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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).

Operating Systems

+ - Open source cars?

Submitted by Invertdna
Invertdna (666) writes "Most cars today are a complex system of computer-controlled modules that determine the details of how your car runs (e.g., air/fuel mixture, spark plug firing, etc.). However, these operating systems are locked to all but those who design them; even dealerships don't have the ability to change code for the car's computer(s). In talking to a repairman about how to make my gas-powered car run cleaner, he suggested that I could change the air/fuel ratio, which would sacrifice some power for greater fuel savings and lower emissions. The problem, of course, is that I can't get to the code to do it. My question is this: has anyone thought about this problem and gotten around it? Or is there open-source code for commercially-available cars out there? This would obviously void most cars' warranties, but for older cars this might be a great way to live slightly greener (and cheaper)."
User Journal

Journal: 27-Mar-07 (firehose)

Journal by hairpinblue

Every time I click on the firehose link the URL in the address bar changes to:


+ - Check Point security box plays "Family Guy,

Submitted by
netbuzz writes "At least on YouTube it does. The video work of a Sasha Eilinyaov, the clip shows white-gloved hands extracting a Check Point UTM-1 appliance from its box, adding a video card, new hard drive, keyboard, Windows XP ... and playing a "Family Guy" episode on an attached monitor. The clip has been viewed 3,445 times as of this afternoon, a tally that has more than doubled since yesterday. 7"

+ - Hexagon shape at Saturn pole

Submitted by kiick
kiick (102190) writes "Cassini images of Saturn's north pole reveal a strange hexagon shape. Apparently it's stable, and has been there since the Voyager missions. An Article from JPL has images and movies of the phenomenon. They don't know what causes it.

I think it's Monoliths."

+ - Students in Singapore Create Chameleon Suit

Submitted by SpectreBlofeld
SpectreBlofeld (886224) writes "Taking a page from Ghost in the Shell, students in Singapore have created a soldier's suit that can blend in with its surroundings. From the article: "Using what is called Electrochromism, the students created a soldier's uniform that can blend into any surrounding. They achieved this by using a material that can change colours. This is one of the many projects by secondary and JC students under the Young Defence Scientists Programme (YDSP), which has been running successfully for the last 15 years." Story is at calnews/view/264786/1/.html"
The Media

+ - odd severance clause

Submitted by
Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward writes "There's been discussion here before about 'non-compete' clauses in hiring, and I've seen various non-disclosure clauses as part of layoffs, with some kind of severance package provided as consideration for that non-disclosure. But this morning, after my wife was escorted from her newspaper job, she brough home a severance agreement that contained something I'd never seen before: Several paragraphs of legalese essentially prohibits her from seeking future employment with the company! There are several people being laid off, and she was told this was a standard form. Has anyone else heard of this? What would be the reason for this — if they really don't want any of the laid off people to apply for jobs in the future, couldn't they simply ignore those resume's? We are talking to a lawyer, of course, but I'd be interested in hearing from the /. crowd as well."

+ - More Linux loving: Fixing GRUB

Submitted by
naser writes " g-fixing-grub.html : Ubuntu and GRUB get along pretty good. But if your GRUB records get screwed somehow, so shall your boot record. Then there is no way left but to restore the old windows mbr. But what if you wanted to restore the GRUB menu? Here's a tutorial meant for the absolute beginners to restore the GRUB menu to the way it looked before the screw-up."

+ - Go Ahead, Drop That Phone

Submitted by anthemaniac
anthemaniac (989824) writes "A Delft University of Technology researcher has shown that a new type of plastic with a ladder-like structure conducts electricity as well as silicon and so could be used to make chips in cell phones and other small devices more bounce-resistant. From the article: 'The reason iPods and cell phones stop working after pavement bounces is that the chips contain many nearly microscopic pathways that send operational signals throughout the device. Those pathways are disturbed by drops. Plastic chips could absorb bounces better.' Now when you drop a call, you can feel better about throwing the phone on the pavement."

+ - MySpace Sues Sanford Wallace

Submitted by
Talaria writes "MySpace has sued the original king of spam, Sanford Wallace, claiming that he set up an elaborate phishing scheme to gain access to MySpace user accounts, spammed MySpace users, and used deceptive means to direct MySpace users to Wallace's websites. Sanford Wallace is best known as the spammer behind the infamous CyberPromotions, which was brought down nearly ten years ago in twin lawsuits by AOL and CompuServe."

+ - Growing metals on cotton

Submitted by
Roland Piquepaille
Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have created a new form of metal crystals grown on cotton. They've used acid-treated cellulose fibers from cotton to crystallize them. Then, they grew all kinds of metal nanocrystals measuring between 2 and 200 nanometers on what they call "a cotton assembly line." They successfully built nanocrystals of gold, silver, palladium, platinum, copper or nickel. And they think that this technology could be used in a wide range of applications, including biosensors, biological imaging, drug delivery and catalytic converters. I must admit that these researchers are pretty inventive. In a previous work, they've turned instant petrified wood into super ceramics."

The perversity of nature is nowhere better demonstrated by the fact that, when exposed to the same atmosphere, bread becomes hard while crackers become soft.