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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

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).

×

+ - Lost City Discovered in Honduran Rain Forest->

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "An expedition to Honduras has emerged from the jungle with discovery of a previously unknown culture's lost city. The team was led to the remote, uninhabited region by long-standing rumors that it was the site of a storied "White City", also referred to in legend as the "City of the Monkey God". Archaeologists surveyed and mapped extensive plazas, earthworks, mounds, and an earthen pyramid belonging to a culture that thrived a thousand years ago, and then vanished. The team also discovered a remarkable cache of stone sculptures that had lain untouched since the city was abandoned. The objects were documented but left unexcavated. To protect the site from looters, its location is not being revealed."
Link to Original Source

+ - Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "A team of researchers in Sri Lanka set out to test whether common refactoring techniques resulted in measurable improvements in software quality, both externally (e.g., Is the code more maintainable?) and internally (e.g., Number of lines of code). Here's the tl;dr version of their findings: Refactoring doesn’t make code easier to analyze or change; it doesn't make code run faster; and it doesn't doesn’t result in lower resource utilization. But it may make code more maintainable."
Link to Original Source

+ - Snowden Reportedly in Talks to Return to YS to Face Trial 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "The Globe and Mail reports that Edward Snowden's Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena says the fugitive former US spy agency contractor who leaked details of the government’s mass surveillance programs was working with American and German lawyers to return home. “I won’t keep it secret that he wants to return back home. And we are doing everything possible now to solve this issue. There is a group of U.S. lawyers, there is also a group of German lawyers and I’m dealing with it on the Russian side.” Kucherena added that Snowden is ready to return to the States, but on the condition that he is given a guarantee of a legal and impartial trial. The lawyer said Snowden had so far only received a guarantee from the US Attorney General that he will not face the death penalty. Kucherena says that Snowden is able to travel outside Russia since he has a three-year Russian residency permit, but "I suspect that as soon as he leaves Russia, he will be taken to the US embassy.""
Privacy

Supreme Court Gives Tacit Approval To Warrantless DNA Collection 127

Posted by timothy
from the welcome-to-gattica dept.
An anonymous reader writes On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a case involving the conviction of a man based solely on the analysis of his "inadvertently shed" DNA. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) argues that this tacit approval of the government's practice of collecting anyone's DNA anywhere without a warrant will lead to a future in which people's DNA are "entered into and checked against DNA databases and used to conduct pervasive surveillance."

+ - Why Computers Still Struggle To Tell the Time-> 1

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "It’s pretty much impossible for a computer to keep exact time, although accuracy can be improved to the extent that users are willing to spend more money on the problem, said George Neville-Neil, a software engineer who helps financial institutions and other time-sensitive organizations maintain ultra-precise measurements of time. To keep internal time, computers use a crystal oscillator that creates an electromagnetic signal, or a vibration that the computer uses to coordinate processor, memory, bus and motherboard operations. But computer makers often use inexpensive crystals costing only a few cents each, which can compromise accuracy. 'If you buy server-class hardware, you will get cheap crystal, and time will wander if you don’t do something about it,' Neville-Neil said."
Link to Original Source

+ - Whiteboard subsitutes for distributed teams?

Submitted by DoofusOfDeath
DoofusOfDeath (636671) writes "I work on a fully distributed software development team with 5-10 people. Normally it's great, but when we're doing heavy design work, we really need to all be standing in front of a whiteboard together. This is expensive and time consuming, because it involves airplanes and hotels. Conference calls, editing shared Google docs, etc. just don't seem to be the same. Have people found any good tools or practices to replace standing in front of a real whiteboard?"

+ - Ask Slashdot: Old PC file transfer problem 4

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I have an old Compaq Contura Aero laptop from the nineties (20 Mhz, 12 Mb RAM, Windows 3.11, 16-bit, PCMCIA, COM, LPT, floppy) with 160 Mb drive that I would want to copy in full to a newer machine. The floppies are so unreliable — between Aero's PCMCIA floppy drive and USB floppy disk drive — that it is a total nightmare to try and do it; it just doesn't work. If that option is excluded, what else can I do? I have another old laptop with Windows XP (32-bit, PCMCIA, COM, LPT) that could be used; all other machines are too new and lack ports. Will be grateful for any ideas."

+ - New Icons of Windows 10 Do Not Please Users Aesthetically-> 2

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "A lot of people got nauseous about the flat looks of Modern UI presented in Windows 8. Recent builds of Windows 10 Technical Preview have now started replacing the shell icons, and to some people they are just too much to bear. Basically, Microsoft opted to change the icons in search of a fresh and modern look, but there are plenty of people out there who claim that all these new icons are actually very ugly and the company would better stick to the previous design. To find out what people think about these icons, Softpedia asked its readers to tell their opinion and the messages received in the last couple of days pretty much speak for themselves. There are only few testers who think that these icons look good, but the majority wants Microsoft to change them before the final version of the operating system comes out."
Link to Original Source

+ - The Believers: Behind the rise of neural nets->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Deep learning is dominating the news these days, but it's quite possible the field could have died if not for a mysterious call that Geoff Hinton, now at Google, got one night in the 1980s: "You don’t know me, but I know you," the mystery man said. "I work for the System Development Corporation. We want to fund long-range speculative research. We’re particularly interested in research that either won’t work or, if it does work, won’t work for a long time. And I’ve been reading some of your papers."

The Chronicle of Higher Ed has a short, readable profile of the minds behind neural nets, from Rosenblatt to Hassabis, told primarily through Hinton's career."

Link to Original Source

+ - Ceres' Mystery Bright Dots May Have Volcanic Origin->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "As NASA’s Dawn mission slowly spirals in on its dwarf planet target, Ceres’ alien landscape is becoming sharper by the day. And, at a distance of only 29,000 miles (46,000 kilometers), the robotic spacecraft has revealed multiple bright patches on the surface, but one of the brightest spots has revealed a dimmer bright patch right next door. “Ceres’ bright spot can now be seen to have a companion of lesser brightness, but apparently in the same basin,” said Chris Russell, of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and principal investigator for the Dawn mission. “This may be pointing to a volcano-like origin of the spots, but we will have to wait for better resolution before we can make such geologic interpretations.”"
Link to Original Source

+ - Developers Disclose Schematics for 50-1000 MHz Software-Defined Transceiver->

Submitted by Bruce Perens
Bruce Perens (3872) writes "Chris Testa KD2BMH and I have been working for years on a software-defined transceiver that would be FCC-legal and could communicate using essentially any mode and protocol up to 1 MHz wide on frequencies between 50 and 1000 MHz. It's been discussed here before, most recently when Chris taught gate-array programming in Python. We are about to submit the third generation of the design for PCB fabrication, and hope that this version will be salable as a "developer board" and later as a packaged walkie-talkie, mobile, and base station. This radio is unique in that it uses your smartphone for the GUI, uses apps to provide communication modes, contains an on-board FLASH-based gate-array and a ucLinux system. We intend to go for FSF "Respects Your Freedom" certification for the device. My slide show contains 20 pages of schematics and is full of ham jargon ("HT" means "handi-talkie", an old Motorola product name and the hams word for "walkie talkie") but many non-hams should be able to parse it with some help from search engines. Bruce Perens K6BP"
Link to Original Source

+ - The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder to Adopt->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Distributed rooftop solar is a threat not only to fossil fuel power generation, but also to the profits of monopolistic model of utilities. While the overall amount of electrical capacity represented by distributed solar power remains miniscule for now, it's quickly becoming one of leading sources of new energy deployment. As adoption grows, fossil fuel interests and utilities are succeeding in pushing anti-net metering legislation, which places surcharges on customers who deploy rooftop solar power and sell unused power back to their utility through the power grid. Other state legislation is aimed at reducing tax credits for households or businesses installing solar or allows utilities to buy back unused power at a reduced rate, while reselling it at the full retail price."
Link to Original Source

"Well, if you can't believe what you read in a comic book, what *can* you believe?!" -- Bullwinkle J. Moose

Working...