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NASA's Skylab $400 Littering Fine Paid By DJ 111

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-gonna-pick-that-up? dept.
astroengine writes "Space Disco speaks with a Californian radio DJ about his role in raising, and paying, NASA's 30-year old littering fine levied by a Western Australian town. Skylab parts fell on Esperance in 1979, but the space agency's refusal to pay $400 has resulted in an entertaining annual grudge. Now the Barstow radio DJ is guest of honor at this weekend's 30th anniversary celebrations in Oz and the two small towns at opposite ends of the Pacific will be twinned... all because Skylab had a messy re-entry..."
Image

Passenger Avoids Delay By Fixing Plane Himself 178

Posted by samzenpus
from the flying-the-diy-skies dept.
It would be a shame if an engineer on a recent Thomas Cook Airlines flight doesn't get a complimentary first class upgrade every time he flies. The engineer was on flight TCX9641 when it was announced that the trip would be delayed eight hours, while a mechanic was flown in to fix a problem. Luckily for the other passengers, the engineer happened to work for Thomsonfly Airlines, which has a reciprocal maintenance agreement with Thomas Cook. After about 35 minutes the man fixed the problem and the flight was on its way. A spokeswoman for Thomas Cook said, "When they announced there was a technical problem he came forward and said who he was. We checked his licence and verified he was who he said he was, and he was able to fix the problem to avoid the delay. We are very grateful that he was on the flight that day."
Censorship

China Starts/Stops Blocking Google 142

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-they-can dept.
shekared was one of a number of readers to write in to tell a similar story. He says "I'm an American currently living and working in Chongqing, China. As of 9am (UTC +8) China began blocking google.com, gmail.com, google analytics and many if not most other google sites other than google.cn. Internet speed for connections outside the mainland have in general have come to a crawl. Surprisingly this has yet to pick up major coverage in the press. Using an open proxy or VPN for connection to hosts outside of the mainland continues to allow access to google, as does connecting directly to a google.com IP address. As of 6pm (UTC +8) access to gmail and google.com have returned to normal."
Social Networks

Where Does a Geek Find a Social Life? 1354

Posted by kdawson
from the meet-space dept.
JustShootMe writes "I have a question for my fellow Slashdotters, and yes, I realize I am entering the lion's den covered in tasty meat-flavored sauce. I have never been a very social person, preferring to throw myself into technology; therefore, I've been spectacularly unsuccessful in developing any meaningful interpersonal relationships. Lately I have begun to feel that this situation is not tenable, and I would like to fix it. But I really don't know how and haven't the faintest idea where to start. I know that I am in the minority and that there are many different kinds of Slashdot readers, most of whom have more experience in this realm than I do. So please tell me: how, and more importantly, where do you meet fellow geeks — preferably including some of the opposite gender — in meatspace?"
The Almighty Buck

A Look At the Tech Behind Burnout Paradise 44

Posted by Soulskill
from the eight-cylinders-of-awesome dept.
Eurogamer sat down with Richard Parr and Alex Fry of Criterion Games about the evolution of the technology behind Burnout Paradise , and how they engineered a complex, open world across multiple platforms. "Criterion's method of exacting the most performance from the new architecture isn't so much about threading as such, it's all about parallelization. Rather than lump different game aspects onto different threads (where massive latencies can build as each processor waits for the other to finish its work), game code is highly optimized to make use of what processors are available at any given moment on whatever target hardware, and by choosing the all-important balance points, the experience is like-for-like on all platforms. High-level management code that is unique to each platform then processes the game code according to the hardware that is available." The first part of their Q&A session has also been posted.
Operating Systems

+ - A Visual Expedition Inside the Linux File Systems->

Submitted by
RazvanM
RazvanM writes "This is an attempt to visualize the relations between the Linux File Systems through the eyes of the external symbols their kernel modules use. An initial plot was presented before but this time the scope is much broader. The analysis is done on 1377 kernel modules from 2.6.0 to 2.6.29 but there is also a small dip in the BSD world. The most thorough analysis is done on Daniel Phillips's tree which contains the latest two disk-based file systems for Linux: tux3 and btrfs. The main techniques used to established relations between file systems are hierarchical clustering and phylogenetic trees. Some other things that are presented include a set of rankings based on various properties related to the evolution of the external symbols from one release to another and complete timelines of the kernel releases for Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD. In total there are 78 figures and 10 animations. Happy viewing and commenting!"
Link to Original Source
Graphics

YouTube, HTML5, and Comparing H.264 With Theora 361

Posted by Soulskill
from the quality-vs-bandwidth dept.
David Gerard writes "Google Chrome includes Ogg support for the <video> element. It also includes support for the hideously encumbered H.264 format. Nice as an extra, but ... they're also testing HTML5 YouTube only for H.264 — meaning the largest video provider on the Net will make H.264 the primary codec and relegate the equally good open format Ogg/Theora firmly to the sidelines. Mike Shaver from Mozilla has fairly unambiguously asked Chris DiBona from Google what the heck Google thinks it's doing." DiBona responded with concerns that switching to Theora while maintaining quality would take up an incredible amount of bandwidth for a site like YouTube, though he made clear his support for the continued improvement of the project. Greg Maxwell jumped into the debate by comparing the quality of Ogg/Theora+Vorbis with the current YouTube implementations using H.263+MP3 and H.264+AAC. At the lower bitrate, Theora seems to have the clear edge, while the higher bitrate may slightly favor H.264. He concludes that YouTube's adoption of "an open unencumbered format in addition to or instead of their current offerings would not cause problems on the basis of quality or bitrate."
Image

Penguin Poop Seen From Space 86

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-eat-the-brown-ice dept.
Scientists have found ten new emperor penguin colonies by spotting their skid marks on the Antarctic ice from satellite images (video on page). The ice around the penguins gets very dirty because they congregate in a small area in very large colonies for months. Peter Fretwell, Mapping Expert, British Antarctic Survey says, "What we find is that we can see the guano (excrement) from space. They stay in the same space in very large colonies for eight months of the year and the ice around them gets very dirty, and it's that that we can see on the satellite images."
Medicine

German Doctor Cures an HIV Patient With a Bone Marrow Transplant 639

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-an-easy-one-though dept.
reporter writes "HIV is the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Until now, HIV has no cure and has led to the deaths of over 25 million people. However, a possible cure has appeared. Dr. Gero Hutter, a brilliant physician in Germany, replaced the bone marrow of an HIV patient with the bone marrow of a donor who has natural immunity to HIV. The new bone marrow in the patient then produced immune-system cells that are immune to HIV. Being unable to hijack any immune cell, the HIV has simply disappeared. The patient has been free of HIV for about 2 years. Some physicians at UCLA have developed a similar therapy and plan to commercialize it."
Hardware Hacking

An Inside-Out Look At the Antec Skeleton Case 64

Posted by timothy
from the subverting-the-dominant-paradigm dept.
Anonymous writes "Here's a step-by-step look at building a PC with the new Antec Skeleton PC chassis. It's obviously not for everybody, but at least Antec is trying out something relatively new for hard-core users. Not sure if you'd need an air spray can to keep the dust off all the components, though ..."
Image

Researchers Discover The Most Creative Time of Day 154

Posted by samzenpus
from the ask-me-that-in-a-few-hours dept.
Creativity is least likely to strike in the afternoon, according to a survey that suggests office workers have little chance of solving problems after lunch. A poll of 1,426 people showed that a quarter of us stay up late when seeking inspiration. Taking a shower or just sitting in the bathroom proved to be a popular way of getting the creative juices flowing. The survey found that 10:04pm was the most creative time, while 4:33pm was the least. I'll think of something funny to write here later.
Cellphones

Why the Kill Switch Makes Sense For Android 384

Posted by kdawson
from the open-in-its-bones dept.
Technologizer writes "It came out this week that Google's Android phone OS, like the iPhone, has a kill switch that lets Android Market applications be disabled remotely. But it's a mistake to lump Google's implementation and Apple's together — the Google version is a smart, pro-consumer move that avoids all the things that make Apple's version a bad idea."
It's funny.  Laugh.

XKCD Invited To New Yorker "Cartoon-Off" 231

Posted by kdawson
from the no-raptors dept.
UnknowingFool writes "Farley Katz, who draws for New Yorker magazine, ran into xkcd.com's Randall Munroe in a grocery store. He challenged Munroe to a cartoon-off — each cartoonist to produce drawings about the Internet as envisioned by the elderly, String Theory, 1999, and one's favorite animal eating one's favorite food. In the ensuing short interview, Munroe describes XKCD as 'a webcomic about stick figures who do math, play with staple guns, mess around on the Internet, and have lots of sex. It's about three-fourths autobiographical.'"

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