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Jetman Attempts Intercontinental Flight 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-jetwing-and-a-prayer dept.
Last year we ran the story of Yves Rossy and his DIY jetwings. Yves spent $190,000 and countless hours building a set of jet-powered wings which he used to cross the English Channel. Rossy's next goal is to cross the Strait of Gibraltar, from Tangier in Morocco and Tarifa on the southwestern tip of Spain. From the article: "Using a four-cylinder jet pack and carbon fibre wings spanning over 8ft, he will jump out of a plane at 6,500 ft and cruise at 130 mph until he reaches the Spanish coast, when he will parachute to earth." Update 18:57 GMT: mytrip writes: "Yves Rossy took off from Tangiers but five minutes into an expected 15-minute flight he was obliged to ditch into the wind-swept waters."
Portables

Portables Without Cameras? 442

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-does-my-toothbrush-have-a-camera dept.
crankyspice writes "I work routinely in environments where a camera cannot physically be present (e.g., federal court), which really limits what I can carry with me. For instance, I'm a Mac guy, but there's no way to order a MacBook without a built-in webcam (which I've never used on the machines I've owned that have had one). Ditto the iPhone. I'm left with a BlackBerry 8830 and the bottom rung of the [W|L]Intel portables. Even then, when I ordered a Dell Mini 9, I had to wait more than a month because I specified no webcam when I placed the order. This is a relatively common (government, law, sensitive corporate environments) requirement; what have other Slashdotters done? Disabling the camera with a script or somesuch won't convince the $12/hour security guard that there's no camera. How can one easily find portable devices without a built-in camera?"
Power

"Vetrolium" From Agricultural Waste 438

Posted by kdawson
from the six-gallons-from-a-bushel dept.
junctionvin writes "The company Sustainable Power Corp. claims to have created a form of bio-crude oil from agricultural refuse. They use agro-waste from cracked soy beans, rice and cotton seed hulls, grain sorghum, milo, and jatropha and turn it into bio-crude oil. This crude can then be further refined into everything from gasoline to jet fuel and just about every petrochemical in between. The CEO is quoted: 'Our biggest problem is that we are too good to be true. We can literally replace every gallon of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel in the United States using just 12 percent of the waste byproducts in the country.' They also claim that their fuel burns to near 100 percent efficiency." The article doesn't mention what price the "vetrolium" would command in today's market or going forward, except to report the CEO's promise "to one day sell his gasoline for $1 less than the pump price for regular fuel, no matter what the cost. 'Even if it's $2 per gallon, I'll sell mine for $1,"' he said."
Software

What's New In FreeBSD 7.0 103

Posted by kdawson
from the what-indeed dept.
blackbearnh writes "FreeBSD is about to release the much-anticipated version 7, and as usual there's a comprehensive interview with over two dozen of the major contributors over at O'Reilly's ONLamp site. Federico Biancuzzi interviewed the developers to discuss all the details of FreeBSD 7.0: networking and SMP performance, SCTP support, the new IPSEC stack, virtualization, monitoring frameworks, ports, storage limits and a new journaling facility, what changed in the accounting file format, jemalloc(), ULE, and more."
Science

Fish Can Count to Four 103

Posted by samzenpus
from the incredible-mr.-limpet dept.
Khemist writes "Fish can count, according to scientists, who have found that North American mosquito fish have the ability to count up to four. Previously it was known that fish could tell big shoals from small ones, but researchers have now found that they have a limited ability to count how many other fish are nearby. This means that they have similar counting abilities to those observed in apes, monkeys and dolphins and humans with very limited mathematical ability."
Space

NASA Awards Space Cargo Grant 43

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fedex-unavailable-for-comment dept.
pha7boy writes "NASA has made a recent award of 171 million dollars to Orbital Sciences Corp. of Virginia in order to aid the company in developing a feasible space cargo delivery service. 'The US space agency intends to hold an open competition in the years ahead for actual space station cargo-delivery contracts, but Orbital of Dulles, VA, is one of two companies receiving financial help from NASA to develop their proposed systems. The other is Space Exploration Technologies of El Segundo, CA.'"
Desktops (Apple)

Is the Dell XPS One Better than the Apple iMac? 627

Posted by Zonk
from the dell-box-better-than-an-osx-one dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Apple iMac is probably the standard all-in-one desktop computer. Great operating system, built-in software and design around solid, but pretty normal, hardware guts. According to Walter Mossberg, there's a new kid in town that not only matches it but is 'sightly ahead': the Dell XPS One. His latest review is already causing the usual suspects to weigh in. Mossberg says it is a better machine, but Vista and its built-in software make it inferior than Apple iMac's Leopard and iLife suite. Would you choose the better hardware of the Dell XPS One -which is more expensive- or the elegant design and software of the Apple iMac?"
Power

Electricity Over Glass 187

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the still-no-sandwiches-over-plastic dept.
guddan writes "Running a live wire into a passenger jet's fuel tank seems like a bad idea on the face of it. Still, sensors that monitor the fuel tank have to run on electricity, so aircraft makers previously had little choice. But what if power could be delivered over optical fiber instead of copper wire, without fear of short circuits and sparks? In late May, the big laser and optics company JDS Uniphase Corp., in San Jose, Calif., bought a small Silicon Valley firm with the technology to do just that."
Toys

Microfluidic Chips Made With Shrinky Dinks 149

Posted by kdawson
from the improvising-science dept.
SoyChemist writes "When she started her job as a new professor at UC Merced, Michelle Khine was stuck without a clean room or semiconductor fabrication equipment, so she went MacGyver and started making Lab-on-a-Chip devices in her kitchen with Shrinky Dinks, a laser printer, and a toaster oven. She would print a negative image of the channels onto the polystyrene sheets and then shrink them with heat. The miniaturized pattern served as a perfect mold for forming rounded, narrow channels in PDMS — a clear, synthetic rubber."
Education

Alabama Schools to be First in US to Get XO Laptop 334

Posted by Zonk
from the educatin-on-the-cheap dept.
CountryGeek passed us a link to a story in the Birmingham News, saying that schools in the Alabama city will be the first US students to make use of the XO laptop. The piece touches on a bit of the project's history, and seems to indicate the Birmingham school district is ready to make a serious commitment to these devices. "Langford has asked the City Council to approve $7 million for the laptops and a scholarship program that would give Birmingham students with a C average or above a scholarship to college or tech school of their choice. The City Council has not yet approved the funding. The rugged, waterproof computers will be distributed to students on April 15, Langford said, and children will be allowed to take them home. If a computer is lost, the school system can disable it, rendering it useless, Langford said. Students will turn in their computers at the end of their eighth-grade year."

QR Codes - Internet to Cell Phone via Camera 103

Posted by Zonk
from the want-to-be-able-to-buy-a-soda-with-my-cell dept.
An anonymous reader writes "From ITWorldCanada comes an article about a technology that might change the way people use their cell phones in North America: 'A Toronto-based software developer wants to bring Quick Response (QR) codes to Canada, and an industry analyst says this may appeal to companies offering products and services to youth.' McDonald's restaurants in Japan having been using the codes for over a year to present nutritional information on the cell phones of their customers. QR codes were originally developed by Tokyo-based Denso Wave Inc. and are common in Japan. When published in print form — on billboards, transit ads, vehicles or other media — consumers can then take pictures of the images and have them converted to links, phone numbers or other advertising messages."
Enlightenment

A Review of the $200 Wal-Mart Linux PC 235

Posted by kdawson
from the green-around-the-edges dept.
bcrowell writes "Wal-Mart's new $200 Linux PC has generated a lot of buzz in geek circles. Although they're sold out of stores, I bought one for my daughter via mail order, and have written up a review of the system. The hardware seems fine for anyone but a hardcore gamer, but the pre-installed gOS flavor of Ubuntu has a lot of rough edges."
Upgrades

Leopard Upgraders Getting "Blue Screen of Death" 542

Posted by kdawson
from the they're-called-haxies-for-a-reason dept.
Z80xxc! writes "Some Mac users upgrading to Apple's new Leopard operating system are encountering long delays on reboot — an experience they liken to the Windows 'Blue Screen of Death.' While some of those upgrading were able to access their computer after waiting for as long as several hours, others were forced to do a complete reinstall. Some suspect that a framework called 'Application Enhancer' by Unsanity LLC may be causing the problem, but there has been no official word from Apple at this point."
Linux Business

Where Does Linux Go From Here? 360

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the many-different-flavors-of-kool-aid-to-drink dept.
With the success that Linux is currently enjoying Linux.com (also owned by SourceForge, Inc) asks the question, where do we go from here? With such a high level of success and greater corporate participation (on both the consumer and provider fronts) will the spirit of freedom and idealism remain true or will the ever-present corporate bottom line eventually take over? "Linux is surrounded by proprietary IT firms. Some of them view Linux as a profit maker, others as a threat to their profits. Both sides represent a challenge for Linux in holding to its ideals of freedom and openess. The first large IT firm to really grok Linux was IBM. It has a long and mutually beneficial association with Linux, Apache, and other FOSS projects. The company has learned the language and the mores of the FOSS world, and has made significant code contributions as part of those projects along the way."

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.

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