Earth

Methane Producing Dinosaurs May Have Changed Climate 264

Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that huge plant-eating dinosaurs called sauropods may have produced enough greenhouse gas by breaking wind to alter the Earth's climate. Scientists believe that, just as in cows, methane-producing bacteria aided the digestion of sauropods by fermenting their plant food. 'A simple mathematical model suggests that the microbes living in sauropod dinosaurs may have produced enough methane to have an important effect on the Mesozoic climate,' says study leader Dr Dave Wilkinson. 'Indeed, our calculations suggest that these dinosaurs could have produced more methane than all modern sources — both natural and man-made — put together.' The key factor is the total mass of the animals which included some of the largest animals to walk the Earth, such as Diplodocus, which measured 150 feet and weighed up to 45 tons. Medium-sized sauropods weighed about 20 tons and lived in herds of up to a few tens of individuals per square kilometer so global methane emissions from the animals would have amounted to around 472 million tons per year, the scientists calculated. Sauropods alone may have been responsible for an atmospheric methane concentration of one to two parts per million (ppm), say the scientists and studies have suggested that the Earth was up to 10C (18F) warmer in the Mesozoic Era. ''The Mesozoic trend to sauropod gigantism led to the evolution of immense microbial vats unequaled in modern land animals. Methane was probably important in Mesozoic greenhouse warming. Our simple proof-of-concept model suggests greenhouse warming by sauropod megaherbivores could have been significant in sustaining warm climates.'"
Verizon

Verizon To Begin Offering "Text To 911" Service 194

An anonymous reader writes "In a move that will likely elicit a 'why didn't they implement that sooner?' response, Verizon in the next 12 months will begin implementing a 'text to 911' feature that, as the name implies, will enable users contact 911 operators via text message to report an emergency. The feature will be particularly helpful for the hearing and/or speech impaired, and for folks who find themselves in dangerous situations where making a voice 911 call isn't advisable. Beginning in early 2013, Verizon will start rolling out the feature in various metropolitan areas before progressing to a nationwide rollout soon thereafter. In many respects, this move has been a long time coming, and something the FCC has been championing for a few years."
Microsoft

Microsoft Creates Kinect-Like System Using Laptop Speaker & Microphone 169

MrSeb writes "Microsoft Research, working with the University of Washington, has developed a Kinect-like system that uses your computer's built-in microphone and speakers to provide object detection and gesture recognition, much in the same way that a submarine uses sonar. Called SoundWave, the new technology uses the Doppler effect to detect any movements and gestures in the proximity of a computer. In the case of SoundWave, your computer's built-in speaker is used to emit ultrasonic (18-22KHz) sound waves, which change frequency depending on where your hand (or body) is in relation to the computer. This change in frequency is measured by your computer's built-in microphone, and then some fairly complex software works out your motion/gesture. The obvious advantage of SoundWave over a product like Kinect is that it uses existing, commodity hardware; it could effectively equip every modern laptop with a gesture-sensing interface. The Microsoft Research team is reporting a 90-100% accuracy rate for SoundWave, even in noisy environments."
The Almighty Buck

How the Syrian Games Industry Crumbled Under Sanctions and Violence 141

Fluffeh writes "Syria's games industry now looks like just another collateral casualty of dictator Bashar Al-Assad's struggle to hold power. 'Life for Syrian game developers has never been better,' joked Falafel Games founder Radwan Kasmiya, 'You can test the action on the streets and get back to your desktop to script it on your keyboard.' Any momentum Syria may have been building as a regional game development hub slowed considerably in 2004, when then-US President George W. Bush levied economic sanctions against the country. Under the sanctions, Syria's game developers found themselves cut off from investment money they needed to grow, as well as from other relationships that were just as important as cash. 'Any [closure of opportunity] is devastating to a budding games company as global partnerships are completely hindered,' said Rawan Sha'ban of the Jordanian game development company Quirkat. 'Even at the simplest infrastructure level, game development engines [from the US] cannot be purchased in a sanctioned country.'"
Australia

Aussie Politician Threatens To Contact Employers of Satirical Article "Likers" 195

Chuq writes "Tasmanian Liberal candidate for Bass, Andrew Nikolic, was the subject of a satirical article by NewExaminer on Facebook. Nikolic didn't like it, which is understandable. However he then went to considerable lengths to identify the people who liked the article, find out their employers (via their Facebook profiles) and 'name and shame' them on a follow-up post on his own page. Andrew Nikolic has a history of poorly handling conflicting views on his Facebook page, resulting in creation of another page, 'Andrew Nikolic blocked me.'"
Idle

South Korea Plans Hashtag-Inspired Skyscraper 117

cylonlover writes "The hashtag or "#" symbol has taken on a lot more use in recent years, especially with the rise of social media tools like Twitter, where it's used to highlight popular topics. So in a way, it's a fitting model for an apartment building designed to act as a self-contained neighborhood, which is exactly the idea behind the Cross # Towers planned for South Korea. Dutch architectural firm, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), is modeling the look of the proposed building after the familiar symbol, by placing two interlocking bridges between two skyscrapers, which will also support outdoor park areas to mimic the sort of spaces you'd normally find on the ground."
Science

Did a Genome Copying Mistake Lead To Human Intelligence? 381

A new study suggests that the sophistication of the human brain may be due to a mistake in cell division long ago. From the article: "A copyediting error appears to be responsible for critical features of the human brain that distinguish us from our closest primate kin, new research finds. When tested out in mice, researchers found this 'error' caused the rodents' brain cells to move into place faster and enabled more connections between brain cells."
Facebook

Brazil Retailer Using Facebook Likes On Its Clothing Hangers 112

TheGift73 writes "Retailer, C&A, is putting 'real-time Likes' counters on its hangers in locations around Brazil. The Like data is taken from C&A's Facebook page, where the company has listed its various wares for people to interact with. When a person Likes an item, that Like shows up on the hanger. It is meant to help customers with purchasing decisions. If they are unsure of one item, they can see how many people online think the product is a good buy."
Music

What Various Studies Really Reveal About File-Sharing 285

Dangerous_Minds writes "Drew Wilson of ZeroPaid has an interesting look at file-sharing. It all started with a review of a Phoenix study that was used to promote SOPA. Wilson says that the study was long on wild claims and short on fact. While most writers would simply criticize the study and move on, Wilson took it a step further and looked in to what file-sharing studies have really been saying throughout the years. What he found was an impressive 19 of 20 studies not getting any coverage. He launched a large series detailing what these studies have to say on file-sharing. The first study suggests that file-sharing litigation was a failure. The second study said that p2p has no effect on music sales. The third study found that the RIAA suppresses innovation. The fourth study says that the MPAA has simply been trying to preserve its oligopoly. The fifth study says that even when one uses the methodology of one download means one lost sale, the losses amount to less than $2 per album. The studies, so far, are being posted on a daily basis and are certainly worth the read."
Piracy

Pirate Party Gaining Strength In Germany 242

bs0d3 writes "For the third consecutive regional election, The German Pirate Party has breached the five-percent mark needed to enter the state parliament, winning 8.2 percent of the vote in state of Schleswig-Holstein. From the article: 'The big winners on the night were the Pirates, an upstart party that has shaken up the staid world of German politics with a campaign based on more transparency in the political process and internet freedom.'"
Piracy

Unblocking The Pirate Bay the Hard Way Is Fun 151

TheGift73 writes in with a link for those of you who like to do things the hard way. "Now that The Pirate Bay is being blocked by ISPs in the UK, millions of people have a new interest in accessing the site, even if they didn't before. The reasons for this are simple. Not only do people hate being told what they can and can't do, people – especially geeks – love solving problems and puzzles. Unlocking The Pirate Bay with a straightforward proxy is just too boring, so just for fun let's go the hard way round."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: What Language Should a Former Coder Dig Into? 530

An anonymous reader writes "I was a consultant for nearly 20 years and I got into projects where I had to work with a huge variety of software, operating systems, hardware, programming languages, and other assorted technologies. After retiring from that I have spent the last 10 years in a completely different sector. Now I find myself wanting to really focus on coding for personal reasons. You can imagine how out-of-touch I am since I never really was more than a hack to begin with. I can learn syntax and basics in a weekend, question is, what Language should I become native to? Never liked anything 'lower-level' than C, and I don't have the funds to 'buy' my development environment....help me Slashdot, you're my only hope."
The Military

Some USAF Pilots Refuse To Fly F-22 Raptor 569

Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that some of the nation's top aviators are refusing to fly the radar-evading F-22 Raptor, a fighter jet with ongoing problems with the oxygen systems that have plagued the fleet for four years. 'We are generally aware of a small number of pilots who have expressed reservations about flying the F-22, and each of those cases will be handled individually through established processes,' says Maj. Brandon Lingle, an Air Force spokesman. Concern about the safety of the F-22 has grown in recent months as reports about problems with its oxygen systems have offered no clear explanations why there have been 11 incidents in which F-22 pilots reported hypoxia-like symptoms. 'Obviously it's a very sensitive thing because we are trying to ensure that the community fully understands all that we're doing to try to get to a solution,' says Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command. Meanwhile Sen. John McCain says that the jets, which the Air Force call the future of American air dominance, are a waste of their $79 billion price tag and serve no role in today's combat environment. 'There is no purpose, no mission in Afghanistan or Iraq, unless you believe that al Qaeda is going to have a fleet of aircraft,' says McCain, a former combat pilot himself. '[The F-22] has not flown a single combat mission... I don't think the F-22 will ever be seen in the combat it was designed to counter, because that threat is no longer in existence.'"
Biotech

Biochemist Creates CO2-Eating Light That Runs On Algae 121

An anonymous reader writes "Biochemist Pierre Calleja has a solution to reducing carbon emissions that doesn't require us to cut back on our use of carbon-producing devices. Calleja has developed a lighting system that requires no electricity for power. Instead it draws CO2 from the atmosphere and uses it to produce light as well as oxygen as a byproduct. The key ingredient to this eco-friendly light? Algae. Certain types of algae can feed off of organic carbon as well as sunlight, and in the process produce carbohydrate energy for themselves as well as oxygen as a waste product. Cajella's lamps consist of algae-filled water along with a light and battery system. During the day the algae produce energy from sunlight that is then stored in the batteries. Then at night the energy is used to power the light. However, as the algae can also produce energy from carbon, sunlight isn't required for the process to work. That means such lights can be placed where there is no natural light and the air will effectively be cleaned on a daily basis."
Science

How Accurate Were Leonardo Da Vinci's Anatomy Drawings? 108

antdude writes "BBC News answers how accurate were Leonardo da Vinci's anatomy drawings — 'During his lifetime, Leonardo made thousands of pages of notes and drawings on the human body. He wanted to understand how the body was composed and how it worked. But at his death in 1519, his great treatise on the body was incomplete and his scientific papers were unpublished. Based on what survives, clinical anatomists believe that Leonardo's anatomical work was hundreds of years ahead of its time, and in some respects it can still help us understand the body today. So how do these drawings, sketched more than 500 years ago, compare to what digital imaging technology can tell us today?'"

Slashdot Top Deals