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


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale Extended! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 20% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY20". ×

Submission + - "Inexact" chips save power by fudging the maths (pcpro.co.uk)

Barence writes: Computer scientists have unveiled a computer chip that turns traditional thinking about mathematical accuracy on its head by fudging calculations. The concept works by allowing processing components — such as hardware for adding and multiplying numbers — to make a few mistakes, which means they are not working as hard so use less power and get through tasks more quickly. The Rice University researchers say prototypes are 15 times more efficient and could be used in some applications without having a negative effect.

Submission + - ASK: Self-hosted GMail alternatives? 1

linkedlinked writes: "I'm tired of building my sandcastles on Google's beachfront. I've moved off Docs, Plus, and Analytics, so now it's time to host my own email servers. What are the best self-host open-source email solutions available? I'm looking for "the full stack" — including a GMail-competitive web GUI — and don't mind getting my hands dirty to set it up. I leverage "most" of GMail's features, including multi-domain support and fetching from remote POP/IMAP servers. Bonus points: Since I'm a hobbyist, not a sysadmin, and I normally outsource my mail servers, what new security considerations do I need to make in managing these services?"

Submission + - We May Be Alone in the Universe After All 2

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "MIT Technology Review reports that of the many uncertainties in the Drake equation, one parameter is traditionally thought of as relatively reliable and that is f sub l, the probability of life emerging on a planet in a habitable zone which was set at 100% by Drake and his colleagues in 1961. On Earth, life arose about 3.8 billion years ago, just a few million years after the planet had cooled sufficiently to allow it so astrobiologists naturally argue that because life arose so quickly here, it must be pretty likely to emerge in other places where conditions allow. Now David Spiegel at Princeton University and Edwin Turner at the University of Tokyo say this thinking is wrong and have used Bayesian analysis, to show that the emergence of life on Earth is consistent with life being arbitrarily rare in the universe. Spiegel and Turner point out that our thinking about the origin of life is heavily biased by the fact that we're here to observe it (anthropic bias) so the only way that enough time could have elapsed for us to have evolved is if life emerged very quickly and that's a bias that is entirely independent of the actual probability of life emerging (PDF) on a habitable planet. "When you strip out that bias, it turns out that the actual probability of life emerging is consistent with life being arbitrarily rare. In other words, the fact that life emerged at least once on Earth is entirely consistent with it only having happened here.""
United Kingdom

Submission + - Climate unit releases virtually all remaining data (bbc.co.uk)

mutube writes: "The BBC is reporting that the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit, target of "ClimateGate", has released nearly all its remaining data on temperature measurements following a freedom of information bid.

Most temperature data was already available, but critics of climate science want everything public. Following the latest release, raw data from virtually all of the world's 5,000-plus weather stations is freely available.

Release of this dataset required The Met Office to secure approval from more than 1,500 weather stations around the world. The article notes that while Trinidad and Tobago refused permission but the Information Commissioner ruled that public interest in disclosure outweighed those considerations."


Submission + - Helium rain on Jupiter makes for strange days (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: In the strange and mysterious world of Jupiter, scientists were looking for an explanation for why the massive orb's atmosphere contained little neon, a common gas found on many planets. Now researching say they have found solved the mystery: Helium rain. In the interior of Jupiter conditions are so strange that, according to predictions by University of California, Berkeley scientists, helium condenses into droplets and falls like rain. On Jupiter the scientists explain the only way neon could be removed from the upper atmosphere is to have it fall out with helium, since neon and helium mix easily, like alcohol and water.

Permanent Undersea Homes Soon; Temporary Ones Now 122

MMBK writes "Dennis Chamberland is one of the world's preeminent aquanauts. He's worked with NASA to develop living habitats and underwater plant growth labs, among other cool things. His next goal is establishing the world's first permanent underwater colony. This video gets to the heart of his project, literally and figuratively, as most is shot in his underwater habitat, Atlantica, off the coast of Key Largo, FL. The coolest part might be the moon pool, the room you swim into underwater."
PC Games (Games)

An Early Look At Civilization V 286

c0mpliant writes "IGN and Gamespot have each released a preview of the recently announced and eagerly awaited Civilization V. Apart from the obvious new hexagon shape of tiles and improved graphics, the articles go on to outline some of the major changes in the game, such as updated AI, new 'flavors' to world leaders, and a potentially game-changing, one-unit-per-tile system. No more will the stack of doom come to your city's doorsteps. Some features which will not be returning are religion and espionage. The removal of these two have sparked a frenzy of discussion on fan-related forums."

How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Music 261

mbone writes "Ever wonder how Jimi Hendrix would cover Lady Gaga? Whether you do or not [I'm guessing not], you may be about to find out. Writing for Wired, Eliot Van Buskirk describes North Carolina's Zenph Sound Innovations, which takes existing recordings of musicians (deceased, for now) and models their 'musical personalities' to create new recordings, apparently to critical acclaim (PDF). The company has raised $10.7 million in funding to pursue their business plan, and hopes to branch out into, among other things, software that would let musicians jam with virtual versions of famous musicians. This work unites music with the very similar trend going on in the movies — Tron 2.0, for example, will clone the young Jeff Bridges. If this goes on, will the major labels and studios actually need musicians and actors? In the future, it could be harder to make money playing guitar with all of the competition from dead or retired artists."

Scientists Discover Booze That Won't Give You a Hangover Screenshot-sm 334

Kwang-il Kwon and Hye Gwang Jeong of Chungnam National University have discovered that drinking alcohol with oxygen bubbles added leads to fewer hangovers and a shorter sobering up time. People drinking the bubbly booze sobered up 20-30 minutes faster and had less severe and fewer hangovers than people who drank the non-fizzy stuff. Kwon said: "The oxygen-enriched alcohol beverage reduces plasma alcohol concentrations faster than a normal dissolved-oxygen alcohol beverage does. This could provide both clinical and real-life significance. The oxygen-enriched alcohol beverage would allow individuals to become sober faster, and reduce the side effects of acetaldehyde without a significant difference in alcohol's effects. Furthermore, the reduced time to a lower BAC may reduce alcohol-related accidents."

Triumph of the Cyborg Composer 502

An anonymous reader writes "UC Santa Cruz emeritus professor David Cope's software, nicknamed Emmy, creates beautiful original music. So why are people so angry about that? From the article: 'Cope attracted praise from musicians and computer scientists, but his creation raised troubling questions: If a machine could write a Mozart sonata every bit as good as the originals, then what was so special about Mozart? And was there really any soul behind the great works, or were Beethoven and his ilk just clever mathematical manipulators of notes?'"

Creating Electric Power From Light Using Gold Nanoparticles 77

cyberfringe writes "Professor of Materials Science Dawn Bonnell and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania have discovered a way to turn optical radiation into electrical current that could lead to self-powering molecular circuits and efficient data storage. They create surface plasmons that ride the surface of gold nanoparticles on a glass substrate. Surface plasmons were found to increase the efficiency of current production by a factor of four to 20, and with many independent parameters to optimize, enhancement factors could reach into the thousands. 'If the efficiency of the system could be scaled up without any additional, unforeseen limitations, we could conceivably manufacture a 1A, 1V sample the diameter of a human hair and an inch long,' Prof. Bonnell explained. The academic paper was published in the current issue of ACS Nano. (Abstract available for free.) The significance? This may allow the creation of nano-sized circuits that can power themselves through sunlight (or another directed light source). Delivery of power to nanodevices is one of the big challenges in the field."

Ocean-Crossing Dragonflies Discovered 95

grrlscientist writes "While living and working as a marine biologist in Maldives, Charles Anderson noticed sudden explosions of dragonflies at certain times of year. He explains how he carefully tracked the path of a plain, little dragonfly called the Globe Skimmer, Pantala flavescens, only to discover that it had the longest migratory journey of any insect in the world."

Music By Natural Selection Screenshot-sm 164

maccallr writes "The DarwinTunes experiment needs you! Using an evolutionary algorithm and the ears of you the general public, we've been evolving a four bar loop that started out as pretty dismal primordial auditory soup and now after >27k ratings and 200 generations is sounding pretty good. Given that the only ingredients are sine waves, we're impressed. We got some coverage in the New Scientist CultureLab blog but now things have gone quiet and we'd really appreciate some Slashdotter idle time. We recently upped the maximum 'genome size' and we think that the music is already benefiting from the change."

Those who claim the dead never return to life haven't ever been around here at quitting time.