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Medicine

Surgeon: First Human Head Transplant May Be Just Two Years Away 164

Posted by samzenpus
from the brand-new-chassis dept.
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Michelle Star writes at C/net that Surgeon Sergio Canavero, director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group in Italy, believes he has developed a technique to remove the head from a non-functioning body and transplant it onto the healthy body. According to Canavero's paper published in Surgical Neurology International, first, both the transplant head and the donor body need to be cooled in order to slow cell death. Then, the neck of both would be cut and the major blood vessels linked with tubes. Finally, the spinal cords would be severed, with as clean a cut as possible. Joining the spinal cords, with the tightly packed nerves inside, is key. The plan involves flushing the area with polyethylene glycol, followed by several hours of injections of the same, a chemical that encourages the fat in cell membranes to mesh. The blood vessels, muscles and skin would then be sutured and the patient would be induced into a coma for several weeks to keep them from moving around; meanwhile, electrodes would stimulate the spine with electricity in an attempt to strengthen the new nerve connections.

Head transplants has been tried before. In 1970, Robert White led a team at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, US, that tried to transplant the head of one monkey on to the body of another. The surgeons stopped short of a full spinal cord transfer, so the monkey could not move its body. Despite Canavero's enthusiasm, many surgeons and neuroscientists believe massive technical hurdles push full body transplants into the distant future. The starkest problem is that no one knows how to reconnect spinal nerves and make them work again. "This is such an overwhelming project, the possibility of it happening is very unlikely," says Harry Goldsmith."
Businesses

Teamsters Seek To Unionize More Tech Shuttle Bus Drivers In Silicon Valley 177

Posted by samzenpus
from the shuttle-together dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news about the effort to unionize shuttle drivers in Silicon Valley. "Shuttle bus drivers for five prominent tech companies will decide whether to unionize on Friday in a vote that has the potential to dramatically expand organized labor's territory in Silicon Valley and embolden others in the tech industry's burgeoning class of service workers to demand better working conditions. Drivers who ferry Yahoo, Apple, Genentech, eBay and Zynga workers -- all employed by contractor Compass Transportation -- will decide whether to join the Teamsters union in an election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board. Union leaders say they want to bring the drivers into the fold so they can negotiate better pay and benefits -- as well as relief from a split shift that has the drivers working morning and evening shifts with no pay in between. A contract the Teamsters struck over the weekend for Facebook's shuttle bus drivers, who work for Loop Transportation, offers a glimpse of what may be possible: paid sick and vacation time, full health care coverage and wages of up to $27.50 an hour."
Patents

Patent Trolls On the Run But Not Vanquished Yet 44

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-forget-the-fire dept.
snydeq writes Strong legislation that will weaken the ability of the trolls to shake down innovators is likely to pass Congress, but more should be done, writes InfoWorld's Bill Snyder. "The Innovation Act isn't an ideal fix for the program patent system. But provisions in the proposed law, like one that will make trolls pay legal costs if their claims are rejected, will remove a good deal of the risk that smaller companies face when they decide to resist a spurious lawsuit," Snyder writes. That said, "You'd have to be wildly optimistic to think that software patents will be abolished. Although the EFF's proposals call for the idea to be studied, [EFF attorney Daniel] Nazer doesn't expect it to happen; he instead advocates several reforms not contained in the Innovation Act."
Facebook

Facebook Puts Users On Suicide Watch 168

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-an-eye-on-things dept.
Mark Wilson writes A few months ago Twitter was criticized for teaming up with suicide prevention charity Samaritans to automatically monitor for key words and phrases that could indicate that someone was struggling to cope with life. Despite the privacy concerns that surrounded Samaritans Radar, Facebook has decided that it is going to launch a similar program in a bid to prevent suicides. Working with mental health organizations including Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and Save.org, Facebook aims to provide greater help and support for anyone considering suicide or self-harm.
Hardware

Ask Slashdot: Old PC File Transfer Problem 397

Posted by samzenpus
from the I'll-never-let-you-go dept.
An anonymous reader writes I have an old Compaq Contura Aero laptop from the nineties (20 Mhz, 12 Mb RAM, Windows 3.11, 16-bit, PCMCIA, COM, LPT, floppy) with 160 Mb drive that I would want to copy in full to a newer machine. The floppies are so unreliable — between Aero's PCMCIA floppy drive and USB floppy disk drive — that it is a total nightmare to try and do it; it just doesn't work. If that option is excluded, what else can I do? I have another old laptop with Windows XP (32-bit, PCMCIA, COM, LPT) that could be used; all other machines are too new and lack ports. Will be grateful for any ideas.
Biotech

Xeroxed Gene May Have Paved the Way For Large Human Brain 84

Posted by samzenpus
from the look-at-the-big-brain-on-test-subject-35 dept.
sciencehabit writes Last week, researchers expanded the size of the mouse brain by giving rodents a piece of human DNA. Now another team has topped that feat, pinpointing a human gene that not only grows the mouse brain but also gives it the distinctive folds found in primate brains. The work suggests that scientists are finally beginning to unravel some of the evolutionary steps that boosted the cognitive powers of our species. "This study represents a major milestone in our understanding of the developmental emergence of human uniqueness," says Victor Borrell Franco, a neurobiologist at the Institute of Neurosciences in Alicante, Spain, who was not involved with the work.

Comment: Acurate estimates aren't that hard (Score 0) 306

by Alomex (#49141893) Attached to: The Programmers Who Want To Get Rid of Software Estimates

I was a manager and never missed a deadline. It really isn't that hard. Most people fail because they do it the wrong way. First give no estimates until you have developed a good picture of the global architecture and have some bare bones functionality running. This takes about 1-3 months of your team, but well worth the effort. Then keep an eye from the very beginning on who's falling behind, and move resources around to support the people who ended up with more than their fair share. Assign a medium size portion of the project to your senior developer(s) so that they are available near the end to go and help in those areas that turned out to be gorier than predicted. You cannot bring people from outside since it takes them too long to ramp up as obseved by Fred Brooks. This is why you use your senior people: they know the whole system and can jump in in any part***. Stand firm in your refusal to add features and lastly, near the end, drop any minor feature which gets postponed to version X.1.

Most costumers are happier with a version in time with 95% of the features than a complete version three months late.

Also be realistic with what means to be in time. If you take three years to develop a system and you are five days late, you were off by 0.5%. Any one who tells you in this case that you were late is just mathematically innumerate. I was never more than a week late, but I'd dare say that even an error of 5% (which for a three year project is seven weeks) should not be considered late. Forecasting is an imprecise science afterall.

Oh and one last thing, there is one estimate you tell the team and there is another one in your head. So the goal is "we run as hard as we can to finish by May 10th, so that when sh*t happens (which always does) we make the real June 1st deadline (which you always keep secret so programmers don't budget for it.... you know, work expands to fill allotted time).

*** Stu Feldman, a Unix principal was used this way, according to Ritchie. Stu didn't fully own a single component of Unix but his code is everywhere, doing central things that had fallen behind and were passed on to him.

Comment: Re:If you hate Change so much...... (Score 1) 468

by aardvarkjoe (#49137657) Attached to: Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10

1c coin exists because there is a zinc lobby though they have agreed to a compromise which is a problem for the vending machine lobby. There is fundamentally no good reason economically and even politically this would be fixable given a less destructive congress.

The zinc lobby is a large part of the reason why the government won't make the change, but not the only one. The last time I discussed it with anyone, I was amazed at the number of seemingly rational people who were convinced that any attempt to get rid of the penny was a conspiracy to drive up prices.

Change of any sort frightens people, even over the stupidest of things.

Intel

Intel To Rebrand Atom Chips Along Lines of Core Processors 103

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-it-consistent dept.
angry tapir writes Intel has announced that going forward it will use style of branding for its Atom chips that is similar to its branding for Core chips. Atom CPUs will have the X3, X5 and X7 designations, much like with the Core i3, i5 and i7 brands. An Atom X3 will deliver good performance, X5 will be better and X7 will be the best, an Intel spokeswoman said.
Microsoft

Users Decry New Icon Look In Windows 10 468

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-sir-I-don't-like-it dept.
jones_supa writes A lot of people got upset about the flat looks of Modern UI presented in Windows 8. Recent builds of Windows 10 Technical Preview have now started replacing the shell icons, and to some people they are just too much to bear. Basically, Microsoft opted to change the icons in search of a fresh and modern look, but there are plenty of people out there who claim that all these new icons are actually very ugly and the company would better stick to the previous design. To find out what people think about these icons, Softpedia asked its readers to tell their opinion and the messages received in the last couple of days pretty much speak for themselves. There are only few testers who think that these icons look good, but the majority wants Microsoft to change them before the final version of the operating system comes out.
Crime

Uber Offers Free Rides To Koreans, Hopes They Won't Report Illegal Drivers 185

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-happens-in-seoul-stays-in-seoul dept.
itwbennett writes Uber Technologies is offering free rides on its uberX ride-sharing service in the South Korean capital of Seoul, after city authorities intensified their crackdown on illegal drivers by offering a reward to residents who report Uber drivers to police. South Korean law prohibits unregistered drivers from soliciting passengers using private or rented vehicles and carries a penalty of up to two years in prison or fines of up to 20 million won.

Comment: Re:What it really reveals (Score 1) 112

by danheskett (#49134623) Attached to: TrueCrypt Audit Back On Track After Silence and Uncertainty

True, you didn't built everything from source, but you were happy enough that everything traced back to "the" sources to make you feel secure. That's a lot more protection than anything from a commercial vendor, who probably just sold you formulaic encryption without any extra work to make you feel secure. Your data would have been more secure, if not actually secure, but you'd have felt it less, because really you have no way of knowing. So without somebody taking the extra time to make you feel secure, you naturally wouldn't feel it very much, if at all.

The problem is that there is no conceivable way to do what you are saying. It involves compromising or proxying disparate traffic, expertly.

And then, after all that, it would involve rooting an otherwise secure installation that is barely network connected, and using that to inject what, defects into the right sources so that the resulting binaries are weak or exploitable?

I agree that the NSA, CIA, and FBI have extraordinary capabilities, but the attack vectors that have thus far been revealed are the same attack vectors that security researchers have known and published for a long time - firmware, obscure libraries that are often used but seldom examined, zero-day exploits of popular software, mathematical flaws in encryption implementations, and physical security and chain of custody.

All of which is to say, the basic landscape of the threat has not changed much in 20 years. It is sophisticated, but as always, a strong layered defense and strong procedures and policies will minimize the possible impacts, exploits, and severity of breaches (if they occur in the first place). There are few things more secure than a well maintained GNU/Linux or OpenBSD box running in the wild.

Businesses

5 White Collar Jobs Robots Already Have Taken 243

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-for-one-welcome-our-new-robot-coworkers dept.
bizwriter writes University of Oxford researchers Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne estimated in 2013 that 47 percent of total U.S. jobs could be automated and taken over by computers by 2033. That now includes occupations once thought safe from automation, AI, and robotics. Such positions as journalists, lawyers, doctors, marketers, and financial analysts are already being invaded by our robot overlords. From the article: "Some experts say not to worry because technology has always created new jobs while eliminating old ones, displacing but not replacing workers. But lately, as technology has become more sophisticated, the drumbeat of worry has intensified. 'What's different now?' asked Leigh Watson Healy, chief analyst at market research firm Outsell. 'The pace of technology advancements plus the big data phenomenon lead to a whole new level of machines to perform higher level cognitive tasks.' Translated: the old formula of creating more demanding jobs that need advanced training may no longer hold true. The number of people needed to oversee the machines, and to create them, is limited. Where do the many whose occupations have become obsolete go?"
The Internet

Reddit Imposes Ban On Sexual Content Posted Without Permission 298

Posted by samzenpus
from the permission-slip-or-get-out dept.
Mark Wilson writes If you want to post naked pictures or videos of people on Reddit without their consent, you only have a couple of weeks to do so. As of March, the site is imposing a ban on content of an explicit nature that the subject has not given permission to be posted. The cleanup of the site comes hot on the heels of news from Google that explicit content will be banned from Blogger. It also comes in the wake of last year's Fappening which saw a glut of naked celebrity photos leaked online.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (10) Sorry, but that's too useful.

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