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


Forgot your password?

Submission UT creates low-power desalination "chip"->

yanom writes: Scientists at the University of Texas have created an efficient "desaliantion-plant-on-a-chip". This device runs salt water through channels just 22 microns wide, and uses a 3v charge to reduce chlorine ions, creating a potential gradient that forces sodium ions in the opposite direction and leaving fresh water behind.
Link to Original Source

Submission Fear of thinking war machines may push U.S. to exascale-> 1

dcblogs writes: Unlike China and Europe, the U.S. has yet to adopt and fund an exascale development program, and concerns about what that means to U.S. security are growing darker and more dire. If the U.S. falls behind in HPC, the consequences will be "in a word, devastating," Selmer Bringsford, chair of the Department. of Cognitive Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, said at a U.S. House forum this week. "If we were to lose our capacity to build preeminently smart machines, that would be a very dark situation, because machines can serve as weapons." The House is about to get a bill requiring the Dept. of Energy to establish an exascale program. But the expected funding level, about $200 million annually, "is better than nothing, but compared to China and Europe it's at least 10 times too low," said Earl Joseph, an HPC analyst at IDC. David McQueeney, vice president of IBM research, told lawmakers that HPC systems now have the ability to not only deal with large data sets but "to draw insights out of them." The new generation of machines are being programmed to understand what the data sources are telling them, he said.
Link to Original Source

Submission Internet Defense League to be deployed against CISPA->

yanom writes: "Slashdotters may remember the launch of the Internet Defense League, a network for website owners that would allow for the replication of a media campaign similar to the one that took down SOPA. Now it plans to spring into action in response to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which is now making it's way through Congress. The IDL wants its members to embed anti-CISPA banners into their websites, which will be activated tomorrow, March 19th."
Link to Original Source
Open Source

Submission AirBNB opensources Chronos - A Cron replacement->

victorhooi writes: "AirBNB has open-sourced Chronos- a scheduler built around Apache Mesos (a cluster manager).

The scheduler is distributed and fault-tolerant, and allows specifying jobs in ISO8601 repeating notation, as well as creating dependent jobs.

There's also a snazzy web interface to track and manage jobs, as well as a RESTful API."

Link to Original Source
Hardware Hacking

Submission Ask Slashdot: How to donate semi-old computers to worthwhile charities? 1

yanom writes: "My school gave me several circa-2006 computers with no operating system. I fixed them up, and now they run Lubuntu fairly well, making them great internet/LibreOffice/general Linux workstations. I've been wanting to donate them to local nonprofits where they'll go to good use — for example, I've already given several to a local church for them to use in their afterschool care/tutoring program. However, I'm having trouble finding other places where these machines could go to good use. How should I best conduct this search? How can I find nonprofits that could benefit from these workstations?"

Submission UK court finds Google could face defamation liability for blog comments->

Kieran Mccarthy writes: "The UK has long been home to some of the strictest defamation laws in the world. But a surprise England and Wales Court of Appeals ruling may extend the reach of those laws on to Google in monitoring its users' behavior on Blogger. Based on Britain's 1996 Defamation Act, the Court of Appeals found that Google's role in failing to respond to complaints on a user-generated blog was not "purely passive." According to the Court of Appeals, once Google was notified of the complaint, "it might be inferred to have associated itself with, or to have made itself responsible for, the continued presence of that material on the blog and thereby to have become a publisher of the material."

Ultimately, Google avoided liability because the complainant failed to show sufficient damage to his reputation based on blog comments. But with this case as precedent, another plaintiff might show otherwise."

Link to Original Source

Comment Fermi Paradox (Score 5, Interesting) 99

If laser communication overtakes radio for our own space equipment, it might explain the Fermi paradox - we cannot detect alien civilizations because the communicate with lasers (emitting no radio signals at all), making them undetectable to those not in the path of the beam.

Submission Cox Comm. injects code into customers' web traffic to announce email outage-> 2

An anonymous reader writes: Cox Communications appears to be injecting JavaScript and HTML into subscriber's traffic, as part of their effort to announce an email service outage. Pictures showing the popup:
Link to Original Source

Feed Engadget: Solidoodle 3 is an $800 3D printer that you can stand on, we go hands (and feet)->

Companies will go to fascinating lengths to demonstrate their belief in a product, but there was still something refreshing in watching Solidoodle founder Sam Cervantes climbed atop his company's latest creation, beaming. After all, the announcement of a $500 printer back in April left us wondering what sorts of corners the company would have to cut to offer a product at a fraction the cost of what Cervantes' former employer, MakerBot, has brought to the market. Asked whether Solidoodle had to make any compromises to hit such an impressive price point, the one-time aerospace engineer stood by his product's build quality. And then he stood on it.

Announced in November and due out next month, the company's latest product doesn't quite hit that price point. Solidoodle had to drive cost up a fair amount to double the last generation's build platform to 512 cubic inches. Still, $799 seems like chump change for entrance into the nascent world of home 3D printing, particularly for a device that is built as solidly as Cervantes claims. The team popped by our New York offices to drop off and stand on the Solidoodle 3. Cervantes was quick to point out that the printer is still firmly in prototype mode (in fact, it's the first prototype to leave the confines of the company's headquarters), with his team doing its damnedest to get the product in the hands of customers by early next month. A quick glance at the rear of the printer confirms this -- there's a fair amount of exposed wiring back there and the spool of plastic hangs on an exposed PVC pipe.

Continue reading Solidoodle 3 is an $800 3D printer that you can stand on, we go hands (and feet) on (video)

Filed under: Misc


Link to Original Source

Submission Identified Fukushima Workers Pelted "With Bottles"

Readycharged writes: "The BBC reports that not only are the "Fukushima 50" considered anti heros in their locale, they also face aggressive hostility when identified.

Dr Jun Shigemura, psychiatrist from Japan's National Defense University, states, "The workers have been through multiple stresses."

"They experienced the plant explosions, the tsunami...(and) radiation exposure. They are also victims of the disaster because they live in the area and have lost homes and family members. And the last thing is the discrimination."

"Yes, discrimination.....the workers (are) not being celebrated....(they) have tried to rent apartments (but) landlords turn them down...some have had plastic bottles thrown at them....some have had papers pinned on their apartment door saying 'Get out, Tepco'."

Reporter Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, corrects the myth that a mere 50 tackled the devastation, stating that there were hundreds working around the clock in shifts.

Whilst the Japanese government seem to want to bury the human drama surrounding the catastrophic event, Nuclear News cites a new book which reports on acts of sacrificial heroism whilst mentioning many of the clear up workers by name."

Submission The Lovitivity 100,000,000 Compliment Challenge->

An anonymous reader writes: I am writing to inform you about a recently developed social media application called Lovitivity which, from the feedback we’ve had so far, is looking likely to become exceedingly popular. The application is designed to encourage a positive frame-of-mind, improved self-esteem and renewed self-confidence. Essentially, users compliment each other’s pictures; however for the amount of compliments the user sends, they also receive the relative amount of compliments in return (on their picture). As a community, we have set the goal of sending 100,000,000 compliments by the end of 2013, which sounds daunting however the application is both free in price and free from advertising, users can send and receive as many compliments as they want at any time of the day. We released the application to the public last night (12/12/2012) and nearly recorded 1000 compliments in the first four hours. Please find the attached video trailer which explains the Lovitivity concept in more detail —
Link to Original Source

If it's worth hacking on well, it's worth hacking on for money.