the Zune, Microsoft's MP3 player. According to the article, "Zune is a bit bigger than a standard 30GB iPod, and apparently made entirely of plastic." Interestingly, Microsoft forgoes a touch-sensitive scrollwheel in favor of wheel-shaped buttons. Included are WiFi capabilities, an FM tuner, and (in stark contrast to the iPod) a white-on-black color scheme. The 30GB model is expected to sell for $300. This story selected and edited by LinuxWorld editor for the day Saied Pinto.

Hawking Says Humans Must Go Into Space 843

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the purple-belly-push dept.
neutralino writes "The Associated Press reports that astrophysicist Stephen Hawking wants humans to establish colonies in space in order to ensure the survival of the human race. At a news conference in Hong Kong, Hawking said that 'It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species. Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of.'"

Starting an Education in IT? 425

Posted by Cliff
from the where-is-the-best-place-to-begin dept.
AriaStar asks: "It's overwhelming to start trying to learn all the different technologies needed to go into programming. It seems that every type of technology assumes knowledge of a different one, which in turn requires knowledge of another, until it's gone full circle. I am interested in everything from Unix to AJAX to Perl. Things like HTML, Javascript, and SQL are like English, but then again, they're basic. Where is the best place to start? What is a good path for someone who learns quickly and easily, but who is simply too overwhelmed, to take?"

Pact Not to Use Image Constraint Token Until 2010? 285

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the hdmi-boogeyman dept.
Devlin C. writes "Ars Technica reports that many major movie studios and several consumer electronics companies have an unofficial pact not to use the controversial Image Constraint Token in movies until at least 2010, presumably in an effort to spur early adoption. As the article at Ars notes, this would explain why both the low-end PS3 and the Xbox360 lack HDMI. The companies think it's not necessary to have right now, and they would rather shave costs than sell future-proof hardware."

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