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Police Called Over 11-Year-Old's Science Project 687

Posted by samzenpus
from the duck-and-cover dept.
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?"
Privacy

Maryland Police Put Activists' Names On Terror List 426

Posted by timothy
from the bad-incentive-to-remain-peaceful dept.
aaandre writes with word of a Washington Post story which begins: "The Maryland State Police classified 53 nonviolent activists as terrorists and entered their names and personal information into state and federal databases that track terrorism suspects, the state police chief acknowledged yesterday. The police also entered the activists' names into the federal Washington-Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area database, which tracks suspected terrorists. One well-known antiwar activist from Baltimore, Max Obuszewski, was singled out in the intelligence logs released by the ACLU, which described a 'primary crime' of 'terrorism-anti-government' and a 'secondary crime' of 'terrorism-anti-war protesters.'" According to the article, "Both [former state police superintendent Thomas] Hutchins and [Maryland Police Superintendent Terrence] Sheridan said the activists' names were entered into the state police database as terrorists partly because the software offered limited options for classifying entries." Reader kcurtis adds "The State Police say they are purging the data, but this is one more example (on top of yesterday's news that datamining for terrorists is not feasible due to false positives) of just how badly the use of these lists can be abused."
Space

+ - Reactionless Space Drive

Submitted by
Jeffrey Beer
Jeffrey Beer writes "REACTIONLESS SPACE DRIVE by Jeffrey Beer The device described below, as invented by the author, is intended as a propulsion system for spacecraft. It is able to generate a forward motion without ejecting mass rearward. Name of device: Relativistic Variable Mass Synchrotron What it does: Asymmetrical Momentum Force Generator The "reactionless drive" consists of a circular particle accelerator, a synchrotron. The elecrons would travel around the synchrotron at a constant speed. But, on half of the circuit, the electrons would be made to vibrate in a direction perpendicular to the path being travelled (probably with electrostatic plates), moving as close to the walls as possible with each oscillation. So, there would be a vertical, up-down oscillating movement of the electrons during one-half of their journey around the track. If they were oscillated at near light-speed, their mass would increase over this portion of their journey around the track. Therefore, the momentum generated would be greater on that side of the track and the entire synchrotron would experience a net force in that direction. Of course, with the current technology available, the force would be very small, probably too small to be practical. But, it would still be interesting in that it would demonstrate that a reactionless drive is theoretically possible altogether. The Relativistic Variable Mass Synchrotron is able to generate a net force using the principles of Einstein's relativity theory. It is important to note that the speed of the electrons around the track is not changed. Only their vertical motion is changed over part of the track. This way, their variable mass can be used to generate a unidirectional force. An alternative method would be to have the electrons travel up and down a cylinder with negatively charged electrode plates at each end. After the electrons (or other charged particles) bounced off the bottom electrode, the group of electrons could be made to spin rapidly in a cyclonic fashion just above the inside wall of the cylinder, in a motion perpendicular (horizontal) to the direction of their journey up the cylinder. By being made to spin at near-light speed, their mass would increase. Then, as the electrons bounced off the negatively charged top electrode plate and were sent down the cylinder, the momentum of the impact would be transferred to the cylinder. During their downward journey, the rotating motion of the electrons would be slowed or stopped, thus reducing their mass. They would then be deflected off the bottom electrode, imparting less momentum to the cylinder than they did at the top. Then, after the deflection, the electrons would be accelerated again before bouncing off the top cylinder. Note that mass is not increased or decreased during the acceleration phase, but only during the time when the electrons are coasting. As a result, there would be a net upward force generated on the cylinder, prompting the cylinder to move upward, provided it is not restrained by a gravitational field or other impediment. The principle is the same as with the circular particle accelerator described above. These devices, if perfected, would function as a method of propelling spacecraft without ejecting mass. The End."
Science

New Sub Dives To Crushing Depths 245

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the deeper-and-longer dept.
University of Washington Scientists are reporting that they have a new autonomous underwater vehicle that increases both the attainable depth and duration of deployment over current submersibles. Weighing in at just under 140 pounds, the "Deepglider" is able to stay out to sea for up to a year and hit depths of almost 9,000 feet. "Deepglider opens up new research possibilities for oceanographers studying global climate change. The glider's first trip revealed unexpected warming of water near the ocean floor, and scientists are interested in studying whether the temperatures are related to global warming."
Biotech

+ - British government slashes scientific research

Submitted by asobala
asobala (563713) writes "The British Government has slashed the funding of scientific Research Councils by £68 million. The Research Councils most affected by this include the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, which has been hit by a £29 million reduction in funding, and the Medical Research Council, which is seeing a £10.7 million reduction in funding.

The response of the BBSRC biological research council announces that the council will have to cut 20 new grants and reduce expenditure on new equipment.

This could have major effects on the research output of the UK."
Role Playing (Games)

The History of Computer RPGs 77

Posted by Zonk
from the welcome-to-the-dnd-world dept.
Gamasutra is running a series of articles about the history of CRPGs. The first piece covers the early years, from 1980 to 1983, and deals with with games like mainframe dnd, Wizardry, and Ultima. The follow-up, The Golden Years, touches on the gold box Dungeons and Dragons titles, as well as the Bard's Tale games. "The first Gold Box game is Pool of Radiance, a game which marked an important turning point in CRPG history. The game shipped in a distinctive gold-colored box (hence the nickname for the series), which sported artwork by celebrated fantasy illustrator Clyde Caldwell (Caldwell also designed the covers for Curse of the Azure Bonds and several other TSR-licensed games and books). It was initially available only on the Atari ST and Commodore 64 platforms, though soon ports were available for most major platforms, including the NES."
Microsoft

+ - Windows Vista Validation Problems Arise

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Is there a problem with Windows Vista validation or not? The issue is getting murky. In a recent KnowledgeBase update, entitled "You may be prompted to activate Windows Vista on a computer on which Windows Vista activation was not previously required," Microsoft claims to have fixed what they acknowledge is a system problem. However, two bloggers think there's still an issue. IWeek blogger Alex Wolfe writes that about his own revalidation experience, where a support person hung up on him. And ZDNet's Ed Bott discusses a wave of validation and activation problems. Finally, users themselves are weighing with their problems on Microsoft's own forums. Have you had any problems with WGA? More importantly, do you think this could seriously undermine adoption of Vista?"
Education

+ - free video and audio lectures on science

Submitted by
Scorpio
Scorpio writes "It has plenty of video lectures on all science and technoloy, that includes Computer science, Electronics, VLSI, ASIC design, Networking, maths, Physics, Chemistry,Biology, Psychology, Physiology, anatomy & physiology, aerospace & astronomy, Medicine,webdesigning, Business, leadership, Economics, Genetics etc....."

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.

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