Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

+ - Infiniti to offer steer by wire next year->

Submitted by CaptSlaq
CaptSlaq writes: Fly by wire has long been a mainstay in aircraft, and now Infiniti is ready to try it out for your car. The design is interesting using cameras and other sensors to manage the small stuff, and has a mechanical fail over in the event something goes wrong. If the mechanical fail over could be removed, this would be quite the boon for automotive packaging, as the steering mechanism can be put outside the engine bay, and the steering wheel can easily be put anywhere else inside the car.
Link to Original Source

+ - Google's Profits Fall 20% Year-on-Year->

Submitted by MentalMooMan
MentalMooMan writes: Google's quarterly profits fell 20% compared to the same quarter a year ago, according to a mistakenly-released draft earnings report. The report was supposed to be released after the markets closed, but was submitted earlier. Google is blaming printing firm RR Donnelley for the mistake. Google stock is down 9% and the NASDAQ has halted trading until the earnings report is finalised by Google.
Link to Original Source

+ - Victory for Apple in "the Patent Trial of the Century"-> 2

Submitted by pdabbadabba
pdabbadabba writes: The jury is in in the epic patent dispute between Apple and Samsung and Apple appears to be coming out on top. The court is still going through the 700+ items on the verdict form, but things seem to be going Apple's way so far. In the case of Apple's various UI patents, the jury is consistently ruling that Samsung not only violated Apple's patent, but did so willfully.
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:ACTA? (Score 2) 198

by aztec rain god (#38910777) Attached to: Super Bowl Bust: Feds Grab 307 NFL Websites; $4.8M
I would add to dear Cicero that a secret law is no law. The whole idea behind laws, if we're going back to Babylonian times, was that human beings were savages, and needed a code that the authorities could point to. "See, here's the list of shit you can't do." If a law is secret, how the hell are you supposed to comply?
Open Source

Open Source Robot for Household Tasks 99

Posted by Soulskill
from the make-them-do-the-dishes-when-they-beat-you-at-chess dept.
bednarz brings us a NetworkWorld story about the development of a robot through an open source project. The objective of the project is to "take robotics from research into homes." Quoting: "One of its immediate goals is to build 10 robots and make them available to university researchers as a common platform that can be tinkered with and improved. Willow Garage will also supply 'an open-source code base integrated from the best open-source robotics software available,' President and CEO Steve Cousins said. In Cousins' video presentation, the first version of the robot could be seen vacuuming, picking up toys off the floor of a living room, taking dishes out of a dishwasher, and most importantly of all, using a bottle opener to crack open a cold, refreshing brew."

Modeling Urban Panic 105

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the godzilla-disappointed dept.
Schneier is reporting that Arizona State University's Paul Torrens has been developing a computer simulation to model urban panic. "The goal of this project is to develop a reusable and behaviorally founded computer model of pedestrian movement and crowd behavior amid dense urban environments, to serve as a test-bed for experimentation." The simulation tests behaviors from how a crowd flees from a burning car to how a pathogen might be transmitted through a mobile pedestrian over time among others.

+ - Ethanol Under Siege

Submitted by
Reservoir Hill
Reservoir Hill writes: "Little over a year ago, ethanol was winning the hearts and wallets of both Main Street and Wall Street, with promises of greater US energy independence, fewer greenhouse gases and help for the farm economy. But the Wall Street Journal reports that critics now blame ethanol for pushing up food prices and dispute how much it really helps reduce the need for oil while environmentalists say additional ethanol production could strain water supplies and impair water quality and the EPA says that "ozone levels generally increase with increased ethanol use." President Bush gave ethanol a boost in his State of the Union speech in 2005 by calling for "strong funding" of renewable energy. Energy legislation that summer required oil companies to blend a total of 7.5 billion gallons of "renewable" fuels into the nation's fuel supply by 2012. Now the ethanol lobby is pushing for the Senate version of pending energy legislation, which includes a requirement that gasoline blenders use 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022 but formidable opponents such as the livestock, packaged-food and oil industries also have lawmakers' ears and what once looked like a slam-dunk could now languish in pending energy legislation that might not pass for weeks, if ever."

+ - Nuclear battery patent and tapping oil shale->

Submitted by
nanotrends writes: "The uranium hydride nuclear "battery" is a self-contained nuclear reactor. It is not a radioisotope thermal generator. With a good design it can achieve 50% fuel burnup instead of 0.7-2.0% for existing reactors. The company Hyperion claims that the first reactors will cost $1400 per KW (about the same as the claims for the latest conventional nuclear reactors). The patent info on the "nuclear battery" indicates how it will operate. The first target market is to help enhance recovery of oil shale, so this would address peak oil. They claim they can lower costs of insitu recovery down to 30% of the cost of using natural gas for the same purpose and no water is needed for reactor cooling. Thorium hydride could also be used. If the company is successful they would blunt peak oil. The USA could be generating several million barrels per day of oil from the oil shale fields in Colorado and the reactors could displace coal power which kills 30,000 americans each year from air pollution and 1 million people world wide. Teller tried to make a uranium hydride bomb but he could only get 200 tons of TNT equivalent out of it. Not much more than the recent russian father of all bombs."
Link to Original Source

+ - Another challenge to the DCMA subpoena clause 1

Submitted by tom_gram
tom_gram writes: A lawyer for a "a Jane/John Doe" recently filed a challenge to the RIAA's right to demand that a University provide the names of students associated with IP adresses that the RIAA suspects of sharing music files.

An article in the Columbus Dispatch describes the lawyers legal position: ""Here, we have the well-oiled and ready legal machine of the music industry poised against ... unemployed college students who depend on their parents, the government or benevolent institutions for their very sustenance," Kafantaris said. "It's an abuse of the legal system, and it is unconscionable."

The article describes the general approach of the RIAA, which has the college forward letters to students "that say they can settle the complaint at a "discount" (typically between $3,000 and $4,500)" but in this case are now demanding names of students who did not comply.

Make Your Own Sputnik 118

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-you-can dept.
An anonymous reader writes "What better way of celebrating the 50th anniversary of Sputnik than by making one of your own. The BBC says that you can build your own Sputnik satellite from stuff lying around the house. The BBC quotes an electronics hobbyist: "Technology now is way ahead of what was available in 1957, and making your own fully functional Sputnik would now be very simple indeed. I wouldn't be surprised if you could build one in a container smaller than a matchbox, weighing about as much as a wristwatch. The components, including a transmitter, battery and the sensors you'd need would probably cost less than 50 pounds [about 100 US dollars]. It really shouldn't be a problem to build and program the whole thing in under a day." Unfortunately, the BBC article doesn't go into technical details." And of course, actually getting it up into orbit might take a little more work.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.