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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Image

Scientists Identify Head of France's King Henry IV 64 64

JThaddeus writes "The Associated Press reports that 'After nine months of tests, researchers in France have identified the head of France's King Henry IV.' Henry was assassinated in 1610, and his head has been missing. His body was dug up and decapitated during the French Revolution. Researchers found features similar to those in royal portraits, and radiocarbon dating confirms that the head dates to the 17th Century. Interestingly, 'Perfumers on the team used their professionally trained noses to identify specific embalming substances in the mouth used to hide nasty odors.' The results have been published an online medical journal."
PlayStation (Games)

Best Buy Unapologetic About Charging For PS3 Firmware Updates 454 454

donniebaseball23 writes "After discovering that electronics retailer Best Buy was charging ignorant customers $30 for the 'service' of installing updated firmware on PS3s, IndustryGamers got word from the company on its policy. Best Buy sees no problem with charging for this convenience, even though it's something Sony provides to PS3 owners completely free. 'While many gamers can handle firmware upgrades easily on their own, those customers who do want help can get it from Geek Squad, and we continue to evaluate this offering to ensure it meets their needs. The service goes beyond a firmware updates, and includes user account setup, parental control setup and other components,' a representative said."
Image

Man Takes Up Internal Farming 136 136

RockDoctor writes "'A Massachusetts man who was rushed to hospital with a collapsed lung came home with an unusual diagnosis: a pea plant was growing in his lung.' Just that summary should tell you enough to work out most of the rest of the details, but it does raise a number of questions unaddressed by the article: How did the pea roots deal with the patient's immune system? What would have happened if the situation had continued un-treated? I bet the guy has a career awaiting him in PR for a pea-growing company."
NASA

NASA Preparing For Largest Hurricane Study Ever 28 28

anonymous writes "Does lightning predict the intensity of a tropical storm? What role does dust from the Sahara play? Do hurricanes form from the large-scale environment around a tropical storm or from small-scale formations 100 kilometers from the center? A team from NASA, NOAA, and NSF plan to find out. Starting Saturday, the team will conduct the largest hurricane study every undertaken. Among other things, a better understanding of hurricanes has ramifications for weather prediction, building codes, insurance policies, and disaster planning." One recent study found that hurricane creation is affected by plankton in the ocean.
NASA

The Sun Unleashes Coronal Mass Ejection At Earth 220 220

astroengine writes "Yesterday morning, at 08:55 UT, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory detected a C3-class flare erupt inside a sunspot cluster. 100,000 kilometers away, deep within the solar atmosphere (the corona), an extended magnetic field filled with cool plasma forming a dark ribbon across the face of the sun (a feature known as a 'filament') erupted at the exact same time. It seems very likely that both eruptions were connected after a powerful shock wave produced by the flare destabilized the filament, causing the eruption. A second solar observatory, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, then spotted a huge coronal mass ejection blast into space, straight in the direction of Earth. Solar physicists have calculated that this magnetic bubble filled with energetic particles should hit Earth on August 3, so look out for some intense aurorae — a solar storm is coming."
Cellphones

Cell Phone Interception At Def Con 95 95

ChrisPaget writes "I'm planning a pretty significant demonstration of GSM insecurity at Defcon next week, where I'll intercept and record cellular calls made by my attendees, live on-stage, no user-input required. As you can imagine, intercepting cellphones is a Very Big Deal in the eyes of the law; this blog post is an attempt to reassure everyone that their privacy is being taken seriously despite the nature of the demo. I'm not just making it up either — the EFF have helped significantly with the details."
Robotics

The REX Robotic Exoskeleton 53 53

ElectricSteve writes "When Robert Irving was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, it was the catalyst for him and his childhood friend, Richard Little, to turn their engineering skills to the task of developing an exoskeleton that was a practical, standing-and-walking alternative to wheelchairs. The result is REX, an exoskeleton made of strong, lightweight materials that is designed to support and hold a person comfortably as he moves. Users strap themselves in to the robotic legs with a number of Velcro and buckled straps that fit around the legs, along with a belt around the waist. While most robotic exoskeletons we've looked at, such as the HAL, augment human motion, this is generally not an option for wheelchair-bound users, so REX is controlled using a joystick that sits at the wearer's waist level." The rig is expected to cost $150K when introduced later this year in New Zealand. Gizmag has an obnoxious timed popover subscription nag, so NoScript is indicated.
Operating Systems

OpenSUSE 11.3 Is Here 156 156

lukehashj writes "The openSUSE Project is pleased to announce the release of the latest incarnation of openSUSE, with support for 32-bit and 64-bit systems. OpenSUSE 11.3 is packed with new features and updates including SpiderOak to sync your files across the Internet for free, Rosegarden for free editing of your audio files, improved indexing with Tracker, and updates to Mozilla Firefox, and Thunderbird."
Image

The "King of All Computer Mice" Finally Ships 207 207

An anonymous reader writes "The much-anticipated, much-mocked 18-button joystick mouse from WarMouse is now shipping. The press release features an impressive set of user quotes from game designer Chris Taylor, new SFWA president John Scalzi, and a doctor who runs a medical software company. Crazy or not, it's obviously more than just a gaming mouse."
Image

Building a Homemade Nuclear Reactor In NYC 219 219

yukk writes "Mark Suppes, a web developer for Gucci, is working on his own personal fusion reactor. His work in a NYC warehouse using $35,000 of his own money and $4,000 raised on a website has made him the 38th independent researcher recognized as creating a working fusion reactor. How's that for a hobby?"
United States

State Senator Caught Looking At Porn On Senate Floor 574 574

Everyone knows how boring a debate on a controversial abortion bill can get on the Senate floor. So it's no wonder that Florida State Sen. Mike Bennett took the time to look at a little porn and a video of a dog running out of the water and shaking itself off. From the article: "Ironically, as Bennett is viewing the material, you can hear a Senator Dan Gelber's voice in the background debating a controversial abortion bill. 'I'm against this bill,' said Gelber, 'because it disrespects too many women in the state of Florida.' Bennett defended his actions, telling Sunshine State News it was an email sent to him by a woman 'who happens to be a former court administrator.'"
Earth

Aral Sea May Recover; Dead Sea Needs a Lifeline 131 131

An anonymous reader writes "It's a tale of two seas. The drying up of the Aral Sea is considered one of the greatest environmental catastrophes in history, but the northern sector of the sea, at least, is showing signs of life. A dam completed in 2005 has increased the North Aral's span by 20 percent, and birds, fish, and people are all returning to the area. Meanwhile, the Dead Sea is still in the midst of precipitous decline, since too much water is being drawn out of the Jordan River for thirsty populations and crops. To keep the sea from shrinking more, scientists are pushing an ambitious scheme called the 'Red-Dead conduit,' which would channel huge amounts of water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. However, the environmental consequences of such a project may be troubling."
Image

Man Put On "No-Fly List" While In Air To NYC 300 300

An unnamed man flying from Nigeria to New York City found out he was added to a no-fly list somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean, when the plane stopped to refuel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Officials won't say what he did or why he was added to the list after he had already boarded a flight. He was not immediately charged with a crime and Customs and Border Protection will only say that he is a "potential person of interest." From the article: "The man, a citizen of Gambia, was not on the no-fly list when he boarded the aircraft in Dakar, Senegal, said a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly."
Technology

Iron Alloy Could Create Earthquake-Proof Buildings 107 107

separsons writes "Researchers at Japan's Tohoku University designed a new shape memory metal alloy. The super elastic iron alloy can endure serious stretching and still return to its original shape. The scientists say that once optimized, the material could be used in everything from braces to medical stents to earthquake-proof buildings!"

"There is such a fine line between genius and stupidity." - David St. Hubbins, "Spinal Tap"

Working...