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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 20 declined, 2 accepted (22 total, 9.09% accepted)

+ - New Whitehouse petition to limit copyrights to 56 ->

Submitted by
TheDawgLives
TheDawgLives writes "Perhaps taking inspiration from two recent petitions a new petition has been created at the White House We The People site to limit copyright to 56 years. That may still be too long, but at least it's a start.
Did the RIAA and MPAA finally stir up a hornets' nest that they weren't ready for, or will the be able to bribe their way out of this one?"

Link to Original Source
Hardware Hacking

+ - Spanish scientists develop echolocation in humans->

Submitted by
TheDawgLives
TheDawgLives writes "Along the theme of sense hacking (dupe), a team of researchers from the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH) has shown scientifically that human beings can develop echolocation, the system of acoustic signals used by dolphins and bats to explore their surroundings. Producing certain kinds of tongue clicks helps people to identify objects around them without needing to see them, something which would be especially useful for the blind."
Link to Original Source
Sci-Fi

+ - "First Lady of Star Trek" dies at age 76

Submitted by
TheDawgLives
TheDawgLives writes "From TFA: Majel Barrett Roddenberry, the woman dubbed "the First Lady of Star Trek," has passed at the age of 76. According to her representative, the cause of death was leukemia.
According to her website, 'Majel Barrett Roddenberry passed away this morning, December 18, 2008, at 12:27 AM in her Bel Air home. She died peacefully, in her sleep, and was surrounded by family and loved ones.'
It is fitting, then, that she will provide the voice of the Enterprise computer one last time in J.J. Abrams much-anticipated Star Trek film, which hits theaters next year.
"

+ - (Useful) Stupid /. Questions

Submitted by
TheDawgLives
TheDawgLives writes "I've been seeing a lot of (useful) stupid questions lately which made me wonder what are some other stupid slashdot questions that we could be asking?
Maybe someone doesn't know how all the keyboard shortcuts for Firefox or how to install debian? Is there someone out there who doesn't know how to use google or is having trouble editing Wikipedia. We need a safe place where we can ask questions without being told to RTFM, but first we need to know what those questions are!"
Transportation

+ - SwiftFuel alternative to alternative fuels-> 2

Submitted by
TheDawgLives
TheDawgLives writes "PBS has an article by Bob Cringely about the best route to end our dependence on oil and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of replacing all our expensive cars with even more expensive hybrids or electric cars, his suggestion is to use a cheap drop-in replacement for gasoline called Swift Fuel. It is derived from Ethanol, but doesn't require any modification to older cars to prevent corrosion. It can be mixed with gasoline in any amount and can even be distributed using the same network as gasoline, including being pumped in the same pipes and shipped in the same trucks. It is truly a drop-in replacement for gas, and it is real. It is being tested by the FAA for certification in propeller aircraft. It also happens to be about $2 a gallon cheaper than gasoline."
Link to Original Source
Music

+ - More Free Music: Nine Inch Nails-> 1

Submitted by
TheDawgLives
TheDawgLives writes "Continuing to prove his theory that circumventing the music labels can be much more profitable for bands, Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor has released another CD online, completely free.
Here's the release:

as a thank you to our fans for your continued support, we are giving away the new nine inch nails album one hundred percent free, exclusively via nin.com. the music is available in a variety of formats including high-quality MP3, FLAC or M4A lossless at CD quality and even higher-than-CD quality 24/96 WAVE. your link will include all options — all free. all downloads include a PDF with artwork and credits. for those of you interested in physical products, fear not. we plan to make a version of this release available on CD and vinyl in july. details coming soon.
"

Link to Original Source
Communications

+ - Anti-Huckabee YouTube video goes to TV

Submitted by
TheDawgLives
TheDawgLives writes "Wired is carrying a story about a YouTube video that moved to TV in the form of a commercial in what is being called a political first. A friend of mine shot the original YouTube video on his own dime, then later formed a lobbying entity, known as a 527, that solicited enough money both online and off to fund the airing of the ad during last night's South Carolina debate. The commercials only aired in selected SC markets, but the 527 is gaining momentum and may soon be airing commercials nationally.
While some political pundants speculate whether victims voice is being backed by a presidential hopeful, I can attest that this truly is a first of it's kind grassroots campaign."
Announcements

+ - CS Professor Named new Dean of Harverd->

Submitted by
TheDawgLives
TheDawgLives writes "Michael D. Smith, a computer hardware professor, was just named Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences at Harvard, in charge of the college and the non-professional graduate schools. A bit suspicious that this is happening the same week Bill Gates is getting an honorary degree, but a great sign for the future of CS in academia."
Link to Original Source
Graphics

+ - Rays light up life-like graphics

Submitted by
TheDawgLives
TheDawgLives writes "BBC News is carying a story of researchers from the University of Saarland in Germany that have developed new ray tracing algorithms that could revolutionize video games.
A video demonstration is also available.

From TFA:
Daniel Pohl, one of the researchers who has worked with Professor Slusallek, has used the algorithms to produce ray-traced versions of the Quake 3 and 4 video games. "It gives much higher image quality in shadows and reflections," said Mr Pohl. "You can even do reflections on reflections on reflections." This is something that would be impossible with traditional rendering techniques. The algorithms are well-suited to the next generation of PC chips that have multiple processing cores inside them. Separate cores could be used to model different rays to make good use of the available computer power, said Mr Pohl. The algorithms are being made available to anyone to use via the Open RT project."
Power

+ - Tennessee Valley Authority to build 2 New Reactors

Submitted by
TheDawgLives
TheDawgLives writes "The Washington Post is running an article about the Tennessee Valley Authority's plans to bring three nuclear reactors online. They will submit applications to build two new nuclear reactors under the government's streamlined licensing process and restart its oldest reactor after a 22-year shutdown. The total cost could exceed $7 billion for design and construction, but if completed, they could be the first new nuclear reactors in almost 30 years."

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