hankwang writes "Dutch chemical company DSM announced a new process for production of ethanol from agricultural waste. Most bio-fuel ethanol now is produced from food crops such as corn and sugar cane. Ethanol produced from cellulose would use waste products such as wood chips, citrus peel, and straw. The new process is claimed to increase the yield by a factor of two compared to existing processes, thanks to new enzymes and special yeast strains."
I don't know if anyone has considered the full implications here. If this could be applied to other types of programs, it would end having to upgrade all of your old software any time you upgraded the OS or PC itself beyond a certian point. You'd still need to get functionality upgrades and patches, as no software is absolutely perfect, but this could become an incremental cost to the consumer and a constant revenue stream for companies making the programs in the first place. They would have to only develope one set of code to be used on Mac boxes, MS Windows, Linux boxes, etc. Older programs, whose companies were bought out by other companies, could be dusted off, upgraded for the new compatibility, and sold again, adding whatever upgrades that the user would like to purchase from the company. The issue here would be corporate responsiveness to user requests for upgrades and the amount of time rquired to write the new code. People writing the code would be paid on the basis of how many users buy the new upgrades, as well as how many buy the core product in the first place. The core software would have to be pretty solid to begin with, as any upgrades would have to allow it to perform without issues on a variety of platforms. Programs sold to new users would come with all the previous upgrades built in, (up to a set yearly 'drop dead' date, being the lead date between the load up onto the media that it is being sold on, packaging and shipping, and setup at the stores. (Obviously, advertising time would be added in as well) The core program would be sold with upgrades, and a yearly update package would also be available those who already own the core package, sold on the media of their choice.
Julie188 writes "Researchers from the University of Virginia have found that current algae biofuel production methods consume more energy, have higher greenhouse gas emissions and use more water than other biofuel sources, such as switchgrass, canola and corn. The researchers suggest these problems can be overcome by situating algae production ponds behind wastewater treatment facilities to capture phosphorous and nitrogen — essential algae nutrients that otherwise need to come from petroleum."
Phaethon360 writes "From Bioshock and Modern Warfare 2 to even Team Fortress 2, RPG elements are creeping into game genres that we never imagined they would. This change for the most part has managed to subtly improve upon genres that needed new life, but there's a cost that hasn't been tallied by the majority of game developers. 'The simple act of removing mod tools, along with the much discussed dedicated server issue, has made [MW2] a bit of a joke among competitive players. Gone are the days of "promod," and the only option you have is to play it their way. If Infinity Ward are so insistent on improving the variety of our experiences, they don’t have to do it at the expense of the experience that many of us already love. It really is that simple. If they don’t want to provide a good "back to basics experience," they could at least continue to provide the tools that allow us to do that for ourselves.'"
An anonymous reader sends in a nostalgic piece about Dungeons & Dragons and the influence it's had on games and gamers for the past 36 years. Quoting: "Maybe there was something in the air during the early '70s. Maybe it was historically inevitable. But it seems way more than convenient coincidence that Gygax and Arneson got their first packet of rules for D&D out the door in 1974, the same year Nolan Bushnell managed to cobble together a little arcade machine called Pong. We've never had fun quite the same way since. Looking back, these two events set today's world of gaming into motion — the Romulus and Remus of modern game civilization. For the rest of forever, we would sit around and argue whether games should let us do more or tell us better stories."
garg0yle writes "Police in San Diego were called to investigate an 11-year-old's science project, consisting of 'a motion detector made out of an empty Gatorade bottle and some electronics,' after the vice-principal came to the conclusion that it was a bomb. Charges aren't being laid against the youth, but it's being recommended that he and his family 'get counseling.' Apparently, the student violated school policies — I'm assuming these are policies against having any kind of independent thought?"
Not at all a suprise. However, as much as I am loath to support hairbrained, insufficently researched commentary masquading as valid scientific information, I have to admit, Global Warming is happening. BUT, I have a caveat to this; Global Warming is happening, but not due to the actions of the Human Race. Simply put; the sun is going through a warm period in it's cycle. In fact, if you look back a few years ago, in Slashdot.org's own archives, you will find that there is a place where Global Warming is happening at such a rate that the ice caps will be compleyely gone in a thousand years. The place? The planet Mars. If you look, not just at the enviromental effects that are happening here on Earth, you'll discover that a lot of VERY weird weather is happening on Venus, Mars and even Jupiter, where the Great Red Spot appears to be dying after hundreds of years, only to be replaced with a new Great Spot forming to its' south west. What caused this? Carbon pumped into our atmosphere? Hairspray aresols? Cow farts? No, simply the largest heat engine in our solar system, the sun. Some of you may remember when Mount Penitubo (Sorry about the spelling) blew its' top in the Philipines. This mountain put as much of the various pollutants such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitric acid, CFCs, and sulfur compounds, into the upper stratosphere, as the entire Human Race did in the previous one hundred years. The effect? Global cooling of on the average of three degrees Centigrade for three years. In the week after 9/11, when all the planes were grounded. Due to the fact that the reflective contrails of these aircraft were no longer present, one would expect that the country would warm up slightly, right? Wrong. The average temp dropped by about one and a half degrees Centigrade. Don't believe me? check the archieves right here on Slashdot. I am quoting from the articles all posted here. I'm NOT saying that we shouldn't cut down on pollutants. Quite the opposite, I prefer to breathe clean air and drink clean water. I just hate panic mongers who, in my opinion, lie through their teeth or spin the results of studies I found rather dubious in the first place, to support their cause of the moment. (I also notice how quite frequently, especially when there is massive amounts of snow on the ground, they tend to get REAL quiet. Funny that). So, in a nutshell, (A rather compact place at that) we, both as individuals and as a group, need to get a clue and start researching and thinking for ourselves, for all too often we let the media shape and form our thoughts, ideas and opinions in such a way that it not only does ourselves a disservice, but endangers the futures of our children. Jason A. Witgard III