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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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+ - Bacteria discovered that both eats and excretes pure electrons

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace (882157) writes "Biologists discover electric bacteria that eat pure electrons rather than sugar, redefining the tenacity of life

Some intrepid biologists at the University of Southern California (USC) have discovered bacteria that survives on nothing but electricity — rather than food, they eat and excrete pure electrons. These bacteria yet again prove the almost miraculous tenacity of life — but, from a technology standpoint, they might also prove to be useful in enabling the creation of self-powered nanoscale devices that clean up pollution. Some of these bacteria also have the curious ability to form into ‘biocables,’ microbial nanowires that are centimeters long and conduct electricity as well as copper wires — a capability that might one day be tapped to build long, self-assembling subsurface networks for human use.

"

+ - Peer-reviewed Study: MS Word is Superior to LaTeX

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A study recently published in PLOS ONE has compared MS Word to LaTeX and demonstrated that "...LaTeX users were slower than Word users, wrote less text in the same amount of time, and produced more typesetting, orthographical, grammatical, and formatting errors. On most measures, expert LaTeX users performed even worse than novice Word users... We conclude that even experienced LaTeX users may suffer a loss in productivity when LaTeX is used, relative to other document preparation systems. Individuals, institutions, and journals should carefully consider the ramifications of this finding when choosing document preparation strategies, or requiring them of authors."
http://www.plosone.org/article...

Slashdot readers may also be interested in reading post-publication responses to the paper on PubPeer:
https://pubpeer.com/publicatio..."

+ - Hewlett-Packard Is Working On A Revolutionary Computer and OS

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "Hewlett-Packard is planning to take an extremely ambitious step toward giving a refresh to the architecture of a traditional computer and its operating system. The company's research division is working to create a computer which HP calls The Machine. A key idea is that HP's design shall use memristors for both temporary and long-term data storage. There would also be other novel features such as using optical fiber instead of copper wiring for data buses. Next summer the team aims to complete an operating system designed for The Machine, called Linux++, bundled with emulation tools to run existing applications. Linux++ is intended to ultimately be replaced by an operating system called Carbon, which is designed from scratch for The Machine. The chief architect of the project is Kirk Bresniker and a working prototype of The Machine is expected to be ready by 2016."

+ - Sony Employees Receive Email Threat From GOP, 'Your Family Will Be In Danger'->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "It appears that things are going from bad to worse when it comes to the recent Sony Pictures Entertainment breach. Sony experienced a security breach last month and the fallout from the attack continues to mount. Not only has sensitive financial information been released — including the salaries of high-ranking Sony executives — but more damaging personal information including 47,000 Social Security numbers of employees and actors have been leaked to the internet. We're now learning some even more disturbing details, unfortunately. Guardians of Peace (GOP), the hackers claiming responsibility for infiltrating Sony's computer network, are now threatening to harm the families of Sony employees. GOP reportedly sent Sony employees an email, which just so happened to be riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, that read in part, "your family will be in danger.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Gut feeling that people who are fat, depressed or autistic may need pro-biotics 2

Submitted by NewsWatcher
NewsWatcher (450241) writes "Australia's ABC is reporting evidence that people who have a range of "Western lifestyle diseases" like obesity, diabetes or allergies may just have a bad batch of intestinal biota.
There a lots of unknowns, but it could be that humans have evolved around the micro-organisms just as much as they evolved around us, and they influence us in ways never imagined before. We could be the willing zombies for the 100 trillion bacteria inside each of us.
Mice given some parasites try to get eaten by cats. The same parasite in humans has been linked to schizophrenia and depression.
The cure — getting someone else's feces transplanted into your intestines."

+ - Microsoft now Makes Money from Surface Line, Q1 Sales Reach Almost $1 Billion 1

Submitted by SmartAboutThings
SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes "Microsoft has recently published its Q1 fiscal 2015 earnings report, disclosing that it has made $4.5 billion in net income on $23.20 billion in revenue. According to the report, revenue has increased by $4.67 billion, compared to $18.53 billion from the same period last year. However, net income has decreased 14 percent compared to last year’s $5.24 billion mainly because of the $1.14 billion cost associated with the integration and restructuring expenses related to the Nokia acquisition.

But what's finally good news for the company is that the Surface gross margin was positive this quarter, which means the company finally starts making money on Surface sales. Microsoft didn’t yet reveal Surface sales, but we know that Surface revenue was $908 million this quarter, up a massive 127 percent from the $400 million this time last year. However, if we assume that the average spent amount on the purchase of this year’s Surface Pro 3 was around $1000, then we have less than 1 million units sold, which isn’t that impressive, but it’s a good start."

+ - Meet FABACUS, Westpac's first computer->

Submitted by AlbanX
AlbanX (2847805) writes "The staff put in charge of operating Westpac's first ever computer, a General Electric GE225, are celebrating 50 years since the bank spent $26 million (in today's value) on the machine.

Ian Hoey was 27 went he was plucked from a then-Bank of NSW branch and given responsibility for the computer, with no IT experience."

Link to Original Source

+ - Fiber optics in Antarctica will monitor ice sheet melting->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Earth is rapidly being wired with fiber-optic cables—inexpensive, flexible strands of silicon dioxide that have revolutionized telecommunications. They’ve already crisscrossed the planet’s oceans, linking every continent but one: Antarctica. Now, fiber optics has arrived at the continent, but to measure ice sheet temperatures rather than carry telecommunication signals. A team of scientists using an innovative fiber-optic cable–based technology has measured temperature changes within and below the ice over 14 months. This technology, they say, offers a powerful new tool to observe and quantify melting at the base of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the collapse of which may help drive a worldwide increase in sea levels of more than 3 meters."
Link to Original Source

+ - Better free disk space monitoring?

Submitted by relliker
relliker (197112) writes "In the olden days, when monitoring a file system of a few 100 MB, we would be alerted when it topped 90% or more, with 95% a lot of times considered quite critical. Today, however, with a lot of file systems in the Terabyte range, a 90-95% full file system can still have a considerable amount of free space but we still mostly get bugged by the same alerts as in the days of yore when there really isn't a cause for immediate concern. Apart from increasing thresholds and/or starting to monitor actual free space left instead of a percentage, should it be time for monitoring systems to become a bit more intelligent by taking space usage trends and heuristics into account too and only warn about critical usage when projected thresholds are exceeded? I’d like my system to warn me with something like, “Hey!, you’ll be running out of space in a couple of months if you go on like this!” Or is this already the norm and I’m still living in a digital cave?"

+ - Isaac Asimov: How Do People Get New Ideas? 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Arthur Obermayer, a friend of the Isaac Asimov, writes that he recently rediscovered an unpublished essay by Asimov written in 1959 while cleaning out some old files that is "as broadly relevant today as when he wrote it. It describes not only the creative process and the nature of creative people but also the kind of environment that promotes creativity." Some excerpts from Asimov's essay which is well worth reading in its entirety:

Presumably, the process of creativity, whatever it is, is essentially the same in all its branches and varieties, so that the evolution of a new art form, a new gadget, a new scientific principle, all involve common factors. It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. What is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable. It seems the height of unreason to suppose the earth was round instead of flat, or that it moved instead of the sun, or that objects required a force to stop them when in motion, instead of a force to keep them moving, and so on.

A person willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense must be a person of considerable self-assurance. Since he occurs only rarely, he must seem eccentric (in at least that respect) to the rest of us. A person eccentric in one respect is often eccentric in others. Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues.

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display."

Even bytes get lonely for a little bit.

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