Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Take advantage of Black Friday with 15% off sitewide with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" on Slashdot Deals (some exclusions apply)". ×

Submission + - The Blue Book is Open

argStyopa writes: 130,000 pages of declassified files from Project Blue Book (and its predecessors) has been posted online at the result of decades of FOIA requests. Previously the National Archive has had these available in microfilm, but this is the first posting of the full collection online. Somehow, there is no mention of Roswell 1947 in the documents, leaving conspiracy theorists something to chew on as well.

Submission + - Antarctic Ice at Record Extent (

argStyopa writes: "Scientists say the extent of Antarctic sea ice cover is at its highest level since records began. Satellite imagery reveals an area of about 20 million square kilometres covered by sea ice around the Antarctic continent. ... "This is an area covered by sea ice which we've never seen from space before," he said. "Thirty-five years ago the first satellites went up which were reliably telling us what area, two dimensional area, of sea ice was covered and we've never seen that before, that much area. "That is roughly double the size of the Antarctic continent and about three times the size of Australia.""

Submission + - What use is a Math Major? What do they do? 3

argStyopa writes: I have a college sophomore who has declared himself a Math major; what does that really mean for his future? I'm hoping Slashdotters can explain what they do in Real Life. With the rise of 'big data', and the growing importance of encryption, it appears to be a good, long-term career path. Is Math (alone) that valuable, or is it actually Math in conjunction with other fields? Math + CompSci, Math + Physics, or Math + Statistics, etc.? What sort of an internship would a not-yet-completed Math major even seek?

Submission + - So what do I really own? 5

argStyopa writes: I had an ample collection of DVDs, CDs, etc that all were destroyed in an apartment fire. Now, as I understand, according to the MPAA/RIAA I didn't actually own that media (and was not entitled to make digital copies) but merely a permission 'license' to view/listen to it.
Now that the physical media is destroyed, does that mean I am legally within my rights to download a copy from some online source? It would seem a double-standard to assert that the 'physical media is meaningless'...unless its destroyed, at which point it means you lose your rights to what you purchased.
IANAL (and I know most of you aren't either) but I'm curious if anyone knows about established precedent in this circumstance?

Submission + - Target also lost personal data, emails, names, addresses

argStyopa writes: Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel just sent out a letter advising Target customers:

Late last week, as part of our ongoing investigation, we learned that additional information, including name, mailing address, phone number or email address, was also taken. I am writing to make you aware that your name, mailing address, phone number or email address may have been taken during the intrusion.

So not only are CC# and PINs 'in the wild' but personal data as well. As the letter goes on to note: "...Here are some tips that will help protect you: Never share information with anyone over the phone, email or text, even if they claim to be someone you know or do business with. Instead, ask for a call-back number...." "Anyone" apparently including Target. I wonder if this will encourage Mr. Steinhafel to have his cashiers stop asking for email addresses etc. at the point of sale as well?


Submission + - MN town bans domestic drones for 2 years (

argStyopa writes: "Even small towns are beginning to resist government's creeping encroachment on its citizens: St. Bonifacius, a tiny 1-square-mile town of 2200 has taken the lead in MN, banning the use of drones for domestic information-gathering for 2 years, citing concerns to privacy and constitutional rights of US citizens. “We don’t want to exclude a lawful purpose (for use of drone technology), but we want to be aware when it happens.” Flying of a drone without a warrant will be considered a misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $5,000. (Charlotteville, Va., became the first city in the United States to pass anti-drone legislation on Jan. 28)"

Submission + - Harry Harrison dies at 87 ( 1

argStyopa writes: Harry Harrison, famed Science Fiction author of such seminal genre series as the Deathworld Trilogy and the Stainless Steel Rat has passed away at the age of 87. He was also famed within the writing world for his friendliness and approachability, and was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Harrison's entertaining, engaging, and action-packed writing introduced many of us to a lifetime of science fiction reading. He will be missed.

Submission + - Valve's Gabe Newell slams Win8, "catastrophe" (

argStyopa writes: Newell claims Win8 will force developers to migrate to Linux and argues that MS is intending to close the OS to outside vendors, much like the Xbox.. "I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space." Of course, Newell's Steam profits primarily from selling games to PC owners, so the idea of MS turning Win 8 into a walled-garden directly threatens his revenue stream.

Submission + - Dutch firm plans Mars Colony by 2023 ( 2

argStyopa writes: "Dutch firm Mars One plans for ongoing habitation on the Martian Surface by 2023, including additional crews arriving every 2 years thereafter. Intro video at is flashy, almost suggesting a pending TV show. The fact that one of their stated suppliers is SpaceX — who recently announced their Red Dragon module as a Mars-destined vehicle — might suggest that they're totally serious."

Submission + - Where to start with a game idea if you don't want to program it yourself?

(arg!)Styopa writes: I have a mobile/flash game idea, but my own programming skills are of little relevance anymore. It seems like there are already tons of extremely talented indy game studios out there that might be interested in a well-developed game idea that's not just a re-hash of Farmville. Even if I was going to freshen my code-fu and do this myself, the publishing part is ground that seems to already have been well-trod; I'd rather devote my efforts to building the game than the distribution/marketing, etc.
I'm unsure how to proceed, or even where to start? How does one pitch an idea to a developer in a serious, thorough, and convincing way yet protect ideas and IP from being Zynga'd?

Submission + - Best Guides for a basic understanding of Practical Electricity? ( 2

(arg!)Styopa writes: Watching the interesting video (at!) about using old ATX powersupplies for a lab-bench powersupply, I realized that for years I've had an interest in DIY electrical experiments, but never tried them mainly out of sheer ignorance of all things electrical. Sure, I know what amps and volts, but what's the difference between +5V and -5V? 2-phase vs 3? What's a resistor, and how does it put a 'load' on a current? Why is this important?
With all the DIY tinkerers on /., can anyone suggest good books or sites for a good "grounding" (sorry) in the sorts of electrical basics that might help prevent me getting killed experimenting?

Submission + - What rights do I have to media I "buy"? 2

(arg!)Styopa writes: I bought a video decades ago, and subsequently that video was corrupted/wrecked (but the original tape/box is available to provide proof of ownership, if needed). I recently got the DVD of this movie from Netflix and found that it's a direct-from-video transfer, no improvement in quality nor any 'special features' compared to the VHS tape. IANAML(bihwb) (I am not a media lawyer because I have warm blood), so could I legally burn a copy of that DVD? As I see it, if I actually owned the thing I bought, I'd be out of luck — as if I owned a book and it was destroyed. But I believe that the MPAA/RIAA asserts that buying media only allows the purchaser a right to view it, and grants no actual ownership. In this case (burning the DVD) I'm merely getting 'back' what I'd purchased...or no?

Submission + - The world ends tomorrow? (

(arg!)Styopa writes: Patch 4.0.3a — the one that will radically and irreversibly change the face of Azeroth — is now expected to drop during the usual patch downtime 11/23. Massive changes to the game are already present in code since patch 4.0.1, this patch will simply activate many of them. What's in and what isn't:
Note — many of the most-awaited features (new races, archaeology, guild levels, flying in the old world, and new zones) remain locked until the release of the Cataclysm expansion slated for 12/7/2010, but this will be the patch that is expected to actually implement the world-shattering Cataclysm.

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright