Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - 6 month subscription of Pandora One at 46% off. ×

Submission + - Giant Squid Caught on Film (

Edgewood_Dirk writes: "From the Article: "Scientists and broadcasters have captured footage of an elusive giant squid, up to eight meters (26 feet) long that roams the depths of the Pacific Ocean.
Japan's National Science Museum succeeded in filming the deep-sea creature in its natural habitat for the first time, working with Japanese public broadcaster NHK and the US Discovery Channel.

The massive invertebrate is the stuff of legend, with sightings of a huge ocean-dwelling beast reported by sailors for centuries.""

Submission + - Atheist blogger sentenced to 3 years of prison for insulting Islam (

An anonymous reader writes: Egyptian blogger Alber Saber, maintainer of the Egyptian Atheists Facebook page, has been
sentenced to three years in prison under Egypt's blasphemy law for posting the trailer for the anti-Muslim film Innocence of Muslims. This film was widely blamed for al-Qaeda's coordinated attacks on US embassies on September 11 of this year, which were meant to pressure the US for the release of Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is imprisoned in the US for his role in the World Trade Center attack of 1993.


Submission + - Skydiver Baumgartner sets YouTube live view record (

another random user writes: Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner smashed a number of records with his "edge of space" stunt — including for live streaming.

More than eight million people flocked to their devices to watch the 43-year-old break the speed of sound live on Google's YouTube site. It is the largest number of concurrent live streams in the website's history, Google UK confirmed to the BBC.


Submission + - The half-life of DNA - seems that Jurassic Park was impossible (

another random user writes: Few researchers have given credence to claims that samples of dinosaur DNA have survived to the present day, but no one knew just how long it would take for genetic material to fall apart. Now, a study of fossils found in New Zealand is laying the matter to rest — and putting paid to hopes of cloning a Tyrannosaurus rex.

After cell death, enzymes start to break down the bonds between the nucleotides that form the backbone of DNA, and micro-organisms speed the decay. In the long run, however, reactions with water are thought to be responsible for most bond degradation. Groundwater is almost ubiquitous, so DNA in buried bone samples should, in theory, degrade at a set rate.

Determining that rate has been difficult because it is rare to find large sets of DNA-containing fossils with which to make meaningful comparisons. To make matters worse, variable environmental conditions such as temperature, degree of microbial attack and oxygenation alter the speed of the decay process.

By comparing the specimens' ages and degrees of DNA degradation, the researchers calculated that DNA has a half-life of 521 years. That means that after 521 years, half of the bonds between nucleotides in the backbone of a sample would have broken; after another 521 years half of the remaining bonds would have gone; and so on.


Submission + - Investigation into solar storm sat-nav disruption (

another random user writes: Scientists in the Arctic have launched an urgent investigation into how solar storms can disrupt sat-nav.

Studies have revealed how space weather can cut the accuracy of GPS by tens of metres. Flares from the Sun interact with the upper atmosphere and can distort the signals from global positioning satellites.

The project is under way at a remote observatory on a windswept mountainside in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in the High Arctic. The site was chosen for its isolation from electronic pollution and for its position in relation to the Earth's magnetic field which flows from space down towards the far North.


Submission + - TV Game Show Contestants Sue Over Trick Computer Password Question

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Eriq Gardner writes that on the premiere episode of Fox's Million Dollar Money Drop — which ran for 12 episodes from December 2010 to February 2011 — contestants Andrew and Patricia Murray were asked what is the most common computer password: "Password," "123456," or "I Love You." They opted for "Password" and bet all $580,000 they had remaining from the $1 million they started with. The Murrays guessed wrong losing everything. Or did they? After losing the money, the plaintiffs apparently researched the question further and discovered that data-security firm Imperva who provided the answer did not conduct its own, objective survey of computer users. Instead, the assertion that "123456" is the most common password was based on an analysis of a hacking incident involving a website, The Murrays say the question should have read, "According to a hacking incident involving the inadvertent leak of user passwords on the website" The Murrays still face formidable obstacles in court including a 13-page, take-it-or-leave-it "Contestant Release Agreement" plus a 16-page Million Dollar Money Drop Official Rules. "We have a feeling that 'What's the most common way to beat an iron-clad waiver' will make it onto a law school exam one day," writes Gardner. "According to John Roberts at Ball & Roberts, who is representing the Murrays, the answer is intentional and negligent misrepresentation, breach of written and oral contract, negligence and fraud.""

Submission + - Black Hole Behemoth Shreds Baby Star System (

astroengine writes: "A new analysis of recent observations finds evidence for a protoplanetary disk around a red dwarf star plunging in the direction of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. Ruth Murray-Clay and Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics did the theoretical work. Stefan Gillessen of the Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics made the observations using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope. The red dwarf star will make its closest approach in the summer of 2013, hurtling only 270 billion miles from black hole. (Or roughly 54 solar system diameters, as measured from the furthest edge of the Kuiper belt.) It won't get sucked into the black hole, but it will be flung back along its elliptical orbit out to a distance of a little more than 1/10 light-years."

Submission + - Open Hardware Spectrometer Kit (

mybluevan writes: The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science is putting together an open hardware spectrometer kit on Kickstarter. The kits are built using an HD webcam, discarded DVD, and a couple other odd bits. They've also put together a kit for your smart phone and open-source software for desktop, Android, and iOS. Need to analyze the contents of your coffee, the output of your new grow lights, or a distant star on a budget? Just build your own spectrometer, or pick up the limited edition steampunk version.

Submission + - Nobel Laureate Wiped from Pakistan's Textbooks as Heretic

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Alexander Abad-Santos writes that in any other country, the late Dr. Abdus Salam would be a national hero: he's the Nobel laureate in physics who laid the groundwork for the biggest physics discovery in the past 30 years--the Higgs boson. But that isn't the case in Pakistan, where Salam has been wiped from textbooks and history for not being fundamentalist enough. "He belonged to the Ahmadi sect, which has been persecuted by the government and targeted by Taliban militants who view its members as heretics," says Sebastian Abbot. "His grand unification theory of strong, weak and electromagnetic fields opened the gateway for the discovery of bosons and laid down the basis for this quantum electrodynamics project," writes Anam Khalid Alvi for Pakistan's Express Tribune. But Pakistan can't celebrate his achievements, since Ahmadis like Salam are and were prevented from "posing as Muslims," and can be punished with prison and even death. By contrast, fellow Pakistani physicist A.Q. Khan, who played a key role in developing the country's nuclear bomb and later confessed to spreading nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya, is considered a national hero. Khan is a Muslim."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Submission + - Charles Carreon drops case against The Oatmeal (

Dynamoo writes: "Charles Carreon has reportedly dropped his lawsuit against the creator of The Oatmeal, Matthew Inman. This bizarre lawsuit (dubbed a SLAPP suit by the EFF) kicked off after a dispute between Inman and which span rapidly out of control. Perhaps Carreon has seen sense, but it turns out that there might be an even more bizarre twist in this tale"

Submission + - There's an Ocean Inside Titan (

astroengine writes: "Saturn’s large moon Titan, already Earth-like with its thick atmosphere and rich organic stew, also harbors a liquid water ocean beneath its crust, new findings from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft show. Gravity maps painstakingly pieced together from data collected over five years revealed Titan’s shape changes by about 10 meters (about 33 feet) due to Saturn's gravitational tugs, a squishiness that is best explained by a liquid body of water relatively close to the surface."

Submission + - Texas GOP Educational Platform Opposes Critical Thinking Skills (

An anonymous reader writes: Texas Republican delegates met earlier this month to put together their 2012 platform. Much of this focused on the educational system. Alarmingly, they openly state that they oppose schools teaching critical thinking, on the grounds that it may challenge "student's fixed beliefs" and undermine "parental authority." (page 12 for the tidbit)

Submission + - SPAM: Plane completes 17-hour flight without fuel

champ1991 writes: "The Solar Impulse HB-SIA prototype aircraft, which has 12,000 solar cells in its 64.3-meter (193 feet) built wing attempts to register its first intercontinental flight from Payerne to Rabat in Morocco.After a flight about 17 hours, takes the prototype HB- SIA has finally landed in Madrid-Barajas airport. The pilot, André Borschberg, made his way out of the cockpit, smiley and certainly happy to stretch his legs."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - PC Fans With Noise Cancellation Coming

jones_supa writes: Noise reduction specialist RotoSub and renowned quiet cooling fan manufacturer Noctua announced Tuesday a strategic partnership agreement for the development and commercialisation of PC fans with integrated active noise cancellation. Lars Strömbäck and Mårten Oretorp from RotoSub have invented a system that allows a fan to emit the sound signal that cancels out the original sound of the fan and thereby greatly reduces the overall noise emission. 'There is still a lot of fine-tuning to be done, both in structural design and as far as the algorithms that compute the anti-noise signal are concerned, but we're working hard to achieve this goal within the next 12 to 18 months', says Oretorp. Building on the original NF-F12, a first prototype of a Noctua fan with integrated RotoSub ANC technology will be shown at Computex Taipei next week.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus