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


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - 6 month subscription of Pandora One at 46% off. ×

"Severe Abnormalities" Found In Fukushima Butterflies 189

Dupple writes "The collapse of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant caused a massive release of radioactive materials to the environment. A prompt and reliable system for evaluating the biological impacts of this accident on animals has not been available. This study suggests the accident caused physiological and genetic damage to the pale grass blue Zizeeria maha, a common lycaenid butterfly in Japan. We collected the first-voltine adults in the Fukushima area in May 2011, some of which showed relatively mild abnormalities. The F1 offspring from the first-voltine females showed more severe abnormalities, which were inherited by the F2 generation. Adult butterflies collected in September 2011 showed more severe abnormalities than those collected in May. Similar abnormalities were experimentally reproduced in individuals from a non-contaminated area by external and internal low-dose exposures. We conclude that artificial radionuclides from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant caused physiological and genetic damage to this species."

Third Blast At Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Plant 691

iamrmani was one of several people reporting updates on the Fukushima Nuclear plant that has been struggling following last Friday's disaster. A third explosion (Japanese) has been reported, along with other earlier information. MSNBC has a story about similiar reactors in the US. We also ran into a story which predicts that there won't be significant radiation. But already Japan is facing rolling blackouts, electricity rationing, evacuating the area around the plant, and thousands dead already.

Nanomaterials More Dangerous Than We Think 239

bshell writes "A Canadian panel of leading scientists warns that nanomaterials appearing in a rapidly growing number of products might potentially be able to enter cells and interfere with biological processes. According to a story in the Globe and Mail, the Council of Canadian Academies concluded that 'there are inadequate data to inform quantitative risk assessments on current and emerging nanomaterials... Their small size, the report says, may allow them "to usurp traditional biological protective mechanisms" and, as a result, possibly have "enhanced toxicological effects."' The council is an independent academic advisory group funded by the federal government, but operating at arms-length from Ottawa. The 16-member panel that wrote the new report included some of Canada's leading scientists and top international experts on nanomaterials."

Multiple Security Holes In Ruby 1.8, 1.9 148

ruphus13 notes a six-pack of serious vulnerabilities discovered in Ruby by a member of Apple's security team, Drew Yao. Patches are linked from the ruby-lang.org advisory. "With the following vulnerabilities, an attacker can lead to denial of service condition or execute arbitrary code... These vulnerabilities are likely to crop up in just about any average ruby web application. And by 'crop up' I mean 'crop up exploitable from trivial user-specified parameters.' It's not hard to begin imagining cases where Ruby/Rails programmers use code similar to the samples above to routinely handle user input."
The Courts

SCO Vs. Groklaw 477

Conrad Mazian points us to an article in Forbes reporting that the SCO Group is trying to subpoena Pamela Jones of Groklaw. Except they can't find her. A few days ago PJ posted a note on Groklaw saying that she is taking some time away from the blog for health reasons; she didn't mention any SCO deposition. SCO's lawyers apparently believe that "Pamela Jones" does not exist and that Groklaw is penned by a team of IBM lawyers.
Linux Business

10 Years of Pushing For Linux — and Giving Up 857

boyko.at.netqos writes "Jim Sampson at Network Performance Daily writes about his attempts over a decade to get Linux working in a business/enterprise environment, but each time, he says, something critical just didn't work, and eventually, he just gave up. The article caps with his attempts to use Ubuntu Edgy Eft — only to find a bug that still prevented him from doing work." Quoting: "For the next ten years, I would go off and on back to this thought: I wanted to support the Open Source community, and to use Linux, but every time, the reality was that Linux just was not ready... Over the last six years, I've tried periodically to get Linux working in the enterprise, thinking, logically, that things must have improved. But every time, something — sometimes something very basic — prevented me from doing what I needed to do in Linux."
The Internet

Bill to Treat Bloggers as Lobbyists Defeated 537

Lawrence Person writes "The attempt to require political bloggers to register as lobbyists previously reported by Slashdot has been stripped out of the lobbying reform bill. The vote was 55 to 43 to defeat the provision. All 48 Republicans, as well as 7 Democrats, voted against requiring bloggers to register; all 43 votes in favor of keeping the registration provision were by Democrats."

Hydrogen Won't Save Our Economy 723

anaesthetica writes "Physorg.com is featuring a story asserting that hydrogen is economically infeasible as a replacement for our current energy sources. The premise is that isolating and converting hydrogen into a usable energy source takes up a great deal of energy to begin with, and that subsequently converting that hydrogen fuel into usable energy results in an overall efficiency of only about 25%. Apparently, the increasing scarcity of water is going to make hydrogen too costly and just as politicized as oil." From the article: "[Fuel cell expert Ulf Bossel's] overall energy analysis of a hydrogen economy demonstrates that high energy losses inevitably resulting from the laws of physics mean that a hydrogen economy will never make sense. The advantages of hydrogen praised by journalists (non-toxic, burns to water, abundance of hydrogen in the Universe, etc.) are misleading, because the production of hydrogen depends on the availability of energy and water, both of which are increasingly rare and may become political issues, as much as oil and natural gas are today."

Why is OSS Commercial Software So Expensive? 718

An anonymous reader asks: "Our startup honestly wanted to use OSS products. We do not want to spend time for any OSS bug fixing so our main requirement was -official support for all OSS products-. We thought were prepared to pay the price for OSS products, but then we got a price sticker shock. Now behold: QT is $3300 per seat. We have dropped the development and rewrote everything to C# (MSVS 2005 is ~$700). Embedded Linux from a reputable RT vendor is $25,000 per 5 seats per year. We needed only 3 seats. We had to buy 5 nevertheless. The support was bad. We will go for VxWorks or WinCE in our next product. Red Hat Linux WS is $299. An OEM version of Windows XP Pro is ~$140. A Cygwin commercial license will cost tens of thousands of dollars and is only available for large shops. We need 5 seats. Windows Unix services are free. After all, we have decided that the survival of our business is more important for us then 'do-good' ideas. Except for that embedded Linux (slated for WinCE or VxWorks substitution), we are not OSS shop anymore." Why are commercial ports of OSS software so expensive, and what would need to happen before they could be competitive in the future?

Not As Wiki As It Used To Be 349

jonney02 writes "The BBC NEWS is running a story about how Wikipedia plans to take back control due to the recent onslaught of malformed articles." It's always been a scary balance between allowing total anonymous participation in a web forum, and preventing yourself from being overrun. I don't envy the Wikipedia designers one bit.

Biofuel Production to Cause Water Shortages? 413

WED Fan writes "Scientists meeting in Stockholm are reporting that increased food and biofuel production will place higher demand upon irrigation and water resources." From the article: "Demand for irrigation -- which absorbs about 74 percent of all water used by people against 18 percent for hydro-power and other industrial uses and just 8 percent for households -- was likely to surge by 2050. Many nations are also shifting to produce biofuels -- from sugarcane, corn or wood -- as a less polluting alternative to fossil fuels. Oil prices at $75 a barrel and worries about global warming are driving the shift."

Korea's Online Aggression a Taste of the Future? 309

DerGeist writes "Imagine your life ruined by an organized mob that convicts with scant, unreliable evidence. Fueled only by hearsay and rumors, an invisible horde of your fellow citizens begins bombarding your snailbox, email, phone, work, school and family with threats, insults and general harassment. You are forced to drop out of school and quit your job as a result of constant attacks. You are shunned and ridiculed in public as anywhere you go, you are instantly recognized. Although it may seem to be just a second-rate Hollywood nightmare scenario reminiscent of "The Net," this sort of "organized mob" justice is being dealt out freely in South Korea where net usage is booming. So freely, in fact, that almost 1 in 10 of 13-65 year-olds has felt its sting. Could this trend hit the U.S.? Will policing net behavior eventually become necessary?"

Is Open Source too Complex? 356

Jason Pillai writes to tell us ZDNet is reporting that at last month's Microsoft Worldwide Parter Conference in Boston Ryan Gavin, director of platform strategy, claimed that one of the big downsides to open source is complexity. From the article: "Gavin noted that the flexibility of open-source software in meeting specific business needs also means systems integrators and ISVs have to grapple with complexity costs. 'It's challenging for partners to build competencies to support Linux, because you never quite know what you're going to be supporting,' he added. 'Customers who run Linux could be operating in Red Hat, [Novell's] Suse, or even customized Debian environments,' he explained. 'You don't get that repeatable [development] process to build your business over time.'" More than once I have had complaints that my setup is more difficult than necessary. Is open source really that much harder, or just different than what most are used to?

Epic's Mark Rein Not an Episodic Fan 55

Next Generation reports on comments by Epic Games VP Mark Rein, a man who doesn't like the phenomenon of episodic content. At the Develop Conference in Brighton, England he railed against the trend in game design during a keynote speech. He also covered topics such as the costs of next-gen game design, and the ways in which Intel has done disservice to the game development community. From the article: "He said that episodic games could never compete will full-priced products. 'They're competing against massive marketing budgets. Distribution without marketing is worthless. You can't buy retail marketing with a wholesale price of $15.' He added, 'Full-price games have a cohesive start, middle and end.' Rein acknowledged that the game industry already has an episodic model through game sequels, such as Madden, Zelda and Final Fantasy. He said these work because they are full-price and backed by marketing."

Use the Force, Luke.