Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment K-2nd grade (Score 1) 700

In my opinion the first few years of school are a decent time to homeschool. There is no way to say what's best for any one kid/family, but there is a very small skill set taught in the first few years. The major subject is reading. This is a subject where one on one time is highly productive and group activities tend to be not as effective. As an example I have an aunt that didn't learn to read till she was in 4th or 5th grade. She got by through memorization of the story books as they were read to the class. When it came time for her 5 minutes with the teacher she could spout the story back and pretend to be reading. If it was a book that she hadn't seen she would look at the pictures and guess. None of her teachers figured out she couldn't read till she was almost done with elementary school. This doesn't happen if mom is spending hours per day, one on one with her child.

As for socialization, I can't tell you how many times my bully avoidance skills have saved me from a near certain pounding at the office. I went to public school and ended up as a physicist, so obviously there is absolutely no socialization benefit to attending public school. (How's that for anecdote.)

Submission + - Cell Tower Jammer Created From Cheap Phone Using Open Source Firmware (

bryanandaimee writes: A few years ago the baseband code for the Vitelcom TSM30 was leaked to the public. From that leaked code others have written open source GSM firmware firmware for the baseband processor. Using that code researchers in Berlin have created firmware to intercept the cell tower to cell phone handshake and block calls and text messages from getting through. A single hacked cell phone can bring down a cell.

Submission + - RoboSavvy & GrabCAD Launch Humanoid Robot Design Challenge (

An anonymous reader writes: Our objective is to launch a new open-source Humanoid Robot that will be agile and smart at an affordable cost. Similar Humanoid Robots used for Education and Research can cost over $10,000 due to the cost their plastic molding exterior shell, costly actuators and closed-source business approach. RoboSavvy is looking forward to an open-source robot design that will outperform its rivals while maintaining the price of materials to only about $1,000.

Submission + - NIST Ytterbium Atomic Clocks Set Record for Stability (

bryanandaimee writes: An optical lattice clock like the one discussed earlier on slashdot has broken the stability record. Comparing two OLC's using trapped atoms of Ytterbium, the stability of the clocks was measured to 2 parts per quintillion (10^18). While the previously reported OLC used strontium, these clocks, built by another group, use Ytterbium. Interestingly, while the stability of the clocks is now the best in the world, the accuracy has yet to be measured.

Comment Re:Or both? (Score 1) 174

I dissagree. Altruism itself is by definition not a profit motive, but only a very simple robot or a computer could possibly be driven by a single pure motivation (seek light, or some such.). I am always motivated by multiple things. Greed, desire to do good, desire to be seen doing good, laziness, boredom, desire to learn something new, fun seeking, thrill seeking, etc. all play a part in what I choose to do at any one moment. Even if it's 90% profit motive and 10% charitable motive, perhaps the project would have been ignored without that other 10%. And even that is too simplistic. If they are even remotely human I would guess you could easily add in, desire to be admired, desire to solve a difficult problem, ego, adventure, and a long list of other motivations for this single project alone.

Comment Or both? (Score 1) 174

I'm not sure why we need to split the entire world into a series of false dichotomies. Couldn't they be altruistic and at the same time motivated by profit? What is the point of the constant adversarial split for every stupid little issue? Is Slashdot interested in news for nerds for the purpose of enlightening its user base or is it simply a money hungry capitalistic shill for the corporate powers that be?

Comment Original article worth a read (Score 5, Insightful) 74

Reading the summary I thought "No big deal, so some contaminated dirt is out there and someone might refine it for a few grams of plutonium residue."

But then I decided to read the article. It was slashdotted of course so I went on Google and found the article at a non-slashdotted site. (I know, not really the slashdot way.) All I can say is, HOLY PLUTONIUM Batman! Not residue from tests, but hundreds of pounds of plutonium metal in useable form. Enough for dozens of nuclear bombs. And they capped it and left it there! And now they are telling the world where it is. I'm speechless. (Other than the preceding text of course.)

Comment Missing the point (Score 2) 322

The authors seem to be entirely missing the point. 3D printers are for prototyping stuff that isn't already sold at the dollar store. Additionally they are useful for making replacement parts that are not available or only available as part of a larger assembly. For me the list currently includes:
Servo brackets for a 2DOF Quadruped
Replacement spacers for a trampoline safety net
Lead foil holders for a linear accelerator
Wall hook to hang a bow
Handle for a dead bolt lock
case for a raspberry pi
thermometer holder for a water phantom
ion chamber clamp for a water phantom

Has it paid for itself? No. Is that why you bought a 2D printer? Or did you buy one because it does useful stuff like print out recipes n stuff. Did you buy that compound miter saw after a careful calculation of payback time, or did you just buy one because it helps you do/build fun stuff. Do you buy a mill or cnc cutter based on time to payback? For most of us I would guess the answer is no. We buy these tools because they fit in with our hobbies and interests. The "usefulness" and "savings" are just arguments we use to get the significant other to buy into the purchase. (And he/she doesn't really believe you, but goes along anyway.)

Slashdot Top Deals

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.