Petey_Alchemist writes "Silicon Valley gossip rag Valleywag is carrying a story about Second Life being a new spin on the old pyramid scheme. The article, which consists mostly of selections from the report of financial consultant Randolph Harrison, suggests that not only are most people deceived about the amount of money they can make in Second Life, but also about how easily they can withdraw it. It says 'Like the paid promotion infomercials that run on CNBC, sadly SecondLife is a giant magnet for the desperate, uninformed, easily victimized. Its promises of wealth readily ensnare those who can least afford to lose their money or lives to such scam in exactly the same way that real estate investor seminars convince divorcees with low FICO scores to buy houses sight unseen with no money down.'"
eldavojohn writes "It's being widely reported that Harrison Ford turned down a £20 million deal to play Han Solo once again in a George Lucas spin off of Star Wars. The source of this information seems to be a tabloid called bangshowbiz. Harrison was approached by Lucas with two roles but instead opted for the same amount to play Indiana Jones for the fourth time. Could the spin off centered on the rugged Han Solo save the Star Wars franchise from its prequels or would it have been another mediocre release disappointing demanding fans?"
TheFarmerInTheDell writes that AT&T is offering concessions to make their merger with SBC happen as fast as possible. From the article: "AT&T filed a letter of commitment with the [Federal Communications Commission] Thursday night that adds a number of new conditions to the deal, including a promise to observe 'network neutrality' principles, an offer of affordable stand-alone digital subscriber line service and divestment of some wireless spectrum."
An anonymous reader writes "Daniel Laughlin, Project Manager for NASA's Learning Technologies Office spoke at the International Space Flight Museum in SecondLife and said that they are using the Unreal 3 Engine to create a synthetic world for training. The mission? The moon by 2020, and Mars by 2035. He said, 'We are combining the efforts of a commercial game developer, two universities and two NASA mission directorates into the project. If we can't check off all three boxes at the end, then we'll have done a poor job.'"
Grooves writes "According to tests performed by Ars Technica, Windows Vista will need some coddling on old hardware. As a follow-up to their performance review of Vista Beta 2, Ars tested the latest public builds of Vista on hardware spanning from 2001 to a Thinkpad purchased a few months ago. The results show that Vista is extremely RAM hungry, graphical power is less of an issue unless you want eye candy, and hard drive I/O is critical. Also, their experience with 'in-place upgrades' was abysmal, and mirrored my own experiences."
Jearil writes "Wired's 'Table of Malcontents' blog links to an article about a wine-tasting robot that thinks humans taste like bacon. The Japanese robot is intended to act as a personal sommelier, suggesting wines, cheeses, and hors d'oeuvres based on its owners personal tastes. It also apparently thinks humans would be tasty as part of a sandwich." From the article: "Let the robot holocaust commence: robots think we taste like bacon ... Upon being given a sample, he will speak up in a childlike voice and identify what he has just been fed. The idea is that wineries can tell if a wine is authentic without even opening the bottle, amongst other more obscure uses ... like 'tell me what this strange grayish lump at the back of my freezer is/was.' But when some smart aleck reporter placed his hand in the robot's omnivorous clanking jaw, he was identified as bacon. A cameraman then tried and was identified as prosciutto." This is most distressing.
amicold asks: "For a while now my neighborhood has had to deal with an elderly neighbor who has displayed a slightly paranoid attitude towards myself and the fellow younger-adults of the neighborhood, believing us to be attempting to harass him in our day-to-day activities. Recently, he installed a Mosquito ultrasonic noise device as an apparent attempt to 'get back at us' for our harassment. As the Mosquito emits a sound that's well out of his hearing range, he can't hear it, while most of the rest of the neighborhood is under 40 and can; at which point it's causing everyone a great deal of discomfort. Unfortunately, because the police also can't hear it, we can't get the authorities to do anything about it, leaving us empty-handed in our attempts at getting some peace and quiet back. What can we do to either help the police realize how disturbing this device is, or counteract it so that it's no longer disturbing us? And is this the first of what may be a growing trend of civilians using high-tech discomfort weapons as a method of neighborhood warfare?"
sam0ht writes "NASA has just named July 1st as the launch date for the space shuttle Discovery, a year after the last shuttle mission. Last July's mission was the first since the break-up of Columbia in 2003, but after foam again broke away from the main tank, the shuttle fleet was grounded. More foam has been removed from the main tank, but NASA staff are divided over whether this is enough to ensure the flight's safety, with some reporting that both the lead engineer and top safety official are against launching again so soon. Managers want to make only one major change at a time, and plan that if damage does occur, the crew would be able to stay in the International Space Station, to which they are delivering supplies, rather than trying to land a damaged shuttle."
An anonymous reader writes "Yahoo! News is reporting that law enforcement officials have launched a new form of drone aircraft to patrol the skies above Los Angeles. From the article: 'Police say the drone, called the SkySeer, will be able to accomplish tasks too dangerous for officers and free up helicopters for other missions. "This technology could be used to find missing children, search for lost hikers, or survey a fire zone," said Commander Sid Heal, head of the Technology Exploration Project of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "The ideal outcome for us is when this technology becomes instrumental in saving lives."'"
An anonymous reader writes "Yahoo! News is reporting that two labs are currently competing to design the first new nuclear bomb in twenty years. The new bomb was approved as a part of the 2006 defense spending bill. From the article: 'Proponents of the project say the U.S. would lose its so-called "strategic deterrent" unless it replaces its aging arsenal of about 6,000 bombs, which will become potentially unreliable within 15 years. A new, more reliable weapon, they say, would help the nation reduce its stockpile.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Good news for those who like both coffee and alcohol. In a recent study of more than 125,000 people an Oakland, CA medical team found that consuming coffee seems to help protect against alcoholic cirrhosis. The study was done based on people enrolled in a private northern California health care plan between 1978 and 1985." From the article: "People drinking one cup of coffee per day were, on average, 20% less likely to develop alcoholic cirrhosis. For people drinking two or three cups the reduction was 40%, and for those drinking four or more cups of coffee a day the reduction in risk was 80%."
psycln asks: "An average PC nowadays holds enough power to run complex software programmed in an interpreted language which is handled by runtime virtual machines, or just-in-time compiled. Particular to Windows programmers, the announcement of MS-Windows Vista's system requirements means that future Windows boxes will laugh at the memory/processor requirements of current interpreted/JIT compiled languages (e.g. .NET, Java , Python, and others). Regardless of the negligible performance hit compared to native code, major software houses, as well as a lot of open-source developers, prefer native code for major projects even though interpreted languages are easier to port cross-platform, often have a shorter development time, and are just as powerful as languages that generate native code. What does the Slashdot community think of the current state of interpreted/JIT compiled languages? Is it time to jump in the boat of interpreted/JIT compiled languages? Do programmers feel that they are losing - an arguably needed low-level - control when they do interpreted languages? What would we be losing besides more gray hair?"
/.'s code is open source, so you can start your own UK-based "Slarshdart" site!