Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

+ - Oldest Stone Tools Predate Previous Record Holder by 700,000 Years->

Submitted by derekmead
derekmead writes: Scientists have discovered the oldest stone tools ever found, dating back some 3.3 million years to Pliocene Africa—long before the rise of humans' first ancestors in the Homo genus.

The artifacts were found near Lake Turkana, Kenya, and predate the next oldest tools by a whopping 700,000 years. That is an enormous margin, and it will have far-reaching ramifications for our understanding of how material culture initially arose in early hominin communities. An in-depth analysis of the site, its contents, and its significance as a new benchmark in evolutionary history will be published in the May 21 issue of Nature.

Link to Original Source

+ - Illinois Says Rule-Breaking Students Must Give Teachers Their Facebook Passwords->

Submitted by derekmead
derekmead writes: School districts in Illinois are telling parents that a new law may require school officials to demand the social media passwords of students if they are suspected in cyberbullying cases or are otherwise suspected of breaking school rules.

The law (PDF), which went into effect on January 1, defines cyberbullying and makes harassment on Facebook, Twitter, or via other digital means a violation of the state's school code, even if the bullying happens outside of school hours.

A letter sent out to parents in the Triad Community Unit School District #2, a district located just over the Missouri-Illinois line near St. Louis, that was obtained by Motherboard says that school officials can demand students give them their passwords.

Link to Original Source

+ - Tracking the Mole Inside Silk Road 2.0->

Submitted by derekmead
derekmead writes: The arrest of the Silk Road 2.0 leader and subsequent seizure of the site was partially due to the presence of an undercover US Department of Homeland Security agent, who “successfully infiltrated the support staff involved in running the Silk Road 2.0 website," according to the FBI.

Referencing multiple interviews, publicly available information, and parts of the moderator forum shared with me, it appears likely that the suspicions of many involved in Silk Road 2.0 are true: the undercover agent that infiltrated the site was a relatively quiet staff member known as Cirrus.

Link to Original Source

+ - Astronomers find star-inside-star 40 years after first theorized->

Submitted by derekmead
derekmead writes: After 40 years, astronomers have likely found a rather strange celestial body known as a Thorne–ytkow object (TZO), in which a neutron star is absorbed by a red supergiant. Originally predicted in the 1970s, the first non-theoretical TZO was found earlier this year, based on calculations presented in apaper forthcoming in MNRAS .

TZOs were predicted by astronomer Kip Thorne and Anna ytkow, who wasthen postdoctoral fellow at CalTech. The pair imagined what might happen if a neutron star in a binary system merged with its partner red supergiant.

This wouldn’t be like two average stars merging. Neutron stars are the ancient remnants of stars that grew too big and exploded. Their cores remain small—about 12.5 miles—as they shed material out into space. Red supergiants are the largest stars in the galaxy with radii up to 800 times that of our sun, but they aren’t dense.

Link to Original Source

+ - Japan's Alleged Death Threat-Making, Cat-Hacking Programmer Says He's Innocent->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey writes: Inside the memory card in the cat's collar, authorities found a resentful message criticizing the police along with versions of the virus (iesys.exe) used to carry out the threat messages, which were made remotely, through other people’s computers. If you hadn’t heard about the story in the news, you'd be forgiven for confusing it with the plot of a Haruki Murakami novel.

In Tokyo District Court Wednesday, the former employee of a Japanese IT company wore a black suit, a wide smile, and pleaded not guilty to 10 charges brought against him. The Japan Times explained the string of threats were directed at “schools and kindergartens attended by the Emperor Akihito’s grandchildren,” as well as a Japan Airlines jet headed for New York. The plane had to stop midflight, costing the airline ¥9.75 million (about $93,000).

Link to Original Source

+ - Can't Quit Smoking? Try Blaming Neanderthals-> 1

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey writes: Humans might have Neanderthals to thank for our smoking addictions, our Type II diabetes, and things like Crohn’s disease, lupus, and our hair types, according to a new genetic analysis by researchers at Harvard University.

We’ve long known that humans and Neanderthals share at least some genetic material—recent estimates put it at about 2 percent—but the Harvard University analysis, published Wednesday in Nature , tells us exactly what we share, something that has only become possible because of new, high-quality genome sequencing. By studying the genetic variability in 846 non-African people, 176 people from sub-Saharan Africa, and the complete genome of a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal, Sriram Sankararaman and his team were able to trace certain alleles from Neanderthals into present-day humans.

The findings are utterly fascinating. The alleles that modern, non-African humans (sub-Saharan Africans are believed to share very little DNA with Neanderthals) share with Neanderthals are associated with things such as nicotine addiction, Type II diabetes, and a host of other diseases.

Link to Original Source

+ - When Will the Internet Defeat Link Rot?->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey writes: A few days ago, I renewed the hosting for a single-serving joke site I haven't updated in more than a year, partially because the domain reggaehorn.com is surely worth millions, and largely because I didn't want to let a a little black hole—unfathomably tiny as it may be—open up in the web.

Obviously, the loss of a completely inconsequential site isn't exactly going to ruin the internet. But as occasionally happens, it got me thinking about how such black holes, most of more importance, are already everywhere. As sites blink offline and pages get lost to the long march of site updates and lapsed hosting fees. For everyone who values the internet as a repository of information—that's all of us—link rot is a corrosive force that's left much of the web perched atop a fragmented foundation of lost sources and dead links. So what can we do about it?

The link rot problem topped the news cycle last fall, when a Harvard Law study found that the US Supreme Court has a serious problem. According to the study, "50% of the URLs found within United States Supreme Court opinions do not link to the originally cited information." A few months earlier, a Yale study found that 29 percent of websites cited in Supreme Court decisions are no longer online.

Link to Original Source

+ - Protesters Dodge the Sudanese Internet Shutdown with a Phone-Powered Crowdmap->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey writes: Called the Abena crowd map, the map is the product of Mohammed Hashim Saleh and Abeer Khairy, engineers both, and Ahmed Hassan, the co-founder of Khartoum Geeks. In the short amount of time the internet was on yesterday, they deployed the map, which follows events on the ground in Sudan with direct reports.

SMS messages are connected automatically with the Ushahidi-based crowdmapping platform, Saleh told me. Activists, some in-country (who work when possible) and the rest outside, login and check the messages. They are then doubled checked with news sources and social media before being finally confirmed and mapped. The crew has also been manually updating the platform.

Link to Original Source

+ - Ford's Mulally emerging as frontrunner for Microsoft CEO job->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle writes: Speculation is growing that Ford CEO Alan Mulally is not just in the running for the CEO position at Microsoft, but has become the frontrunner among all candidates, both internal and external. One reason, which I did note in my recent blog post on him, is that Mulally was a top executive at Boeing for years and has connections to the Seattle area. Earlier this month, Reuters reported earlier this month that the Ford board had given Mulally the option to step down earlier from his position than is specified in his contract (there was speculation that he might take a position in the Obama administration). Nokia CEO and former Microsoft executive Stephen Elop has remained a top candidate, but interest has shifted toward Mulally because of his experience turning around a faltering company. No one can say Elop turned around Nokia.
Link to Original Source

+ - Al Gore Explains Why Civilization Might Not Survive the Next 100 Years->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey writes: Motherboard sat down with the United States' most famousâ"and surely busiestâ"former vice president at this year's Social Good Summit, where we talked about two possible futures Gore sees confronting humanity.

I asked him to describe the best and worst case scenarios for what civilization might look like 100 years from now. In one, Americans undertake an "Occupy democracy movement" to restore our political system, which Gore says has been "hacked" by money and special interests, and come together to fight climate change. In the other, the whole of human civilization lies in ruin.

Link to Original Source

+ - Where Is the center of each United State?->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey writes: Have you ever spent an extended period of time trying to find, or simply meditating on the center of an object? You know, that sweet spot, where if you picked it up and placed it square on your nose, it would balance perfectly. I've recently found myself obsessed with the concept, but I assure you it has nothing to do with becoming a street performer. The aspect I've become obsessed with is how it applies to the 50 states (and DC). So, in a very OCD-satisfying manner, I made a map:
Link to Original Source

+ - Myst was supposed to change the face of gaming. What's its legacy?->

Submitted by glowend
glowend writes: From the article: "Twenty years ago, people talked about Myst the same way they talked about The Sopranos during its first season: as one of those rare works that irrevocably changed its medium. It certainly felt like nothing in gaming would or could be the same after it. Yes, Myst went on to sell more than 6 million copies and was declared a game-changer (so to speak), widely credited with launching the era of CD-ROM gaming. It launched an equally critically adored and commercially successful sequel, and eventually four more installments. Fans and critics alike held their breath in anticipation of the tidal wave of exploratory, open-ended gaming that was supposed to follow, waiting to be drowned in a sea of new worlds. And then, nothing."

Why didn't Myst have a larger impact?

Link to Original Source

+ - Boeing Turning Old Fighter Jets Like F-16s Into 'Unmanned Drones'->

Submitted by dryriver
dryriver writes: Boeing has revealed that it has retrofitted retired fighter jets to turn them into drones. It said that one of the Lockheed Martin F-16 made a first flight with an empty cockpit last week. Two US Air Force pilots controlled the plane from the ground as it flew from a Florida base to the Gulf of Mexico. Boeing suggested that the innovation could ultimately be used to help train pilots, providing an adversary they could practise firing on. The jet — which had previously sat mothballed at an Arizona site for 15 years — flew at an altitude of 40,000ft (12.2km) and a speed of Mach 1.47 (1,119mph/1,800km/h). It carried out a series of manoeuvres including a barrel roll and a "split S" — a move in which the aircraft turns upside down before making a half loop so that it flies the right-way-up in the opposite direction. This can be used in combat to evade missile lock-ons. Boeing said the unmanned F16 was followed by two chase planes to ensure it stayed in sight, and also contained equipment that would have allowed it to self-destruct if necessary. The firm added that the flight attained 7Gs of acceleration but was capable of carrying out manoeuvres at 9Gs — something that might cause physical problems for a pilot. "It flew great, everything worked great, [it] made a beautiful landing — probably one of the best landings I've ever seen," said Paul Cejas, the project's chief engineer.
Link to Original Source

+ - Doc: TrackingPoint Solutions Makes Smart Weapons That Shoot Themselves->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey writes: Today, applied technology startup TrackingPoint Solutions is working tirelessly to turn novice shots into precision snipers. The company made headlines in early 2013 when it unveiled the precision guided firearm (PGF). Think of it as a long-range, laser-guided robo rifleâ"as much Linux-based computer as traditional firearm. The PGF's closed-loop system comprises not just the gun itself, a custom Surgeon rifle, but also custom ammunition and, notably, a proprietary (and WiFi-enabled) scope. The technology packed into TrackingPoint's initial PGF package is so advanced that we'd heard it could have an inexperienced shooter, maybe even someone who hasn't ever fired a gun, putting lead on targets at over 1,000 away in mere minutes.
Link to Original Source

Recent research has tended to show that the Abominable No-Man is being replaced by the Prohibitive Procrastinator. -- C.N. Parkinson

Working...