Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Last Chance - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×

Switching To Solar Power, One Year Later 541

ThinSkin writes "Slashdot readers may recall Loyd Case's series of articles illustrating his experiences after switching to solar power for his family home. Loyd shared his one month update, a six month update, and now finally concludes his series after one year of solar power. Despite the $38,000 initial cost for the setup, Loyd is very optimistic after a $3,000 savings in one year, meaning that in about 12 years he will break even — though he suspects ten years is a better estimate considering other factors. Other reasons such as feeling 'green,' increasing the property value of his house, and the 'spousal acceptance factor' all support Loyd's decision on why he'd do it all over again if he had to." The article is spread annoyingly over multiple pages, like everything at the site, and the print version omits the graphs.

Teen Diagnoses Her Own Disease In Science Class Screenshot-sm 582

18-year-old Jessica Terry suffered from stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting and fever for eight years. She often missed school and her doctors were unable to figure out the cause of her sickness. Then one day in January someone was finally figured out what was wrong with Jessica. That person was her. While looking under a microscope at slides of her own intestinal tissue in her AP science class, Jessica noticed an area of inflamed tissue called a granuloma, which is an indication of Crohn's disease. "It's weird I had to solve my own medical problem," Terry told CNN affiliate KOMO in Seattle, Washington. "There were just no answers anywhere. ... I was always sick."

What a Hacked PC Can Be Used For 364

An anonymous reader points out that the Security Fix blog is running a feature looking at the different ways hacked/cracked computers can be abused by cyber scammers. "Computer users often dismiss Internet security best practices because they find them inconvenient, or because they think the rules don't apply to them. Many cling to the misguided belief that because they don't bank or shop online, that bad guys won't target them. The next time you hear this claim, please refer the misguided person to this blog post, which attempts to examine some of the more common — yet often overlooked — ways that cyber crooks can put your PC to criminal use."
Data Storage

Nanotech Memory Could Hold Data For 1 Billion Years 239

Hugh Pickens writes "Digital storage devices have become ubiquitous in our lives but the move to digital storage has raised concerns about the lifetime of the storage media. Now Alex Zettl and his group at the University of California, Berkeley report that they have developed an experimental memory device consisting of a crystalline iron nanoparticle enclosed in a multiwalled carbon nanotube that could have a storage capacity as high as 1 terabyte per square inch and temperature-stability in excess of one billion years. The nanoparticle can be moved through the nanotube by applying a low voltage, writing the device to a binary state represented by the position of the nanoparticle. The state of the device can then be subsequently read by a simple resistance measurement while reversing the nanoparticle's motion allows a memory 'bit' to be rewritten. This creates a programmable memory system that, like a silicon chip, can record digital information and play it back using conventional computer hardware storing data at a high density with a very long lifetime. Details of the process are available at the American Chemical Society for $30."

In Istanbul, Cameras To Recognize 15,000 Faces/sec. 221

An anonymous reader writes "Istanbul's popular (and crowded) Istiklal shopping, cafe, and restaurant street is being outfitted with 64 wirelessly controlled, tamper-proof face-recognition cameras attached to a computer system capable of scanning 15,000 faces per second in a moving crowd for a positive match. The link from Samanyolu, badly translated by Google, states that 3 cameras are in place so far and that if trials are successful, this will mark the first time such a system, previously used by Scotland Yard and normally reserved for indoor security use, will be put to use in a public outdoor setting. It also notes that each camera controlled by the system is capable of 'locking onto' the faces of known criminals and pickpockets detected in the crowd and 'tracking' their movements for up to 300 meters before the next, closer placed camera takes over." Hit the link for more of this reader's background on the growing electronic encroachment on privacy in this city, which will be the European Capital of Culture in 2010, causing him to ask, "Is the historic city of Istanbul turning into the new London?"

Microbes 100M Years Old Found In Termite Guts 145

viyh writes with coverage on MSNBC of the discovery of ancient microbes fossilized in the gut of a termite. "One hundred million years ago a termite was wounded and its abdomen split open. The resin of a pine tree slowly enveloped its body and the contents of its gut. In what is now the Hukawng Valley in Myanmar, the resin fossilized and was buried until it was chipped out of an amber mine. The resin had seeped into the termite's wound and preserved even the microscopic organisms in its gut. These microbes are the forebears of the microbes that live in the guts of today's termites and help them digest wood. ... The amber preserved the microbes with exquisite detail, including internal features like the nuclei. ... Termites are related to cockroaches and split from them in evolutionary time at about the same time the termite in the amber was trapped."

BPA Leaches From Polycarbonate Bottles Into Humans 251

Linus the Turbonerd sends in the bulletin that BPA, a toxic chemical used in the production of polycarbonate, the plastic composing hard, clear water bottles, has been found to leach out of such containers, directly into the water that their users consume. "In addition to polycarbonate bottles, which are refillable and a popular container among students, campers and others and are also used as baby bottles, BPA is also found in dentistry composites and sealants and in the lining of aluminum food and beverage cans. ... 'We found that drinking cold liquids from polycarbonate bottles for just one week increased urinary BPA levels by more than two-thirds. If you heat those bottles, as is the case with baby bottles, we would expect the levels to be considerably higher. This would be of concern since infants may be particularly susceptible to BPA's endocrine-disrupting potential,' said Karin B. Michels, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH and Harvard Medical School and senior author of the study."
PC Games (Games)

Using 1 Gaming Computer For 2 People? 424

True Vox writes "My fiance and I have recently taken interest in City of Heroes (she's currently got a character on my account). She's got a cute little netbook, but nothing nearly powerful enough for a 5-year-old MMORPG, let alone if we take interest in Champions Online! I am reticent to buy a new gaming computer simply for what amounts to a passing phase. Has anyone had any experience using one computer to control two monitors with two sets of input devices (e.g. two keyboards and two mice, or one keyboard, one mouse, and a 360 gamepad, perhaps)? I have seen one solution that might work, but not much information from users that I can find. In short, does anyone have any experience with setups like this?"

Man Fired When Laptop Malware Downloaded Porn 635

Geoffrey.landis writes "The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents fired worker Michael Fiola and initiated procedures to prosecute him for child pornography when they determined that internet temporary files on his laptop computer contained child porn. According to Fiola, 'My boss called me into his office at 9 a.m. The director of the Department of Industrial Accidents, my immediate supervisor, and the personnel director were there. They handed me a letter and said, "You are being fired for a violation of the computer usage policy. You have pornography on your computer. You're fired. Clean out your desk. Let's go."' Fiola said, 'They wouldn't talk to me. They said, "We've been advised by our attorney not to talk to you."' However, prosecutors dropped the case when a state investigation of his computer determined there was insufficient evidence to prove he had downloaded the files. Computer forensic analyst Tami Loehrs, who spent a month dissecting the computer for the defense, explained in a 30-page report that the laptop was running corrupted virus-protection software, and Fiola was hit by spammers and crackers bombarding its memory with images of incest and pre-teen porn not visible to the naked eye. The virus protection and software update functions on the laptop had been disabled, and apparently the laptop was 'crippled' by malware. According to Loehrs, 'When they gave him this laptop, it had belonged to another user, and they changed the user name for him, but forgot to change the SMS user name, so SMS was trying to connect to a user that no longer existed ... It was set up to do all of its security updates via the server, and none of that was happening because he was out in the field.' A malware script on the machine surfed foreign sites at a rate of up to 40 per minute whenever the machine was within range of a wireless site."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - 10 Great Snake-Oil Gadgets (wired.com) 5

The Byelorussian Strikes Again writes: "Wired offers up 10 of the most awesome snake oil gadgets, from industrial cables sold as $200 ionized pain-relieving bracelets to a plastic chip that cures anything, improves gas mileage and cleans swimming pools. One truly sad development: the infamous $500 wooden volume knob is no longer on sale."

Submission + - The Future of Reading

theodp writes: "With a seven-page cover story on The Future of Reading, Newsweek confirms all those rumors of Amazon's imminent introduction of the Kindle, a $399 e-book reader that aims to change the way we read. Kindle, which is named to evoke the crackling ignition of knowledge, has the dimensions of a paperback, weighs 10.3 oz., and uses E Ink technology on a 6-inch screen powered by a battery that gets up to 30 hours from a 2-hour charge. Kindle's real breakthrough is its EVDO-like wireless connectivity, which allows it to work anywhere, not just at Wi-Fi hotspots. More than 88,000 titles will be on sale at the Kindle store at launch, with NYT best sellers priced at $9.99. Subscribe to newspapers, magazines and even blogs, and content will be beamed automatically into your Kindle. Web access, including Wikipedia, Google search and PDF e-mail attachments, will also be available."
Social Networks

Submission + - Fake online 'friend' led to girl's suicide (cnn.com)

johncadengo writes: Where is justice when no law exists? Megan Meier thought she had made a friend through the social networking web site MySpace. Megan, a 13-year-old who suffered from depression and attention deficit disorder, corresponded with 'Josh' for more than a month before he abruptly ended their friendship, telling her he had heard she was cruel. The next day Megan committed suicide. Her family learned later that Josh never actually existed; he was created by members of a neighborhood family that included a former friend of Megan's. Now Megan's parents hope the people who made the fraudulent profile on the social networking web site will be prosecuted, and they are seeking legal changes to safeguard children on the Internet.

Submission + - Open Source Mathematical Software

An anonymous reader writes: The American Mathematical society has an opinion piece about open source software vs propietary software used in mathematics. From the article : "Increasingly, proprietary software and the algorithms used are an essential part of mathematical proofs. To quote J. Neubüser, 'with this situation two of the most basic rules of conduct in mathematics are violated: In mathematics information is passed on free of charge and everything is laid open for checking.'"

Our informal mission is to improve the love life of operators worldwide. -- Peter Behrendt, president of Exabyte