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Science

How Science Goes Wrong 316

Posted by Soulskill
from the frankenstein's-monster,-skynet,-and-bacon-perfume dept.
dryriver sends this article from the Economist: "A simple idea underpins science: 'trust, but verify'. Results should always be subject to challenge from experiment. That simple but powerful idea has generated a vast body of knowledge. Since its birth in the 17th century, modern science has changed the world beyond recognition, and overwhelmingly for the better. But success can breed complacency. Modern scientists are doing too much trusting and not enough verifying — to the detriment of the whole of science, and of humanity. Too many of the findings that fill the academic ether are the result of shoddy experiments or poor analysis (see article). A rule of thumb among biotechnology venture-capitalists is that half of published research cannot be replicated. Even that may be optimistic. Last year researchers at one biotech firm, Amgen, found they could reproduce just six of 53 'landmark' studies in cancer research. Earlier, a group at Bayer, a drug company, managed to repeat just a quarter of 67 similarly important papers. A leading computer scientist frets that three-quarters of papers in his subfield are bunk. In 2000-10 roughly 80,000 patients took part in clinical trials based on research that was later retracted because of mistakes or improprieties. Even when flawed research does not put people's lives at risk — and much of it is too far from the market to do so — it squanders money and the efforts of some of the world's best minds. The opportunity costs of stymied progress are hard to quantify, but they are likely to be vast. And they could be rising."
Security

Ask Slashdot: Mitigating DoS Attacks On Home Network? 319

Posted by timothy
from the send-them-to-your-dial-up-line-instead dept.
First time accepted submitter Gavrielkay writes "We seem to have attracted the attention of some less than savory types in online gaming and now find our home network relentlessly DoSed. We bought a new router that doesn't fall over quite so easily, but it still overwhelms our poor little DSL connection and prevents us web browsing and watching Netflix occasionally. What's worse is that it seems to find us even if we change the MAC address and IP address of the router. Often the router logs IPs from Russia or Korea in these attacks (no packet logging, just a blanket 'DoS attack from...' in the log. But more often lately I've noticed the IPs trace back to Microsoft or Amazon domains. Are they spoofing those IPs? Did they sign us up for something weird there? And how do they find us with a new MAC address and IP within minutes? We're looking for a way to hide from these idiots that doesn't involve going to the Feds, although that is what our ISP suggested. Piles of money for a commercial grade router is out of the question. We are running antivirus and anti-malware programs and haven't seen any evidence of hacked computers so far."
Bug

Tesla Model S Catches Fire: Is This Tesla's 'Toyota' Moment? 388

Posted by timothy
from the electric-boogaloo dept.
cartechboy writes "A Tesla Model S was involved in an accident in Washington state on Tuesday, and the car's battery pack caught fire (with some of it caught on video). The cause of the accident is pretty clear, and Tesla issued a statement that the vehicle hit 'a large metallic object in the middle of the road.' Whether that collision immediately set off a fire in the Model S's battery pack isn't known, but a report from the Regional Fire Authority of Kent, Washington went into detail on the battery pack fire saying the car's lithium-ion battery was on fire when firefighters arrived, and spraying water on it had little effect. Firefighters switched to a dry chemical extinguisher and had to puncture numerous holes into the battery pack to extinguish it completely. Aside from the details of how the battery fire happened and was handled, the big question is what effect it will have on how people view Teslas in the near and middle-term. Is this Tesla's version of 2010's high profile Prius recall issue where pundits and critics took the opportunity to stir fears of the cars new technology?"
United States

President of Brazil Lashes Out At NSA Espionage Programs In Speech To UN 260

Posted by Soulskill
from the heavy-fallout-for-some-awful-powerpoint-slides dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The Guardian reports that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff launched a blistering attack on US espionage at the UN general assembly, accusing the NSA of violating international law by its indiscriminate collection of personal information of Brazilian citizens and economic espionage targeted on the country's strategic industries. 'Personal data of citizens was intercepted indiscriminately. Corporate information – often of high economic and even strategic value – was at the center of espionage activity,' said Rousseff. 'Brazilian diplomatic missions, among them the permanent mission to the UN and the office of the president of the republic itself, had their communications intercepted.' Rousseff's angry speech was a direct challenge to President Barack Obama, who was waiting in the wings to deliver his own address to the UN general assembly, and represented the most serious diplomatic fallout to date from the revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Washington's efforts to smooth over Brazilian outrage over NSA espionage have so far been rebuffed by Rousseff, who has proposed that Brazil build its own internet infrastructure. 'Friendly governments and societies that seek to build a true strategic partnership, as in our case, cannot allow recurring illegal actions to take place as if they were normal. They are unacceptable.'"
Technology

3D-Printed Gun May Be Unveiled Soon 625

Posted by samzenpus
from the print-and-shoot dept.
colinneagle writes "A 3D-printed gun capable of firing multiple rounds may be unveiled soon. Cody Wilson, the 25-year-old founder and director of nonprofit organization Defense Distributed, recently told Mashable that the end product of Wiki Weapon, the initiative to create an operational 3D-printed gun, may soon be ready to unveil to the public. In a March interview with CNN, Wilson said he hoped to have a printable gun ready by the end of April, so his most recent comments suggest that he may fulfill that promise. While Wilson was sparse with details, he did tell Mashable that the prototype would be a handgun consisting of 12 parts made out of ABS+ thermoplastic, which is known for its durability and is commonly used in industrial settings. The firing pin would be the only steel component of the 3D-printed gun, which will be able to withstand a few shots before melting or breaking. Wilson reportedly anticipates making an official announcement soon."
Earth

No Transmitting Aliens Detected In Kepler SETI Search 197

Posted by timothy
from the romantic-illusions dept.
astroengine writes "By focusing the Green Bank radio telescope on stars hosting (candidate) exoplanets identified by NASA's Kepler space telescope, it is hoped that one of those star systems may also play host to a sufficiently evolved alien race capable of transmitting radio signals into space. But in a study headed by ex-SETI chief Jill Tarter, the conclusion of this first attempt is blunt: 'No signals of extraterrestrial origin were found.' But this is the just first of the 'directed' SETI searches that has put some very important limits on the probability of finding sufficiently advanced alien civilizations in our galaxy."
Crime

Baltimore Issued Speed Camera Ticket To Motionless Car 286

Posted by Soulskill
from the cameras-take-into-account-the-rotation-of-the-earth dept.
SternisheFan sends this story from the Baltimore Sun: "The Baltimore City speed camera ticket alleged that the four-door Mazda wagon was going 38 miles per hour in a 25-mph zone — and that owner Daniel Doty owed $40 for the infraction. But the Mazda wasn't speeding. It wasn't even moving. The two photos printed on the citation as evidence of speeding show the car was idling at a red light with its brake lights illuminated. A three-second video clip also offered as evidence shows the car motionless, as traffic flows by on a cross street. Since the articles' publication, several lawmakers have called for changes to the state law that governs the way the city and other jurisdictions operate speed camera programs. Gov. Martin O'Malley said Tuesday that state law bars contractors from being paid based on the number of citations issued or paid —an approach used by Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County and elsewhere. 'The law says you're not supposed to charge by volume. I don't think we should charge by volume,' O'Malley said. "If any county is, they need to change their program.'"
The Internet

The State of In-Flight Wi-Fi 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the cat-pictures-in-the-sky dept.
CowboyRobot writes "Byte magazine gives a run-down of the current state of Internet access on airplanes. 'All of the services function in basically the same way. They provide connectivity to the public Internet via a Wi-Fi hotspot accessible from the cabin of the aircraft. This in-cabin network may also be used to provide in-flight entertainment services ranging from television network feeds to movies and canned TV shows available from an on-board media server connected to the network. In the U.S., the Internet connectivity is available when the aircraft is above 10,000 feet and is turned off during take-offs and landings. Gogo, the current market leader, provides connectivity to aircraft via a network of 250 dedicated cell towers that it has built nationwide. Fundamentally, it offers the same type of connectivity you would expect to see on a standard 3G-capable phone. The connection is limited in speed to just over 3 Mbps — and all users on the plane share this one connection.'"

Comment: Re:what kind of use counts? (Score 4, Interesting) 272

by Kegetys (#38344486) Attached to: The oldest hard drive I'm still using is ...

It looks like this: http://junk.kegetys.net/xzy/quantum_clock.jpg

I have seen similar clocks made so that the platters are visible and the clock hands are made out of the read heads. That way it looks better, mine is just quick hack job out of clock parts I had lying around that happened to fit inside the drive casing :)

Comment: Re:Not stereo "3D", head tracking. 3D. (Score 1) 190

by Kegetys (#33487944) Attached to: The New Difficulties In Making a 3D Game

Dedicated head trackers like TrackIR and Freetrack have allowed this for quite some time now.

> When this is done well, the visual effect is spectacular. [youtube.com]

This "window" effect only really works if you close one of your eyes though. In a video it looks good since you have no depth perception, but when you look at something like this with both eyes you constantly see that it is just a flat surface that is displaying a moving image and the wanted effect largely goes away.

Comment: Re:Quite impressive, but still fundamentally flawe (Score 1) 273

by Kegetys (#32655948) Attached to: Adobe Flash Player 10.1 Arrives For Android

> It's pretty crappy when you have to switch to "virtual cursor" mode in order to interact with a site. That's really going to win users over.

Yes, it is crappy design - from whoever designed the website (flash or not, it applies to some javascript things too). As a user I do prefer to have the capability to use such websites if I ever need to, even if it means an extra tap to turn a special feature on. Its a small annoyance compared to not being able to use the site at all because the device/software isn't capable of providing a compatible interface.

Comment: Re:Quite impressive, but still fundamentally flawe (Score 3, Informative) 273

by Kegetys (#32655152) Attached to: Adobe Flash Player 10.1 Arrives For Android

> You also can't drag anything because this just scrolls the website.

The N900 has a special "cursor mode" that, when enabled, changes the dragging from scrolling to moving a virtual cursor that allows sending drag events to the browser (flash or javascript). I'd guess android could have something similar added if it doesn't have it already.

Comment: Re:Jumbotron (Score 1) 386

by Kegetys (#32530804) Attached to: For Normals, Jobs' "Retina Display" Claim May Be Fair After All

> 66 ppi isn't a "little bit denser". It's a 25% increase, which is huge for a mature
> technology. At this size, nothing even close to this density has yet been achieved.

The Toshiba Portege G900 came out in 2007 and it has a 311dpi display, same for the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 in 2008. So in 3 years the increase is about 5%, not 25%.

There's got to be more to life than compile-and-go.

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