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New Technology Produces Cheaper Tantalum and Titanium 139

Billy the Mountain writes "A small UK company is bringing new technology online that could reduce the prices of tantalum and titanium ten-fold. According to this piece in The Economist: A tantalising prospect, the key is a technique similar to smelting aluminum with a new twist: The metallic oxides are not melted as with aluminum but blended in powder form with a molten salt that serves as a medium and electrolyte. This technology is known as the FFC Cambridge Process. Other metals include Neodymium, Tungsten, and Vanadium."

Why Smart People Are Stupid 337

nicholast writes "There's a good piece by Jonah Lehrer at the New Yorker about why smart people are often more likely to make cognitive errors than stupid people. The article examines research about the shortcuts that our brains take while answering questions, and explains why even the smartest people take these shortcuts too. Quoting: 'One provocative hypothesis is that the bias blind spot arises because of a mismatch between how we evaluate others and how we evaluate ourselves. When considering the irrational choices of a stranger, for instance, we are forced to rely on behavioral information; we see their biases from the outside, which allows us to glimpse their systematic thinking errors. However, when assessing our own bad choices, we tend to engage in elaborate introspection. We scrutinize our motivations and search for relevant reasons; we lament our mistakes to therapists and ruminate on the beliefs that led us astray. The problem with this introspective approach is that the driving forces behind biases—the root causes of our irrationality—are largely unconscious, which means they remain invisible to self-analysis and impermeable to intelligence. In fact, introspection can actually compound the error, blinding us to those primal processes responsible for many of our everyday failings.'"
Hardware Hacking

24 Rooms in 344sq Feet 178

This is a little unusual for a Slashdot story, but you've got to respect the hacker ethos that makes something like this possible. Gary Chang modified his 344 sq foot apartment with a system of sliding panels to transform it into 24 room combinations. I'm not so excited about the tinted windows, but the functionality is sweet.

Firefox and IE Still Not Getting Along 207

juct writes "Heise describes a new demo showing how Firefox running under Windows XP SP2 can be abused to start applications. For this to work, however, Internet Explorer 7 needs to be installed. This severe security problem promises another round in the 'who-is-to-blame-war' between Mozilla and Microsoft. Mozilla currently is leading the race for a patch, as they have one ready in their bugzilla database. 'The authors of the demo note that there are many further examples of such vulnerabilities via registered URIs. What is so far visible is just "the tip of the iceberg". They state that registered URIs are tantamount to a remote gateway into your computer. To be on the safe side, users should, in the authors' opinion, deregister all unnecessary URIs - without, however, elucidating which are superfluous.'"

SCCS, the source motel! Programs check in and never check out! -- Ken Thompson