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Math

Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun To Calculate Pi 307

Posted by samzenpus
from the less-common-core-math dept.
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Imagine the following scenario. The end of civilization has occurred, zombies have taken over the Earth and all access to modern technology has ended. The few survivors suddenly need to know the value of pi and, being a mathematician, they turn to you. What do you do? According to a couple of Canadian mathematicians, the answer is to repeatedly fire a Mossberg 500 pump action shotgun at a square aluminum target about 20 meters away. Then imagine that the square is inscribed with an arc drawn between opposite corners that maps out a quarter circle. If the sides of the square are equal to 1, then the area of the quarter circle is pi/4. Next, count the number of pellet holes that fall inside the area of the quarter circle as well as the total number of holes. The ratio between these is an estimate of the ratio between the area of the quarter circle and the area of a square, or in other words pi/4. So multiplying this number by 4 will give you an estimate of pi. That's a process known as a Monte Carlo approximation and it is complicated by factors such as the distribution of the pellets not being random. But the mathematicians show how to handle these too. The result? According to this method, pi is 3.13, which is just 0.33 per cent off the true value. Handy if you find yourself in a post-apocalyptic world."
The Internet

How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion 1037

Posted by timothy
from the randi-does-miracles dept.
pitchpipe (708843) points out a study highlighted by MIT's Technology Review, which makes the bold claim that "Using the Internet can destroy your faith. That's the conclusion of a study showing that the dramatic drop in religious affiliation in the U.S. since 1990 is closely mirrored by the increase in Internet use," and writes "I attribute my becoming an atheist to the internet, so what the study is saying supports my anecdote. If I hadn't been exposed to all of the different arguments about religion, etc., via the internet I would probably just be another person who identifies as religious but doesn't attend services. What do you think? Have you become more religious, less religious, or about the same since being on the internet? What if you've always had it?"
Linux

Linux 3.14 Kernel Released 132

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-it-while-it's-hot dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Linux 3.14 "Shuffling Zombie Juror" kernel has been released. Significant improvements to Linux 3.14 include the mainlining of SCHED_DEADLINE, stable support for Intel Broadwell CPU graphics, Xen PVH support, stable support for ZRAM, and many other additions. There's also a tentative feature list on KernelNewbies.org."
Facebook

Minecraft Creator Halts Plans For Oculus Version Following Facebook Acquisition 300

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the rash-decisions dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Not one hour after the announcement of the the acquisition of Oculus Rift by Facebook yesterday, Markus 'Notch' Persson has announced that he has ceased all discussions about bringing it to Oculus Rift. 'I don't want to work with social, I want to work with games. ... Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company. Facebook has a history of caring about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers. People have made games for Facebook platforms before, and while it worked great for a while, they were stuck in a very unfortunate position when Facebook eventually changed the platform to better fit the social experience they were trying to build.' Persson has stated that he made this decision despite initially investing $10,000 in Oculus' Kickstarter."
Bitcoin

Bitcoin's Software Gets Security Fixes, New Features 173

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the don't-modify-that-transaction dept.
itwbennett (1594911) writes "The software driving Bitcoin's network was upgraded Wednesday, with security fixes addressing a problem that defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox blamed for losing nearly half a billion dollars worth of bitcoins. The latest version of bitcoin's software, 0.9.0, contains more than a half dozen fixes for transaction malleability, according to the release notes for the software. Bitcoin Core also contains a new feature for payment requests. Previously, merchants couldn't attach a note describing an invoice, and people also could not supply a refund address to a merchant. The latest version automatically supplies a refund address." This wouldn't have prevented the Mt. Gox implosion since they weren't using the reference implementation. The foundation also renamed the software to "Bitcoin Core" to avoid confusion between Bitcoin-the-network and Bitcoin-the-reference-implementation,
Businesses

Chevron Gives Residents Near Fracking Explosion Free Pizza 207

Posted by samzenpus
from the are-you-mad-now? dept.
Lasrick writes "Chevron hopes that free soda and pizza can extinguish community anger over a fracking well fire in Dunkard Township, Pennsylvania. From the story: 'The flames that billowed out of the Marcellus Shale natural gas well were so hot they caused a nearby propane truck to explode, and first responders were forced to retreat to avoid injury. The fire burned for four days, and Chevron currently has tanks of water standing by in case it reignites. Of the twenty contractors on the well site, one is still missing, and is presumed dead.' The company gave those who live nearby a certificate for a free pizza and some soda."
Games

Ask Slashdot: What Games Are You Playing? 669

Posted by Soulskill
from the pong-2:-the-revenge dept.
An anonymous reader writes "We haven't had this discussion in a while: what games are Slashdotters playing these days? We've recently seen the latest generation of consoles arrive on the scene. Almost exactly a year ago, Valve brought Steam to Linux, and they've been pushing for stronger Linux adoption among game publishers ever since. Mobile gaming continues to rise (for better or worse), MMOs are still sprouting like weeds, and Kickstarted indie games are becoming commonplace. For those of you who play games, what ones have struck your fancy recently? What older games do you keep coming back to? What upcoming releases are you looking forward to?"
EU

ICANN's Cozy Relationship With the US Must End, Says EU 193

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the feeling-left-out dept.
alphadogg writes "The exclusive relationship of ICANN with the U.S. must end, said the European Union's digital agenda chief on Wednesday. California-based ICANN is responsible for the assignment of top-level domains and has a long-standing operating agreement with the U.S. However, following the revelations by Edward Snowden of widespread surveillance of the Internet by the National Security Agency, many countries have questioned the arrangement. The historical relationship, noted in ICANN's Affirmation of Commitments, is outdated and the governance of the Internet must become more global, said the E.U. Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes. Kroes was presenting the European Commission's new policy on Internet governance, which rejects any United Nations or governmental takeover of Internet governance and calls for a move to globalize ICANN."
GUI

Ask Slashdot: Are Linux Desktop Users More Pragmatic Now Or Is It Inertia? 503

Posted by Soulskill
from the beards-give-a-+50%-modifier-to-inertia dept.
David W. White writes "Years ago ago those of us who used any *nix desktop ('every morning when you wake up, the house is a little different') were seen as willing to embrace change and spend hours tinkering and configuring until we got new desktop versions to work the way we wanted, while there was an opposite perception of desktop users over in the Mac world ('it just works') and the Windows world ('it's a familiar interface'). However, a recent article in Datamation concludes that 'for better or worse, [Linux desktop users] know what they want — a classic desktop — and the figures consistently show that is what they are choosing in far greater numbers than GNOME, KDE, or any other single graphical interface.' Has the profile of the Linux desktop user changed to a more pragmatic one? Or is it just the psychology of user inertia at work, when one considers the revolt against changes in the KDE, GNOME, UNITY and Windows 8 interfaces in recent times?"

Comment: Re:The real news (Score 2) 96

by GIL_Dude (#46119919) Attached to: Yahoo Mail Resets Account Passwords After Attack
I actually got a text message the other day (purporting to be Yahoo - turns out it was them) saying that unusual activity had been seen on my account and they had disabled it until I went to the site on a PC. (I hardly ever use it - so this was a surprise - it is just a catch all for crap sites I may have to sign up for to keep them out of my "real" email). Anyway, I have two factor auth turned on (for Google, MS, and Yahoo) so I was surprised to see this. I guess they used the right password, but couldn't pass the two factor test. Just signing on to my account sent me to a special page saying there was unusual activity and having me input my password and a new password (once only; no "type it twice" thing). The new password had to meet some criteria and their regex or whatever they were using is broken beyond belief. It says it must be between 8 and 32 characters, have upper and lower case, and numbers. However, my old password met most of this already and was 8 chars (it was only missing the upper case character). Adding a "Y" to the end did not pass - because apparently that is not an upper case character. Neither is any other upper case character. It looks like they need all of the character types in the first 8 positions in order to accept it. Very poor coding and design on that page. I finally just had KeePass generate a random PW for me and used that.

I think this is a "score one for two factor" moment - but the poor implementation of the "fix" on Yahoo's part was a turn off.
Science

Amherst Researchers Create Magnetic Monopoles 156

Posted by timothy
from the can-we-call-them-dirac's-revenge? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Nearly 85 years after pioneering theoretical physicist Paul Dirac predicted the possibility of their existence, an international collaboration led by Amherst College Physics Professor David S. Hall '91 and Aalto University (Finland) Academy Research Fellow Mikko Möttönen has created, identified and photographed synthetic magnetic monopoles in Hall's laboratory on the Amherst campus. The groundbreaking accomplishment paves the way for the detection of the particles in nature, which would be a revolutionary development comparable to the discovery of the electron." That's quite a step beyond detecting monopoles; the Nature abstract is online, but the full paper is paywalled.
Desktops (Apple)

Apple Macintosh Turns 30 154

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-don't-look-a-day-over-40 dept.
snydeq writes "30 years ago today, Apple debuted the Macintosh. Here are some reviews of the early Mac models, including the Macintosh ('will be compared to other machines not only in terms of its features but also in the light of the lavish claims and promises made by Apple co-founder Steven Jobs'), the Mac SE ('contains some radical changes, including room for a second internal drive and even a fan'), the Mac IIx ('a chorus of yawns'), and the Mac Portable ('you may develop a bad case of the wannas for this lovable [16-lb.] luggable'). Plus insights on the Macintosh II's prospects from Bill Gates: 'If you look at a product like Mac Word III on that full-page display, it's pretty awesome. ... But the corporate buyer is never going to be a strong point for Apple.'" iFixit got their hands on a Mac 128K and did a teardown, evaluating the old hardware for repairability. What will the Mac look like in another 30 years?
Music

Kim Dotcom Just Launched His New Music Service With His Own Album 69

Posted by samzenpus
from the self-promotion dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Dotcom today released his debut album Good Times, which consists of 17 pretty terrible EDM tracks produced by the Mega mogul himself. According to a press release, 'The music celebrates Kim's ever-present philosophy of inspiring people to feel good, have fun and live life to the fullest. Kim was inspired by the Trance and Dance tracks he listened to during his high-speed driving times on the German Autobahn.' It's anything but subtle, as you might guess from an album advertised on the back of a 100-strong fleet of buses. In an interview with Wired at the end of the year Dotcom admitted he sounded 'like crap, obviously,' but added, 'Fortunately there's a thing called Auto-Tune so they make it sound OK.'"

Comment: Re:tl;dr Phonebook? (Score 2, Interesting) 244

by GIL_Dude (#45940465) Attached to: Bennett Haselton: Google+ To Gmail Controversy Missing the Point
Spammers didn't typically scan the phone book and use automated bots to email all the people in it. So although phone books were "databases" they weren't easily accessible with some scripting.

The OP may believe that the Google+ "SPAMagedon" isn't coming - however - I have noticed that, over the last week, I have been added to the "circles" of well over one hundred "accounts". When I click on these, most of them are marketing accounts or sock puppets. Some of the names are clearly marketing: "Angry Birds Lösung 3 Stars Games.J500", "Anime TV and Title Loans Chicago", "Fred's Best Title Loans", etc. Others, when you go look at them, are pretty clearly similar. 10 people have them in circles but they have 5,000+ circled. The posts (if there are any) are just advertisements. Does anybody really think that this was random? I am pretty sure these folks are getting ready to spam using G+. Sure, they will eventually get shut down. But I'd advise people to go change the setting in GMail that allows these folks to send you mail without knowing your gmail account.

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