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How Would an Astronaut Falling Into a Black Hole Die? 412

ananyo writes "According to the accepted account, an astronaut falling into a black hole would be ripped apart, and his remnants crushed as they plunged into the black hole's infinitely dense core. Calculations by Joseph Polchinski, a string theorist at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California, though, point to a different end: quantum effects turn the event horizon into a seething maelstrom of particles and anyone who fell in would hit a wall of fire and be burned to a crisp in an instant. There's one problem with the firewall theory. If Polchinski is right, then either general relativity or quantum mechanics is wrong and his work has triggered a mini-crisis in theoretical physics."
The Almighty Buck

Steve Jobs' Yacht Impounded In Amsterdam 221

SchrodingerZ writes "The Venus, Steve Jobs' custom-made mega yacht, (valued at 137.5 million dollars), has been impounded in Amsterdam. Philippe Starck, the boat's main designer, had The Venus impounded by debt collectors, after supposedly Starck and his company, Ubik, were paid only 6 million of the 9-million-euro commission. Roelant Klaassen, a lawyer for Ubik, released in a statement that 'These guys [Jobs and Starck] trusted each other, so there wasn't a very detailed contract.' 'The Venus is a floating ode to both Jobs and Starck's minimalist aesthetic. Made entirely out of aluminum, with 40-foot-long floor-to-ceiling windows lining the passenger compartment and seven 27-inch iMacs making up the command center.' The ship was unofficially unveiled in late October, a year after Jobs' death. It now sits dormant in the Port of Amsterdam, until the payment dispute is resolved."
The Internet

How To Hug a Chicken Via the Internet 96

the_newsbeagle writes "Adrian Cheok, a professor of electrical engineering in Japan, wants to invent a "multisensory Internet" that will transmit not just information, but also experiences. To usher in this new age, he started by building a haptic system that enabled him to send a hug to a chicken via the Internet. Next came the 'huggy pajama' project, which allowed distant parents to send their kid a goodnight squeeze. Lately he's begun working on sending a taste over the internet with his 'digital lollypop' project."

The Day Leo Traynor Confronted His Troll 594

McGruber writes "Dublin-based writer Leo Traynor has written a piece about confronting the troll who drove him off Twitter, hacked his Facebook, and abused and terrified his family. Quoting: 'I blocked the account and reported it as spam. The following week it happened again in an identical manner. A new follower, I followed back, received a string of abusive DMs, blocked and reported for spam. Two or three times a week. Sometimes two or three times a day. An almost daily cycle of blocking and reporting and intense verbal abuse. ... Then one day something happened that truly frightened me. I don't scare easily but this was vile. I received a parcel at my home address. Nothing unusual there – I get lots of post. I ripped it open and there was a Tupperware lunchbox inside full of ashes. There was a note included, saying, "Say hello to your relatives from Auschwitz." I was physically sick. ... In July I was approached by a friend who's basically an IT genius, and he offered some help. He said that he could trace the hackers and trolls for me using perfectly legal technology, which would lead to their IP addresses. I said yes. Then I baited them – I was deliberately more provocative toward them than ever I'd been before.'"

Ask Slashdot: What Would Your 'I've Got To Disappear' Plan Look Like? 789

New submitter diacritica writes "This Ask Slashdot is inspired by manhunts à-la-Bourne movies, but taking a more realistic approach to the world we live in. You are native to and live in a big city (> 1M pop) in a G8 country of your choosing. At T = 0h, you accidentally witness a strange event. At T = 1h, you realize you're being followed and you get the feeling that the police/government might be involved. Contextual data: you are able to speak one language apart from good English. You are 25 to 45 years old. You are computer savvy. You are engaged/married, you have family living in the same city. 99% of your money is in a bank account. You prefer to go 'rationally' paranoid. What would you do in order to feel safe after those first 24 hours? Remember, you didn't commit a crime, but there are plenty of real-world resources invested in catching you."

Robot Hand Beats You At Rock, Paper, Scissors 100% of the Time 225

wasimkadak writes "This robot hand will play a game of rock, paper, scissors with you. Sounds like fun, right? Not so much, because this particular robot wins every. Single. Time. It only takes a single millisecond for the robot to recognize what shape your hand is in, and just a few more for it to make the shape that beats you, but it all happens so fast that it's more or less impossible to tell that the robot is waiting until you commit yourself before it makes its move, allowing it to win 100% of the time."

George "geohot" Hotz Arrested In Texas For Posession of Marijuana 578

n1ywb writes "Goerge 'geohot' Hotz, famous for being the first to jailbreak an iPhone and for his spat with Sony over PS3 jailbreaking, was busted for possession of a small amount of marijuana at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Texas on his way to SXSW. The shakedown goes like this: drug dogs are run around vehicles; when they signal, DHS searches the car and finds the contraband; DHS then turns evidence and suspects over to the local sheriff. Willie Nelson, actor Armie Hammer (who played the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network), and Snoop Dogg have all gotten in trouble at the same checkpoint under similar circumstances."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Ask Slashdot: What To Do When the Rapture Comes? 673

Okian Warrior writes "Since the rapture is tomorrow (May 21) at 6:00 pm local time (everywhere), I was just wondering: what plans does everyone have? I've got no specific plans for what to do. What will you be doing around 6:00 pm tomorrow?" If you're on the IT staff, you might want to consult this checklist of things to do or not do in the interim.

Newt Gingrich's Amazon Book Reviews 275

lee1 writes "Newt Gingrich has written 156 book reviews on Amazon, at one point becoming ranked in the site's top 500 list. Most of the books are cheesy political thrillers, but the newly announced presidential candidate is also trying to learn about quantum physics, and shows good taste, 'strongly recommending' Richard Feynman's QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter." Gingrich is an early joiner; I'd like to see the books on the shelves of the other likely presidential candidates, too.

10/10/10 — a Nice Day To Celebrate the Meaning of Life 296

st2000 writes "My wife noted that tomorrow's date is 10/10/10. This was probably some time after Illinois whomped Penn State's butt. I pondered that for a moment, noting that 101010 was a valid binary number. Then it dawned on me that 101010base2 was 42base10. Verifying that this truly was the answer given after typing 'meaning of life' into Wolfram's web site, I thought I was onto something." You may say he's a dreamer, but he's not the only one.
Star Wars Prequels

How To Make Authentic Lightsabers 128

IQpierce writes "My good friend Bradley W. Lewis has set up a site for his hobby: building replica lightsabers at home. These aren't your average cheap pieces of plastic, in fact they're more authentic than the Master Replica sabers: Brad tracks down the pieces of equipment actually used to build the original props — or, when they're unavailable, very close replicas, that he further customizes with a metal lathe in his garage — and puts them together with loving attention. My favorite part is the embellishments he does add, on the inside of the saber — his replica of Luke's saber from ANH can be opened to see authentic-looking internals such as a glowing crystal (as well as another surprise — an autograph from Luke himself, Mark Hamill). Each project is documented step-by-step with hundreds of photos — whether you're a hobbyist, or just a big Star Wars geek like me, you'll find it interesting."

Google PAC-MAN Cost 4.8M Person-Hours 332

The folks at Rescue-Time, who make software that helps you (and companies) figure out how you spend your online time, did a modest calculation based on their user base and concluded that Google's playable PAC-MAN doodle cost the world over 4.8 million person-hours of productivity last Friday. "Google PAC-MAN consumed 4,819,352 hours of time (beyond the 33.6M daily man hours of attention that Google Search gets in a given day). $120,483,800 is the dollar tally, if the average Google user has a cost of $25/hr. (note that cost is 1.3 – 2.0 X pay rate). For that same cost, you could hire all 19,835 Google employees, from Larry and Sergey down to their janitors, and get six weeks of their time." Also, Google made the doodle permanent.
Social Networks

Food Bloggers Giving Restaurant Owners Heartburn 311

crimeandpunishment writes "Call it the invasion of the pasta paparazzi. Food bloggers are so excited about sharing their experiences, especially at trendy, popular restaurants, that they're too busy taking pictures and video to enjoy the food when it's at its best. Many signature dishes come out at the perfect temperature ... take a few minutes to capture what it looks like, and your palate won't be nearly as pleased. Some restaurants have taken the step of banning cameras, or at least have established a 'no flash' rule. Others just want to make sure enthusiastic reviewers are still enthused after eating their food."

iPhone App Helps To Cure Vertigo 57

vleky writes "This is thinking outside the box ... or head. Dr. Matthew Bromwich of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario has written an iPhone app to help doctors with the Epley maneuver to cure some forms of vertigo. The patient places the iPhone against his or her forehead and the app leads the doctor through the maneuver. Bromwich's first attempt at the app sounded even more fun. With that version, the iPhone hung from the front of a baseball cap the patient wore, and the patient tried to keep a ball centered in a twisting tube by moving their head. Winning the game meant the maneuver had been successfully completed and the vertigo cured."

Microsoft Quickly Revises "Sexting" Ad For Kin Phone 298

theodp writes "Microsoft's Kin mobile phone project came under fire as Consumer Reports and others pointed out that a promotional video looked like an inappropriate endorsement of 'sexting,' prompting a quick edit and an apologetic tweet. 'The video,' observed Consumer Reports, 'includes a downright creepy sequence [beginning around 0:33] in which a young man is shown putting a Kin under his shirt and apparently snapping a picture of one of his naked breasts. The breast is then shown on the phone's screen, just before the guy apparently sends it to someone. Next we see the face of a young woman, seemingly the recipient, with an amused expression...'"

Take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously; and do not take what happens either to yourself or your work seriously. -- Booth Tarkington