Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

+ - Building The Face Of A Criminal From DNA

Dave Knott writes: It sounds like science fiction, but revealing the face of a criminal based on their genes may be closer than we think. In a process known as molecular photo fitting, scientists are experimenting with using genetic markers from DNA to build up a picture of an offender's face. Dr Peter Claes, a medical imaging specialist at the University of Leuven has amassed a database of faces and corresponding DNA. Armed with this information, he is able to model how a face is constructed based on just 20 genes (this number will soon be expanded to 200). At the moment, police couldn't publish a molecular photo-fit like this and hope to catch a killer. But that's not how Dr Claes sees the technique being used in a criminal investigation. "If I were to bring this result to an investigator, I wouldn't necessarily give him the image to broadcast. I would talk to him and say okay, you're looking for a woman, with a very specific chin and eyebrow structure."

+ - You Can Be Prosecuted for Clearing Your Browser History 1 1

Dave Knott writes: Next week, a 24-year-old man who knew Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev is scheduled to appear in U.S. federal court for sentencing on obstruction of justice charges related to the attacks. Khairullozhon Matanov, a former taxi driver, did not participate in or have any prior knowledge of the bombings according to U.S. authorities. What could land him 20 more years in prison — where he's been since his arrest last May — are the charges that he deleted video files from his computer and cleared his browser history in the days following the attacks. Matanov's is the latest, and perhaps most high-profile, non-corporate court case to spark conversation around a U.S. law known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Enacted by Congress under President George W. Bush in 2002 following the Enron scandal, the law essentially makes knowingly destroying or concealing any record that could be part of a federal investigation punishable by up to 20 years behind bars.

The law was, in part, intended to prohibit corporations under federal investigation from shredding incriminating documents. But since Sarbanes-Oxley was passed in 2002 federal prosecutors have applied the law to a wider range of activities. A police officer in Colorado who falsified a report to cover up a brutality case was convicted under the act, as was a woman in Illinois who destroyed her boyfriend's child pornography.

+ - The 2014 Nebula Awards

Dave Knott writes: The winners of the 2014 Nebula awards (presented 2015) have been announced. The awards are voted on by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and (along with the Hugos) are considered to be one of the two most prestigious awards in science fiction. This year's winners are:

Best Novel: Annihilation , Jeff VanderMeer
Best Novella: Yesterday’s Kin , Nancy Kress
Best Novelette: "A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i”, Alaya Dawn Johnson
Best Short Story: “Jackalope Wives”, Ursula Vernon
Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation: Guardians of the Galaxy , directed by James Gunn
Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy: Love Is the Drug , Alaya Dawn Johnson
2015 Damon Knight Grand Master Award: Larry Niven
Solstice Award: Joanna Russ (posthumous), Stanley Schmidt
Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service Award: Jeffry Dwight

+ - Placenta Eating Offers No Benefit To Mom

Dave Knott writes: While some celebrity moms swear by it and have made it trendy, a new study says that consuming the placenta after birth offers women and their babies no benefit. In fact, the practice — known as placentophagy — may even pose unknown risks to mothers and infants, according to a team from Northwestern University in Chicago, who pored over the accumulated research on the issue. They found no data to support that eating the placenta — either raw, cooked or in pill form — protects against postpartum depression, reduces pain after childbirth, increases a woman's energy, helps with lactation, improves mother-child bonding, replenishes iron in the body, or improves skin elasticity. The researchers also said that there are no studies examining the risks associated with eating the placenta, which acts as a filter to absorb and protect fetuses from toxins and pollutants.

+ - Tron 3 Is Cancelled

Dave Knott writes: Tron 3 won't be coming to a theater near you. Disney had been developing a sequel to Tron:Legacy since the movie, made for $170 million, grossed $400 million worldwide. But now they have chosen not to move forward with a third installment in the sci-fi series, sources say. Disney has had strong success with its live-action properties recently, including Maleficent and this year's Cinderella, which earned $527.4 million worldwide. But it recently had a stumble with the $180 million live-action film Tomorrowland, which underperformed at the box office this past weekend with a $33 million U.S. debut.

+ - Mystery Woman Recycles $200,000 Apple I Computer

Dave Knott writes: A recycling centre in the Silicon Valley is looking for a woman who dropped off an old computer for recycling. The computer was apparently inside boxes of electronics that she had cleaned out from her garage after her husband died. This would be nothing unusual, except that the recycled computer was an Apple I,. The recycling firm eventually sold the Apple I for $200,000 to a private collection, and because the company gives 50 per cent of the proceeds from sold items back to the original owner, they wish to split the proceeds with the mystery donor.

+ - The Hoverboard Flies Closer To Reality 1 1

Dave Knott writes: Fans of 1980s cinema were disappointed when the year 2015 arrived without a practical version Marty McFly's hoverboard. Now, a Montréal-based man has brought it closer to reality by setting a new record for longest "flight" by hoverboard. In a filmed test recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records, Alexandru Duru pilots his somewhat cumbersome looking rig for 250 metres — five times the previous record — at a height of five metres above Quebec's Lake Ouareau. Duru and his business partner hope to have a new prototype finished by the end of the year and then have hoverboards available for purchase across the country. He wouldn't say how much the prototype cost to build, but said that the first generation of the machine will likely be "quite expensive." "You can fly it anywhere, over water, in the wild," he said, but he warned that it's not for everyone. "This thing is still quite dangerous," he said, explaining that the pilot uses only his or her feet to fly the contraption, adding that the commercial version's software will limit it to flying below a height of about one-and-a-half metres above the ground.

+ - Amazon's New Service: Goats

Dave Knott writes: Too lazy to mow your own lawn or do your own weeding? Amazon's "Hire a Goat Grazer" is currently in beta testing as part of the company's home services, launched in the U.S. in March. Other services available include car battery installation and TV wall mounting. Customers who want to try the service fill out an online form about the vegetation they want the goat to work on. The plants that goats can tackle even include poison ivy, poison sumac, poison oak and thistle. As a bonus, the goats will "likely leave behind some droppings and you'll get to keep this fertilizer as a friendly parting gift!" Amazon says.
Amazon previously tested goats for trimming the grass outside its Japanese office. Google has also hired lawn care goats for its California headquarters.

+ - "Star Trek 3" To Be Helmed By "Fast & Furious" Franchise Director Justin Lin

Dave Knott writes: Although J.J. Abrams directed the first two films in the popular revamped Star Trek series, his new job masterminding the Star Wars sequels had left Star Trek 3 as one of the most prestigious unfilled directing assignments in Hollywood. No longer. It is now known that Justin Lin will direct the third Star Trek film. Lin is best known for revitalizing the long-running Fast & Furious series, helming the third through sixth films in that franchise. Several top-flight directors were under consideration for Star Trek 3, but Lin was one the only one actually offered the job, following the postponement of the Bourne Legacy sequel that he had previously been set to direct.

+ - James Watson's Nobel Prize Medal Will Be Returned To Him

Dave Knott writes: Following the recent auction of James Watson's Nobel Prize medal, the winning bidder will return the medal to Watson. The $4.7 million winning bid was made by Alisher Usmanov, Russia's wealthiest man, a metal and telecommunications tycoon worth $15.8 billion US. In remarks carried by Russian television Tuesday, Usmanov hailed Watson one of the greatest biologists in the history of mankind, and stated that when he learned that Watson was selling the medal for charity, he decided to purchase it and immediately give it back to him.

Unix: Some say the learning curve is steep, but you only have to climb it once. -- Karl Lehenbauer

Working...