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Submission + - Lamar Smith & Bosses Call Wikipedia Blackout A (

sfcrazy writes: Lamar Smith, the sponsor of SOPA, was elected to represent the people, but he is doing a nice job representing the MPAA. Not only he is he 'ignoring' the opposition of the 'people' against SOPA and PIPA, but also he is mocking organisations like Wikipedia. Now this is what Lamar has to say about Wikipedia's blackout against his black bill:

“It is ironic that a website dedicated to providing information is spreading misinformation about the Stop Online Piracy Act," Smith said in a statement on Tuesday. "The bill will not harm Wikipedia, domestic blogs or social networking sites. This publicity stunt does a disservice to its users by promoting fear instead of facts. Perhaps during the blackout, Internet users can look elsewhere for an accurate definition of online piracy."


Submission + - How Stephen Hawking Has Defied the Odds for 50 Yea

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Now aged 70, Prof Stephen Hawking, winner of 12 honorary degrees, a CBE and in 2009 awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is an extraordinary man but what is perhaps most extraordinary about Hawking is how he has defied and baffled medical experts who predicted he had just months to live in 1963 when he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), a disease that only 5% survive for more than a decade after diagnosis. Hawking started having symptoms shortly before his 21st birthday. At first they were mild — a bit of clumsiness and few unexplained stumbles and falls but, predictably, by the very nature of the disease, his incurable condition worsened. The diagnosis came as a great shock, but also helped shape his future. "Although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found, to my surprise, that I was enjoying life in the present more than before. I began to make progress with my research, and I got engaged to a girl called Jane Wilde, whom I had met just about the time my condition was diagnosed," says Hawking. "That engagement changed my life. It gave me something to live for." Another important thing in Hawking's life has been his work and at the age of 70, Hawking continues working at the University of Cambridge and recently published a new book — The Grand Design. "Being disabled, or physically challenged, makes no difference to how my scientific colleagues treat me apart from practical matters like waiting while I write what I want to say." Finally the grandfather-of-three continues to seek out new challenges and recently experienced first-hand what space travel feels like by taking a zero-gravity flight in a specially modified plane. "People are fascinated by the contrast between my very limited physical powers, and the vast nature of the universe I deal with," says Hawking. "I'm the archetype of a disabled genius, or should I say a physically challenged genius, to be politically correct. At least I'm obviously physically challenged. Whether I'm a genius is more open to doubt.""

Submission + - Mathematicians Solve Minimum Sudoku Problem (

An anonymous reader writes: Sudoku is a number puzzle consisting of a 9 x 9 grid in which some cells contain clues in the form of digits from 1 to 9. The solver's jobs is to ll in the remaining cells so that each row, column and 3×3 box in the grid contains all nine digits.

There's another unwritten rule: the puzzle must have only one solution. So grids cannot contain just a few starting clues.

It's easy to see why. A grid with 7 clues cannot have a unique answer because the two missing digits can always be interchanged in any solution. A similar argument explains why grids with fewer clues must also have multiple solutions.

But it's not so easy to see why a grid with 8 clues cannot have a unique solution, or indeed one with 9 or more clues.

That raises an interesting question for mathematicians: what is the minimum number of Sudoku clues that produces a unique answer?

This is a question that has hung heavy over the Sudoku community, not least because they think they know the answer. Sudoku fanatics have found numerous examples of grids with 17 clues that have a unique solution but they have never found one with 16 clues.

That suggests the minimum number is 17 but nobody has been able to prove that there isn't a 16-clue solution lurking somewhere in puzzle space.

Enter Gary McGuire and pals at University College Dublin. These guys have solved the problem using the tried and trusted mathematical technique of sheer brute force.

No problem is so formidable that you can't just walk away from it. -- C. Schulz