Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


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

Chinese Company To Sell Genetically Modified Micro Pigs as Pets ( 139

An anonymous reader writes: Tyne McConnon from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports that a research firm in China plans to"sell its 'micro pig' as a pet after it successfully edited the DNA of the animal to stunt its growth. Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) created the pig, which grows to weigh between 14 and 20 kilograms, by changing the DNA responsible for its growth. The company originally genetically modified the Bama pig breed for research but announced at a Bio Tech Leader summit in China recently their plans to sell it."

NSA Worried About Recruitment, Post-Snowden 247

An anonymous reader writes: The NSA employs tens of thousands of people, and they're constantly recruiting more. They're looking for 1,600 new workers this year alone. Now that their reputation has taken a major hit with the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden, they aren't sure they'll be able to meet that goal. Not only that, but the NSA has to compete with other companies, and they Snowden leaks made many of them more competitive: "Ever since the Snowden leaks, cybersecurity has been hot in Silicon Valley. In part that's because the industry no longer trusts the government as much as it once did. Companies want to develop their own security, and they're willing to pay top dollar to get the same people the NSA is trying to recruit." If academia's relationship with the NSA continues to cool, the agency could find itself struggling within a few years.
Star Wars Prequels

Why More 'Star Wars' Actors Don't Become Stars 360 writes: When you become an actor, landing a role in a movie as big as Star Wars may seem like a dream come true. But Tatiana Siegel and Borys Kit report at The Hollywood Reporter that six movies in, the Star Wars franchise has only spawned one megastar: Harrison Ford, unusual for a series of this magnitude. Neither Ewan McGregor nor Liam Neeson was helped by the franchise and the list of acting careers that never took off is even longer, from original stars Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher to Jake Lloyd (young Anakin Skywalker) and most notably Hayden Christensen, whose star was on the rise when he nabbed 2002's Attack of the Clones. Even Natalie Portman, who already had a hot career before Episodes I-III, admitted she struggled after the exposure. "Everyone thought I was a horrible actress," says Portman. "I was in the biggest-grossing movie of the decade, and no director wanted to work with me."

So what's the problem? "When you sign up for this, you're signing your life away, and you're keeping yourself from any other franchises out there," says an agent whose client is one of the stars of Episode VII. "They will not let you be in another franchise. They're going to be cranking out a new movie every year. These actors never get to read the script before signing on. They don't even know which [subsequent] one they are in. And then they become known for that role, and it's hard to see them in [another] kind of movie." Still, agents keep pursuing roles in the upcoming films even though newcomers can only command a meager $65,000 to $125,000 for Episode VII. "It secures all involved a place in film history," says agent Sarah Fargo, "and guarantees a huge global audience, enhancing an actor's marketability."

Measuring How Much "Standby Mode" Electricity For Game Consoles Will Cost You 198

An anonymous reader writes: Modern game consoles have a "standby" mode, which you can use if you want the console to instantly turn on while not drawing full power the whole time it's idle. But manufacturers are vague about how much power it takes to keep the consoles in this standby state. After a recent press release claiming $250 million worth of electricity was used to power Xbox Ones in standby mode in the past year, Ars Technica decided to run some tests to figure out exactly how much power is being drawn. Their conclusions: the PS4 draws about 10 Watts, $10-11 in extra electricity charges annually. The Xbox One draws 12.9W, costing users $13-$14 in extra electricity charges annually. The Wii U draws 13.3W, costing users $14-$15 in extra electricity charges annually. These aren't trivial amounts, but they're a lot less than simply leaving the console running and shutting off the TV when you aren't using it: "Leaving your PS4 sitting on the menu like this all year would waste over $142 in electricity costs."

Russia Wants To Work With NASA On a New Space Station 152 writes with news that Russian officials are talking about working with NASA to build a new space station as a replacement for the ISS after its operations end in 2024. Igor Komarov, head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, was unambiguous in his support for such a partnership. He added, "It will be an open project. It will feature not only the current members of the ISS." NASA, while careful not to discourage future cooperation, was not so enthusiastic. They said, "We are pleased Roscomos wants to continue full use of the International Space Station through 2024 -- a priority of ours -- and expressed interest in continuing international cooperation for human space exploration beyond that. The United States is planning to lead a human mission to Mars in the 2030s, and we have advanced that effort farther than at any point in NASA's history. We welcome international support for this ambitious undertaking." They reiterated that there are no formal agreements in place as of yet. These comments come as three crew members arrive at the ISS, two of whom will be up there for an entire year.

Citizen Scientists Develop Eye Drops That Provide Night Vision 81

rtoz writes: A group of scientists in California have successfully created eye drops that temporarily enable night vision. They use mixture of insulin and a chemical known as Chlorin e6 (Ce6) to enable the user to view objects clearly in darkness up to 50 meters away. Ce6 is found in some deep-sea fish and often used to treat night blindness. The solution starts to work within an hour of being applied to the user's eyes, and lasts for several hours afterward. The test subject's eyesight returned to normal the next day. The organization Science for the Masses has released a paper detailing the experiment on their website.
The Courts

Ellen Pao Loses Silicon Valley Gender Bias Case Against Kleiner Perkins 365

vivaoporto writes As reported by the New York Times, USA Today and other publications, a jury of six men and six women rejected current Reddit Inc CEO Ellen Pao's claims against her former employer, the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Ms. Pao's suit, that alleged employment discrimination based on gender, workplace retaliation and failure to take reasonable steps to prevent gender discrimination, asked $16 million in compensatory damages plus punitive damages. The jury decided, after more than two days of deliberation and more than four weeks of testimony, that her formed employer neither discriminated against the former junior partner for her gender, nor fired the complainant because of a high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit against the firm in 2012. She alleged that Kleiner Perkins had promoted male partners over equally qualified women at the firm, including herself, and then retaliated against her for raising concerns about the firm's gender dynamics by failing to promote her and finally firing her after seven years at the firm after she filed her 2012 lawsuit.

Comment SI tones (Score 1) 497

I'm seeing lots of people recommending the use of SI tones ["SIT tones" is tautological].

I'm in Canada, first, so that may have some strange influence. Second, I'm on our national do not call registry - noting that one of the first things our government did was sell the list to spammers and robocallers, increasing the volume of nuisance calls for 100% of the people who supposedly "opted out".

About 10 years ago, I set my answering machine up with its default outgoing message beginning with the "Intercept" (number changed or disconnected) SIT. Having collected call statistics since before then, I can say with a high degree degree of certainty that **NO automated callers have EVER respected the SI tones**. Ever. Not a single one.

YMMV, of course.

Comment Re:U.S., cough, international pressure much? (Score 1) 166

You obviously don't know any artists and aren't one yourself.

Many if not most of the artists I know, have met, or worked with [both inside and outside of academia] do what they love in such a way that what you're talking about [pay them by the hour] is not even remotely feasible.

Among other things:

* They tend to work for enormous lengths of time on only one thing. Writing a book, for instance, can take years - and often if not usually requires such a devotion of time that doing anything else - like making money by some "normal" means so they can just plain survive, let alone afford to work on their creation - is next to impossible.
* They never get paid -at all- for 80-90% of their "work" [yes, I'm making up numbers, but based on personal experience and observation and interaction with MANY artists this doesn't seem like an exaggeration]
* Most of the artists I have met and known -never- recover anything like what their time "should" be worth for their works of art, even if they do get paid for them. Many works of art -never- make money enough for the artists to even cover total materiel costs let alone how much time it took to create them.

Funny thing is that I'm usually on the side of the argument that you are - I think that copyright as currently implemented in most countries is ludicrous. I also think that the idea of perpetual royalties is outright stupid, and that copyright terms should be shorter than they are.

I can't agree at all with the idea that artists try to somehow get paid hourly for what they do, though. There are too many reasons that idea is utterly impracticable.

Every cloud has a silver lining; you should have sold it, and bought titanium.