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Science

+ - Alan Alda Challenges Scientists to Explain: What Is Time?->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "What is time? And how would you explain it to an 11-year-old? That's the question actor Alan Alda has posed to scientists in the second Flame Challenge—so named because the question in last year's competition was, "What is a flame?" The challenge aims to spur scientists to think about how they can better communicate with the public. Scientists have until 1 March to submit their answers, which will be judged by 11-year-olds around the world. Organizers will announce the winner at the World Science Festival in New York City on 1 June."
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Math

First Self-Replicating Creature Spawned In Conway's Game of Life 241

Posted by Soulskill
from the emergent-gameplay dept.
Calopteryx writes "New Scientist has a story on a self-replicating entity which inhabits the mathematical universe known as the Game of Life. 'Dubbed Gemini, [Andrew Wade's] creature is made of two sets of identical structures, which sit at either end of the instruction tape. Each is a fraction of the size of the tape's length but, made up of two constructor arms and one "destructor," play a key role. Gemini's initial state contains three of these structures, plus a fourth that is incomplete. As the simulation progresses the incomplete structure begins to grow, while the structure at the start of the tape is demolished. The original Gemini continues to disassemble as the new one emerges, until after nearly 34 million generations, new life is born.'"
Education

3rd Grader Accused of Hacking Schools' Computer System 344

Posted by samzenpus
from the give-that-kid-a-gold-star dept.
Gud writes "According to The Washington Post a 9-year-old was able to hack into his county's school computer network and change such things as passwords, course work, and enrollment info. From the article: 'Police say a 9-year-old McLean boy hacked into the Blackboard Learning System used by the county school system to change teachers' and staff members' passwords, change or delete course content, and change course enrollment. One of the victims was Fairfax Superintendent Jack D. Dale, according to an affidavit filed by a Fairfax detective in Fairfax Circuit Court this week. But police and school officials decided no harm, no foul. The boy did not intend to do any serious damage, and didn't, so the police withdrew and are allowing the school district to handle the half-grown hacker.'"
Programming

Simpler "Hello World" Demonstrated In C 582

Posted by kdawson
from the non-obfuscated dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wondering where all that bloat comes from, causing even the classic 'Hello world' to weigh in at 11 KB? An MIT programmer decided to make a Linux C program so simple, she could explain every byte of the assembly. She found that gcc was including libc even when you don't ask for it. The blog shows how to compile a much simpler 'Hello world,' using no libraries at all. This takes me back to the days of programming bare-metal on DOS!"
Government

Bill To Ban All Salt In Restaurant Cooking 794

Posted by timothy
from the too-stupid-to-live-as-long-as-possible dept.
lord_rotorooter writes "Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, introduced a bill that would ruin restaurant food and baked goods as we know them. The measure (if passed) would ban the use of all forms of salt in the preparation and cooking of food for all restaurants or bakeries. While the use of too much salt can contribute to health problems, the complete banning of salt would have negative impacts on food chemistry. Not only does salt enhance flavor, it controls bacteria, slows yeast activity and strengthens dough by tightening gluten. Salt also inhibits the growth of microbes that spoil cheese."
Image

The 10 Most Absurd Scientific Papers 127

Posted by samzenpus
from the burning-potential-of-fire dept.
Lanxon writes "It's true: 'Effects of cocaine on honeybee dance behavior,' 'Fellatio by fruit bats prolongs copulation time,' and 'Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull?' are all genuine scientific research papers, and all were genuinely published in journals or similar publications. Wired's presentation of a collection of the most bizarrely-named research papers contains seven other gems, including one about naval fluff and another published in The Journal of Sex Research."
Piracy

Ubisoft's Authentication Servers Go Down 634

Posted by kdawson
from the single-point-of-well-you-know dept.
ZuchinniOne writes "With Ubisoft's fantastically awful new DRM you must be online and logged in to their servers to play the games you buy. Not only was this DRM broken the very first day it was released, but now their authentication servers have failed so absolutely that no-one who legally bought their games can play them. 'At around 8am GMT, people began to complain in the Assassin's Creed 2 forum that they couldn't access the Ubisoft servers and were unable to play their games.' One can only hope that this utter failure will help to stem the tide of bad DRM."
Earth

Breaking the Squid Barrier 126

Posted by timothy
from the calimari-for-the-5000 dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Dr. Steve O'Shea of Auckland, New Zealand is attempting to break the record for keeping deep sea squid alive in captivity, with the goal of being able to raise a giant squid one day. Right now, he's raising the broad squid, sepioteuthis australis, from egg masses found in seaweed. This is a lot harder than it sounds, because the squid he's studying grow rapidly and eat only live prey, making it hard for them to keep the squid from becoming prey themselves. If his research works out, you might one day be able to visit an aquarium and see giant squid."
Windows

+ - The hidden treasures of Sysinternals-> 1

Submitted by Barence
Barence (1228440) writes "PC Pro contributing editor Jon Honeyball has written a nice feature on the latest treasures to be found on the Windows Sysinternals website. Among them are a tool for creating virtual hard disks from physical drives, a hard disk read-write monitoring tool, and a utility for putting ISO images onto flash drives. They're free, but they're effective."
Link to Original Source
Earth

+ - Scientists Postulate Extinct Hominid with 150 IQ 6

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens
Hugh Pickens writes "Neuroscientists Gary Lynch and Richard Granger have an interesting article in Discover Magazine about the Boskops, an extinct hominid that had big eyes, child-like faces, and forebrains roughly 50% larger than modern man indicating they may have had an average intelligence of around 150, making them geniuses among Homo sapiens. The combination of a large cranium and immature face would look decidedly unusual to modern eyes, but not entirely unfamiliar. Such faces peer out from the covers of countless science fiction books and are often attached to “alien abductors” in movies. "Back there in the past, ten thousand years ago. The man of the future, with the big brain, the small teeth. He lived in Africa," wrote naturalist Loren Eiseley. "His brain was bigger than your brain” The history of evolutionary studies has been dogged by the almost irresistible idea that evolution leads to greater complexity, to animals that are more advanced than their predecessor, yet the existence of the Boskops argues otherwise — that humans with big brains, and perhaps great intelligence, occupied a substantial piece of southern Africa in the not very distant past, and that they eventually gave way to smaller-brained, possibly less advanced Homo sapiens—that is, ourselves. "With 30 percent larger brains than ours now, we can readily calculate that a population with a mean brain size of 1,750 cc would be expected to have an average IQ of 149," write Lynch and Granger. But why did they go extinct? "Maybe all that thoughtfulness was of no particular survival value in 10,000 BC. Lacking the external hard drive of a literate society, the Boskops were unable to exploit the vast potential locked up in their expanded cortex," write Lynch and Granger. "They were born just a few millennia too soon.""
NASA

+ - SPAM: NASA WISE telescope pops cover, starts taking pics

Submitted by coondoggie
coondoggie (973519) writes "NASA today said its Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer spacecraft successfully popped the cover off its infrared telescope and began “celestial treasure hunt” mission of sending back what will be millions of images of space. The WISE lens cap served as a safety system keeping the ultra-sensitive lens and telescope system safe until the spacecraft positioned itself correctly in orbit. The cap also served as the top to a Thermos-like bottle that chilled the instrument. WISE’s infrared telescope and detectors are kept chilled inside a Thermos-like tank of solid hydrogen, called a cryostat.
[spam URL stripped]"

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It's funny.  Laugh.

What If They Turned Off the Internet? 511

Posted by timothy
from the very-funny-now-where-is-slashdot dept.
theodp writes "It's the not-too-distant future. They've turned off the Internet. After the riots have settled down and the withdrawal symptoms have faded, how would you cope? Cracked.com asked readers to Photoshop what life would be like in an Internet-addicted society learning to cope without it. Better hope it never happens, or be prepared for dry-erase message boards, carrier pigeon-powered Twitter, block-long lines to get into adult video shops, door-to-door Rickrolling, Lolcats on Broadway, and $199.99 CDs."
Media

How the Pirate Bay Will Be Legalized 265

Posted by Soulskill
from the by-nobody-going-there-anymore dept.
Death Metal sends along this excerpt from Torrentfreak about how Global Gaming Factory, the company who is buying The Pirate Bay, plans to change the site in order to avoid the wrath of the entertainment industry: "In a letter addressed to [shareholders], the company confirms that the new Pirate Bay will become a pay site, while revealing some additional details on how GGF plans to legalize it. To please the entertainment industry, GGF will install a system that will allow the copyright holders to either authorize the 'illegal' torrent or have it removed from the site. If the copyright holder chooses the first option, they will be compensated every time the file is downloaded. In addition, the board says that it will pay penalties if it has to. 'The holder will be able to leave the file and obtain compensation or ask for removal of the file. GGF will also pay any penalties that may arise,' the GGF board announced."

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