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


Forgot your password?

Scientists Say a Dirty Child Is a Healthy Child 331

Researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of California have shown that the more germs a child is exposed to, the better their immune system in later life. Their study found that keeping a child's skin too clean impaired the skin's ability to heal itself. From the article: "'These germs are actually good for us,' said Professor Richard Gallo, who led the research. Common bacterial species, known as staphylococci, which can cause inflammation when under the skin, are 'good bacteria' when on the surface, where they can reduce inflammation."

New Map Hints At Venus' Wet, Volcanic Past 118

Matt_dk writes with this excerpt from Space Fellowship: "Venus Express has charted the first map of Venus' southern hemisphere at infrared wavelengths. The new map hints that our neighbouring world may once have been more Earth-like, with a plate tectonics system and an ocean of water. The map comprises over a thousand individual images, recorded between May 2006 and December 2007. Because Venus is covered in clouds, normal cameras cannot see the surface, but Venus Express used a particular infrared wavelength that can see through them."

Mars Gullies Show Water Once Flowed 59

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "A new analysis of puzzling gullylike features on Mars offers further evidence that water flowed on the Red Planet's surface, perhaps as recently as several hundred thousand years ago. The findings bolster the case that melting snow from a departed Martian ice age carved these gullies, rather than shifting sands or other 'dry' phenomena."

Guitar Hero III the First Game to $1 Billion In Sales 106

The Opposable Thumbs blog reports that Guitar Hero III has reached a financial milestone, becoming the first individual video game to reach $1 billion in total sales. The number is even higher if you consider the rest of the franchise. In addition to helping drive the video game industry during tough economic times (much like the Wii), it's helping other industries as well: "... aside from the fact that Guitar Hero: Aerosmith had sold three times as many copies as the band's last album during their respective first weeks, musicians whose music is featured in the game has seen a rise in music sales to the tune of 15-843 percent." And CVG notes, "... two-thirds of non-musicians exposed to music games plan to start playing a real instrument in the next couple of years." Also, Rock Band creator Harmonix may be looking into a partnership with the record labels to sell music for use outside of the games.
First Person Shooters (Games)

Black Mesa Nearing Completion, Trailer Released 103

Today, the Black Mesa Team released an impressive trailer for their remake of Half-Life . The remake is a total-conversion mod for Half-Life 2, bringing the updated graphics and AI of the Source engine to the original game. The team has been dropping hints lately that the project, which began in 2004, is almost done, and the trailer confirms that it will be out in 2009. They also recently announced that they've "dropped Counter-Strike: Source as a requirement for Black Mesa, and from now on, the only thing you'll need to play the mod is a Steam account with any Source engine game installed! Black Mesa is now running completely off of our own content and base Source shared content, and we felt the vastly increased user base more then [sic] justified creating all the extra assets needed to make this switch."

Submission + - Someone getting Hybrids right (

dragonsomnolent writes: A company by the name of H-Line conversions in Wichita, Kansas is converting cars to hybrids by ripping out their standard engines, and replacing them with a setup slightly reminiscent of a modern diesel locomotive. He puts in an electric motor powered by batteries, which are in turn charged by a bio-diesel generator. His client list includes Niel Young and Arnold Schwarzenneger, but at a cost of $40,000, it might take a while for this to get to the masses.
The Courts

Submission + - Ohio University finds key to getting RIAA to stop 7

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio, has found the key to getting the RIAA to stop inundating it and its students with "settlement" letters. According to the university's student online publication, the university paid $60,000, plus $16,000 per year "maintenance", to Audible Magic, the business partner of the RIAA's all-purpose expert witness Dr. Doug Jacobson, for its "CopySense" filtering software. Once it made the payments, the letters stopped. This of course raises a lot of questions as to the 'disinterestedness' of Dr. Jacobson, whose deposition in the UMG v. Lindor case was the subject of interesting Slashdot commentary."
The Internet

Submission + - Net neutrality = more infrastructure investments

Gibson writes: A new University of Florida study concludes that mandating network neutrality would result in increased infrastructure investment. Using game theory, the researchers created an analytical model and concluded that the end of net neutrality would also mean fewer service upgrades and infrastructure improvements. '"The whole purpose of charging for preferential treatment to content providers is that one content provider gains some edge over the other," said researcher Subhajyoti Bandyopadhyay, a professor in the University of Florida's decision and information sciences department. "But when the capacity is expanded, this advantage becomes negligible."' ISPs requiring content providers to pay for preferred access could ultimately find themselves losing customers.

Submission + - NASA create 3D movie of Mars surface

Matthew Sparkes writes: "NASA have created virtual flyovers of two Mars rover landing sites using 3D imagery from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The images were made using the most powerful camera ever sent to another planet, MRO's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE). The three-dimensional information is obtained by taking pairs of images from slightly different vantage points as the spacecraft orbits the Red Planet."

Submission + - TMobile bans OperaMini and GoogleMaps on cells

cshamis writes: "TMobile has recently changed their policies which now make it impossible for customers WITH appropriate data plans AND Java-Micro-App-capable phones from running third-party network applications. You can, of course, still use the incredibly clunky and crippled built-in WAP browsers, but GoogleMaps and OperaMini are left high and dry. Would anyone care to speculate if this move is likely to RETAIN or REPEL customers when the iPhone and Cingular's accompanying liberal network policies come out this summer? a_says_get.php"

Submission + - British government slashes scientific research

asobala writes: The British Government has slashed the funding of scientific Research Councils by £68 million. The Research Councils most affected by this include the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, which has been hit by a £29 million reduction in funding, and the Medical Research Council, which is seeing a £10.7 million reduction in funding.

The response of the BBSRC biological research council announces that the council will have to cut 20 new grants and reduce expenditure on new equipment.

This could have major effects on the research output of the UK.

Another megabytes the dust.