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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

+ - Why there needs to be a quantum theory of gravity

StartsWithABang writes: If you’re not a theoretical physicist yourself, you might think that physics is physics — we ask questions about the Universe, do experiments/make observations, and get the answers — and math is just a tool that we use to help us get there. But that really sells the power of mathematics short. For a physical theory to be valid, there are a whole host of mathematical properties that theory needs to possess, including being free of logical inconsistencies, making predictions about observables, and that those predictions agree with observations. Yet when we look at our theory of gravitation at the smallest scales and with the strongest gravitational fields, our theory itself fails, which is precisely why we need a quantum theory of gravity.

+ - The GNU Manifesto Turns Thirty->

An anonymous reader writes: It was March, 1985 when Richard M. Stallman published the GNU Manifesto in Dr. Dobb’s Journal of Software Tools. Thirty years on, The New Yorker has an article commemorating its creation and looking at how it has shaped software in the meantime. "Though proprietary and open-source software publishers might appear at the moment to have the upper hand, Stallman’s influence with developers (among whom he is known simply by his initials, 'rms') remains immense. When I asked around about him, many people spoke of him as one might of a beloved but eccentric and prickly uncle. They would roll their eyes a bit, then hasten to add, as more than one did, 'But he’s right about most things.' I told Stallman that I’d spoken with several developers who venerate his work, and who had even said that without it the course of their lives might have been altered. But they don’t seem to do what you say, I observed; they all have iPhones. 'I don’t understand that either,' he said. 'If they don’t realize that they need to defend their freedom, soon they won’t have any.'"
Link to Original Source

+ - The Rust programming language reaches 1.0 alpha->

c0d3g33k writes: Rust, a new a systems programming language with a focus on safety, performance and concurrency, has released the 1.0 alpha version of the language. This means that the language and core libraries are feature-complete for the 1.0 release. In practical terms, this means that the rate of change experienced by early adopters will slow down dramatically and major breaking changes should be very rare (during the alpha cycle some major changes may still occur if considered necessary). The language will stabilize further when the beta stage is reached (planned for six weeks from now). More details can be found in the announcement post at blog.rust-lang.org.
Link to Original Source

+ - Torvalds clarifies Linux's Windows 8 Secure Boot position->

An anonymous reader writes: No one, but no one, in the Linux community likes Microsoft's mandated deployment of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Secure Boot option in Windows 8 certified PCs. But, how Linux should handle the fixes required to deal with this problem remains a hot-button issue. Now, as the debate continues hot and heavy, Linus Torvalds, Linux's founder and de facto leader, spells out how he thinks Linux should deal with Secure Boot keys.
Link to Original Source
Games

+ - Play Wii -- Become a Better Surgeon -- Profit!!!->

drew30319 writes: "NPR reports that a team of researchers at the University of Rome required a group of surgical residents to play video games on a Nintendo Wii for an hour a day, five days a week, for four weeks resulting in "statistically better" performance than a control group for laparoscopic skills. The study is available online ( http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0057372 ) and includes some interesting stats (e.g. while the control group showed a 10% improvement in accuracy, the Wii-playing group's accuracy improved by 83%).

The study's authors add that ''[t]he Nintendo® Wii may be adopted in lower-budget Institutions or at home by younger surgeons to optimize their training on simulators before performing real procedures.'"

Link to Original Source
Math

+ - Breakthrough in drawing complex Venn diagrams->

00_NOP writes: Venn diagrams are all the rage in this election year, but drawing comprehensible diagrams for anything more than 3 sets has proved to be very difficult. Until the breakthough just announced by Khalegh Mamakani and Frank Ruskey of the University of Victoria in Canada, nobody had managed to draw a simple (no more than two lines crossing), symmetric Venn diagram for more than 7 sets (only primes will work). Now they have pushed that on to 11. And it's pretty too.
Link to Original Source
Google

+ - What Happens to Google Employees When They Die? 2 2

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Forbes Magazine reports that employee benefits of Google are among the best in the land—free haircuts, gourmet food, on-site doctors and high-tech “cleansing” toilets are among the most talked-about but the latest perk for Googlers extends into the afterlife. “This might sound ridiculous,” says Google's Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock, “But we’ve announced death benefits at Google.” Should a US Googler pass away while under the employ of the 14-year old search giant, their surviving spouse or domestic partner will receive a check for 50% of their salary every year for the next decade. Even more surprising, a Google spokesperson confirms that there’s “no tenure requirement” for this benefit, meaning most of their 34 thousand Google employees qualify. "One of the things we realized recently was that one of the harshest but most reliable facts of life is that at some point most of us will be confronted with the death of our partners,” says Bock. “And it’s a horrible, difficult time no matter what, and every time we went through this as a company we tried to find ways to help the surviving spouse of the Googler who’d passed away.” Google gets a lot of press for its perks but Bock says it’s not about the money. "It turns out that the reason we’re doing these things for employees is not because it’s important to the business, but simply because it’s the right thing to do. When it comes down to it, it’s better to work for a company who cares about you than a company who doesn’t. And from a company standpoint, that makes it better to care than not to care.”"

Comment: Most people don't care (Score 5, Informative) 161 161

Well, car thefts are quite frequent in some Brazilian cities, so it's not surprise that most people won't see anything wrong on that apart from paying 5 bucks for the thing themselves. Some people will even see this as a good thing; well, it's an extremely cheap car tracking service!

There were really few contrary opinions to the resolution. Mr. Raul Jungmann, national representative, filed a request for its suspension, alluding to privacy concerns, but no final solution was given to the matter since 2007. It had no big repercussion on media, too. That's how things work in Brazil: these stuff get approved with enough antecedence, but become news just over the deadline. I can't say if it's intentional, but it really seems so.

Microsoft

+ - IE 10 will have DO NOT TRACK by default angering Google and others->

Billly Gates writes: Slashdotters and webmasters alike favorite browser (sarcasm intended) will have DO NOT TRACK settings enabled by by default in IE 10. IE 10 comes with Windows 8 and will go release candidate for Windows 7 very soon according to Anne Kohn in a comment in IE's blog. IE 10 already has a score of 319 in html5test.com, while MS is trying to position IE as a great browser again. Will this pressure other browsers such as Firefox and Opera to do the same?
Link to Original Source

+ - university sues student for graduating early->

pointbeing writes: A private German economics and business university is suing one of its students for lost income after he finished his Bachelors and Masters degrees in about a quarter of the normal time.

Marcel Pohl completed 60 examinations in 20 months, gaining a grade of 2.3, and was officially ex-matriculated in August 2011. Such a course usually takes 11 semesters, but he only needed three.

Now the Essen-based School of Economics and Management (FOM) want the 22-year-old to pay his fees up the end of 2011 — an extra €3,000.

Link to Original Source
Technology

+ - Dreaming of Digital Glory at Hacker Hostels->

An anonymous reader writes: The NY Times has a story about a small chain of managed residences that has sprung up in the Bay Area to provide a cheap place where programmers, designers, and scientists can live and work. These 'hacker hostels' are a place for aspiring entrepreneurs to gather, share, and refine ideas. 'Hackers ... have long crammed into odd or tiny spaces and worked together to solve problems. In the 1960s, researchers at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory slept in the attic and, while waiting for their turn on the shared mainframe computer, sweated in the basement sauna. When told about the hacker hostels, Ethan Mollick, an assistant professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania who studies entrepreneurship, said they reminded him of his days in the last decade studying at M.I.T., where graduate students would have bunk beds inside their small offices.'
Link to Original Source
Microsoft

+ - Ubuntu Can't Trust FSF: Thus Dropped Grub 2 For Secure Boot->

sfcrazy writes: Free Software Foundation, FSF, recently published a white paper criticizing Ubuntu's move to drop Grub 2 in order to support Microsoft's UEFI Secure Boot. FSF also recommend that Ubuntu should reconsider their decision. Ubuntu's charismatic chief, Mark Shuttleworth, has finally responded stating the reason why they won't change their stand on dropping Grub 2 from Ubuntu. Mark Shuttleworth said "The SFLC advice to us was that the FSF could require key disclosure if some OEM screwed up. As nice as it is that someone at the FSF says they would not, we have to plan for a world where leaders change and institutional priorities change. The FSF wrote a licence that would give them the rights to take specific actions, and it's hard for them to argue they never would!

So, does that FSF can't be trusted?"

Link to Original Source

There's a whole WORLD in a mud puddle! -- Doug Clifford

Working...