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Comment: Nothing new - already have one (Score 1) 363

by Bjarne Bula (#36348852) Attached to: English Teenager Invents a Better Doorbell

Hope nobody gave a patent to him, since we've had a doorbell like this in my house for some time now.

You ring my apartment from the entrance and my mobile rings and I can talk to whoever is outside, and I can also unlock the door for them remotely from my phone. Much appreciated by friends who show up early and otherwise would have had to wait outside until I got back home.

Science

The Proton Just Got Smaller 289

Posted by samzenpus
from the size-does-matter dept.
inflame writes "A new paper published in Nature has said that the proton may be smaller than we previously thought. The article states 'The difference is so infinitesimal that it might defy belief that anyone, even physicists, would care. But the new measurements could mean that there is a gap in existing theories of quantum mechanics. "It's a very serious discrepancy," says Ingo Sick, a physicist at the University of Basel in Switzerland, who has tried to reconcile the finding with four decades of previous measurements. "There is really something seriously wrong someplace."' Would this indicate new physics if proven?"
Science

What Scientists Really Think About Religion 1123

Posted by kdawson
from the two-towers dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post has a book review of Science and Religion: What Scientists Really Think by Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund, who spent four years doing a detailed survey of 1,646 scientists at elite American research universities. The study reveals that scientists often practice a closeted faith, worrying about how their peers would react to learning about their religious views. 'After four years of research, at least one thing became clear: Much of what we believe about the faith lives of elite scientists is wrong. The '"insurmountable hostility" between science and religion is a caricature, a thought-cliche, perhaps useful as a satire on groupthink, but hardly representative of reality,' writes Ecklund. Unsurprisingly, Ecklund found that 64% of scientists are either atheists (34%) or agnostic (30%). But only five of the 275 in-depth interviewees actively oppose religion; and even among the third who are atheists, many consider themselves 'spiritual.' 'According to the scientists I interviewed, the academy seems to have a "strong culture" that suppresses discussion about religion in many areas,' says Ecklund. 'To remove the perceived stigma, we would need to have more scientists talking openly about issues of religion, where such issues are particularly relevant to their discipline.'"
Space

The Sun's Odd Behavior 285

Posted by Soulskill
from the to-be-fair-it-was-a-little-tipsy dept.
gyrogeerloose writes "Most of us know about the sun's eleven-year activity cycle. However, relatively few other than scientists (and amateur radio operators) are aware that the current solar minimum has lasted much longer than expected. The last solar cycle, Cycle 24, bottomed out in 2008, and Cycle 25 should be well on its way towards maximum by now, but the sun has remained unusually quiescent with very few sunspots. While solar physicists agree that this is odd, the explanation remains elusive."
Biotech

A Genetically Engineered Fly That Can Smell Light 111

Posted by timothy
from the lsd-way-cheaper dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It sounds like a cool — if somewhat pointless — super-powered insect: a fly that can smell light! Researchers added a light-sensitive protein to a fruit fly's olfactory neurons, which caused the neurons to fire when the fly was exposed to a certain wavelength of blue light. Adding the protein specifically to neurons that respond to good smells, like bananas, makes for a light-seeking fly."
IBM

IBM Distributes USB Malware At Security Conference 73

Posted by kdawson
from the just-testing-ya dept.
bennyboy64 and other readers let us know that IBM sent out an email to all attendees to the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT) 2010 conference, warning them that some of the USB drives handed out to delegates contained malware. Fortunately it was old malware, which all anti-virus products have detected since 2008. Two years ago telecommunications company Telstra distributed malware-infected USB drives at the same conference.
Cellphones

Why Overheard Cell Phone Chats Are Annoying 344

Posted by timothy
from the they-drown-out-the-bark-of-my-gun dept.
__roo writes "American researchers think they have found the answer to the question of why overhearing cell phone chats are annoying. According to scientists at Cornell University, when only half of the conversation is overheard, it drains more attention and concentration than when overhearing two people talking. According to one researcher, 'We have less control to move away our attention from half a conversation (or halfalogue) than when listening to a dialogue. Since halfalogues really are more distracting and you can't tune them out, this could explain why people are irritated.' Their study will be published in the journal Psychological Science."
Power

10,000 Cows Can Power 1,000 Servers 221

Posted by samzenpus
from the cattle-computing dept.
CWmike writes "Reducing energy consumption in data centers, particularly with the prospect of a federal carbon tax, is pushing vendors to explore an ever-growing range of ideas. HP engineers say that biogas may offer a fresh alternative energy approach for IT managers. Researchers at HP Labs presented a paper (download PDF) on using cow manure from dairy farms and cattle feedlots and other 'digested farm waste' to generate electricity to an American Society of Mechanical Engineers conference, held this week. In it, the research team calculates that 'a hypothetical farm of 10,000 dairy cows' could power a 1 MW data center — or on the order of 1,000 servers. One trend that makes the idea of turning organic waste into usable power for data centers is the moves by several firms to build facilities in rural locations, where high-speed networks allow them to take advantage of the cost advantages of such areas. But there are some practical problems, not the least of which is connecting a data center to the cows. If it does happen, the move could call for a new take on plug and play: plug and poo."
Earth

New Estimates Say Earth's Oceans Smaller Than Once Believed 263

Posted by timothy
from the deeper-than-my-love-for-you dept.
Velcroman1 writes with this snippet from Fox News: "Using lead weights and depth sounders, scientists have made surprisingly accurate estimates of the ocean's depths in the past. Now, with satellites and radar, researchers have pinned down a more accurate answer to that age-old query: How deep is the ocean? And how big? As long ago as 1888, John Murray dangled lead weights from a rope off a ship to calculate the ocean's volume — the product of area and mean ocean depth. Using satellite data, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute set out to more accurately answer that question — and found out that it's 320 million cubic miles. And despite miles-deep abysses like the Mariana Trench, the ocean's mean depth is just 2.29 miles, thanks to the varied and bumpy ocean floor."

Comment: Current NASA Used car salesmen (Score 2, Insightful) 151

by Bjarne Bula (#28409939) Attached to: White House Panel Considers New Paths To Space

Call me crazy, but as far as I can tell, we're a month away from the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing. The bulk of the current population of the earth was born into a world where man had walked on the moon.

And NASA is asking for (another) $35B and a couple years to develop a rocket that can launch humans into space, never mind to the moon? Seriously?

I'm all for space exploration (and exploitation), and I even partake in the probably misguided notion that there is real value in having humans go into space, even though for the most part, it makes more rational sense to have robotic probes go in our place.

But even I have to question the sanity of pouring billions and billions of dollars into an organization so fscked up that they have to reinvent technology they provably had over forty years ago, and who keep losing people and equipment because they refuse to listen to their own engineers.

I grew up admiring NASA and the astronauts, and with a burning desire to be one myself, or at the very least work there, but today I wouldn't buy a used car from the current crop of hacks running the place.

Comment: Pirate party is really Private party (Score 5, Insightful) 674

by Bjarne Bula (#28244531) Attached to: Pirate Party Wins At Least One European Parliament Seat

It should be noted that although they call themselves the Pirate party, the focus of the party is on questions of privacy and integrity. Issues where voters have been repeatedly ignored and even betrayed by the established parties.

While one of the laws recently shoved down voter's throats, despite promises to the contrary, have been aimed towards curbing piracy, the real outrage has been against the privacy and integrity issues with this and other recently passed laws regarding interception of domestic communications etc. (Well, that, and giving corporations the ability to petition courts to perform searches that, under similar conditions, would not be granted even to the police.)

Operating Systems

+ - Linus on "GPL-tagged kernel modules only"

Submitted by
slashthedot
slashthedot writes "Linus, on the Linux mailing list today stressed on why it is not good on the part of developers or open source zealots to force people to use software only the way developers want. Responding to a suggestion that a time limit be set ( 12 months was suggested) after which kernel won't be allowed to load non- GPL tagged module, he said users should be allowed to use software the way they want. He tries to make the difference between use and distribution clear. http://osgeek.blogspot.com/2006/12/linux-on-gpl-ke rnel-modules.html"
Education

+ - Evolution under fire in Russian schools

Submitted by sdriver
sdriver (126467) writes "If you thought it was only the US giving Darwin a hard time, Russia has its own problems starting with evolution. A student has "sued the St. Petersburg city education committee, claiming the 10th-grade biology textbook used at the Cervantes Gymnasium was offensive to believers and that teachers should offer an alternative to Darwin's famous theory." The court held hearings today."
Businesses

+ - "Logic bomb" backfires on hacker

Submitted by
Jay
Jay writes "From Reuters, A former UBS PaineWebber employee was sentenced to eight years in prison on Wednesday for planting a computer "logic bomb" on company networks and betting its stock would go down. The investment scheme backfired when UBS stock remained stable after the computer attack and Roger Duronio lost more than $23,000."

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