Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - Pay What You Want for the Learn to Code Bundle, includes AngularJS, Python, HTML5, Ruby, and more. ×

Submission + - Dutch PlantLab Revolutionizes Indoor Farming ( 1

kkleiner writes: "Dutch agricultural company PlantLab has created a high tech ‘plant paradise’ for growing crops. Instead of outdoors, they grow plants indoors in warehouses. Instead of sunlight they use red and blue LEDs. Water? They need just 10% of the traditional requirements. At every stage of their high tech process, PlantLab monitors thousands of details (163,830 reports per second!) with advanced sensors to create the perfect environment for each individual type of crop."

Submission + - Have OSS licenses failed to protect user's rights? 2

An anonymous reader writes: As more companies adopt OSS for their hardware products we see more cases of abusive practices such as feature lock-down (e.g. tethering) and preventing installation of custom ROMs on mobile devices. Unlocking features comes at a premium and installing a custom ROM voids your warranty. Most OSS licenses guarantee that the source code remains open, but what is the point of modifying the source if you are not given build/installation instructions or can't legitimately use it under a service provider's contract? Have companies found an exploitable loophole that defeats the freedom that the license was meant to be protecting? Or is it that the OSS licenses never meant to protect against such cases?

Submission + - NASA Opens New Office for Deep Space Missions. (

An anonymous reader writes: NASA has been tasked with landing astronauts on a space rock by 2025, and on the Red Planet by the mid 2030s. To reach those goals, the United States must develop a new heavy-lift rocket capable of traveling that far, and a capsule to bring people safely there and back again.

Submission + - Community Design Apple's New Sledgehammer (

boley1 writes: This article describes how Apple is using the EU's Community Design — Design Patent like registration, to stop competition by simply filing designs, no review of prior art required. The filer "Apple" in this case is presumed to have a valid right to restrict "Samsung" in this case from marketing a similar device. No review by a third party or government required.

Submission + - CERN physicist says Dark Matter is an illusion (

anonymousNR writes: CERN physicist has a new theory on explaining the rotational curves of galaxies. According to him

“The key message of my paper is that dark matter may not exist and that phenomena attributed to dark matter may be explained by the gravitational polarization of the quantum vacuum,” Hajdukovic told “The future experiments and observations will reveal if my results are only (surprising) numerical coincidences or an embryo of a new scientific revolution.”

Given the many theories around explaining various observations in recent times, there seems to be a breakthrough is on its way in our understanding of the cosmos.


Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Volunteering for OSS Dev 1

DrZib writes: Being an engineer, I have only had moderate professional experience in application/web programming (mostly web scripting and a little C/C++) but, to broaden my horizons and contribute, I would like to get involved in a (F)OSS group. Anyone know of a good OSS group that will take an intro-programmer like me? And how would I go about getting my foot in the door (if not just shooting an email to one of the members)? Any suggestions welcome!

Submission + - Happiest places have highest suicide rates says ne (

Kyusaku Natsume writes: carries this story of new research from UK’s University of Warwick, Hamilton College in New York and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that leads to this conclusion. Acording to one of the researchers:

“Discontented people in a happy place may feel particularly harshly treated by life. Those dark contrasts may in turn increase the risk of suicide. If humans are subject to mood swings, the lows of life may thus be most tolerable in an environment in which other humans are unhappy.”

Maybe this research explains why in third world countries the suicide rates are generally lower than in developed nations.


Submission + - A Book Section That Like a History of PCs (

harrymcc writes: "Electronics Plus is an extremely geeky store in San Rafael, California. It's been in the same location since 1970--a fact you can tell by the fact that its book department still has tomes on the Timex ZX81, the Commodore 64, memory management for the IBM PC, and other topics that were once very important."

Submission + - Fukushima "illegal information" will be censored ( 2

dgilzz writes: The [japanese] government charges that the damage caused by earthquakes and by the nuclear accident are being magnified by irresponsible rumors, and the government must take action for the sake of the public good. The project team has begun to send “letters of request” to such organizations as telephone companies, internet providers, cable television stations, and others, demanding that they “take adequate measures based on the guidelines in response to illegal information. ”The measures include erasing any information from internet sites that the authorities deem harmful to public order and morality.

Submission + - Verizon May Modify Your Router Admin Login 2

theMany writes: From an e-mail on April 24, 2011
Dear Valued Verizon Customer,
Good news! Below please find the description of changes to the Verizon Online Terms of Service (TOS) effective 4/19/11.
---------- snip -------------------------
3. Home Router Password Changes. Section 10.4 was updated to clarify that Verizon may in limited instances modify administrative passwords for home routers in order to safeguard Internet security and our network, the security and privacy of subscriber information, to comply with the law, and/or to provide, upgrade and maintain service. The administrative password for your home router is used to access the “administrative” controls for the router and to make changes to your router’s internal settings. We will use reasonable means to notify Subscribers whose home router administrative passwords are changed, which may include email notice to your Primary Email Address and/or an announcement on the My Verizon portal.
----------- snip ------------------
1. Does this policy bother others like it bothers me?
2. How may a user be held responsible for their TOS obligations when Verizon can essentially prevent them from administering access to the broadband from their side of the interface? For example, Verizon could prevent user control of the wireless access point to include management of passwords, encryption/type, SSID broadcast, MAC access table, etc.
3. What are the legal implications?
4. What are the privacy implications?
5. Ref the AcionTek routers used by Verizon: Is there a way to prevent modification of the admin password at the user site that requires Verizon to actually interact with a human there — first? (internal settings, board-level jumper, etc.)

Submission + - Google Will Save Videos After All (

don9030582 writes: After Google announced it would permanently shutter its Google Videos collection, dozens of volunteers from around the world sprung unto action in a massive attempt to make a copy of the entire site. Originally slated to go dark on April 29th, now they have eliminated any such deadline and furthermore they will be migrating the collection to YouTube. We wish Google would have planned to do that from the beginning, but ultimately this is a victory for the preservation of user-generated content on the Internet.

Submission + - AMD Challenges NVIDIA To Graphics Throw-Down (

MojoKid writes: "Over the last couple of weeks, the two most powerful graphics cards released for the PC to date made their respective debuts, the dual-Cayman GPU powered AMD Radeon HD 6990 and the dual-GF110 GPU powered NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590. With such powerful products in their line-ups, both AMD and NVIDIA have claimed the offer "the world's fastest graphics card". AMD says it's theirs. Dave Erskine, the Senior Public Relations Manager for Graphics Desktop at AMD, challenged NVIDIA directly. "So now I issue a challenge to our competitor: prove it, don't just say it. Show us the substantiation.""

Submission + - "Canadian DMCA" copyright bill dead again

An anonymous reader writes: Like some kind of B-movie horror series, the latest attempt to revise Canada's copyright law and introduce DMCA-like provisions, Bill C-32, has again died on the order table as Canada's minority goverment has fallen after a non-confidence vote. This makes it the third copyright revision bill since 2005 to have died. Although this version was regarded as better than previous ones, it still contained awkward anti-circumvision provisions. We can be confident that some kind of DMCA-style copyright bill will be resurrected, but it will have to wait for the next government sequel.

Submission + - Expensify CEO: Why we won't hire .NET developers (

TheGrapeApe writes: The CEO of San Fransisco-based VC-backed startup Expensify wrote a post on the company's blog today about why he considers .NET experience on a resume a general liability and that it will "definitely raise questions" when screening for developers in his shop:

NET is a dandy language. It’s modern, it’s fancy, it’s got all the bells and whistles. And if you’re doing Windows Mobile 7 apps (which the stats suggest you aren’t), it’s your only choice. But choosing .NET is a choice, and whenever anybody does it, I can’t help but ask “why?”

Does he have a point? Or is it counterproductive to screen devs out based on what platforms or languages they have used in the past? Discuss.

"I've finally learned what `upward compatible' means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes." -- Dennie van Tassel