Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

+ - Europe and China will team up for a space robotic mission->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "China and Europe aim to launch a joint space-science mission by 2021

On Monday (Jan. 19), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the European Space Agency (ESA) issued a call for proposals for a robotic space mission that the two organizations will develop jointly

"The goal of the present Call is to define a scientific space mission to be implemented by ESA and CAS as a cooperative endeavor between the European and Chinese scientific communities," ESA officials wrote in a statement Monday. "The mission selected as an outcome of the present Joint Call will follow a collaborative approach through all the phases: study, definition, implementation, operations and scientific exploitation"

The call envisions a low-budget mission, saying that ESA and CAS are each prepared to contribute about 53 million euros (U.S. $61.5 million at current exchange rates). The spacecraft must weigh less than 661 lbs. (300 kilograms) at launch and be designed to operate for at least two to three years, ESA officials wrote in the call for proposals

All proposals are due by March 16, and the peer-review process will start in April. Mission selection is expected to occur in late 2015, followed by six years of development, with a launch in 2021"

Link to Original Source

+ - When the argument between science and industry was over ozone->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Thanks to the world’s first global environmental treaty, the ozone hole over the Antarctic has stopped growing. Yet for about a decade after Mario Molina and Sherwood Rowland published their 1974 journal article describing the chemical link between CFCs and stratospheric ozone, the fate of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was far from certain, right up to the moment when the Antarctic ozone hole was reported by Joseph Farman and his colleagues in 1985. The similarities to today's climate "debate" are depressing, as the pattern of acceptance, inaction, and the public trashing of scientists is the same: 'The vast majority of scientists who study the problem say that the weight of evidence shows that human activities are driving climate change. A few contrarians, businesses, and political and media pundits say otherwise. The majority of the public is confused by the conflicting messages and has low interest. The greenhouse gas producers, their lobbyists, and the governments that control their energy sectors are stalling, saying that the science is too unsettled and more proof is needed that humans are responsible. At the same time, corporations are examining new technologies and trying to find ways to achieve a competitive advantage and profits." All of this played out over 30 years ago, when ozone was the issue and human-created CFCs were the problem."
Link to Original Source

+ - Scottish scientists slow down speed of light in free space->

Submitted by lightbox32
lightbox32 (1903946) writes "It has generally been thought impossible for particles of light, known as photons, to be slowed as they travel through free space, unimpeded by interactions with any materials.

In a paper published in Science Express, researchers from the Univ. of Glasgow and Heriot-Watt Univ. describe how they have managed to slow photons in free space for the first time. They have demonstrated that applying a mask to an optical beam to give photons a spatial structure can reduce their speed."

Link to Original Source

+ - Doomsday Clock is now 3 minutes to midnight!-> 1

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock two years later, using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet. The decision to move (or to leave in place) the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made every year by the Bulletin's Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 17 Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world's vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and new technologies emerging in other domains. Today, the Clock was moved up 2 minutes; it is now 3 minutes to midnight. Here is the Board's statement on the move."
Link to Original Source

+ - Closer to Self-Destruction? Doomsday Clock Could Move Tomorrow->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "The ominous minute hand of the "Doomsday Clock" has been fixed at 5 minutes to midnight for the past three years. But it could move tomorrow. The clock is a visual metaphor that was created nearly 70 years ago by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, whose Board of Governors boasts 18 Nobel laureates. Each year, the Bulletin's Science and Security Board assesses threats to humanity — with special attention to nuclear warheads and climate change — to decide whether the Doomsday Clock needs an adjustment. The event will be streamed live from the Bulletin's website at 11 am EST."
Link to Original Source

+ - Rebranding the nuclear weapons complex won't reform it->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Robert Alvarez has been all over attempts to pull a rug over the serious issues with safety and security within the US nuclear weapons research and production complex. Here he details how the most recent Congressional Advisory Panel to make recommendations was stacked with people with serious conflicts of interest: 'Given that the panel was dominated by members with ties to weapons contractors, it comes as no surprise that the panel's report advocates a reduction in federal oversight of contractors that run the complex, in effect doubling-down on the least-interference policy that is at the heart of so many weapons complex problems.' Alvarez goes on to name some of those panel members, and to describe escalating costs: 'Since 2006, when management of the weapons labs was transferred from the nonprofit University of California to for-profit entities, administrative fees have jumped by 650 percent at Los Alamos. The bloat in the weapons complex is hardly limited to the national labs; the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Tennessee has excess capacity that is comparable, in size, to two auto assembly plants.' There is an appalling struggle to bring the nuclear weapons complex under control, which is being fought tooth-and-nail by the private contractors who are making a fortune off 'a Cold War urgency that does not reflect the actual relevance of nuclear weaponry in the 21st century.'"
Link to Original Source

+ - What Africa really needs to fight Ebola->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Laura Kahn, a physician on the research staff of Princeton University's Program on Science and Global Security, writes that the high tech solutions being promoted to help fight Ebola in Africa will make no difference. What Africa really needs is anti-corruption efforts, now. 'A case in point is Liberia, which has received billions of dollars in international aid for over a decade, with little to show for it. The country ranks near the bottom of the United Nation’s Human Development Index and near the bottom of Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer. And while international aid groups and non-governmental organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and the International Medical Corps provide important humanitarian assistance and medical care, they also inadvertently absolve African political leaders from developing medical and public health infrastructures.'"
Link to Original Source

+ - SPAM: European countries seek sweeping new powers to curb terrorism

Submitted by cooler-than-ice
cooler-than-ice (3981829) writes "Belgian leaders on Friday sought sweeping new powers to monitor and punish their citizens for involvement with terrorism, joining France in an effort to rewrite laws just hours after dozens of arrests across Europe offered dramatic evidence of the threats security officials say are facing the continent."
Link to Original Source

+ - Ocean Floor Mining May Lead to Mass Extinction->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "There are clear signs already that humans are harming the oceans to a remarkable degree, according to research published in the journal Science.
Overharvesting, warming, and large-scale habitat loss are likely to accelerate as technology advances the human footprint. Ocean floor mining contracts, the paper says, could be the last straw."

Link to Original Source

+ - The Anthropocene Epoch began with 1945 atomic bomb test, scientists say->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "Human behaviour has had a great impact on the Earth and owing to the advancements and human activities since mid-19th century, Scientists have proposed July 16, 1945 as the beginning of the Anthropocene Epoch. According to scientists, ‘the Great Acceleration’ – the period when human activities started having a significant and enormous impact on Earth – can be dubbed as the beginning of the new epoch. Since the ‘Great Acceleration’ there has been a significant increase in population, environmental upheaval on land and oceans and global connectivity. Dr Jan Zalasiewicz and Professor Mark Williams of the Department of Geology, University of Leicester say that human activities are changing the geology “creating new and distinctive strata that will persist far into the future.” The Anthropocene was first proposed by the Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen just 15 years ago and it means the epoch dominated by influence of humans and their activities or the human epoch in short."
Link to Original Source

+ - Ending the assassination and oppression of Iranian nuclear scientists->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Merely for working in their field of expertise, Iranian nuclear scientists face perils and pressures that are nothing less than Shakespearean. The question for them is, in a very real sense, 'to be or not to be.' In the course of the last four decades, these scientists have faced intimidation and severe punishment, including prison terms, at the hands of their own government. In recent years, at least five Iranian nuclear scientists have been the target of assassination attempts often attributed to Israeli intelligence. Regardless of their source, all such threats against scientists are morally indefensible. They offend the scientific spirit, working against the free exchange of ideas that is necessary for humanity to advance. And in the final analysis these threats against scientists in Iran undermine global peace, targeting experts whose international collaboration is required to deal effectively with the nuclear risks facing the world today. Simply put, killing nuclear scientists makes reducing the threat of nuclear war harder, not easier."
Link to Original Source

+ - South Korea broadens censorship to innocuous music videos

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "If you're in South Korea, you now need to verify your age via cell phone to watch this Nomy video that's essentially anti-drugs, or this classic Wu Tang Clang video. It's a fucking embarrassment. If you can click these links and watch the videos without any problem, congratulations, you're not in South Korea.

It's hard to know who's to blame for this. The South Korean government has been championing a clampdown on access to explicit materials such as online porn (via proxy through Christian groups), but at the same time, it's hard to think that these same prudes have actually spent much time listening to early 90s American hip-hop or Swedish rock. More likely, Youtube (and by extension, Google) are now suggesting that perhaps certain songs are best heard by mature audiences, and whatever boolean switch got flipped there meant that if you're in Korea, you've now got to to prove you're old enough to hear such dangerous material.

This is the page you're sent to in order to verify your age for the Wu Tang video, although the TLD ageverification.google.co.kr doesn't take you anywhere. Entering false information to circumvent this bullshit leads to an error message saying "Your phone information is mismatched." which suggests that Google is working with South Korean telecom companies to facilitate the censorship."

Anyone can make an omelet with eggs. The trick is to make one with none.