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Space

Mysterious "Cold Spot": Fingerprint of Largest Structure In the Universe? 94 94

astroengine writes At the furthest-most reaches of the observable universe lies one of the most enigmatic mysteries of modern cosmology: the cosmic microwave background (CMB) Cold Spot. Discovered in 2004, this strange feature etched into the primordial echo of the Big Bang has been the focus of many hypotheses — could it be the presence of another universe? Or is it just instrumental error? Now, astronomers may have acquired strong evidence as to the Cold Spot's origin and, perhaps unsurprisingly, no multiverse hypothesis is required. But it's not instrumental error either. It could be a vast "supervoid" around 1.8 billion light-years wide that is altering the characteristics of the CMB radiation traveling through it.

Submission + - SPAM: The Health Problems Caused By Poor Oral Hygiene

An anonymous reader writes: In the last decade, the link between oral health and the condition of the body has been more thoroughly investigated than ever before. According to the American Dental Association, approximately 40% of people with serious gum disease also had a chronic health condition. This figure is far too high to be a coincidence and we look at why your mouth could be the gateway to the body.
Link to Original Source
Data Storage

Ask Slashdot: Permanent Preservation of Human Knowledge? 277 277

Wayne2 writes "While there have been many attempts to preserve human knowledge in electronic format, it occurred to me that these attempts all assume that human civilization remains more or less intact. Given humanity's history of growth and collapse with knowledge repeatedly gained then lost, has anyone considered a more permanent solution? I realize that this could be very difficult and/or expensive depending on how long we want to preserve the information and what assumptions we make regarding posterity's ability to access it. Alternatively, are we, as a species, willing to start over if we experience a catastrophe, pandemic, etc. of significant magnitude on a global scale that derails our progress and sends us back to the dark ages or worse?"

Comment How I get a tune out of my head (Score 1) 219 219

I hum or whistle something complicated requiring full attention (the one I usually use is a Bach piece), in other words, something a little too complicated for getting stuck in my head. This usually unsticks whatever was going around in my head without replacing it.

Comment Re:Profiting from criminal acts (Score 3, Interesting) 159 159

You may not be allowed to profit from your own criminal behavior, but the 'criminal' is the person making the copy of the copyrighted material (once upon a time this was a tort, i.e. a wrong against someone that one could be sued for, not a crime against the state or general public; that's what these guys are always trying to do: turn torts into crimes so they can sic the government on you), not the specialized search engine or directory of links. The Usenet-indexers are profiting in the same way that Truman Capote profited when he wrote a book about a notorious murder.
Power

Ask Slashdot: Best Option For Heavy-Duty, Full-Home Surge Protection? 341 341

First time accepted submitter kmoser writes "Like most people, I have a couple of surge protectors for sensitive/important electronics, and even a UPS for a couple of items like computers. But I don't have surge protector on all outlets, and these consumer-grade devices don't cover things like 220 volt appliances. Add to that the fact that I live in a lightning-prone area and it's only a matter of time before one of my expensive devices has a major meltdown. I've looked into full-home surge protectors that install next to the fuse box but the prices vary widely and I have no idea how reliable they are or what brands are good. An electrician friend tells me they can still blow out, and when they do they're difficult to replace if they were installed behind a wall. Can anybody shed some light on the best options for protecting all the electronics in my house with a single surge protector?"
Crime

UK Plans Private Police Force 252 252

An anonymous reader writes "'Private companies could take responsibility for investigating crimes, patrolling neighborhoods and even detaining suspects under a radical privatization plan,' The Guardian reports. 'The contract is the largest on police privatization so far, with a potential value of £1.5bn over seven years, rising to a possible £3.5bn depending on how many other forces get involved.' A worrying development in a country with an ever-increasing culture of surveillance and intrusive policing."
United States

FBI's Troubled Sentinel Project Delayed Again 96 96

gManZboy writes "The FBI's Sentinel project, a digital case-management system meant to replace outdated, paper-based processes, has been delayed again. The FBI's CIO and CTO bet big on using agile development to hasten the project's completion. But now performance issues have arisen in testing and deployment has been pushed out to May. It's the latest in a series of delays to build a replacement for the FBI's 17-year-old Automated Case Support system. In 2006, the FBI awarded Lockheed Martin a $305 million contract to lead development of Sentinel, but it took back control of the project in September 2010 amid delays and cost overruns. At the time, the FBI said it would finish Sentinel within 12 months, using agile development strategies."
Facebook

PayPal Launches Facebook App For Sending Money 66 66

angry tapir writes "PayPal has launched a Facebook application designed to let users of the social networking site send money to each other. The application, named Send Money, features a greeting card component for accompanying the money transfer with an e-card containing a message, photos and videos to mark occasions like birthdays and anniversaries."

Comment And if the people are relatives? (Score 4, Interesting) 215 215

I served on a jury in which DNA evidence was presented, along with the expert witness' estimation of probability that two random people would have the same number of matching points of comparison (DNA is only matched at a relatively small number of points in the strand).

In this case, however, there were many people present at the discovery of the object from which the DNA was taken for analysis. As it happens, several of these people were relatives (brother, mother) of the person the prosecution were trying to persuade us was the person that possessed (in legal terms) the object.

The question that I kept hoping the defense attorney would ask was "what are the probabilities of an erroneous match if the people are relatives, not just two random people off the street"? Unfortunately, he didn't.

As it happened, there were so many other peculiarities in this case as well as some pretty bizarre testimony from prosecution witnesses that we voted to acquit without making much of the DNA evidence.

Comment Re:Look at the DroboPro (Score 1) 609 609

I had a customer with a Drobo. They bought it as a backup device. In my experience it was quite terrible compared to stuffing a bunch of drives in a box and running FreeNas or something on it. The device itself is quite expensive, and we had lots of problems with it, and finally wound up relegating it to a 3rd tier backup role. Among the problems we had;
1. It takes a LONG time to rebuild. It took 3 days to rebuild after a drive failure, during which another drive failure would have caused complete data loss.
2. I/O performance was sub par. I don't remember the exact rates, but in our testing backups would take 3x as long to the Drobo as they would to a simple 1 tb USB drive.
3. We ran into issues with very large files (>50 gigabytes) which the filesystem it was formatted in supported without issue.
4. When we had a hardware failure in the device, which caused it to constantly fail a drive that independent testing showed was fine, and despite the customer purchasing the additional "Drobocare" extended warranty, between getting the run around from their support (who kept making the same suggestions over and over instead of escalating the case) it took over a month to get it replaced, and by the time it was done it would have been cheaper to throw it in the trash. I wouldn't want to rely on them for anything.

Overall it was a very negative experience. The only thing I could recommend them for would be for graphic artists or something that works solo and doesn't have the tech skills to set up a better solution.

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