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"Tube Map" Created For the Milky Way Screenshot-sm 142

astroengine writes "Assuming you had an interstellar spaceship, how would you navigate around the galaxy? For starters, you'd probably need a map. But there's billions of stars out there — how complex would that map need to be? Actually, Samuel Arbesman, a research fellow from Harvard, has come up with a fun solution. He created the 'Milky Way Transit Authority (MWTA),' a simple transit system in the style of the iconic London Underground 'Tube Map.' (Travel Tip: Don't spend too much time loitering around the station at Carina, there's some demolition work underway.)"

Living In Tokyo's Capsule Hotels Screenshot-sm 269

afabbro writes "Capsule Hotel Shinjuku 510 once offered a night’s refuge to salarymen who had missed the last train home. Now with Japan enduring its worst recession since World War II, it is becoming an affordable option for people with nowhere else to go. The Hotel 510’s capsules are only 6 1/2 feet long by 5 feet wide. Guests must keep possessions, like shirts and shaving cream, in lockers outside of the capsules. Atsushi Nakanishi, jobless since Christmas says, 'It’s just a place to crawl into and sleep. You get used to it.'”

How Google's High Speed Book Scanner De-Warps Pages 209

Hugh Pickens writes "Patent 7,508,978, awarded to Google, shows how the company has already managed to scan more than 7 million books. Google's system uses two cameras and infrared light to automatically correct for the curvature of pages in a book. By constructing a 3D model of each page and then 'de-warping' it afterward, Google can present flat-looking pages online without having to slice books up or mash them onto a flatbed scanner. Stephen Shankland writes that the 'sophistication of the technology illustrates that would-be competitors who want to feature their own digitized libraries won't have a trivial time catching up to Google.' First, a book is placed on a flat surface, while above it, an infrared projector displays a special mazelike pattern onto the pages. Next, two infrared cameras photograph the infrared pattern from different perspectives. 'The images can be stereoscopically combined, using known stereoscopic techniques, to obtain a three-dimensional mapping of the pattern,' according to the patent. 'The pattern falls on the surface of (the) book, causing the three-dimensional mapping of the pattern to correspond to the three-dimensional surface of the page of the book.'"

More "Miles Per Acre" From Bioelectricity Than Ethanol 223

CarnegieScience writes "Scientist calculate that, compared to ethanol used for internal combustion engines, bioelectricity used for battery-powered vehicles would deliver an average of 80% more miles of transportation per acre of crops, while also providing double the greenhouse gas offsets to mitigate climate change."

Star Trek Premiere Gets Standing Ovation, Surprise Showing In Austin 437

MrKaos writes "Proving that science fiction can still be great entertainment, J.J. Abrams appears to have impressed Star Trek fans at the official world premiere of Star Trek, who gave the film a five-minute standing ovation at the Sydney Opera House in Australia today. Meanwhile, mere hours beforehand, flummoxed fans at the Alamo Drafthouse theater in Austin, TX, deceived into thinking they were seeing a special, extended version of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, were pleasantly surprised when a disguised Leonard Nimoy greeted them and announced they would be seeing the new film in its entirety. ILM's influence on the film is reported as visually stunning, and lucky Australian fans are scheduled to see the movie first, as it opens a day before the American release."

Largest High-Tech Tornado Chase Set To Begin 112

coondoggie writes "Next month, with the help of a variety of high-tech gear, researchers will begin a wide-ranging project to better understand the origin, structure and evolution of tornadoes. The National Science Foundation has given $9.1 million to the project called Vortex2 (of course it has a convoluted backronym), which will take place from May 10-June 13. Researchers say Vortex2 is the largest attempt in history to study tornadoes, and will involve more than 50 scientists, 40 research vehicles, and 10 mobile radars, and will cover 900 square miles in southern South Dakota, western Iowa, eastern Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, the Texas panhandle, and western Oklahoma."

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright