Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - 6 month subscription of Pandora One at 46% off. ×

The Math of Leap Days 225

The Bad Astronomer writes "We have leap days every four years because the Earth's day and year don't divide evenly. But there's more to it than that... a lot more. A year isn't exactly 365.25 days long, and that leads to needing more complicated math and rules for when we do and don't have a leap year. If you've ever wanted to see that math laid out, now's your chance, and it only comes along every four years. Except every hundred years. Except every four hundred years."

What Scorpions Have To Teach Aircraft Designers 127

First time accepted submitter elloGov writes "The north African desert scorpion, Androctonus australis, is a hardy creature. Most animals that live in deserts dig burrows to protect themselves from the sand-laden wind. Not Androctonus; it usually toughs things out at the surface. Yet when the sand whips by at speeds that would strip paint away from steel, the scorpion is able to scurry off without apparent damage thanks to the unique structure of its carapace. Dr Han Zhiwu of Jilin University and colleagues have found that surface irregularities based on the scorpion's exoskeleton could substantially minimize atmospheric dust damage to aircraft."

DC Comics Announces "Before Watchmen" 130

eldavojohn writes "Currently DC Comics' site has a banner announcing a new series called "Before Watchmen." Unfortunately the blog pages for this new series appear to be experiencing high traffic and are unreachable. But a number of sites are breaking down these new endeavors that will be giving backstories to the seven characters and who will be creating each of those series. There's also speculation ranging from how much this must upset Alan Moore (egg frying on his forehead seems to be the popular guess) to the theory that this is simply for more movie material. There's an abundance of information from interviews released today."

Mars Desert Research Station Simulates Mars Base 122

An anonymous reader writes "Placing humans on Mars will be an extraordinary feat in itself, not to mention even living in such a harsh environment. To help train future astronauts to sustain life on Mars, the Mars Society has created the Mars Desert Research Station. The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is one of four planned simulated Mars habitats (or Mars Analogue Research Station Programme) maintained by the Mars Society. Crews sign up for two week shifts during the winter months (it's too hot in the summer for pleasant simulation). Crews are not paid during their time at the station, but do get valuable experience."

All power corrupts, but we need electricity.