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Journal: in which i am a noob all over again 17

Journal by CleverNickName

I haven't posted a journal here in almost three years, because I couldn't find the button to start a new entry. ...yeah, it turns out that it's at the bottom of the page.

So... hi, Slashdot. I used to be really active here, but now I mostly lurk and read. I've missed you.

Education

Quantum Physics For Everybody 145

Posted by kdawson
from the this-time-without-the-math dept.
fiziko writes in with a self-described "blatant self-promotion" of a worthwhile service for those wishing to go beyond Khan Academy physics: namely Bureau 42's Summer School. "As those who subscribe to the 'Sci-Fi News' slashbox may know, Bureau 42 has launched its first Summer School. This year we're doing a nine-part series (every Monday in July and August) taking readers from high school physics to graduate level physics, with no particular mathematical background required. Follow the link for part 1."

Comment: Re:Wash your hands! (Score 1) 374

by CleverNickName (#29392669) Attached to: Swine Flu Outbreak At PAX

This is good advice, and gives me an opportunity to speak to the community at large: some of us who go to cons and are in a position to shake tons of hands politely decline. It's not because we're being dicks, it's because we know it's a good way to substantially decrease our chances of catching and spreading any germs.

Comment: Oh, cruel irony (Score 2, Interesting) 374

by CleverNickName (#29392641) Attached to: Swine Flu Outbreak At PAX

I played the PAX Pandemic game, where the Enforcers handed out stickers to attendees that read [Carrier] [Infected] or [Immune] (There was also a [Patient Zero].

I got the [Immune] sticker, and by the time I got home on Monday, it was clear that I had the flu. I've had a fever between 100 and 104 all week that finally broke last night, but I'm going to the doctor today because I think whatever I had settled into my lungs. I'll tell him about the H1N1 outbreak and get tested if he wants to run the test, but at this point I think it's safe to assume that I was [Immune] to the Pig Plague, but definitely [Infected] with the damn PAX pox.

Even though it's been a week of misery, it was entirely worth it, and I don't regret going to PAX for a single second.

Comment: Re:Iron Man's Suit Defies Physics -- Mostly (Score 2, Interesting) 279

by John Carmack (#23266718) Attached to: The Science of Iron Man
Hydrogen peroxide powered rocket packs fly for around 30 seconds, because they have a specific impulse of around 125, meaning that one pound of propellant can make 125 pound-seconds of thrust, meaning that it takes about two pounds of propellant for every second you are in the air. Mass ratios are low for anything strapped to a human, so the exponential nature of the rocket equation can be safely ignored.

A pretty hot (both literally and figuratively) bipropellant rocket could manage about twice the specific impulse, and you could carry somewhat heavier tanks, but two minutes of flight on a rocket pack is probably about the upper limit with conventional propellants.

However, an actual jet pack that used atmospheric oxygen could have an Isp ten times higher, allowing theoretical flights of fifteen minutes or so. Here, it really is a matter of technical development, since jet engines have thrust to weight ratios too low to make it practical. There is movement on this technical front, but it will still take a while.

John Carmack
Mozilla

+ - First look at Mozilla Fennec mobile browser->

Submitted by Big Eared Bob
Big Eared Bob (666) writes "Mozilla has released a prealpha build of mobile browser Fennec and Ars Technica finds it very promising. 'Despite the early state of development, Fennec has some impressive features that reveal significant potential. The biggest win in Fennec's feature set is support for inertial scrolling. Fennec also includes a single-click bookmarking system that is a lot like the one found in Firefox 3. Other advanced features, like support for the AwesomeBar, are planned but not yet implemented.' Ars also discusses Fennec's roadmap with Mozilla Mobile director Jay Sullivan who notes that 'full AJAX support, SQLite, and access to device capabilities from JavaScript' are on the agenda."
Link to Original Source
Privacy

Your Identity Is Worth Less Than $15 178

Posted by kdawson
from the less-than-your-fillings dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "One of the more interesting tidbits in Symantec's Global Internet Threat Report (PDF, 105 pages) is the price sheet, which suggests that someone's 'full identity' is worth in the range of $1-$15. Your email password goes for $4-$30 and your bank account might fetch $10-$1000. With those prices, I wonder how often they pay more for the bank account than is actually in it? There's also an executive summary (PDF, 36 pages)."
Medicine

Alligator Blood May Be Source of New Antibiotics 265

Posted by Zonk
from the darn-tasty-eating-too dept.
esocid writes "Biochemists from McNeese State University have described how proteins in gator blood may provide a source of powerful new antibiotics to help fight infections associated with diabetic ulcers and severe burns. This new class of drug could also crack so-called 'superbugs' that are resistant to conventional medication. Previous studies have showed alligators have an unusually strong immune system; unlike humans, alligator immune systems can defend against microorganisms such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria without having prior exposure to them. Scientists believe that this is an evolutionary adaptation to promote quick wound healing, as alligators are often injured during fierce territorial battles."
Sony

Sony Thinks Blu-ray Will Sell Like DVDs by Year End 434

Posted by Zonk
from the ambitious-planning dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Sony CEO Ryoji Chubachi knows something we don't. At a press conference, he announced Sony's plan to increase Blu-ray market share to 50% of all movie discs by the end of the year. 'DVD and BD currently account for about 80% and 20%, respectively, of global demand for movie discs, Chubachi indicated. The new BD devices to be offered by Sony include models integrating an HD LCD TV with BD recording functionality, Chubachi pointed out. Sony has relied mainly on the PlayStation 3 (PS3) to promote BD, and sales of the game console will increase along with the offering by top Hollywood studios of new BD movies, Chubachi noted. However, Sony will extend its BD promotion from the current focus on the PS3 and BD players/recorders to IT devices, Chubachi pointed out.'"

Comment: John Scalzi on why it won't work (Score 1) 370

by CleverNickName (#21961464) Attached to: Sony's Idea of DRM-Free Music
John Scalzi wrote a hilarious exchange on his blog the sums up perfectly why this idea is made of fail:

Sony BMG spokesperson: We're pleased to announce we are the final major music corporation to release electronic tracks without that pesky DRM! All you have to do is leave your house, go to a selected retail outlet, buy a special card there, go back to your house, scratch off the back of the card to find a code, go to our special MusicPass Web site, enter said code, and download one the 37 titles we have available, from Celine Dion to the Backstreet Boys!

Kid #1: Or, in the time it takes me to jump through all those hoops, I could just download all 37 of those albums off of Pirate Bay.

Kid #2: Or, I could just scratch off the back at the store, record the pin number, go home and download the album through a Tor connection, so you can't trace my IP number.

Kid #1: Also, what's with this first slate of artists? Celine Dion? Backstreet Boys? Kenny Chesney? Barry Manilow? Are you high?
There's much more, but I didn't want to jack his entire post.
Google

+ - The Google Phone is a Reality.

Submitted by
MrCrassic
MrCrassic writes "It appears that Google is initiating talks with well-known PDA/smartphone manufacturer HTC to make the Google phone a reality. With impressive tech specs and an already impressive concept underway , could Google be the next company to make a mark in the wireless device industry? From the main article:

However, a recent report by CrunchGear states that its own sources at mobile handset provider HTC have tipped the site off to multiple gPhone handsets being prepped for launch in the first quarter of 2008 and that the handsets will be coming out of Taiwan. There will supposedly be over 20 different handsets to choose from — some with GPS — and they will carry special versions of Google Maps, Google Calendar, Gmail, and VoIP-enabled Google Talk. Speaking of software, Google is rumored to be developing its own operating system for the gPhone. According to reports by Engadget, the OS has been in development since 2005 after Google's acquisition of a mobile software company called Android. The Android team has since developed a Linux-based mobile OS while at Google — a detail that is corroborated by the CrunchGear report — which of course comes with tight Google integration. Both sites appear to agree that their sources indicate Google isn't currently looking to develop the hardware... for now.
"
Sci-Fi

Simon Pegg to Play Scotty 233

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the take-ship-go-to-mum's-kill-phil-sorry dept.
In response to yesterday's casting news about Chris Pine possibly taking the captain's chair for the new Star Trek movie, apparently Simon Pegg will be playing the role of Scotty. Simon Pegg is known for his role as Shaun in Shaun of the Dead and more recently for his leading role in Hot Fuzz. "Pegg joins Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, John Cho as Sulu and Zachary Quinto as Spock in the film which reportedly, and logically, 'chronicles the early days of the Enterprise crew.' Leonard Nimoy will also put in an appearance, while Eric Bana signed up this week as the movie's villain, Nero."

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