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Earth

Giant Survival Ball Will Help Explorer Survive a Year On an Iceberg 122

Posted by Soulskill
from the rolling-the-seven-seas dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Ben Yeager reports in Outside Magazine that Italian explorer Alex Bellini plans to travel to Greenland's west coast, pick an iceberg, and live on it for a year as it melts out in the Atlantic. It's a precarious idea. Bellini will be completely isolated, and his adopted dwelling is liable to roll or fall apart at any moment, thrusting him into the icy sea or crushing him under hundreds of tons of ice. His solution: an indestructible survival capsule built by an aeronautics company that specializes in tsunami-proof escape pods. "I knew since the beginning I needed to minimize the risk. An iceberg can flip over, and those events can be catastrophic." Bellini plans to use a lightweight, indestructible floating capsules, or "personal safety systems" made from aircraft-grade aluminum in what's called a continuous monocoque structure, an interlocking frame of aluminum spars that evenly distribute force, underneath a brightly painted and highly visible aluminum shell. The inner frame can be stationary or mounted on roller balls so it rotates, allowing the passengers to remain upright at all times.

Aeronautical engineer Julian Sharpe, founder of Survival Capsule, got the idea for his capsules after the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. He believes fewer people would have died had some sort of escape pod existed. Sharpe hopes the products will be universal—in schools, retirement homes, and private residences, anywhere there is severe weather. The product appeals to Bellini because it's strong enough to survive a storm at sea or getting crushed between two icebergs. Bellini will spend almost all of his time in the capsule with the hatch closed, which will pose major challenges because he'll have to stay active without venturing out onto a slippery, unstable iceberg. If it flips, he'll have no time to react. "Any step away from [the iceberg] will be in unknown territory," says Bellini. "You want to stretch your body. But then you risk your life."
Space

Mystery of the Coldest Spot In the CMB Solved 45

Posted by timothy
from the also-known-as-the-wet-spot dept.
StartsWithABang writes: The cosmic microwave background is a thing of beauty, as not only does its uniform, cold temperature reveal a hot, dense past that began with the hot Big Bang, but its fluctuations reveal a pattern of overdensities and underdensities in the very early stages of the Universe. It's fluctuations just like these that give rise to the stars, galaxies, groups and clusters that exist today, as well as the voids in the vast cosmic web. But effects at the surface of last scattering are not the only ones that affect the CMB's temperature; if we want to make sure we've got an accurate map of what the Universe was born with, we have to take everything into account, including the effects of matter as it gravitationally grows and shrinks. As we do exactly this, we find ourselves discovering the causes behind the biggest anomalies in the sky, and it turns out that the standard cosmological model can explain it all.
Robotics

Robot Workers' Real Draw: Reducing Dependence on Human Workers 288

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-can-do-your-job-and-won't-complain-about-the-coffee dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Zeynep Tufekci writes in an op-ed at the NY Times that machines are getting better than humans at figuring out who to hire, who's in a mood to pay a little more for that sweater, and who needs a coupon to nudge them toward a sale. It turns out most of what we think of as expertise, knowledge and intuition is being deconstructed and recreated as an algorithmic competency, fueled by big data. "Machines aren't used because they perform some tasks that much better than humans, but because, in many cases, they do a "good enough" job while also being cheaper, more predictable and easier to control than quirky, pesky humans," writes Tufekci. "Technology in the workplace is as much about power and control as it is about productivity and efficiency."

According to Tufekci technology is being used in many workplaces: to reduce the power of humans, and employers' dependency on them, whether by replacing, displacing or surveilling them. Optimists insist that we've been here before, during the Industrial Revolution, when machinery replaced manual labor, and all we need is a little more education and better skills. Tufekci points out that one historical example is no guarantee of future events. "Confronting the threat posed by machines, and the way in which the great data harvest has made them ever more able to compete with human workers, must be about our priorities," concludes Tufekci. "This problem is not us versus the machines, but between us, as humans, and how we value one another."
Medicine

Acetaminophen Reduces Both Pain and Pleasure, Study Finds 187

Posted by Soulskill
from the pills-that-turn-you-into-a-robot dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers studying the commonly used pain reliever acetaminophen found it has a previously unknown side effect: It blunts positive emotions (abstract). Acetaminophen, the main ingredient in the over-the-counter pain reliever Tylenol, has been in use for more than 70 years in the United States, but this is the first time that this side effect has been documented.
Input Devices

Finding an Optimal Keyboard Layout For Swype 140

Posted by Soulskill
from the designed-for-2015 dept.
New submitter Analog24 writes: The QWERTY keyboard was not designed with modern touchscreen usage in mind, especially when it comes to swype texting. A recent study attempted to optimize the standard keyboard layout to minimize the number of swype errors. The result was a new layout that reduces the rate of swipe interpretation mistakes by 50.1% compared to the QWERTY keyboard.
Japan

Japanese Court Orders Google To Remove Negative Reviews From Google Maps 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-there's-definitely-nothing-worse-on-the-internet dept.
An anonymous reader writes: As reported by TechCrunch, the Japenese Chiba District Court issued a preliminary injunction forcing Google to delete two anonymous reviews for a medical clinic. Although negative, neither review violates Google policies. "The decision is based on a defamation suit from the clinic, a key part of which included an affidavit from the doctor who interacted with the anonymous reviewers and denied their claims." And here is the key part: "The court ruled that Google not only removes the content in Japan, but across the entire globe too." Google is currently considering it's options including an appeal.
Moon

Collision With Earth's "Little Sister" Created the Moon 83

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-that's-left dept.
astroengine writes The primordial planet believed to have smashed into baby Earth, creating a cloud of debris that eventually formed into the moon, was chemically a near-match to Earth, a new study shows. The finding, reported in this week's Nature, helps resolve a long-standing puzzle about why Earth and the moon are nearly twins in terms of composition. Computer models show that most of the material that formed the moon would have come from the shattered impactor, a planetary body referred to as Theia, which should have a slightly different isotopic makeup than Earth.
Security

Heartbleed One Year Later: Has Anything Changed? 53

Posted by Soulskill
from the vulnerability-names-have-gotten-a-lot-more-annoying dept.
darthcamaro writes: It was on April 7, 2014 that the CVE-2014-0160 vulnerability titled "TLS heartbeat read overrun" in OpenSSL was first publicly disclosed — but to many its a bug known simply as Heartbleed. A new report from certificate vendor Venafi claims that 76% of organizations are still at risk, though it's a statistic that is contested by other vendors as well as other statistics. Qualys' SSL Pulse claims that only 0.3 percent of sites are still at risk. Whatever the risk is today, the bottom line is that Heartbleed did change the security conversation — but did it change it for the better or the worse? A related article explores how Heartbleed could have been found earlier.
The Courts

Ellen Pao Loses Silicon Valley Gender Bias Case Against Kleiner Perkins 365

Posted by timothy
from the she'll-resign-her-commission dept.
vivaoporto writes As reported by the New York Times, USA Today and other publications, a jury of six men and six women rejected current Reddit Inc CEO Ellen Pao's claims against her former employer, the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Ms. Pao's suit, that alleged employment discrimination based on gender, workplace retaliation and failure to take reasonable steps to prevent gender discrimination, asked $16 million in compensatory damages plus punitive damages. The jury decided, after more than two days of deliberation and more than four weeks of testimony, that her formed employer neither discriminated against the former junior partner for her gender, nor fired the complainant because of a high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit against the firm in 2012. She alleged that Kleiner Perkins had promoted male partners over equally qualified women at the firm, including herself, and then retaliated against her for raising concerns about the firm's gender dynamics by failing to promote her and finally firing her after seven years at the firm after she filed her 2012 lawsuit.
Censorship

Indian Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Against Posting 'Offensive' Content Online 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the score-one-for-free-speech dept.
palemantle writes: The Indian Supreme Court has overturned the controversial Section 66A of the IT Act which included a provision for a three-year jail term for sending "offensive" messages through a "computer resource or a communication device." In its judgement, the Supreme Court held "liberty of thought and expression as cardinal" and overturned the provision (66A) deeming it "unconstitutional." It's been in the news recently for an incident involving the arrest of a high school student for posting allegedly "offensive" content on Facebook about a local politician.
Businesses

Why Is the Grand Theft Auto CEO Also Chairman of the ESRB? 128

Posted by samzenpus
from the fox-in-the-hen-house dept.
donniebaseball23 writes In an editorial at GamesIndustry.biz, Brendan Sinclair asks an important question about the game ratings board in America. Should Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Take-Two, which owns the Grand Theft Auto franchise and has been at the heart of the ESRB's biggest controversies of the last decade, really be serving as its chairman? "No matter how removed from the day-to-day running of the ESRB Zelnick might be, his current role invites accusations of impropriety," he writes. "It's the sort of thing any critic of the games industry can point to as a clear conflict of interest, and many reasonable outsiders would probably look at that as a valid complaint. At least when titans of industry in the U.S. become the head of the regulatory agencies that oversee their former companies, they actually have to leave those companies."
Science

Speaking a Second Language May Change How You See the World 274

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-can-see-clearly-now,-der-regen-ist-weg dept.
sciencehabit writes: Where did the thief go? You might get a more accurate answer if you ask the question in German. How did she get away? Now you might want to switch to English. Speakers of the two languages put different emphasis on actions and their consequences, influencing the way they think about the world, according to a new study (abstract). The work also finds that bilinguals may get the best of both worldviews, as their thinking can be more flexible.
Technology

The Internet of Things Just Found Your Lost Wallet 108

Posted by timothy
from the so-don't-lose-your-phone dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes Ever forgotten your wallet in a coffee shop or restaurant? Now there's a way to ensure it'll never happen again: Woolet, which its creators bill as a "smart wallet." It features a rechargeable battery, Bluetooth support, and the ability to synchronize with a smartphone app; if you walk 20-85 feet away from your wallet, the app will make a sound and guide you back to it. The platform's being financed on Kickstarter, and attracted attention from TechCrunch and some other places, but it begs the question: is this yet another example of connected devices run amok—shiny and interesting as a concept but not nearly useful enough for the population at large? What would it take for a connected device, whether a wallet or a smoke detector, to gain mass appeal?
Businesses

Ask Slashdot - Breaking Into Penetration Testing At 30 205

Posted by samzenpus
from the braking-in dept.
An anonymous reader writes I currently work for a small IT MPS in the Southern USA. Recently, my boss approached me about offering security evaluation and penetration testing to customers in our area due to the increasing number of regulations companies area are having to meet. My role in the company is that of a proactive systems administrator. I have strong troubleshooting skills, a moderate knowledge of Linux, and a strong grasp on Windows systems. My working knowledge of networks is a bit rusty, but I've started working on my CCNA again, and skill/knowledge of any kind of programming language is extremely lacking as I have slacked off in that department. However, I've been working with Powershell scripting, and have picked up some resources on Python. Where would a guy like me start? What can I do, as far as personal development, to give me a shot at building this "new department" within my company? Am I beyond hope?
Businesses

Do Tech Companies Ask For Way Too Much From Job Candidates? 292

Posted by samzenpus
from the are-you-a-good-swimmer? dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes The short answer: Yes. Many employers' "required" skill sets seem to include everything but the ability to teleport and build a Shaker barn; the lengthy requisites of skills and experience seem achievable only by candidates who've spent the past four decades using a hundred different programming languages and platforms to excel at fifty different, complicated jobs. Why do a lot of tech companies do that? Dice asked around and discovered a bunch of different reasons. Companies want to make investments in talent, but the inherent costs of that talent also make them wary of hiring anyone but the absolute best. The need to find the right talent, and the concern over cost, often leads to employers producing job descriptions too broad for the actual position. There's also pure idiocy: PHBs don't know what they want, don't understand the technology, and throw just anything into the description that pops to mind. Is there any way to stop this scourge?

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