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Submission + - New Zealand Passes Law Exempting Software from Patents (

Kotukunui writes: The New Zealand Government has passed a bill into law which exempts software from Patent protection, potentially reducing the burden of patent infringement risk when developing new software. The law was drafted in 2008 and has taken 5 years to come through the law-making process.
The Almighty Buck

Boy Finds £2.5M Gold Locket With Metal Detector 169

Instead of bottle caps and ridicule from his peers, 3-year-old James Hyatt found a locket worth millions with his metal detector. James and his dad found the gold locket last May in Essex. Since then the 500-year-old treasure has been appraised at around £2.5million. From the article: "James’s father Jason, 34, said: ‘My son is one of the luckiest people ever. If we go to the doctors he’ll put his hand down the side of the sofa and pull out a tenner.’"
The Military

Russian Army Upgrades Its Inflatable Weapons 197

jamax writes "According to the BBC: 'The Russian military has come up with an inventive way to deceive the enemy and save money at the same time: inflatable weapons. They look just like real ones: they are easy to transport and quick to deploy. You name it, the Russian army is blowing it up: from pretend tanks to entire radar stations.' But the interesting thing is these decoys are not dumb - actually they appear to be highly advanced for what I thought was a WWII-grade aerial photography countermeasures. Apparently they have heat signatures comparable with the military tech they represent, as well as the same radar signature."

Cheap Cancer Drug Finally Tested In Humans 363

John Bayko writes "Mentioned on Slashdot a couple of years ago, the drug dichloroacetate (DCA) has finally finished its first clinical trial against brain tumors in humans. Drug companies weren't willing to test a drug they could not patent, so money was raised in the community through donations, auctions, and finally government support, but the study was still limited to five patients. It showed extremely positive results in four of them. This episode raises the question of what happens to all the money donated to Canadian and other cancer societies, and especially the billions spent buying merchandise with little pink ribbons on it, if not to actual cancer research like this."

California's Santa Clara County Bans Happy Meal Toys 756

WrongSizeGlass writes "The L.A. Times is reporting that Santa Clara County officials have voted to ban toys and other promotions that restaurants offer with high-calorie children's meals. 'This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children's love of toys' to sell high-calorie, unhealthful food, said Supervisor Ken Yeager, who sponsored the measure. 'This ordinance breaks the link between unhealthy food and prizes.' Supervisor Donald Gage, who voted against the measure, said, 'If you can't control a 3-year-old child for a toy, God save you when they get to be teenagers.' The vote was 3 - 2 in favor of the ban."

The Neo-Geo Song 70

At least 50% of my paychecks would be converted into tokens and put into one of many Neo-Geo machines at the arcade when I was in high school. It's good that my favorite old games finally have an anthem.

NASA Tests Flying Airbag 118

coondoggie writes "NASA is looking to reduce the deadly impact of helicopter crashes on their pilots and passengers with what the agency calls a high-tech honeycomb airbag known as a deployable energy absorber. So in order to test out its technology NASA dropped a small helicopter from a height of 35 feet to see whether its deployable energy absorber, made up of an expandable honeycomb cushion, could handle the stress. The test crash hit the ground at about 54MPH at a 33 degree angle, what NASA called a relatively severe helicopter crash."

Comment Re:Credit Card miles (Score 1) 408

In New Zealand, the Air Traffic Control system has been contracted out to a company called Airways. You pay fees to the company whenever you go to a towered airport or fly IFR. They send a bill to the registered owner of the plane. It is entirely "user-pays". In the USA it is my understanding that the services are not "given away freely" but are provided though a taxpayer-funded agency. That way it doesn't cost flyers a separate fee but everyone (even non-flyers) pays a bit through their taxes. I try to avoid going to towered airports but the odd fee here and there doesn't hurt too much.

Comment Re:North Korea (Score 1) 609

North Korea is stuck on an island with enemies to the south.

A metaphorical island, perhaps?

Last time I looked at an atlas, the Korean peninsula was firmly attached to China.

Or it is the tail on the rump of the Chinese dragon. (metaphorically speaking)

Comment Re:Oscar betrays its Western centerednes (Score 1) 317

Danny Boyle wasn't a bankable name, or, indeed, a successful director.

I think you must be talking about a different Danny Boyle. Maybe his profile isn't so high in the US but maybe you should look him up on IMDb. He has directed a number of successful movies. If that doesn't make him bankable then I don't know what does.

Comment Re:What the FUCK is this doing on Slashdot?!? (Score 1) 317

Directors, special affects artists, and maybe writers, yes. But good acting isn't hard to come by. Acting is pretty easy, and there are lots of great actors who are never given the opportunity to work with the best directors, producers, or writers.

Yes, acting IS easy...

However, GOOD acting is hard work and requires talent and commitment.

I'm not breathless with excitement over the results of the Oscars but I do realise that those nominated are usually there for a good reason.

MSDOS is not dead, it just smells that way. -- Henry Spencer