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Submission + - How we'll know whether BICEP2 was right about gravitational waves

StartsWithABang writes: The Big Bang takes us back to very early times, but not the earliest. It tells us the Universe was in a hot, dense state, where even the possibility of forming neutral atoms was impossible due to the incredible energies of the Universe at that time. The patterns of fluctuations that are left over from that time give us insight into the primordial density fluctuations that our Universe was born with. But there’s an additional signature encoded in this radiation, one that’s much more difficult to extract: polarization. While most of the polarization signal that’s present will be due to the density fluctuations themselves, there’s a way to extract even more information about an even earlier phenomenon: gravitational waves that were present from the epoch of cosmic inflation! Here's the physics on how that works, and how we'll find whether BICEP2 was right or not.

Submission + - Using naval logbooks to reconstruct past weather—and predict future climat ( 1

Lasrick writes: What a great idea. The Old Weather Project uses old logbooks to study the weather patterns of long ago, providing a trove of archival data to scientists who are trying to fill in the details of our knowledge about the atmosphere and the changing climate. 'Pity the poor navigator who fell asleep on watch and failed to update his ship’s logbook every four hours with details about its geographic position, time, date, wind direction, barometric readings, temperatures, ocean currents, and weather conditions.' As Clive Wilkinson of the UK's National Maritime Museum adds, 'Anything you read in a logbook, you can be sure that it is a true and faithful account.'

The Old Weather Project uses citizen scientists to transcribe and digitize observations that were scrupulously recorded on a clockwork-like basis, and it is one of several that climate scientists are using to create 'a three-dimensional computer simulation that will provide a continuous, century-and-a-half-long profile of the entire planet’s climate over time'--the 20th Century Reanalysis Project. Data is checked and rechecked by 3 different people before entry into the database, and the logbook measurements are especially valuable because it was compiled at sea. Great story.

Submission + - Interviews: Ask Warren Ellis a Question

samzenpus writes: Warren Ellis is an acclaimed British author of comics, novels, and television who is well known for his sociocultural commentary. The movies Red, and Iron Man 3 are based on his graphic novels. In addition to numerous other comic titles he started a personal favorite, Transmetropolitan. Ellis has written for Vice, Wired UK and Reuters on technological and cultural matters, and is co-writing a video project called Wastelanders with Joss Whedon. Warren has agreed to give us some of his time to answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.

Submission + - Intel Core i7-5960X Brings 8 Haswell Cores to Enthusiasts (

Vigile writes: Today Intel released its updated E-class, enthusiast platform based on Haswell, known previously as just Haswell-E. The Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition CPU is an 8-core processor (addressing 16 threads with HyperThreading) that doubles core count over mainstream Haswell parts and jumps from the 6-core parts in previous E-class platforms. That not only turns into dramatic performance increases in highly threaded applications like rendering and encoding, but Haswell-E is also the first consumer platform to integrate a quad-channel DDR4 memory controller, with frequencies starting at 2133 MHz. The top two tiers of Haswell-E processors also include 40 lanes of PCI Express 3.0 while the lower cost Core i7-5820K will be limited to 6-cores and 28 lanes of PCIe. New motherboards based on the new X99 chipset are required as well and include additional storage options like 14 USB ports and 10 SATA 6.0 Gbps channels. Clearly this is the fastest consumer platform tested but as with all E-class releases, the cost is higher. The Core i7-5960X will set you back $999 and expect to pay at least $500 for a motherboard and 4 DIMMs of the new DDR4 as well.

Submission + - Battlefield 4 DRM Locking Part Of North America Out Of Its Release Date.

An anonymous reader writes: On the whole, Battlefield 4 had a reasonable launch. The have clearly learned from their past experiences with Battlefield 3 and, more notably, SimCity. Still, some customers are unable to access the game (until presumably October 30th at 7PM EDT, 39 hours after launch) because they are incorrectly flagged by region-locking. Do regional release dates help diminish all the work EA has been putting into Origin with their refund policy and live technical support? Should they just take our money and deliver the service before we change our minds?

Submission + - ASUS PQ321Q Monitor Brings Multi-Stream Tiled Displays Forward (

Vigile writes: While 4K displays have been popping up all over the place recently with noticeably lower prices, one thing that kind of limits them all is a 30 Hz refresh rate panel. Sony is selling 4K consumer HDTVs for $5000 and new-comer SEIKI has a 50-in model going for under $1000 but they all share that trait — HDMI 1.4 supporting 3840x2160 at 30 Hz. The new ASUS PQ321Q monitor is a 31.5-in 4K display built on the same platform as the Sharp PN-K321 and utilizes a DisplayPort 1.2 connection capable of MST (multi-stream transport). This allows the screen to include two display heads internally, showing up as two independent monitors to some PCs that can then be merged into a single panel via AMD Eyefinity or NVIDIA Surround. Thus, with dual 1920x2160 60 Hz signals, the PQ321Q can offer 3840x2160 at 60 Hz for a much better viewing experience. PC Perspective got one of the monitors in for testing and review and found that the while there were some hurdles during initial setup (especially with NVIDIA hardware), the advantage of a higher refresh rate made the 4K resolution that much better.

Submission + - New Apple MacBook Air features next generation ultra fast PCI-Express SSD (

boxgamex writes: Apple may have only mentioned improvements to battery life for the Haswell-based MacBook Air at the WWDC Keynote on Monday, but that isn't all that has improved with this machine. Initial testing reveals Apple has switched to PCI-Express based SSDs for this new Air, which at over 700MB/s read speed outperform the theoretical maximum bandwidth of SATA. After digging into the hardware, it seems this may be just a preview of what is to come from M.2 NGFF SSDs, which are expected to come be released for PC platforms this Summer.

Submission + - GPU Frame Capture Performance Testing Clouds Multi-GPU Results (

Vigile writes: A month ago for the release of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX Titan a new GPU performance technology was introduced called Frame Rating. While at the time only a single game and single instance was tested, PC Perspective has since circled back with a full set of results on both NVIDIA and AMD high-end graphics cards in single and dual-GPU configurations. By using an external hardware-based capture system that can record uncompressed data at 2560x1440 @ 60 Hz and then post-processing software that analyzes the data after capture, the new performance results paint a startling different picture of multi-GPU scenarios, especially from AMD's CrossFire. PC Perspective has also included slow-motion captured video of the games in question for side-by-side comparison and information on how Vertical Sync can affect the results for these new test methods.

Submission + - Will Windows RT Be the Future? ( 1

Phopojijo writes: "Microsoft might be on their way to removing legacy support from future versions of Windows. With the recent announcement from Bill Gates that Microsoft intends to evolve Windows Phone and Windows 8 into a single platform, there could be a time where the Windows Store becomes our only way to install applications on our PCs. Would this mean a government could request for Microsoft to block and remove encryption applications or games which discuss same-sex relationships from your PC? At some point will we be reliant on open-source operating systems to preserve personal computing?"

Submission + - Video Games Do Not Want to Be Art? (

Phopojijo writes: "Art of the past only persists today because they were based on timeless platforms such as canvas and inks. Fans want their medium to be art and will fight any critic who refutes the artistic merits of video games. These gamers also ignore community-supported platforms in exchange for proprietary and often intentionally disposable ones such as consoles and DRM in the name of simplicity and fear over piracy or used sales. If video games are intrinsically valuable art – shouldn’t we be fighting for it to be accessible forever like all other art mediums by using platforms like Linux or BSD?"

Submission + - HSA Foundation founded by AMD, ARM, Ti, Imagination, and MediaTek (

Phopojijo writes: "To wrap up his “The Programmers Guide to a Universe of Possibility” keynote during the 2012 AMD Fusion Developer’s Summit, Phil Rogers of AMD announced the establishment of the HSA Foundation. The foundation has been instituted to create and maintain open standards to ease programming for a wide variety of processing resources including discrete and integrated GPUs. Founding members include ARM, Texas Instruments, Imagination, MediaTek, Texas Instruments, as well as AMD. Parallels can be drawn between this and AMD’s “virtual gorilla” initiative back from the late 1990’s."

Submission + - The Decay of the Atom Processor (

Phopojijo writes: "It is easy to pass judgment on the netbook form factor but the problem was always its processing ability — the form factor just inherited the blame by association. Low-voltage adaptations of mainstream architectures will soon collide against ARM and leave low-power x86 architectures with no legitimate room to exist: “Intel is likely to continue on with Atom in computers, but only because it will be easy to offer the fruits of its smartphone endeavors in desktop and laptop PCs. There’s no particular reason for Intel to kill it but – in regards to laptops and desktops – there’s no reason for Intel to make it better.”"

Submission + - Carmack on infinite detail, integrated GPUs, more (

Vigile writes: Co-founder of id Software and one of the better interviews in the industry, John Carmack sat down with PC Perspective during Quakecon 2011 to talk about technology for gaming going forward. Collected in this ~30 minute video interview are thoughts on the GPU hardware race (hardware doesn't matter but drivers are REALLY important), integrated graphics solutions on Sandy Bridge and Llano (with a future of shared address spaces they may outperform discrete GPUs) and of course some thoughts on infinite detail engines (uninspired content viewed at the molecular level is still uninspired content). Carmack does mention a new found interest in ray tracing and how it will "eventually win" the battle for rendering in the long run. As usual, there is a lot of information collected in a short time span so pay attention!

Submission + - Exploring how we've been reprogrammed by machines (

HansonMB writes: He started out as a producer on the zany BBC magazine show “That’s Life!” But over the years, in his free-form documentary tours of the politics of science, consumerism, and fear, Adam Curtis has become a kind of smarter, wittier Michael Moore, making the argument – in a way that manages to be digestible – that we are never as free as we think we are. In his latest series of films, “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace,” currently being shown in four parts on the BBC, he’s turned his attention to the Internet, a topic simply begging for his medium-is-the-message critique: aside from the car, it’s hard to think of a technology that has been as pervasive – and as laden with expectation – as a tool for individual freedom and expression.

Submission + - Terry Pratchett Considers Assisted Suicide Process (

cHALiTO writes: "Beloved science fiction and fantasy writer Terry Pratchett has terminal early-onset Alzheimer's. He's determined to have the option of choosing the time and place of his death, rather than enduring the potentially horrific drawn-out death that Alzheimer's sometimes brings. But Britain bans assisted suicide, and Pratchett is campaigning to have the law changed. As part of this, he has visited Switzerland's Dignitas clinic, an assisted suicide facility, with a BBC camera crew, as part of a documentary will include Britain's first televised suicide. Pratchett took home Dignitas's assisted suicide consent forms."

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all your time.