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


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - Pay What You Want for the Learn to Code Bundle, includes AngularJS, Python, HTML5, Ruby, and more. ×

Comment Reminds me of the The Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy (Score 5, Funny) 272

Reminds me of the bit in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where ...

"The simplistic style is partly explained by the fact that its editors, having to meet a publishing deadline, copied the information off the back of a pack of breakfast cereal, hastily embroidering it with a few footnotes in order to avoid prosecution under the incomprehensibly tortuous Galactic copyright laws. It is interesting to note that a later and wilier editor sent the book backwards in time through a temporal warp and then successfully sued the breakfast cereal company for infringement of the same laws."

Comment thoughts on hiding information (Score 2) 432

[not dealing with the morality or politics of this, but simply as it relates to hiding information that you use]
Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon has some good examples of how anyone can conceal information they've discovered. When the Allies in WW II wanted to protect the secret that they could decrypt the German's Enigma traffic, they had to take steps beyond simply not using the information (e.g.: not telling anyone that Coventry was going to be bombed). If you want to use information, without letting anyone know for sure that you've got the information, you've got to show other possible means for having that info.

Comment watermarking can help a little (Score 1) 298

If you watermark the file (PDF or other) with some identifying information about each file's recipient, you can track down the source of some of the piracy. Of course, once pirated, the game's over.

Alternatively, you can only make the document available online, with user identification required.

Comment "TV is something that watches you" (Score 1) 294

12 years ago, I wrote about this. "TV is something that watches you," is on the first page of chapter 1 of my book, "Playing for Profit" (still available on Amazon). It's obvious that watching behavior leads to better personalized service and better opportunities for marketers to try to sell you stuff.


Justice Not As Blind As Previously Thought 256

NotSoHeavyD3 writes "I doubt this is much of a surprise but apparently Cornell University did a study that seems to show you're more likely to get convicted if you're ugly. From the article: 'According to a Cornell University study, unattractive defendants are 22 percent more likely to be convicted than good-looking ones. And the unattractive also get slapped with harsher sentences — an average of 22 months longer in prison.'"

Brain Training Games Don't Train Your Brain 151

Stoobalou writes with this excerpt from "A new study has shown that brain training games do little to exercise the grey matter. Millions of people who have been prodding away at their Nintendo DS portable consoles, smug in the knowledge that they are giving their brains a proper work-out, might have to rethink how they are going to stop the contents of their skulls turning into mush."

Amazon Reviewers Take on the Classics 272

Not everyone is a fan of great literature. In particular, reviewers on Amazon can be quite critical of some of the best loved classics. Jeanette DeMain takes a look at some of the most hated famous books according to some short tempered reviewers. One of my favorites is the review of Charlotte's Web which reads in part, "Absolutely pointless book to read. I felt no feelings towards any of the characters. I really didn't care that Wilbur won first prize. And how in the world does a pig and a spider become friends? It's beyond me. The back of a cereal box has more excitement than this book. I was forced to read it at least five times and have found it grueling. Even as a child I found the plot very far-fetched. It is because of this horrid book that I eat sausage every morning and tell my dad to kill every spider I see ..."

Supersizing the "Last Supper" 98

gandhi_2 writes "A pair of sibling scholars compared 52 artists' renditions of 'The Last Supper', and found that the size of the meal painted had grown through the years. Over the last millennium they found that entrees had increased by 70%, bread by 23%, and plate size by 65.6%. Their findings were published in the International Journal of Obesity. From the article: 'The apostles depicted during the Middle Ages appear to be the ascetics they are said to have been. But by 1498, when Leonardo da Vinci completed his masterpiece, the party was more lavishly fed. Almost a century later, the Mannerist painter Jacobo Tintoretto piled the food on the apostles' plates still higher.'"

Dying Man Shares Unseen Challenger Video 266

longacre writes "An amateur video of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion has been made public for the first time. The Florida man who filmed it from his front yard on his new Betamax camcorder turned the tape over to an educational organization a week before he died this past December. The Space Exploration Archive has since published the video into the public domain in time for the 24th anniversary of the catastrophe. Despite being shot from about 70 miles from Cape Canaveral, the shuttle and the explosion can be seen quite clearly. It is unclear why he never shared the footage with NASA or the media. NASA officials say they were not aware of the video, but are interested in examining it now that it has been made available."

Has Apple Created the Perfect Board Game Platform? 531

andylim writes " is running an interesting piece about how Apple has created a 'Jumanji (board game) platform.' The 9.7-inch multi-touch screen is perfect for playing board games at home, and you could use Wi-Fi or 3G to play against other people when you're on your own. What would be really interesting is if you could pair the iPad with iPhones, 'Imagine a Scrabble iPad game that used iPhones as letter holders. You could hold up your iPhone so that no one else could see your letters and when you were ready to make a word on the Scrabble iPad board, you could slide them on to the board by flicking the word tiles off your iPhone.' Now that would be cool."

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.