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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


+ - New Political Party Runs Entirely on Your Feedback->

Submitted by Andrew Warshaver
Andrew Warshaver (4027499) writes "Fed up with the failures of the U.S. political system, two CMU grads are turning to technology to create a new party that runs entirely online, and entirely on your feedback. Their electorates will make decisions solely based on the principles of Liquid Democracy, a form of Representative Democracy for the Technology Age. If they succeed, no more calling & mailing your representatives, simply log on and vote (or delegate)."
Link to Original Source

+ - Jupiter destroyed 'super-Earths' in our early solar system->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "If Jupiter and Saturn hadn’t formed where they did—and at the sizes they did—as the disk of dust and gas around our sun coalesced, then our solar system would be a very different and possibly more hostile place, new research suggests. Computer models reveal that in the solar system’s first 3 million years or so, gravitational interactions with Jupiter, Saturn, and the gas in the protoplanetary disk would have driven super-Earth–sized planets closer to the sun and into increasingly elliptical orbits. In such paths, a cascade of collisions would have blasted any orbs present there into ever smaller bits, which in turn would have been slowed by the interplanetary equivalent of atmospheric drag and eventually plunged into the sun. As Jupiter retreated from its closest approach to the sun, it left behind the mostly rocky remnants that later coalesced into our solar system’s inner planets, including Earth."
Link to Original Source

+ - Chinese Vice Premier Says Rapid Growth Isn't What Economy Needs->

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "China doesn't need the rapid economic growth of the past and will instead focus on tasks including returning the blue to Beijing's skies, said Zhang Gaoli, a member of the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, the nation’s top decision-making body. "It is both impossible and unnecessary to maintain the very high growth of the past. We've paid the price for that. It's not sustainable." China's growth has cooled as officials rein in local-government debt, crack down on graft and strengthen environmental laws after economic expansion averaged about 10% annually over 30 years. Premier Li Keqiang's targeted gain of about 7% in gross domestic product this year would be the smallest increase since 1990, and the growth rate is bound to slow even further. President Xi Jinping and other leaders describe the slowdown as a new normal and a higher quality of expansion. China's advantages have also weakened because labor costs have increased, Zhang reminded."
Link to Original Source

+ - Godwin Interviewed

Submitted by theshowmecanuck
theshowmecanuck (703852) writes "CBC Radio in Canada has just posted an interview with Mike Godwin, the originator of the famous (infamous?) Godwin's Law. Unbelievably it comes after a week where politicians started flinging the H word at each other. If you haven't been on Slashdot pretty much ever, say lived under a rock for the past 15 or 20 years, you will understand the interest to this site. :) So as a matter of that interest, enjoy."

Comment: Heroin (Score 1) 2

by dpilot (#49257683) Attached to: How to Execute People in the 21st Century

Assuming you actually want to execute people, I'd favor heroin. There are frequent pieces in the news about drug busts yielding some quantity of heroin, and about accidental heroin overdoese.

So execute with intentional heroin overdoses, if there's that much laying around. I'm sure legislation could make that purpose legal when performed by authorized agents, due process, etc.

I suspect the stumbling block is that some people wouldn't want the convicted getting high on their way out.

+ - How the solar neutrino problem was solved 1

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "For nearly all of human history — well into the 20th century — we really didn’t know how the Sun worked. Could it have been combustion, like we see on Earth? Or perhaps gravitational contraction, like that which powers white dwarf stars? No, it turned out to be nuclear fusion. Yet when we built our best models and went to test what we expected to see with what we actually observed, it was the smallest particles that didn’t add up: the neutrino. For decades, we kept observing only a third the number we expected. Here’s the story of how we solved that mystery, only in the early 2000s, and finally figured out what goes on inside the Sun!"

Comment: The folly of youth becomes the folly of life? (Score 3, Informative) 209

Does this mean that the follies of your youth become held against you for your entire life? Even if we were somehow shielded until we're 18, youthful mistakes don't stop then. There has been quite a bit of study now that important developments in the brain continue into the mid 20's. Heck, since we often accept anecdotal fiction as evidence around /., think of Scrooge. He had a life-changing event relatively late in life.

At one extreme, we freeze everyone into the patterns of their youth. At the other, "I've changed, I've learned since then," becomes a mantra that absolves all responsibility. The difference here is that in the real world, people know you, your speech and actions, and how they all change with time, so they're at least equipped to make a decent judgement, even if that doesn't always happen. In non-meat-space those things aren't necessarily true, especially as so much incoming information is filtered to confirm one's current world-view.

+ - 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' Coming to the Big Screen 2

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Hollywood Reporter reports that Twentieth Century Fox recently picked up the movie rights to "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress," based on the classic sci-fi book by Robert A. Heinlein and will retitled the movie as 'Uprising'. Heinlein's 1966 sci-fi novel centers on a lunar colony's revolt against rule from Earth and the book popularized the acronym TANSTAAFL (There ain't no such thing as a free lunch), a central, libertarian theme. The novel was nominated for the 1966 Nebula award (honoring the best sci-fi and fantasy work in the U.S.) and won the Hugo Award for best science fiction novel in 1967. An adaptation has been attempted twice before — by DreamWorks, which had a script by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, and by Phoenix Pictures, with Harry Potter producer David Heyman attached — but both languished and the rights reverted to Heinlein's estate. Brian Singer, who previously directed X-Men: Days of Future Past, will adopt the screenplay and reportedly direct. Several of Heinlein's novels have been adapted for the big and small screen, including the 1953 film Project Moonbase, the 1994 TV miniseries Red Planet, the 1994 film The Puppet Masters, and — very loosely — the 1997 film Starship Troopers."

+ - How Does One Verify Hard Drive Firmware? 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In light of recent revelations from Kaspersky Labs about the Equation Group and persistent hard drive malware, I was curious about how easy it might be to verify my own system's drives to see if they were infected. I have no real reason to think they would be, but I was dismayed by the total lack of tools to independently verify such a thing. For instance, Seagate's firmware download pages provide files with no external hash, something Linux distributions do for all of their packages. Neither do they seem to provide a utility to read off the current firmware from a drive and verify its integrity.

Are there any utilities to do such a thing? Why don't these companies provide such a thing to users? Has anyone compiled and posted a public list of known-good firmware hashes for the major hard drive vendors and models? This seems to be a critical hole in PC security.

I did contact Seagate support asking for hashes of their latest firmware; I got a response stating that '...If you download the firmware directly from our website there is no risk on the file be tampered with." [their phrasing, not mine]. Methinks somebody hasn't been keeping up with world events lately."

Comment: Re:Unintended Consequences (Score 3, Insightful) 93

by dpilot (#49143143) Attached to: Xeroxed Gene May Have Paved the Way For Large Human Brain

At what point does it become unethical to consider and treat these as lab animals. How much brain complexity is enough? This probably isn't it, and our A.I. isn't good enough yet. But some year we're going to cross the line, and I'm sure that as a society we're going to be completely unaware and in denial when we do.

+ - Star Wars-style 'bionic hand' fitted to first patients ->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Three Austrians have replaced injured hands with bionic ones that they can control using nerves and muscles transplanted into their arms from their legs.

The three men are the first to undergo what doctors refer to as "bionic reconstruction," which includes a voluntary amputation, the transplantation of nerves and muscles and learning to use faint signals from them to command the hand.

Previously, people with bionic hands have primarily controlled them with manual settings."

Link to Original Source

+ - You Might (Still) Be Surprised By What Your Phone Keeps Track Of->

Submitted by Deathspawner
Deathspawner (1037894) writes "It should come as a surprise to no one that the amount of data scraped from our digital lives each and every day is immense. But could there still be room to be wowed — or even a little concerned? At reddit, user FallenMyst claimed that everything we've ever spoken to our phones, either via Siri, Cortana, or what-have-you, has been recorded — and in some cases, we can go back and listen to it. Techgage went on to investigate, and found proof of that claim. Further, it was also discovered that Google could be tracking a lot more data than you were even aware of, such as where you were a couple of years ago. Fortunately, this tracking can be turned off, but there's something to be said about the fact that it's on by default, and is so incredibly subtle."
Link to Original Source

+ - Canadian & Singapore Researchers Claim Lithium-ion Battery Breakthrough->

Submitted by K7DAN
K7DAN (1055900) writes "Channel News Asia reports that A*STAR's Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore and Quebec's IREQ have doubled the capacity of Lithium-ion batteries using a novel technique that involves synthesizing silicate-based nanoboxes as compared to conventional phosphate-based cathodes."
Link to Original Source

Computers will not be perfected until they can compute how much more than the estimate the job will cost.