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Submission + - Losing the Public Debate on Global Warming 3

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Dr James Hansen, director of the Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who first made warnings about climate change in the 1980s, says that public skepticism about the threat of man-made climate change has increased despite the growing scientific consensus and that without public support it will be impossible to make the changes he and his colleagues believe need to occur to protect future generations from the effects of climate change. "The science has become stronger and stronger over the past five years while the public perception is has gone in completely the other direction. That is not an accident," says Hansen. "There is a very concerted effort by people who would prefer to see business to continue as usual. They have been winning the public debate with the help of tremendous resources." Hansen's comments come as recent surveys have revealed that public support for tackling climate change has declined dramatically in recent years with a recent BBC poll finding that 25% of British adults did not think global warming is happening and over a third saying many claims about environmental threats are "exaggerated" compared to 24 per cent in 2000. Dr Benny Peiser, director of skeptical think tank The Global Warming Policy Foundation, says it's time to stop exaggerating the impact of global warming and accept the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change. "James Hensen has been making predictions about climate change since the 1980s. When people are comparing what is happening now to those predictions, they can see they fail to match up.""

Submission + - Do animals have a sense of morals? (google.com)

cb_is_cool writes: Empathy, cooperation, fairness and reciprocity — caring about the well-being of others seems like a very human trait. But Frans de Waal shares some surprising videos of behavioral tests, on primates and other mammals, that show how many of these moral traits all of us share.

Submission + - Dual-focus contact lens prototypes ordered by Pentagon (bbc.co.uk)

cb_is_cool writes: From the Beeb:

"The Pentagon has put in an order for prototype contact lenses that give users a much wider field of vision.

The lenses are designed to be paired with compact heads up display (HUD) units — glasses that allow images to be projected onto their lenses."

And any mugger within 50 yards will hopefully have a red status bar above their heads.


Submission + - UN Supports WikiLeaks' Right To Publish (eweekeurope.co.uk) 6

geek4 writes: A UN statement argues the human right to publish in the public interest, but restraint should be exercised
Following a bad few weeks for WikiLeaks, Santa seems to have arrived early to deliver a surprise gift in the form of backing from the United Nations.

In a joint statement by two UN officials, member states have been reminded of their duty to observe citizen rights to access information held by national authorities.

The rebuke from Frank LaRue, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and Catalina Botero Marino, the inter-American commission on human rights special rapporteur for freedom of expression, will upset the right wing faction in the US government and provide support for WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange as court proceedings are ranged against him.


Submission + - Ancient Nubians Drank Antibiotic Laced Beer (blogspot.com)

eldavojohn writes: A new analysis of millennia old mummy bones shows high concentrations of tetracycline which indicates empirical knowledge and use of antibiotics — most likely consumed in beer. The researchers traced the source of the antibiotics to the soil bacteria streptomyces present in the grain used to ferment the beer. Astonishingly enough, 'Even the tibia and skull belonging to a 4-year-old were full of tetracycline, suggesting that they were giving high doses to the child to try and cure him of illness.' The extent of saturation in the bones leads the scientists to assert that the population regularly consumed tetracycline antibiotics knowing that it would cure certain sicknesses.

Possible Treatment For Ebola 157

RedEaredSlider writes "Researchers at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases have found a class of drugs that could provide treatment for Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fever. The new drugs are called 'antisense' compounds, and they allow the immune system to attack the viruses before they can do enough damage to kill the patient. Travis Warren, research scientist at USAMRIID, said while the work is still preliminary -— the drugs have been tested only on primates — the results are so far promising. In the case of Ebola, five of eight monkeys infected with the virus lived, and with Marburg, all survived. The drugs were developed as part of a program to deal with possible bioterrorist threats, in partnership with AVI Biopharma."

Cheap Cancer Drug Finally Tested In Humans 363

John Bayko writes "Mentioned on Slashdot a couple of years ago, the drug dichloroacetate (DCA) has finally finished its first clinical trial against brain tumors in humans. Drug companies weren't willing to test a drug they could not patent, so money was raised in the community through donations, auctions, and finally government support, but the study was still limited to five patients. It showed extremely positive results in four of them. This episode raises the question of what happens to all the money donated to Canadian and other cancer societies, and especially the billions spent buying merchandise with little pink ribbons on it, if not to actual cancer research like this."

Submission + - Electric Company Wants Monthly Fee For Solar Users

7-Vodka writes: Xcel Energy customers who have their own solar panels are worried about a new fee being proposed by the company. The monthly fee to pay for transmission and distribution of energy would be charged to customers who have solar panels irrespective of their energy use for the month.

An Xcel Energy spokesman said that the fee is to ensure that regular customers don't subsidize the "connectivity fees" for the solar panel customers who don't pay their fees when they use no electricity. Unfortunately, when pressed the spokesman admitted that nobody actually pays a "connectivity fee" yet however they wanted to prevent the mooching from occurring in the future (presumably when they hit everyone with such a fee) and also called the absence of a connectivity fee for solar customers a "double subsidy" because many solar customers receive rebates to install the panels.

Submission + - First Person Shooter Used in Fire Drill Simulation

Hugh Pickens writes: "Researchers at Durham University have modified a video game and turned it into a fire drill simulator using "The Source Engine," the 3D game engine used to drive Half-Life 2 and created a virtual model of one of the university's departments. Dr Shamus Smith said that although 3D modeling software was available, modifying a video game was faster, more cost effective, and had better special effects. "We were interested in using game technology over a customized application and The Source Engine, from Half-Life, is very versatile," said Smith. "We used the simulation to see how people behaved in an actual fire situation and to train people in 'good practice' in a fire." The team says the virtual environment helped familiarize people with evacuation routines and could also help identify problems with a building's layout. One problem, however, was that while the simulation worked for most people, those who played a lot of video games did some unusual things when using the simulation. "If a door was on fire, they [gamers] would try and run through it, rather than look for a different exit," said Smith."

Submission + - Verizon is still bad at math (eyelesswriter.com)

mikesd81 writes: "Eyelesswriter reports has a report about a guy who called Verizon 56 times to test Verizon's rate policy. You can get some background information on this at verizonmath.com. Some may recall the whole .002 cents vs .002 dollars episode. The results of this informal survey shows only 2% of the Verizon operators are aware of the proper policy. From the article: While many operators did mistakenly quote cents instead of dollars, a large portion of the mistakes were simply wrong, regardless of where the decimal fell. This means that even if Verizon has since addressed the cents/dollars issue, that by itself wouldn't be enough.

By the end of the 56 calls, this guy still had to call a PR rep and ask for a printed quote of the rates. There's a video also."


Adobe to Unclutter Photoshop UI 403

spotplace writes "It's not common to see a company blast their own product for failing to adapt to times and people's necessities, unless they're trying to give you a reason to buy the latest and greatest of said product. That's exactly what Adobe has done. John Nack, senior product manager at Adobe, says the old Photoshop interface doesn't cut it anymore: "I sometimes joke that looking at some parts of the app is like counting the rings in a tree: you can gauge when certain features arrived by the dimensions & style of the dialog. No one wants to work with — or work on — some shambling, bloated monster of a program.""

Submission + - How Microsoft Knifed its CIO 1

theodp writes: "As the COO of the newly CIO-less Microsoft whoops it up in Dubai at the Microsoft Gulf 2007 CIO Summit, Valleywag hears rumors that Microsoft leaked news of CIO Stuart Scott's dismissal for an unspecified 'violation of company policies' as his family was grieving over his sister's death. An obituary notice seems to confirm that on the same day Scott's family attended a memorial service for his sister, Microsoft set an unusually public media blitz in motion in lieu of flowers. Could just be an unfortunate coincidence, although sympathy may not be a Microsoft core competency."

If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we would all be millionaires. -- Abigail Van Buren