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


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

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).


Comment: Soundtrack? Really? (Score 1) 66

Why on earth does every video have a soundtrack? I find it extremely distracting from the presentation to have music playing, but this isn't even in the background; it dominates my attention I really believe that having so much music omnipresent in our daily lives diminishes the value that we place on music. And it distracts me from the message the video is really trying to convey: what do you want me to pay attention to; the content or the music? Sorry, I'm too dumb to pay attention to both.

+ - The Emerging Revolution In The Science Of Deflector Shields

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "One curious feature on the Moon's surface are “lunar swirls”, wisp-like regions that are whiter than surrounding areas and that, until recently, astronomers could not explain. But one team of physicists recently showed that these areas are protected by weak magnetic fields that deflect high energy particles from the Sun and so prevent the darkening effect this radiation has. The problem they had to solve was how a weak field could offer so much protection, when numerous studies of long duration spaceflight have shown that only very powerful fields can act like radiation shields. The team now says that these previous studies have failed to take into account an important factor: the low density plasma that exists in space. It turns out that this plasma is swept up by a weak magnetic field moving through space, creating a layer of higher density plasma. That's important because the separation of charge within this layer creates an electric field. And it is this field that deflects the high energy particles from the Sun. That explains the lunar swirls but it also suggests that the same effect could be exploited to protect astronauts on long duration missions to the moon, to nearby asteroids and beyond. This team has now produced the first study of such a shield and how it might work. Their shield would use superconducting coils to create a relatively weak field only when it is needed, during solar storms, for example. And it would create a plasma by pumping xenon into the vacuum around the vehicle, where it would be ionised by UV light. The entire device would weigh around 1.5 tonnes and use about 20 KW of power. That's probably more than mission planners could currently accommodate but it is significantly less than the science fiction-type power requirements of previous designs. And who knows what other tricks of plasma physics engineers might be able to exploit to refine this design. All of a sudden, long duration space flight looks a little more feasible."

+ - NSA claims its systems are too complex to obey the law

Submitted by Bruce66423
Bruce66423 (1678196) writes "
Just when you thought it couldn't get any more unlikely, the NSA throws a dozy. This of course implies that they have no backup system — or at least that the backup are not held for long. So that means that a successful virus, one that blanked without making obviously deleted, getting into their systems would destroy ALL their data. Interesting..."

+ - iOS 8 strikes an unexpected blow against location tracking->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "It wasn't touted onstage, but a new iOS 8 feature is set to cause havoc for location trackers, and score a major win for privacy.As spotted by Frederic Jacobs, the changes have to do with the MAC address used to identify devices within networks. When iOS 8 devices look for a connection, they randomize that address, effectively disguising any trace of the real device until it decides to connect to a network."
Link to Original Source

Comment: But the question is... (Score 1) 465

by stinkbomb (#46898289) Attached to: Lessig Launches a Super PAC To End All Super PACs
...what is Lessig's new SuperPAC going to accomplish? Will it even fund its first-round goals? Outside of nerdy, academic circles, does Lessig have any name recognition? Do we know for sure that money = influence in anything other than the long term (decades)? Look at the last election cycle: the Republican Tea Party did pretty poorly, considering the vast sums of money that was spent. How do we that this money wouldn't be better spent other ways?

There are just too many unanswered questions, which, seeing that this is coming from a thinker like Lessig, is pretty disappointing.

Comment: They could have fixed their auto centers. (Score 1) 167

by stinkbomb (#45432885) Attached to: Sears To Convert Old Auto Centers Into National Chain of Data Centers

Sears used to be a great place to go for auto service, but the rise of cheap tires and oil changes at places like WalMart really took a bite out of their business. They could have competed on price or quality of service, but I think they just gave up. The last time I was at a Sears auto center, it was a really grim deal. None of the employees seemed that interested in helping me, and their prices were ~30% higher than their competitors.

This strategy of embracing all things internet seems to be their current game plan: when you talk to a salesperson in-store, part of what they're trained to do is guide you through the process of shopping online. Clearly, this doesn't bode well for Sears' brick-and-mortar presence, nor for the employee forced to sacrifice his own commission, but it's where the future of retail is headed. However, to put all your eggs in the internet basket seems unwise. There's always going to be a market for skilled auto-mechanics that are associated with a company with a good reputation, but a Sears data center? I can think of dozens of companies that I'd turn to first.

Comment: Crazy idea (Score 1) 477

by stinkbomb (#45081987) Attached to: HP CEO Meg Whitman To Employees: No More Telecommuting For You
I have a crazy idea; how about not making garbage?
Maybe that'll add a bit of value to the company. Maybe devoting resources to the people that, I don't know, create everything you sell would work out OK. Perhaps if you left them the fuck alone to work in whichever way suited them best would benefit you and them.

Nah. It'll never work. Start the layoffs!

+ - Where Have All the Gadgets Gone?->

Submitted by
waderoush writes "How many electronic gadgets did you own in 2005? How many do you own today? The answer is almost certainly a lot fewer. Counter to the dominant trend in consumer technology since the 1920s — and despite predictions of a coming ‘Internet of things’ — there may actually be *less* electronic stuff in our homes and offices today than ever before. That’s thanks largely to the rise of multipurpose wireless devices like smartphones and tablets, which are now powerful enough to replace many older, dedicated devices like point-and-shoot cameras, music players, digital voice recorders — even whole home entertainment systems. To prove the point, here are before-and-after photos from one San Francisco household (mine) where the herd of digital devices has been thinned from about three dozen, eight years ago, to just 15 today."
Link to Original Source

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.