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User Journal

Journal: in which i am a noob all over again 17

Journal by CleverNickName

I haven't posted a journal here in almost three years, because I couldn't find the button to start a new entry. ...yeah, it turns out that it's at the bottom of the page.

So... hi, Slashdot. I used to be really active here, but now I mostly lurk and read. I've missed you.

Education

Quantum Physics For Everybody 145

Posted by kdawson
from the this-time-without-the-math dept.
fiziko writes in with a self-described "blatant self-promotion" of a worthwhile service for those wishing to go beyond Khan Academy physics: namely Bureau 42's Summer School. "As those who subscribe to the 'Sci-Fi News' slashbox may know, Bureau 42 has launched its first Summer School. This year we're doing a nine-part series (every Monday in July and August) taking readers from high school physics to graduate level physics, with no particular mathematical background required. Follow the link for part 1."

Comment: Re:Wash your hands! (Score 1) 374

by CleverNickName (#29392669) Attached to: Swine Flu Outbreak At PAX

This is good advice, and gives me an opportunity to speak to the community at large: some of us who go to cons and are in a position to shake tons of hands politely decline. It's not because we're being dicks, it's because we know it's a good way to substantially decrease our chances of catching and spreading any germs.

Comment: Oh, cruel irony (Score 2, Interesting) 374

by CleverNickName (#29392641) Attached to: Swine Flu Outbreak At PAX

I played the PAX Pandemic game, where the Enforcers handed out stickers to attendees that read [Carrier] [Infected] or [Immune] (There was also a [Patient Zero].

I got the [Immune] sticker, and by the time I got home on Monday, it was clear that I had the flu. I've had a fever between 100 and 104 all week that finally broke last night, but I'm going to the doctor today because I think whatever I had settled into my lungs. I'll tell him about the H1N1 outbreak and get tested if he wants to run the test, but at this point I think it's safe to assume that I was [Immune] to the Pig Plague, but definitely [Infected] with the damn PAX pox.

Even though it's been a week of misery, it was entirely worth it, and I don't regret going to PAX for a single second.

Comment: John Scalzi on why it won't work (Score 1) 370

by CleverNickName (#21961464) Attached to: Sony's Idea of DRM-Free Music
John Scalzi wrote a hilarious exchange on his blog the sums up perfectly why this idea is made of fail:

Sony BMG spokesperson: We're pleased to announce we are the final major music corporation to release electronic tracks without that pesky DRM! All you have to do is leave your house, go to a selected retail outlet, buy a special card there, go back to your house, scratch off the back of the card to find a code, go to our special MusicPass Web site, enter said code, and download one the 37 titles we have available, from Celine Dion to the Backstreet Boys!

Kid #1: Or, in the time it takes me to jump through all those hoops, I could just download all 37 of those albums off of Pirate Bay.

Kid #2: Or, I could just scratch off the back at the store, record the pin number, go home and download the album through a Tor connection, so you can't trace my IP number.

Kid #1: Also, what's with this first slate of artists? Celine Dion? Backstreet Boys? Kenny Chesney? Barry Manilow? Are you high?
There's much more, but I didn't want to jack his entire post.
Google

+ - The Google Phone is a Reality.

Submitted by
MrCrassic
MrCrassic writes "It appears that Google is initiating talks with well-known PDA/smartphone manufacturer HTC to make the Google phone a reality. With impressive tech specs and an already impressive concept underway , could Google be the next company to make a mark in the wireless device industry? From the main article:

However, a recent report by CrunchGear states that its own sources at mobile handset provider HTC have tipped the site off to multiple gPhone handsets being prepped for launch in the first quarter of 2008 and that the handsets will be coming out of Taiwan. There will supposedly be over 20 different handsets to choose from — some with GPS — and they will carry special versions of Google Maps, Google Calendar, Gmail, and VoIP-enabled Google Talk. Speaking of software, Google is rumored to be developing its own operating system for the gPhone. According to reports by Engadget, the OS has been in development since 2005 after Google's acquisition of a mobile software company called Android. The Android team has since developed a Linux-based mobile OS while at Google — a detail that is corroborated by the CrunchGear report — which of course comes with tight Google integration. Both sites appear to agree that their sources indicate Google isn't currently looking to develop the hardware... for now.
"
Sci-Fi

Simon Pegg to Play Scotty 233

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the take-ship-go-to-mum's-kill-phil-sorry dept.
In response to yesterday's casting news about Chris Pine possibly taking the captain's chair for the new Star Trek movie, apparently Simon Pegg will be playing the role of Scotty. Simon Pegg is known for his role as Shaun in Shaun of the Dead and more recently for his leading role in Hot Fuzz. "Pegg joins Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, John Cho as Sulu and Zachary Quinto as Spock in the film which reportedly, and logically, 'chronicles the early days of the Enterprise crew.' Leonard Nimoy will also put in an appearance, while Eric Bana signed up this week as the movie's villain, Nero."
User Journal

Journal: Confronting pseudoscience in advertising

Journal by Daniel Dvorkin

The Scientist reports that UK group Sense About Science is confronting advertisers about pseudoscientific claims in health products such as "Aerobic Oxygen," "Salt Lamps," and "Activ8." They called the advertisers' customer service numbers and grilled the unfortunates on the other end of the phone about their misuse of scientific language to sell products. The project,

Bug

New Way to Patch Defective Hardware 238

Posted by Zonk
from the small-size-different-angle dept.
brunascle writes "Researchers have devised a new way to patch hardware. By treating a computer chip more like software than hardware, Josep Torrellas, a computer science professor from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, believes we will be able to fix defective hardware by a applying a patch, similar to the way defective software is handled. His system, dubbed Phoenix, consists of a standard semiconductor device called a field programmable gate array (FPGA). Although generally slower than their application-specific integrated circuit counterparts, FPGAs have the advantage of being able to be modified post-production. Defects found on a Phoenix-enabled chip could be resolved by downloading a patch and applying it to the hardware. Torrellas believes this would give chips a shorter time to market, saying "If they know that they could fix the problems later on, they could beat the competition to market.""
Portables

OLPC Manufacturer to Sell $200 Laptop On Open Market 214

Posted by Zonk
from the now-we're-getting-somewhere dept.
srinravi writes "ArsTechnica reports that Quanta, the company manufacturing the XO laptops, has plans to begin selling low-cost budget mobile computers for $200 later this year. 'According to Quanta president Michael Wang, the company plans to leverage the underlying technologies associated with OLPC's XO laptop to produce laptop computers that are significantly less expensive than conventional laptops.' While OLPC plans to sell the laptops in bulk to governments, which will then distribute the hardware to school children, the XO computer itself is not for sale on the open market. These XO-like commercial devices are still something of an unknown, but it has been announced they'll be using Open Source software."
The Internet

Why the Semantic Web Will Fail 179

Posted by kdawson
from the coopetition dept.
Jack Action writes "A researcher at Canada's National Research Council has a provocative post on his personal blog predicting that the Semantic Web will fail. The researcher notes the rising problems with Web 2.0 — MySpace blocking outside widgets, Yahoo ending Flickr identities, rumors Google will turn off its search API — and predicts these will also cripple Web 3.0." From the post: "The Semantic Web will never work because it depends on businesses working together, on them cooperating. There is no way they: (1) would agree on web standards (hah!) (2) would adopt a common vocabulary (you don't say) (3) would reliably expose their APIs so anyone could use them (as if)."
Biotech

Genetically Modified Maize Is Toxic — Greenpeace 655

Posted by kdawson
from the here's-to-your-liver dept.
gandracu writes "It appears that a variety of genetically modified maize produced by Monsanto is toxic for the liver and kidneys. What's worse, Monsanto knew about it and tried to conceal the facts in its own publications. Greenpeace fought in court to obtain the data and had it analyzed by a team of experts. MON863, the variety of GM maze in question, has been authorized for markets in the US, EU, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Mexico, and the Philippines. Here are Greenpeace's brief on the study and their account of how the story was unearthed (both PDFs)."

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