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


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re: good use of grant money (Score 3, Interesting) 49

by Ferante125 (#44284971) Attached to: Secrets of Beatboxing Revealed By MRI
They do the scans on Sunday night when they are no patients ( I've been a subject in other experiments). But apart from that, if you think that there's no medical value to this research, you need to sit back and do something that enhances your imagination. They've also studied how cancer patients swallow. Besides the vocal tract, the heart is another organ that needs real time mri, so it's no gimmick. Also this research was from USC, not UCSD.

Comment: Re:Not useful without additional data (Score 1) 86

by Ferante125 (#40847961) Attached to: Twitter Launches Political Index

The graph does not provide any reason why a candidate would be trending on twitter.

We have a project that is a bit more insightful about what is actually being classified as positive and negative:

Comment: Project at USC (Score 1) 86

by Ferante125 (#40847789) Attached to: Twitter Launches Political Index
We have a project at USC that we've been working on which is similar but we show a sample of the individual tweets that were classified:
The system in the article doesn't show any of the data that they use to base the scores on, so it is effectively a black box. Also it lacks the entertainment value of seeing the sometimes funny twitter data. Also, ours is real time so it's interesting to watch during a debate.

Comment: wow... maybe I don't want to delete my history (Score 1) 238

by Ferante125 (#39129375) Attached to: Last Day To Tell Google To Forget You
I just logged into and saw my browsing history back to 2007. I understand some of the privacy concerns, but I actually found it interesting to see what webpages I went to 5 years ago. For me, the ability to look back into details of the past that may have left my conscious memory recall seems to outweigh the security concerns. Also, on the page you can delete individual record items so if there's something IN PARTICULAR that you want to delete... hint, hint, nudge, nudge, say no more.
Book Reviews

+ - Thunderstruck the invention of wireless dramatized

Submitted by Ferante125
Ferante125 (971811) writes "This book is a immersive trip into the early 1900's, where Marconi's sensational new wireless technology meets a sensational mystery. I enjoyed this book very much, which is why I felt like reviewing it, and I also thought it would be a relevant and entertaining book for slashdot's audience, which is why I'm reviewing it here (c.f. internet at sea, which deals with some of the same issues, albeit in the book it is telegraphy at sea). This book was a gift from my brother Kurt for last year's Christmas, but i was busy so I didn't have time to read it right away. If it took me a long time to get around to start reading, it was quick to finish. It is a very engaging narrative that jumps between the story of Marconi, the infamous Italian inventor of radio, some of his rival inventors--in particular Oliver Joseph Lodge, whose interest in the occult sidetracked him from following up on his early wireless experiments, and Howley Harvey Crippen, a seller of patent medicine (like today's internet prescriptions) who has an overbearing wife that has mysteriously disappeared.

The mood of the book has a similar feel to "The Prestige" and Sherlock Holmes stories. Scientists are on the verge of revolutionary discoveries, but before the illumination of retrospect, people are dubious, superstitious, and opinionated. There are plenty of themes that seem applicable to our current time. There is the debate between science and engineering, wisdom and experience versus naive experimentation, Maxwellian professors versus the telegraph engineers. There are arguments about who is the originator of a discovery. Is invention the idea or following though and showing that it actually works and can be used practically? The scientists who may have actually first demonstrated wireless communication did not work on perfecting it because they did not think the signal would carry farther than sight, while Marconi thought that taller and more powerful antennae would enable longer range communication, and in the process realized the effects of the time of day and waves traveling over open sea. Another timely theme is proprietary versus open source. Marconi took great pains to maintain a monopoly on wireless telegraphy, but there was the problem of interference with competitors and nationalistic interests of Germany.

Another interesting aspect I saw is the relationships with women. Marconi does not have problems finding women because he's very rich and Italian, but he has a hard time keeping them because he's busy with his research and a bit asocial from being a boy-wonder. Crippen on the other hand, is a bit homely and is cheated and mistreated by his wannabe opera singer wife. He finally leaves her for his secretary, with whom he escapes by dressing her up as a boy. The relationships add to the story and though they are a tad exaggerated, they add to the sensationalism. The book's relationships are refreshingly dysfunctional and seem to cut out a lot of the typical Hollywood crap. As he is pursued as a suspect in his wife's disappearance, the wireless telegraphy between boats is instrumental in the search. The public's fascination with the mystery and the wireless technology makes this the turning point in wireless' adoption. A friend to whom I lent the book remarked that this may have been the first high-speed pursuit, with boats and telegrams standing in for cars and television. Though the high-speed pursuit may be slower and lower-tech, it is none the less exciting and the book ends with a nice denouement.

Despite the lengthy bibliography at the back of the book, I found it hard to believe this book was non-fiction. I'm a big fan of historical fiction and I have no qualms about an author's right and obligation to entertain, but this book is both entertaining and also seems to be the result of lots of digging through historical records, court transcripts, and memoirs of Marconi's relatives. Some of the dialog in the book was even based on transcripts.

Though my review may have focused on the tech, I also think that this is a good book for others due to its historical and dramatic content."
Input Devices

Is the Line-in Jack On the Verge of Extinction? 411

Posted by timothy
from the erasing-the-analog-hole dept.
SlashD0tter writes "Many older sound cards were shipped with line-out, microphone-in, and a line-in jacks. For years I've used such a line-in jack on an old Windows 2000 dinosaur desktop that I bought in 2000 (600 Mhz PIII) to capture the stereo audio signal from an old Technics receiver. I've used this arrangement to recover the audio from a slew of old vinyl LPs and even a few cassettes using some simple audio manipulating software from a small shop in Australia. I've noticed only recently, unfortunately, that all of the four laptops I've bought since then have omitted a line-in jack, forcing me to continue keeping this old desktop on life support. I've looked around for USB sound cards that include a line-in jack, but I haven't been too impressed by the selection. Is the line-in jack doomed to extinction, possibly due to lobbying from vested interests, or are there better thinking-outside-the-box alternatives available?"

+ - $99 Moby Tablet as textbook alternative-> 1

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "Marvell's Moby tablet will be an "always-on, high performance multimedia tablet" capable of full Flash support and 1080p HD playback and supporting WiFi, Bluetooth, FM radio, GPS and both Android and Windows Mobile platforms for maximum flexibility.

Marvell's Moby tablet could eliminate the need for students to buy and carry bound textbooks and an array of other tools.

Actual size and weight vary by configuration, but Marvell's ultra thin and light Moby tablet is expected to hold a full year's worth of books but weigh less than half of one typical textbook.

Read it all at :


Link to Original Source

Music By Natural Selection 164 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the survival-of-the-grooviest dept.
maccallr writes "The DarwinTunes experiment needs you! Using an evolutionary algorithm and the ears of you the general public, we've been evolving a four bar loop that started out as pretty dismal primordial auditory soup and now after >27k ratings and 200 generations is sounding pretty good. Given that the only ingredients are sine waves, we're impressed. We got some coverage in the New Scientist CultureLab blog but now things have gone quiet and we'd really appreciate some Slashdotter idle time. We recently upped the maximum 'genome size' and we think that the music is already benefiting from the change."

Microsoft Game Software Preps Soldiers For Battle 44

Posted by Soulskill
from the blue-screen-of-real-death dept.
coondoggie writes "Soldiers may go into battle better prepared to handle equipment and with a greater knowledge of their surroundings after an intellectual property licensing deal Monday between Microsoft and Lockheed Martin that will deepen the defense giant's access to visual simulation technology. The intellectual property agreement between the two focuses on Microsoft ESP, a games-based visual simulation software platform for the PC."

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking 415

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the over-your-head dept.
explosivejared writes "Humans don't always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply 'wishful thinking.' This paradoxical human behavior has resisted explanation by classical decision theory for over a decade. But now, scientists have shown that a quantum probability model can provide a simple explanation for human decision-making — and may eventually help explain the success of human cognition overall."

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll