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Submission + - Single Seat 70 kg Electric Airplane Maiden Flight (

An anonymous reader writes: World's first under 70 kg single seat electric airplane made it's maiden flight on 6/11/2012 — see the flight-video at With the price tag of just under $41k and capable of carrying single person it will be an ultimate airplane for those who are looking for something different. It has full carbon fiber body, electric motor and small lithium battery-pack. Battery can be charged from a standard household wall socket and it takes off and land in the water. So all you need is some nearby lake or pond to serve as your takeoff and landing site and the fun can begin.

Submission + - It's Baaack! XB-37B finally lands. (

ColdWetDog writes: The US Air Force / DARPA 'baby shuttle', the Boeing built XB-37B has just landed after 469 days in orbit. No official explanation of why controllers kept the mission going past the original duration of 270 days other than 'because we could'.

I, for one, welcome our long duration, unmanned orbital overlords.


Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."

"Sometimes insanity is the only alternative" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.