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Submission + - Bicycles indirectly cause more CO2 emissions by slowing traffic. 2

lxrocks writes: In a report by the European Cycling Federation, they show Bicycle CO2 emissions to be around 16g CO2/Km. The report however fails to recognise that in some countries, Bicycles cause traffic slow down. For example in hilly, Sydney, Australia cyclists can be found slowing traffic during peak traffic hours by consuming a whole traffic lane to themselves. Drivers will often experience a delay of at least 1 minute trying to navigate past the cyclist into another lane.

If the average passenger vehicle produces around 6g CO2/minute when just idling — if 100 cars are delayed 1 minute by the cyclist, the additional, indirect CO2 production adds 600g of CO2 to their 16g CO2/KM.

In some countries, cycling may be causing excessive CO2 emissions rather than reducing them.

Submission + - Seattle May Have to Wait a Few Bits Longer for Fast, Cheap Internet

Kyle Jacoby writes: In 2010, after Google Fiber's success in Kansas City, Google looked for another city to test its infrastructure. Seattle jumped at the opportunity to woo the internet giant, hoping to fuel the growing needs of its increasingly tech-centric city, but lost the bid to Austin in the end. Impatient, Seattle partnered with Gigabit Squared to deliver gigabit service using some of the city's own unused fiber. Originally slated to begin service in Fall of 2013, the project was delayed until "first quarter 2014," but there still appears to be no signs of life. Recent probing by GeekWire suggests that the project has stalled again and, in fact, may never have been moving to begin with. "When you dug into [it]... there wasn’t any money there, and there wasn’t any clear path to the money other than this general notion that if you got enough people moving in the same direction, money would show up." The Gigabit Squared toll-free phone number was even removed from their site after being disabled, and the project's prime proponent, Mayor McGinn, admits that he's "very concerned it’s not going to work." Without this project, and without motivation from the new mayor-elect, there may be no competition for the Comcast monopoly, whose current minimum price for internet-only is $49.95/mo ($64.95/mo for speeds over 6 mbps). This sharply contrasts Gigabit Seattle's announced plans for $10/mo for 5 mbps, $45 for 100 mbps, and $80 for true gigabit.

Submission + - First 3D Printed Liver Expected in 2014 (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: After 3D printing has produced ears, skin grafts and even retina cells that could be built up and eventually used to replace defective eye tissue, researchers expect to be able to produce the first functioning organ next year. The organ, a liver, would not be for the purpose of human implant — that will take years to complete clinical trials and pass FDA review. Instead, the liver would initially be for development and testing of pharmaceuticals. The field of 3D printing known as organs on a chip, will greatly increase the accuracy and speed of drug development and testing, researchers say. The company producing the liver, Organovo, has overcome a major stumbling block that faces the creation of any organ: printing the vascular system needed to provide it with life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients. Typically, 3D printed tissue dies in the petri dish before it can even be used because of that. "We have achieved thicknesses of greater than 500 microns, and have maintained liver tissue in a fully functional state with native phenotypic behavior for at least 40 days," said Mike Renard, Organovo's executive vice president of commercial operations.

Submission + - Utilities fight back against solar energy (bloomberg.com) 1

JoeyRox writes: The exponential growth of rooftop solar adoption has utilities concerned about their financial future. Efficiency gains and cost reductions has brought the price of solar energy to within parity of traditional power generation in states like California and Hawaii. HECO, an electric utility in Hawaii, has started notifying new solar adopters that they will not be allowed to connect to the utility's power grid, citing safety concerns of electric circuits becoming oversaturated from the rapid adoption of soloar power on the island. Residents claim it's not about safety but about the utility fighting to protect its profits.

Submission + - Millions of Dogecoin stolen over Christmas

Kenseilon writes: The Verge reports(http://www.theverge.com/2013/12/26/5244604/millions-of-dogecoin-stolen-in-christmas-hack) that millions of Dogecoins — an alternative cryptocurrency — was stolen after the service DogeWallet was hacked. DogeWallet worked like a bank account for the currency, and the attackers modified it to make sure all transactions ended up in a wallet of their choice. This latest incident is just one in the long (and growing) list of problems that cryptocurrencies are currently facing. It brings to mind the incident where bitcoin exchange service GBL vanished and took a modest amount of Bitcoins with them (http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/11/12/1553216/chinese-bitcoin-exchange-vanishes-taking-25m-of-coins-with-it). While not a similar case, it highlights the difficulties with trusting service provides in this market.

Submission + - What can the NSA learn from your phone metadata? There's an app for that.

An anonymous reader writes: Last month researchers at Stanford kicked off MetaPhone, a crowdsourced study of phone metadata. They've since reported that phone activity reveals private relationships, is densely interconnected at just two or three "hops", and can trivially be identified. But now you can see for yourself: an updated version of the Android app will show you how many users you're connected to, as well as the businesses you've been in touch with. It's downright spooky.

Submission + - Google's Duplicitous Stance on Loopholes, Spirit of Law 2

theodp writes: When it comes to tax loopholes, Google has certainly embraced the letter and not the spirit of the tax law. "Google plays by the rules set by politicians," quipped Google's UK head, defending the company's payment of a mere £6m in tax on sales of £2.6bn. "I view that you should pay the taxes that are legally required," added Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. "If the British system changes the tax laws then we will comply." So, one might ask whether Rap Genius was also playing by the letter of the rules, if not the spirit, when Google penalized Rap Genius for its link schemes. After all, don't they have the same fiduciary responsibility to investors that Google says motivates its tax strategy? Well, you could ask, but it wouldn't matter. In a case of what's-good-for-the-goose-is-not-good-for-the-gander, Google makes it clear that it won't countenance BS letter-of-the-law defenses from those who seek to exploit loopholes. From the Google Webmaster Guidelines, "These quality guidelines cover the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative behavior, but Google may respond negatively to other misleading practices not listed here. It's not safe to assume that just because a specific deceptive technique isn't included on this page, Google approves of it. Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit." So, in Lord Google's eyes, is exploiting loopholes good AND evil?

Submission + - Houston Expands Downtown Surveilance, Unsure If It Helps (khou.com)

SpaceGhost writes: Associated Press reports that the Houston (Texas) Police will be adding 180 surveillance cameras in the downtown area, bring the total to close to 1000. While most cover public areas (stadiums, theater district) the police suggest that Houston also has more "critical infrastructure" (energy companies) than other cities. Interestingly AP points out that "Officials say data is not kept to determine if the cameras are driving down crime." Didn't London face the same issue?

Submission + - What would it cost to build a Windows version of the pricey new Mac Pro? (bgr.com)

zacharye writes: The new Mac Pro is the most powerful and flexible computer Apple has ever created, and it’s also extremely expensive — or is it? With a price tag that can climb up around $10,000, Apple’s latest enterprise workhorse clearly isn’t cheap. For businesses with a need for all that muscle, however, is that steep price justifiable or is there a premium “Apple tax” that companies will have to pay? Shortly after the new Mac Pro was finally made available for purchase last week, one PC enthusiast set out to answer that question and in order to do so, he asked another one: How much would it cost to build a comparable Windows 8 machine?...

Submission + - 'Glow-In-The-Dark' Piglets Born In China (ibtimes.com)

minty3 writes: Using a technique developed by reproductive scientists from the University of Hawaii, ten transgenic piglets have been born in China. Under a black light, the pigs have a greenish tint.

Submission + - Some volcanoes 'scream' at ever-higher pitches until they blow their tops (washington.edu)

vinces99 writes: Swarms of small earthquakes often precede a volcanic eruption. They can reach such rapid succession that they create a "harmonic tremor" that resembles sound made by some musical instruments. A new analysis of an eruption sequence at Alaska's Redoubt Volcano in March 2009 shows the harmonic tremor glided to substantially higher frequencies and then stopped abruptly just before six of the eruptions. Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Volcano Observatory have dubbed the highest-frequency harmonic tremor at Redoubt Volcano “the screams” because the episodes reach such high pitch compared with a 1-to-5 hertz starting point. Alicia Hotovec-Ellis, a University of Washington doctoral student in Earth and space sciences and an author of two papers examining the phenomenon, has created a 10-second recording and a one-minute recording that provides a 60-times faster representation of harmonic tremor and small earthquakes.

Submission + - Tiny ion engine runs on water (discovery.com)

symbolset writes: Discovery News is covering a project by two engineers from the University of Michigan to pair cubesats with tiny ion engines for inexpensive interplanetary exploration. The tiny plasma drive called the CubeSat Ambipolar Thruster (CAT) will ionize water and use it as propellant with power provided by solar cells. In addition to scaling down the size of ion engines they hope to bring down the whole cost of development and launch to under $200,000.

Submission + - Rogers Moto X Demo Video Reveals Google's Android Superphone Coming in August (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: A leaked tech demo posted to YouTube shows off Motorola's upcoming Moto X smartphone, a seemingly high-end device that is sure to win over a few fans with its wealth of new tricks and features. The Moto X handset, which is launching exclusive to Rogers in Canada (no mention of US market carriers) this August, will be available in black and white, but a key selling point of the device comes from its voice activated features. The tech demo heavily emphasizes Google Now, which Moto X users can engage without touching the device. In the demo, a woman is shown asking Google Now what the weather will be like in Toronto while she types away on a computer, never having to reach down to tap the handset. It was also previously leaked that the Moto X will ship with a 4.4-inch display (1280x720), 1.7GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8960 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 10MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing camera, and of course Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

Submission + - Balmer's Bargain Blowouts: Microsoft Slashes Tablet Prices (theverge.com)

McGruber writes: Thursday, The Verge broke the news (http://www.theverge.com/2013/7/11/4514888/microsoft-surface-rt-tablet-price-cuts) that Microsoft was slashing the price of its tablets — the price of the 32-gig Surface RT plummented by 42%! Staples, TigerDirect and many other retailers are already selling the tablets at the lowered prices.

I wonder what Microsoft will do for customers who purchased a tablet right before the pricedrop?

Submission + - How do you deal with programmers who have not stayed current? 1

skaffen42 writes: The recent Ask Slashdot about becoming a programmer later in life got me thinking about a related question. How do you deal with programmers who have not stayed current with new technologies?

In the hiring process this is easy, you simply don't hire them. However, at most companies I have worked at there are usually a few programmers who have been employed there for long enough that the skill-set they were originally hired for has become irrelevant. At the same time they have not bothered to stay current with newer technologies. They usually have enough business knowledge that they provide some value to the company, but from a technical perspective they are a slowly increasing liability. As an example, I work with a developer who is 10 years my senior, but still doesn't understand how to write concurrent code and cannot be trusted to use a revision control system without causing a mess that somebody else will have to clean up. On top of that he is really resistant to the idea of code reviews, which I think is due to him disliking people he considers junior to him making suggestion about how to improve his code.

So how do my fellow Slashdotters handle situations like this? How do you help somebody like this to improve their skill-sets? And most importantly, how do you do so without stepping on anybody's feelings?

In 1750 Issac Newton became discouraged when he fell up a flight of stairs.