Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Back for a limited time - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×

Submission + - Apple May Plan an Online Mobile Backup Service (

An anonymous reader writes: There are third-party iOS apps that permit users to back up data to a cloud service and restore it when necessary. However, a patent application made public today suggests that those vendors may soon compete with Apple itself. Apple has developed the concept of a mobile online backup that would only restore necessary files, rather than everything on a device. Such a service could be one reason Apple built a billion dollar data center in North Carolina.

Submission + - New math theory reveals the nature of numbers (

An anonymous reader writes: Finite formula found for partition numbers.

For centuries, some of the greatest names in math have tried to make sense of partition numbers, the basis for adding and counting. Many mathematicians added major pieces to the puzzle, but all of them fell short of a full theory to explain partitions. Instead, their work raised more questions about this fundamental area of math.

On Friday, Emory mathematician Ken Ono will unveil new theories that answer these famous old questions.

Ono and his research team have discovered that partition numbers behave like fractals. They have unlocked the divisibility properties of partitions, and developed a mathematical theory for "seeing" their infinitely repeating superstructure. And they have devised the first finite formula to calculate the partitions of any number.

Submission + - Bane: Batman's next formidable film enemy (

An anonymous reader writes: Tom Hardy, who played Eames in Christopher Nolan's dreams-within-dreams film Inception last year, has been cast by the director as Bane in the next Batman Movie. "I am delighted to be working with Tom again and excited to watch him bring to life our new interpretation of one of Batman's most formidable enemies," Nolan said in a statement. Announced alongside Hardy for the film is Anne Hathaway, playing the role of Selena Kyle. In the comic books, Kyle eventually becomes the Catwoman. The upcoming film has been titled "The Dark Knight Rises." Also expected to join hardy is Christian Bale, reprising the lead role of Batman.

Submission + - Italian Scientist claim cold fusion breakthrough ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Despite the intense skepticism, a small community of scientists is still investigating near-room-temperature fusion reactions. The latest news occurred last week, when Italian scientists Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi of the University of Bologna announced that they developed a cold fusion device capable of producing 12,400 W of heat power with an input of just 400 W. (...) Further, the scientists say that the reactor is well beyond the research phase; they plan to start shipping commercial devices within the next three months and start mass production by the end of 2011.

Submission + - Mozilla and Eclipse take programming into the clou (

mikejuk writes: It's about time we (programmers) started to eat our own dog food. If the cloud is good enough a paradigm for end users what about us?

I've notice that over time, whether I planned it or not, more and more of the applications I use are hosted in the "cloud" and more-and-more of my data is stored somewhere else. A reasonable trend but I can always be sure where my development environment sits be it Eclipse, Visual Studio, Netbeans or something else — it is going to be running on my local desktop machine. Running an IDE is just too computationally intensive and generally difficult to do any other way than on the desktop.

Now Mozilla and Eclipse are challenging this old fashioned idea.

Submission + - PC Virus Turns 25 ( 1

Batblue writes: Happy anniversary Basit and Amjad! Twenty-five years ago this month, the Alvi brothers of Lahore, Pakistan, gave the world the Brain Virus, the first bit of malware capable of infecting a DOS-based PC. Back in those relatively innocent times, the brothers actually embedded their real names and business address in the code and later told Time magazine they had written the virus to protect their medical software from piracy.

Who knows what they were really thinking, but by all accounts the Brain Virus was relatively harmless. Twenty-five years later, most malware is anything but benign and cyber criminals pull off exploits the Alvi brothers never envisioned.


Submission + - JVC Shrinks Super High-Def Projector (

itwbennett writes: JVC on Tuesday unveiled a projector compatible with an experimental broadcasting format called Super Hi-Vision (higher than high-def) that is less than half the size and a quarter the weight than previous devices — and is cheaper to boot. At 7,680 pixels by 4,320 pixels, a Super Hi-Vision picture has 16-times the resolution of today's high-def TV and four times that of 4K digital cinema. You can watch this video of the device in action, but you'll have to take our word for it that the images are far better than anything you've seen.

Submission + - New Sunlight Reactor Produces Fuel (

eldavojohn writes: A new reactor developed by CalTech shows promise for producing renewable fuel from sunlight. The reactor hinges on a metal oxide named Ceria that has very interesting properties at very high temperatures. It exhales oxygen at very high temperatures and inhales oxygen at very low temperatures. From the article, 'Specifically, the inhaled oxygen is stripped off of carbon dioxide (CO2) and/or water (H2O) gas molecules that are pumped into the reactor, producing carbon monoxide (CO) and/or hydrogen gas (H2). H2 can be used to fuel hydrogen fuel cells; CO, combined with H2, can be used to create synthetic gas, or "syngas," which is the precursor to liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Adding other catalysts to the gas mixture, meanwhile, produces methane. And once the ceria is oxygenated to full capacity, it can be heated back up again, and the cycle can begin anew.' The only other piece of the puzzle is a large sunlight concentrator to raise the temperature to the necessary 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The team is working on modifying and refining the reactor to require a lower temperature to achieve the two-step thermochemical cycle. Another issue is the heat loss which the team claims could be reduced to improve efficiency to 15% or higher. Since CO2 is an input, the possibility exists for coal and power plants to collect CO2 emissions to be used in this process which would effectively allow us to "use the carbon twice." Another idea listed is that a "zero CO2 emissions" is developed along these lines: 'H2O and CO2 would be converted to methane, would fuel electricity-producing power plants that generate more CO2 and H2O, to keep the process going.' The team's work was published last month in Science.

Submission + - Firefox 4: A huge pile of bugs (

surveyork writes: Firefox 4.0 beta 9 (AKA "a huge pile of awesome") was released on January 14, 2011. Firefox 4's release schedule includes a beta 10 and a release candidate before the final launch in late February. However, one wonders if this schedule won't slip again, since there are still more than 100 "hardblocker" bugs, more than 60 bugs affecting Panorama alone and 10 bugs affecting the just-introduced Tabs-on-Titlebar. Some long-standing bugs wont' be fixed in time for Firefox 4 final either (example, example). Many startup bugs are currently pending, although Firefox 4 starts much faster than Firefox 3.6. As a side note, it's unlikely that Firefox 4 final will pass the Acid3 test, despite this being a very popular demand amongst Firefox enthusiasts. Perhaps we'll have to wait until Firefox 4.1 to have this "huge pile of bugs" (mostly) fixed.

Submission + - Social Network Neurons! (

RogerRoast writes: Carnegie Mellon University researchers have found that within the brain's neocortex lies a subnetwork of highly active neurons that behave much like people in social networks.
Open Source

Submission + - The limits of evangelism (

akgraner writes: Bruce Byfield asks, “How do you persuade people they want something that they don't know exists — and refuse to believe in?” as he discusses “The limits of evangelism” in his latest blog post.

Submission + - SPAM: Bradley Associates- Swiss Protects Secret Accounts

bradleyassociates writes: Bradley Associates, Swiss tell the US that it will not let UBS give out client data.
(I-Newswire) July 28, 2009 — Switzerland government has said that it will stop any data from UBS being handed over to the American authorities. The Swiss are firm on the stance that no client data will be handed over to the US.

UBS the wealth management giant was told by the courts to hand over client data to see who was evading tax in the US. They have a court hearing in the US this coming Monday as they refused to give the US authorities the data that they wanted.

The Swiss are keen to keep its secrecy laws in tact and the Swiss judiciary have come out and said that it would be against their laws if UBS gave the US authorities the data.

Bradley Associates analysts believe that this stance is causing tension between the two governments and diplomatic ties are now being tested. The US is keen to tackle the rich who evade tax, but the Swiss banking system has built its reputation on secrecy. UBS reputation has taken a huge hit and many customers now have gone to other rival banks.

Reporting at a press conference Bradley Associates analysts said that the Swiss government was keen to uses its authority to ensure that the bank is not pressured in giving over the information.

In Swiss law it is a criminal offence to give information to foreign governments, but the US are trying to get concessions to this. Bradley Associates feels that the secrecy to the banking system is key to the Swiss, without this billions will leave their country as banking clients will look for alternatives. It will be hard for the US to demand that the Swiss hand over any details and the Swiss will not like being dictated to either. Bradley Associates senior analysts believes that some concession will be made but the secrecy of the banking system will stay intact.

Submission + - Porsche 918 RSR Hybrid Supercar Unveiled (

An anonymous reader writes: The 2011 Detroit Auto Show just kicked off with a blast as Porsche rolled out its brand new 918 RSR hybrid supercar. The racer’s sculpted carbon fiber exterior conceals a 563 horsepower, 10,300 rpm v8 engine coupled with two front-wheel drive electric motors for a total of 767 horsepower. Like the 911 GT3 R Hybrid before it, Porsche’s 918 RSR features a flywheel booster system that stores energy when the vehicle brakes and then releases it in a 160hp burst of speed at the press of a button.

Submission + - Does the MERS data system own your mortgage? (

AHuxley writes: The Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems a privately owned data system that tracks mortgage records.
ie MERS tracks “changes” or "servicing rights" in the ownership of mortgage loans as they are bought and sold among MERS members or others.
Since 1997 65 million home mortgages have been registered on the MERS System. Is MERS the mortgage owner's agent and has the right to foreclose?
More at

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.