philetus writes "An article in New Scientist describes a robotic system composed of swarms of electromagnetic modules capable of assuming almost any form that is being developed by the Claytronics Group at Carnegie Mellon. 'The grand goal is to create swarms of microscopic robots capable of morphing into virtually any form by clinging together. Seth Goldstein, who leads the research project at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, in the US, admits this is still a distant prospect. However, his team is using simulations to develop control strategies for futuristic shape-shifting, or "claytronic", robots, which they are testing on small groups of more primitive, pocket-sized machines.'"
A new company, Delver, is offering a new take on web searching that plans to make your social network a part of the equation. "Liad Agmon, CEO of Delver, says that the site connects information about a user's social network with Web search results, "so you are searching the Web through the prism of your social graph." He explains that a person begins a search at Delver by typing in her name. Delver then crawls social-networking websites for widely available data about the user--such as a public LinkedIn profile--and builds a network of associated institutions and individuals based on that information. When the user enters a search query, results related to, produced by, or tagged by members of her social network are given priority. Lower down are results from people implicitly connected to the user, such as those relating to friends of friends, or people who attended the same college as the user. Finally, there may be some general results from the Web at the bottom."
Techdirt is reporting that as a response to all the hoopla about people being able to Google for information on potential employees (or lovers) a new market has opened up in "online reputation management". This seems to be the ultimate realization of those dubious firms who promised to scrub your records clean from a few years back. "From the description in the article, it sounds like this involves a combination of search engine optimization, plus legal bullying of anyone who says something you don't like. If anything, that sounds like a recipe for more trouble, but you can see how it would appeal to those who are unhappy with how they're perceived online. Obviously, it's no fun to have something bad about you exposed online, but efforts to suppress that information have a decent likelihood of backfiring and serving to highlight that information. I wonder if these online reputation managers have malpractice insurance for when that happens?"
plainwhitetoast recommends an article in La Repubblica.it — in Italian, Google translation here. According to Italian lawyer Andrea Monti, an expert on copyright and Internet law, the new Italian copyright law would authorize users to publish and freely share copyrighted music (p2p included). The new law, already approved by both legislative houses, indeed says that one is allowed to publish freely, through the Internet, free of charge, images and music at low resolution or "degraded," for scientific or educational use, and only when such use is not for profit. As Monti says in the interview, those who wrote it didn't realize that the word "degraded" is technical, with a very precise meaning, which includes MP3s, which are compressed with an algorithm that ensures a quality loss. The law will be effective after the appropriate decree of the ministry, and will probably have an impact on pending p2p judicial cases.
KentuckyFC writes "Is it really possible for a 350-pound tiger to leap a 12.5-foot barrier from 33 feet away? (Said another way: a 159-kg tiger, a 3.8 m barrier, and 10 m away.) A physicist at Northeastern University has done the math, a straightforward problem in ballistics, and the answer turns out to be yes (abstract on the physics arXiv). But I guess we already knew that following the death of Carlos Souza at the paws of Tatiana, a Siberian Tiger he had allegedly been taunting at San Francisco zoo at the end of last year."
lkratz writes "Sylvain (Jamendo's CTO) just got back from a Wikipedia/iCommons party in San Francisco where he taped a very exciting announcement from Jimmy Wales : Creative Commons, Wikimedia and the Free Software Foundation just agreed to make the current Wikipedia license (the GFDL) compatible with Creative Commons (CC BY-SA). As Jimbo puts it, "This is the party to celebrate the liberation of Wikipedia"."
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
newsblaze writes "In the Media space, the internet has been threatening to be a highly disruptive technology for some time now. So far it has done quite a number on newspapers, who still don't understand the internet. There are a lot of people who like to have the paper in their hands, though, so newspapers are holding on. Television has no such ties to a physical medium. When Murdoch bought Myspace, I wondered how long it would be before he either found something to do with it — or gave up. Now it seems Murdoch has found a way to leverage his position, and put a massive squeeze on television. How far can he take this — and what will be the result?"
zIRtrON writes "Gday Slashdot, I've written an implementation to an open standard. I'm dropping back to part-time work in order to work more with the software I've written (Telephony Industry). I was considering a dual-licensing model with the GPL a la Asterisk and MySQL. Being an open standard and considering the dual-licensing — am I in any hot water whether I go for the GPLv2 or GPLv3? I'm not as keen to go for a FreeBSD style license because I would like to be able to maintain a little bit of control over it and be able to make some money. Any good/bad stories people know?"
bshell writes "I commute to work by bicycle and I've been strapping my PowerBook to the bike rack carrier on the back of my bike. It's enclosed in a typical computer carry bag, and strapped down by bungie cords, but it gets all the road vibrations on there. After years, there seems to be no adverse effects. Do other Slashdot readers concur? Does anyone think that subjecting a laptop computer to the daily bumps and bangs of a bicycle commute is harmful to the machine, or are laptop computers fundamentally constructed to handle this sort of treatment? Your experiences might be instructive to other readers."
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
mqudsi writes "Microsoft is using the .MS top-level domain, assigned to the Caribbean island of Montserrat, for its Web 2.0-flavored Popfly project. You can get your own .MS name if you really want to — there are no restrictions on foreign ownership — at $180 US for 2 years. As of this writing microsoft.ms is available." In an obliquely related note, TechBlorge has up a rumination on the resemblance of the Popfly logo to Tux.
mdsolar writes "Reuters is reporting on a method of releasing hydrogen from water by oxidizing aluminum in an alloy with gallium. The aluminum oxidizes leaving aluminum oxide, gallium and hydrogen gas in the presence of water. The Purdue scientists who discovered the effect think this may help to overcome difficulties with hydrogen storage. From the article:
More details are give here."On its own, aluminum will not react with water because it forms a protective skin when exposed to oxygen. Adding gallium keeps the film from forming, allowing the aluminum to react with oxygen in the water.
And the real reason, more staff capable of moving fat patients. As the general population gets larger, so must the carrying capacity of the average nurse.
Fairness is indeed fun.