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Submission + - Autonomous Audi TT Conquers Pikes Peak (

fergus07 writes: After a year long research program, this week Audi revealed that its Autonomous TTS car had completed the 12.42-mile Pike’s Peak mountain course in 27 minutes. An expert driver in the same car would take around 17 minutes — now we have a benchmark, the race is on, and it's almost inevitable that a computer will one day outdrive the best of our species, and it may be sooner than you think.

Submission + - Muslim only FaceBook for Pakistan? (

vigmeister writes: A few young entrepreneurs seem to have come up with a solution to Pakistan blocking facebook. They're seemingly working round the clock to recreate facebook and target it towards muslims. It is not just a new social networking portal. It is actually a facebook clone intended for use by the (large) facebook userbase in Pakistan who, as a country, spurned facebook for it's user generated content. Intellectual property issues aside, I am not sure why they are trying to clone facebook. They could and possibly should contribute code and resources to Diaspora which they can ostensibly simply run an installation of and target it towards Muslims.

In their youthful naivete, they also invite 'sweet' users of other religions to join in. Which, to me, sounds like an invitation to the culturally insensitive, freedom of speech wielding crowd to defeat one of the purposes of MillatFaceBook which is to avoid blasphemy rampant in the original facebook.

"We want to tell Facebook people 'if they mess with us they have to face the consequences'," warns Usman Zaheer, COO. "If someone commits blasphemy against our Prophet Mohammed then we will become his competitor and give him immense business loss"


Submission + - Stair Climbing Wheelchair Discontinued

Hugh Pickens writes: "Johnson & Johnson quietly sold the last iBOT, ending the manufacture of the revolutionary stair climbing wheelchair whose wheels rotated up and over one another to go up and down steps using gyroscopes that sense and adjust to a person's center of gravity — but which failed to sell more than a few hundred a year. Now iBOT users who fear their chairs wearing out are joining high-profile inventor Dean Kamen, best known for his Segways, in lobbying Congress for reimbursement changes that they hope could revive a technology that left the market with a $22,000 price tag but that Medicare deemed worth about $6,000. "If I ever had to get out of this chair, I really don't know if I'd want to live anymore, to be honest with you," says Alan T. Brown who is mostly paralyzed from the chest down and on his second iBOT. "Guys in these chairs ... we might be disabled now, but then we'd really become disabled." The iBOT episode also sends a cautionary signal about pricey innovation. Today's emphasis is to expand access to health care rather than provide pricier improvements, says University of Michigan business professor Erik Gordon. "To a certain extent, there are breakthroughs we just can't afford.""

Submission + - Is buying intl. editions of textbooks legal?

vigmeister writes: "As a current poor graduate student(TM), a few friends and I were discussing the legality of purchasing brand new international editions of textbooks while in the US from websites like NBCIndia and third party sellers on Amazon, eBay and other websites. The cost of these textbooks is often a fraction of their cost in USD. Students snap up the international editions of these textbooks with great eagerness since you typically pay between $20 and $30 (incl. shipping) for textbooks that are priced between $100 and $200 for the US editions. A quick search online reveals no conclusive evidence regarding the issue.
So my question is this: Is the sale of these books by sellers located outside the US legal if they ship the product to the US? What if the financial transaction takes place abroad and the book is sent to your US address? Are the purchasers victims or are they also guilty of any wrongdoing? Since students often re-sell these books, the legality of their initial purchase determines the legality of their resale (even when the first-sale doctrine is considered).
More importantly, is it constitutional for publishers to restrict the sale of international editions in the US? How does this apply to other products that are outside the purview of copyright law?"

Submission + - Princeton investigated for reverse discrimination (

vigmeister writes: "
Do elite universities hold Asian-Americans to higher standards than other applicants? Do Ivy League schools set caps on the number of high-achieving minority students admitted, comparing Asian-American applicants against one another instead of the rest of the applicant pool? These questions were recently recharged by word that the Education Department will broaden its investigation of Princeton University's admissions process, a probe that began after an applicant filed a federal civil rights complaint saying the school spurned him because of his race.
Lot of top flight universities seem to be limiting numbers of Asian American students getting admitted. However, the specific student who filed a case against Princeton assumes that SAT scores and grades get you into college. What about all the essays, recommendations and extra-curricular activities that people harped on about when we applied to college? Does this discrimination affect students in certain fields more than others? Are students from the Indian subcontinent included in the category of "Asian American"? Incidentally, I am watching the Chinpokomon episode of South Park."

"Survey says..." -- Richard Dawson, weenie, on "Family Feud"