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How Sperm Whales Offset Their Carbon Footprint Screenshot-sm 150

Boy Wunda writes "Scientists at Flinders University in South Australia found that in an awesome example of design by Mother Nature, Southern Ocean sperm whales offset their carbon footprint by simply defecating – an action that releases tons of iron a year and stimulates the growth of phytoplankton which absorb and trap carbon dioxide. If only we humans could say the same for our poop, which really doesn't do much more than just sit there." I'm going to do my part by buying some iron supplements and a can of chili, and heading off toward the ocean.

"Vegetative State" Patients Can Communicate 347

Kittenman writes "The BBC is carrying a story about researchers in the UK and Belgium who can detect the thinking processes within a patient previously thought to be in a vegetative state. The researchers ask the patient verbally to think in certain ways to indicate a 'yes', in other ways to indicate a 'no' — and have successfully communicated with 4 out of 23 patients previously thought to be in a coma."

Congress Hears From Muzzled Scientists 664

BendingSpoons writes "More than 120 scientists across seven federal agencies have been pressured to remove the phrases 'global warming' and 'climate change' from various documents. The documents include press releases and, more importantly, communications with Congress. Evidence of this sort of political interference has been largely anecdotal to date, but is now detailed in a new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings on this issue Tuesday; the hearing began by Committee members, including most Republicans, stating that global warming is happening and greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are largely to blame. The OGR hearings presage a landmark moment in climate change research: the release of the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC report, drafted by 1,250 scientists and reviewed by an additional 2,500 scientists, is expected to state that 'there is a 90% chance humans are responsible for climate change' — up from the 2001 report's 66% chance. It probably won't make for comfortable bedtime reading; 'The future is bleak', said scientists."

NPR Finds XM's Achilles Heel 330

PreacherTom writes "In the ongoing radio wars, one only has to listen to 20 seconds of Howard Stern's language to know that the lack of regulation gives satellite radio a distinct advantage. Of all the challengers, it seems that NPR has finally found a weakness in XM, which supplements its satellite coverage with earth-bound transmitters. A recent test found that 19 of these transmitters were unlicensed and another 221 exceeded their authorized power level, giving NPR an opening to press with an apparently sympathetic FCC. It certainly doesn't help that XM's own filings support their case."

Microsoft's Charles Simonyi to be 1st Nerd in Space 234

Richard L. James writes "The BBC are reporting that Hungarian-born Charles Simonyi, a 58-year old Microsoft billionaire software engineer is set to become the first 'nerd in space' on board the Soyuz TMA-10 when the spacecraft launches on Thursday 09th March 2007. Charles oversaw the development of Multiplan, Word, and Excel among many other achievements. He has launched a website detailing the 3 goals he wishes to achieve on the trip: advance civilian spaceflight, assist space station research, and involve kids in space sciences. Jó szerencse pölö Charles!"

NPR Looks to Technological Singularity 484

Rick Kleffel writes to tell us that NPR is featuring a piece with both Vernor Vinge and Cory Doctorow looking at the possibility of the "technological singularity" in the near future. Wikipedia defines a technological singularity as a "hypothetical "event horizon" in the predictability of human technological development. Past this event horizon, following the creation of strong artificial intelligence or the amplification of human intelligence, existing models of the future cease to give reliable or accurate answers. Futurists predict that after the Singularity, posthumans and/or strong AI will replace humans as the dominating force in science and technology, rendering human-specific social models obsolete."

Vermont Launches 'Cow Power' System 400

odyaws writes "Central Vermont Public Service has launched Cow Power, a system by which power users can opt to buy 25, 50, or 100% of their electricity from dairy farms that run generators on methane obtained from cow manure. Cow Power costs only 4 cents/kWh more than market price, so a household like mine would only pay $5-6/month more at 100% usage. The big question now is whether Vermont-based Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream will use power generated from the manure of cows treated with Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone."

Be careful when a loop exits to the same place from side and bottom.