Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google

Submission + - Island on Google Maps does NOT exist (theage.com.au)

Thorfinn.au writes: An island marked on Google Maps and weather charts does not exist there is only deep ocean there.
Most explorers dream of discovering uncharted territory, but a team of Australian scientists have done the exact opposite.
They have found an island that doesn't exist.

        Even onboard the ship, the weather maps the captain had showed an island in this location.
        Dr Maria Seton, University of Sydney

The island, named Sandy Island on Google Earth, also exists on marine charts and world maps and allegedly sits between Australia and New Caledonia in the south Pacific.

The story is big news and appearing on other news sites
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20442487

Google

Submission + - 17th century microscope book is now freely readable (downloadtheuniverse.com) 2

menno_h writes: In January 1665, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary that he stayed up till two in the morning reading a best-selling page-turner, a work that he called "the most ingenious book I read in my life." It was not a rousing history of English battles or a proto-bodice ripper. It was filled with images: of fleas, of bark, of the edges of razors.

The book was called Micrographia. It provided the reading public with its first look at the world beyond the naked eye. Its author, Robert Hooke, belonged to a brilliant circle of natural philosophers who--among many other things--were the first in England to make serious use of microscopes as scientific instruments. They were great believers in looking at the natural world for themselves rather than relying on what ancient Greek scholars had claimed. Looking under a microscope at the thousands of facets on an insect's compound eye, they saw things at the nanoscale that Aristotle could not have dreamed of. A razor's edge became a mountain range. In the chambers of a piece of bark, Hooke saw the first evidence of cells.
Micrographia is is available on Google Books now.

Science

Submission + - Fish scales could improve LED lights (tgdaily.com)

menno_h writes: Silvery fish such as sardines and herring don't polarize light in the way that most relective surfaces do, possibly to help them avoid predators.
Previously, it was thought that the fish's skin – which contains multilayer arrangements of reflective guanine crystals – would fully polarize light, and therefore become less reflective.
But University of Bristol researchers have found (paywalled) that the skin of these fish contain not one but two types of guanine crystal – each with different optical properties. By mixing these two types, the fish's skin doesn't polarize the reflected light and maintains its high reflectivity.
"Many modern day optical devices such as LED lights and low loss optical fibres use these non-polarizing types of reflectors to improve efficiency. However, these man-made reflectors currently require the use of materials with specific optical properties that are not always ideal," says PhD stident Tom Jordan.
The fish can help.

Math

Submission + - Life Programmed In Life (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: Every programmer likes a good self reference, a recursion, a bootstrap — but this one is mind-boggling. We have an implementation of Conway's game of life in Conway's game of life. Or put more simply Life in Life.
It has long been known that Conway's life is Turing complete, that is you can use it to compute anything that a Turing machine can compute, but doing it is another matter. Now we have an video that really brings the idea home. Some years ago, around 2006, Brice Due created a metapixel — a unit cell that can be customized to behave like any cell in a Life like cellular automata. The metapixel uses 2048x2048 “real” Life cells and takes 35,328 generations to change state and it really is aware of the state of each of its neighbours. This makes it possible to create an implementation of Life in Life. But your mind has not been completely blown until you see the video of the smooth zoom, reminisent of the famous “powers of ten” video. It starts down at the single cell level and zooms out all the way until you can see Life being run by the metapixels. Life’s simple rules give rise to complex behaviours which are used to implement simple rules — the circle has closed.

Education

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Best Book Or Game To Introduce Kids To Programming? 1

connorblack writes: My very gifted nephew is about to turn 9 this month and I would love to get him some sort of fun, engaging book or game to introduce him to the basic concepts of programming. I have a feeling if approached correctly he would absolutely devour the subject (he is already working through mathematics at an 8th grade level). What I first was looking at were the Lego Mindstorm programmable robots- which would have been perfect, if only they weren't around 300 dollars... So if there's anything similar (or completely new!) you've either heard praise about or used yourself with your kids, it would be great to get a recommendation. Also if possible I would want to stick to an under 100 dollar budget.

Submission + - Harvard's Robobee learning to fly (gizmag.com)

DeTech writes: Harvard researchers are getting closer to their goal of developing a controllable micro air vehicle called the Robobee. The tiny robot was already capable of taking off under its own power, but until now it was completely out of control. By adding two control actuators beneath its wings, the robot can be programmed to pitch and roll.
Science

Submission + - 520 Million Year Old Bug-Like Creature May Have Had the First Modern Brain (medicaldaily.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Scientists say that the recently discovered 520 million year old insect brain, the oldest brain ever discovered in an arthropod, is surprisingly complex for its age, and may be the earliest example on record of a modern brain structure.

Hailed as a “transformative discovery,” researchers said that the 3-inch-long fossilized extinct arthropod found in Yunnan Province, China, shows that insects evolved to have complex brains significantly earlier than previously thought.

Researchers said that the fossilized brain, which looks very similar to brains of modern insects, may provide a missing link that offers new insight on the evolutionary history of arthropods, a group of invertebrates that includes insects, spiders and crustaceans.

Supercomputing

Submission + - A Supercomputer For Everyone? (kickstarter.com) 1

leptonhead writes: The people of the internet have successfully funded a number of high-risk high-return projects though Kickstarter. A recent trend is the funding of cheap electronics platforms such as the TinyDuino, a microsocopic Arduino compatible embedded platform. In the spirit of bringing traditionally very expensive hardware to the masses, Parallella is a project which aims to deliver a 64-core credit-card size "supercomputer" for 199USD. Funding options also include a $99 16-core computer based on the previous editions of the platform. The project has reached about 25% of its minimum funding target during its first week, and has about three weeks to go.
Science

Submission + - French Company Hopes to Disrupt Sanitation with Worm-Powered Toilet

derekmead writes: Billions worldwide still don't have access to proper sanitation, and those of that do still require a ton of water and electricity to keep waste flowing. A French company is offering one solution: Use turd-eating worms to compost waste right at the source.

Ecosphere Technologies has developed an outhouse that, rather than relying on chemicals like a port-a-john, relies on about a pound of red wiggler worms. A new installation in Quebec uses imported worms, placed inside of a mixture of dung and straw underneath to toilet, to devour feces delivered to them by a conveyor belt system. (When someone uses the toilet, pee filters through sand to wash away, while a pedal allows the user to transport their poo to the worm space.)

The whole system uses no water or electricity, and a series of passive vents allegedly keeps the toilet smelling great. The company claims it can be used 10,000 times without servicing, which is far better than what a port-a-potty can boast, although with a current price tag of $40k for the worm system, port-a-potties are still a lot cheaper.
Data Storage

Submission + - Most SSDs now under a dollar per gigabyte (techreport.com)

crookedvulture writes: "SSD prices continue plummeting. In just the past quarter, street prices have fallen by double-digit percentages for most models, with some slashed by 30% or more. We've reached the point where the majority of drives cost less than a dollar per gigabyte, and that's without the special coupon codes and mail-in rebates usually attached to weekly deals. Lower-capacity drives seem more resistant to deep price cuts, making 120-256GB offerings the best values right now. It's nice to see a new class of devices go from prohibitively expensive to eminently affordable in such a relatively short amount of time."
Biotech

Submission + - Lab-made eggs produce healthy mice (nature.com)

ananyo writes: "Japanese researchers have coaxed mouse stem cells into becoming viable eggs that produce healthy offspring. Last year, the same team successfully used mouse stem cells to make functional sperm (other groups have produced sperm cells in vitro).
The researchers used a cocktail of growth factors to transform stem cells into egg precursors. When they added these egg precursor cells to embryonic ovary tissue that did not contain sex cells, the mixture spontaneously formed ovary-like structures, which they then grafted onto natural ovaries in female mice. After four weeks, the stem-cell-derived cells had matured into oocytes. The team removed the oocytes from the ovaries, fertilized them and transplanted the embryos into foster mothers. The offspring that were produced grew up to be fertile themselves."

HP

Submission + - HP plans to cut product lines; turnaround in 2016 (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman told financial analysts today that it will take until 2016 to turn the company around. Surprisingly, Whitman put some of the blame for the company's woes on its IT systems, which she said have hurt its internal operations. To fix its IT problems, Whitman said the company is adopting Salesforce and HR system, Workday. The company also plans to cut product lines. It said it makes 2,100 different laser printers alone; it wants to reduce that by half. "In every business were going to benefit from focusing on a smaller number of offerings that we can invest in and really make matter," said Whitman.
Government

Submission + - Security flaws exposed at Washington, D.C. airports (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) earlier this year published a document to its website containing sensitive security information that terrorists could potentially have used to launch cyber and physical attacks against Reagan National and Dulles International airports in Washington, D.C.

The document is a Statement of Work (SOW) published as part of a process to solicit contractors for electronic security maintenance, repair, modification, and installation services at the airports. Since being contacted for this article, the MWAA has removed information from the document that it deemed sensitive.

Shortly after reviewing the document, a senior military cybersecurity specialist and former Red Team leader reported it to the TSA. Despite his concerns and rank, the TSA responded two weeks later and claimed the document did not pose a threat.

Responding to later requests for comment from Network World, a TSA spokesman placed responsibility on the MWAA, adding that "airports are responsible for airport security."

However, given that the TSA denied three opportunities to alert the MWAA and instead asked civilians to report the vulnerabilities, the military specialist believes the American public would hold the TSA responsible.

Submission + - Ideas for an "anachronistic tools" course 1

Boawk writes: Off and on I've thought about offering a small, workshop-style course on how to use anachronistic tools. The types of tools that immediately come to mind are abacus, slide rule, astrolabe, and sextant. It would be nice to have several of each of these which could be used by students. The course could also include discussions of ancient sites with astronomical significance, such as Stonehenge. What other anachronistic tools, sites, etc. are there that could provide fodder for such a course?
Transportation

Submission + - To Encourage Biking, Lose the Helmets 2

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Elisabeth Rosenthal writes that in the United States the notion that bike helmets promote health and safety by preventing head injuries is taken as pretty near God’s truth but many European health experts have taken a very different view. "Yes, there are studies that show that if you fall off a bicycle at a certain speed and hit your head, a helmet can reduce your risk of serious head injury," writes Rosenthal. "But such falls off bikes are rare — exceedingly so in mature urban cycling systems." On the other hand, many researchers say, if you force people to wear helmets, you discourage them from riding bicycles causing more health problems like obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Bicycling advocates say that the problem with pushing helmets isn’t practicality but that helmets make a basically safe activity seem really dangerous. which makes it harder to develop a safe bicycling network like the one in New York City, where a bike-sharing program is to open next year. The safest biking cities are places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where middle-aged commuters are mainstay riders and the fraction of adults in helmets is minuscule. “Pushing helmets really kills cycling and bike-sharing in particular because it promotes a sense of danger that just isn’t justified — in fact, cycling has many health benefits,” says Piet de Jong. “Statistically, if we wear helmets for cycling, maybe we should wear helmets when we climb ladders or get into a bath, because there are lots more injuries during those activities.”"

Slashdot Top Deals

A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost.

Working...