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+ - WhatsApp Is Down Facing Issues->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Messaging service WhatsApp is down from almost half an hour. Many users including me are not able to send messages and the company has confirmed that the service is facing some issues and they are working on to fix it. Although there is no word how long it would take to restore the services."
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The Almighty Buck

Creationist Bets $10k In Proposed Literal Interpretation of Genesis Debate 1121

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-would-darwin-do? dept.
HungWeiLo writes "A California man who believes the literal interpretation of the Bible is real is offering $10,000 to anyone who can successfully debunk claims made in the book of Genesis in front of a judge. Joseph Mastropaolo, the man behind this challenge, is to put $10,000 of his own money into an escrow account. His debate opponent would be asked to do the same. They would then jointly agree on a judge based on a list of possible candidates. Mastropaolo said that any evidence presented in the trial must be 'scientific, objective, valid, reliable and calibrated.' For his part, Mastropaolo has a Ph.D. in kinesiology and writes for the Creation Hall of Fame website, which is helping to organize the minitrial. It's also not the first such trial he's tried to arrange. A previous effort, known as the 'Life Science Prize,' proposed a similar scenario. Mastropaolo includes a list of possible circuit court judges to oversee the trial and a list of those he challenged to take part on the evolutionary side of the debate."

+ - Russia scraps gas masks for horses, dogs, pigs and cows->

Submitted by jamax
jamax (228376) writes "From the article (Google translate):

"...The Russian Defense Ministry has begun to eliminate storage of gas masks for horses KSPF-1, created in the USSR in 1943, based on similar developments in France and Germany. According to the newspaper "Izvestia", personal chemical protection for horses lay unclaimed in strategic military department stores for half a century. Now, the military decided to get rid of them to make room. In total, to be disposed of about ten thousand masks...."

"...In the Soviet Union during the Second World War, and then the "Cold War" were developed many different types of masks, designed to protect both the service and the farm animals. There were masks for dogs, pigs and cows. As you reduce the threat of large-scale armed conflict, and then the adoption of international resolutions on the prohibition of chemical weapons the need for such protection is gone...."

I'm from Russia and in my childhood I sort of heard of gas masks for horses, but pigs and cows?... Just imagine walking across postapocalyptic landscape and suddenly seeing a silent herd of pigs in gas masks... All just standing there and looking at you... For some reason it gives me the chills... )"

Link to Original Source
Hardware Hacking

+ - Intercontinental Stategic Sledgehammer is officially present at Russian HQ->

Submitted by jamax
jamax (228376) writes "From the artice (Google translate):
"Strategic Missile Forces (SMF), in addition to its nuclear arsenal, are armed with a sledgehammer, which is stored on a central command post (NBI) and is designed for opening the safe with the military documents in the case of an emergency, said on Wednesday media representative on the Strategic Missile Defense Ministry, Colonel Vadim Koval."

Apparently, when receiving a high-ranking inspection commission (in 1980), the general on duty has been asked what would he do if the code-lock on safe that contains launch-related documents would fail to open after three attempts.

His reply was that he would bash the lock away with a sledgehammer he kept just for this emergency, convenietly tucked away behind the safe in question.

While at first he has been reprimanded by the commission, later one of its members has convinced the others that the idea was a sensible one, since if he (the general on duty) failed to deliver the order to launch to the troops in 60 seconds he would be shot with his own side-arm in front of the portrait of supreme commander anyway, and the sledgehammer should be given official recognition..

So since august 1980, we've had more than just missiles arrayed against you... Much more..

So there. Fear us."

Link to Original Source
NASA

Andromeda On Collision Course With the Milky Way 217

Posted by samzenpus
from the demolition-galaxy dept.
ananyo writes "From the Nature story: 'The Andromeda galaxy will collide with the Milky Way about 4 billion years from now, astronomers announced today. Although the Sun and other stars will remain intact, the titanic tumult is likely to shove the Solar System to the outskirts of the merged galaxies. Researchers came to that conclusion after using the Hubble Space Telescope between 2002 and 2010 to painstakingly track the motion of Andromeda as it inched along the sky. Andromeda, roughly 770,000 parsecs (2.5 million light years) away, is the nearest large spiral galaxy to the Milky Way.'"
Linux

Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Distro For Linux Lessons? 319

Posted by Soulskill
from the throw-them-into-the-deep-end dept.
MBtronics writes "I work at an embedded hardware/software company and we are currently moving all our products for Windows CE to Linux. Our core development team already uses their favorite distro for development, but the rest of the developers are still working on Windows. We are going to give a series of Linux lessons (from 'what is Linux' to installing, using and developing) for everybody in the company who is interested (including non-developers). They will be allowed to choose their own distro, but we will certainly get requests for recommendations. My question to the Slashdot crowd: what distro (and window manager) do you think is the best to teach Linux to the generic public? We are currently thinking of Ubuntu, Fedora or Mint."
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Spammers You Know? 333

Posted by timothy
from the oh-you-mean-legal-things-right? dept.
courteaudotbiz writes "For years, a business named Compu-Finder has been sending spam all around the province of Quebec, Canada. In their emails, there is a phone number where we can reach them, and an unsubscribe link that you can click and seems to work, but even after asking them on the phone, by email or with their unsubscribe link, to unsubscribe me, I still receive 10 — 15 spams a week coming from this company. Many bloggers, journalists and radio chroniclers talked about them, but they seem to be untouchable. Still, it is easy to find the names, addresses and phone numbers of the shareholders and administrators of the company. How can we, collectively, take action to make them understand that we do not like their mass mailing practice?"

+ - Russian asteroid-nuking project is 15 years old->

Submitted by jamax
jamax (228376) writes "According to this article here (russian only, google's translation is here) Russias' State Rocket Center (http://makeyev.ru/rocspace/ — english version available) has finished drawing up plans for anti-asteroid nuclear missle comlpex to either convert incoming asteroids into rubble by a nuclear explosion on its surface or pushing them off-course by exploding nuke near it.
The system consists of two vehicles — recon module "Caissa" and payload module "Kapkan" (snare in russian) and is to be launched on top of either Soyuz-2 or Rus-M carriers.
They claim the projected system to be able to take care of asteroids with diameter up to 300 meters.
The SRC presentation stressed the fact that the two space vehicles were developed by SRC alongside two other institutions for the past 15 years, so threre is an actual chance that it is not more vapourware we get so much of from Russian space agency in the last 5-10 years.."

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Firefox

+ - Firefox 5 Fixes Security and Improves Browsing->

Submitted by Orome1
Orome1 (1901578) writes "Mozilla released Firefox 5.0 that fixes several security issues, stability issues and introduces new features. Privacy-aware users will be happy to learn that the Do-Not-Track header preference has been moved to increase discoverability. The developers tuned HTTP idle connection logic for increased performance and also improved standards support for HTML5, XHR, MathML, SMIL, and canvas. Linux users can expect improved desktop environment integration and WebGL content can no longer load cross-domain textures."
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Graphics

Upscaling Retro 8-Bit Pixel Art To Vector Graphics 325

Posted by timothy
from the awesomeness-defined dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Two researchers — Johannes Kopf from Microsoft, and Dani Lischinski from The Hebrew University — have successfully created an algorithm that depixelizes and upscales low-resolution 8-bit 'pixel art' into lush vector graphics. The algorithm identifies pixel-level details (original paper — PDF) to accurately shade the new image — but more importantly, the algorithm can create smooth, curved contour lines from only-connected-on-the-diagonal single pixels. At long last, we might be able to play Super Mario Bros. on a big screen without stretching our beloved plumber's pixels to breaking point. You really must look at the sample images." Scroll down in the paper to see how their technique stacks up against some others, including Adobe's Live Trace.
Science

+ - Is there life inside black holes?->

Submitted by jamax
jamax (228376) writes "From TFA: "Inside the rotating or charged black holes there are bound periodic planetary orbits, which not coming out nor terminated at the central singularity. The advanced civilizations of the third kind (according to Kardashev classification) may inhabit the interiors of supermassive black holes, being invisible from the outside and basking in the light of the central singularity and the orbital photons. "

That's a preprint from arxiv.org, of an article by Vyacheslav Dokuchaev, a russian physisist, working at Institute for Nuclear Research at Russian Academy of Sciences..

While no actual proof (even theoretical) is provided for the existence of life, author argues that under certain circumstance, some black holes may indeed harbour stable planetary systems, even if planetary orbits are a far cry from ellipse-shaped orbits we see everywhere else."

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Hardware Hacking

+ - Chinese Magical Hard-Drive->

Submitted by jamax
jamax (228376) writes "From TFA: "A Russian friend .... works at a hard-drive repair center in a Russian town, located near the Chinese border. A couple of days ago a customer has brought a broken 500Gb USB-drive that he had bought in a Chinese store across the river, for an insanely low price. But the drive was not working: if you, say, save a movie onto the drive, playing the saved movie back resulted in replaying just the last 5 minutes of the film."
    Apparently the contents of the external HDD box included: two nuts, glued to the inner surface of the box with a 128MB flash drive wedged between them (image)..
  And it was a clever hack too — if ever an attempt was made of writing a file that's too large it got sort of cycled — rewriting itself over and over from the beginning, while leaving the existing files intact. And it reported everything correctly — file sizes and all!"

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"Those who will be able to conquer software will be able to conquer the world." -- Tadahiro Sekimoto, president, NEC Corp.

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