Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

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).


+ - Is Our Universe a Simulation?

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Mathematician Edward Frenkel writes in the NYT that one fanciful possibility that explains why mathematics seems to permeate our universe is that we live in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics — not in what we commonly take to be the real world. According to this theory, some highly advanced computer programmer of the future has devised this simulation, and we are unknowingly part of it. Thus when we discover a mathematical truth, we are simply discovering aspects of the code that the programmer used. This may strike you as very unlikely writes Frenkel but physicists have been creating their own computer simulations of the forces of nature for years — on a tiny scale, the size of an atomic nucleus. They use a three-dimensional grid to model a little chunk of the universe; then they run the program to see what happens. "Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom has argued that we are more likely to be in such a simulation than not," writes Frenkel. "If such simulations are possible in theory, he reasons, then eventually humans will create them — presumably many of them. If this is so, in time there will be many more simulated worlds than nonsimulated ones. Statistically speaking, therefore, we are more likely to be living in a simulated world than the real one." The question now becomes is there any way to empirically test this hypothesis and the answer surprisingly is yes. In a recent paper, “Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation,” the physicists Silas R. Beane, Zohreh Davoudi and Martin J. Savage outline a possible method for detecting that our world is actually a computer simulation (PDF). Savage and his colleagues assume that any future simulators would use some of the same techniques current scientists use to run simulations, with the same constraints. The future simulators, Savage indicated, would map their universe on a mathematical lattice or grid, consisting of points and lines. But computer simulations generate slight but distinctive anomalies — certain kinds of asymmetries and they suggest that a closer look at cosmic rays may reveal similar asymmetries. If so, this would indicate that we might — just might — ourselves be in someone else’s computer simulation."

+ - Venezuelan Regime Censoring Twitter

Submitted by Saúl González D.
Saúl González D. (3429883) writes "After two days of massive protests, the Venezuelan government has finally taken to censoring Twitter. Users of Venezuela's largest ISP CANTV, which is owned by the government, are reporting that either Twitter-embedded images will not load or that Twitter will fail to load at all. I am an user myself and can confirm that only Twitter is affected and that switching to the Tor browser solves the issue.
As news of the protests are not televised, for most Venezuelans Twitter and Facebook are their only means of obtaining real-time information.
Despite a progressive worsening of civil and human rights, governments of the world have shied away from directly labeling Maduro a dictator or demanding the OAS' Democratic Charter be activated. Will open censorship be the tipping point?"

Comment: Re:And yet... (Score 1) 2987

by gdavidp (#42290777) Attached to: 27 Reported Killed In Connecticut Elementary School Shooting
Ya, you might manage to kill someone but not 20 people. Guns do not by themselves kill people... The same tired argument repeats itself over and over again. But it sure as hell makes it a whole lot easier to point and shoot a tool designed to KILL with little to no skill and in a very short period of time. Someone will stop you before you manage to kill 27 children with a keyboard.

+ - Judge orders IP logs released to Sony from PS3...-> 2

Submitted by masterwit
masterwit (1800118) writes "A story on wired and also at The Registrar and also Wired tells of the following:
'A federal magistrate has awarded Sony a subpoena allowing the company to obtain the IP addresses of everyone who visited the personal website of PlayStation 3 jailbreaker George Hotz for the past 26 months.

Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero of San Francisco also granted Sony's request for subpoenas on Google, Twitter, and another service for information relating to accounts held by the 21-year-old Hotz, who goes by the moniker GeoHot. Thursday's move comes in a lawsuit Sony filed in January alleging that Hotz and more than 100 other other hackers violated US copyright law by showing others how to bypass technical measures built in to the game console so they would run games and software not authorized by Sony.'

This is not only a major change in policy on privacy but disturbing on a multitude of levels. Both of these articles are worth checking out."

Link to Original Source

+ - 35,000 Linux benchmarks in a week->

Submitted by G3ckoG33k
G3ckoG33k (647276) writes " has received 37,027 benchmarks (mainly Linux, and some Macs) in the first week since its inauguration. 241,384 completed tests using 468,344 components from 438 hardware vendors. All results submitted by end users. I guess the hardware support for Linux must become even better thanks to this effort. Yes, the benchmarks are easy to install and run, and you can readily compare your own system anonymously with the results already submitted, using any or all of hundreds of free applications in 47 categories."
Link to Original Source

+ - LED Technology Reduces Chemotherapy's Side Effects-> 2

Submitted by
gabbo529 writes "Medical researchers have developed a new technology that will help cancer patients stave off the effects of chemotherapy.

Called High Emissivity Aluminiferous Luminescent Substrate, or HEALS, it's a chip covered with hundreds of sand-grain sized light emitting diodes, each of which emits energy equivalent to 12 times that of the sun. The lights are in a small box that is held near the patient's head, while the light, which is in the far red and infrared part of the spectrum, shines on the skin.

The technology was originally developed by NASA for plant growth experiments on space shuttle flights."

Link to Original Source
The Military

+ - Highly capable military robots in development

Submitted by
Toe, The
Toe, The writes "Discovery News reports on what it aptly calls Terror Bots. These include DARPA's Atlas and Cheetah, one which walks like a human over rough terrain, and another which is super fast like, well, a cheetah. Then there is the Army's mini-bot Cougar which can detect activity 65-feet away... through walls. But don't worry. The article points they are being developed 'not with directly malicious intentions.' What do you think are the chances these bots obey Asimov's laws?"

+ - 5 Exabytes of HDD Storage Shipped in 2010->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Sales of disk storage systems were up 55% last year compared with 2009, with more than 5,000 petabytes of hard disk drive capacity sold, according to a new report from market research firm IDC. Factory revenues for disk storage subsystems totaled $28.7 billion in 2010, an 18% year-over-year improvement. One stand-out market was IP-based network storage, such as iSCSI and NAS, which saw a 21% increase in sales for a total of more than $5 billion in revenue."
Link to Original Source

+ - Conan O'Brien Pokes Fun at iPad 2->

Submitted by
autospa writes "Conan O'Brien takes on the iPad 2 with an amusing parody that pokes fun at the slick video presentations that peppered Apple's iPad 2 announcement and its reality distortion field. The video is located after the break for your viewing pleasure. Just a note for iOS users, the clip is hosted on Conan's website so it may not be streamed in an iPad-friendly format."
Link to Original Source

Jordanian Mayor Angry Over "Alien Invasion" Prank 217

Posted by samzenpus
from the war-of-the-worlds dept.
krou writes "Jordanian mayor Mohammed Mleihan has taken a dim view of local newspaper Al-Ghad's April Fools prank, which saw a front page story claiming that 'flying saucers flown by 3m (10ft) creatures had landed in the desert town of Jafr.' The paper claimed that communication networks had gone down, and people were fleeing the area. The mayor called the local security authorities, who combed the area, but they were unable to find any evidence of the aliens. Mr Mleihan is now considering suing because of the distress it caused to residents: 'Students didn't go to school, their parents were frightened and I almost evacuated the town's 13,000 residents. People were scared that aliens would attack them.'" I guess they've never heard of Orson Welles in Jordan.
United States

+ - The Chemistry of Firework Displays

Submitted by
Ponca City, We love you
Ponca City, We love you writes "David Ropeik writes at MSNBC that there's a lot more to making a basic firework display than putting a fuel source and an oxidizer together. Pyrotechnic chemists, who are trying to create bedazzle instead of bang, don't want their work to explode but to burn for a bit so it gives a good visual show. To achieve the desired effect, the size of the particles of each ingredient have to be just right, and the ingredients have to be blended together just right. To slow down the burning, chemists use big grains of chemicals, in the range of 250 to 300 microns and they don't blend the ingredients together very well making it harder for the fuel and oxidizer to combine and burn, and producing a longer and brighter effect. Surprisingly few emitters are used in pyrotechnics and there are no commercially useful emitters in blue-green to emerald green in the 490-520 nm region. Energy from the fire in the basic fuel is transferred to the atoms of the colorant chemicals exciting the electrons in those chemicals into a higher energy state. As they cool down, they move back to a lower state of energy emitting light so you actually see the colors in fireworks as they're cooling down. To get the really tricky shapes, like stars or hearts, the colorant pellets are pasted on a piece of paper in the desired pattern. That paper is put in the middle of the shell with explosive charges above it, and below. When those charges go off, they burn up the paper, and send the ignited colorant pellets out in the same pattern they were in on the sheet of paper, spreading wider apart as they fly. Finally remember that in 2003, six deaths were linked to fireworks and hospital emergency departments treated 9,300 fireworks injuries so read these safety tips and enjoy the 4th."

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein