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Submission + - Google and Facebook offer support after Nepal earthquake->

Mark Wilson writes: When disaster strikes, technology can often be put to good use. Following the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal this week, Google and Facebook are among the companies helping those in the area, as well as people looking for friends and relatives.

Google's People Finder does very much what it says on the tin. It's a very simple website that enables people to publish requests for information about loved ones, as well as giving those with information somewhere to share it. Facebook's Nepal Earthquake Safety Check provides a similar feature.

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Submission + - 7.8 Earthquake Rocks Nepal, Hundreds Dead->

An anonymous reader writes: Nepal was struck by an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 today, with an epicenter 80 km east of the country's second biggest city, Pokhara. Its effects were also strongly felt in the capital, Kathmandu. Casualty reports conflict, but authorities have indicated at least 500 are dead and many more are feared to be trapped. Nepal has declared a state of emergency for the affected areas, and asked for international humanitarian assistance. India and Pakistan have both offered help. Some Indian cities were affected by the earthquake as well, and there are reports of avalanches on Mt. Everest, which has many climbers at any given time.
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Comment IBM T220/T221 (Score 1) 179 179

Don't forget that IBM had a decent 3840x2400 22" IPS panel in production as early as 2001. It was rather expensive, and had to be driven as multiple sub-panels. It also had a very low refresh rate compared to what one would find normal today. Seems like mentioning numbers with more than two digits causes consumers' eyes to glaze over, hence '4K' as a blanket term for stuff with roughly 4000 pixels in width.

Comment Widescreen monitors are a scourge (Score 1) 567 567

...with only a few extra vertical lines over ancient 1280x1024 panels, and not greatly superior 4:3 CRTs capable of doing 1280x960. But, good luck finding good deals on monitors that aren't 1920x1080 or some smaller widescreen resolution. At the place I used to work, it got to the point where I needed to view so much information (server monitoring at a webhost) at one time that even dual widescreen monitors were not an efficient solution in landscape orientation. So I brought my own monitor stands (Dell laptop docking station bases, actually, with rotating VESA plate) and some thumbscrews almost every day for a considerable length of time, and even had management approval to do so. People thought it was weird, but being able to see several hundred lines of text at once can be very useful, and only took about 2 minutes to set up. The only 'disadvantage' I can see in it is that the light coming out of LCD is not aligned or polarized ideally for the orientation, so color/brightness response is badly broken (this doesn't likely matter much if you're just reading informational text), and (in my case) start seeing fine horizontal lines (due to the now horizontal pixels) into your vision after long viewing sessions (this goes away after a bit, and did not really bother me). Widescreen monitors have little practical advantage over, say, 1600x1200 panels in a business usage context; I have a suspicion that they were pushed by the industry as they'd be cheaper to make. Even though 1920x1080 screen size gives more total pixels than 1600x1200 by around 10%, I gain much more utility from the extra 120 lines in the latter than the 320 extra pixels of width.

Submission + - Lyme bacterium's possible ancestor found in ancient tick->

Taco Cowboy writes: A few ancient ticks, some 15-million to 20-million old, were trapped inside a piece of amber

That piece of amber was bought by a researcher some 25 years ago, in Dominican Republic

Only recently that researcher took a closer look with a powerful compound microscope — magnifying the specimen up to 1,000 times — that he noticed the tiny ticks within

Upon examination, that researcher turns up some ancient bacterium in one of the ticks. The bacterium appears to be spirochetes, a group of rotini-shaped bacteria responsible for many human diseases

Although Lyme disease did not exist back then, the spirochetes in the fossil tick probably contributed to the genetic diversity of the 12 or more species of Borrelia that cause Lyme and similar diseases today, says the researcher

Like modern ticks, the ancient ones likely picked up spirochetes when they took blood meals from infected vertebrates. Which of those hosts served as a natural reservoir for the spirochetes found in the juvenile tick, however, remains unknown. Ancestors of modern-day jaguars, ancient woodpeckers and shrewlike solenodons are a few potential spirochete-harboring hosts that lived in the same hot, balmy forest as the tick. The researcher, however, thinks it is more likely that the tick inherited its spirochetes from its mother (a process called vertical transmission), rather than from an animal reservoir. He found no evidence that the young arachnid had feasted on blood prior to its fatal encounter with the amber-forming tree resin

The researcher placed the newly discovered bacterium within its own genus, naming it Palaeoborrelia dominicana. He could not attempt to analyze the ancient DNA to confirm whether or not the bacterium is related to modern Borrelia because those tests would destroy the specimen. So it is impossible to know how closely — if at all — the ancient spirochetes are related to contemporary Borrelia. But the bacteria’s morphology and its location within the tick’s alimentary tract indicate that it probably has ties to those notorious pathogens

While on a related article on Nature — @ — it has been shown that Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, shows that the capacity to evolve can itself be the target of natural selection

The oldest evidence of Lyme disease dates back 5,300 years, to an ice mummy discovered to contain Borrelia’s genetic material, but the condition’s evolutionary origins are unknown. Lyme disease is only one of a number of human afflictions caused by spirochetes, however, so even if that condition arose more recently, our problems with spirochetes likely date back much further. When Homo sapiens arrived on the scene around 200,000 years ago, the researcher thinks, the ticks — and their spirochetes — were probably waiting “As long as humans have been around,” he says, “I’m sure that they suffered from ailments caused by spirochetes carried by ticks”
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Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"