Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


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

Submission + - DARPA investigating self-destructing electronics (gizmag.com)

cylonlover writes: Modern electronics are cheap, tough and can operate for years without a hitch. That’s great for building advanced military gear, but what happens if this gear is in danger of falling into enemy hands? The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR) program is investigating the development of special electronics designed to self-destruct on command so as to prevent classified technology being leaked.

Submission + - DARPA wants electronics that can dissolve or burst apart after use (networkworld.com) 2

coondoggie writes: "he Mission: Impossible TV show famously started most episodes with a tape recorded mission message that ended with: "This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds, good luck Jim." Then it melted down in a burst of smoke and flame.
DARPA researchers seem to want to take that sort of destructive notion quite a few steps further by designing electronics — particularly smart phones and other devices — that can melt or at least partially dissolve to the point that they would be useless to anyone else who came across them."


Submission + - Accessible Computing Foundation Creating Fully Accessible GNU/Linux Distro

elwin_windleaf writes: "The Accessible Computing Foundation's Jonathan Nadeau has started an IndieGoGo campaign to create a GNU/Linux distribution that's focused on accessibility. With 360 million blind and low vision people around the world, and most accessibility software being proprietary and prohibitively expensive, this distro could make a world of difference.

Jonathan is a blind GNU/Linux user himself who, in addition to starting the Accessible Computing Foundation, also organizes the annual Northeast GNU/Linuxfest."

Submission + - New server can be parachuted into extreme environments (networkworld.com)

alphadogg writes: A rugged server from NCS Technologies introduced on Friday can withstand drops, will work in extreme temperatures and can be deployed via parachute into crisis areas or war zones if needed. The Bunker XRV-5241 is a 1U rack server designed for organizations such as the military and first responders that need servers in rugged environments. The server has been tested to meet U.S. Department of Defense specifications for environmental, temperature and shock requirements.

Submission + - Dung Beetles Navigate by the Milky Way (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: A day in the life of a male dung beetle goes something like this: Fly to a heap of dung, sculpt a clump of it into a large ball, then roll the ball away from the pile as fast as possible. However, it turns out that the beetles, who work at night, need some sort of compass to prevent them from rolling around in circles. New research suggests that the insects use starlight to guide their way. Birds, seals, and humans also use starlight to navigate, but this is the first time it's been shown in an insect.

Submission + - Taking care of each other (shirky.com)

giminy writes: "Clay Shirky has a thought-provoking piece on depression in the hacker community. While hackers tend to be great at internet collaboration on software projects, we often fall short when it comes to helping each other with personal problems. The evidence is only anecdotal, but there seems to be a higher than average incidence of mental health issues among hackers and internet freedom fighters. It would be great to see this addressed by our community through some outreach and awareness programs..."

Submission + - Mars weather report: cold, increasing dustiness, chance of cancer. (nasa.gov)

immortalachilles writes: Gale crater is at 5.4S 137.8E on Mars. Unlike Earth, no "wet"/"dry" seasons at equator more like higher/lower pressure. "The seasonal increase (in pressure) results from tons of carbon dioxide, which had been frozen into a southern (or northern) winter ice cap, returning into the atmosphere as southern (or northern) spring turns to summer. The daily cycle of higher pressure in the morning and lower pressure in the evening results from daytime heating of the atmosphere by the sun. As morning works its way westward around the planet, so does a wave of heat-expanded atmosphere, known as a thermal tide." "30% of atmosphere condensing out twice a year." — REMS scientist Claire Newman. On the radiation front, "it depends on the particle". "Total dose anti-correlated with pressure". However, "neutrons and "secondary particles" seem to increase with atmospheric pressure", products of high-energy collisions with molecules in the atmosphere. — Dr. Don Hassler. Radiation numbers in interpretable units said to be released at the AGU (American Geophysical Union) Meeting, 3-7 December in San Francisco. http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/27047602

Submission + - Stallman on Unity: Canonical will have to hand over users' data to governments (benjaminkerensa.com)

Giorgio Maone writes: "Ubuntu developer and fellow mozillian Benjamin Kerensa chatted with various people about the new Amazon Product Results in the Ubuntu 12.10 Unity Dash. Among them, Richard Stallman told him that this feature is bad because: 1. "If Canonical gets this data, it will be forced to hand it over to various governments."; 2. Amazon is bad. Concerned people can disable remote data retrieval for any lens and scopes or, more surgically, use sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping."
The Military

Submission + - Army Reviews Controversial Drug after Afghan Massacre

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Time Magazine reports that after the massacre in which Staff Sgt. Robert Bales allegedly massacred 17 civilians in Afghanistan, the Pentagon has ordered an urgent review of the use of the anti-malarial drug mefloquine, also known as Lariam, known to have severe psychiatric side effects including psychotic behavior, paranoia and hallucinations. "One obvious question to consider is whether he was on mefloquine (Lariam), an anti-malarial medication," writes Elspeth Cameron Ritchie in Time. "This medication has been increasingly associated with neuropsychiatric side effects, including depression, psychosis, and suicidal ideation." The drug has been implicated in numerous suicides and homicides, including deaths in the US military. For years the military used the weekly pill to help prevent malaria among deployed troops, however in 2009 the US Army nearly dropped use of mefloquine entirely because of the dangers, using it only in limited circumstances, including sometimes in Afghanistan. Army and Pentagon officials would not say whether Bales took the drug, citing privacy rules however, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Jonathan Woodson has ordered a new, urgent review to make sure that troops were not getting the drug inappropriately. “Some deployed service members may be prescribed mefloquine (PDF) for malaria prophylaxis without appropriate documentation in their medical records and without proper screening for contraindications,” the order says. It notes that this review must include troops at “deployed locations.” "I know there's a lot of discussion about the malaria drug, and I don't know yet (whether Bales was taking it)," says Bales' attorney, John Henry Browne. "We have to get his medical records. And I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised. But I don't know that.""

Submission + - New Molecule Could Lead To Better Rocket Fuel (chemweb.com)

MithrandirAgain writes: Trinitramid is the name of the new molecule that may be a component in future rocket fuel. This fuel could be 20 to 30 percent more efficient in comparison with the best rocket fuels available today, according to researchers. The discovery was made at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Sweden.

"A rule of thumb is that for every ten-percent increase in efficiency for rocket fuel, the payload of the rocket can double. What's more, the molecule consists only of nitrogen and oxygen, which would make the rocket fuel environmentally friendly. This is more than can be said of today's solid rocket fuels, which entail the emission of the equivalent of 550 tons of concentrated hydrochloric acid for each launch of the space shuttle," says Tore Brinck, professor of physical chemistry at KTH.


Submission + - Microsoft bots performing denial of service 1

at_slashdot writes: The Perl CPAN Testers have been suffering issues accessing their sites, databases and mirrors. According to a posting on the CPAN Testers' blog, the CPAN Testers' server has been being aggressively scanned by "20-30 bots every few seconds" in what they call "a dedicated denial of service attack"; these bots "completely ignore the rules specified in robots.txt".


Submission + - Norway punctures the atmosphere (daily.pk)

An anonymous reader writes: The recent period of cold weather is actually caused by a high energy beam from Norway which has punctured the thermosphere.
All according to Pakistan Daily.

"the high-energy beam fired into the upper heavens from the United States High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) radar facility in Ramfjordmoen, Norway this past month has resulted in a “catastrophic puncturing” of our Plant’s thermosphere thus allowing into the troposphere an “unimpeded thermal inversion” of the exosphere, which is the outermost layer of Earth’s atmosphere."

You know you've landed gear-up when it takes full power to taxi.