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Space

Astronomers Probe Mysterious Gas In Titan's Atmosphere 104

Posted by samzenpus
from the up-in-the-air dept.
sciencehabit writes "A fluorescent glow high in the atmosphere of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, signifies the presence of a gas that astronomers have yet to identify. The glow appears only on the daytime side of the moon at altitudes between 600 and 1250 kilometers, with the largest intensity occurring at an altitude of about 950 km. Detailed analyses reveal that the glow doesn't stem from a problem with the Saturn-orbiting Cassini craft, and it isn't associated with methane or any of the other hydrocarbons already identified as constituents of Titan's atmosphere."
Idle

How Much Stuff Can Timothy Jam Into His New Hoodie's Pockets? (Video) 183 Screenshot-sm

Posted by Roblimo
from the someday-we'll-all-carry-more-than-our-body-weight-in-our-jackets dept.
Timothy Lord is exactly the kind of person for whom the SCOTTEVEST Ultimate Hoodie Microfleece was designed; He's on the go all the time, needs to travel light, and wants to carry lots of stuff on his person to avoid checking luggage when he's flying. Yes, we know; before long half the people waiting to board airliners will be bulked out to double their normal width. Meanwhile, Timothy managed to jam an amazing amount of stuff into his new hoodie. Or jacket, as he prefers to call it.

"District 9" Best Sci-fi Movie of 09? 705

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the lotta-hype-on-this-one dept.
Travis wrote in with a story that says much of what my friends have been saying to me all weekend: "Slashdot covered 'District 9' back in July. I was originally excited to see this movie for its exhibition of exoskeleton robot 'mechs' (see images and video at Hizook.com ). After watching the film this opening weekend, I can honestly say that it was an amazing science fiction movie! Everything was spot-on: the plot, the human elements, the alien elements, the technology, and the seamless blend of special effects with real camera capture. This film should vault Neill Blomkamp into sci-fi stardom, on par with George Lucas and the Wachowski Brothers (of Matrix fame). This is certainly a must-see movie — easily the best movie of the year."
The Internet

Wikipedia Approaches Its Limits 564

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the time-to-start-over-i-guess dept.
Reservoir Hill writes "The Guardian reports that a study by Ed H Chi demonstrates that the character of Wikipedia has changed significantly since Wikipedia's first burst of activity between 2004 and 2007. While the encyclopedia is still growing overall, the number of articles being added has reduced from an average of 2,200 a day in July 2007 to around 1,300 today while at the same time, the base of highly active editors has remained more or less static. Chi's team discovered that the way the site operates had changed significantly from the early days, when it ran an open-door policy that allowed in anyone with the time and energy to dedicate to the project. Today, they discovered, a stable group of high-level editors has become increasingly responsible for controlling the encyclopedia, while casual contributors and editors are falling away. 'We found that if you were an elite editor, the chance of your edit being reverted was something in the order of 1% — and that's been very consistent over time from around 2003 or 2004,' says Chi. 'For editors that make between two and nine edits a month, the percentage of their edits being reverted had gone from 5% in 2004 all the way up to about 15% by October 2008. And the 'onesies' — people who only make one edit a month — their edits are now being reverted at a 25% rate.' While Chi points out that this does not necessarily imply causation, he suggests it is concrete evidence to back up what many people have been saying: that it is increasingly difficult to enjoy contributing to Wikipedia unless you are part of the site's inner core of editors. Wikipedia's growth pattern suggests that it is becoming like a community where resources have started to run out. 'As you run out of food, people start competing for that food, and that results in a slowdown in population growth and means that the stronger, more well-adapted part of the population starts to have more power.'"
Communications

Navigating a Geek Marriage? 1146

Posted by kdawson
from the waiting-for-taco-to-weigh-in dept.
JoeLinux writes "I am soon to marry my true love (a girl! yes! they do exist!). She is a literary geek, whereas I am a gaming/Linux geek. Being the RTFM-style geeks that we are, we have been reading up on marriage, making things work, etc. Unfortunately, all of the references seem to be based around an alpha-male jock and a submissive cheerleader-style wife. A lot of the references to incompatibility in the books don't apply to us (neglect due to interest in sports, etc.). What are some of the pitfalls and successes learned in the course of a more geek-oriented marriage?"
Microsoft

Hands-On Preview of Microsoft Office 2010 291

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fighting-for-relevance dept.
Barence writes "Microsoft has announced full details of Office 2010 and its plans for an accompanying suite of online applications, and PC Pro has been given special access to a technical preview. Contributing Editor Simon Jones gives his initial verdict on the new suite, concluding that there's 'still a long way to go in terms of fit and finish ... but overall Microsoft has made good strides in increasing usability, cohesiveness and collaboration.' This is followed by detailed first looks at Word 2010, Excel 2010, Outlook 2010 and PowerPoint 2010, with Outlook certainly looking to be the greatest beneficiary. And finally, a gallery of screenshots shows off all the new interface touches in Office 2010, including Outlook's conversation view, Word's picture-editing function and the new cut-and-paste preview option."
The Internet

Comcast DNS Redirection Launched In Trial Markets 362

Posted by timothy
from the looks-like-you-want-xxy-porn dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Comcast has finally launched its DNS Redirector service in trial markets (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington state), and has submitted a working draft of the technology to the IETF for review. Comcast customers can opt-out from the service by providing their account username and cable modem MAC address. Customers in trial areas using 'old' Comcast DNS servers, or non-Comcast DNS servers, should not be affected by this. This deployment comes after many previous ISPs, like DSLExtreme, were forced to pull the plug on such efforts as a result of customer disapproval/retaliation. Some may remember when VeriSign tried this back in 2003, where it also failed."
Networking

RC Submarine Lays Fiber Through Sewers In Italy 122

Posted by timothy
from the let's-not-see-the-camera-view-please dept.
Francesco Fondi writes "An Italian Company is using RC scale model submarines to lay fiber through Milan's sewage system. The RC submarine used is the Neptune SB-1, produced by Taiwanese company Thunder Tiger. It costs ca $600 in US hobby shops." In Italian, but the pictures speak for themselves.
Programming

Should Undergraduates Be Taught Fortran? 794

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the or-spend-it-building-forts dept.
Mike Croucher writes "Despite the fact that it is over 40 years old, Fortran is still taught at many Universities to students of Physics, Chemistry, Engineering and more as their first ever formal introduction to programming. According to this article that shouldn't be happening anymore, since there are much better alternatives, such as Python, that would serve a physical science undergraduate much better. There may come a time in some researchers' lives where they need Fortran, but this time isn't in 'programming for chemists 101.' What do people in the Slashdot community think?"
Science

Hobbits' Brains Shrank Due To Remote Home 190

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-always-blame-atrophy dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The 'hobbits,' dubbed homo floresiensis, caused a worldwide sensation when they were discovered five years ago, when some scientists claimed that the 18,000-year-old human-like fossils found on the Indonesian island of Flores represented an entirely new species. Now researchers at the Natural History Museum in London believe that the creatures' small brains could have developed to reduce the creatures' energy needs, crucial for surviving in an isolated area with limited resources. 'It could be that H. floresiensis' skull is that of a Homo erectus that has become dwarfed from living on an island, rather than being an abnormal individual or separately-evolved species, as has been suggested,' says palaeontologist Eleanor Weston. 'Looking at pygmy hippos in Madagascar, which possess exceptionally small brains for their size, suggests that the same could be true for H. floresiensis, and the result of being isolated on the island.' Although the phenomenon of dwarfism on islands is well recognized in large mammals, an accompanying reduction in brain size has never been clearly demonstrated before."
PlayStation (Games)

Piracy and the PSP 272

Posted by Soulskill
from the arrr-ye-hearties dept.
In a lengthy interview with Gamasutra about the state of the Playstation brand in 2009, Sony's senior vice president of marketing, Peter Dille, made some interesting comments about how piracy has affected their popular portable console, the PSP. He said, "we're convinced that piracy has taken out a big chunk of our software sales on PSP," a platform that was slow to start anyway due to the lack of early interest from game developers. Dille mentions that while they can fight piracy with hardware upgrades in new versions, that doesn't do anything to help the roughly 50 million PSPs already out there. He goes on to address other aspects of the PlayStation line, including complaints about the pricing and exclusivity.

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