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Comment No the balloons wont burn (Score -1) 48

@@@Re:No the balloons wont burn because they can be placed under the hovering launch platform. @@@Also, the hydrogen can be compressed using solar panels for energy to reduce buoyancy for coming down and not loosing the gas.. @@@If the whole platform is designed like a gigantic glider shape then we can also maneuver it when it comes down. @@@The only question is, what are the size limits for building such a launch platform for taking max heavy rockets.

Linux As a Model For a New Government? 509

An anonymous reader writes "The hedge fund investor who prided himself on achieving 1000% returns, Andrew Lahde, wrote a goodbye letter to mark his departure from the financial world. In it, he suggests people think about building a new government model, and his suggestion is to have someone like George Soros fund a new government that brings together the best and brightest minds in a manner where they're not tempted by bribery. In doing so, he refers to how Linux grows and competes with Microsoft. An open source government. How would such a system work, and could it succeed? How long before it became corrupt? Would it need a benevolent dictator (Linus vs. Soros)?"

Climate Change Finally Impacts Important Industry 405

Socguy writes "According to a New Zealand scientist, Jim Salinger, the price of beer in and around Australia is going to be under increasing upward pressure as reductions in malting barley yields are experienced as a side effect of our ongoing climate shift. "It will mean either there will be pubs without beer or the cost of beer will go up," Mr. Salinger told the Institute of Brewing and Distilling convention."

UK ISP Admitted to Spying on Customers 163

esocid writes "BT, an ISP located in the UK, tested secret spyware on tens of thousands of its broadband customers without their knowledge, it admitted yesterday. The scandal came to light only after some customers stumbled across tell-tale signs of spying. At first, they were wrongly told a software virus was to blame. BT said it randomly chose 36,000 broadband users for a 'small-scale technical trial' in 2006 and 2007. The monitoring system, developed by U.S. software company Phorm, formerly known as 121Media, known for being deeply involved in spyware, accesses information from a computer. It then scans every website a customer visits, silently checking for keywords and building up a unique picture of their interests. Executives insisted they had not broken the law and said no 'personally identifiable information' had been shared or divulged."

Net Neutrality Debate Intensifies In Canada 163

MrShaggy tips us to news that the debate over Net Neutrality in Canada is coming to the forefront following the recent discovery that Bell Canada was throttling P2P traffic on the access it had sold to wholesalers. Michael Geist's blog notes a video recording of comments from a member of the Canadian government, as well as coverage from Canadian media. From Ars Technica: "The Canadian government has in the past pushed the CRTC to deregulate the telecom industry, an approach still backed by Minister of Industry Jim Prentice. Prentice also wants to stay out of the current net neutrality debate, which would seem to be a de facto vote against the idea. He was asked in the House of Commons this week whether his government would do anything about the current Bell/Rogers traffic-shaping controversy. According to the Globe & Mail, Prentice said only that "we will continue to leave the matter between consumers on the one hand and Internet service providers on the other."
Book Reviews

A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux 171

r3lody writes "Finding a single book that encompasses what you want to learn can be difficult. Most cover a few portions of a subject in depth and skim over (or omit) others. Other books will cover each topic at about the same level: high enough to give an impression of what can be done, but not with enough depth to do it without a lot of effort. In A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux, Mark G. Sobell has created a single volume that gives the reader enough information to effectively install, configure and run workstations and servers using Ubuntu Linux. He has come the closest I have seen to containing all of the necessary information without being too shallow. Granted, to include everything you would want to know about Ubuntu Linux would take several books of this size, but this particular one provides most users the best bang for the buck. A DVD with the Gutsy Gibbon release of Ubuntu in a directly bootable form is included with the book." Read below for the rest of Ray's review.

Open Source Patent Donations? 185

patspam writes "As a software engineer I come up with patentable ideas every now and then, ideas which I'm not interested in pursuing myself but which I'd like to keep out of the hands of private entities/patent trolls in my own personal effort to defeat software patents. Should I patent the ideas and donate them to some sort of open source foundation? Or just blog about the ideas so that the 'prior art' exists in the public domain? What's your strategy for fighting against restrictive software patents?"

A Super-Efficient Light Bulb 468

Chroniton writes with news of a Silicon Valley company, Luxim, that has developed a tiny, full-spectrum light bulb, based on a plasma of argon gas, that gives off as much light as a streetlight while using less power. The Tic Tac-sized bulb operates at temperatures up to 6000K and produces 140 lumens/watt, almost ten times as efficient as standard incandescent lamps, and twice the efficiency of high-end LEDs. The new bulbs also have a lifetime of 20,000 hours. There's no mention of mercury or other heavy metals, which pose a problem for compact fluorescents.
The Courts

FBI Posts Fake Hyperlinks To Trap Downloaders of Illegal Porn 767

mytrip brings us a story from about an FBI operation in which agents posted hyperlinks which advertised child pornography, recorded the IP addresses of people who clicked the links, and then tracked them down and raided their homes. The article contains a fairly detailed description of how the operation progressed, and it raises questions about the legality and reliability of getting people to click "unlawful" hyperlinks. Quoting: "With the logs revealing those allegedly incriminating IP addresses in hand, the FBI sent administrative subpoenas to the relevant Internet service provider to learn the identity of the person whose name was on the account--and then obtained search warrants for dawn raids. The search warrants authorized FBI agents to seize and remove any "computer-related" equipment, utility bills, telephone bills, any "addressed correspondence" sent through the U.S. mail, video gear, camera equipment, checkbooks, bank statements, and credit card statements. While it might seem that merely clicking on a link wouldn't be enough to justify a search warrant, courts have ruled otherwise. On March 6, U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt in Nevada agreed with a magistrate judge that the hyperlink-sting operation constituted sufficient probable cause to justify giving the FBI its search warrant."

New X-Prize for Fuel Efficient Cars Announced 371

miowpurr writes "A new X-Prize for ultra fuel efficient cars has been announced. The winning car must 'carry four or more passengers and have climate control, an audio system and 10 cubic feet of cargo space. They also must have four or more wheels, hit 60 miles per hour in less than 12 seconds and have a minimum top speed of 100 miles per hour and a range of 200 miles. Those that qualify will race their vehicles in cross-country races in 2009 and 2010 that will combine speed, distance, urban driving and overall performance.'"

MIT's Nano Storage Could Replace Hybrid Batteries 191

mattnyc99 writes "Last week we discussed Popular Mechanics' reporting from MIT, but missed one of the coolest breakthrough of all, something scientists have been working on quietly as Detroit spends money elsewhere. The Lab for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems has been doing some mega-efficient work with ultracapacitors, which store drastically less energy than a battery but have essentially none of the drawbacks — especially via carbon nanotube arrays. Automotive experts say the new research is enough to start replacing batteries in hybrid cars, and plug-in vehicles might not be far behind. From the scientist who thinks ultracapacitors are potential competitors for the pack in his Toyota Prius: 'I try to contain myself, because it hasn't been proven yet, but it could be a real paradigm change.'"

Pirates Find Proper Way to Crack Vista's Activation Schema 213

El_Oscuro writes "A genuine crack for Windows Vista has been released by pirate group Pantheon. The exploit allows a pirated, non-activated installation of Vista (Home Basic/Premium and Ultimate) to be properly activated and made fully-operational. 'It seems that Microsoft has allowed large OEMs like ASUS to ship their products with a pre-installed version of Vista that doesn't require product activation — apparently because end users would find it too inconvenient.'"

Researchers Discover Gene That Blocks HIV 333

stemceller writes to tell us that a team of researchers at the University of Alberta claims to have discovered a gene capable of blocking HIV thereby preventing the onset of full blown AIDS. "Stephen Barr, a molecular virologist in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, says his team has identified a gene called TRIM22 that can block HIV infection in a cell culture by preventing the assembly of the virus. 'When we put this gene in cells, it prevents the assembly of the HIV virus," said Barr, a postdoctoral fellow. "This means the virus cannot get out of the cells to infect other cells, thereby blocking the spread of the virus.'"

Firefox 3 Performance Gets a Boost 550

jason writes "Mozilla has been working hard at making Firefox 3 faster than its predecessor, and it looks like they might be succeeding. They've recently added some significant JavaScript performance improvements that beat out all of the competition, including Opera 9.5 Beta. And it comes out to be about ten times faster than Internet Explorer 7! Things are really starting to fall into place for Firefox 3 Beta 4 which should be available in the next week or two."

Let's organize this thing and take all the fun out of it.