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+ - CmdrTaco: Anti-Beta Movement a "Vocal Minority"-> 30

Submitted by Antipater
Antipater (2053064) writes "The furor over Slashdot Beta is loud enough that even outside media has begun to notice. The Washington Post's tech blog The Switch has written a piece on the issue, and the anti-Beta protesters aren't going to be happy about it. The Post questioned Slashdot founder Rob Malda, who believes the protests are the work of only a vocal minority or readers: "It's easy to forget that the vocal population of a community driven site like Slashdot might be the most important group, but they are typically also the smallest class of users." The current caretakers of Slashdot need to balance the needs of all users with their limited engineering resources, Malda argues — noting wryly, "It ain't easy.""
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Earth

NOAA: Arctic Likely Free Of Summer Ice By 2050 — Possibly Much Sooner 335

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-a-chill-pill dept.
Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have published research into the shrinking levels of sea ice in the Arctic. They wanted to figure out how long it would take before summer sea ice disappeared entirely. Since there's no perfect model for predicting ice levels, they used three different methods. All three predicted the Arctic would be nearly free of summer sea ice by the middle of the century, and one indicated it could happen as early as 2020. Two of the methods were based on observed sea ice trends. If ice loss proceeds as it has in the past decade, we get the 2020 timeframe. If ice loss events are large, like the 2007 and 2012 events, but happen at random some years, the estimate is pushed back to 2030. The third method uses global climate models to 'predict atmosphere, ocean, land, and sea ice conditions over time.' This model pushes the timeframe back to 2040 at the earliest, and around 2060 as the median (abstract). One of the study's authors, James Overland, said, "Rapid Arctic sea ice loss is probably the most visible indicator of global climate change; it leads to shifts in ecosystems and economic access, and potentially impacts weather throughout the northern hemisphere. Increased physical understanding of rapid Arctic climate shifts and improved models are needed that give a more detailed picture and timing of what to expect so we can better prepare and adapt to such changes. Early loss of Arctic sea ice gives immediacy to the issue of climate change."
Transportation

Plans Unveiled For Full Scale Replica of the Titanic 292

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "USA Today reports that Australian billionaire Clive Palmer has unveiled plans for construction of Titanic II, a cruise ship designed as a 'full-scale re-creation' of the Titanic, adding that the ship will be built in China and begin carrying passengers in 2016. The Titanic II will be built 883 feet long – 3 inches longer than the original Titanic – and weigh 55,800 gross tons, according to Palmer, who stopped short of calling the vessel unsinkable. It will carry a maximum of 2,435 passengers and 900 crew members, and include a gymnasium, Turkish baths, a squash court, a swimming pool, a theater and a casino. Like the original ship, there will no TVs aboard and probably no Internet service, Palmer says. Passengers will be able to dress in 1912-style clothing, giving them an opportunity to step back in time, or pretend they are Leo DiCaprio or Kate Winslet, who starred in James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster movie. But industry insiders are skeptical about the commercial viability of the ship. 'Titanic II is a curiosity and may have a draw as a floating hotel, but the idea of spending close to a week at sea on a vessel built around such a thin premise is seen as a stretch, at least by many within the industry,' says Michael Driscoll, editor of industry newsletter Cruise Week. Driscoll adds that he is skeptical about the future of Titanic II in the aftermath of the Carnival Triumph fire and last year's shipwreck of the Costa Concordia off the coast of Tuscany. Paul Kurzman, whose great-grandparents, Isidor and Ida Straus, died on the Titanic, says he has 'no problem' with the construction of Titanic II. 'I don't think they would have had any problem whatsoever, as long as the Titanic II steers clear of icebergs.'"

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