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Programming

Getting Started With Part-Time Development Work? 262

fortapocalypse writes "I'm getting paid a good salary as a Java developer and the hours are great. It is also very stable, which means something in today's economy, especially with a family to feed. However, I'm very unmotivated both because of the work that I do, which is boring, and because the organization I work for is highly political, disorganized, and lacks accountability. I've done what I could to try to change things at work and have pretty much given up on that. I want to go out on my own, either starting my own company or just working as a contractor doing Java development, but I'm not sure of the best way to get started, and my family needs the stability of my current job. I'd really like to start out part-time at 5-15 hours a week to use it as supplemental income (which my family could really use at the moment), but I really don't know where to start. I doubt many contracting agencies would be interested in a part-time worker. What would you suggest for someone in my position?"
Space

Black Hole At Center of Milky Way Confirmed 392

Smivs writes "The BBC are reporting that a German team has confirmed the existence of a Black Hole at the center of the Milky Way. Astronomers tracked the movement of 28 stars circling the center of the Milky Way, using the 3.5m New Technology Telescope and the 8.2m Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. Both are operated by the European Southern Observatory (Eso). The black hole is four million times heavier than our Sun, according to the paper in The Astrophysical Journal. According to Dr Robert Massey, of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), the results suggest that galaxies form around giant black holes in the way that a pearl forms around grit."
Space

Hubble's Exoplanet Pics Outshined by Keck's 140

dtolman writes "Scientists at the Keck and Gemini telescopes stole the thunder of Hubble scientists announcing the first picture of an extrasolar world orbiting a star. Hubble scientists announced today that they were able to discover an extrasolar world for the first time by taking an actual image of the newly discovered exoplanet orbiting Fomalhaut — previous discoveries have always been made by detecting changes in the parent star's movement, or by watching the planet momentarily eclipse the star — not by detecting them in images. Hubble's time to shine was overshadowed though by the Keck and Gemini observatories announcing that they had taken pictures of not just one planet, but an entire alien solar system. The images show multiple planets orbiting the star HR 8799 — 3 have been imaged so far."

What Should I Do With My Tech Junk? 521

Thomas Matysik writes "I'm attempting to de-clutter my house and I've hit a rough patch: the computer room. I've got a bunch of wires, hardware and software that (I think) were useful at one point in time, but these days it doesn't do much more than take up space. Selling it seems like it'd be a huge hassle and it seems really wasteful for me to just pitch all of this stuff in the dumpster. I've considered giving it away to Goodwill, but I'm afraid that's not the right sort of outlet for this stuff. My question: what should I do with all of my tech junk?"
United States

SCOTUS Grants Guantanamo Prisoners Habeas Corpus 1065

beebee and other readers sent word that the US Supreme Court has, by a 5 to 4 majority, ruled that the Constitution applies at Guantanamo. Accused terrorists can now go to federal court to challenge their continued detention (the right to habeas corpus), meaning that civil judges will now have the power to check the government's designation of Gitmo detainees as enemy combatants. This should remedy one of the major issues Human Rights activists have with the detention center. However, Gitmo is unlikely to close any time soon. The NYTimes reporting on the SCOTUS decision goes into more detail on the vigor of the minority opinion. McClatchy reports the outrage the decision has caused on the right, with one senator calling for a Constitutional amendment "to blunt the effect of this decision."

Cyberconnect2's Matsuyama on Naruto Plans 38

Gamasutra is running an interview with Cyberconnect2's Matsuyama on the studio's plans for their Naruto franchise. "over the last few years it has also been the prolific developer of the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series, a PlayStation-exclusive line of games now spanning as many as seven entries. Currently, CyberConnect2 is working on Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm, the series' first entry on PlayStation 3. It makes a significant graphical leap beyond its predecessors, focusing on perfecting the cel-shading techniques that imitate hand-drawn animation."
Microsoft

Bill Gates's Last Speech 389

Ian Lamont writes "Bill Gates, in an address to the TechEd Developers conference, talked about Microsoft's plans for hosted services, and revealed that the company is planning data centers on 'a scale that we haven't thought of before' that will apparently enable the company to offer all of its server-based products over the Internet. The talk did not include details in terms of capacity or scale. This was Gates's final publicly scheduled speech as a full-time Microsoft employee, and he acknowledged that Microsoft's success is 'due to our relationship with developers.' On July 1, he will start spending most of his time at The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation." After that date he will be devoting his "20% time" to Microsoft.
Space

Space Station Toilets Poop Out 207

otter42 writes "The International Space Station's toilet has gone kaput. It seems that the system for separating solid and liquid waste has developed a fault. 'Solids' go where they're supposed to, but 'liquids' don't. The astronauts have bypassed the '"the troublesome hardware" for urine collection with a "special receptacle."' Something tells me they're glad the failure wasn't the other way around." Update: 05/28 21:54 GMT by T : According to a post on Engadget, the toilet's now been repaired.
Space

Details Emerging On Tunguska Impact Crater 164

#space_on_irc.freenode.net (Dusty) writes "Lake Cheko in Siberia has been noted as the probable crater of the 1908 Siberian Tunguska event. This news was discussed here in December, but details on the crater were scant. Now a new paper written by Luca Gasperini, Enrico Bonatti, and Giuseppe Longo (the same team in Bologna, Italy that made news in December) has a horde of new details on the supposed crater. The team visited Lake Cheko complete with their own catamaran and completed ground-penetrating radar maps, side-scanning sonar images, aerial images, and some sample collection of Lake Cheko. Intriguingly, they also imaged an object under the sediment that may be a fragment of the impacting body. Their paper (PDF) includes a lot more details including images, side-scanning sonar image, a 3-D view of the lake, a morphobathymetric map. It's an interesting read, these dudes are good. They plan to return this summer and drill the core if weather permits, hopefully answering the question once and for all." The same team also has a more discursive article in the current Scientific American that includes some detail on the working conditions in the Siberian summer. Think: mosquitos.
Science

Fable 2 Follow Up a "Significant Scientific Achievement"? 87

In a bold statement, game developer Peter Molyneux is claiming that his new Fable 2 follow up is a "significant scientific achievement". His unbridled excitement stems from years of work on AI, simulation, and character interaction. "Fortunately for fans of Molyneux-style hyperbole, the man is back with wide-eyed, reins-off enthusiasm of his own future work. [...] In Molyneux's own words, 'I think it's such a significant scientific achievement that it will be on the cover of Wired.'"
Space

Giant Sheets Of Dark Matter Detected 231

Wandering Wombat writes "The largest structures in the universe have been, if not directly found, then at least detected and pounced upon by scientists. 'The most colossal structures in the universe have been detected by astronomers who tuned into how the structures subtly bend galactic light. The newfound filaments and sheets of dark matter form gigantic features stretching across more than 270 million light-years of space — three times larger than any other known structure and 2,000 times the size of our own galaxy. Because the dark matter, by definition, is invisible to telescopes, the only way to detect it on such grand scales is by surveying huge numbers of distant galaxies and working out how their images, as seen from telescopes, are being weakly tweaked and distorted by any dark matter structures in intervening space.' By figuring how to spot the gigantic masses of dark matter, hopefully we can get a better understanding of it and find smaller and smaller structures."

Spreading "1 in 5" Number Does More Harm Than Good 382

Regular Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton has some opinions on child safety online and the use of fear mongering. Here are his thoughts. "The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has been running online ads for several years saying that "Each year 1 in 5 children is sexually solicited online", a statistic that has been endlessly repeated, including by vendors of blocking software and by politicians who often paraphrase it to say that 1 in 5 children "are approached by online predators". While others have quietly documented the problems with this statistic, lawmakers still bring it out every year in a push for more online regulation (preempted this year only by the topic du jour of cyberbullying), so it's time for anti-censorship organizations to start campaigning more aggressively against the misleading "1 in 5" number. That means two things: framing the debate with more accurate numbers, and holding the parties accountable for disseminating the wrong ones -- and that means naming names, including those of organizations like the NCMEC that are normally beyond reproach." Read below for the rest.
Music

Leaked RIAA Training Video 335

An anonymous reader writes "Gizmodo has a clip of that RIAA training video produced with the NDAA for US prosecutors that was leaked to torrent sites a few days ago. It argues they should pursue piracy cases because it leads to bigger and badder wares, like handguns, drugs, terrorist orgs, and hardcore repeat offender criminals. It's kind of sad how far they're stretching to bring law enforcement into the matter."

Microsoft's "Source Fource" Action Figures 363

RCanine writes "Microsoft is attempting to curry mind share with the 3-12 age bracket with their new event, the Source Fource, a series of developer-based action figures. Windows Vista Sensei, SQL Server Gal and some lame gender stereotypes presumably seek to rid the world of bearded, katana-wielding evil-doers. From the article: 'Between March 15th and April 15th 2007, the new super dudette will be offered and will be sent to developers who get their act together and attend at least two live MSDN Webcasts or two MSDN Virtual Labs, or one of each.'" I just can't figure out what to make of this, except that I hope someone can tell me if it blends. Or melts. Or burns.

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